It’s All About The Dip, No Lettuce!

Last week walking into my kitchen I was greeted by a strange sight. Liam was standing on a chair inside the refrigerator rifling through the top shelves. When I asked what he was trying to reach he said he wanted ingredients to cook his favorite salad dressing. How proud was I? Earlier in the week I had taught Liam a recipe for “Russian dressing” that my mother had passed down to me. Simply mix mayo and ketchup and voila! Two things every child loves combined to create a pink dipping sauce.

Clearly, our dressing is a loose interpretation of the real thing but it works for us. As for a real salad I’ve tried to introduce all sorts of lettuce with little success. So I’ve lowered my expectations and we now include any cut up vegetable with a dressing as a “salad.”

At our house, it’s not about the vegetable, it’s all about the dip. Even though Liam probably ate an obscene amount of mayonnaise that morning he also at two whole cucumbers in the process. A small victory for me and some green for him!

Sorta Salad

A salad that combines fruit, veg, healthy fat and some protein!

Ingredients

1 cup cucumber, diced

1 cup apple, diced (we prefer Fuji, Gala, or Honeycrisp for crunch!)

¼ cup shaved parmesan cheese

Dressing

Juice of one lemon

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp honey mustard

¼ cup olive oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Toss the cucumbers, apples and parmesan together in a mixing bowl and set aside.

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Whisk together the lemon juice, maple syrup, honey mustard and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle 2 Tbsp of the dressing over the cucumber/apple mixture and toss to combine.

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Refrigerate the remainder of the salad dressing in an airtight container. The dressing will keep for two weeks, just shake well before serving.

And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 8): “Yeah, I like it”

Liam (age 6): “Tastes like fruit”

Dylan (age 6): “It is just okay”

Milestones

Matthew lost his third tooth this week and was giddy with excitement. That night, he jumped right into bed; there were no pleas to watch more TV, no arguments about brushing teeth, no last minute trips to the kitchen for water. At first light, he popped out of his room waving the dollar bill he had earned from the Tooth Fairy.  I was half asleep but I do believe the clock read 5:15….

It is hard to remember that magical moment you experience in childhood when you awake to discover money under your pillow; proof the Tooth Fairy really does exist. But as a parent I have discovered it is just as enjoyable to be on the other side of the fence because you are now in on the joke. When we tiptoed into Matthew’s bedroom to make the exchange, it was so hard to hold back our laughter and not wake him. We conducted the transaction, dollar for tooth, and ran out giggling when it was done. And of course, we both feigned amazement the next morning when he proudly showed us our his dollar.

Matthew has five more teeth loose at the moment. He is already counting the money. The other day he mentioned a friend had told him that his two big front teeth were worth 10 dollars each because they were the big ones! We gently broke it to him that it must have been a fairy tale his friend heard; it could not be true.  Having three kids, tooth fairy money adds up, we have college tuition to think about! Any parent out there reading this giving over a dollar per tooth please keep it on the down low…

I had planned to make corn on the cob this week but due to the Matthew’s lack of chewing abilities I had to make a few adjustments – I ended up doing sort of a corn salad instead.

Corn Crab Salad w/Pepita Pesto

Ingredients:

Pepita Pesto

1 cup fresh parsley leaves, packed

1/4-cup grated Pecorino Romano

1/4-cup roasted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) *

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/2-cup olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

* pine nuts are traditionally used in pesto but most any nut will do, pepitas work very well and are a lot less expensive.

 

Corn Crab Salad

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 ears of corn, kernels removed, about 2 cups

2 Tbsp pepita pesto (see above)

1 cup crab meat (optional)

 

Directions:

For the pesto:

Combine the parsley, Romano, pepitas, garlic and lemon juice in a food processor. Pulse until it is a paste.

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Add olive oil and pulse until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the nuts are already salted you probably don’t have to add any more salt. Refrigerate remaining pesto for up to one week.

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For the corn salad:

In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add the corn and cook until warmed through, about two minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the pepita pesto.

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Lastly, gently fold in the crabmeat. Shrimp would work well in this recipe too.

Serve warm or cold.

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 6): “I like a good corn”

Dylan (age 4): “I ate everything in a row, this, this and even this leaf”

Liam (age 4): “ Did not like the things in this!”

A so-so verdict. I used the pesto on pasta the following night and it got a much better reception!