Cooking for my daughter is such a privilege, especially now since she has taken an interest in the kitchen…we cook together and my heart is full every time. I think her constant presence in the kitchen, on my back as a baby and now on a step stool as a little girl, has lead to her surprisingly open minded eating habits and curiosity about food. Food is such an amazing medium with which to teach. Food is art, science, math, craft, history, family, love, nourishment, celebration, and more recently for us conservation. She is craving independence and autonomy right now in her life, and cooking (well…and playing dress up), has been such a free way for her to express and address those internal needs.
For the past school year, we have been attending Branches Atelier, a Reggio inspired pre-school. The conversations with the teachers, fellow parents, and the children, helped to create the space (and patience for that matter) in my mind to have the confidence to allow my daughter to explore cooking. We talk about the science of boiling, absorption, emulsification, we talk about color palettes of food, what colors can say about nutrition, we talk about smells, taste, and ripeness…and we talk about her Mormor, who passed down this passion of ours to bond in the kitchen…which I hope lasts a lifetime.
Sadly, we had our last day at Branches, and we are going to miss our community more than we realized. For our potluck my daughter created this dish. Her artistic eye called for “only greens mama”. She was in charge of the esthetics of this dish, and we worked together on developing the flavors. We love you Branches Atelier Toddler A program, the “terrible twos” were not so terrible with you.
pasta salad with greens and beluga lentils…
4-6 cups (1 16 oz package) of dried farfalle pasta noodles (we buy in bulk)
1 ½ cup dried beluga lentils
2 crowns of broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
10-12 stalks of asparagus, rough ends cut/snapped off
¼ cup fresh cilantro
juice of 2 lemons (4-6 tbs)
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
olive oil to emulsify
salt and pepper
**I will preface these directions in that so much of this recipe is by taste and feel rather than specific directions. Trust your instincts and have fun.
Begin by cooking the noodles and lentils. Cook farfalle in salted water until al dente (7-9 minutes). Cook lentils until tender (10-15 minutes). Drain mix together and set aside. Gently steam vegetables, careful to maintain crunch (5-7 minutes). Toss into salad. Then make dressing. Puree cilantro in blender of food processor until paste like consistency and move to a large bowl. Add juice of lemons and spices. Then while whisking, gradually add olive oil. Should be 1:1 ratio with lemon juice. Pour over salad. Toss, and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate overnight to let flavors absorb into salad, and serve cold.
Eat together, toast to each other, and share!