Saturday, January 29, 2011

Carrot/Meyer Lemon/Coconut Creamsicles

You're probably wondering what the heck we're doing making popsicles in midwinter. Well, for one thing, San Francisco breaks into spring about a week after New Year's Day. Of course, it is currently a clammy, rainy 53 degrees F out, but still.

It's been about a month since Little Moo has been talking about popsicles. I realized that I should just jump the starting line and look for a kit for the summer. It came yesterday. We got in late, exhausted, from a show and without thinking clearly, I left it on the countertop in the kitchen. Little Moo discovered it this morning and came rampaging into our bedroom, shouting at the top of her lungs (which are considerable),

"Mommy, getupgetupgetup! We have to make popsicles now!!!!"

So here we are, in the end of January, making popsicles. I'm hoping it clears up outside tomorrow. 53 degrees in San Francisco usually feels a lot colder in the rain because it's so damp. All the same, I will probably try one of these. We had too much juice so we all got a sip or two. Yum.

Carrot-Meyer Lemon-Coconut Creamsicles


6 or so large carrots, cleaned, with the ends cut off
about 1.5 cups fresh carrot juice (note that we did have too much in the end...eyeball this for your own popsicle kit.)

2 peeled meyer lemons (or any 2 small sweet citrus fruits...if you want to use regular lemons, add a little sweetener)
the juice of 2 meyer lemons
or the juice of 2 sweet oranges
or the juice of 2 lemons with a bit of sweetener

1 cup coconut milk
(optional: 1/2 or 1 teaspoon virgin coconut oil, melted)

(If using whole carrots and citrus.) Using a juicer, juice the carrots and the lemons. Set aside.

(Blend oil with coconut milk and allow to cool.) Add cool coconut milk to the juice.

Pour into the popsicle kit and add sticks. Freeze well. Drink the leftovers. Enjoy!

I'll let you know how it turns out tomorrow!

Tip of the day...

Can't eat black pepper and like it? Every time I eat mustard greens that's exactly what the taste recalls. If they're too bitter, slow-saute at least one medium onion, sliced, then add the mustard greens after at least 15 minutes. Add a dash of salt - a whole half-teaspoon for a large pan's worth of greens and onions to bring out the flavor that lies under the bitterness that's just so darned good for us. :) I've found that Real Salt from Utah has an unusual, mineral-y, also slightly peppery flavor that makes me wonder whether it's rich in magnesium, which is always a nice thing.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dairy Cravings

A little background...

Little Moo has food allergies. Her allergies are the reason I got serious about building up our health through nutrition. She was covered with rashes from about the age of 2 to very recently.

We've been seeing Vivian Kushner, a nutritionist who practices BioSET. We went into it as a last resort after months of Chinese medicine that Little Moo hated, food trials that had confusing and unhelpful results, modified GAPS Diet that only seemed to limit the range of foods she could eat and make her tired of eating nuts and coconut milk kefir, horrified stares from other parents and useless allopathic medical advice. After about a month of BioSET and homeopathic support her rashes are GONE. Occasionally, when she's fighting off a virus she gets itchy again, but the rashes appear to have disappeared for good. For the first time in a while we have a clear picture of exactly what Little Moo's allergies and sensitivities are. For a short while we eliminated grapes, bananas and eggs. Vivian treated her for allergies to vitamin C and, of all things, salt. She's eating them all again comfortably and without a single relapse.

Little Moo loves dairy. She especially likes yogurt, particularly a storebought kind that is made of sheeps' milk that you can buy for an exorbitant price at one of the San Francisco co-ops or for even more from Whole Foods plus the keys to the pied a terre in Paris. (No, we don't have one, if you were wondering.) Since we've started seeing Vivian Kushner there's been more hope that her sensitivity to lactose, casein and whey will be finite, so now she has a plan and it's moving into her pretend games. I love that her answer to "I want that" is "I'll make it myself." Better yet, if it's food, she'll get it directly from the farm, then she'll cook it from scratch.

She's four and a half, which means that about 95% of the time she's only here in body. The rest of her is on flights of fancy that we mere mortals can only vaguely follow. Today's game is taking place on our family dairy farm. (We don't have one of those, either.) Evidently, Snackboy is the master of a flock of sheep and a herd of cows. Little Moo got up at the break of day to milk the sheep and went right away to the task of making her own yogurt. She is, at this moment, hosting a tea party in the living room with sheeps' milk yogurt, and tea, while she talks in detail about all the recipes for things that she can make with the yogurt, including "sticky chocolate tops" for cakes that she baked.

Vivian...if you're reading this, much creativity and chefly imaginings are focused on the promise that she will be able to ingest dairy soon...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A fermenter's palette

Just something I've noticed...each vegetable has its own lovely color when fermented. Some are a surprise. Here's a list:

Cabbage: white, absorbs other colors
Turmeric: golden yellow
Red cabbage: purple to blue
Garlic: anywhere from teal to white
Carrot: BRIGHT orange
Zucchini: white, absorbant
Daikon: white, very absorbant

So our recent batch, uncrocked yesterday, is bright teal, purple, yellow, orange and white. I was trying to figure out what the heck the teal is when I realized that it was the garlic, possibly reacting chemically to something else in the mix.

Anyway, it's delicious. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

...and again with the housework...

Little Moo is sick. She's been sick since Monday and such a stoic that we went out for a while yesterday before I even realized that she was feverish again. I vowed to keep her in one more day, although she's much perkier and her fever has barely returned. So we cleaned according to the teachings of Carol Channing in "Free To Be You And Me:"

Your mommy hates housework,
Your daddy hates housework,
I hate housework too.
And when you grow up, so will you.
Because even if the soap or cleanser or cleaner or powder or paste or wax or bleach
That you use is the very best one,
Housework is just no fun.
Children, when you have a house of your own,
Make sure, when there's house work to do,
That you don't have to do it alone.
Little boys, little girls, when you're big husbands and wives,
If you want all the days of your lives
To seem sunny as summer weather,
Make sure, when there's housework to do,
That you do it together!

She's been asking me recently if I don't like to do housework ("hate" is a word that we avoid in our house and she's kindly leaving it out of her question here) and my answer to her is "sometimes." The truth is that I am the kind of person who is desperately organized, but not terribly neat. I don't mind cleaning, but I always feel as if there are so many things to do that are more important than a spotless or organized house. There's the writing or research I do for work, the various projects around the house, whether it's applying for kindergartens or cooking. Then there's the endless stream of video editing, marketing, planning, soundtrack-making, and communication that goes into running even the smallest of performance projects.

When I was a kid my mother told me that being with me was more important to her than a perfect house, which was what she'd grown up with. Her mother was always deep into some housework project that kept her from relating to my mother and her sister. That attitude rubbed off on me, too.

Besides, like I've mentioned before...or maybe I haven't, I'm an idea person, one who runs off with tangents only to discover that the thing that distracted me is the point of a whole new string of things that I just have to follow for a while. So here I am, typing, while the little piles of swept-up dirt on the floor of the dining room just sit there.

Meanwhile,  I'm cleaning the floors and neatening up in the dining room which is more of a task than it sounds. This is especially true because our child, who doesn't have a room of her own, spreads her toys out all over the place. Each room has a play area in it, but there's no real storage for her stuff other than some wicker baskets and pirated areas of the family bookshelves. Someday she'll have her own space. Someday.

Back to the little piles and the never ending stream of other messes.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I am listening to Joan Williams speak on Your Call Radio about the disjointedness between the way our economy and workforce function, the needs of families, of women and men. It's a great show. So interesting that I wanted to add my own .02 about how people and their work is valued in our country.

Women were at one time trapped in the home with no means of independent support. Her homemaking was only compensated by the protection and support of a husband. If a woman was suddenly a widow or divorced she was caught in a system that would not let her work at all outside of the home, and if she did, it was for a paltry paycheck. (The irony that a single mother's paycheck would be the lowest when it's generally her who supports the kids!). With the advent of second-wave feminism,  women went back to work in record numbers, leaving their families so that they could help support them financially. They still made less than men, but were able to contribute in some way. Meanwhile, the kitchen arts died out almost completely after all the short cuts and bad advice of the mid-20th century. There was a new term, "latch key kids," that described the children of working mothers who let themselves in after school in the afternoons. Thirty years later U.S. women have to work. Most of us have no choice. The cost of living in many places is high and health insurance costs are unreal. Too many people get sick and die simply because they can't get care. Because we have no idea how to cook real food, and because women come in tired after work at 6pm every day, undernourished, overeating people get fatter and sicker. Our public school system is depleted and sick enough to drown in a bucket, turning out more and more kids who can't compete in the workplace, and so the circle completes itself.

Jobs are few and far between if your line of work isn't in computers. Women are actually more likely than men to be in the workforce. I know two men who spent their children's baby years as part-time working, stay-at-home dads, simply because their wives were much better employed than they were at the time. I'm just guessing that a lot of these gainfully employed mothers make less than their male counterparts, that many large employers go for female employees because they know that they can pay them less than if they were male.

Meanwhile, men sit at home, waiting to hear from someone at some company somewhere to give them a job offer. This is especially true for manual workers who do not own their own businesses. Unless, of course, they want to move to China or India and take a major pay cut (not to mention that in certain lines of work they'd be in sweatshops with kids). This is also a huge issue, both emotionally and socially.

I'm certainly not criticizing mothers who went back to work in the 70s. It was a huge gain for women at a time when they were second class citizens. My complaint is with a system that took advantage of lots of cheap female labor that desperately needed that paycheck to support their families, with money and health insurance.

Then there are the Michael Pollans of the world whose writings, however insightful, also have a huge blind spot right at the point where women, their work and family have a critical disjuncture. Specifically this: how is a woman who works all day and still often does most of the domestic tasks around the home, to cook whole foods from scratch so that their families can eat every day? It simply does not work. Also, I have never met a man who is either interested or comfortable enough in the kitchen to take up that particular gauntlet (and I mean the full-on-homemaker dad who does laundry, is a member of the PTA THEN lines up his monthly sauerkraut crocks and gets his bone broth in order every week). Maybe they're out there. If you know one, please tell me, because I'm certain that he's a myth. So what is to be done?

Our labor system - the value given to people and what they do - simply must change. Anyone who takes up the domestic tasks of raising a family has to be compensated in some way. People in the workforce need to make a living wage. Someone in our government needs to grow a spine and finally take on the insurance companies.

Now I have to put my stew in the refrigerator for later and get myself to work...I won't be home until after 9 tonight, but everything's fine because the food is done and half of the laundry is folded. :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ginger Cookies

Little Moo has been craving ginger. This is a complicated thing for me since I can't have ginger and if I cook with it, I cook blind. If Snackboy is around he gets to taste everything, but if I'm alone, it's an issue.

Anyway, she's been craving ginger, so ginger it is. When we went to the store we talked about how ginger was a root and it was like the turmeric that we occasionally get that turns my hands yellow. I was about to take down the ginger powder in the spices section and she shook her head. She wanted to see the root. Whatever, I thought. It might be a nice challenge to make things with fresh ginger root, and maybe healthier? Who knows. Fresh always feels better to me.

So she had pasta with ginger and vegetables and then last night I baked ginger cookies to take to a little friend's birthday party. (Little Moo refused cake in favor of ginger cookies...can you believe it?)

It is based on the Vanilla Maple Cookie recipe. The main differences: it's a gooier, stickier dough and won't work with cookie cutters. It contains honey, not maple syrup. I used an egg instead of guar gum because it's a yes food now for us, binds better and and has more nutrition than guar gum. The cookies are cakier, softer. It is not GAPS-friendly. Nor is it Jen-friendly, so most likely I won't be trying to make it so any time soon. On the other hand, it might be kind of fun to try the vanilla version with coconut flour and dates.

Ginger Cookies


1 cup garbanzo flour + 1 or 2 more tablespoons as needed
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 beaten egg
pinch salt
1/4 cup honey
3 to 3.5 tablespoons melted ghee
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 heaping teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. (I added some ghee to it just in case because the batter looked SO sticky.) Melt some ghee. Take it off of the flame or out of the oven to cool.

Combine the garbanzo flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. In a separate, smaller bowl, beat the egg, then add the honey, vanilla and ginger and whisk well. Slooowwwwwlllyyyy pour in the melted ghee while whisking like a maniac. Well, a maniac who keeps it in the bowl, anyway. (Hot butter+cold raw egg=scrambled eggs, which is fine for breakfast, but not in a cookie recipe.) Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry. At this point I thought it looked too wet, so I added 2 more tablespoons of garbanzo flour.

Drop by spoonfuls onto the parchment-covered cookie sheets. Bake for 13 minutes or until slightly browned on top.