Monday, November 11, 2013

Baby Chef: Three Apple Medley

Recently, I decided to take a day off from work (and, it just happened that the day-off coincided with a federal holiday, which meant that the office was closed).  I decided to spend a good part of that day cooking.  I first began making food for our little guy.  I made some more pear puree, but I also decided to make a "Chef Bolek" original for my little guy ... a Three Apple Medley Puree.

To be sure, our little guy has already had a good amount of pureed apples.  We went to an apple farm in northern Ohio and bought a bag of apples, most of which went to puree for his breakfast, lunch and dinner.  We have also bought apples on occasion thereafter to make puree.  In making this food, however, we have limited ourselves to just one kind of apple for the puree.

So, this is where the "originality" comes in, to the extent there is any originality at all.  I was pursuing the selection of organic apples at our local store.  I decided that, rather than buying all of one type of apple, I would buy a couple of a few different apples and then combine them together.  This presented a minor challenge: what apples to choose?  I immediately ruled out Granny Smith apples, because I was a little unsure about introducing tartness at this stage.  I ultimately chose Honeycrisp, Gala and Fuji apples. I selected each for a reason.  

First, Fuji apples are bigger, with denser flesh and sweetness.  These apples -- which derive their name from the town of Fujisaki, and not Mount Fuji -- were developed as a cross between two American apples, the Red Delicious and the Virginia Ralls Genet.  The Fuji apples, which were first grown in the Aomori Prefecture of Japan, are the most popular apples in Japan.  They are also some of the hardiest apples, with longer shelf lives than others.  I chose these apples because I wanted to add some some substance and texture to the medley puree.  Given their size, this also ensured that there would be more of the medley when I was finished pureeing the apples. 

Second, the Gala apples are very sweet and have a lighter, grainy texture.  These apples are very popular in the United States, primarily because they are fairly versatile. The Gala apple originated as a cross between the Golden Delicious and Kidd's Orange Red apple.  The first Gala apples were cultivated in New Zealand, although they are now the second most popular apple in the United States (behind the Red Delicious apple).  I selected the Gala apples because of their sweetness.  These apples are the primary contributor of sweetness to the medley, with the Fuji apples providing some additional sweetness.  

Finally, there are the Honeycrisp apples.  These apples are known for their sweetness and tartness.  These apples originated from a hybrid of the Macoun and Honeygold apples.  I chose these apples specifically for their balance between sweetness and tartness.  I wanted to introduce a little tartness into the medley so that our little guy could get just a little hint of it.  Babyfood cookbooks tell you to steer clear from tart apples, like Granny Smith apples, because the tartness is likely to be off-putting to the infant.  However, the balance of Honeycrisp apples, with the reinforcing sweetness of the Gala and Fuji apples, offered an opportunity to introduce a very little amount of tartness under the cover of the sweetness.  I want to expand my little guy's palate as early as possible, without turning him off of any food. 

Overall, I think the puree came out very well. Of course, my opinion does not matter.  It is all about the little guy.

A Chef Bolek Original

2 Honeycrisp apples, quartered, cores and seeds removed
2 Gala apples, quartered, cores and seeds removed
2 Fuji apples, quartered, cores and seeds removed

1.  Steam the apples.  Steam all of the apples in accordance with the directions of a steamer (or, create your own steamer by placing a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water and then cover the pot).  The apples should be tender after about fifteen to twenty minutes.  Remove the apples from the steam and let them cool. 

2.  Puree the apples.  Remove the skins and place the apples in a food processor. Blend until you reach your desired consistency, adding water, breast milk or formula to get that consistency.


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