Sunday, July 05, 2009

Change of Plans

The cold Hubby had last weekend finally caught me this weekend. I have spent the better part of the long weekend laying on our sofa, alternatively coughing or blowing my nose. I'm feeling better now, but still very tired.

I was fairly annoyed when I realized how I was going to spend the long weekend. We had planned to take Pumpkin to the beach, and to see the fireworks, and to a farmer's market today. We did go see the fireworks last night- we live very close to a good viewing spot. But instead of the beach, we just let Pumpkin play in her paddling pool and instead of the farmer's market, we went to Target for some essentials, like more tissue for my nose. Pumpkin was happy as can be with both things- she's still talking about how she splashed in the pool with Mommy! And then Daddy! (there is only room for one adult at a time). And she likes trips to Target because I, perhaps foolishly, have her trained to associate them with big pretzels. This started because I was hungry during one trip, and has continued because, well, because I like big pretzels, too.

I had also hoped to make some zucchini bread, using up the gigantic zucchini my colleague gave me (we'd already eaten the more normal size one just fried up). That was clearly not going to happen, so I took a tip from the book I'm reading (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver) and grated the monster zucchini and froze it in recipe size portions. One monster zucchini = 4 cups grated zucchini = 4 loaves of zucchini bread when I get around to making it.

I have been told that zucchini isn't a veggie worth trying to get Pumpkin to eat, because it doesn't have a lot of nutritional value. Since it is one of my favorite veggies (I'll eat it without sauce!) I decided to check that claim out. I found a site called NutritionData that gives you "nutrition labels" for foods. The entry for zucchini (with skin) indicates that it does indeed have some useful vitamins and minerals, with vitamin C, the B vitamins, manganese, and potassium topping the list. Granted, a lot of other veggies are more impressive in the nutrition department. But I wouldn't complain if I could get Pumpkin to eat zucchini.


  1. Sorry you got sick! Hope you feel better soon.

    We had my family over for a BBQ and put out a blow-up pool for the toddlers, and they had so much fun! Who needs the beach when you can splash around the backyard?

  2. Anonymous8:06 AM

    I don't know how pumpkin feels about creamy/milky dishes, but I have a fantastic recipe for a zucchini gratin (the zucchini is grated and then mixed with rice, herbs, and a bechamel sauce, then baked). I'm mentioning this largely because my toddler is a big fan, and he doesn't eat much "grown up" food. I'm actually pretty impressed that your picky eater with eat fish! If you're interested in the recipe, I can post it.

  3. @Erin- Pumpkin's a little suspicious of anything with sauce, but the recipe sounds yummy- definitely post it!

    Don't be too impressed by the fish. She eats little fish shaped fish sticks that look a lot like chicken nuggets. And she only eats them about 50% of the time.

  4. Anonymous9:17 AM

    Summer Squash, Herb, and Rice Gratin, from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for everybody (my favorite cookbook ever):

    The recipe is a little fiddly - definitely for a Sat or Sun - but only because it has multiple steps. Otherwise it's surprisingly easy.

    Herb Bechamel:

    2 Cups milk
    1/4 cup finely diced onion
    Aromatics: 1 bay leaf, 3 parsley spring, 2 thyme sprigs (I use dried thyme)
    3 1/2 T butter
    3 1/2 T flour
    Salt and pepper (though last time I didn't salt and pepper because of the baby)

    1) Heat milk, onions, and aromatics over medium heat. Turn off just before boiling and let steep (15 minutes)
    2) In another saucepan, make a roux - melt the butter then add flour. Whisk constantly over medium heat (2 min).
    3) Quickly pour milk into roux, through a strainer, stir to boil, then put on very low heat for 25 -30 min (often takes 20-25), basically until it thickens.
    4) If you have then, add 1/3 cup chopped parsley, thyme, and/or chervil.

    Ok: the rest of the gratin:
    1 1/2 lbs zucchini, grated
    1 cup white rice
    2 T olive oil
    2 shallots or 1 small onion, diced
    1/4 chopped parsley
    1/4- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
    1/2 parmesan cheese, grated.

    1) Oil a gratin dish and heat oven to 375
    2) Prepare rice as instructed on package
    3) Toss zucchini with 1 tsp of salt and let it sit (this is v. important, because the salt draws out the liquid). Squeeze the zucchini to get out excess moisture.
    4) Heat oil in a skillet. Cook shallots over medium heat (3 min) then add zucchini. Stir and cook until zucchini is dry and beginning to brown (c. 12 minutes).
    5) Combine rice, zucchini, and half the bechamel sauce. Put in gratin dish.
    6) Cover with the remaining sauce and top with the parmesan cheese.
    7) Bake until the top is golden, about 25 minutes.

    the "sauce" on top is much thicker than a conventional sauce; it almost has the texture of a smooth polenta. And if she doesn't like the top, she might eat the rice mixture below. At any rate, the rest of you will enjoy it!

    PS The basil is my own addition to the recipe, but I think it makes it, especially in the summer.



Sorry for the CAPTCHA, folks. The spammers were stealing too much of my time.