Hip! Hip! Puree! by L

Simple. Easy. Practical. Lately, these are the words that continiously ring in my head. My husband and I come from different continents and our parents still live in the cities where we were born and raised: NYC and Valencia, Spain. We both grew up with members of our extended families living in the same neighborhoods and we both experienced relatives coming in to pitch in and help raise the children. Our adult lives turned out differently, mainly because our jobs took us far from home. Sadly, our daughters don’t have the luxury of having all those family members nearby to spoil them. In order to provide some of that extra family support, we had to come up with an alternative. We asked our parents to come to Prague and move in for a few months for some extra tender loving care, both for our twin daughters and ourselves. They happily accepted and we devised a schedule that allowed both sides of parents to have a chunk of time with us. Unfortunately, all good things must come to a pause. This past weekend, my mother flew back to NYC, after 4 wonderful months of having her by my side. Mom got the babies started on solids, witnessed the first time they crawled, taught them to wave “hello” and even attended swim lessons with us. I started missing her before she even left. However, my solo flight time will last just a week. My in-laws are eagerly awaiting our arrival for the summer holidays. But there is nothing like having your own mother by your side.

My mom even enjoyed preparing the babies’ food. Every two weeks, we receive a box of organic fruits and vegetables from Fresh Bedynky to make the girls’ meals. As soon as the delivery arrived, my mother would whip out the hand blender and start creating a variety of pureed baby food.  Without my mom, Team T&P are minus some extra hands. Hence the words: simple, easy and practical. This meal is exactly that, a puree for all!

What is particularly special about this week’s order from Fresh Bedynky are the purple carrots. This heirloom vegetable appears to be making a comeback and when I saw that it was available, I had to sample a bunch. Don’t these carrots have a gorgeous blend of colors?

When the zucchini, potatoes, onions and carrots were cooked, I separated a batch on the side for the grown-ups in the house in another pot. While the girls’ portion was cooling down, I added a little more seasoning and broth to make the adult version of Puré de Verdura. We often have this dish as a starter in Spain, followed by a second course. For us though, the only accompaniment was a salad on the side. I still have some of that leftover baby belly to shed. Ugh!

Puré de Verdura (Vegetable Puree Soup)

For babies, omit the garlic, bay leaf and bouillon cube. Instead of frying the vegetables at first, boil them all together in one pot. Use the liquid from the boiled vegetables to puree the baby food to the consistency of your liking.

3 potatoes
1 zucchini
1 carrot
1 onion
1 clove garlic
2 bay leaves
water or vegetable broth
bouillon cube (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Peel and chop all the vegetables.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot.
Add onions.
After a few minutes, add the other vegetables.
Stir and let cook for a few more minutes.
Then add enough water or broth to cover the vegetables.
(If just using water, you may add a bouillon cube here)
Add mashed garlic clove and bay leaves.
Let it come to a boil, then lower heat.
Cook for at least 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Then set aside to cool.
When ready, remove the bay leaves and pour into a blender
or use a hand blender, to purée all the ingredients.
Pour mixture into a serving bowl.
Add a tablespoon or two of good olive oil.
Mix well.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Top with croutons and serve.

Homemade croutons

2 slices of whole wheat bread
Few tablespoons of olive oil
salt and dried herbs

Chop the bread into tiny cubes.
Heat a small pan with some olive oil.
Add the bread to the pan on low heat.
Sprinkle some salt on top and other dried herbs to your liking.
Cook until toasty brown on both sides.

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