happy veggie birthday

September 3, 2013 • Nancy Wolfson-Moche

While today – and every day –  is certainly the birthday of some vegetable somewhere, I am referring to my birthday. I offered these cakes for breakfast. The first is a tatsoi cake with watermelon candles; the second, a kale and broccoli cake with carrot and celery candles.

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serves 4
INgredients

for the tatsoi watermelon cake:

1 bunch tatsoi

1 watermelon

for the kale and broccoli cake

½ bunch Winterbor kale

1 full stalk broccoli

1 carrot

1 stalk celery

1 lemon

Process

for the tatsoi watermelon cake:

Wash the tatsoi well. Trim any long stems. Place the clean tatsoi in a steamer basket (stainless steel or bamboo).  Pour a small amount of water into the steamer pot (about 2 inches of water is enough), cover the pot, and bring water to a boil on a medium flame. Place the basket of tatsoi on top and cover. When the tatsoi wilts, but still retains its deep green hue, remove the steamer basket from the pot. Remove tatsoi and set aside to cool.  Turn off the flame.

Slice the thick center of the watermelon into two large rounds. Carve out the melon flesh and slice it into 1-inch wide pieces.

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Cut them into 4-inch long rectangles to be used as candles.

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Place the tatsoi inside the hollowed out watermelon.

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Add the watermelon “candles” and strew the rest of the watermelon pieces on top. Make a wish!

For the kale and broccoli cake: 

Wash the kale, broccoli, carrot and celery well. Remove any strings from the carrot and celery stalk. Cut them into 6-inch-long “candles” and set aside.

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Trim any long stems from the kale; peel the tough outer layer of the broccoli stalk. Cut the broccoli stalk into 1/2 –inch wide discs and cut the flowers into bite-size pieces.

Place the clean kale in a steamer basket (stainless steel or bamboo). Pour a small amount of water into the steamer pot (about 2 inches of water is enough), cover the pot, and bring water to a boil on a medium flame. Place the basket of kale  on top and cover. When the kale wilts, but still retains its deep blue-green color, remove the steamer basket from the pot. Remove kale and set aside to cool.

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Repeat with the broccoli. Turn off the flame. Place the kale inside the second hollowed out watermelon round.

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Add the broccoli,

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scatter the carrot and celery candles and make another wish!

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©Nancy Wolfson-Moche 2013

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Icing on the Cake: Testimonials

I loved Ms. Nancy’s cooking class so much.! I have been in this cooking class for two years and I would love to sign up for another one. I tried a lot of new foods like winter squash, cardamom, Brussels sprouts and kale. My favorite salad was the kiwi, carrot, radish salad.
Not only did we cook and eat, we also did labs about food. We used rulers to measure the size of plants. We also explored stone fruits and their ripe season. Now in my house we have window boxes and I am growing cherry tomatoes and basil.
I learned that we can use a lot of different tools to cook, not just our hands and senses. We used safety knives, potato peelers and a carrot sharpener (I wonder if you could sharpen a pencil with it?) !!!
Because of this class I can help papi make dinner and I will try any new food at least once to see if I like it. Thank you, Ms. Nancy for making cooking fun and interesting and helping me be excited about food.

- Love, K (a 7-year-old boy).