Tag Archives: Fresh Basil

Gourmet Baby Food: Vegetables With Pesto

When creating gourmet baby food for a toddler who is a Foodie, you must always keep in mind flavours, and flavour combinations. You must always be willing to step outside the box to create new delicious dishes, even if you aren’t completely sure how it will be received. You must be willing to create a tasty “opportunity” for your your baby or toddler… Because you just might be surprised at the response! 😉

Introducing… Vegetables with Pesto! 🙂

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-love heat. Add finely chopped onion and thinly sliced leeks. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion softens. Add thinly sliced celery, thinly sliced carrots, and finely chopped garlic. Cook covered for an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add water, diced potato, finely diced parsnip, diced turnip, and green beans cut into small pieces. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, covered for 5 minutes.

Add fresh or frozen peas, sliced zucchini, and cannellini beans, and season with pepper. Cover again and simmer for about 25 minutes until all the vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, make the pesto by putting finely chopped garlic, fresh basil leaves, and grated Parmesan cheese in a food processor. Add extra virgin olive oil and process until smooth. Scrape down the sides as necessary.

Add fresh spinach leaves, cut into thin ribbons, into with vegetables and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the pesto.

This dish is meant to be chunky, but I like to put some in the blender and chop, then add it back to the vegetable mixture.  It creates a nice combination of chunky and creamy textures.

Yummy! 🙂

Gourmet Baby Food …..

The last three days I have been cooking up a storm… a gourmet baby food storm that is! 😉

Big batches of some of the favorites:

Sweet Vegetable Medley … with carrots, rutabaga, potato, parsnip and milk.
Lentils Delish … with lentils, carrots, celery, onion, sweet potato, and vegetable broth.
Tomatoes and Carrots with Basil … with carrots, tomatoes, cauliflower florets, fresh basil, and cheddar cheese.
Carrot, Apple, and Spinach … With green apples, carrots, and baby spinach leaves.
Minestrone … with garlic, prosciutto, orange and red bell peppers, tomatoes, celery, beans, cabbage, peas, parsley, vermicelli, and vegetable broth.
Carrot, Apple and Celery Soup … with carrots, green apples, celery, and onions.

And this is just the beginning… I have a few more days ahead of me for delicious items. Stay tuned for what I make! 🙂

And… Still More Gourmet Baby Food… Chicken with Summer Vegetables.. ;)

I am constantly testing out new ideas, and discovering which recipes are a smashing hit and coming up with new ones that need to be added to the menu.

There are some recipes that never seem to get old, and are always welcomed like the Chicken & Potato, the Tomatoes and Carrots with Basil, the Carrot Apple and Celery, Chicken & Apple Balls, and the Minestrone.

This month, I added a new recipe to some of the already favorites… Chicken with Summer Vegetables.

The sweet potato, splash of apple juice and peas add a natural sweetness that babies will like. While the garlic and basil add flavor which is important because you really don’t want to add salt.

I sauteed chopped onions and finely chopped red bell peppers  in olive oil until softened. I added garlic and sauteed for 1 minute. I stirred in chicken breast chopped into small pieces, and continued to cook for 3-4 minutes.  I then poured a splash of apple juice and chicken broth, and stirred in the chopped zucchini, and peeled and diced sweet potato.  I brought it to a boil, then covered it and let it simmer for about 8 minutes. I then stirred in frozen peas and continued to cook for 3 minutes. You can chop or purée to your desired consistency. I prefer to keep mine chunky so I briefly chop in a blender with fresh basil leaves  .

Yummy!! 🙂

More Gourmet Baby Food!

The last couple days I have been back in the kitchen creating gourmet baby food. Some of the past favorites are being made like: Carrot Apple Celery Soup, Chicken and Potato, Tomatoes and Carrots with Basil, Chicken and Apple Balls, and Mini Cottage Pies… But some new ones have joined the list as well! 😉

  • Chicken with Winter Vegetables … with chicken breast, leek, onion, carrots, celery, and chicken broth.
  • Lentil and Vegetable (Purée) … with onion, carrots, celery, lentils, sweet potato, tomato purée, and cheddar cheese.

 

  • Tomatoes and Carrots with Basil … with carrots, tomatoes, cauliflower florets, fresh basil, and cheddar cheese.
  • Chicken and Apple Balls … with chicken breast, green apples, onion, fresh parsley, herbs, whole grain bread crumbs cooked in chicken broth.
  • Mini Cottage Pies … with lean ground beef, carrots, potatoes, onion, red bell pepper, garlic, fresh parsley, and chicken broth.
  • Carrot, Apple and Celery Soup … with carrots, green apples, celery, and onions.
  • Chicken and Potato … with chicken breast, potatoes, garlic, onions, and leek.

Tomatoes and Carrots with Basil

I put sliced carrots in a small saucepan, and covered them with boiling water. I let them simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. I added chopped cauliflower florets and cooked, covered, for 7-8 minutes. You can add extra water if necessary. Meanwhile, I melted butter in a pan and added skinned, seeded, and chopped tomatoes. I sauteed them until mushy. I stirred in fresh chopped basil leaves and grated cheddar cheese until melted. I put the carrots, cauliflower, and tomato sauce all in a blender, along with 3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid, and chopped it until it was a nice chunky texture. You can also purée it smooth if you prefer.

Yummy!! 😀

Gourmet Baby Food

For many months now, I have found myself experimenting and creating in the kitchen. So what delicious things have I been creating? Well…. gourmet baby food, actually! 😉

I will have to go into more detail soon with the exact recipes I have made, but here is a mini list of some of the yummy dishes:

  • Sweet Vegetable Medley … with carrots, rutabaga, potato, parsnip and milk.
  • Lentils Delish … with lentils, carrots, celery, onion, sweet potato, and vegetable broth.
  • Tomatoes and Carrots with Basil … with carrots, tomatoes, cauliflower florets, fresh basil, and cheddar cheese.
  • Carrot, Apple, and Spinach … With green apples, carrots, and baby spinach leaves.
  • Minestrone …
  • Chicken with Sweet Potato and Apple … with chicken breast, onion, green apples, sweet potato, and chicken broth.
  • Chicken and Apple Balls … with chicken breast, green apples, onion, fresh parsley, herbs, whole grain bread crumbs cooked in chicken broth.
  • Mini Cottage Pies … with lean ground beef, carrots, potatoes, onion, red bell pepper, garlic, fresh parsley, and chicken broth.
  • Carrot, Apple and Celery Soup … with carrots, green apples, celery, and onions.
  • Chicken and Potato … with chicken breast, potatoes, garlic, onions, and leek.

And still so many more ideas and dishes to create!! 🙂

Artisan Gourmet Pizza…

A delicious close up shot of my mozzarella, bacon, pepperoni, peppers, fresh basil artisan pizza. Yummy!
A delicious close up shot of my mozzarella, bacon, pepperoni, peppers, fresh basil artisan pizza. Yummy!

Recently, I decided to create another installment in our pizza adventures.

Now instead of following along the lines of a specific well known pizza, like a margherita pizza for instance, I thought I would just add flavours that we like and would possibly use if we ordered a pizza: mozzarella, bacon, pepperoni, peppers, fresh basil.

I, of course, started with premade handmade pizza dough that I had stashed in my freezer, let it defrost and rise. Then when ready, I brushed it with my Herbed Grill Oil, placed slices of yummy mozzarella, then placed the rest of the toppings – bacon, pepperoni, and orange peppers all over the pizza. But before putting it in the over, I dropped spoonfuls of my freshly made Chunky Tomato Basil Sauce all over the pizza.

I then cooked the pizza in the oven until it was perfectly cooked. Sprinkled it with fresh basil.. and Yum!!! 🙂

It just doesn't get any better than this!! :)
It just doesn’t get any better than this!! 🙂
Yummy artisan pizza!
Yummy artisan pizza!

The Margheritan… Again!

Up close and personal with my delicious ingredients!
Up close and personal with my delicious ingredients!

Sometimes the simplicity of just really fresh and flavourful ingredients make the best pizzas. Don’t get me wrong, I love to make some very creative and unique artisan pizzas, but sometimes, you just want classic yumminess. 😉

The Margheritan!
The Margheritan!

I will admit, I have eaten many a margheritan pizza in a wide range of restaurants throughout my life. Most of the time, I come to the same conclusion.. unfortunately.. a lot: they can be very bland. Why? Well, that’s because of the ingredients. And probably most importantly, it’s the tomatoes! If you don’t use fresh, luscious, flavourful tomatoes, your pizza will be flat. I am amazed at how many restaurants probably end up using a hothouse tomato instead of a vine-ripen tomato. It honestly makes all of the difference. That, combined with the fresh garlic and basil gives you what is probably one of the simplest, yet most delicious combinations! 🙂

Yummy!
Yummy!

The Margheritan

The Margheritan.
The Margheritan.

The best pizza I ever had was over a decade ago when I went to Rome, Italy. There was a small alley that we walked through countless times and never noticed this hole-in-the-wall pizzeria… until one day.

Before we left for Italy, someone recommended a book about restaurants worth visiting in Italy. We brought the book with us. And while in Rome, we opened that book and picked one of the restaurants. It was this pizzeria.

One night we wandered over. If we hadn’t known the address, we would have walked right by it. Well, we actually did every day, and even that night. Finally we figured out where it was and walked in the front door. The restaurant had simple and unadorned tables and chairs. There was almost no décor on the walls, and a couple of older Italian men sitting in the corner.

After going through the menu, I decided on a pizza they called a Margherita. Now this pizza was made with insanely fresh ingredients: fresh ripe crushed tomatoes with their special blend of herbs on a fresh delicious pizza dough. After it was taken out of the oven, it was covered in large fresh basil leaves. But no cheese. Can I just say that it was the best pizza I ever had. I literally inhaled the whole pizza it was that amazing.

Now in North America, Margherita pizzas have cheese, so for my Margheritan I channeled that hole-in-wall pizzeria in Rome and created my next installment in my pizza adventures.

Fresh and delicious..  :)
Fresh and delicious.. 🙂

To start, I had to make new pizza dough. This time I made a different style of dough which combined bread flour and semolina flour. I then left it to rise in the fridge for between 12-24 hours.

After the twenty four hours had passed, I removed the dough and divided it into balls: one for this pizza, and another ball to be set aside in the freezer until the next pizza adventure.

I then made my Chunky Tomato Basil Sauce which included a finely chopped garlic glove, chopped fresh basil leaves, ripe tomatoes chopped in small chunks, tomato paste, sea salt, sugar, and freshly ground black pepper. I let it sit for an hour in the fridge to accentuate the flavours.

When it was time to make the pizza, I stretched out the dough to my desired size, and then brushed on my Herbed Grill Oil. I then sprinkled on a bit of Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella and Fontina cheeses. I dropped spoonfuls of the Chunky Tomato Basil Sauce onto the pizza. I then placed sliced and torn pieces of fresh mozzarella across the pizza filling in the holes between the sauce.

In the oven the pizza went until everything was cooked to perfection… I then garnished it with fresh basil leaves. Hmmm… Yummy! 🙂

Yummy pizza! :D
Yummy pizza! 😀