Finding balance with food, movement, and community for my (dairy-free) family.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Licking Asparagus

Sadly, the title of this post is, in fact, "licking" not "liking" asparagus.

In Feeding the Whole Family (one of my favorite cook books), the author, Cynthia Lair, suggests keeping a variety of blanched veggies in the refrigerator for quick snacks.  Since texture seems to be an issue here with raw vegetables, I thought blanching might help.

Sis helped me blanch asparagus and together we made a (non-dairy) coconut peanut sauce for dipping.  Sis sampled the sauce repeatedly as we were cooking, so I was feeling pretty optimistic as we sat down at the table with our snack.

She grabbed an asparagus, dipped it in . . .

 . . . and licked the sauce off like it was a drippy Popsicle--without consuming any actual asparagus.  Bummer.

She asked me for a drink from my water bottle.  I prefer not to share my water bottle and generally try to avoid bribing, but told her she could have a drink after she'd swallowed a bite of asparagus.

She immediately and without complaint, cringe, or grimace, dipped one in the sauce, chewed it, swallowed it, and snagged my water bottle.  Hmmm . . . so the texture isn't inherently offensive, it's just not desirable enough for her to eat without incentive.

The sauce is delicious, though a bit on the hot side depending on the quantity of hot pepper sauce added.   Sis would gladly have made a meal of the sauce using the asparagus as a green spoon.

Although it wasn't a hit, I'm planning to start setting out veggies with a little serving of dip as an appetizer for the kids to munch on before dinner.  If they are truly hungry before dinner (as they often maintain they are) this will give them a wholesome option which either won't fill them up OR will fill them up with veggies which is, after all, the goal.

Blanching Vegetables*
These directions are given for blanching broccoli, but also suggested for cauliflower, asparagus, carrots, and green beans

Bring a pot of water to boil.  Cut vegetables into uniform snack-size pieces.  Drop vegetables in the boiling water and cook until bright green and tender (less than one minute).      Drain and place in ice water (sink full or large bowl) until they are cool.

Toss with a splash of lemon juice if desired.

Coconut Peanut Sauce*
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons tamari or shoyu (I used soy sauce)
1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar (I used just rice vinegar)
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1-2 teaspoons hot pepper oil
1/2 cup coconut milk

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan.  Whisk until mixture is smooth.  Cook over medium to low heat stirring gently until it thickens.

*From Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair


  1. Sorry it didn't go quite as planned, but this is an excellent idea! I have been wondering how I can have more veggies just on hand to munch on, I never thought about blanching them! How long do they keep for? And the peanut sauce sounds yum, will give that one a try too!

  2. Martina--this is the first time I've tried blanching vegetables. I blanched them on Tuesday and they are still good today, but I am noticing a little discoloration near the ends where I made the knife cuts, so I don't think they will last a LONG time.

    I especially liked doing it for asparagus because that's seasonal right now, but not something I'd normally just snack on raw. Blanching it made it a great, tasty crunchy snack.

    I just edited the post to add a couple details I'd left out.

  3. Thanks! We eat a lot of asparagus and both boys like it (don't hate me!), so I'm excited to be able to offer it different ways and at different times during the day.

  4. It's my New Years Resolution to eat more dip (in hopes that it improves my veggie intake...)


    (Oh, and Bethany...the "World Peace Sandwich" moniker...that's because the Mister announced it was so good, it could bring about world peace.)

  5. Yo that sounds like a success to me. When Stan is trying a new or 'I dont like it' food, to lick it is a success. Next, he has to put it in his mouth (he can take it right out again). After that, biting and chewing. Baby steps, right? Green beans would be good blanched, broccoli, cauliflower

  6. That's right--baby steps! :)