Izzy (and Mama) Eat: The Gourmand Grows up...

Tales of Empty Nesting ...The Next Chapter

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pondering The 2009 Passover Menu.

Blogging definitely helps for holiday menu planning. I can simply look back and see what I made in years past, keep what worked and trade a side dish or two. Last year's menu looked like this.

It was fairly ambitious and I don't think I ever got to the chocolate Passover cupcakes but maybe I will get to them this year. I think I will ditch the Wild-Mushroom Kugel as I have little or no recollection as to how it turned out.

The staples will remain: Matzoh Ball Soup, Salmon-Gefilte Fish, Coconut Macaroons and last but absolutely not least Chocolate-Caramel Covered Matzoh.

The question is do I make Brisket or do I branch out into the unknown, to try a Mexican Passover dish. This Chicken With Apricots, Tamarind and Chipotle recipe, featured in tomorrow's Food Section of the NY Times, sounds unusual but does it go with the typical fare? Will I need to tailor my whole menu around it?

As I plan to do some holiday shopping tomorrow, I need to continue the recipe hunt. Will keep you posted. Have you seen any must-try Passover recipes out there?

Monday, March 30, 2009


Champagne Mangoes to be precise. They are certainly not local and not organic either but they are definitely worth breaking the rules to try. Buy some now. Found mine at Whole Foods, 2 for $3.00. These yellow mangoes are silky soft, sweet and fragrant and don't get stuck between your teeth the way the more commonly found green/red variety does.

Izzy and I cannot keep away from them. He would eat one a day if I let him but I only bought six so I have been trying to make them last the whole week. If they have them this week I think I will be grabbing at least a dozen. We eat them as is, in smoothies, on top of yogurt and I am envisioning a vanilla-mango pudding.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dreaming of Smoked Whitefish...

My grandpa, drawing ever closer to 100 years old, is only able to eat pureed foods, those with a pudding-like consistency. He yearns for whitefish, white flakes, straight from the fish, the kind you get from Zabar's.

While visiting today, his caregiver told me that he keeps asking for whitefish. I had left some in his refrigerator and he had spied it. She said, "Let's wait for your granddaughter to come and she will prepare it." He replied, "There is nothing to prepare. Just peel off the skin and give me a fork." When we tell him that he can only eat pureed foods he says that we are all full of baloney.

I took some of the fish and blended it, along with sour cream and a bit of milk. It retained its whitefishy aroma and when he was fed, she couldn't get it in his mouth fast enough. He even pushed her to give him more.

Even then, he kept requesting "real" whitefish and it was sad not to be able to give it to him but better to deny him chunks of whitefish than to watch him have a coughing attack. Just have to keep coming up with creative ways to give him the foods he loves.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Posing With Kabanosy

These long links of Kielbasa are called Kabanosy. I only recently (well in the past few years) learned that Kielbasa is simply a generic Polish term for sausage. Kabanosy is just one of the many varieties sold at our local Polish market. It is the one we find most irresistible.

Kabonosy can be warmed up or eaten cold, simply sliced into chunks. Which is what Izzy and I did as soon as we got home today. I said we would have just one bite but one turned into two until, before we knew it, we had finished the entire link.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Stealing Snack

Vanilla Soy Pudding With Bananas/ Popcorn on the Side/Cashews in between

Izzy couldn't wait until his friend arrived, before nibbling on his snack. The pudding (yet again) is still in the experimental stages. I simply made vanilla pudding and substituted 2/3 of a cup of soy for 2/3 of a cup of half and half. The texture resembles rice pudding a bit and if you use white sugar and sprinkle cinnamon on top, you might fool someone. In this version I used brown sugar so it looked a bit like oatmeal.

The pudding was definitely a hit with Izzy and although his friend didn't eat the whole thing, he asked his mom if she would make some for him.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

No Way To Treat A Proper Pain au Chocolat

Don't be fooled by the flowery pink headband and the Hello Kitty Bandaid. This darling child may look innocent but just look at the damage she has inflicted upon this flaky delicate Balthazar Bakery chocolate croissant. She had no interest in its crisp, buttery exterior. No. Not at all. She had only one mission, to get at the chocolate inside. Triumphant, here she holds the remains of her methodical excavation.

Izzy, on the other hand, having made quick business of his croissant, was not above looking over to his friend's plate, hoping to scavenge a few of those uneaten bites.

p.s. Many thanks to L., for bringing a giant bag of Balthazar delights to us this afternoon, without which this incident would not have occurred.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

And A Container Of Onions On The Side...

Last night we had Green Split Pea Soup (with 2 teaspoons dried mustard) for dinner, to which I add caramelized onions. We had enough soup leftover so that Izzy could take some for lunch. He watched as I ladled it into the container and I asked if he wanted the onions too. His reply, "I would like a container of onions on the side. I love those onions. How do you make them so sweet?" "Just olive oil and salt." I said, marveling at his request and remembering a time when he would pick those onions out of things.

Later on today day, he returned from school, reeking of onions. I wondered why and then remembered his odd little lunch request. I then mentioned that he was a stinky little onion and he said, "I know. J. kept moving away from me and telling me!"

Monday, March 23, 2009

Olive Oil Poached Salmon With Leeks, Thyme and Potato: Today's Puree

Izzy has become my official puree taster. Each time I prepare some food for Grandpa, he comes to weigh in on whether or not it needs salt, pepper or something else. He generally asks for a small bowl of whatever puree it is and has it before dinner.

Today's dish was made with 1 pound of salmon fillet which was gently poached in olive oil, atop a bed of wilted leeks sprinkled with thyme. The leeks caramelized as the dish cooked. While the fillet slowly cooked, I boiled two French red potatoes which I had peeled and cut and set them aside.

When the fish was done, after about 15-20 minutes, I allowed it to cool and then I pureed it with the potato and just enough milk to make it smooth. Izzy took a spoonful and asked for more salt and some lemon. I added both and he licked the blender and envisioned me making the light pink puree into ice cream, so smitten was he with this concoction. That far I would not go.

This dish works great for grownups and babies. I would leave the potatoes on the side for the grownup version.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Stoop Sale For A Cause: Helping Others Eat

You should have come. Then again, you may have a second chance..

Spring Stoop Sale
To support Heifer International(www.heifer.org)

Sunday March 22, 2009
1:00-3:30 p.m.

Jersey City

Come shop, guilt-free....
Instead of donating the items, we are teaching about charity in a different way.
The proceeds of our sale will go to purchase livestock for a family in need ( hopefully a pig, goat or sheep) through Heifer International)

Boy clothing bonanza (ages 0-5)..
(some items..raincoats, winter jackets, rainboots, shoes and all manner of pants, shirts, onesies, etc.)

Maternity clothing
Bouncy Seat
and more

Homemade cookies for sale too!

It has been nearly six years since Izzy was born and I have yet to part with much of his belongings. From minuscule onesies and blankets, to his size 5 pants now too small, our house is awash in kid paraphernalia. Toys, books, puzzles and more, it was finally time to bid some of Izzy's things adieu.

I wanted to make it a charitable event but instead of donating the items or just giving them away, I was looking for a twist, something Izzy might be able to wrap his head around. I had heard about the organization, Heifer International and how they donate livestock to families in third world countries. There programs have been enormously successful, as this story suggests. On their website one can choose to donate various animals such as sheep, pigs, goats, geese or cows to families in need. Animals seemed like a perfect way to introduce a child to the concept of charity.

So I explained to Izzy that the goal of our sale was to donate money to buy an animal for a family in need. We discussed which animal we thought would be best. His heart was set on a stinky pig but we talked about how a sheep provides, wool, milk and perhaps even meat. The merits of cows were also considered.

We spent many afternoons gathering and sorting the items for sale and Izzy was very involved in our "project". By Thursday he was counting down the days and today we spent the morning schlepping things down the steps and out onto the stoop. I baked the NY Times chocolate chip cookies for him to sell and we put them in a tin, fresh from the oven. The only thing that didn't really cooperate was the weather. Today was too chilly and overcast and I feared out sale would be a washout.

Izzy was in charge of reeling in passersby, handing out fliers and calling out. Luckily, enough friends and acquaintances came through and bought up a bunch of stuff. Izzy made $23 in cookie sales (his domain) and we made $110 in other stuff (just short of our $120 goal which would pay for a sheep). When I explained how we needed just $10 more, Izzy agreed to donate $10 of his money to achieve our goal.

One of our neighbors tipped me off to the fact that Oxfam, another organization which fights world hunger, donates livestock and does so for less. We could donate a cow and a sheep for $120! (Anyone have any experiences with either organization which might aid in our decision?)

It has been a long exhausting day and after schlepping more than half of the sale items back inside, I am now faced with what to do with them. We have many beautiful things left which I would love to set out for another stoop sale but I am not sure I can live with them piled up inside until the weather gets warmer, in a few weeks.

Friday, March 20, 2009

And Then There Was Vanilla: More Pudding

Pudding mode continues. I am partial to chocolate but grandpa has been craving vanilla so vanill it will be. This is my second batch of vanilla pudding this week. The first one disappeared before I could even photograph it. I spooned half of it into a container for grandpa while Izzy and I shared the rest.

This time I doubled the recipe. It seems you can never have too much vanilla pudding. But it too has disappeared. I promise a photo with the next batch. And if you thought the chocolate pudding was a cinch, the vanilla is as easy as it gets. Dessert for dummies to be sure, but not so dumb as to purchase pudding in a box when the homemade variety is nearly as simple.

Vanilla Pudding (From The Joy of Cooking - 1997 Edition)

To make:

Mix together in a heavy saucepan

1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt

Gradually stir in 1/3 cup whole milk or half and half (even 2 % milk will do)

Whisk in 1-2/3 cup whole milk or half and half

Place over medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture begins to thicken. Reduce heat and continue to stir and simmer for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in 2 teaspoons best quality vanilla.

You can spoon into individual serving dishes or do as I do and dump into a glass bowl, cover and spoon it out when serving.

Rethinking The After School Snack: Grapefruit

Milk and cookies are a classic after school snack and certainly good on occasion but better to make them a treat rather than a daily habit. Instead look to fruits, yogurt and nuts to provide afternoon sustenance.

Of late, Izzy's snack of choice has been red grapefruit, cut in half and spooned out of its skin. His favorite part of eating the grapefruit is what happens immediately after he has finished eating it. He asks for a glass in which to squeeze the remaining juice.

His friend J. came over today after school and I offered him a half a grapefruit as well. He claimed he had never eaten one before but was more than willingly to give it a try. He seemed delighted with the fruit, spooning it up rather quickly, eager to squeeze the fresh juice into a glass.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Complete Whole-Wheat Goodness: Maple Syrup Sweetened Scones

One look was all it took. These scones screamed for me to to bake them. Just a glimpse at those pictures, that recipe and I was done for. MAPLE SYRUP in a scone? Ingenious, innovative, opening up an entirely new realm of baking to me.

I normally let recipes sit and fester for years before I get to them but Heidi from 101 Cookbooks comes up with such consistently wonderful, quasi-healthy baked goods I find them irresistible. These were no exception. I almost always adjust recipes that are baked with pure whole-wheat flour but this one used whole-wheat pastry flour which I imagined was lighter so I kept it as is.

I baked my first batch this morning for an appreciative crew of toddlers and moms. It seems they were a hit. (I touted them as a "healthy" scone although some might dispute that label, given they were made with 11 tablespoons of butter. I did get 12 scones instead of 9 from the recipe, which is less than a tablespoon per serving so perhaps the label can remain.)

Later on, Izzy sampled the goods. He instantly deemed them "too floury". I will have to admit that he wasn't wrong in his assessment since they are definitely denser than scones baked with regular, unbleached flour. Yet despite his damaging critique, he happily polished off two, slathered with raspberry jam.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Shall I Compare Him To A Piece of Toast? Izzy's Food Simile of The Day

"The teachers let me take my coat off in the park today because I was as hot as a piece of toast!"

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Beautiful Beastly Play and Ghastly Pizza: A High School Production and A Missed Train

Today's adventure almost wasn't because Izzy kept insisting that he didn't want to see his cousin Jessica in Beauty and The Beast at Hunterdon Central High School, because he had already seen Beauty and The Beast in NYC and Lord knows he would never want to see or listen to the same thing twice... The thought of dragging him along unwillingly held little appeal so I tried to explain that although he had seen one version of Beauty and The Beast, it was the original version and not the Disney one, which would be something entirely different. He wasn't entirely sold but I told him I really wanted to go and he agreed to come along.

And so it was that we boarded the 12:38 train to Raritan, N.J., the closest station to Flemington, where the play would take place. As always, I packed more than enough food as we needed lunch, snacks and possibly dinner since we weren't sure if we would have time to eat after the show. We had avocado/cheese/spinach sandwiches, bananas, mango chunks, yogurt, apples hard-boiled eggs, a croissant and pain au chocolat from Balthazar, prunes and plenty of water. We lunched and snacked along the way, arriving in time for a whirl at a local playground and off to the show.

The play was an unbridled success. Izzy sat, riveted at the edge of my lap, for the entire two and a half hour performance. The students were truly incredible, from the lovely voice of Belle, to the superb acting by Lumiere and everything and everyone else in between. I was in awe of the entire production, which made for quite an afternoon of entertainment.

Of course seeing my lovely niece J., performing so joyously and animatedly, was the icing on the cake.

After the show, which ended around 5:30 I made the misguided decision to try to rush and catch the 6:18 train. We missed it by one minute and were stuck in Raritan, with no idea as to where to eat. We happened upon a nearby pizzeria and decided to chance it. I should have known better. It was just my brother G., Izzy and me. My brother is a veganish vegetarian and so we ordered a pizza that was half plain, half sauce and vegetables (sans cheese). Maybe the combination stumped them but our pizza was long in coming and arrived 15 minutes before our next train so we had to have it wrapped to go. This did not bode well.

Pizza picnic on the train for Izzy and me. Well the pizza looked oddly watery and the crust rather misshapen. It was exceptionally salty, with little flavor to the sauce and less in the crust. But we were hungry and for lack of much else, we ate it. My brother, having taken his half home, called to say it ranked as one of the worst pizzas he had ever eaten (and he is not a fussy one, to be sure). Oh well, we would certainly know better next time.

We did make it home in record time and I had Izzy snug in bed not much later than 9 p.m., dozing off as he recalled the exciting day, wondering when he was going to perform himself.
All in all, despite the ghastly pizza, a fine time was had by all. Looking forward to J.'s future high school performances.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sprungli Chocolates: A Taste Of Switzerland

One of the few benefits to having a traveling husband (aside from the obvious fact that he remains gainfully employed), is that he often finds himself in chocolate-centric locales, like France and Switzerland. I have never requested any treats from Switzerland, having never been there, it never occurred to me.

But then my friend L. told me that her husband had recently returned from a trip to Switzerland bearing a few boxes of first-rate chocolates. It just so happened that A. was there at the time so I not-so-subtly made mention of the best chocolate shops in Zurich, hoping that at least one was in close proximity to his hotel.

When A. returned from his travels, Izzy and I were both tickled pink to receive this lovely blue tin of Sprungli Chocolates. We shared the box until Izzy decided he wanted his faithful Birnn again. No problem at all, more for me! And here's dreaming that these will be the first in a long future of other lovely boxes of Swiss chocolates coming this way.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chocolate Pudding At Midnight? Grandpa Made Me Do It!

It is nearly midnight and I am just finishing up the week's purees to bring to Grandpa tomorrow.
I was miserably in the weeds so all I made was a Sweet PotatoTzimmes, Flounder Leek Casserole, and some sort of experimental rice mush. I had hoped for more and after a semi-cleaning of the kitchen I suddenly became inspired to add one more thing...homemade chocolate pudding. Grandpa loves his chocolate so and since he can't chew, this makes a more than reasonable substitute for his beloved raspberry jellies.

Last week I had brought along chocolate pudding from Ronnybrook Farm at Union Square but this week they didn't have any. If you're looking for their pudding, Saturday is the day. If you can't make it, you needn't worry because the stuff that I made rivals theirs.

This divine dessert took less than 30 minutes to prepare and will seriously have you drooling, wondering where it has been all your life.

Chocolate Pudding (Joy of Cooking - 1997 edition)

1. Mix together in a heavy saucepan

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
1/8 teaspoon salt

2. Gradually stir in 1/3 cup warm water, stirring to make a smooth, runny paste. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat, then remove from heat.

3. Add 1 ounce semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (or chips) and stir briskly.

4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of half and half to make a paste and set aside.

5. Return cocoa mixture to heat and add 1 3/4 cup half and half, then add cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla.

Pour pudding into a large bowl or individual serving cups. If you do not want a skin to form, press plastic wrap directly on top. Otherwise, chill and just mix skin part in and nobody will notice the difference. To really gild the lily, serve with whipped cream on top.

Makes 3-4 servings

p.s. I just found this great link at The Kitchn for other wonderful puddings. I see more pudding testing in my future..

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Here's To The "Kiddie Food Movement"

For I would much rather see a child nibbling a cheese tasting platter instead of scarfing down nuggets and fries. Regina Schrambling, over on Slate seems to think otherwise. I don't disagree with everything she says but I do take issue with the degree of vitriol spewed forth against the concept of kids in the kitchen and in restaurants in general.

In response to her piece I wrote the following:

Kids in restaurants, Kids in the kitchen..why the vitriol?

As a blogger who chronicles the adventures of raising a child who eats most everything, I embrace the idea of kids in the kitchen and in restaurants. I'm all about teaching kids to have a healthy attitude towards food, eating locally and organically whenever possible. And hopefully with an understanding of the simple concept of why pure maple syrup is better than Aunt Jemima:

I certainly do not advocate "adults taking advice from kids", nor do I imagine that anyone is expected to, when watching shows or reading articles which do feature kids. These shows are obviously presented more for their novelty factor than anything else. The children are featured as an exaggeration of what can be wrought if you steer your child away from nuggets, towards a healthier way of eating.

I would rather see them than toddlers raised on burgers, nuggets and plain pasta. I'd like to hope that they are emblematic of a new, anti-fast food generation.
I write about my experiences feeding my child in hopes of inspiring others to realize that it is possible to have children who do not covet nuggets, fries and the like. If parents take a greater role in shaping their children's palates, perhaps there will be a new generation, more inclined to eat in ways that are better for the environment and their bodies.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Second Grade Syrup Tasting: Maple or Aunt Jemima?

Which one was the winner?

I received a call from my dearest friend L. this morning and she recounted the following tale:

In honor of maple syrup season, she paid a visit to her daughter S.'s 2nd grade class to read a story about how maple syrup is made and then conduct a taste test, to see which syrup the children preferred, pitting real maple syrup against Aunt Jemima.

She brought in two unmarked bottles of "syrup" and had each child taste a spoonful of each. Out of 20 students, the disheartening news is that 17 preferred Aunt Jemima over the real maple syrup. They were instantly able to recognize it as the syrup they ate at home and showed a clear preference for it. I did not find this especially surprising, simply disheartening.

After the test, L. explained to the young students that Aunt Jemima did not even have anything maple in it and then she explained why maple syrup was healthier, encouraging them to consider eating the real thing. Even if they don't, at least they have been exposed to it.

What I had to wonder was why so many children were eating Aunt Jemima rather than real maple syrup, particularly in an upper middle class neighborhood where cost might not be a major issue? If fake syrup reigns supreme, clearly the advertisements maligning high fructose corn syrup have failed. Given another demographic, I might entertain the argument that cost was a factor but then in defense of using real maple syrup I would suggest that a little goes a long way and you needn't douse your pancakes or waffles in it but rather drizzle it sparingly on top.

Once again, more evidence to support my mantra "Eat what you love and your children will follow." What they eat is up to you.

P.S. I would love to poll these children years from now as to their syrup preferences. There is certainly hope since I was raised on Aunt Jemima myself and haven't touched the stuff since I started buying my own food.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Red Lentil and Vegetable Puree: Perfect for 6-8 month olds

As promised, more baby food recipes. If you are making baby food again, Annabel Karmel's book is a great resource.

Red Lentil and Vegetable Puree from Annabel Karmel's First Meals

2 tbs. butter
1/4 lb. leeks, finely sliced
2 tbs. chopped celery
1 cup peeled and chopped carrots
1/2 cup red lentils
1/2 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cups unsalted chicken stock

1. Melt butter in saucepan, add leeks and saute for 2-3 minutes. Stir in celery, carrots and lentils and cook for 2 more minutes.
2. Add sweet potatoes and bay leaf, cover with stock or water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until tender. Remove bay leaf and puree.

This can be eaten as is (for grown-ups and older babies) or pureed and frozen in ice cube trays.

For older babies or adults, you can add a tablespoon of curry powder or a teaspoon of cumin when sauteing leeks.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Pasta With Broccoli Rabe And Spicy Turkey Sausage

This dish has been a mainstay of our diet ever since I discovered the amazing turkey sausages from DiPaola Turkey Farm, in Hamilton, N.J. (sold at Union Square on Wednesdays and Fridays). It is definitely a one dish meal though a salad would make a nice accompaniment.

Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Turkey Sausage

1. 1/2-3/4 lb. excellent quality sweet or spicy turkey sausage (DiPaola if you can get it) cut into chunks or casings removed, broken up into small pieces.
2. one bunch broccoli rabe, washed and roughly chopped.
3. 4 cloves garlic, slivered
4. 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
5. 1 lb. box of pasta

1. Boil broccoli rabe in salted water for 4-5 minutes until tender, drain.
2. While broccoli is simmering, place 1/4 cup olive oil in large saute pan with garlic over low heat. Saute a couple of minutes, then add sausage and break up into smaller pieces.
3. When sausage is cooked through, add broccoli rabe, cover and simmer 2-3 minutes.
4. Toss with 1 lb. cooked pasta, using a bit of the pasta water if it is too dry, or adding a few drops of olive oil.
5. Serve with grated cheese.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Olive Oil Poached Cod With Rosemary and Shallots

When I set out to prepare some puree recipes for my grandfather, I immediately looked to baby food cookbooks for inspiration. And although inspiration came, I found something more enticing in yesterday's New York Times Dining Section.

It was Melissa Clark's fish recipe for Olive oil poached fish, a dish combining simplicity and succulence. It called to me, especially since I so rarely prepare fish. Grandpa is quite fond of fish, which gave me license to buy, throwing all fish-buying guidelines to the wind. I selected Cod which looked good and was on sale at Whole Foods.

I followed Clark's technique and came up with this recipe, which Grandpa has been savoring.

Olive Oil Poached Cod With Rosemary and Shallots

1.5 lbs. cod, cut into chunks and sprinkled generously with salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, 1/2 sprig finely chopped, rest left whole
4 shallots, minced

1. Heat oil gently in large saute pan.
2. Add shallots and cook 2 minutes.
3. Add fish and sprinkle chopped rosemary on top, place sprigs around fish.
4. Cook fish over low heat about 3-4 minutes on each side.

Serve immediately over rice or with boiled potatoes. For baby food, puree with 2 boiled potatoes. Freeze in ice cube trays or in spoonfuls on a cookie sheet. You can also add a bit of tomato to this recipe.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Day Of Puree: In The Land Of Baby Food

The good news is: Grandpa is home from the hospital! He is slowly regaining his energy and after over a week of not eating he is now permitted to eat pureed or pudding textured foods. The hospital created special meals for him, which included things like pureed bread. It came on his plate, shaped like a piece of bread. I wondered how that was achieved but perhaps its better to keep that a mystery.

I doubt that I will puree bread but I have taken it upon myself to prepare an array of other pureed foods for him. Today I descended into the land of baby food, using my two favorite baby food books as guides, Annabel Karmel's First Meals and The Baby Bistro Cookbook.

First up was Olive Oil poached Cod with Rosemary, Shallots and Potatoes and another version with tomatoes.

Next, Chicken, Leek, Zucchini Casserole

Then, Lentil and Vegetable Puree (with carrots and sweet potatoes)

Lastly, Spinach Leek Puree.

Izzy had the Chicken Leek, Zucchini Casserole, before I pureed it. The beauty of this food is that these are all things that you can prepare for your whole family. They work well in their natural state and pureed.

Recipes to follow shortly. Time to clean the kitchen and get some rest. Delivering the food to Grandpa tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Gorging On The Gift Of Food: Balthazar and Diamond Organics

After over a week of not eating much, today I feasted. My friend S. made a trip to the Balthazar Wholesale Bakery and returned bearing a gigantic shopping bag filled with all manner of sweet French bread delights.

Izzy and I snacked on an almond-covered brioche slice, a triangular raspberry-filled pastry, a delightful monkey bread and a cannelle. And that wasn't all. I still have some petites brioches, a chocolate croissant, a butter croissant, another mystery pastry and a loaf of French white bread leftover. They freeze well so we will be able to indulge in them for the next few days. If I had a car I would definitely incorporate a monthly trip to Balthazar into my shopping excursions. Definitely work the 20 minute ride!

After consuming all that, I hardly thought there would be room for dinner but I was itching to test out the soups that were delivered today from Diamond Organics, a gift from my stepmother (way down in sunny Floriday) Hearing of my illness, she sent a package with a trio of soups. Chicken, White Bean and Cream of Mushroom. The soups come packaged in cardboard pints.

Tonight I tried the Chicken. I added rice and baby spinach and it could have passed as homemade soup. Good thing that Izzy wanted something else because I ate the entire pint myself. What a great gift for a sick friend or family member or just for someone who doesn't have time to cook. Diamond Organics offer many other things on their website and I wonder if they are as good as the soup. If so, they are a great resource to keep in mind.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Warm Sandwich On A Cold Day: Ingredients Count

Izzy and I had this for lunch..good for breakfast too...

Crack a fresh egg from Tello's Green Farm into a small cast iron pan, to which a bit of butter has been added. Allow to set slightly and then stir to break yolk. Flip and cook a minute or two on the underside. Place on top of one slice of bakery fresh bread or roll. Shave a bit of Bobolink Dairy Cave-Aged Cheddar on top, along with a few slices of ripe avocado and some baby spinach leaves.