Greg Johnson, Chef & Father
Greg Johnson, a Seattle-based chef, filmmaker and father of two, was faced with a new cooking challenge when his first daughter, Finnley, turned 6-months-old: How to prepare fresh, organic solid food for his little one. Nothing gave him greater satisfaction than when Finnley took her first bite of the mashed yams he prepared and seemed to enjoy it. Johnson was hooked and started crafting fun and healthful ways to cook for kids and, more importantly, new techniques to make it easy on parents.
To share those ideas, Johnson worked with his business partners Adam Wood and Nels Walby to produce a DVD called Chef and Father. In the film, Johnson takes an informative, yet relaxed approach to teaching parents how to prepare homemade, all-natural toddler and baby-tested favorites in minutes, as well as wholesome meals that appeal to the entire family. "I am all about ingredients and easy cooking techniques that anyone can do," he shares.
A fixture at Seattle's farmers' markets, Johnson likes to cook what's in season. "I feel much better knowing the zucchini I am about to serve my family came from just an hour away that morning as opposed to spending weeks on planes and trucks coming all the way from South America or Mexico," he explains. He believes that anything his daughters eat should be able to be traced back to a natural product or animal-not a laboratory.
While Johnson focuses on making it easier for parents to cook for their kids (and themselves), he also aims to share with a new generation an appreciation of food, gardening and farms, as well as family and life lived at the table. "The table is the best place for conversations to flow and for ideas to formulate. To me, the table is everything," he reveals.
Johnson aspires to see people sharing recipes from generation to generation again and hopes that kids one day will pass right by fast food places and spend a little time at farmers' markets learning about food and the people who produce it. He's not so much about low-fat or low-calorie, but more about beautiful, natural, organic ingredients.
"I just try to do what feels right and hope to create some change in my own little way," he says.
Finnley's Super Muffins
“My daughter thinks she is eating just a muffin, but I know there is some beautiful stuff in there for her—all natural and organic ingredients, no processed anything,” and in this case, goji berries and agave nectar, natural anti-oxidants. If you can’t find goji berries at the supermarket, leave them out.
2 tablespoons goji berries
1/3 cup warm water
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup raisins
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Soak goji berries in warm water 3 minutes.
3. Combine eggs, oil, applesauce, sugar, agave nectar and vanilla extract in a bowl; whisk together. Whisk in goji berries and soaking water.
4. Add flour, baking soda and cinnamon. Mix well. Fold in zucchini and raisins just until mixed. Batter will be very heavy.
5. Coat cups of muffin tins with cooking spray. Spoon batter into cups, filling each one-half to three-fourths full. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until semi-firm to the touch. Makes 18 muffins.
Per serving: 200 calories, 7g fat, 45mg chol., 4g prot., 31g carbs., 160mg sodium.
“I came up with this recipe as a way to get eggs into a nice package so you can . . . oh, I don’t know, bring them up to mama in bed on a lazy Sunday morning.”-Greg Johnson
1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 egg white
2 (8-inch or 10-inch) flour tortillas
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Diced avocado (optional)
1. Heat a nonstick sauté pan, big enough to fit tortillas, over medium-low heat. Add oil. Add eggs, breaking yolks. Cook until eggs are set enough to flip, about 2 minutes. Flip; cook until eggs are done (over-hard), about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Wipe out pan.
2. Return pan to heat and increase heat to medium. Place one tortilla in pan. Sprinkle on half the cheese. Place cooked eggs over cheese. Top with remaining cheese and tortilla. Cook until bottom tortilla is a little brown and cheese starts to melt, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip with a spatula and brown the other side. Remove from pan. Transfer to cutting board. Cool 1 minute. Slice into wedges. Serve with salsa and diced avocado if using. Serves 2.
Per serving: 340 calories, 19g fat, 240mg chol., 19g prot., 25g carbs., 1g fiber, 570mg sodium.
To purchase Chef and Father click here
Words By: Charyn Pfeuffer
Recipes courtesy of Greg Johnson