Archive for January, 2009

Teriyaki Salmon with Bok Choy and Baby Corn

January 25, 2009 Leave a comment


This recipe using bok choy (a chinese cabbage) and salmon is tasty, easy and quick. A great way to introduce a new vegetable to kids. Baby corn is fun for kids. It's also a good Caveman recipe: leafy greens, a root vegetable (ginger), and fish.

1/2 C Sake (Japanese alcohol). Don't worry, the alcohol is cooked off.

3/8 C soy sauce

1/8 C sugar

3 quarter-size slices fresh ginger

1 lemon grass stalk, sliced, or peel from 1/4 lemon, cut into 1/2 inch wide strips

6 6-oz salmon fillets

2 T vegetable oil

4 quarter-siz slices fresh ginger, peeled and minced

2 lbs. bok choy, white and green parts separated, all sliced in 3/4 inch pieces

15-oz. can of baby corn, drained, whole or halved lengthwise


1/2 C thinly sliced fresh basil

Combine sake, soy sauce, sugar, ginger slices and lemongrass in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Simmer the glaze 10 minutes. Strain into a bowl.

Preheat broiler. Arrange salmon, skin side down on broiler pan. Reserve 3 T teriyaki glaze for vegetables. Brush salmon generously with some of the remaining glaze. Broil without turning, about 8 minutes, brushing with glaze every two minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 T vegetable oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Add minced ginger and stir-fry until aromatic, around 30 seconds. Add white part of bok choy and stir fry until beginning to soften, about three minutes. Add green part of bok choy and baby corn and sprinkle with salt. Stir fry until boy choy is wilted and corn is heated through, about two minutes. Add basil and reserved 3 T teriyaki glaze and stir to coat. Place salmon on plates. Spoon vegetables alongside and serve. Rice is a good accompaniment.

Adapted from Bon Appetit's Fast and Easy cookbook.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Kale and Garlic

January 25, 2009 Leave a comment


Want to increase the variety of vegetables you serve your family? Here's a really good, super easy and fast recipe using a really healthy green vegetable that most people don't get much of, plus fresh garlic.

1 T plus ¼ C olive oil

1-2 bunches of kale, stems and center ribs discarded, leaves torn into bite-size pieces

1 lb whole wheat pasta (preferably organic)

6 garlic cloves, minced fine

1 C Parmesan cheese (about 3 oz.)

salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add 1 T oil. Add pasta and cook to within about two minutes of being done. Stir in the kale and finish cooking the pasta. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 c of oil and garlic in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir until heated through, about two minutes.

Drain pasta and kale. Transfer it to a large serving bowl. Add the oil and garlic mixture and toss. Mix in Parmesan and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Adapted from Bon Appetit's Fast and Easy cookbook.

Cucumbers, Olives, Radish, Arugula and Feta Salad

January 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Cucumbers, Olives, Radish, Arugula and Feta Salad --photo by Anna Migeon

Cucumbers, Olives, Radish, Arugula and Feta Salad --photo by Anna Migeon

A caveman-worthy recipe (except for the feta cheese), it includes a vegetable, a root vegetable, a fruit, and a dark green leafy vegetable. All raw.

My very favorite salad based on taste alone, it’s also unbeatably easy and quick, and outstandingly toothsome.

1 English hothouse cucumber or regular cucumber, quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into ½ inch wide pieces

1 bunch of radishes, quartered

½ lb Kalamata olives, halved

1 bunch or about five oz. of arugula (strong-flavored green salad)

2 T olive oil

1 T fresh lemon juice

1/3 lb feta cheese, cut in little cubes

Combine cucumber, radishes, olives, arugula and cheese in a bowl. Blend oil and lemon juice in a separate bowl, with a little and pepper.

Adapted from Bon Appetit’s Tastes of the World cookbook.



How to use Masterly Inactivity to Win Your Child to Healthy Eating for Life

January 9, 2009 6 comments

This post was featured in the Charlotte Mason blog carnival on Aug. 3, 2009.

You want to do something. You could do something. But you don’t.

“Masterly inactivity” describes this choice of the wise parent to restrain, when her urgings, grounded in her culture and upbringing, press her to speak or act.

The child who learns to enjoy what is good for her is the child whose parents have exercised a “wise passiveness,” a purposeful letting alone at the right moments.

What are some ways we can exercise restraint at the right time when serving dinner?

· You can and should purposely cook foods that are “good for you,” but it’s counterproductive to tell your kid your reasons and even worse to take further steps to induce them to eat.

· You have leftovers or other perishables that need to be eaten. Serve them first to a hungry eater. Do you not apologize, grovel or devalue the food. Keep your own counsel.

· You can casually present an interesting fact about food. Food is interesting. You want your child to eat for her health, but make eating something you do because it’s enjoyable in many ways. Most any human will respond more readily to a compelling idea than to commands or being controlled.

· Show them food before you serve it. Let them smell it, touch it. Interest them, arouse their desire and curiosity. Do this with dignity and confidence. Do not beg them or let them know you care whether they eat, or that you suspect that they won’t want to. Act like you assume the best. Anything beyond mild surprise if they don’t eat should be suppressed.

· You have a scanty eater. Serve very small servings, even smaller than the appetite. Big servings are what you want to serve, but it will only scare a child’s hunger away more. Let the timid appetite, like an embattled mouse, find its own way out of the hole. Let them ask for more.

The parents must bear the burden of their children’s training, urges educational reformer Charlotte Mason, but “let them bear it with easy grace and an erect carriage as the Spanish peasant bears her water jar.”

© Sacred Appetite / Anna Migeon / 9 January 2009 / All rights reserved

A mother “must see without watching, know without telling, be on the alert always, yet never obviously, fussily, so. This open-eyed attitude must be sphinx-like in its repose.” — Charlotte Mason

French Tea Time, Glorified After-School Snack, Crosses the Atlantic

January 9, 2009 8 comments


Europeans know: we all need to relax with a hot drink, a little bite to eat and someone to talk to at the end of the day. This deep human need is one Americans have underestimated, but it’s a simple matter to give it its due.

The French tea time is a more sacred, more cherished form of our after-school snack. It is sanctified by certain civilizing traditions.

I first discovered this custom in 1989 at my husband’s parents’ farmhouse in a tiny French village. They call it le gôuter (“to taste”)—it is not a full meal—or “les quatre heures,” literally “the four o’clock.” Taken any time between 4 and 6 p.m., it is  reinforcement for the dairy farmers there before the evening milking. A light dinner is served later in the evening.

Far less varied than dinner or lunch, le gôuter is based on tea, hot chocolate, or café au lait (with raw milk there on the farm). A hot drink taken at ease is simultaneously capable of picking you when you’re down and relaxing you when you’re tense.

Next is some form of bread, with accompaniment. One of the best gôuter foods is saucisson, hard salami. Then there are the hundreds of amazing French cheeses. Tartines (bread-and-butter or open faced sandwiches), maybe some jam, preferably homemade. A standard favorite is tartine et chocolate, a few squares from a plain tablet of semi-sweet. Yogurt and other scrumptious dairy products unknown in American are other staples of les quatre-heures. You may also find some leftover pie (simple, dry affairs compared to American pies: open-faced like tartines and little more than fruit slices on crust). Or maybe some homegrown, slightly wrinkled, rubbery yellow-pink apples, or compôte, homemade applesauce.

But le gôuter is not just about the food, but also about the experience. It begins as a spontaneous descending on the kitchen (rather than the dining room), as the first rustlings are heard beginning there and others make their way in.

In the dying light of the late afternoon, we find a cozy informality and familiarity in this daily social event. Far from a throwing down of food in front of kids, it’s an eating with rather than feeding of children.

The process of finding what’s to be eaten, in cupboard, fridge, or sideboard is part of the pleasure. The foraging, the setting out, the finding of more, the assembly of tartines, the spreading, the cutting, the steeping and the stirring, all lend themselves to engaging children in the enjoyment of that process.

The point is to take it slow and savor the time, tastes and togetherness. The result is greater than the sum of its parts.

© Sacred Appetite  / Anna Migeon / 8 January 2009 / All rights reserved

Good American Additions to the French version of the After-School Snack

January 8, 2009 2 comments

Smoothies (frozen fruit pieces mixed with some juice or milk in the blender)

Bananas or apples with peanut butter

Celery “boats” spread with cream cheese or peanut butter


Crackers and pesto (a sauce made with basil, nuts and cheese)

Salsa and chips

Whole wheat pita bread toasted

Cereal and milk, (less sweet, more whole grain and organic)


Tartines of peanut butter (open-face sandwiches)

Left-over corn bread with butter, honey

Related Post: French tea time: glorified after school snack:

Feeding Kids: How Cleaning Up Your Act Can Make Things Even Worse

January 7, 2009 6 comments

Your kids eating too many hotdogs? Too much fast food and sugar? Too many fried foods and all manner of junk? It will take a lot of will power, but it’s a new year—time to get rid of all those bad habits.

Or not.

Jesus told a parable about the dangers of self-reformation.  A man manages to get rid of the evil spirit that is living in him. The man gets all cleaned up: he does a perfect job of saying no to all those evil ways.  But he stays empty. He doesn’t fill up the void with something better to replace the evil spirit, so the spirit moves back in to that nice swept, empty space. And seven of his even more wicked friends move in with him.

“The last state of that man is worse than the first,” as Jesus points out.

Nature abhors a vacuum and so do stomachs. Good habits are the best servants to help you defeat the bad habits that are now your master. It’s almost impossible to get rid of a bad habit, but it may be possible to squeeze it out with a new good one or two.  An ounce of replacement is worth a pound of deprivation.

“Habit is driven out by habit,” educational reformer Charlotte Mason quotes Thomas à Kempis: “The fundamental law of education.”

A recent Harvard study, reported in Michael Glassner’s Gospel of Food: Why We Should Stop Worrying and Enjoy What We Eat, confirms that, healthwise, you actually get more mileage out of increasing the number of healthy foods you eat than cutting out unhealthy ones.

So, leave no place for the devil, but open wide the doors for God.  Don’t leave the dirt bare for weeds to grow, plant it full of flowers and vegetables.

“The best cure for a bad lunch is a good lunch,” as one lunchmeat ad declares.

So take the pressure off yourself: don’t try to get rid of your bad habits. Let them coexist until you have so many good ones that you forget about the bad. Don’t try to quit eating junky foods. Try starting to eat more and more good ones and you will naturally stop eating so many bad ones.

Give up trying to avoid losses, and focus on making some gains. Don’t just sit there and resist, get busy doing something better.

Related Post:

Dinner Table Pharisees and Born Again Vegetable Lovers

© Sacred Appetite / Anna Migeon / 7 January 2009 / All rights reserved