Homemade Ricotta & Fava Beans for Isabella + Other Weekend Food

My friend Amy’s daughter Isabella turns one this week and we celebrated her birthday on Saturday. She’s exactly one month older than Enzo and a much better eater than him.
Don’t get me wrong, he will try anything you put near his mouth. Even things I don’t intend for him to eat, such as the edge of a table, coasters, the handle of a shopping cart, the soles of our shoes. Enzo still wants his foods mashed and pureed. Real solids get hamstered into his cheeks until he can’t hold them any longer, and then they end up in random places around the apartment. Or else he sprays them all over the himself, the table, into his crotch. The seat of his booster & high chairs are constantly in need of scraping.
Isabella is able to stuff her mouth with food and eat it like a regular human being.
I made her ricotta and fava beans, which is a pretty classic combo.
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For the ricotta you need good quality whole milk, vinegar, and salt.
About 1 quart of milk = 1 cup of cheese.
Bring milk to a simmer and add salt.
Add vinegar, about 2 Tbsp per quart. This is purely a guess, I have no idea how much I usually use.
Give a quick stir and let sit for about a minute, then strain through cheesecloth.
I stupidly tossed the leftover liquid, called whey, but you should save it as it’s super healthy and can be used for a variety of things.
Enzo did not like this concoction. However, I did roast some beets, and then I mashed them with some Martone cheese that we got in our Quinciple box this week. It’s a cheese made from goat and cow milk and isn’t that great on its own, but it’s a good “food” cheese to eat in a dish. He ate it up because beets are sweet. Surprise.
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That is my sandwich on the side, a healthy “California” sammy made with beefsteak tomato, avocado, sprouts, Gruyere, and mayo on multigrain toast. And an IPA to wash it down with.
On Sunday mornings, I let dad sleep in. Today I tried to let Enzo feed himself something other than Cheerios.
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The situation deteriorated quickly. Apparently this involves smashing all the fruit onto the tray, putting his mouth on the edge of it, then sweeping them onto the floor. Not wanting to waste the fruit (nectarines are so sweet right now!) I quickly salvaged some and fed him by hand.
For lunch we got pho at Thai Son. I ordered the Pho Ga (chicken noodle soup) because I figured shredded chicken would be easy for him. I chose poorly. The chicken I got was the pre-boiled old man ear chicken and he hated it. The broth was tasteless and I was mad for making us stray from our usual spot.
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We went to Chinatown Ice Cream Factory afterwards and I fed him black sesame & pandan ice creams because I’m a good mom.
We also got spicy cucumbers from Xi’an Famous Foods, which have a slight kick. So of course the kid ate some of those. What a weirdo.
Because we are moving out of our neighborhood in a few weeks, Ryan wants to do a “bucket list” restaurant tour of our favorite spots. We LOVE Speedy Romeo so we headed there tonight.
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To start, we ordered the grilled octopus in romesco sauce & housemade mozzarella crostini with watermelon gazpacho, grape tomatoes, and pickled cucumbers. I know what pickles are, these were pickled cucumbers.
Though the octopus was super tender & lightly smoky and the mozz was very soft, the kid wouldn’t swallow anything. He kept letting me feed him, but after a few minutes he’d SPPFFFFFFT all over himself and the seat.
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Then he tried to play ring toss with my pizza.
I don’t eat my crusts, so I gave them to him. He enjoyed the crap out of these until it came to swallow time. And then he spit them in his crotch.
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For dinner we were given white chocolate mousse with balsamic amaretti cookies at the bottom, topped with cherries. Also an olive oil cake with raspberry-rhubarb & orange zest. Kid ate all the fruit product and some of the cake. Of course. But at least he ate fruit, including the raspberry seeds.
I fear he is a little behind in the whole eating thing. I’m scared to let him really try to feed himself mostly because if he decides to throw something, it will land on books, photos, sofa, rug, and anything else within infant-tossing distance because our living room/dining room/play area are one and the same, and about 10×10. In short, there is just not enough room to make a food mess. Also, he is going through this casserole of nonsense right now. For real, they should call them wonder months and not weeks. We had a puke-mergency last night.
We are moving in a few weeks to a much larger apartment. I will have a real kitchen with real storage (there is ONE drawer in our kitchen right now) and real counter space. There’s a separate area for eating and a separate area for hanging out. There is room to put a GD tarp down to catch all the baby mess. We can eat together like a real family instead of placing the high chair in between our TV trays as we eat from the couch. Cannot wait, but I will be sad to leave this quiet, beautiful neighborhood, where I have been the past 8 years.
Until next time, keep grindin!

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