March 03, 2011

OUTING # 1: Brown Bagging it at The Gamble House

OUTING: The Gamble House
4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena, California 91103
It was on a day, much like today, a little drizzly and overcast, that I told my walking buddy, "I gotta get out of town..." and so we drove to the east--five minutes--ending up in the beautiful neighborhood of palatial craftsman houses behind the Rose Bowl to walk and have a change of scenery.  We talk slash walked under the soaring trees lining the street, rounded the corner and ended here! Cue angelic voices: AAAAAAAAHHHHH.  We did a little investigating and found that we had actually stumbled upon...

 The Gamble House.  "I've been wanting to see it," my buddy said and we vowed to return-showered--to tour and so we did...

We arrived on a sunny afternoon at the historic "ultimate" bungalow with our sack lunches in hand.  Tuesday is sack lunch day--so you can bring your lunch and eat in the backyard of the house. The Gamble House was built in 1908 for David and Mary Gamble--of Proctor and Gamble--by the famous Arts and Crafts architect brothers Charles and Henry Greene.

We walked up the front steps and inspected the beautiful very solid front doors.  The Arts and Crafts movement put great value on incorporating the hand made decorative arts...thus the intricate stained glass designs... 

One more it!

We made our way around back noticing the picture glass windows that sit almost right on the porch floor...the Greene brothers desired their ultimate bungalows to feel like the house had grown up out of the land, an extension of their garden and landscape--and designed these windows to bring nature in.

We noticed a lantern light fixture now familiar to us as arts and crafts...

And glancing up at the timbers and beams...

the house looks and feels so solid and strong and permanent and...isn't that what we all want to feel at home?  

A bit Swiss Family Robinson, too, do you see that...sort of an ultimate tree house??

We arrived in the back yard to eat lunch before our tour.  If you feel like that lantern gives off a Japanese vibe...your right, the Greene brothers admired Japanese architecture.   Something they bumped into in Chicago at the World's Columbian Exhibition on their way out to Pasadena...

Well, here we are.  In a shower of sunlight, the tables set out for us...peanut butter and jelly, sun chips and cuties...

The tour crowds start to gather at the side entrance, waiting for the docents.

We are told to ring the doorbell...the door opens and WAH! we step into a bit of history and one of the most well built homes in America.  

Isn't it amazing what adventures we can find in our own neighborhoods??

Even if the bungalow style doesn't sing to you personally--the Gamble House will make an impression.


the Good Food fairy

February 28, 2011

Chicken Strips

What child in America doesn't want chicken strips??  Boonie, my big guy, is no different.  So when he began a gluten-free diet, I set out to make all the foods he loved--gluten-free.  That meant chicken nuggets and these chicken strips pass the highest standard -- all three boys love them!

What you'll need:
boneless skinless chicken breasts
brown rice flour
garbanzo and fava bean flour
salt pepper
canola oil
lime (optional)

Wash and dry and trim the fat of five fully thawed boneless skinless chicken breasts.

We're gonna have to sacrifice a ziploc baggy to get our chicken breasts pounded to about 1/2 inch thickness.  Slip it inside the bag and pound out those frustrations with the flat side of the meat pounder.

The one on the left has not been pounded and the one on the right has been pounded.  Pound all of the breasts so that they are uniform in thickness.  This way they will cook uniformly and for the same amount of time. Cut each breast into strips.  I usually get four.

In one pie plate add 1/2 cup of brown rice flour and...

Garbanzo & Fava flour (Garbanzo flour is fine).

1 cup.

2 teaspoons salt...

2 tablespoons curry powder...hmmm...

and 1 teaspoon pepper.  Whisk it together--careful! so it doesn't all go spilling over the edge.

In a second pie plate add an egg...

3/4 cup buttermilk...we've been working through that buttermilk...

into the pie plate of wet stuff...

a tablespoon of canola oil

about a tablespoon of water...

and the juice of 1/2 a lime (if you don't have one, don't worry just keep going).  Whisk the wet stuff up really well.

Set up your assembly line of chicken strips, wet dip and flour dip.

Fork each strip a couple times so the wet dip will soak in.

Now we have to add about a 1/2 inch of canola oil (high-burning point oil--not olive) to a large stainless steel skillet.

This much oil.  Turn on the heat to medium-high for five minutes, then turn it down to medium for three minutes.

Dip the strips in the wet dip.

Let them soak while the oil is heating up.

Roll each strip in the flour mix.  I end up using my hands to roll it, pat it and whatever else to get it really covered with flour.

Lay the strips in the oil gently...don't overcrowd...

Stay with the strips and watch them...about four minutes and...

 and some will be ready to turn.

Turn with your fork when one side is golden browned.

When they're finished, they go onto paper towels to cool a bit.  Then I get the organic ketchup and mix up a big spoonful of mustard, a small spoonful of Dijon, a big spoonful of honey and a three drops of Tamari soy sauce (gluten-free) for a tangy honey mustard.  The Boys love it!

Yours will love them, too!


The Good Food Fairy


5 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 cup garbanzo & fava bean flour 
2 tablespoons curry
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon water
canola oil for frying

1. Prepare chicken strips.  Pound each chicken breast to uniform thickness (about 1/2 inch) and cut into strips.
2. In a shallow dish whisk together the dry ingredients.
3. In another shallow dish whisk together the wet ingredients.
4. Prick the chicken strips with a fork three times each or so and soak them in the buttermilk mix while the oil is preheating.
4. In a large skillet, add enough canola oil to come about a 1/2 inch up the sides of the skillet and preheat it over med-high heat for five minutes.  Then turn the heat down to medium for three minutes.
5. Dip the strips in the flour mixture until thoroughly covered and lay them gently in the oil.  
6. Cook until tdeep golden brown on each side (about 4-6 minutes on each side).  Remove to a platter lined with paper towels.  Serve with favorite dipping sauces.

*Frying tip: Allow the oil to heat up about a minutes in between each batch of strips.