When I met my husband, he too had a laundry list of things he didn't eat, including kale and asparagus, my two all time faves. The first time I said I wanted to make him a kale dish he stared back at me, horrified, and said, "Are you sure that's safe? I used to feed it to my Iguana Spud. I don't think it's for human consumption!" And so goes the life of kale, relegated as garnish or lizard food. As a girl who likes a challenge, I made it my mission to make him fall in love with everything that he refused to eat. Once I had won him over with my braised kale (he was surprised not only by its deliciousness but by the fact that he didn't die!), I moved on the asparagus. When spring came, I found the most beautiful tender asparagus and roasted them with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Let me just say, he mowed through those asparagus so fast I only snagged two spears for myself. Since conquering Gray's taste buds (he eats anything I put in front of him now and just last night requested more dark leafy greens. I adore this man!), I now work on friends and family. Yes, I love hosting dinner parties for the sheer joy of feeding friends but my devious side also enjoys sneaking foods into the menu previously deemed inedible.
Enter the summer salad party. First, I wanted to make dishes that reflected the bounty of summer before it left us. I also wanted to show the men folk that YES you can have salad for dinner and be quite full and satisfied. Lastly, we have this friend, who shall remain nameless, who does not like beans or potatoes. Again I ask you, what the WHAT??? How is this possible? Beans and potatoes are the easiest foods to like because you can do anything with them. Mashed, fried, baked, broiled, they taste amazing every which way. But no, she doesn't like them in any form. We've decided she is a communist! So, of course, I couldn't contain myself and made a bean salad which I promptly insisted she try the second she walked in. She filled her plate with the other salads and took just a smidgen of beans. Whatever, as long as she tried them. About an hour into dinner I notice my friend get up for seconds. Now as a health coach I'm in a complete moral dilemma with seconds. I encourage people to try and stick to one plate, especially if they are no longer hungry, but the cook in me takes seconds as the most supreme form of praise and wants people to load up. Anyway, I noticed that when my friend sat back down, plate fully reloaded, she had indulged in a lovely scoop of beans. YES!
And while I'm sure that our friend will probably continue to voice her objection to beans, I now have proof that with the right preparation, she is open to bending the rules. Now it's time to move on to potatoes :)
Here is the menu I put together for the party:
Green salad with orange, avocado, and tamari roasted pumpkin seeds
Grilled chicken breast and fresh green bean salad
Bean salad with sun-dried tomatoes and Dijon vinaigrette