Cauliflower & Kale Gratin: And how to talk about carbon footprint with kids

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Hazel wanted purple cauliflower, so purple cauliflower we got. Like many kids, my daughter gets excited when she gets to pick something out at market and then we cook it together. Last week it was mushrooms which we made into farro mushroom risotto, this week it was the purple cauliflower… and how could you resist that beautiful color?

Sometimes she wants the blueberries that are not in season and we have a quick talk about that, and it’s amazing, she has started to ask, “Is this in season?” when we shop for food. She’s four and she’s starting to get it, now if only we can get grown up decision makers on the same page of understanding that buying fruits and vegetables that aren’t in season from far away places causes a lot of pollution (aka your carbon footprint) that leads to global warming and various other problems, but that’s a whole other discussion. If for no other reason, buying seasonably sustainable produce supports our local farmers and economy – and that’s something we can all agree upon and get behind.

Here’s a great list of resources and what’s in season when so you can plan your menu around what’s fresh and available locally. Keep coming back to the blog for more ideas as we tackle the winter months when it’s hardest to eat local.

So, challenged with with the giant head of purple cauliflower, and some local kale I found from the week before I had forgotten about, we decided to make an easy one-dish dinner.

It’s a great #MeatlessMonday dinner option – which is another worthy cause to try incorporating into your weekly routine to help the environment from dependence on meat – and your family’s health.

Here’s how…

CAULIFLOWER & KALE GRATIN

Ingredients:

1 head local cauliflower, florets roughly chopped

1 bunch local kale, de-stemmed and chopped

1/2 stick organic butter

1/2 cup organic milk

8 ounces cheddar cheese (we prefer Cabot’s sharp with no hormones)

Salt and pepper to taste

Dash of nutmeg and 2 bay leaves optional

Instructions:

  1. Combine ingredients into a casserole dish or baking pan, reserving some cheese for the top
  2. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  3. Uncover and continue to bake 15-20 more minutes until cheese is golden brown and gratin is bubbly. Serve as a complete meal or with protein or salad if desired.
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