September 18, 2010

Soccer Saturday and Korean BBQ Sliders

Ahhhhhh Saturday.  The morning sun rises, the foggy marine layer breaks and like any self-respecting SoCal mother, I am sitting at the soccer fields by 8:15 a.m..  Showered and lip stick on. It's my middle dude's game and at this level of play in his league, no one keeps score.  Except, of course, the Horseman, so called because he was born in the year of the horse, and every other little dude playing soccer on that field.  The Horseman (featured above) scored two goals today.  Way to go Horseman!

Then we head over across town to Soda's game with Coach Dad.  At this level, I am happy if he 1) stays on the field and 2) kicks the ball in the right direction.  Here is the highlight:

Soda has spotted an opportunity to score, and he's on it.  I am screaming like a crazy woman with her hair on fire.
He's goin'...

goin'... (I'm getting hoarse now)

he shoots and he scores! "Good job Soda!" I yell, "Next time, kick it in the other goal!"
So it wasn't our team's net.  But whose keeping score-really?

So you know how yesterday I said I'd be shredding last night's leftovers from the "Simply Roast Chicken" for homemade tacquitos?  Guess what?  I forgot the kids had a birthday party and we we're all invited. Which means The Good Food Fairy was off the hook for dinner.  We had a fabulous time at our friends house and ate some very tasty sliders (the mini hamburgers) which had a zinging sweet note.  

I thought I'd be stealth and do some undercover investigation (I asked the man bbqing) to find out what he put in his ground beef...and he told me a riveting foodie tale about watching his mother marinade short ribs with a traditional Korean marinade -- soy sauce, garlic, sesame seed oil and sugar.  He told me how he liked to see what she marinated her meats with but didn't like her being at home.  I then asked "Why did you not like your mother being home? and he said because in high school a guy doesn't want his mom at home, so he can, you know and I said "hang out?" and he said "yeah, and stuff" and I said, "well that's exactly why your mom was at home."  Of course my boys will never feel that way about me, right?!

 He marinated the ground beef with the traditional Korean BBQ marinade.  Does that mean he mixed it all in and let it sit wrapped in the fridge?  Dang it!  I didn't ask.  The mini patties were barbecued, served up on halved dinner rolls and topped with bacon, sauteed red onions and crumbled blue cheese!  Ohh la la.  After a day on the soccer fields the Korean BBQ sliders hit the spot.  The Good Food Fairy will just have to fly on to tomorrow where left over roast chicken will be waiting for it's tacquito transformation. 

September 17, 2010

Simply Roast Chicken

(*Prep time: 20 minutes; Cook time: 1 hr and 30 min.)

Not only do the boys love this dish, but this golden delicious bird is the gift that keeps on giving or the dinner that keeps on dinnering.  Tonight we feasted on chicken with warm tortillas, pico de gallo, grated cheddar and corn on the cob...tomorrow, I'll shred the left over meat and serve up some homemade taquitos with Spanish rice and guacamole!  And if I really have it together (no guarantees), I'll make some stock for an Italian stew.  We'll see where we're at with life on Sunday--it might be a frozen pizza.

First, locate an 8 x 8 glass baking or corning ware dish. 

Get the salt ready.  We're going to be massaging this chicken and our hands will get dirty, so it's best to have salt standing by in a small bowl accessible for double dipping.

Then go for a short stroll in the beautiful morning sun and pop in at your friend's house.  Have a short, pleasant chat with her and pick some lemons together.  Or, you know, go for a short drive in the beautiful morning sun an pop into the store and buy a few.  Either way, we need lemons.

O.k. Let's get down to business.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

And here is our pretty roaster. A roaster is a chicken between 3 1/2 and 7 lbs., about 8 months old and has a higher fat content than a fryer.  More fat, more flavor.  Now don't wig out, this is all in relative chicken terms.  Rinse it inside and out.

Pat it dry.

Start the chicken on its oil rub down.  I use techniques I gleaned from a past infant massage class.  Works like a charm.  Rub oil all over the skin--top and sides.  Use your fingers to scissor under the skin, stand the chicken on its neck end and pour oil underneath the skin. 

Using sea salt, we're gonna sorta brine the chicken without all that soaking in salt water stuff.  Rub salt all over the skin and under it directly onto the breast and thigh meat .


Cut two lemons in half.  Squeeze lemon juice all over the skin and again, underneath the skin. The acid of the lemon juice is what makes the skin of the chicken brown so nicely.

Cut a third lemon into eighths and stuff em' in.  Now our bird is ready for the oven...

in it goes, 350 degrees for 1 hour and 30 minutes give or take.  If you have a convection fan, turn it on.  It will circulate the warm air for even roasting and faster cooking.

When that beautiful aroma of roast chicken starts to waft through the house, go ahead and take a look.  It should be about 15 to 20 more minutes. Check for doneness clear juices by poking in between the breast and thigh. Yummy juices will trickle out.  Are they clear?  Yes?  Then it's time to come out of the oven. (160 degrees on an instant read thermometer)  Cover with foil and let the bird rest for at least 15 minutes.  By letting the bird rest, it will relax and reabsorb some of its juices.

Ring the dinner's time to eat!

 *Gluten Free option
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hr & 30 minutes

  • 4 - 6 lb. whole chicken (organic or free-range if possible)
  • 3           lemons
  • 2 - 3  T. olive oil (or as needed)
  • 2 - 3 T. kosher or sea salt (or as needed)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Locate a glass or ceramic baking dish that snugly fits the chicken.
  2. PREP CHICKEN: Take the chicken out of its packaging.  Remove the neck and giblets from inside the chicken. RINSE the chicken thoroughly inside and out.  Place the chicken in baking dish and pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
  3. Massage the the skin--top and sides--with roughly half of the olive oil.  Finger your way underneath the skin of the chicken, scissoring  to separate the skin from the meat.  Rub the remaining olive oil under the skin--over the breasts and thighs--and inside the cavity.
  4. Massage the skin --top, sides and underneath--with the salt.  Rub a large pinch of salt in the cavity as well
  5. Cut two lemons in half and douse the skin--top and sides, and along the rim of the chicken's cavity.  Stand the chicken on its end and, holding the skin open with one hand, squeeze lemon juice over the breasts and thighs underneath.
  6. Set the chicken, breast side up, in the baking dish.  Cut the a third lemon into eighths and stuff them into the cavity of the chicken.
  7. Roast for about 1 hour and 30 minutes (with convection on for even roasting).  Begin checking on it when you smell the chicken's roasting aroma.  
  8. The chicken is finished roasting when it's juices run clear with no trace of pink.  To check juices, poke the chicken's skin with a paring knife or skewer between the thigh and breast.  Juices will spill out, they should be clear.
  9. Cover the chicken with foil and let it rest and reabsorb its juices for 15 minutes.
Serving ideas: 1) Warm tortillas (corn tortillas for Gluten-free),  pico de gallo and shredded cheddar; 2) Brown rice and Italian green beans; 3) Mashed potatoes and spinach salad.

    September 16, 2010

    Gluten Free Pantry

    This may look like an add for Bob's Red Mill, but it's not.  Bob is one of the only brands that has a dedicated Gluten Free line of flours.  I have found that I like a combination of four flours for my GF baking.  Here's what you'll need to buy or order to get started: 1) Brown Rice flour; 2) Garbanzo Fava flour or just Garbanzo flour, 3) Potato Flour (not starch) and 4) Tapioca Flour.  So here's what each flour does...


    BROWN RICE FLOUR -- Brown rice flour is a whole grain flour and therefore, nutritious. It does not have a vegetal bite or after taste.  I use this for the bulk of flour in my GF baking recipes. Adds fiber, iron and protein.

    GARBANZO FAVA FLOUR -- Garbanzo Fava or Garbanzo Flour is just that dried, ground garbanzo beans.  It does have a bit of a vegetal bite in baking that you have to be careful of, but adds a fair bit of protein.  I use this flour as a supplemental flour in baking for texture and protein,  breading chicken tenders and pizza crust.  Adds protein, fiber, iron and calcium.

    POTATO FLOUR -- It gives sponge.  But a little Potato flour goes a long way, because as it stirs in, the starches get working and it thickens up.  This is also a good thickener for GF roux's.  Adds protein, fiber, Vitamin C and Iron.

    TAPIOCA FLOUR -- Tapioca flour adds a lightness to help counteract the denseness that GF baking can tend towards.

    Now round up at least four of these.  A big one for brown rice flour.  I bought these clear OGGI cannisters from Bed Bath and Beyond.  I use the 8" diameter x 8 " height for brown rice and 5 " dia x 8" height for the others.  With clear I can see what the flour is.  It was a nightmare with ceramic, I couldn't see anything.

    Here's what gives rise to my GF baking!  Gluten is the elastic-like mesh that rises our common breads and pizzas when yeast or the like rise up underneath it.  I use aluminum free, to cut out as many heavy metals my kids ingest as possible.  With a kid on the autism spectrum, I'm just more vigilant about those things...use whatever you have.

    Sweeteners.  Aren't they pretty?  For The Good Food Fairy's GF recipes you'll need maple syrup, honey, sugar and maple agave, if you can find it.  Agave comes from the Agave cactus.  Maple agave is much lighter on the maple flavor than maple syrup and sometimes using a liquid sweetener as opposed to sugar,  produces more of a moist crumb.

    Now your ready to bake up some magic of your own!

    "Magic" Moment # 1: GATORADE?

    So we're driving.  The boys and I.  And it's a beautiful day, for our neck of the woods.  Bright, sunny, my oldest has the Beach Boys playing on the car speakers.  Just cruisin' home and my middle dude calls out over Wish they all could be Californian...

    "IS THIS GATORADE?"   I yell back, "I DON'T KNOW," as there are a plethora of things in the car whose origins I know nothing about.  That's when Soda, the youngest, yells out, "NO, IT'S PEE!"

    This exchange all taking place, mind you, at the top of our lungs over: ...wish they all could be Californian girrrrrllllssss...while I'm still driving.  Do I think much of it?  No, of course not, Soda thinks it's hilarious to drop this, his favorite word, into any conversation.  But then it dawns on me: Soda had been playing in the car for a mysterious amount of time yesterday...and a couple weeks ago, I caught him using a funnel he had found to facilitate his stream into the toilet...DANG IT TO ALL HECK!!!  Now, what to do.  I did what any mother of my generation would do...

     I checked the thermos to see if it was recyclable -- which it was -- emptied it's contents in the dirt...

    Trotted it out to the Recyclables garbage can, went back into the house and  began to expound to Soda why we do not pee in a soccer thermos, put the lid back on and leave it in the car.  Ahhhhh, the magic moments!  It's what life's all about...right?

    September 15, 2010

    Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

    When my oldest son was on a gluten-free / casein-free diet, I didn't want him to feel like he couldn't have wonderful, warm freshly baked cookies like any other kid. So I set to work adapting and experimenting and whala! Gluten-free chocolate chip cookies.

    makes 2 dozen
    • 1 1/2 c. (6.75 oz.) brown rice flour 
    • 1/2 c. (2.5 oz.) garbanzo bean or garb-fava flour
    • 1 T. tapioca flour
    • 1 T. potato flour
    • 1 T. flax seed meal
    • 1/2 t. salt
    • 1 t. baking soda 
    • 1/2 c. butter or non-dairy substitute, softened
    • 1/4 c. pure maple syrup
    • 2/3 c. maple agave syrup
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 t. vanilla
    • 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, flax seed meal, salt and baking soda and set aside. 
    3. In another bowl, whip the butter or substitute. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then add the maple syrup, maple agave syrup and vanilla and mix until well combined. 
    4. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients until well combined and stir in the chocolate chips. 
    5. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for 7 to 9 minutes.

    Tender Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-free): The Start of Something Wonderful

                                                                                             Photo by Stephanie Ghiya
    After three SOLID months of summer, the kids have returned to school.  Even Soda, our youngest (as he sometimes prefers to be called), is off to pre-kinder as well.  For the first time in 11 years, my mornings are free.  So what do you do?  Of course, I pondered career paths, researched advanced degree programs, mapped out my life with full time-line diagram, etc., and drove the fam out to a nearby college campus...So Monday morning, I hung with Soda at the playground until his teacher called the children in; got in the SUV and decided to...come home, make a batch of Gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and start a blog.  Geronimo!

    (Recipe to follow...after scouts!)