When my oldest--who is about to get her driver's license may the good great spirit above bless and protect her--was about three years old, the parents at her school decided to produce a cookbook. The idea was to raise a little money for the school, and maybe we did. In the manner of such projects, we did it at such a cost to personal time and energies that it probably would not hold up to careful cost/benefit analyses, were it not for the lasting effect that we all have a copy of this now-tattered cookbook. The thing is gorgeous, thanks to my friend Julie. She had the idea to go all Moosewood and made us hand-write the recipes, and if it is possible to use a scanner lovingly, that is just what she did on dozens of our children's drawings, which illustrate the pages. There is something wild and fantastic about the drawings of a 3 to 6 year old. For one thing, they have almost no self-consciousness about getting anything to look "right," so they draw freely. For another, I think they are still receiving messages from the home planet; I swear I can see antennae crackling over their heads as they earnestly transcribe some wild mental image to the page.
One of the best sections of the book is a compendium of little ways to get reluctant eaters to eat. Two of the most magical methods, which I continue to employ happily with eaters of all ages, are to impale things on a stick, and to serve them with dip. Dip rocks. With dip, persons overcome their objections in many surprising ways. The vegetable is just a utensil, after all, to get more dip.
I have moaned enough about eating travel-weary vegetables in the winter that I could use a few tricks myself to make them go down more appealingly. The main problem I encountered making this dip was fitting my head into the blender container to get all the dip out, and I hope you face the same.
This recipe calls for preserved lemons. If you don't have any of these, use a fat pinch of salt in their place and vow to get your hands on some, or make some yourself.
makes about 3/4 cup
1T raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup or one good handful of flat-leaf parsley
1/4 c good olive oil
2 slices of preserved lemon(about 2T)
2T lemon juice
1 t cumin
pinch to 1/4 t cayenne pepper or paprika, to taste
Put all of this in a blender and blend, baby, blend. It will be a gorgeous green color. Although I didn't manage it for the photo above, serve it with skinny twigs of carrot, fennel, cucumber, jicama, endive, celery, bell pepper, sweet japanese turnip, radish--whatever looks good. Make the twiglets skinny, so people reach for them without thinking too hard about whether or not they object to that vegetable on principle.