Experimenting with Vegetable Purees

>> Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I've never really liked peas. Growing up I HATED them. I can eat them now, but I don't usually choose them. As legend has it, my mom would serve peas with dinner and I would not cooperate. I gagged when I tried to eat them. When my mom said no dessert if I didn't eat my peas, I would opt out of eating the dessert as a way to get out of eating the peas...I actually told her I'd just smell the dessert, instead of eating it, so that I didn't have to eat them. I know...weirdo. Anyway, as the story goes, my mom pulled a fast one on me one night by mixing spaghetti sauce and peas in the blender before serving it with our spaghetti. I was none the wiser. No idea I had just eaten peas. It worked!

Point being, this isn't a new trick. I think it gained a little popularity when Jessica Seinfeld put out her cookbook Deceptively Delicious, all about this very topic. I really think it's a great idea. I realized recently that I am great at making sure Bitty eats lots of fruit, but not as good with the veggies.

Purees currently in my freezer: 2 half cup bags of sweet potato, and 2 of cauliflower... and I have more veggies just waiting for a date with the blender!

So, a couple of weeks ago, remembering what my mom had done, and what I had read in Deceptively Delicious, I decided to throw about 2/3 cup of frozen peas and carrots (thawed) into the blender with some spaghetti sauce to serve over the chicken with cheese ravioli (kind of a mix of chicken parmesan and baked ravioli) I was making. Unfortunately the carrots turned the sauce kinda orange, but it was still pretty good!

So then on Monday, I was planning on making sweet and sour chicken with fried rice. I decided to try using some sweet potato puree instead of the egg you're supposed to wet the chicken in before covering in cornstarch and frying. It worked pretty well! I don't make sweet and sour chicken often, because it's more work than I usually put into dinner on a normal night, but I think next time I would like to add maybe a quarter cup of sweet potato puree to the sauce mixture too and see how it turns out.

Soooooo good!

The only other puree I've made and used before is cauliflower. It's been quite a while but I thought it worked well too. I used some in my cream soup/sour cream/chicken mixture in enchiladas once and was pretty good. My all time favorite use of puree so far was in lasagna. I mixed 1/2 cup of cauliflower puree in with the cottage cheese and made the lasagna as usual. SO GOOD. I'm all for a moist lasagna, and the addition of that puree made it perfect.

So now, I've got some spinach in the fridge that's a little too wilty for me to want to use it for a salad like we usually do. I was so excited that I don't need to let it go to waste, but I can puree it instead!

Have you ever cooked with veggie purees? Have any good recipes to share??


Anonymous,  February 17, 2010 at 5:35 AM  

I'll have to try veggie purees. I have a hard time getting my kids to eat veggies.

alyssa February 18, 2010 at 9:49 AM  

I haven't used purees yet, but I have been wanting to learn how to use them for a really long time!!

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