Williams-Sonoma’s New Cooking for Baby Book (with Recipes)

From Lisa Barnes

I’ve written the recipes for a new baby food book for Williams-Sonoma. Entitled Cooking For Baby, this book focuses on those first bites through 18 months old. Although I must say some of the grain recipes and snacks are yummy for the whole family. Of course you’d never know I wrote the recipes unless you look in the inside title page or back inside jacket.

Doing this book was very different from my own. Although I am still happy with the results and it is interesting to see the food in photos. I was really hoping to be on the photo shoot for the book. I’ve always heard how they do all kinds of crazy stuff to food to make it hold up under lights and for lengthy photo shoots. Unfortunately I wasn’t invited. (Probably too many cooks in the kitchen!). So I don’t have anything juicy to report from the process.

Here’s a few recipes (organic versions) for those expanding their baby’s palate and moving on from first foods. It’s a fun and exciting time to watch those first bites. Be sure to have a camera on hand for the range of faces and expressions.

Baby’s Organic Brown Rice Cereal
Although most babies begin their culinary adventure with commercially made rice cereal because of the added iron, this is an easy way to graduate them to another grain. Brown rice is not stripped of the hull, which not only makes it brown, but also more nutritious than its white counterpart.

¼ cup Organic Brown rice

Put rice in a blender and pulverize into a powder, 3 – 5 minutes on medium to high speed. Bring 1 cup water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown rice powder and reduce heat to low. Cook, whisking constantly until water is absorbed, 4 – 5 minutes.

Add water, breast milk or formula to thin the cereal to a consistency your baby can handle. As baby gets older and tries more foods, combine rice cereal with fruit or vegetable purees.

Makes 1 cup

Note: Commercially prepared baby rice cereal is usually fortified with added iron. If you prepare rice cereal at home, discuss your baby’s iron needs with your pediatrician. Young babies can get iron from a range of foods, including breast milk, formula, meat, poultry, prunes and dried apricots. To store, refrigerate cooled cereal in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or fill ice cube trays or other containers and freeze for up to 3 months.

Baby’s Organic Turkey
Start with ground turkey for the easiest texture, then once baby is ready, simply puree or chop up pieces from your own adult cuts for baby. To sweeten the flavor, and smooth the texture, stir in baby’s pear or apple puree.

½ pound organic ground turkey
¼ cup water

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add turkey and water. Cook, breaking up and stirring turkey constantly about 3 – 5 minutes, or until meat is cooked through and no longer pink. Remove from heat and let cool. Drain and reserve cooking liquid.

Transfer turkey to food processor fitted with a steel blade and puree 1 minute. With machine running, add reserved cooking liquid by the tablespoonful. Texture will be paste-like. Add more liquid to thin puree to a consistency your baby can handle.

Makes about 1 cup

Baby’s Organic Sweet Pea Puree
Homemade peas should be bright green, unlike the drab colored jarred versions available at the supermarket. To help the peas retain their vibrant color, do not overcook them. Frozen peas are the next best thing to fresh spring peas: they’re available year-round and they will save you the time and effort of shelling.

2 cups (10 ounces) organic peas, fresh or frozen

Bring 1 inch water to a boil in a pot. Put peas in a steamer basket, set in pot, cover tightly and steam until bright green and tender enough to mash with a fork: 5 – 7 minutes for fresh or hard frozen peas, and 3 minutes for thawed frozen.

Remove basket from pot, reserving cooking liquid. Rinse peas under cold running water to stop cooking. Puree peas in a food processor until smooth. Add cooking liquid, breast milk or formula to thin pea puree to a consistency that your baby can handle.To store: refrigerate cooled pea puree in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or fill ice cube trays or other containers to freeze for up to 3 months.
Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.
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