Five homemade baby food recipes from a Philadelphia chef and parent

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Tyler Akin, chef-partner of Le Cavalier at Hotel Du Pont, shares nutrient-dense recipes that will satisfy your little one’s appetite.


Five homemade baby food recipes from Tyler Akin from Le Cavalier at Hotel Du Point. / Photography via Getty Images.

“I’m New at This” is Be Well Philly’s bi-weekly series for new parents and parents-to-be. This educational resource covers the ins and outs of preparing for the arrival of a little one and caring for them – and yourself – with insights and advice from local experts. The tips presented in “I’m New to This” are recommendations, and we believe in pursuing methods and approaches that work best for your unique family. Do you have a question you would like to see answered? Email Be Well editor Laura Brzyski at [email protected]


Tyler Akin knows how to wow critics and diners alike. The current chief partner of The horseman at Hotel du Pont in Wilmington was also behind former Philadelphia restaurants Res Ipsa and Stock. But his latest audience is perhaps the most critical of them all: his youngest daughter Sophie, now 18 months old.

Akin had noticed that even high-end and seemingly “better quality” shelf-stable baby foods were lacking. So he decided to do better, by researching and experimenting with ingredients and nutrients suitable for toddlers. “Cooking without salt and honey goes against your instincts as a professional chef in the first place,” he says. “I had a lot of fun seeing how far I could kind of push the boundaries of spice. I would like to think [Sophie and I] planted the seeds of greater openness to new flavors. A cool part was encouraging him to eat it by eating it [myself]too.”

Below, Akin shares some of her most delicious and nutritious baby food recipes. He adds that as your baby transitions from purees to “chunky” foods, you can adjust the texture of recipes simply by changing the tools you use (consider using a Vitamix rather than mashing with a fork). Even better: You can easily multiply the quantities to make these recipes in bulk and freeze portions in ice cube trays.

Spring mix

1 cup peas (frozen or fresh)
1 cup zucchini, chopped
½ cup blueberries
6 mint leaves

Cut the zucchini into fork-sized sections and steam for four minutes. Add the peas to the steamer basket and steam for another four minutes. Add the steamed blueberries for a final minute. Transfer entire contents of steamer basket and mint leaves to a blender and puree until very smooth, adjusting with water for consistency.

Peaches and cream

1 peach
1 ounce of breast milk or formula
3 tablespoons whole grain baby oats, hydrated
½ cup sweet potato, peeled and diced
Fresh vanilla pod (seeds scraped from ¼ fresh vanilla pod)

Moisturize oats according to package. Peel the peach and cut it into quarters, taking care not to leave any fibrous parts around the pit. Roast the diced sweet potatoes and peach wedges at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for eight minutes or until the sweet potato is tender. Combine oats, peach, sweet potato and vanilla in a blender and puree until very smooth, adjusting with water for consistency.

pumpkin spice

2 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons of water
3 tablespoons whole grain barley, hydrated
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Add water to barley and let stand while roasting, boiling or steaming diced squash until very soft. (If roasting: 325 degrees Fahrenheit for eight minutes or until squash is tender.) Place squash, barley and spices in a blender and puree until smooth, adjusting with water for consistency.

Autumn Orchard Roast

2 ounces ground pork
1 apple, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
1 pear, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
2 figs, stems removed
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon thyme leaves

In a skillet over low-medium heat, cook the pork completely without browning it. Remove from skillet onto a paper towel-lined plate to drain off fat. In a 325 degree Fahrenheit oven, roast the pear, apple and figs for six to seven minutes or until tender. Combine cooked pork, roasted fruit, cardamom and thyme in a blender and puree until very smooth, adjusting with water for consistency.

banana pudding

1 banana, cut in half lengthwise
½ cup brown rice, cooked until tender
Fresh vanilla pod (seeds scraped from ¼ fresh vanilla pod)
½ cup carrot

In a 325 degree Fahrenheit oven, cook the carrot for seven minutes. Add the banana and cook for another three minutes. The carrot should be very tender and the timing will depend on the size of your dice. Combine the cooked carrot and banana with the cooked brown rice and vanilla in a blender and puree until smooth.