Let’s talk about the Beaba Babycook. My daughter is still a few months away before she begins tasting her first solid foods, but it’s a milestone I’ve long been looking forward to. A few years ago, my friend Elaine showed me how she would prepare “ice cube meals,” which was essentially homemade puree consisting of various flavors that she would freeze in her ice cube tray, and warm up as needed. It was a great way for her to know every last ingredient that came in contact with her child.
Although many baby foods sold in stores are organic and very convenient, I’ve found some ingredients that struck me as unnecessary (i.e. gelatin), and it had me wondering about preservatives to extend the shelf life. When my little Penelope is ready to leap into the wonderful world of food, I want to deliver her something fresh and prepared with love by yours truly.
Beaba BabyCook Pro And BabyCook Book – Baby Food At Home
I’ve been familiar with the Beaba BabyCook Pro for some time now. I’ve purchased it as a baby gift in the past, and have heard rave reviews from its users. However, I still wanted to put the product to the test myself, and gain a sense of its convenience, ease, space, and function. Would this be a baby food maker that’s efficient enough for the busy mom? Is it a realistic utility, or would it get used once or twice, and then just take up precious real estate on my counter top? Just how convenient is this thing, really?
Utilizing the BabyCook Book, a cookbook created for Beaba by author and Papa Chef David Rathgeber, I decided to put the Beaba BabyCook Pro to the challenge. Gourmet baby food sounds nice in theory, but can I really pull this off? After selecting a series of recipes from BabyCook Book that sounded enticing, I got started in creating a baby food dinner. Yes, you read that right. The adults ate like little babies that night, except, this turned out to be nothing like what I used to think about baby food.
BabyCook Book shares recipes that were specifically designed for the Beaba BabyCook, offering meals of varying ages from 5 months to 2 years. It includes a helpful guide of foods to pair at certain stages, being mindful of potential allergies and tastes. The recipes are so simple and delicious; it’s like a custom French meal for the little ones (and adults), just at home.
I started out small, with a simple, yet delicious recipe: Free-range Chicken Breast with Broccoli. I’m not going to recommend that you don’t read directions to the Beaba, because you probably should. I will say though that I’m notorious for having no patience for that stuff. This has led me into an ugly assembly situation more than once (ask me about that time it took me an hour and a half to put together my IKEA laundry basket). Naturally, I didn’t learn my lesson from the past, but I am happy to report that my experience could be summed up as effortless.
There wasn’t much to figure out. My new red 25th Anniversary edition Beaba BabyCook Pro was extremely user-friendly. I could steam and chop like a champ, and the stir-spatula accessory prevented a hot steam ouchie when I got overzealous. The ten minutes it took to steam the diced chicken in this recipe was less effort than I would expect from traditional methods, yet it retained the flavor that a tender piece of chicken was meant to have. When steaming the veggies, I really appreciated that I didn’t have a hot potato situation to juggle, and that the nutrients from the ingredients weren’t lost in the process. It was like all of the best qualities in the ingredients I brought to the table were enhanced. The Free-range Chicken Breast with Broccoli recipe definitely won over me and my family (and that includes a ten-year old that is a very picky eater!). I definitely recommend you try this recipe out for yourself!
Testing Out Some Recipes
Free-range Chicken Breast with Broccoli (8 months and up)
Ingredients: 1 free-range chicken breast (about 3 ounces), 3 small broccoli florets, 3 small red potatoes, ½ small plum tomato, ½ white part of a thin pencil leak, 1 pinch of salt, ¼ turn of the pepper mill, a few grains fleur de sel
- Remove the skin from the chicken breast, cut into small pieces, and place it directly into the steamer basket. Cook for 10 minutes (water level 2).
- Prepare the vegetables: Cut 3 broccoli florets with a 1-inch stem. Remove the roots from the leek. Cut the top part of the leek into quarters lengthwise. Wash the vegetables under running water and shake them with the top facing down to get rid of any dirt. Cut the white part of the leek in half lengthwise and chop, ½ of the white part into thin slices.
- Remove the tomato stem. Cut the tomato in half (you will only use half). Rinse the potatoes in water, peel them, and wash them before dicing.
- When the diced chicken is cooked, throw the cooking juices away and transfer meat to a plate. Cover it with plastic wrap to keep it warm.
- Place broccoli florets, white part of leek, half of tomato, and the potato into the steamer basket. Cook them for 15 minutes (water level 3). Throw away the cooking juices, and transfer the vegetables to the blending bowl.
- Pulse twice to obtain a puree, including the chicken for younger babies.
- Spoon the vegetable puree into a soup bowl. For older babies, sprinkle the diced chicken over top and drizzle a small amount of olive oil. For the biggest kids, lightly season and liven up the dish with a few grains of fleur de sel.
Next up, was one of my favorites from this foodie experiment, making many revisits to our dining room table since its debut. Although this recipe calls for veal, it can easily be swapped out for an equally delicious alternative meat, if you hold any dietary restrictions or otherwise.
Veal Cakes and Button Mushroom Purée (12 months and up)
Ingredients: 1 oz veal loin (from a calf raised by its mother, if possible), 2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, 1 tsp heavy cream, 2 “farm fresh” free-range chicken eggs, 1 small pat butter, 1 tsp flour, 2 tbsp breadcrumbs, 1 tbsp grapeseed oil, 1 tiny pinch salt, ¼ turn of pepper mill
- Start by preparing the meat mixture. Wash the parsley under running water and shake it well. Remove the leaves from the stem and cut them up with scissors.
- Dice the veal and place it in the blending bowl along with the parsley and heavy cream. Add the egg. Pulse 3 times, stirring between each pulse with a spatula, to obtain a fine, dense mixture. Season lightly. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.
- Line 3 bowls up in a row. Place the flour in the first bowl. Break an egg in the second and beat it. Place the breadcrumbs in the third.
- When the meat mixture is cool, form it into little “pucks” (flattened meatballs) with the palms of your hands. Pick up each puck with a fork and dip it in the flour, then in the egg, and finally in the breadcrumbs, tapping it each time on the edge of the bowl to remove any excess ingredient. Set the pucks aside.
- Heat a small pat of butter and a tablespoon of grapeseed oil in a frying pan over medium heat. When it starts to bubble, reduce the heat, and brown the pucks on both sides. And the veal cakes are ready to be munched on by little chompers!
Button Mushroom Purée
Ingredients: 3.5 oz button mushrooms, 1 small Yukon potato, 1.2 lemon, 2 tbsp crème fraiche, 1 tiny pinch of salt
*If you have any trouble finding crème fraiche, it is extremely easy to make using only 2 tbsp buttermilk and 1 cup heavy cream (combine and let it sit for 12 hours, and voila! You’re done. This can be refrigerated for up to a week).
- Trim the mushrooms base. Clean them in lemon water. Rinse under running water and dry in strainer.
- Wash the potato, peel, and dice. Wash again.
- Place mushrooms and potato in steamer basket with splash of lemon juice and cook for 15 minutes (water level 3).
- Throw the cooking juices away and transfer to blender. Pulse 3 times, adding the crème fraiche little by little between each pulse to obtain a savory puree. Salt to taste.
I personally whipped up about 8 recipes already from BabyCook Book using my Beaba BabyCook Pro, but I’ll share just one more favorite recipe our baby food dinner that we’ve enjoyed many times since. In fact, last night after dinner, my ten year old asked for Fun Dip for dessert. When we thought that was a bit too much sugar so close to bedtime, she remembered the Watermelon Granite that we had, and instantly wanted that more than candy. Luckily this one eats like a tasty, fresh ice slushee that is easily stored in the freezer, waiting for dessert time to roll around on any given evening.
Watermelon Granite (8 months and up)
Ingredients: 1 slice of watermelon, 2 or 3 drops of lemon, 3.4 fl oz mineral water, 4 tsp fine sugar
- Use 1 slice of watermelon, cutting fruit from the rind, and removing the seeds. Cut into pieces, pulse once.
- Pour mineral water and sugar into small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat when mixture reaches a boil, and mix in watermelon and drops of lemon juice.
- Pour into glass and place in the freezer for a minimum of 30 minutes. Remove and scrape with fork before serving for a “granite” effect!
My Official Beaba BabyCook Pro Review
My overall experience with the Beaba BabyCook Pro was one of delight. Everything that came out of it was either steamed or chopped with perfection. The cooker took up barely any of my precious (and by precious, I mean small) counter space, and was generally speaking, idiot-proof. For leftovers, I used the Beaba ice cube tray to freeze for later use (the cups are made of soft silicone for an easy pop), as well one of their food storage containers. I found the product to be one of quality, as well worth its while, as I’ve used it many times, and I’m not yet preparing solids for my daughter. Fun secret: You don’t really need to have a baby to make use of this. It holds a variety of uses, and effectively makes bulky food processors obsolete.
Some additional great features:
- One-handed operation and one-touch open and close
- The ability to prepare up to 18 servings of baby food at one time
- 4-in-1 capability in one baby food maker, offering steam, blend, defrost, and reheat options
To learn more about the Beaba BabyCook Pro and its accompaniments, as well get some great recipes, visit www.beabausa.com.
*Beaba provided me with a portion of the materials used for this post for review. All impressions and experiences in this post are 100% my own.
Written by Samantha Sendor