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Ask The Chef! Episode 24: Homemade Baby Food, Herbs, Vinegars

Well, it’s Monday again, and I’m here to answer your questions. Let’s get started.

FeedingBaby

Alexandra Nicholson asks:

I would like to make natural homemade baby food – not really a question but i figure you can help.

Well, you won’t hear any argument from me on that. While it is easier to buy canned baby food, one has to wonder what actually goes into it. Couple that with all the scares we have been having lately, I don’t blame you.

Back when my son was born, I was all gung-ho about making our own food, and searched a lot of places. I finally came across a book (from a dietician here in Montreal no less,) that I feel has the best information, instructions, and book out there.

You can buy the book here through the link in my Amazon store. I put it up there for you or anyone who is interested in making your own baby foods. The best part is that it is really straight forward – nothing too hard.

Selection of herbs on sale in the market in Helsinki

Michelle Bertrand asks:

If you’re looking to dumb a post down for the layperson (like me lol)… how to pair herbs and spices with meat and veg. I never know what goes with what or what combinations might taste good unless it’s in a recipe, so I usually tend to do the same ol’ same ol’

Ah! This is one of those times that the Flavor Bible comes in handy! When I look up my favorite herb, Rosemary, I find a lot of things:

It goes especially well with Lamb, Grilled fish, Chicken, Garlic, and grilled meats in general. It pairs well with potatoes, peppers, beans, and olive oil. A lesser known pairing could even be apples and apricots.

If you are interested in playing around with herbs, I suggest giving the Flavor Bible a try. In the meantime, I will definitely have some herb related posts for you coming up in the next few weeks!

Oil & Vinegar

Tony Kuriger asks:

How to make things better using vinegar. Matching variety to purpose.

This is a good one. There are so many types and varieties of vinegars, it’s really hard to answer this one. How you use a vinegar really depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

For example, a tomato soup may taste a bit flat. The addition of acid to the soup may brighten the flavors a bit. Before you rush off to grab any old bottle of vinegar, you need to think about the profile of the soup. I would never put white vinegar in the tomato soup, it would be too pungent and strong. Balsamic vinegar would be good, or perhaps an aged balsamic drizzled on top would be even better.

If you are looking for a delicate touch, a few drops of champagne vinegar would make a fish dish taste more ethereal.

Perhaps you are eating a foie grass dish – in that case a ice wine vinegar would rock the boat.

Do you have a question for me? You can contact me through the Ask the Chef! page, my Facebook Fan Page, my Google+ account, my YouTube Channel, or my Twitter account.

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