Monday, February 21, 2011

Recipe challenge?

Mothers of girls, please help me out.

Mothers of boys, I don't envy your upcoming grocery bills when the teenage years hit, but for now there is a hint of jealousy when it comes to their willingness to eat. Most boys I know ask for seconds, most girls I know need to be reminded to finish up. There are days I tire of this task. A most perfect example is this past Valentine's Day, on which I spent close to 6 hours preparing a Julia Child worthy French menu. I am not overly comfortable with French food, there is far too much that could fail. Once in a while, though, I set a day aside and face this head on. I do find the challenge quite fun, but ending this experience with my girls exclaiming in identical worried tones, "I am not eating that, gross!" is not how I would choose to end that day. Most of the time I can easily ignore their complaints and enjoy dinner regardless. Other times, I get frustrated. Why do kids think we are out to get them and serve them disgusting food? Why are they so skeptical, anyhow?

Then there are days where you crave something new, and hope to train your kids to enjoy many varieties of food. They sit down to dinner, willingly take a bite, and say, "I thought this looked yucky but it's actually really, really good! Thanks, mom!" These same kids then eat, spoonful after spoonful, until their bowls are wiped clean. I love family dinners like these...

I admit, this dinner did look a little unappealing. But if you could smell the amazingness that came out of my kitchen, you'd want to try it too.

I am certain this dish is a great way to introduce new flavours to children. Imagine with me for a quick moment: think of a frog, who sits in a pot of cold water, which is slowly heated to a boil. The frog never jumps out, as he doesn't notice the gradual change around him. Is it horribly terrible to use this image while I teach my kids how to enjoy new foods? On one hand it cracks me up, on the other I think it's genius. I refuse to give in or give up. There is no reason why kids should grow up on bland, colorless foods. Our dinners lately have been seasoned more, which is oh-so heavenly for us big people, I have been intensifying richness of flavours, and using more and more herbs. And I have to say, it's paying off. Perhaps I should cook more French food, too. Won't you try this dish on your kids, and let me know how it goes? (If you can get past the fact that it looks a little like slop?) You can serve this with something as simple as apple wedges (super kid friendly!) or a beautiful Asian salad like this one.

I debated whether or not to share this recipe, solely because of the photo. But it really is that good...

Beef Curry
inspired by Robert W. Surles
Serves 4

1 pound extra lean ground sirloin
1 large red pepper, chopped into roughly 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped the same
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
zest of one lime
1/2 tsp salt

In a blender combine the bell pepper, onion, garlic and chili powder. Blend until well pureed. (If necessary, add 1 - 2 tbsp water to the blender.)
Heat oil in a large skillet or saucepan to medium, then add the puree. Cook until thickened and color has slightly darkened, about 20 minutes, stirring once a minute or so (don't think about skipping this flavour deepening all important step!). Add the soy sauce and ground beef. Cook another 5 - 7 minutes, stirring, until beef is cooked through.
Stir in the coconut milk, herbs, lime zest and salt. Heat through.

Serve over rice in individual bowls. Garnish with a small sprig of mint leaves.
Stir Beef Curry into rice and dig in!


Lukrisi said...

See, my kids would look at this and love it because it looks gross. We would laugh about our poop pile served on maggots and then they'd probably ask for more. The girl would too. But she's heavily influenced by the boys.

Lauren said...

Dinner tonight! Boy #2 loves anything sloppy! :)