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A Quick No-Cook Lunch for Mom & Baby

Avocado, Tofu & TomatoTHE VERDICT:
My favourite baby foods are those that require little or no special preparation, and I love coming up with new flavour combinations for Zayden to try. This one looked so good, I ended up eating the leftovers for a snack the first time I made it and made extra the second time so that I could have it for my lunch too. Baby can enjoy it as is, but mom (or dad) can easily make it into a more substantial meal or snack by using it as a topping on crackers, toast or grilled meat or stuffing it into a pita or tortilla. It would also be a good alternative to salsa or guacamole if you wanted to serve it with chips.

THE RECIPE:

Avocado, Tomato and Tofu Salad (source: Tonight’s Dinner)

1 avocado, finely diced

1 brick of soft tofu, finely diced

2 roma tomatoes, seeded and finely diced

garlic powder and black pepper, to taste

  1. Thoroughly wash all the vegetables.
  2. Dice veggies and tofu–increasing the size of the dice as your baby becomes more competent with solid food.
  3. Serve atop crackers or dip with chips, if desired, but remember, your baby shouldn’t be eating chips until at least age 3 as they are a choking hazard.

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Ma Po Tofu with Brown Rice and Garlic Sauteed Pea Tips

Ma Po TofuTHE VERDICT:

This is one of our staple Asian dishes.  We’ve experimented with different incarnations throughout the years and seem to make it slightly different every time.   That being said, the key ingredients are the same, so it usually ends up being consistently tasty.  You can make it more or less spicy depending on your preference, as well as substituting any small green vegetable (peas, green onions) as you desire.  The key is to use soft tofu, which melds well with the sauce and provides a contrast to the pork texture.

The pea tips were from the Trout Lake Farmer’s Market, and were cooked as simply as possible, as there’s not much need to add flavour to the already-tasty vegetable–other than garlic, of course.

Because of the consistency of this dish, it is suitable to serve to an older baby who is more proficient with solid food. If you have a younger baby who is just starting solids, like Zayden, set aside some of the pork and garlic after it has been thoroughly cooked. Using a hand blender or mini chopper, you can then puree it with some water and rice cereal until you get a smoother consistency. Zayden’s verdict: edible, but he still doesn’t like the texture of ground meat as much as he likes other food (like steak).

If you want to try it yourself…

THE RECIPES:

Ma Po Tofu (source: Tonight’s Dinner)

Splash of Vegetable Oil

Few cloves of garlic, minced

400g lean ground pork

2 packages soft tofu

5 green onions, or a couple of handfuls of peas

1/4 cup chicken broth

2 Tbsp brown bean paste

2 Tbsp dark soy sauce

1 Tbsp ginger

2 Tbsp Corn Starch

Chili Oil to taste

Kosher Salt to taste

White Pepper to taste

  • braise tofu in barely simmering water over low heat.
  • heat oil in Wok over medium-high heat.
  • add garlic and cook until brown.
  • add ground pork and cook through, stirring to break up.
  • meanwhile, mix chicken broth, brown bean paste, dark soy sauce, ginger and corn starch in a small bowl until corn starch is dissolved.
  • once ground pork is cooked, add sauce and cook until sauce thickens, usually a few minutes.
  • add green onions and tofu, mixing well.
  • add chili oil, kosher salt, and white pepper to taste.
  • serve over rice.

Sauteed Pea Tips (source: Tonight’s Dinner)

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

4 cloves garlic

Pea Tips

  • saute garlic in vegetable oil until brown.
  • add pea tips, mixing constantly until leaves are soft.

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Mustard-Crusted Tofu with Kale and Sweet Potato

Mustard-Crusted TofuTHE VERDICT:

Maybe it was the fact that we cooked one too many recipes calling for kale and/or sweet potato this week or maybe this recipe really was lack lustre. I would actually go so far as to say that recipes like this one are what give vegetarian cooking a bad name. Overall, it was bland–except for the kale, which was bitter. The only good thing I can say about this recipe was that it was fairly quick and easy to prepare.

If, despite our review, you want to try it yourself…

THE RECIPES:

Mustard Crusted Tofu with Kale and Sweet Potato (Source: Epicurious; original recipe )

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