Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Localicious: Pumpkin Chiffon Pie to Die For

My sister and her husband are total foodies. Gourmet Ghetto denizens, they are the quintessential Bay Area food and wine experts and I rely on them to be my culinary resource center. Their bookshelf is packed with artisan cookbooks that cover every technique, every cuisine, every taste.

At least once a month I call my sister with a recipe request. It's usually for something I'm craving, like cheesecake with a graham cracker crust.

"How do you make a graham cracker crust?"

"Just crush up some graham crackers with butter and sugar and press it into a pie tin."

The other day I wanted pumpkin mousse. I didn't think she'd have a pumpkin mousse recipe handy, but if she could give me the basics of mousse making, I could take it from there.

She pored through Joy of Cooking, Bon Apetit, Gourmet and a few others. No one seemed to have a mousse recipe let alone a pumpkin mousse. "Listen to this: Pumpkin Chiffon Pie."

This pie is light and fluffy like a mousse, but it doesn't leave you with a pound of heavy cream in your gut as mousse does. You don't even have to put it in a pie shell- I just put mine into dessert cups and it rocked my pumpkin lovin' world to no end.

Pumpkin Chiffon

1 T plain gelatin (1 envelope) soaked in 1/4 cup cold water

3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup white or brown sugar to mix w/ egg yolks ( I use stevia but the ratios are hard to translate)
1/2 cup sugar for the egg whites
1- 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (fresh or a 16 oz can)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
whipped cream

1. Beat slightly:
egg yolks, sugar, pumpkin, milk, salt, pumpkin pie spice.

2. Cook and stir slowly in a double boiler til thick. Remove from heat.

3. Stir in soaked gelatin, stir til dissolved.

4. Chill til set.

5. Whip til stiff 3 egg whites and 1/2 cup sugar.
Fold into cold pumpkin mixture.

6. Pour into dessert cups, a graham cracker crust, or baked pastry pie crust.

7. Chill.

8. Serve with whipped cream.

Buen provecho!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

My Child Will Never Eat Sugar and Other Heaps of B.S.

For the past three weekends, Citlalli and I have been doing birthday parties. First Amelia's, then Citlalli's, and today was Daniel's. All three kids turned 2 and all three parties were packed with abnormally high amounts of sugar.

In the course of these three parties, interspersed with Halloween, some of my stringent childrearing beliefs have been put to the test.

I've never given Citlalli lots of sugary treats like candy, etc. The occasional cookie, maybe a bite of cake, but never any full on straight to your bloodstream candies or sodas. Now before you go gagging yourself as you imagine me in a paisley skirt and birks (not!) grinding bran and rolling it with carob and dates, let me qualify. First of all, Citalli's dad is diabetic (in classic Chicano/Native American fashion). And me, well I'm sugar sensitive and susceptible to candida. So we don't keep a lot of sweets around the house (or at least not that I know of) and use healthy alternatives to sugar like stevia (chemical sweeteners are frowned upon in the Marmolejo home especially after learning what funky diseases they're linked to).

But at Amelia's party, mom Carol made some lovely cupcakes for the little ones and Citlalli devoured hers in no time flat. The next day was Halloween and for a kid who'd never eaten candy, she became a candy snob pronto. Grabbing her little jack o'lantern plastic bucket and saying "Trick or treat", how could you not give the little doll some jujyfruits?

By the day after Halloween, I had to hide any remaining candy from the now fiendish toddler. I poured her trick or treat loot into a shopping bag and gave it to my sister. "Take this to work... PLEASE!".

The following week we had Citlalli's 2nd birthday party and she started the day off with a cupcake I baked in an ice cream cone. (Thanks for the idea, mom, but the dang things tipped over in the muffin tin and poured cake batter all over my oven). Keeping on a cupcake monodiet, she proceeded to have another one before the party started and at least one more at the party. The echoing cries of "My child will never eat sugar" trailed off like La Llorona's wailing howl.

Today was the sugar topper of all. Daniel's mom Queta had goodie bags packed with Elmo candies and then we ate chocolate Elmo cake and drank juice box after juice box after juice box. The kids were peaking from sugar and giving the playground a thorough workout. When Queta's nephew came out dressed in this rather frightful Elmo suit, the tweaked out kiddies screamed and wanted their mamacitas.

Similarly, I once told my sister that my child will never eat a McDonald's french fry. That one flew out the window long ago. I guess it's only normal that the sugar ban soon followed suit.

Moral of the story: Always remember Rule #62.
(Rule 62: Don't take yourself so damn seriously!)

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Maria's Gratitude List

My friend Maria Sanchez of SandiaFria.com sent out this gratitude list. I think it is the best gratitude list ever and reminds me how lucky I am to know such cool mujeres like Maria.

Maria Sanchez
My ABC's of Thankfulness (gratitude) (I wrote these a few months ago, but they are the same today.
A I am thankful for Art that colors my life.
B I am thankful for my body that puts up with the torture that I put it through.
C I am thankful for my children who I love with every ounce of my soul.
D I am thankful for the dreams I have that remind me to never give up.
E I am thankful for the energy and rush I feel when I’ve finished a painting.
F I am thankful for my faith, family and friends who keep me grounded.
(and flowers… I love flowers)
G I am thankful for God’s Grace, without it I would not be here today.
H I am thankful for good health, my home and hope for a better tomorrow.
I I am thankful for the things that inspire me.
J I am thankful for everything on this list that brings joy to my life.
K I am thankful for kind emails and comments I get from complete strangers.
L I am thankful for Love M I am thankful for the special moments and memories that I cherish.
N I am thankful for the newness each day brings.
O I am thankful for the opportunities I have been given and will receive.
P I am thankful for people I meet everyday.
Q I am thankful for the Queen Mums, my mother and grandmother Las Marias’
R I am thankful for rain, which refreshes the earth and my soul whenever I hear it.
I love the sound of raindrops.
S I am thankful for the Spirit that guides me day in and day out. Thank you Holy Spirit
T I am thankful for Tim, my husband, my hero, my love who has rescued me many,
many times.
U I am thankful for the universe, because it is so big reminds me of God’s greatness
V I am thankful for the many little victories that I am able to celebrate each day.
W I am thankful for the wacky ones too.
X I am thankful for this eX-ercize (I cheated) couldn’t think of an x word.
It’s helped me to have a thankful spirit and reminds me to realize that on those bad days when
life doesn’t seem fair, I can remember all the things that I should be thankful for.
Y I am thankful for a youthful spirit that sometimes makes my kids hide
in the car when I dance and sing at the top of my lungs while driving them to school.
Z I am thankful for the zest of living life with a purpose!

Maria Sanchez

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Dia de los Muertos 2004

It's Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. This is an ancient Toltec and Aztec celebration that got a dose of Catholic tradition when the espanoles came in 1519.

If you'd like info on making a cool Day of the Dead shrine, contact my comadre Kathy Murillo over there at Crafty Chica.

Plus here's a Loca Ritual on Dia de los Muertos so you can honor your ancestors and loved ones in a healing way.

Usually I feel upbeat and jovial on Dia de los Muertos, but this year I feel somber.

I miss The Ramones. Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee....two gone to cancer, one to a drug overdose.

I remember seeing the Ramones play a free concert in San Francisco when I was 14. After that I was hooked. So in honor of you, my original grungesters I say...
"1,2,3,4... 1,2,3,4!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and "Gabba Gabba Hey!"

Joe Strummer of the Clash. He helped form my consciousness.

Kurt Cobain. I shake my head in confusion, and I wish your soul peace, Kurt.

I feel jovial when I think of some of the wonderful people whose lives touched mine, such as my grandmother, my uncles and aunts, my cousin. I anchor my emotions to them when the sadness of dead musical heroes gets to be too much.

That is the bittersweet joy of Dia de los Muertos: laughing and crying, celebrating and longing.

Noxtin Nomecayotzin.
All My Relations.