Thursday, August 21, 2014

Babyfood so good, she may never taste it - Butternut Squash and Corn Puree/Soup

As I mentioned in my previous post about my new, second baby, less intense food introduction, I've been introducing new foods with ones that have already been tested.  Whereas last time, I would give lil T only that new food for a week and that didn't go over too too well with some of the greens.  Well, Red Bell Peppers were introduced this week with Zucchini, Carrots and 1 Apple.  It tasted like an awesome Gazpacho.  Yeah, she didn't love it so much.  It's amazing how pungent something I used to think was so mild to non contributing as a Bell Pepper really asserts itself.  So I've frozen it as smaller ice cubes so I can toss it in with other mixes later. 

Here I was rather unprepared for her next food as I usually time it with a lull in the week.  I had to do it in the evening while the kids ate.  She isn't as captivated watching me cook as lil T was.  He would sit happily for hours in his high chair in the kitchen gnawing on a rice cracker but lil R, not so much.  Anyhoo, the one I made tonight as she screamed at me is so YUMMO that I will seriously make this again for myself and D as a soup.  Of course, I'll add alot of my stuff like aromatics like Garlic and Onions, probably but really this puree soup stood on it's own without Salt, Pepper, Spices nor Aromatics.  Amazing what fresh produce tastes like when you don't over cook it.  I steam until just done before pureeing.

Butternut Squash and Corn Puree/Soup

1 medium Butternut Squash, cubed 1inch (about the sizes of a nerf ball, renders 5-6 cups of cubes)
1 c Carrots, diced 1cm cubes
1/2 c dried Green Peas
2 small Bartlett Pears, cubed large
1 large ear of fresh local Corn

Chop in this order and wait on the Pears 10 minutes into steaming the first two so you don't get ugly browning.

In a large pot, place 2 c of filtered Water and the rinsed Green Peas. 
Place a stainless steel vegetable steamer on top.  Bring to a medium simmer. 
Place the Squash and the Carrots and cover.
After 10 minutes, with the Corn standing up in a bowl, run a sharp knife down the length to 'de-cob' the Corn kernels from the cob then chop the Pears, with peel, and add to the steamer. 
The total steam time should be 25-30 minutes.  Let stand a few minutes with heat off to avoid volcano in the processor.

Spoon the steamed veg into a large food processor.  Then drain the Peas, keeping the water and add to the processor.  Add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of the steam water.  Pulse the processor to breakdown the bulk a few times.  Then let it run for 30s to 1 min until no big chunks are floating around. If you don't have a large processor, you can use a processing wand. 

If I were making this as a soup, I would use all the water.  I try not to add to much water because I don't like watery babyfood like the store bought stuff. 

Seriously, this was delicious without any added flavours. 


Baby and Me - Organic Babyfood

Here I am again spending all my time making baby food.  I was really struck after having my first by the old adage 'you are what you eat'.  That can't be truer for babies.  So for my kids, I try to make sure everything they eat is organic because the thought that even 1% of their growing bodies is contaminated by pesticides or GMO'd food makes my skin crawl.  I eased off the organic fruit a bit with T when he hit 2.  We still only use Organic meats but that's D's domain and buy a lot of organic stuff when at our local market.  For our new little R, she will only have Organic as well.  Now that there's two of them, I might move T back to Organic too.

One thing I will say is that I'm less intense with R now that I now the 'ropes', so to speak.  When testing for allergies, I would only feed T the 'new' food.  Now in incorporate a 'passed' food with a new one. i.e. She hated carrots, so I mixed them with Sweet Potatoes which she loved and it helped them go down.  We started her earlier too.  Things change so quickly, it's really better to have your own opinion on things because the doctors will only spout the latest publications.  So she was allowed to start at 4 months, the new thing.  Fine.  Since she hates the bottle and hadn't been sleeping as well as T who would have a gigantic bottle before bed, I was hoping a full belly would help.  The other 'new' thing was that you can throw out the 'order' of introduction out the window.  Apparently the latest studies show that there isn't any benefit to delaying high risk items like Egg Whites, Soy or Nuts.  That said, I'm sticking to a general order based on ease of cooking :^D.  I will probably wait on Nuts and Egg Whites to be safe, and because I'm thinking about trying to keep her on a Whole Foods Plant Based diet for now anyhow.  That means no Dairy either.

The other thing I've eased off on is the hermetic, sterilized zone I was so crazy about with T.  I sterilized ANYTHING that went into his mouth, I never re served food and made gigantic batches.  Now, if she doesn't finish something, I cover it up and reserve at the next meal.  I make enough for the test cycle and no more and I wash her spoons and only sterilize if I'm going to wash the pump.

I thought I would share some of the mixtures of purees I'm currently serving that keep food tasty and interesting.  I also tend to serve her food with a grain. Either Oatmeal or Brown Rice.  I grind my own with a spice grinder and cook with extra water like Congee.  Have you ever read the ingredients on Rice Cereal in packages.  Gross!  I'm asian.  A meal doesn't seem hearty enough without rice :P.  I will also hand mash stuff that doesn't need processing like Sweet Potato v Broccoli.  I also prefer not to feed her anything I wouldn't eat and hubbo has been too busy to do the meats so so far she's a vegan! :)

Purees so far

  1. Apple
  2. Pears
  3. Apple and Pears
  4. Brown Rice and Apples
  5. Oatmeal and Pears
  6. Bananas and Oatmeal
  7. Avocado and Pears
  8. Sweet Potatoes
  9. Carrots and Rice
  10. Sweet Potatoes and Carrots! 
  11. Strawberries, Bananas and Brown Rice
  12. Peas, Apples and Brown Rice
  13. Apricots, Apples and Oatmeal
  14. Plums and Rice
  15. Broccoli, Pears and Rice
  16. Zucchini, Carrots, Pears and Rice
  17. Sweet Potatoes, Blueberries (big hit!)
  18. Strawberries, Pears and Edamame (huge hit!)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Liberated Bliss at Brasaii in King West

Scallops with Figs and Brussel Sprouts - Brasaii
.... then thankfully snapped back to reality.  That's to say, I had the night off.  Hubbo watched the kids while I went to dinner with my cousins for a Birthday.  They were once regular denizens of King West but at a much later hour :D  As the birthday girl put it, there wasn't a place she paid cover or didn't know all the door staff.  Well, we discovered rather bluntly that nothing has changed but the price of the drinks but I'll get to that.  I really didn't know that Brasaii turned into a club after dinner.

The other girls started with the Steak Tartar which was soon swept clean.   I started with the poached Lobster.  It was the ideal portion for the course and the price.  It was very well cooked.  Tender and not at all rubbery.  The flavours were subtle and bright.  We accompanied the whole meal with several bottles of Whoa Nelly Pinot Noir.  Given the likelihood of varied orders and a group meal, I find it easier for the palette and the next morning not to try to change wine orders throughout a long meal.  As we started our appetizers, we were offered a complimentary glass of sparkling wine for the birthday.

Poached Lobster - Brasaii
The bread was constantly refilled which was refreshing.  Much different from Patria last week where they charge you 6 bucks for two slices of bread with oil.  The bread was warm Rosemary Wholewheat baguette or classic white served with whipped butter.  I kept snatching the Rosemary from the baskets. mmmm  Thankfully because the interlude was exceptionally long.  Even the most laid back at the table were starting to get antsy.  At first I had thought it was because not everyone ordered a starter but no, this was far too long a pause.  The water was not refilled as we waited and we didn't see our otherwise gracious server for quite some time.

Next up, I had the Scallops sans the Lamb Bacon. The Scallops were perfectly cooked and well seared.  The Brussel Sprouts, the reason I ordered the dish, were yummy.  The Figs were nice because I like figs but they were seasoned or dressed and were just sort of perched there on the plate. I didn't think they were necessary but glad to have them.  I was worried about the substitution but they were happy to accommodate.  S had the short Ribs, I tried her Potato 'nugget'.  It was very tasty, and crisp.  It was a tad on the 'tot' side for the style of restaurant but I liked it.  I took a poke at H's Orecchiette pasta.  I dodged the Sausage bits but I wanted to see how they cooked their pasta.  It was perfectly cooked and it had a nice chewy bite.  My only complaint about the main was that everything was hairs breath away from being COLD.  My dish was room temperature at best.  But we'd waited so long for our food, I dared not send it back or I'd just have it nuked or wait another half hour.

We shared a Cheese plate to end.  It was very nice and decently apportioned. The cheese were served with warm nuts, Black Berries in syrup, crackers and quince jelly.   It was far too loud and dark for me to take a photo or to hear which the birthday girl chose :D

It was fairly loud for most of the meal and it was VERY loud by the time we received our mains.   I hadn't known that Brasaii turns into a club after dinner service.  I was horse for the whole of the next day after shouting over the table to talk.  Some of the girls arrived after dinner so paid a cover to enter.   We were meant to move on to another club but as they'd paid the cover, we decided to stay a bit.... of course meant we never left :D.  It was really a mixed bag crowd.  The typical early twenties in hoochie dresses (i.e. barely there) were well represented as were their younger counterparts trying not to be eclipsed by their better clad and wealthier 30/40 something competition.  There were also small groups of Sugar Mamas and Papas.  Really mixed bag.  I had to chuckle when they played some classic club music from the late 90s and this group of older guys who were trying to cling to their youth and to youths, whooped up in unison.... giving away the game gents aren't we?  :D

Where did we land?  Well, the DMZ I guess.  Keen observers who have either moved on from this scene or are into a more laid back night out.  Still it was fun to be out with the girls.  I left around 2 and there was still a line up.  King West was a parking lot.  I'd recommend you make transportation plans ahead.  Don't catch your cab on King West if you don't have to.  Hop over to Spadina or Richmond.

Cost: $$$$ (but satisfying and 'fair')
Service: friendly but spotty when there was a gap
Ambience: modern lounge but VERY VERY LOUD later in weekend evenings
Wine list: good variety

461 King St W 
Toronto, ON 
(416) 598-4730

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