Thursday, July 31, 2014

Spheres of Influence; Lamb, Couscous and Golden Beets

sphere: first def: " ancient astronomy, concentric shells upon which the stars, moon and sun were fixed..."

"I'm not eating that..." our daughter said as she slumped in her chair at the dinner table, her finger pointing sheepishly to the golden beets on her plate that Mom had prepared.
"I don't like those," she confirmed with resolution, "Hmmph!"

Even in the home of two chefs, there can be challenges in getting little ones to 'eat their veggies.'
Like it or not, Siobhan is the center of our household universe around which the peaceful co-existance of our family exists.

"How can you not like those?!" our son Brendan asked, "they're great with that balsamic vinaigrette, Baby Girl.  Just try one..."  The Third Parent was trying his best to get Siobhan to try her beets, but, our Mary Englebrecht character would have none of it, as she sat there arms folded, brow furrowed. 

"Must. Change. Attitude."  The three words under the artist's picture in Siobhan's room struck me as much as the likeness to our daughter did a few years back.  Ms. Englebrecht must have known our girl somehow; Siobhan's 'spirited-ness' can keep things fluid at mealtime. 

"Hey, did anyone notice that the shapes of all the foods tonight are round?" I asked, hoping to stir some interest from the 7 year old and redirect her negative focus to a learning lesson. 
"The lamb meatballs, Israeli couscous and beets are ALL round!  Wow, that's really cool!" I followed with feigned enthusiasm. 
Brendan peered up at me through his eyebrows with the look of 'Really Dad, you're going down the Shapes and Figures road?'  Sure, why the hell not, I confirmed with a wink and a nod. 

"I want more couscous," Bonnie mumbled, "...please."  She had eaten all but hadn't touched the beets or meatballs.
"Let's get a few bites going here.  Just taste these meatballs!  The lamb is from the Owen's farm and the mint inside is from your and Mom's garden, how cool is THAT!?  Mom, how did you prepare the beets?"  I had my motivational speaker hat on and the ringers in the crowd chimed in. 

Lisa went on to tell us of boiling the beets then chilling them in ice water, so she could peel them.  She told us of her balsamic vinaigrette and how she mixed the lamb with ground beef, 50/50, seasoning with salt, pepper, adding eggs and breadcrumbs, mint and oregano from the garden. She slowly steamed them first on the stove top in a saute' pan with lid to plump them up, then, browned them in a touch of canola oil for a crisp exterior.   

Siobhan was taking bites.

"What about the couscous?," asked Siobhan, always in the market for an adventurous story.

Mom told us that couscous were like pasta balls from the Middle East, not Italy.  The Israeli version was much larger; you cook them as you would rice, she informed us, and that using a good chicken stock with the fat was essential.  The fat kept the little pasta rounds from sticking.  The stock could be the pan drippings from previously roasted chicken; great flavors should not be wasted.

Her Royal Highness was now brokering a deal for more couscous; she would eat this much meat and beets for another scoop of the delectible orbs.  Eat ALL of your meat and beets, I countered, and you may have half a portion of couscous as dessert.


Bonnie Belle may be the center of our household universe, but, those savory spheres of Israeli Couscous can exert great gastronomical forces, tilting her axis back to where it needs to be.


Take care, God bless and remember:

"Food, Faith, Family and Friends,
the Best Things in Life aren't Things."


No comments: