Thursday, May 16, 2013

root of the matter

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters. There are no shortage of parenting blogs and cookbooks that claim to have the solution to how to get your kid to expand their palate beyond mac and cheese. Fill up muffin tins with a rainbow of healthy snacks! Smother your broccoli in alfredo sauce and hide it among fun shaped pasta! And so on. Don't get me wrong, I have pinned my fair share of these tips.

And while I don't pretend to be any guru in this area, I did have one advantage on many first time parents - my carnivore. He is the pickiest eater. I mean really, who eats ketchup and red sauce, but not salsa? Or cheese, but only if it is melted? Sound like your three year old; well it's my husband. I learned after many trials and errors in the kitchen, that when I got to the root of his palate problem it wasn't so much the flavor of the foods, but the texture. I have also learned over time that if I am going to introduce a new vegetable to his plate I had better (1) hide it completely or (2) make it in a form that he generally can resist - i.e. fried.

I decided to apply the second technique when introducing my children to some of our latest CSA root veggies. While they are much more adventurous eaters than their father, it never hurts to give them a good impression of a radish before I toss it raw into a salad. So while they created rainbows with playdough I made some rainbow root chips for them to snack on.

To make your own you will need just a few things:
You choice of root veggies - we used easter egg radishes in three colors and turnips, but you can also use beets and sweet potatoes
vegetable oil
kosher salt

Slice your root veggies thinly. Place them on paper towels and top with more. Press out any extra moisture. Let sit for ten minutes and press again. Meanwhile, find a deep sided nonstick pan. Fill with a quarter of an inch of vegetable oil. Heat on medium. Once warm, make small batches of chips by placing slices in a single layer in the pan and flipping frequently. Do not crowd the pan. Remove and drain on more paper towels as they begin to brown - about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove excess oil and salt to taste. Let dry and cool completely before serving.

We gobbled them up quickly, and didn't even have any leftover for daddy to try...much to his delight I'm sure. But, I think he would have been pleasantly surprised at how much he liked these root chips. Salty, crispy, is hard for even a picky carnivore (or toddler) to turn their nose up at that.

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