When my oldest–who is about to get her driver’s license may the good great spirit above bless and protect her–was about three years old, the parents at her school decided to produce a cookbook. The idea was to raise a little money for the school, and maybe we did. In the manner of such projects, we did it at such a cost to personal time and energies that it probably would not hold up to careful cost/benefit analyses, were it not for the lasting effect that we all have a copy of this now-tattered cookbook. The thing is gorgeous, thanks to my friend Julie. She had the idea to go all Moosewood and made us hand-write the recipes, and if it is possible to use a scanner lovingly, that is just what she did on dozens of our children’s drawings, which illustrate the pages. There is something wild and fantastic about the drawings of a 3 to 6 year old. For one thing, they have almost no self-consciousness about getting anything to look “right,” so they draw freely. For another, I think they are still receiving messages from the home planet; I swear I can see antennae crackling over their heads as they earnestly transcribe some wild mental image to the page.
One of the best sections of the book is a compendium of little ways to get reluctant eaters to eat. Two of the most magical methods, which I continue to employ happily with eaters of all ages, are to impale things on a stick, and to serve them with dip. Dip rocks. With dip, persons overcome their objections in many surprising ways. The vegetable is just a utensil, after all, to get more dip.
I have moaned enough about eating travel-weary vegetables in the winter that I could use a few tricks myself to make them go down more appealingly. The main problem I encountered making this dip was fitting my head into the blender container to get all the dip out, and I hope you face the same.
This recipe calls for preserved lemons. If you don’t have any of these, use a fat pinch of salt in their place and vow to get your hands on some, or make some yourself.
makes about 3/4 cup
1T raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup or one good handful of flat-leaf parsley
1/4 c good olive oil
2 slices of preserved lemon (about 2T)
2T lemon juice
1 t cumin
pinch to 1/4 t cayenne pepper or paprika, to taste
Put all of this in a blender and blend, baby, blend. It will be a gorgeous green color. Although I didn’t manage it for the photo above, serve it with skinny twigs of carrot, fennel, cucumber, jicama, endive, celery, bell pepper, sweet japanese turnip, radish–whatever looks good. Make the twiglets skinny, so people reach for them without thinking too hard about whether or not they object to that vegetable on principle.