Monday, June 7, 2010

Garden Delights

My garden is open for business. I just put my order in with my five-year-old and she picks what I need. This is fabulous! I was able to add fresh oregano to my pico de gallo and fresh rosemary to my roasted potatoes without a missing a beat. (I was listening to some new music, so it was important not to miss a beat.) But the best part has been the greens. The photo above was my first harvest! Can you believe all that? I was giving it away left and right and we still have had salads for dinner every night. We enjoy salads so much at our house we have replaced Friday Night Pizza Night with Friday Night Make Your Own Salad Night. (Whoo-hoo! That means I don't even have to cook!)
But with a baby it is a challenge to offer greens; they are hard to chew for little ones, especially if you don't have molars! Also, greens are difficult to spear on a fork which can cause frustration. So I tried creamed spinach, but I didn't like it and the baby turned her nose up at it as well. I used the recipe in Hungry Monkey, you could also try The Joy of Cooking. Until she could chew, I offered green purees such as zucchini, peas, and broccoli when the rest of the family was eating a salad. Once she moved on to finger foods, I quartered and steamed Brussels sprouts for her. Now that she is chewing like a pro, I offered her chopped Napa cabbage the other night and she ate it right up. I have started putting a little salad on her plate each night and one of these days she will love it - I just know it!
Pureed Peas
I use frozen peas because they are picked in season and I think they taste better than canned. Also, I like to boil the peas, so they don't lose any moisture.
1 bag frozen peas or fresh
1 teaspoon butter
chopped mint to taste
Drop the frozen peas in boiling water and cook until tender. Drain, but reserve cooking liquid. Puree and add cooking liquid to get the consistency you need. At six months for a first food, it should be runny like yogurt. After about a month of eating runny purees and trying different foods, you can make the purees a little thicker, similar to pesto. Once they get the hang of thicker purees, you can move on to mashing the veggies and adding just a small amount of water. At about nine months when baby has had a variety of foods, you can add butter and mint to the puree. Yum! This puree is something the whole family can enjoy, adding salt and pepper, butter, and mint as needed.
Our Favorite Salad So Far
mixed greens, chopped
carrots, shredded
radishes, shredded
fresh corn, kernel cut off the cob
avocado, chopped
Parmesan cheese, shaved
Put ingredients in individual bowls so everyone can make their own and serve with balsamic vinaigrette.

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