I’ve had one of those days. Or should that be a couple of those kind of days. The day was marred by a particularly frustrating trip to a governmental office, picking up a sick Bean early from preschool, and a sweet, but increasingly impatient, Baby Fox along for the ride. On the doorstep when we finally made it home -a sweet brown package. I was thrilled. I love packages. This one contained something particularly spectacular. Inside that plain brown envelope, one of the first copies of my friend Debbie’s first book, Parents Need to Eat Too.
I was part of the recipe tester group for the book (Debbie drew upon a large group of parents of young children to test the recipes) and seeing the book in the flesh, as it were, for the first time was like finally meeting the baby of a friend who had whispered to you tales of doctors visits, shared ultra sound pictures with and hopes for months on end. In the case of this particular baby, there was a much longer gestation than the usual nine months. I’m ridiculously excited for Debbie.
The timing on the arrival of the book couldn’t have been better. Tired, frustrated, with baby and sick preschooler in tow, I needed something quick. Something basic. Something my cranky preschooler might find tantalizing and could be sent in tomorrow’s lunchbox as long as my girl Bean is well enough. Flick, flick to the chapter on One Handed Meals and voila – Broccoli and Cheddar Pinwheels. I’d no flipping idea what to expect, you Americans have some funny names for foods (that’s rich I know, as I’m from the land of spotted dick, toad in the hole and other such gastronomic delights). However, I had all the ingredients.
Broccoli and Cheddar Pinwheels
Makes 8, and doubles well
Cooking time: 1 hour (20 minutes active)
1 pound prepared pizza dough, white or whole wheat
2¹⁄₂ cups finely chopped broccoli, or one 10-ounce package of frozen chopped broccoli, defrosted and finely chopped. If you don’t mind the additional cleanup, you can do the fine-chopping by pulsing in the food processor. It’s important that the pieces be quite small, or you’ll have trouble in the assembly.
1 to 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, depending on how much you like cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line or grease a baking sheet.
1. Remove pizza dough from the refrigerator 30 minutes to 1 hour before you plan to use it.
2. Steam the broccoli until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Cool slightly, then combine broccoli with the Cheddar, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. By mistake I steamed the broccoli first and then cut.
3. Roll or stretch the dough on a floured work surface into a large rectangle, about 10 x 14 inches. Don’t worry if you can’t get those exact measurements, but take care not to stretch the dough so thin it rips.
4. Spread the broccoli mixture over about three-quarters of the dough, leaving an uncoated portion at one short side. Begin to roll the dough from the short side covered with the broccoli spread, and keep rolling until you’ve got a nice, neat log of dough.
5. Using a serrated knife or a pastry scraper, cut the log into 8 equal pinwheels. Carefully lay the pinwheels flat on the prepared baking sheet, and bake until crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes.
MAKE BABY FOOD: If your baby’s still on purees, reserve a portion of the broccoli-cheese mixture and blend it with a bit of milk or broth. If you’re on finger foods
Simple, straight forward, and with that whole wheat pizza dough, positively healthy. It seems so simple that we should have thought of it before, but we hadn’t. After dinner we brainstormed just what else we could use in a pinwheel. Like this it is just about perfect for Bean, but this got us thinking about adding garlic, sliced mushrooms, different cheeses. What about different types of mustard? The possibilities were endless. Well done Debbie. I think Bean would argue that this meets not only the Parents Need to Eat Too criteria, but also the ‘preschoolers with infant siblings need to eat’ criteria too.
I plan to share another of Debbie’s recipes from the book in the next week or so as part of her virtual book tour. Her publisher, HarperCollins, has kindly sent me a copy to give away in the next week or so, so stay tuned to this space to find out more about chances to win your own copy. If you know that you’re interested in the cook book, perhaps you have it in mind for a shower gift for expectant parents (I’ve preordered a copy for C & S from Antigone Books already, so don’t even think about it the rest of you.) you can preorder the book. Anyone who orders before February 21 receives a FREE Digital Starter Kit including bonus recipes, a gift card, and other stuff. I should probably organize the giveaway before that date.