As I mentioned previously, one way that we are having fun with solids, is that every week I buy one fruit and one vegetable that I would not normally buy in an effort to expand our horizons, and continue to introduce Baby Boy to new foods. I have had some challenges in introducing food groups other than fruits and vegetables, which I will write about in other posts. Here, however are our latest fruit and vegetable successes:
Plums and collard greens – Plums were straightforward – I just cut them into wedges, and Gus ate away. Many of our vegetables of the week so far have been root vegetables, because for some reason I typically stay away from them in the grocery store. I’m more of a leafy greens person, so leafy greens are usually well represented in our diet. However, while we eat chard and spinach by the bucket (not to mention all types of salad leaves), I only remember ever buying collard greens once or twice before. This time around, I made the collard greens by sauteing them with olive oil, chopped onion and garlic, some chili flakes, a pinch of sugar and some sesame oil.
I thought they turned out quite well. The texture is definitely tougher – more like seaweed than other greens I’m used to. My husband, however didn’t like how oily they tasted since we usually steam/boil our greens (though every collard greens recipe I found included some kind of oil). Gus, as always enjoyed the new food.
Golden melon and parsnips – Golden melon is similar to honeydew, and I served it the way I always serve melon to Gus – cut into cubes/small wedges, with the skin left on so it is easier to grip. Melons have been a big hit, and golden melon was no different. The parsnips turned out to be a hit for the whole family, so much so that I have since bought them several more times and incorporated them into our regular meal rotation.
The recipe I used for parsnips is very straightforward: peel the parsnips, slice into wedges/fingers and toss with oil and herbs, then bake at 450 for 20 minutes (or even longer, until they brown nicely). We lived in upstate New York for a year, where we bought our groceries at Wegman’s and fell in love with quite a few of the Wegman’s (aka Weggers) store brand items. Probably my favourite is the Wegman’s basting oil, which is a grapeseed oil with some herbs and spices mixed in. It’s great for meats, fish, and of course roasted vegetables. So this is what I used on the parsnips, and they turned out delish! If you leave them in the oven a bit longer, the sugars come out and they become almost caramelized. My husband couldn’t believe how good they tasted without me adding all sorts of crazy unhealthy ingredients to them. In case you’re wondering, Gus enjoyed them too.
Red bananas and rutabaga – this particular week I had a tough time picking a fruit. My friend had recommended starfruit, however the only starfruit left in the store was pretty sad looking. The red bananas were tiny little bananas, and based on the description in the store were supposed to taste quite sweet when eaten like a normal banana. The first time I tried the banana however, it was quite woody tasting. I soon realized that there is a reason that they are called red bananas – when they look black or brown they are not yet ripe and don’t taste good at all (this is the complete opposite of “normal bananas”). However, when the skin turned bright red, the banana inside was wonderfully sweet, but the taste was not as cloying as a ripe, sweet “normal” banana would be (the banana also stayed firm, unlike a ripe normal banana). Gus is a big fan of bananas, so he happily gobbled the red bananas.
I continued our trend of buying root vegetables with a rutabaga. Rutabaga looks like a giant turnip, and has a similar taste and texture. After reviewing a few rutabaga recipes, I chose one for rutabaga fries – cut the rutabaga into spears, toss with olive oil and minced garlic and herbs. If I remember correctly, I tossed them with some paprika too. This turned out well, and was a hit all around.
Pumello (Pomelo) and turnip – Pumello is a citrus fruit that looks like a giant grapefruit (and is about the size of a small melon). I was planning on doing something fun with it, but I wanted to serve it dessert style, and I kept finding recipes for pumello mains and salads. In the end, I just served it in slices. The pumello was pink on the inside, and had a very thick pith. The pith is apparently quite bitter, so you want to make sure you clear it all away from the flesh before you serve it. The taste was similar to grapefruit, but sweeter, and Gus seemed to enjoy it quite a bit. As a general comment, I should mention that citrus is one of the types of food that can be allergenic/harder on the digestive system, so if you are just starting out, it should probably not be among the first foods introduced.
Our (root) vegetable of the week was turnip. I’ve been roasting a lot of my vegetables, so was looking for something other than a roasted (or mashed) turnip recipe. I found one for caramelized turnips, which sounded pretty awesome, but I don’t think really turned out for me. The recipe calls for cubed turnip to be sautéed with some water and a chicken bouillon cube (I skipped the bullion cube, though I may have added some low sodium vegetable broth – I can’t remember now) for 15 minutes or until the water evaporates. Then you stir in some butter and sugar, and after cooking for another 10 minutes the turnips are supposed to get brown and sticky. Mine never did get brown and sticky; they just got really soft, so I was pretty disappointed with how the recipe turned out. But, it was good enough for Gus and we were able to cross another vegetable off our list. I think I will give this recipe another try in the future, as it sounded so yummy and I suspect I screwed it up somehow.
That’s it for now!