October 08, 2010


My mission is to find a good gluten-free pizza dough that is good and doesn't have 4 million ingredients.  I conducted the first experiment this week.  Results are as follows: this first gluten-free pizza dough recipe had great flavor, some good sponge, but it dried the mouth.  Not bad for a first try.  But it's not there yet.  That would be too easy.  The ingredients were:
Yeast Mixture:  
1 c. water, warmed
1 T. honey
1/2 T. cider vinegar

2 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. garbanzo / fava flour
1 T.   potato flour
1 T.   Tapioca flour

I let it rise for 30 minutes, patted the dough out on a pre-heated pizza stone (sprinkled with cornmeal), lightly floured the dough slab and gently rolled it out the rest of the way.  I added toppings and baked.  the pizza was ready in 9 minutes.  The experiments continue for a simple, yummy, not-mouth-drying  gluten-free pizza dough.  It is time to investigate other cultures cuisines for flat bread made form gluten-free flours--polenta comes to mind.  The quest continues...

October 07, 2010


Today, the GOOD FOOD fairy needed to get out on the road...she needed freedom...she needed to get out of the house, get out of town --Get outta Dodge!  I've just  finished reading Ranky Florke's decorating book called Your House, Your Home.  He is a Farmhouse man -- restoring, decorating and selling-- and he is a thrifter!  His motto is Economy, Comfort and Color.  So armed with some of his suggestions for thrifting and as we are in need of a couple things for the house, I go out thrifting.  
My sister told me yesterday, "Get out of the big city, things are too picked through.  Go out to where there's no one...where there are old people.  There you will find some good junk."  
I had one address for a thrift shop for a smaller town about 20 minutes away.  On the way, I came across a Goodwill I'd never visted and did a walk-through, but a Lady there at the art informed me that Goodwill's prices have "gone up!"  So I hop in the car and down the street I find an architectural  salvage store., but the prices are too high--not what I'm looking for.  
Now I head out towards my thrift shop address.  Farther and farther out of town I drive until I find this little Women's club with a sign for their thrift shop.  Bingo!  I park and head over to a jumble of things set out and right off see a perfect big basket with straps and two end red wooden end tables with potential.  I hear a pleasant voice with a sweet Germanic accent say, ""Anything you want from this pile you can have.  I've got to get rid of it before the next shipment comes."     I tell her that I'll take the basket and two red tables and she thinks for a minutes and says, would it be ok if you payed a dollar for each?  I told her that would be fine indeed.  
Then I enter the little store buzzing with cheerful, healthy white haired ladies.  I start looking at all of the plates and glass and right off I see the two green glass salt and pepper shakers.  I turn to the lady next to me and say, "These are beautiful!"  She says, "Those are depression era glass. Look it has a marking on the bottom."  I look round the store and make my way to the cashier desk--the hub of the ladies and they see my depression era green glass shakers for three dollars each and they start buzzing.
Lady behind the counter: "Ooo those are a depression era glass..."
Lady in Apron: "I used to have a whole set of that depression era glass ware...
Lady shopper peeking over:"I need to go get my other glasses so I can see right now that we're getting into depression era antiques."
Lady behind the counter: "Three dollars for each and two dollars for the tables. That's 8 dollars."
Lady in Apron: "Your getting real antiques today."

So there you have it.  I found two end tables for two dollars.  They may need a coat of paint, but for two dollars...a basket and depression era shakers!  Don't they look great on the counter? Did Tostadas, Spanish Rice and corn for dinner.  What did you all do for dinner tonight?

October 05, 2010


When I had all of my young boys, I thought: I will specialize!  I will teach them nobility, kindness, manners, culture, strength and French.  In short, I will teach them how to be civilized Gentlemen.  I took them to the track.  I taught them tennis.  We watched The Sound of Music (multiple times).  We had our own summer French ecole downstairs.  And we cooked.  So in our house they each have to...

play a sport / s and choose...

an instrument.  And Boonie, my big guy, has chosen the cello.  A very promising instrument in terms of civilizing and softening the heart.  And today was his weekly lesson with his wonderful teacher.

And as he is playing I begin to muse about how I love his teacher and the Suzuki philosophy of teaching children music.  I begin to think about Dr. Suzuki's quotes about how we are not in the business of creating Julliard musicians, but we are in the business of creating beautiful souls.  I begin to picture Boonie playing in a big orchestra.  Maybe wooing a sweet girl with his cello.  

A cute Charlie Brown character appears in the background, pacified by the music.  I am beginning to feel like these wild, crazy boys may have a chance after all at blossoming into fine young gentlemen and it is precisely at this point, when Boonie's wonderful teacher and I are smiling and watching him play with such ease of talent and feeling that he some how manages to...

Blow a stream of spit up and arch it back over his face and hair.  If I hadn't seen it myself, I would never believe it were possible.  I let out a gasp of horror.  He simply said: That is how I cool myself down.  His wonderful cello teacher and  I looked at each other.  What could I say?  That's my boy!

P.S. -- Experiments with Gluten-Free Pizza Crust are moving along.  Looking to post tomorrow!

October 04, 2010


So after a myriad of events this afternoon--most notably would be the cello end pin debacle--we finally ate our homemade gourmet pizza at 7:30 this evening.  Early by Spanish standards of course, but a little late by the Good Food fairy's clock.  And yes, this is a recipe made with unbleached All-Purpose flour, but tomorrow, we will experiment with gluten-free flours.  So here's how it all ended up for today...

I preheated the pizza stone, dusted with cornmeal, in the oven at 450 degrees.

I picked some of summer's last tomatoes for our pizza sauce.  Along with some decent store-bought specimens I had in the fridge, the number of tomatoes came to 9.

So I carved out the stem and...

scored the bottom with a paring knife and each of the nine tomatoes went for a flying leap into...

a pot of boiling water for about 20 seconds.  Out of the boiling water and into...

the ice bath.  This stops their cooking.  Then out again onto the cutting board to be 

skinned and...

diced.  Or you can use between 2 and 4 - 28 oz cans of diced tomatoes in juice.

Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and heat it until shimmering when you tilt the oil around the pan.  Add your diced tomatoes, 6 cloves of minced garlic, handful of chopped parsley, 2 times chopped oregano, a few basil leaves, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, sea salt to taste and red pepper flakes to taste. Reduce over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until...

the tomatoes break down.  Now, if you or those you feed do not like chunks...if chunks induce a gag reflex among those you feed, then throw it in the blender and hit puree for a couple seconds.  

I split my dough into two balls and rolled out one pizza pie for the kids and one for the grown-ups.

Both pizzas received a generous dollop of sauce and a drizzle of olive oil around the naked crust for golden brown crust.

Sliced crimini mushrooms, a generous sprinkling of red pepper flakes and pieces of uncured (no-nitrate) black forest ham for the grown - up pizza and...

cheese for the kids.  Two kinds of cheese for both pizzas...we like monterey jack and sharp cheddar with a little parmigiano reggiano on top.

Onto the lower rack it goes for about 8 to 10 minutes depending on how high you pile your toppings.

Pizza is served.  Tune in tomorrow when I complete the pizza saga by experimenting with gluten-free dough.  Same sauce, same toppings or whatever we have in the fridge tomorrow!
Until tomorrow...


Warm 1 1/3 cups water (about 315 ml.) to bath water temperature.  About 35 seconds in the microwave.

Add a packet of active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons) to the warmed water and...

a tablespoon of honey.  The yeast needs food!  Set this aside for 5 - 10 minutes.

Fit your mixer with the kneading hook attachment.  Or: rub your joints and prepare to knead.

Add 3 & 1/2 to 3 & 3/4 cups of flour to a bowl. Fluff the flour with your measuring cup before you scoop.  

Throw in a tablespoon of salt and...

2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Time to check the yeast.

Awesome.  Our yeast water is foamy and smells like bread.  This is called proofing yeast.

Mix by hand or by machine (on low) until combined.  Then knead by hand (8 minutes) or by mixer with dough hook ( 8 minutes).  Until the dough is...

Smooth and elastic.  If dough's too sticky, knead in 1 /4 cup of flour.  

Transfer the dough to a bowl coated with olive oil. Roll that dough ball around to coat with oil as well.  Cover with plastic wrap and since today, Monday, is a Day of Laundry...

I am going to let the dough rise on the dryer which is tumbling clothes dry at the moment.  Dough likes a draft-free place like our garage and it really likes gyrating on that warm dryer.  An hour and a half later...

The dough is ready to be kneaded a few more times, wrapped in plastic wrap and ...

put in the fridge.  Since I have six hours until dinner, the cool fridge will store the dough safely and slow the yeast down from rising out of control.

Time to pick  up the boys...sauce is coming up next!


Ahhhhh.  Monday.  Day of Laundry.  Day of Groceries.  Day of Haircuts (at least, this Monday).  Day of putting back all the lightsabers, legos and yes, my Knight's work-out bench and menagerie of weights laying on the living room floor left all over from the weekend.   But today...we have our first AUTUMN DAY.  We have rain!  Well, drizzle.  Mist.  Sixty-degree temperatures.  Which is perfect weather for some indoor baking.  Will this mean cookies, a pie, a tart, bread...The GOOD FOOD fairy is feeling a taste dawn on her palate.  It is a taste for PIZZA!  Homemade gourmet pizza!  
Chef Teri, from my days at the culinary school, admonished us to make this yeast dough the night  before and let it rise in the fridge over night.  Well my friends, we are thinking about dinner in advance, but not that in-advance, so we will get it started now!  First, you will need...

A pizza stone.  
You can use the bottom of a baking sheet turned upside down...I did do this for ten years. But a pizza stone, changed my life! (Thanks Mom)  The crust turns out perfectly crisped and golden.  The pizza is not soggy.  They are inexpensive and can be found at Target or Bed, Bath and Beyond for between $15 and $30. We will also need...

To dust your stone or  baking sheet's surface.  This way, your beautiful pizza will not stick and, unlike other flours, cornmeal does not burn.
Be back in a jiff with the first part of the recipe!