Monday, July 23, 2012

Bok Choy Baby Puree - Extra CSA Stuff? Feed it to Baby!

Since I can barely keep up with all the produce coming in my weekly CSA box, I've had to find creative ways to use them so that they can freeze and keep well.

When I complained that I can't figure out what to do with all the lettuces and greens I'm getting, Laura from MOMables (and Super Glue Mom) suggested that I puree them up and add them to tomato sauce. Brilliant! It will only make a dent in the problem, since I'm getting 3 to 4 heads/bunches a week, and we don't go through gallons of spaghetti sauce in that time, but it's a start.

I decided to try Bok Choy first, since the other greens I had in the fridge were a red lettuce (tastes like dirt to me,) two bundles of kale (which Z loves to gobble down as Kale Chips,) and some spinach (which is the only leaf I actually like to eat. Other than the Kale Chips.)

I had used a few leaves of the Bok Choy in my Crab Summer Rolls, but still had most of the bunch left. I separated and washed each leaf/stem, and then began chopping.
For half of the leaves, I cut the stems off in big V-shapes (see second photo down.) I then cut them into small chunks and put in an airtight container to try later in another version of my Veggie-Ham Bake. The leaves went with the rest of the Bok Choy into the mash.

Baby Bok Mash
Makes approximately 2 cups

1 bunch Bok Choy (organic is best in this case, as it should contain fewer nitrates from chemical fertilizers)
Water for washing

Step 1: Wash each leaf thoroughly. You should not need to add more water, as the excess water from washing should be enough. (So obviously, do not drain or leave to dry.)

Step 2: Cut the stems into smaller chunks so they can cook faster. Cut the leaves just into strips, or leave whole. Place into a large microwave-safe dish. (I used my ceramic crock pot pot with a ceramic plate on top. Photo above shows a metal pot but I changed my mind last-minute and decided to try the microwave method instead of stove-top.)

Step 3: Microwave covered, on High, for 7 minutes per pound of greens.

Step 4: Using blender, immersion blender, or food processor, blend until smooth[-ish.]

Step 5: Allow to cool, then store or freeze in individual serving sizes, and/or add some to pizza or spaghetti sauce!
Green ones are Bok Choy. Reddish ones are Raspberry-Spinach
For my home-made baby food (and excess jarred food that won't be used up any time soon, like older-staged-foods that Z wanted to try but didn't like) I use a freezer storage tray system from Mumi and Bubi. I wanted something with a lid, since there would be a high likelihood of me putting something in the freezer and completely forgetting about it for a while, which pretty much ruled out the silicone trays. And I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg; the only silicone ones I could find with lids were crazy expensive. 
I also wanted something where the food could be easily removed without having to partially thaw the cubes to get them out, as with the plastic trays. 
The Mumi and Bubi trays fulfilled all my requirements. Lid? Check! Affordable? Check! Easily removed? Check! (and verified in the reviews. Double Check!) Hooray!
On a side note, I've forgotten and left food cubes in the tray for weeks before moving them, and they're still good. Double hooray!

While looking up how to prep Bok Choy for baby food, it said to treat it like Kale. The Kale article mentioned that cooked greens are not recommended for babies until 9 months (raw greens at 10 months,) although another article points out that the nitrate issue doesn't really apply to most babies. So please be aware, do more research, and talk to your pediatrician if you want baby to try them earlier. Don't sue me please.

We Do the Mash! We Do Spaghetti Mash! Spaghetti Mash! It is a Dinner-time Smash!
I added roughly half of my Bok Choy puree to an entire 26-ounce can of spaghetti sauce, which turned out to be a little over-zealous. My sauce is now funny-colored. Oops. Should still go unnoticed on pizza, but next time I'll just get two spoons dirty and add a spoonful at a time and mix, rather than adding a bunch at once and discovering too late that it may have been too much. Taste-wise, I didn't notice a thing though, so this will still be an excellent way to get rid of those pesky greens!
...I'll just have to hope that Baby E continues to go hog wild over any kind of baby mash, regardless of flavor, and make her eat the rest of our random greens, since none of the rest of us are big leaf-eaters!
With the 26-ish ounces of sauce (I had used a few teaspoons for her Cauliflower Pizzas) plus the cup-ish of Bok Choy puree, I had roughly 4 cups of sauce. I froze most of the sauce in 1-cup servings in zip-seal freezer bags, and kept one serving in the fridge to use sooner. 

We don't normally go through a whole can of tomato sauce before it goes bad, since I don't usually think to freeze the remainder. But Z has not been liking most of my new CSA food experiment dishes lately, so I'm thinking having smaller batches of spaghetti pre-made might be a good option for her on leftover nights when she won't want the food again that she hadn't liked the first time. And I won't feel like a short-order cook, since on leftover nights we often each have something different anyway, depending on how much is left of something, and who likes it the most. 
Plus I have a ton of cute-shaped noodles filling up the pantry...

The Verdict
Baby E loves her Baby Bok. She's struggling with the texture, as it's a little chunkier than she's used to, but her only complaint was that I wasn't shoving it into her gob fast enough.
Z has yet to try the sauce, as far as I know, despite being fed it twice. They've been on "leftover nights" where we don't sit down and eat together, since we're prepping whatever we can scrounge up and all eating different things in different places. She hasn't said she hates it when I offer her spaghetti, but she's not eating more than a few bites. I, however, really enjoyed eating her leftovers, even cold. I don't know if it's the brand of sauce we got, or if it's the Bok Choy, but I'm really enjoying the depth of flavor in the sauce.

*Disclaimer - I was not asked to review or rewarded for reviewing the Mumi and Bubi freezer tray. You're welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Love this! What an interesting idea for how to get more veggies into your child! We're going to feature this on our Facebook page and link here so people can see your recipe and your great photography. If you wish, come LIKE us on Facebook for more recipes and tips on superfood Asian green vegetables like baby bok choy, gai lan (Chinese broccoli), dau miu (pea shoots), yu choy and gai choy.

    --Your friendly Southern California farmers at Jade Asian Greens


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