Thursday, 14 January 2010
In praise of: making your own baby food
You're probably thinking that this is a pretty weird "In praise of" topic, huh? The truth is, I've become addicted to making Jade's baby food. Seriously, hardly a day goes by that I don't have my nose buried in the baby food cookbook (The Baby's Table), the Magic Bullet a-whirring or the steamer steaming. Cooking for me and D has always been rewarding and fun, but cooking for baby Jade is fulfilling on a whole different level. (Okay, except for the part where she spits out a recipe or does her whole fake-gag act. But that's only happened with parsnips and plums.)
Not only is it rewarding to see your tiny offspring gobble down meals of your own making, you have complete control over what goes into her food. It's a bit horrifying to read some of the ingredients on baby cereals, snacks and other pre-packaged baby foods. Check this one out: RICE FLOUR, DRY SKIM MILK, PALM OLEIN, POTATO MALTODEXTRIN, CANOLA OIL, COCONUT OIL, PREBIOTICS (OLIGOFRUCTOSE, INULIN), SUNFLOWER OIL, MINERAL AND VITAMINS (FERROUS FUMARATE, NICOTINAMIDE, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN), BIFIDOBACTERIUM LACTIS CULTURES. I'm sorry, but what the what are Palm Olein and Potato Maltodextrin and Coconut Oil doing in my 8 month old's food? Ugh.
I'm thankful that Jady Lady is a good little eater, and likes everything except the aforementioned P words. It's so much fun to see what foods she favours (avocado, tofu, broccoli, melon) and which she eats with less gusto (peach, egg yolk, papaya). I'm loving all the funky recipes in her baby cookbook, especially now that we've moved beyond the steam&puree-the-crap-out-of-veg&fruits stage. My latest favourite recipe? Baby Ratatouille. It's delicious, nutritious and best of all, Jady, Mummy and Daddy all enjoy it. So, dear reader, in praise of making my own baby food, I will share my version of the recipe with you. Even if you don't have a wee one to feed, this stuff is veggie gold for adults too. And you don't even have to wear a bib.
1 cup broccoli florets
2 small zucchini, chopped
1 can tomatoes with juice
1 red pepper, peeled and chopped
1 potato, cubed (peeling is optional)
1/2 onion, chopped (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1 cup no-salt vegetable broth or water
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
handful fresh basil (optional)
Chuck it all in a pot and bring to a boil; simmer covered 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and simmer another 10 minutes uncovered. It should look like a thick stew when it's done. Serve hot over egg noodles or orzo, sprinkled with copious amounts of cheese and basil. Soooo good on a cold winter day.