Sunday, September 27, 2009

Vegetable Shish Kabob

Introducing vegetables to children - a daunting task. As mom to a two and four year-old, a frequent conversation topic with other parents is child nutrition. Recipes are frequently shared where the typical toddler snubbed veggies are minced, puréed, disguised and hidden into less threatening dishes for kids.

I'm saying . . . I'm tired of hiding. I'm done with masterminding dishes which incorporate invisible, odorless and tasteless vegetables. I'm ready to be bold. I want to simply put a brussel spout on a plate and see it eaten - well, that might be pushing it a bit far.

Various Colored Bell Pepper
Summer Squash
Crimini Mushrooms
Olive Oil
Salt / Pepper
Skewers (* if using the wooden type, they will need to be soaked in water for an hour prior to use; this prevents burning)


Anytime my kids put on their chef coats and stand at the counter ready to cook, they come ready to taste. We used some very basic vegetables for this recipe, I chose various colorful veggies, yellow summer squash, green zucchini, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, and brown mushrooms.

The little chefs began by washing the vegetables in a bowl of water. Because of their age (2 & 4 years-old) this is a very exciting, hands-on part of the activity.

We engaged in some culinary conversation while cleaning and the cutting the veggies. Topics of interest to a toddler; does it grow on a tree, hang from a vine or just sprout from the dirt? Topics of interest to older children; the Fruit vs Vegetable debate. Scientifically speaking, fruits are classified by having seeds inside (so, we can correctly call the bell peppers and squash fruit). In culinary terms, however, one would not consider pumpkin or eggplant on the fruit list.

We (meaning I ) cut the vegetables into 1.5" sized pieces. My little chefs reserved the pleasure of adding the pieces to the collection in the bowl.

The young chef then carefully pierces the vegetable pieces with a skewer to assemble the Shish Kabobs.

There are some fabulous marinades for Vegetable Shish Kabobs, one of my favorites recipes can be found at: The RecipeZaar.

Our young chefs chose to keep the flavoring of their Shish Kabobs classically simple. Using a basting brush, they "painted" the vegetables with a light coat of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

The chefs completed their Vegetable Shish Kabobs by seasoning lightly with salt and pepper.

Our Vegetable Shish Kabobs were grilled on the BBQ, courtesy of Papa. I did not serve anything else with them, as this time I did not want their attention to be diverted to a buttery bed of steamed rice, or mildly spicy sausage (however these will be added, I'm sure, at their next encounter). The bell peppers and mushrooms were actually big hit with my little chefs. As for the zucchini and summer squash, well, we will just try a different vegetable next time.

We hope this dish will leave you able to add at least one new vegetable to your child's list of eatable foods. Thanks for bringing your little chefs to cook with us, and we look forward to seeing you again soon.