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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Meredith’s marvelous moose stew


vegetarian moose stew

This isn’t the kind of moose stew that you might already know and love. It’s actually a stew FOR the moose, not OF the moose. Dan and Meredith created this concept while I was out of town for a week this summer (necessity, in this case, being the father of invention). Not being present for the initial feasts, I can at least fill you in on its already hallowed traditions, in the hopes that you and your favorite young ones can create some masterpieces of your own.

Unless you have chickens or pigs to consume your kitchen scraps, the best that can be hoped for most summertime produce waste is its addition to a thriving compost heap. Which, in many cases, does seem to be rather a waste, considering the gorgeous colors and textures of a lot of the scraps… at least in Meredith’s estimation. Moose stew is made by putting into a large metal bowl of water whatever looks appealing from the left-handed sink while I am preparing food. This might include papery onion and garlic skins, leafy strawberry stems, stub ends of zucchini, curly peelings from broccoli stalks, pointy olive pits, crunchy ribs of romaine, stems of arugula or parsley or cilantro, conical tomato cores, and colorful peels of lemons, limes, and oranges. It must be plant-based. No egg shells, for example. Or crayons.

To this base, other things may be added in small amounts, but those ingredients first require permission from a parent. Rolled oats and yellow split peas are common additions, as are those adorable little green mung beans. So far, Meredith has not requested saffron threads or truffle oil, and a good thing, too. I generally steer her to those dried peas and beans so aged that I can no longer recall their origins. Quarter-teaspoons of herbs and spices are allowed, as well: up to five, but usually fewer are required. Don’t want to obscure the taste of those lovely veggies!

Chopping is sometimes warranted, usually with a table knife, but sometimes assistance from a grownup is needed. A good soak and plenty of energetic stirring is usually needed to meld the flavors. (Moose prefer their veggies raw, so no cooking is required.) Then the bowl is carefully deposited outside on the front walk, in easy range of our large and ravening population of moose. 

It’s like waiting for the tooth fairy to come, or for Santa and his reindeer to eat the snacks we leave on Christmas Eve…  in the morning, Meredith comes down to check on the bowl, and so far, the moose have loved every one of her concoctions—they have licked the bowl clean every time! (Is that moose slobber I’m washing out of my bowl? Just kidding!)


Meredith’s Marvelous Moose Stew

by Meredith, age 5 but almost 6
This recipe is just one idea of a moose stew. You can use anything you want that is a plant, to feed the moose.  This includes spices and herbs, beans, peas, and even flowers. Sometimes I use spices, but this stew doesn’t have them, so the moose to enjoy the flavor of the cauliflower. Mom was making spicy roasted red pepper and cauliflower (which is one of my favorite things). She says moose love cauliflower, especially.

red pepper stems, seeds, cores, and yucky bits
cauliflower stems and leaves
rolled oats
yellow split peas

1. Fill a large bowl with a few cups of cold water.
2. Cut cauliflower stems in smallish chunks—at least as well as you can with a table knife. As your mom to cut the hard ones. Tear the leaves into pieces.
3. Add the cauliflower and red pepper to the water. Stir well.
4. Add a sprinkling of rolled oats, about a ¼ cup of yellow split peas, and 2 tablespoons of raisins. Stir again.
5. Set outside and wait for the moose to come! Usually they come at night while I am asleep, but they always eat all the stew.

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