Our dear sweet Daisy has recently gone from being an adventurous, non-discriminating, enthusiastic consumer of all cuisines to an unpredictable, easily-displeased and highly selective eater who recoils at the sight of anything green or crunchy-looking. The only foods we are able to get Daisy to eat right now are white: bread, pasta, cheese, popcorn and pizza. Oh, and chocolate.
You might imagine that as a health-focused new mother, adventurous eater and an enthusiastic home cook, this has thrown me for a loop. Chocolate and pizza do not produce healthy bodies or good behavior, but, alas, this is difficult to communicate to my twenty-two-month-old child. Thus, I find myself on a new quest to serve my child nutritious and delicious meals that do not appear to have vegetables in them.
If you find yourself in a similar predicament, I’ve done some research for us. There are, in fact, vegetables and legumes that are white. Sadly, there is a direct correlation between the vibrancy of color in a fruit or vegetable and the level of nutritional value. Most antioxidants come bearing deep color which is why we are taught to “eat the rainbow.” Nonetheless, here are a handful of naturally-occurring white things that contain some nutritional value:
White sweet potatoes
Of all of these, cauliflower appears to be the most helpful for growing kiddos. The sulfur compounds that exist in cauliflower help strengthen bone tissue and maintain healthy blood vessels. I have recently begun experimenting with cauliflower recipes and this one was a huge success with the whole family. I realize this photograph doesn't look very appetizing - chalk that up to a combination of the dish being all-white and me being a terrible food photographer.
2 Cups Panko breadcrumbs
1 Head of cauliflower, chopped
3 Cloves Garlic or 2 Shallots, minced
2 Lemons, juiced
Curly pasta (best for hiding ingredients: gigli/campanelle, fusilli, cavatappi)
2 Cups Pinot Grigio (or vegetable stock)
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 cups grated Pecorino Romano
Tasting salt & pepper
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, toast Panko with 2 tablespoons EVOO and a sprinkling of salt and pepper until golden brown. Set aside in large bowl.
In a large saucepan, heat 4 tablespoons of EVOO until hot and fry cauliflower in batches until golden and crispy at edges. Season, squeeze the juice of one lemon over warm cauliflower. Add to large bowl with Panko.
In the same large saucepan, add wine and reduce heat to medium. Scrape any brown bits on the bottom of the pan with a spoon and incorporate into the growing sauce then add the garlic or shallots and butter. Slowly add the juice of another lemon.
While sauce reduces, cook pasta until a bit past al dente. Drain and run under cold water until room temperature, drain again then add to large bowl with Panko and cauliflower. Pour reduced sauce over top, sprinkle with Pecorino, season liberally and toss until combined and cheese has melted in.
I hope you enjoy!