Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Baby Chef: T Burgers

Now that our little guy has turned one, the doors to a whole new world have opened.  Most (but not all) of the food restrictions that apply to newborns and infants are gone.  After one year, a baby can eat just about anything, although it takes time to get him or her to accept these new foods.

Our little guy was more than ready for this transition.  Over the past couple of months, it became clear to both my beautiful Angel and myself that our little guy was more interested in eating what we were eating than what we thought he should have.  We accommodated, giving him small bites of our food, which he quickly scooped up and stuffed in his mouth. 

As I look back, I did not cook for our little guy as much as I had hoped or planned.  (To be honest, I did not cook for my Angel and myself as much as I wanted.)  Work has been especially busy and having an energetic and fun-loving little kid also takes up a lot of time.  My hope going forward is that I can cook for him more often, making "kiddie" versions of recipes and experimenting with ways to open our little guy's mind and taste buds to different foods.  

This recipe is the start.  I call it "T Burgers" for "Toddler Burgers."  The recipe is very simple ... steamed carrots, onions and ground meat.  This recipe is the start because iron is an important mineral for young kids.  When they are born, they start out with a lot of iron, but they lose it over time.  Doctors often prescribe iron supplements or suggest certain diets to help maintain iron levels. There are formulas that are fortified in iron.  However, once the child transitions from formula to whole milk, you need to look at ways to ensure that he or she continues to get enough iron.

The choice is between vegetables and beef.  Like most toddlers, green food is not very eye-pleasing or appetizing.  So, vegetables like spinach are "off-the-table."  They can be introduced in time, but I think it is better to start with a little beef.  

In this case, I paid a little extra to get grass-fed, locally raised ground meat.  With all of the news surrounding  industrial cattle production, especially with regard to the use of antibiotics, it is worth the extra cost to get something that is more than likely better for your child.  The only option that I had was 80/20 (80% meat, 20% fat).  With the beef in hand, I decided to add some carrots and onions.  I decided to steam both vegetables to ensure that they are soft and, in the case of the carrots, to ensure that as much of the nutrients remain as possible.  

In the end, the test is whether our little guy will eat the T Burgers.  It took him a little time, but he started to come around.  When introducing new foods, it is a challenge to get the child to like both the taste and the texture of the food.  Our little guy can often be a little apprehensive at first, but he usually comes around and eats the food.  It takes time, but the work in preparing the food and introducing it to our little guy is definitely worth it.


BABY CHEF: T BURGERS
A Chef Bolek Original
Makes many burgers

Ingredients:
1 pound of ground meat
3 carrots, peeled
1/2 onion, peeled

Directions:
1.  Steam the carrots and onions.  Rinse the carrots and onions thoroughly.  Place in a steamer and steam for about 10 to 15 minutes, until both the carrots and onions are soft.  Remove from the steamer and plunge in an ice bath.  Once the carrots and onions are cool, mince them finely.

2.  Make the burgers.  Once the vegetables are cooled and minced, add them to the ground meat and mix well with your hands.  Take small portions of the meat mixture and make small patties, slightly smaller than a slider.  Make as many sliders as you can with the mixture, which will produce about fifteen or sixteen patties.

3.  Cook the burgers.  Heat a pan on medium high heat.  Cook the burgers in batches (adding a little oil if necessary), about 2 to 3 minutes on each side.  It is important that the burgers are cooked to well done.

ENJOY!


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