March 31, 2009

The Great Cook-a-thon

On Sunday we (actually I dragged the hubby into this and he played along) did some mega cooking for PK for the week. We'd bought apples, chick peas, pineapple, plums, mangoes, black beans, and potatoes the day before, and I was ready to try out some new foods on PK.

My plans were to make the following:
1. Pineapple/apple purée (using Golden Delicious apples - thanks Fawn!)
2. Apple/plum/mango purée (I tried it last week and she liked it, so I decided to go for seconds)
3. Mashed potatoes (Yukon Gold potatoes) with black bean (out of a can with some seasonings added) broth (a suggestion from my mom - quite tasty!)
4. Chick pea/butternut squash/sweet potato purée

The fruit purées turned out really well. I would like to add that PK quite enjoyed the pineapple/apple purée! The veggie ones, however, are another story.

First, the mashed potato purée. I have really bad luck with mashed potatoes. When the hubby and I were first married, we attempted to make mashed potatoes. We peeled a couple of potatoes, put them into a pot of water, let it come to a boil, and proceeded to mash them. The hubby was doing the mashing, and it wasn't happening. I started insulting him, saying that he was incapable of mashing potatoes, and proceeded to try mashing them myself. The potato masher started bending. Now, if you make mashed potatoes, you can probably already spot the problem here. I didn't boil the potatoes long enough. That and we didn't cut the potatoes before putting them into the pot. They were still raw. And hard. It was nasty. At the time, the hubby couldn't cook worth a damn, so I was calling the shots. Some direction I was giving! We still get a good chuckle out of the "mashed potato incident".

Anyway, back to PK's mashed potatoes. Since I had my little food processor out, I decided to use it to "mash" the potatoes. This time, I made sure that the potatoes were cut into small pieces and were nice and soft before putting them into the food processor. I drained all the water out of the pot, put the potatoes into the food processor, and I ended up with nice, creamy, mashed potatoes. Except that they were really gooey and sticky. I thought that it was still salvageable, however, figuring that I could just add water to make them less sticky.

The next day, I served PK her mashed potatoes with the black bean broth. This combination would normally be really tasty, it just tasted okay. PK wasn't a big fan of the combo, though my mom got her to finish it all up. Today's attempt at feeding her this combo didn't work out so well. I tasted the potatoes/bean broth combo before I fed it to her, and it tasted gross. PK knew it too. She took three spoonfuls before refusing to take any more. She closed her mouth and pushed the spoon away. I had to resort to feeding her some butternut squash soup which I had as a backup. I also managed to get her to have some plain yogurt mixed with apple sauce (something that she didn't like last week but seemed to be enjoying this week). At least she ate, so that makes me happy.

Now for the chick pea/butternut squash/sweet potato purée. That was a dud. I thought I'd be better off buying the dried chick peas from the bulk food section of the supermarket rather than getting the canned stuff. I figured that I'd just boil them long enough in a pot along with the butternut squash and sweet potatoes, and I'd be set. Unfortunately, I didn't really know what I was doing. With two hours of cooking the chick peas in the boiling water, they were still too hard. The butternut squash was in there so long that it began to disintegrate. I proceeded to attempt to put the mixture into the food processor, hoping that the chick peas would still chop up well enough that they would still be okay enough for PK to ingest. No such luck. The chick peas were still too hard. Not wanting to waste this mixture, the hubby had a brilliant idea. Add some garlic powder, onion powder, kalamata olives, milk, and some salt, and voilà - some home-made "hummus". Okay, so it's not real hummus because there was no tahini in it, but still. It tasted pretty darn good! Next time, I'll be sure to soak the chick peas for a couple of hours before I attempt to cook them. Or better yet, I'll just use the canned stuff and save myself the pain.

After two hours of cooking, we came out with some fabulous fruit purée, some yummy home-made "hummus", and some very pasty "mashed" potatoes. You win some, you lose some. As frustrating as it is to have some failures after cooking for so long, it's at least a good learning experience!

1 comment:

Fawn said...

I've tried mashing potatoes with our immersion blender to save elbow grease, but an old-fashioned masher is definitely superior. Too much power ends up making them super-sticky, I've found. Yes, they're smoothe, but they're as gooey as school paste! Ha!

Glad the pineapple/apple turned out -- such an exotic blend! Mmmmm!

Put the chick peas in to soak overnight and you won't have to wait around for them. Or you can use a pressure cooker if you have one. The nice thing about dried chick peas is that they don't have salt added.

Or use canned chick peas and save yourself the trouble. ;)

Mmm, still thinking of pineapple/apple mash. Mmmm...