3.27.2011

Artichoke Crostini and the Picky Eaters who Don't Love Artichokes

We're still in post-moving mode around these parts so my dinners have remained simple affairs and I have a real easy one to share with you...

...but before I do, I want to address something that I don't think I've talked much about in the last three years of writing this blog: Picky Eaters.  Specifically, picky kids.  Bug is a Picky Eater...which my mom thinks serves me right since I was THE Pickiest Eater as a kid.  Which goes to show you that kids can grow out of it, as now I'll eat (or at least try) nearly everything.

So how do I handle my Picky Eater?  Well, first, Adam and I have 1-2 nights a week that we call Adult Dinner. I give Bug her dinner around 6:00, usually Annie's Homegrown Macaroni and Cheese with a sliced apple on the side.  Then while Adam puts her to bed and reads to her, I make our dinner.  Which is always something Bug would hate.  Our Adult Dinners keep me sane: I can be adventurous with my meals a couple times a week and I can also connect with Adam without having to worry about what Bug is (or is not) eating.

Most nights, though, we're having Family Dinners.  But I'm not living on mac n' cheese and apples!  And I am firmly against making a separate meal for kids on a nightly basis.  So what I often do is set aside a deconstructed version of our dinner for Bug.  As an example, when I made Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Christmas Salad, I took a picture of me and Adam's dish.  Bug's dish, though, was set up different.  I separated the ingredients from one another: her plate had a small pile of prosciutto slices, a small pile of orange slices, a few pieces of cheese, a couple slices of bread.  So she didn't have a different meal - it was all the same ingredients we had.  I like to think that I just plated it differently.

That was the case with these artichoke crostini.  I first read about this in Saveur's "6 Quick Preps" for artichokes.  I brushed bread slices with olive oil and then grilled them on my stovetop castiron grill.  Once grilled, I set them aside and sprinkled with flake salt and freshly ground pepper.  Then I spread each piece of bread with marscapone cheese (I leave the amount of cheese up to your own tastes).  On top of the toasts, add generously chopped jarred marinated artichoke hearts.  I finished it with a sprinkling of finely chopped Italian parsley and cut garlic chives (from my window "garden"!), flake salt, and pepper.  On the side, I tossed baby arugula with olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.


For the Picky Eater, I omitted the artichokes from the crostini so she basically got grilled bread and marscapone cheese.  Then I added a bite of artichoke on the side because the rule is that she has to at least try one bite of everything.  And she got apple slices instead of salad.

So that's how we do it in our family because a foodie parent does not a foodie kid make (even Mario Batali has publicly talked about how picky his kids are).  This meal was incredibly simple but high in flavor - exactly what I'm looking for in a weekday meal for two parents who work outside the home.  And it was "deconstructable", which is a crucial element in pleasing the entire family.

Eat, drink, and hope that my Picky Eater becomes a Foodie Adult.

6 comments:

Geebee said...

Tough to please adults and picky eaters at once! Sounds like you have a workable plan there. I once cooked only from an agreed-upon-by-everyone list of 12 things - everything from mac and cheese to stuffed pork chops to spaghetti to French toast. This plan lasted until I was bored to tears by it. Best of luck to your family!

carina said...

Looks delicious!

I've sent you some blog love over at my blog:-)

Susan T. said...

Laura, you were a picky eater? Really? That's good to hear--maybe there's hope for our Jr. He could live pizza, and PB&J sandwiches.

Laura Lutz said...

Ack, Carina! SO SWEET! Big hugs and thanks so much - I assure you that the feeling is mutual!

Oh, Susan, the stories I could tell you about my parents battling with me as a kid! Even in college, my friends all joked that "all Laura eats is white food." It wasn't until I hit 30 that I became a true omnivore. There's hope for Jr! (BTW, I still maintain I could live on pizza everyday)

Stacy Dillon said...

I hadn't considered the adult dinner concept before. What a great idea. I change up the meals for the girls as well (omit hot peppers etc), but I like the idea of a full on table for two with all the ingredients on the plate. Cheers!

Laura Lutz said...

Oh, Stacy, I can't recommend it enough. It's the equivalent of having 2-3 date nights a week! Without the cost of a sitter! I do keep the adult dinners simple so we can eat it shortly after Bug goes to bed, but I go out of my way to make sure it's a meal that Bug wouldn't like and that is difficult to deconstruct. Bottle of wine, good music, great conversation. It's a date with my husband without the fuss of going out.