Co-op Chef’s cooking class in an East 10th Street apartment September 2nd was great fun. There were four moms all with kids 14-15 months. These moms originally met one another at the East Village YMCA and have been friends ever since. Throughout the night they spoke about the difficulty of getting dinner on the table as well as what their kids like to eat. One child ate everything except fresh fruit, one could handle a little spice, while others preferred things on the plain side. It seems to me (not a mom but someone who has the great pleasure to cook for kids all around the city and my sweet niece in California) that children’s taste buds are about as different as their personalities. Maybe kids are trying to tell us a little about themselves through what they eat. Adventurous, careful, timid, bold, thoughtful and discerning are all things kids could tell us about themselves when eating.
We made many child friendly items with quinoa and millet (both high protein whole grains) as well as easy vegetable ideas and baked chicken fingers. And what did the host mom’s little girl eat up while the ladies were cooking away in the kitchen? The apricot quinoa. Quite surprising maybe, but quinoa could be child friendly depending on how it is prepared. I decided to make it for the little girl (again 14 months old) whose family I cook for in Southampton in the summer and she ate it up as well.
Quinoa with Apricots
1 cup quinoa
2 tbs. olive oil
2 tsp. finely chopped ginger
2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
½ cup dried apricots, chopped
2 tbs. cilantro, chopped
1 tbs. scallions, thinly sliced
2 tbs. finely chopped red onion (optional)
1 tbs. lemon
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. honey
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
salt and pepper
Thoroughly rinse quinoa, in fine mesh strainer, until water runs clear.
Heat a medium sized sauce pan with 1 tbs. of olive oil over medium heat, add ginger and garlic, sauté for 1 minute or until fragrant, add apricots and sauté another minute. Add quinoa and the remaining tbs. of olive oil. Toast quinoa until it starts to turn golden, about 3-4 minutes. Slowly add 2 cups of water, salt and pepper, bring to a boil then quickly down to a simmer, cover for 10-15 minutes or until grain is soft and translucent. It is important not to stir. If there is a little water left in pot and quinoa is tender uncover and turn heat up just a tiny bit, cook until the liquid evaporates about 2 more minutes. Place quinoa in a bowl and toss with dressing and the herbs. Serve right away or serve cold and add chopped red onions.