Cakes Of Glop, Gruel, Gruel!

Sometime before Mr. Kiddo's second birthday passed I meant to note a few things and never got around to it, not because they weren't important but because there's not ever really a lot of time to note such things.

That's all too bad, because there's been a lot of fun stuff to note — not all of which interesting only to just a small circle of people, either. A slice's crust being a "pizza bone," for example — that will stick with us forever.

But really, the days meld together in this astonishing exponential rate of development that outpaces anyone's ability to reliably recall, let alone catalog. Most of the time it's like, "Dude, fuckin' A." We're super-fortunate. Mr. Kiddo is awesome. I'm not quite sure what we're doing to encourage it, but I'm pretty confident we're not doing anything to discourage it, either, which is probably not a bad place to begin.

Over the last year it's sort of like a fog has been lifting, and this miraculous monkey has come into focus. He's joyful, playful, willful, manipulative, talkative, energetic and impulsive; even the "bad" qualities are good signs for us. He's gentle, focused, inquisitive, bright and empathetic. Oh, and he's really fucking cute. Like I said, I have no idea how any of this happened.

I want to believe diet is a key factor in all this. I happen to think Mr. Kiddo eats pretty well. I feed him, of course, so it could be a bit of circular logic, but whatever. To that end, I would like to share my recipes for glopcake and gruel — otherwise known as "breakfast" and "lunch."

"Glopcake" is basically an inartful term for what is basically a quasi-frittata. The difference, as I understand it, is that where frittata ingredients are folded into the raw egg mixture, the ingredients in glopcake are pulverized into a sort of slurry. Both are cooked the same way.

Glopcake started as a way to incorporate calcium-rich collard greens into eggs. It took off from there. A good glop, I found, incorporates vegetables — whatever you can cram in there — with a small amount of protein. You don't need a lot of protein, but even just a little something helps it not taste like a strange Chinese take-out dish. (I've used many proteins — beef, pork, lamb, chicken, chicken liver, shrimp, mild fish, even leftover sushi — almost anything works.) Add some milk, then pulverize into a thick slurry with an immersion blender. Add one egg per person, pulverize some more, then cook over medium heat in a skillet with olive oil until slurry is firm. Eat with sliced avocado. Milk for child, some kind of caffeinated beverage for adult.

Most who try glopcake enjoy glopcake. They dislike the name. At one point I suggested "skillet-cooked vegetable-protein slurry," but that never quite stuck. So "glopcake" it is.

Continuing the tradition of off-putting names, gruel is what's for lunch, and it's another winner, if I do say so myself. That said, it's a good thing Mr. Kiddo has little context for language. But look, the way I see it, if you're going to spend any amount of time wiping crap out of a human's butt, you owe it to yourself to make that crap as non-offensive as possible. Most people know the blunt-force calculus inherent in consuming too much fatty, junky food: Ensuring a child's diet has sufficient fiber is a gift to everyone. The less said about that the better.

So anyway, gruel is comprised of equal parts quinoa, red lentils and bulgur wheat. Well, not totally equal — usually a little more lentils and a little less quinoa, but that's only because I'm being cheap about it. You add seasoning, then serve. It's in the category of foods we refer to as "S.L.A.K." — "shit like a king." It works. Recipe follows — adjust measurements as necessary.

2 cups water
1/4 cup quinoa
1/4 cup red lentils (replace equal amount of quinoa with red lentils, if cheap)
1/4 cup extra fine bulgur wheat (can use oats or other grain, if desired)
1 tsp garam masala powder (or some such spice) (somewhat optional)
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp cider or rice vinegar
Several pinches garlic powder
Several pinches dried herbs such as basil, oregano or thyme
Pinch ginger powder
Several dashes Sriracha or other hot sauce
2 tbsp cheese such as cheddar or ricotta (optional)
Meat and/or bone (optional)

Add quinoa and red lentils to two cups water. Add leftover bones with meat, if desired. Turn on heat to high, bring to boil, then lower to simmer for five or six minutes.

Add bulgur wheat and garam masala powder and stir, let cook for nine minutes.

In bowls divide soy sauce, vinegar, garlic powder, herbs, ginger powder, hot sauce and cheese.

When gruel is finished, spoon into bowls, mix, let cool and serve.

Some notes: Don't get distracted by the subordinate ingredients — the main thing here are the three grains. The rest of it just adds salt, sweet, sour and protein flavors; use whatever you want. Bulgur is supposed to have a low glycemic index (for a grain). The garam masala powder happened because we amassed a ton of it for some reason; before I was using up a big thing of curry powder; neither is necessary; that said, garam masala powder lends a sweet flavor, almost like brown sugar and it's good. I don't know that I can even discern the ginger powder but I began using it in gruels back when Jen was pregnant because ginger is supposed to be good for morning sickness, or something. Ricotta cheese began because it's really high in calcium; it also mixes easily. Adding something like a chicken bone with meat on it adds flavor. Mr. Kiddo likes meat in his gruel, too.

Oh, and for Pete's sake, if you're able to do so, eat with your kid. One, it's awesome. Two, it makes it easier when everyone eats the same thing. Three, you eat healthier if you eat the same stuff as a toddler.

Now that Mr. Kiddo is firmly in the realm of "toddler," it all becomes a little different. And once you feel comfortable with things, it's time to change them up again. This time, I feel confident enough to admit that I'm scared about what happens next. And so it all begins again.

Posted: December 31st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: The Cult Of Domesticity | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,