It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Black bean falafels

2 cups black beans, drained and rinsed
500 g ground beef*
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
2 cloves garlic
1 egg
3 teaspoons lime juice

* When making them vegetarian, I add a quarter cup tahini instead; failing that, a quarter cup shredded zucchini, squeezed once to remove some of the moisture, also works

Preheat oven to 425F.

Mash beans till smooth but chunky. (“Smooth but chunky”? Mysterious, no? What it means is you’ll see a greyish paste, but there will be lots of black bits in it.)

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix with your hands, then form into about 24 balls

Place on foil-lined sheet and bake 15 minutes.

You can put two or three in a half-pita with various shredded veggies on top and drizzled with a yogurt-cilantro sauce, or, if your kids’ coordination is not up to that, you can just give them their falafels on a plate with the sauce on the side and let them dip. Toddlers looooove to dip their food.

September 10, 2012 Posted by | food | , , | 4 Comments

Menu Monday

Monday: Tomato-corn crumble (adapted from this; I’ll be adding crumbled feta cheese and corn to the tomatoes, and making a crumble topping with flour, oats, melted butter, ground almonds and salt and pepper.) The cheese may make the tomatoes (pretty suspect with this group, unless they’re fresh cherry tomatoes) more appealing. Those who are still dubious will have the corn, and there’s at least some nutrition in the crumble.

Tuesday: Broccoli-cheese soup with baking soda biscuits

Wednesday: Chicken cacciatore. For the vegetarian, I’ll skip the chicken and beef it up (ar,ar, the irony) with pureed chickpeas.

Thursday: Black bean falafels in half-pitas with yogurt sauce and shredded veggies

Friday: Vegetable-cheese tart

Jazz is vegetarian. When they interviewed with me, that was one of the first questions asked: Could I accommodate a vegetarian? Though they were quite prepared to provide meals for her if I said no, they were relieved when my answer was “no problem!” It had proven quite an obstacle in other daycares, apparently.

Honestly, I find that odd. Now, this could be because I’m well used to cooking healthy, balanced, meat-free meals. At least half our family dinners are meat-free, often more. But we’re not vegetarians; we do eat meat, and I don’t find adapting meat meals for a vegetarian difficult at all.

The only meat meal on offer to the toddlers this week is the cacciatore. Conveniently, the chicken is the last item added. (You cook it first, then let it rest on a plate while you chop and cook everything else.) Does it make my life any harder whatsoever to use a vegetable broth instead of chicken when simmering the other ingredients? Nope. And then, before I add the chicken, I’ll remove a cup or two to a different container. Easy.

The only additional step I’m taking is to take a handful of cooked (or canned) chickpeas, which I always have in the house, whirl them in a blender with some water till they’re creamy, and pour into the soup. Takes 45 seconds, plus washing the blender. Call it three minutes. If I were feeling reeeeally lazy, I could crumble some tofu into the broth. Additional effort? 5 seconds.

September 10, 2012 Posted by | food | , | 2 Comments