Counting Our Veggies

Please join us as we focus on learning about and trying one vegetable each week.


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Week Two: Belgian Endive with Red Bell Pepper and Prosciutto

Monday’s attempt at Belgian endive got two thumbs down from Lucie and Josie and Theo missed out on trying it. We had planned to try again with a recipe involving cooking this veggie, but then we saw a recipe for Belgian endive with red bell pepper and prosciutto from FOOD52. The recipe calls for sauteing the red bell pepper strips with garlic and olive oil, but since my kids love raw red bell pepper, we decided to use them raw.

The way we made this was very simple. First, cut the red pepper into strips. Then, cut the end off the endive and separate the leaves, so that they look like little boats. (California Endive Farms has a nice video about Belgian endive which includes a demonstration of how we prepared our endive leaves.) Next, put a few strips of pepper into the endive boat and then wrap the whole thing with a piece of prosciutto. That’s it!

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I said, “Theo, would you like to try a red pepper boat for a snack?” Theo ran to the kitchen and took possession of ALL the red pepper boats.

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Poor Josie! She thought he would eat them all before she could try one.

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It turns out, he didn’t really care for them. He left them to his sisters after trying just one bite.

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Lucie and Josie carefully tasted  our new Belgian endive snack.

Josie decided that one bite was enough, but did offer to eat more plain prosciutto.

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Lucie gave this combination two thumbs up and insisted that I make her another plate full. She succeeded in eating all the Belgian endive that we had left, so we may not have another recipe this week. I think the sweetness of the red bell pepper and the saltiness of the prosciutto were a great combination with the Belgian endive’s slightly bitter flavor. These would be great to pack in lunch boxes and I definitely plan to make them again.

Did you know that Belgian endive is part of the chicory family? It is related to radicchio, curly endive, frisee and escarole, as well as those blue flowers that grow along the side of the road. Be sure to read about the interesting practice of growing Belgian endive at California Endive Farms’ website.

Thanks for visiting,

Jen

P.S.

A few words from Lucie:

We tried Belgian endive and pepper wrapped in prosciutto. I give it two thumbs up. I might like to try more endive recipes someday.

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Week Two: Belgian Endive

Today we went to Hy-Vee. Their produce section is really spectacular. To me, it’s kind of like the Von Maur of produce sections. Even my kids get really excited to see all the beautiful fruits and vegetables. They always want to buy one of everything. Today, they wanted more fennel. I told them maybe next week…

Our mission today was to see if they had Belgian endive. My goal with this week’s vegetable selection is to recreate my favorite salad from Timpone’s in Urbana, IL. Their menu lists it as “Warm Goat Cheese and Arugula Salad”, but a good part of the actual salad is Belgian endive, which I have never noticed in a store, let alone purchased or prepared. This salad consists of arugula, Belgian endive and a spicy tomato vinaigrette dressing, topped with a warm piece of goat cheese and served with yummy garlic toast. We were lucky that Hy-Vee had a nice little pile of Belgain endive. Now, the challenging part of this endeavor was to come up with some version of their spicy tomato vinaigrette.

After some thought and some Googling, I found this dressing recipe, from Simply Scratch, and decided to give it a try. I added a clove of garlic for good measure. Lucie and I thought that the dressing tasted pretty good on its own.

Lucie was all smiles when it came time to prepare the endive. She though it was a cute little vegetable.

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She is also a big fan of goat cheese and garlic bread, so I thought she would love this recipe.

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The moment of truth: Lucie said, “Whoa! Mama, this is bitter! I do not like endive!”

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At least, she was happy eating the goat cheese and garlic toast.

Overall, I thought our experiment today was a pretty good substitute for my favorite salad at Timpone’s. The salad dressing isn’t quite right, but I would definitely eat it again.

I am hopeful that another attempt at Belgian endive might win Lucie over. Maybe cooking it in some way will be helpful, as it was with fennel. Take a look at our Pinterest board for Belgian endive to see what we are considering for later this week.

I will leave you with this picture because it makes me laugh. It shows Lucie reading to Theo from, “The Veggie Book“, as she calls it. Theo is having quite a reaction to whatever Lucie is describing to him. Edible: An Illustrated Guide to the World’s Food Plants is the book they are reading from. She just loves reading it!

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Thanks for visiting,

Jen

P.S.

A few words from Lucie:

We tried Belgian endive today. I give it two thumbs down. I didn’t like it because it was bitter. I might like it if we cook it, or fry it or try it in another way. I am still excited about trying many other vegetables.