Thursday, August 2, 2012

Squished Squash and Curried "Squale" Baby Mash

After getting several pounds of assorted summer squash in various CSA boxes, I decided to mash some up for Baby before it all went bad! I stupidly decided to microwave it rather than roast it in the oven or boil it on the stovetop. Worked great. Took for-freaking-ever to do, though, since I could only do one microwave-sized dish at a time, and the different squashes (squashii?) had different cooking times. So I'll do a quick run-down of how I did it, but you may want to go another route!

I had an assortment of Pattypan, Zucchini, Sun Drops and possibly a Crook-Neck or another kind of zucchini, but mine was light green with dark green stripes (sliced in photo,) and I couldn't find anything naming what kind that is.
The light green one and the yellow blobby one (Sun Drop?) took only 4 minutes to cook, but the Pattypan (the big white one) and zucchini took from 4 to 7, depending on the thickness. Mostly 7 minutes, though, so I did them in shifts of 4 or 8 minutes, taking out done squash and adding in new while checking every 4 minutes. I used the same 3 Tbsp water for most of the time, and added another for the last few rounds, since the water was mostly gone by then. If you're not making this for baby food, you can probably use less water and just add a little if necessary, then you won't have as much to add to the puree.

Squished Squash Baby Mash
Assorted summer squash, any amount, but you can only cook one or two at a time.

Step 1: Wash squash [teehee!] and slice into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Yup. Skin, seeds and all! You just discard (or compost!) the stem.

Step 2: Lay the slices in a microwave-safe baking dish, spread evenly. I assumed this to mean in a single layer, but maybe you can pack it in there, which would have made this whole thing a ton easier!
Step 3: Add 3 Tbsp water and cover loosely. You can use plastic wrap, but I'm not comfy with that because of the waste, and also I question the safety of cooking that kind of plastic. So I used a glass pie pan for my dish and an upturned ceramic plate as my lid. You can also get silicone covers, as well as domed plastic lids for microwaving.

Step 4: Microwave on High for 4 to 7 minutes. Check at around 4 minutes to see if squash is tender enough by poking at it with a fork. I hate that kind of direction in a recipe, since how am *I* supposed to know what "tender enough" means. But I started with an assortment of squash slices, and some were definitely softer than others, so I used those as the done-ness standard.

Step 5: Using a food processor, blender, or immersion blender, puree the cooked squash and leftover cooking water.

Mix with other purees to make little baby meals, or freeze in baby serving sizes. This would also be a great substitute for oil in muffins or chocolate cake mixes (chocolate drowns out most any other flavor!) Or a hidden add-in to any kind of tomato sauce, or even ketchup! Stay tuned for a dessert bar recipe I used some in too!

The Verdict: 
She's still getting used to the thicker texture of my food processed purees, but she kept complaining if I took too long getting the spoon into her gob.

Curried "Squale" Baby Mash
Inspired by a recipe using peas and butternut squash, I made a curry mash with my summer squash and some kale mash that hadn't been frozen yet.

1/3 c Kale Mash
2/3 c Squished Squash Mash
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cumin

Step 1: Mix all ingredients well. Huzzah!

Step 2: Freeze in baby-sized servings.

Baby hasn't tried this yet, since she hadn't done well eating the kale initially. But I licked the spoon, and this was definitely the tastiest darn baby food I've ever eaten (and since often my only breakfast or lunch is scrapings from the bottom of a baby food dish, I'm kind of a connoiseur!)
I've been adding in a little of my unfrozen Kale Mash a teaspoonful at a time with her blendier foods, and she's doing okay with it, so I'm slowly upping the ratio. Soon!


  1. I love this <3 but best to steam or roast.... Sadly,microwaves will kill everything good in veggies :(

  2. Thank you. I have heard that as well. But I have a friend whose husband works with microwave technology and has been involved in extensive testing, and I trust his information. My understanding is that COOKING kills the nutrients, no matter how it's done.
    I can use less water in a microwave without burning the food, so I don't have to drain away any of the nutrients, and microwaves take less time, thus less time killing the nutrients.

    I do appreciate your opinion, and am certainly not trying to argue or imply that you are wrong. I made an informed decision, as I'm sure you have, which happens to be a different one. You'll see that some of the times I'm stovetop cooking, and sometimes microwave, based on how much food I'm working with for her, what kind of time-investment I have available, how closely it needs to be monitored, and (my most-deciding factor) which dishes are clean! In this instance, stovetop or roasting would have been much faster, since I could have done it all at once!

  3. Wow! That looks delicious! I made my own baby food for both kids too and they both loved it. It was so much fun making weird combinations like this that can really expand the baby's palette. Way to go on being so creative and getting her to eat some greens!


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