Ever so often, one is presented with a novel vegetable: a mystery item in one's Community Supported Agriculture box, an interesting-looking thing from a market catering to an unfamiliar ethnic group, something your friend handed you enthusiastically. Here is what you do with that vegetable:
1. Is it a leafy green? If so, wash, dry, and if it comes in pieces bigger than spinach, remove any tough ribs and cut or tear into pieces smaller than an index card. Saute some garlic or onion in olive oil or butter, then add your green and cook over medium-low heat until wilted and soft. Taste. If bitter, add lemon juice or balsamic vinegar and give it another few minutes. If bland, add salt and pepper.
Alternatively, wash, dry, remove ribs, slice leaves into ribbons, and add to a vegetable soup. For tender leaves, add close to the end of cooking time. For tougher leaves, add earlier.
2. Is it a hard thing, like a root vegetable or a winter squash or a brussel sprout? Peel it if it has a tough skin, wash it if it doesn't, and chop into vaguely cubical bits a little under an inch on each side. Put the bits in a baking pan with a little olive oil and some salt and pepper, and roast at about 400 degrees F until tender and/or brown in spots.
3. If it is neither of the above, peel it if it's got a tough peel, cut it into bite-size pieces, and try a piece. If it's good raw, put it in a salad. (If it is in fact a fruit, an excellent salad can be made with spinach, nuts, and perhaps some additional fruits if you feel like being fancy. Balsamic vinegar and olive oil to dress.) If it's not good raw, you can roast it like a root vegetable (if it's squishy turn the oven down to maybe 300) or saute it in olive oil over medium-high heat until it looks tasty. If it doesn't want to soften, toss in a quarter-cup of water and put a lid on the pan so it can steam for a while. Then proceed as if it were a leafy green.
This will not always work (What happens if you roast 1-inch cubes of ginger? I don't know! Maybe I will try it and report back!), and it's never the most exciting presentation of the vegetable in question, but most of the time this procedure will at least tell you whether you like the thing and want to follow up finding more recipes or figuring out how to incorporate it into more complicated dishes.
If you have any questions or need more detail, hit up the comment box below.
She is a very zoomy active baby. She figured out crawling just after seven months, and has been charging around the house at high speed ever since, pulling up on everything and trying hard to get into any trouble there is to be found. She wants the vacuum robot to be her friend, and likes to go hug it into her lap. If a door to a room she is not normally allowed in, like the pantry, is opened, she makes an immediate stomping beeline to it. (Didn't know you could stomp while crawling? She is very determined.)
She has just grown her third tooth. It is not on the top forming a matching pair with either of her existing teeth, but rather is next to them on the bottom. She eats everything you could possibly imagine eating without opposed teeth, with great gusto.
She growls a lot. She doesn't make many standard vowel-type baby noises, but rather a lot of Gs and Rs like a movie pirate or a wolf cub. She has developed a very specific "thwarted" cry, which is ear-gratingly terrible, because being thwarted is obviously the most horrible thing that could possibly happen to her.
She's hit the first round of separation anxiety. She's still a very independent baby, happy to go explore the living room or play with toys in her room, but she really doesn't like having a closed door between her and me. She's interested in interacting with new people, but checks over her shoulder now and then to make sure I haven't gone anywhere while she does.
Tori and Morgan and Andres (and occasionally Cathy) have been attending a Music Together class which is apparently great fun for all. Tori does not clap along but she does clasp her hands and bounce them up and down in something vaguely approximating rhythm which is certainly adorable when Andres reproduces it for me. :)
She's really into the baby swings at the park. She likes crawling around on the rubber surfaces and pulling up on equipment but she is not into sand, slides, or rough pathway material. She is of the opinion that books are great for pulling off of shelves, and occasionally for chewing, but she's not interested in looking at the pictures or being read to.
Four and a half! It is a different age than four, and a very different age than three and a half.
She's increasingly capable of remembering and reasoning about her own emotions. Her reports of her preschool mornings consist of who she played with, what they did, and whether anyone was mean or bossy to her. The common threat at this age is "If you don't [play what I want] I won't be your friend any more" and it is a very present and scary threat to Morgan. Even though she doesn't have independent contact with any of her friends they are very important to her and she thinks and talks about them when they're not around.
She's having a hard time dealing with Tori getting more attention, and spends a lot of time pretending to be a baby too, or wishing they were twins.
She still won't admit she can read, because it's hard and puzzling out words does not result in anything like the pleasant story flow of being read to. She can write, though. She usually wants the nearest grownup to spell out each word for her one letter at a time, hEr OrtHograPHy lOOkSSS LiKE thiS, and sometimes she takes several stabs at a particularly tricky letter or runs out of room left-to-right and takes off in a random direction or starts somewhere else entirely -- or all of those, which can lead to particularly inscrutable collections of letters if you weren't watching her write it down in the first place.
She's quite good at simple addition, and subtraction as well if she's got paper to jot hashmarks on for counting. She can write all the digits from 0-9. She still tends to skip 15 when she's counting.
She colors inside the lines; draws faces with eyes, noses, mouths, and sometimes hair; draws stick figures with arms, legs, and occasionally hands. She's gotten much more willing to just take a stab at something even if it doesn't come out exactly like she wanted.
This area gets lots of rainbows, on those occasions when it rains. Not only are they pleasant to look at, they are also fascinating scientific phenomena, and spark all kinds of interesting metaphorical thought trails.
Furthermore, my polarized sunglasses serve as rainbow enhancers. In my own personal visual field, rainbows are brighter and easier to spot than in boring ol' consensus reality! But they're still there.
Tori signed to me today!
(It's 'milk'. Of course it's 'milk'.)
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Turn to page 117.
3. The 2nd sentence is your life in 2017.
Turning to the nearest book that has a page 117 (I am sitting in the living room next to the shelf of children's books), I find:
"That's what I don't understand. It doesn't make any sense."
I laughed out loud.
"I don't know what to tell you," said the pediatrician. "Usually at this point I'd tell you what to expect between now and the next visit, but she's met most of her nine-month milestones already."
Tori is still at the very top of the growth charts, very robust and healthy. She's got two teeth, can sit up as long as she cares to (although she needs help getting into a sitting position), and even pulled up from sitting to standing the other day. She can stay standing, leaning on something for balance, for a long time too. She hasn't quite started crawling, but she gets up on hands and knees and rocks back and forth like she is about to launch herself into orbit. Between rolling sideways and rotating in place, she can get pretty much anywhere. She does it sideways and backward, though, so sometimes she winds up stuck under the furniture.
Those teeth I mentioned caused some sleep disruptions for a while, but she is back to normal now -- 11 hours most nights, with maybe one night waking to nurse every other day or so. Two naps usually, sometimes just one, sometimes none at all (but she goes to bed a little earlier if she doesn't nap at all, so that evens out some). She still falls asleep on her own after fussing for a few minutes, because she is made of magic and stardust.
She's gotten a lot more social. She has a great big baby grin, and a delightful giggle. She likes peekaboo and tickles and basically anything her sister does.
We've started giving her some solids. She is VERY ENTHUSIASTIC about food. So far she's had carrot, potato, apple, banana, pear, tofu, a bit of carnitas, cheerios, rice crackers, plain ol' rice, bell pepper, fennel, grapefruit, squash.... It's hard to tell how much gets eaten as opposed to pulverized into a fine mist and spread on all nearby surfaces, or dropped and eaten by the dog, but she's having a fine time exploring textures and flavors.
She does not like baths.
Tori had her four-month checkup recently. She is very, very large and healthy. She's good-natured and cheerful -- she didn't even cry at the first shot, and calmed down quickly after the second. She still sleeps through the night reliably, and puts herself to sleep with a few minutes of fussing most of the time.
She's interested in toys and people, but not much in books yet. She drools a lot and chews on everything, so I think she might have teeth coming soon.
Just in the last few days she's figured out how to roll front-to-back and back-to-front (though she mostly does either when I've stepped out of the room for a moment).
She and Morgan are delighted by each other.
Morgan has one last consistent mispronunciation, which I should record before it goes away. It's an odd one -- every instance of the sound cluster "ula" becomes "lia". So "formlia", "ambliance", "Bunniclia". (She enjoyed the first Bunnicula book very much, and we started the second but she got distracted by other things. We'll get back to it eventually.)