Daily Archives: October 2, 2013

When Kidlandia meets Foodlandia – Part 2: the Princess and the pea (& ham)

Peas and prosciutto side dishPeas… such a kid-friendly shape veggie and still I have yet to hear a kid say “I love peas!” Who can blame them after all? Have you noticed how these little green fellas are generally served to those innocent tummies? Boiled, maybe with some butter if they get lucky… totally tasteless! I wouldn’t eat them unless I found myself starving on a desert island, so why should children?

What are you saying? Ah! Your kid is a picky eater! Well, let me tell you what I think about picky eaters and please, please don’t take it personally because it’s just my opinion and not the truth about the Holy Grail’s whereabouts. I tend to believe that picky eaters do not really exist: oftentimes it is the parents who do not try hard enough. Ouch, I know!!! Why do I think that? But because I was one of those parents (shame on me)!

During the first three years in my daughter’s life, her majesty didn’t eat anything but milk and fruit. I was feeding her kid’s food (including the contents of those bland, tasteless baby food jars), without putting much effort into it, and she simply refused to swallow it. Every meal was a fight. Every meal was a defeat! Oh gosh! I used to hate meal time!

Then, one day, it just struck me: maybe she wanted something else, maybe she was ready for real, grown-up food. Next thing I remember is me holding a pen and a notepad and calling my mother for my first cooking class ever. That’s how I started, that’s how everything started. 🙂

The recipe I’m sharing today is a classic side dish of the Italian cuisine. Every Italian family has their own recipe. This is how it goes in my house.

Ingredients:

A quarter of a small onion
4 small (or 2 large) slices of ham
1 1/2 Tbsp, butter
1 Tsp, extravirgin olive oil
1/2 pound, peas
1 cup, beef broth
salt

Directions:

Peas and prosciutto side dishChop the onion. Cut the ham into slices and cut the slices into cubes.

In a medium non-stick pot, put 1 Tbsp of butter and pour the oil. Add the chopped onion and cook for about 1 or 2 minutes on a very low heat. Add the ham cubes and keep cooking, stirring often, until the onion cubes soften.

Add the peas, some salt (to taste) and the broth. Keep cooking, stirring often, until the broth completely evaporates and the peas are tender (if the peas are not completely cooked yet after the evaporation of the broth, add some water until the peas get tender).

If you want to make the dish extra moist, once the peas are ready, add a 1/2 Tbsp of butter, toss to coat and serve.

Extra Tip: Although this dish was born as a side dish, sometimes I serve it to her majesty with some pasta. When the peas are almost ready, put a pot of salted water on the stove to boil. When the water is boiling add some pasta (I usually use butterflies) and cook it until al dente. Drain the pasta, put it in the pot with the peas and toss to coat. If you want, you can even dust the top of the dish with some grated parmigiano cheese.

Just give it a try. Who knows? Maybe your picky eater will like this. 🙂

We have a couple of rules that we developed with our daughter during the years that – I think – are worth sharing.

First, we taste a dish at least twice before putting it in the “I don’t like it” category.

Second, since her majesty was able to articulate her thoughts, I have been asking her to explain to me why she doesn’t like a particular dish so that I can change the recipe accordingly. And it usually works!

Of course, these rules are not carved in stone… just a little bit of mom-kid experience that I would like to share out there. Quoting Sid from Ice Age: “Worth a shot”! 😉