I was really eager to get into greens because, lordy, I love (well, most) greens when they’re done right — creamed spinach, heck even creamed chard, gratins and pasta dishes. Basically, “done right” in my book equals “coated with sauce and/or cheese but probably both”, which is exactly why I was pretty stumped as to how I was going to make spinach — straight pureed spinach, I mean doesn’t that sound terrible? — appealing, and not a drab, pesto-ish mush. Wow, I’m really whipping out all of the sexy food words today, aren’t I?
It didn’t help that I’d been strict about only introducing one new food at at time (so we could easily trace any food issues back to what was new) and at that point, we’d only introduced the “orange” vegetables, carrots and yams. This left little in the way of ingredients that would make straight spinach an easier sell. Fortunately, just as I was wringing my hands about this, spinach came into season in New York and I bought some from the Greenmarket.
[I’ve got no qualms about using good frozen spinach down the road, especially when we’re making real dishes with it and bigger volumes of them, but when you’re trying to sell a kid on unseasoned purees, I figured it helped to start with the most ideal specimen.]
It was at the market that I also spied a white yam and really, there’s no reason to go out an hunt down one of these, but I grabbed it purely for aesthetics. I knew the baby already loved yams (seriously, what baby does not?) but was shuddering imagining how orange yams pureed with spinach would look. Against a white yam, however, it was actually silky and a gorgeous green, but tasted familiar and a little sweet. Most importantly, it worked. I was shocked, but there he was, slurping down mushy spinach purée like it was the best thing since frozen peaches. I know I’m horribly biased, but man, this kid is awesome.
P.S. Thank you for your sweet, sweet encouragement after the last post. Unfortunately, while I’m past the doubt, time constraints are making it hard to keep this site up to date. I’ll get through the backlog though — mangoes! spices! chicken! — just one recipe at a time.
First Spinach with White Yams
1/2 pound fresh spinach, stemmed and washed but no need to dry it
A half-pound yam, white if you can find it, peeled and cut into a 1/2 to 3/4-inch dice
1 1/2 cups water or sodium-free vegetable stock
In a large pot, bring the yams to boil about 1 1/2 cups of water or stock. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the yams for about 10 minutes. Add the spinach and cook it until both the yams and spinach are very tender. Let the mixture cool and purée it in a food processor or blender.
This made about 3 to 4 cups of purée. You can read more over here about how I process and store baby food.