Posts Tagged ‘baby food’

Finger food | Carrots

8 February 2011

Before I knew it, Louise started refusing food; she seals her lips and turns her head to the side. I know this happens to children, they evolve from being adorable unfussy eaters to about 18 months, when you start wondering whether you should send your toddler to bed without dinner.

But Louise is not even 1; it’s much too early for her to become picky. Until I realized it’s not the taste she is rejecting, it’s the delivery. So I let her pick at her own dinner and make a giant mess – and it works. She eats with her fingers meals she’s shunned from a spoon.

These carrots passed the finger-food test brilliantly.

***

6-8 carrots

1/2 untreated orange

Fresh thyme

***

Bring a small amount of water to the boil.

Peel and slice the carrots fairly thinly at an angle to create larger slices.

Cook the carrots in boiling water (covered) for about 10-12 minutes, until soft. Drain water and return the carrots to the pan. Grate orange zest and squeeze the juice over the carrots. Cook for another minute or so until the carrots have absorbed the juice. Sprinkle with fresh thyme.

Serve in slices, coarsely mashed up with a fork, or puréed in a food processor.

Baby food* | Lentils

16 November 2010

The other day I decided to make one of my favorite recipes from Moro cookbook: lentil soup with cumin. It’s a wonderful recipe that requires little else besides lentils and cumin – with cumin, of course, being the key. We had friends over for dinner and I was quite excited about making this soup. It’s simple and delicious, and perfect just as it is.

But I must have underestimated how often I have made this recipe recently, because the guests had already arrived and I was about to start the soup when I realized that I had run out of cumin. Thomas went out to get the indispensable spice from a store close by and returned with deceptively labeled coarsely ground black pepper… So, I had to improvise – I used curry powder and fresh sage leaves instead.

Typically the story should end with a revelation, a new wonderful recipe discovered by necessity. But no, unfortunately, Moro’s lentil soup with cumin has no cause to envy my lentil soup with sage and curry. Sage did seem like a good idea, however, and since I cannot resist tweaking recipes, even those that need no tweaking, this week I made lentils with sage and cumin for Louise.

***

1 medium onion

Olive oil

1 garlic clove

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

2 sage leaves

1 cup (200g) red lentils

***

Slice onion finely. Heat a good drizzle olive oil in a small heavy bottomed saucepan, add onion and let sweat, stirring occasionally, over medium heat.

Thinly slice garlic clove, grind cumin seeds in a mortar, and wash lentils under running water through fine mesh sieve.

Once the onion starts to brown, add garlic, cumin, and sage leaves. Stir well and let cook for about a minute. Add lentils, stir well again. Add 3 cups (750 ml) water. Cover and cook at a lively simmer for about 30-40 minutes, until the lentils are soft.

Blend the lentils, squeeze a few drops of lemon juice before serving.

*This doesn’t have to be just for babies. Add Maldon sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, a drop of excellent olive oil, and a hint of harissa and it makes a very decent soup.

Baby food | Butternut squash

19 October 2010

This is a great way to cook smaller winter squash such as acorn or butternut. It’s perfectly easy and very tasty. To make (baby) mash or pre-roast for soups the squash should become very tender, but it can also be removed sooner from the oven, cut into wedges, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and becomes a vegetable side.

***

1/2 butternut squash

Olive oil

1 small garlic clove

Sprig thyme

***

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Smear olive oil over cut surface of the squash. Place garlic clove and thyme in the cavity made by removing the seeds. Turn squash over onto ovenproof dish, cut side down, and bake in oven for 35-40 minutes. Poke through the skin with a knife to test; the flesh should be very tender.

Scoop flesh out away from skin and mash with a fork.

Baby food | Pears

7 October 2010

This is classic baby food, of course, but despite this fact – or precisely because of it? – and because Louise literally smacks her lips when she eats it, I think it does deserve a post.

***

4 pears

1/2 cinnamon stick

Thin, small slice (1 in – 2.5 cm) fresh ginger

Small piece (1 in – 2.5 cm) untreated lemon rind

***

Thinly slice pears. Place in small saucepan with just enough water so the pear slices don’t burn before they start releasing their juice. Add cinnamon stick, ginger, and lemon rind. Cover with lid and let stew for about 25 minutes. Let cool and mash with a fork.

Baby food | Beet and sheep’s yogurt

24 September 2010

I have always home made baby food, for my sons a few years ago, and now for my daughter. I puréed squash, yams, peas – even fennel. It remained fairly basic. The other day I blended beef and carrots. It was edible. But when I accidentally realized how truly delicious, mouth-watering, adult-tastebud-pleasing, baby food could be, I decided to try pairings inspired at least as much by taste as nutritional imperative.

I was thinking about beet salad with goat cheese. I mixed red and golden beets because golden beets soften the intense flavor of red beets. The yogurt also brings it down a notch. Not quite the revelation of zucchini and flounder mousse, but very satisfying nonetheless.

***

6-7 medium-sized red and golden beets

Sheep’s yogurt

***

Preheat oven to 350°F (170°C)

Trim the greens and root from the beets.

In a cast-iron pot with lid,* drizzle a little olive oil, place the beets cut side down, close lid and cook in the oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool until OK to peel the beets.

Peel beets, blend, put in jars and freeze if desired. Add a teaspoon of yogurt just before serving.

*Alternatively, use an oven pan sealed with aluminum foil.


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