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Vegetable Spotlight...Collard Greens!

Vegetable Spotlight...Collard Greens!

collard greens growing http://www.yourfoodstory.com/blog/2015/3/6/vegetable-spotlightcollard-greens #yourfoodstory

Collard greens are one of the delicious and hearty vegetables that are in season in late winter. They’re packed with vitamins K and A, making them a great choice for you and your family. Collard greens are traditional in many Southern style dishes.

It is recommended that children do not eat collard greens until about six months of age. Before this time, nitrates in the vegetable can be dangerous to your baby. After six months, however, they are perfectly safe as long as they are pureed well to avoid excess stringiness that could be hard for babies to chew.

Although collard greens are typically cooked with ham hocks or other animal-based products, there are tons of ways to cook them vegetarian style as well! Here are some great healthy recipes for your baby:

Purple Potatoes and Collard Greens

  • 1 purple potato
  • 2 cups chopped baby collards

Peel potato and chop into half-inch cubes. Place on the bottom of a steamer basket over a saucepan with 1 inch of water. Put the two cups washed and chopped collards on top of the potatoes. Steam for about 8 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and blend using the cooking liquid. Adding water or olive oil may be necessary to keep the mixture from becoming stiff and starchy.

Beans, Collards, and Rice

  • 1 cup collard greens, cooked
  • 1 cup green beans, cooked
  • 3/4 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup water

Puree all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Have you tried Collard Greens with your little one yet? We would love to hear about your experience! 

 

Written by: Chloe Cerino

Sources:

http://www.gloryfoods.com/collard-greens/

http://www.marthastewart.com/286291/collard-greens-recipes/@center/1009854/winter-produce

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=138

http://www.recipe.com/beans-collards-and-rice-baby-food/

http://patch.com/california/millvalley/homemade-baby-food-is-easier-than-you-think

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/can-baby-eat-collard-mustard-greens-4947.html

kenrockwell.com (cover image)

http://www.realtimefarms.com/pic/ahNzfnJlYWx0aW1lZmFybXMtaHJkcgwLEgNQaWMY3JOQAww

Vegetable Spotlight...Brussels Sprouts!

Vegetable Spotlight...Brussels Sprouts!

Brussels sprouts are a vegetable in the same family as cabbage, that happen to look like mini cabbages.  These little sprouts are in season throughout the winter and are believed to have originated in Brussels, Belgium sometime in the 13th century.  

Brussels sprouts are easy to grow in the winter and are thought to taste sweeter after a frost. The sprouts grow best in temperatures between 45-75 degrees Fahrenheit.  

These little vegetables may be small, but they pack a high level of vitamin C and vitamin K, making it a great food to share with the family.  Brussels sprouts can cause gas in children as well as adults, so it is best to begin introducing Brussels sprouts to little ones after about 8 or 9 months of age to avoid any discomfort.  

Try these recipes below to begin, or continue, incorporating Brussels sprouts into your family’s meals!

Brussels Sprout Puree Soup

brussel sprout pureed soup

A recipe that is great for the whole family, this soup is best served warm and can be easily created in large batches to save for later.  

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts
  • 1 rib celery
  • 1 large shallot or small leek
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 cups vegetable broth/stock
  • Tbsp. Olive oil

Directions:

  1. Trim off and discard the stem ends of the Brussels sprouts. Roughly chop the sprouts and set them aside.
  2. Trim and roughly chop the celery; peel and chop the shallot or leek.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a small pot over medium-high heat. Once warm, add the celery and shallot. Sprinkle with the salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the Brussels sprouts and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the Brussels sprouts turn a brighter shade of green, about 2 minutes. Add the broth and bring everything to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer, cover partially, and cook until the Brussels sprouts are completely and utterly tender, about 10 minutes.
  5. Use a hand-held immersion blender to completely purée the soup. You can also do this in a blender, just be sure to let the soup cool a bit first, work in batches, and put a kitchen towel over the top of the blender in case the heat of the soup makes it splatter out. Be sure to purée the soup a bit longer than you may think is necessary; you want the final product to be as smooth as possible.
  6. Serve the soup hot, with a garnish of freshly ground black pepper, if you like.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

roasted brussel sprouts

For older children and adults, these roasted sprouts are a delicious, easy to make side dish or snack.  

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Brussels Sprouts
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

Heat your oven to 350 F. Cut off end and any loose leaves and then cut in half. Place Brussels sprouts in a rimmed baking sheet and add a few tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix up with your hands and roast until fork tender - about 30-40 minutes.

 

 

Written by Katie Tessier

 

Sources

Header image: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/12/03/article-2517327-19CDC97B00000578-924_634x675.jpg

Title Image: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-k3c-AcZC7eM/Tqfjbj-kmdI/AAAAAAAABJA/Y8RUZEcXyXQ/s1600/Brussels+Sprouts.JPG

Brussels sprout soup image: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-zA67i9_nhEs/VHv9WSA6WOI/AAAAAAAAbS8/5TDKmHgl0xc/s1600/CreamofBrusselsSproutsSoup3.jpg

Brussels sprout soup recipe: http://localfoods.about.com/od/brusselssprouts/r/Cream-of-Brussels-Sprouts-Soup.htm

Roasted Brussels sprout image: http://www.steamykitchen.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/roasted-brussels-sprouts-with-sweet-chili-sauce-recipe-9562.jpg

Roasted Brussels sprout recipe: http://www.babyfood101.com/brussels_sprouts_baby_food_recipes/

 

Fruit Spotlight...Persimmon!

Fruit Spotlight...Persimmon!

sliced persimmon showing section

Persimmons are a fall and winter fruit that have been around since the early 13th century.  This deep orange to red colored fruit is popular in many Asian countries where most of the fruit is cultivated, but has been grown in North America, parts of Europe, Mexico and the Philippines as well.  

There are six types of edible persimmon fruits, but the two most commonly known in North America are Hachiya and Fuyu.  Hachiya persimmons are though of as baking persimmons as they are very tart unless extremely ripe.  When the Hachiya are ripe, they will be very soft on the outside, in an oval shape, and the inside will be almost like a liquid pulp.  

The Fuyu persimmon has a more flat shape, much like a round tomato.  The Fuyu has a flavor closer to a mild pumpkin taste, and can be eaten raw.  Fuyus will ripen by sitting on the counter, so it is best to buy them before they are soft and allow them to ripen until ready to eat.  

Hachiya is visible on the left, while Fuyu is pictured on the right.  

Hachiya is visible on the left, while Fuyu is pictured on the right.  

persimmon puree

Persimmon fruits are high in Vitamin C and moderately high in Iron, which makes it a great choice to integrate into your little ones diet.  As early as 8-10 months, persimmons can be introduced to your little ones when they are ripened.  You can create a simple puree, or if the persimmon is very soft, just lightly mash it.  To create a puree, either use an all-in-one steam and puree machine or steam the persimmon and blend it until it is as smooth as your little one needs.  Based on your test preferences, you can leave the peel on the persimmon or you can remove it.

Persimmon bread loaf

Another option for incorporating persimmons into meals for the family is persimmon bread.  This is a great option as the holidays are coming up as it is a sweet treat and is tasty for even most of the youngest members.  

Ingredients

  •         1 1/4 cups persimmon, mashed pulp
  •         1 tablespoon lemon juice
  •         2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  •         1/2 cup agave nectar or other liquid sweetener
  •         2 cups whole wheat flour
  •         1 teaspoon baking powder
  •         1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  •         1/2 teaspoon ginger
  •         1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)
  •         1/2 teaspoon salt
  •         1/4 cup raisins (may use up to 1/2 cup)
  •         1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional–may use up to 1/2 cup)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil a loaf pan or bundt pan.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the persimmon, lemon juice, apple sauce, and agave nectar. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, except for raisins and walnuts. Pour the wet into the dry and mix just until all flour is moistened (do not over-mix). Fold in the raisins and walnuts, if desired.
  3. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40-50 minutes. (My bundt pan took closer to 40 minutes.) Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then remove from the pan. Cool completely before serving.

Note: Low-fat quickbreads like this really benefit from being allowed to cool completely, which is why they often taste better the next day. The crust, which is chewier than breads with oil, will gather moisture and softness over time.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s) | Cooking time: 40 minute(s)

What are some ways you have used persimmons in your family meals? Let us know in the comments below!



 

Written by Katie Tessier

 

Sources:

Title Image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/49/Hachiya_persimmons_on_tree_close-up.jpg

Hachiya vs Fuyu Image: http://www.vegetablegardener.com/assets/uploads/posts/4506/kg24-persimmons-01.jpg

Persimmon Puree: http://www.giverecipe.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/persimmon1.jpg

Persimmon Bread image: http://www.eattheweeds.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/persimmon-loaf-2.jpg

Persimmon bread recipe: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2007/11/persimmon-bread.html