February 19, 2011

Pickle Popsicle

"The pickle," my knight often says, "is very healthy."  Now I have not sought out any research on the subject, but I'd be willing to bet that may be  a stretch.  Ok, ok, for the sake of my marriage, I will say "in moderation."  But, my knight, bless his heart, can eat three or four with one tuna sandwich.  Consequently we often have a large empty pickle jar full of pickle juice laying around on the kitchen counter.  Soda, who follows in his father's footsteps, loves pickles as well and takes the idea of "re-use" to a whole new level with the invention of his pickle popsicle.  Now a staple at our house....in the words of Soda, here's how it's done...

You take the pickles out...

You put the juice in the freezer.  Then when it's freezed, it's ready.  Eat it with a spoon.  

There it is folks...a savory popsicle!  cheap, resourceful, gluten-free, dairy-free, easy and pickle-lover friendly.


The Good Food Fairy

February 17, 2011


Once upon a time, I thought I knew everything.  And as all fairy tales start, this too starts at Disneyland.  Thought I had learned all there was to learn.  I couldn't possibly imagine what there was left to learn.  Love, truth, nature, beauty, 19 century British History, not to mention how to lead the triple step and the fox trot as seen above.  Yup that's me bustin' a swing move at the Carnation plaza (well near it anyway) with my back to ya...did I mention Love?

--Then I got married, woke up three days into my honeymoon and realized, I didn't know anything.  Especially Love.  "You were like, what, twelve?" my former coworker Darlene said.  Real funny.  "Just about," I said.  And we laughed.  Me kind of and her really laughing.  Getting married kind of made me feel like a twelve year-old pip-squeak again looking up at all of these giant things I needed to learn.  Except mom wasn't in the room down the hall  Plus there's the initial mechanics of the whole thing that never seem to make it into the hours of girlhood fantasizing like, do I shut the door when I go to the bathroom when going number two or leave it open to promote closeness??  Do I lock the door when I wax  or do it right out in front of him nonchalantly?  Whose gonna make the bed?  He doesn't expect me to do his laundry...does he???

--Then I had a baby and, well, with the ten people in the delivery room only two of which I knew by name (one being my husband)...any inhibitions I may have had flew right out the window.  Suddenly questions about mechanics just don't seem relevant anymore.

--A month after we had Black-Foot Boony (his pirate name), my husband gave me one of many wonderful birthday presents (November, Scorpio).  We were sitting on the blue Ikea rug in our family-student housing bungalow, our little three-week old pup asleep and he handed me a UC study abroad packet...to Sienna, Italy.  "What's this," I asked.  We had no money as we were students in our last year of college.  "For your present we are going to study abroad in Italy spring quarter.  We will both apply and whoever gets in will allow us to go...but if we both get in you will take Italian and I will stay in the apartment and watch the baby.  On afternoons and weekends we will see Italy."

And I did.

And we did.  

And he did.  

The only thing I can say about Italy is that it is where we created our own style of being together away from moms and friends.  Some day we will live there.  Some day.

We graduated college.  Much to my mom's relief.

--Law school was next and my first venture as Stay-at-home Mom.  Homemaker.  Domestic Engineer.  CEO of the fam.  In South Central Los Angeles.  Bars on everything.  And  a guy who would collect cans out of the dumpster in the alley outside our bedroom window and proceed to crush them at six 0'clock every morning.  I learned that being a stay at home mom was the hardest thing I had ever done and tried to think of ways to get back into school.

--Then came the Horseman...talking the moment he popped out.  And with the Horseman, law school graduation.

--Then came Soda.  Well, Soda wasn't really planned.  There's a story there, for another time.

        --A house finally, with a big oven.

And through it all, I cooked dinner.  I can still remember what we ate on that hand-me-down drafting table in student housing that night he gave me Italy for my birthday.

Love & Stuff,

The Good Food Fairy



Waffle iron
Corn Meal                                                           Buttermilk or non-dairy milk & cider vinegar
Brown Rice Flour  or All Purpose Flour             Maple syrup
Baking Powder                                                    2 eggs
Baking Soda                                                        Butter or margarine (I use Earth Balance)
Salt                                                                       Lemon juice
Filling of choice: lemon whipped cream, berries, sorbet

2 mixing bowls.  Big one for dry ingredients, small one for the wet.

Measure out a cup of corn meal, a cup of flour (either Brown Rice Flour for gluten-free or All Purpose Flour otherwise), 2 t. baking powder, 1/2 t. baking soda and 1/2 t. salt. 

Whisk together thoroughly.  Now for the wet ingredients...so I get my small bowl...

and add 2 cups of buttermilk or 2 cups of a non dairy substitute and 2 t. cider vinegar if you're making them non-dairy.

!/4 cup maple syrup for the sweetener.

Now for separating eggs.  If it's a get-out-the-door-in-5-minutes kinda morning, then I skip this step and just crack two eggs into the wet ingredients.  But it's a special occasion and I want to really go all out, so I'm separating the egg yolks from the whites.  This egg separator makes it really easy.  The most important thing about separating egg is not to get any yolk into the whites or the whites won't stiffen into peaks.  

Add the yolks and 6 tablespoons of butter to the wet ingredients and whisk it real good.

Time to beat the egg whites.  Why do we do this?  Well for the extra air it gives us with using so much cornmeal and especially if using Brown Rice flour as well.  Since gluten-free flours don't rise like AP flour, remember corn meal is also a gluten-free grain, then aerating the egg whites is another method of leavening.  

The egg whites will start like this, then end up like...

this.  Stiff peaks, but not dried out.

We're gettin' close so this is where I fire up the waffle iron.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and give it a quick whisk...don't over mix.  

Fold in the egg whites.  Make sure not to work them over too much, we want to keep that fluffiness.  

A tablespoon or two of lemon juice.  Gently mix in.

Scoop enough batter so it comes to within a quarter of an inch of the edge on the first or second setting. one: for more soft, two: for more crunching.  This batter browns quickly on anything past two.  While it cooks I  think about fillings for the boys' waffle sandwiches...today whipped cream and strawberries and raspberry sorbet...  

Waffles are done!  Now for a woman's touch, because my house needs it.

First I cut them into quarters, then take out the little top center bit to make hearts.

Then with sliced strawberries and...

fresh whipped cream I layer whipped cream first (so the berries will stick) then the berries, whipped cream berries.  This morning I whipped a cup of heavy cream adding about three spoonfuls of sugar and a couple teaspoons of lemon juice before before whipping.   Orange juice would be fun to try instead of the lemon since orange goes so well with strawberry.  Ah, next time.

And for those who want a dairy-free option, add a scoop of your favorite berry sorbet for ice cream sandwiches!  It makes breakfast so special for the kids...

and mom and dad, too!

(gluten-free option)

1 cup     cornmeal
1 cup     brown rice or all purpose flour
2 t.         baking powder
1/2 t.      baking soda
1/2 t.       salt
2 c.        buttermilk or non-dairy milk with 2 t. cider vinegar
1/4 c.      maple syrup
6 T.        butter or margarine, melted
2             eggs, separated
1 T.        lemon juice
1.  Measure out dry ingredients into a big mixing bowl.  Thoroughly whisk together and set aside.
2.  Separate egg yolks from whites.  Whip whites just until stiff peaks form.
3.  Preheat waffle iron on first or second setting.  Melt butter.
4.  Measure out buttermilk, syrup, butter and lemon juice.  Whisk together.  Whisk in egg yolks.  Then pour wet ingredients over dry and mix just until dry ingredients have all been incorporated.  Do not over mix.
5.  Fold in egg whites until just combined.
6.  Spoon enough batter onto the waffle iron to cover 3/4 of the iron.  Cook according to waffle iron's instructions.
7.  Split waffles into fourths and cut out a bit of the top center to form a heart.  Fill with sorbet or whipped cream and berries.

February 13, 2011

Night Before Valentine's Poem

T'was the night before Valentine's day and all through the house...
the family was sick /  sleeping / and / or sitting next to mom whispering "can I watch an episode of batman", "can I play video games on your computer" , "there needs to be a picture of you--can I take your picture?" , "I want to write something on the blog can I write a column?" !!! 

I in my fuzzy pink socks--pa was in bed snoring since late afternoon--had just settled down to the couch thinking, "tomorrow is Valentines day...I had had big plans! (Martha Stewart valentines, favorite candy bars...other things I have forgotten)...starting a tradition...everything prepared three days in advance...

--Just in case you were feeling like a bad mom tonight
Dinner was every-man-for-himself (not totally excluding afore-shown valentine sweethearts) and I thought, "I will try to get up at 5 or maybe six-thirty, tomorrow morning and clean the kitchen and do heart shaped waffles."   I miss those corn waffles.  Those maple-syrup sweetened corny waffles...

And if I do not...Do not breathe a word of it to anyone!