Saturday, June 27, 2009

Adventures in Dogdom


Well, that's the hardest I've laughed in a while. Dante is currently reaping the benefits of being a good dog and so sweetly bringing us what was obviously a HUGE prize.

A dead frog.

Picture it: Mike and I were on the couch watching The House Bunny. At first he was watching reluctantly, but once he realized it was about Playboy bunnies, he quickly changed his tune. It's actually a cute silly movie. Cipranis were involved. We were having a grand old time. Dante wanted to go out, and after a while Mike had to call him back in, which is unusual. I was too engrossed in the movie to notice when Dante slinked in the house and went straight back to our bedroom. Mike was too busy watching the T&A.

Neither of us noticed when Dante emerged from our bedroom and jumped on the couch to put his paws on Mike's lap, as usual. After a couple of minutes, I NOTICED THERE WAS A DEAD FROG IN MIKE'S LAP.

I think the funniest part of the evening was our collective reaction. Roughly half my drink launched as I followed suit off the couch. I hate to admit I was screaming, which made Mike launch too. But Mike requests that I note that he didn't scream. Dante figured he'd just join the celebration with all this launching, screaming, and dancing, so add incessant barking to the mix.

Mike came to the rescue and disposed of the body while I tried to catch my breath from laughing. Poor dog didn't understand why we threw away such a grand prize, so the peanut butter kong is his distraction.

Note the stifled indignance that we didn't appropriately appreciate his frawg.

They don't make 'em like they used to.


Do you remember the time when we fell in love? Do you remember the time when we first met?

Michael Jackson's music is so pervasive, I can't even remember the time when I first heard one of his songs. I was a little girl when he made his legendary performance of Billie Jean, deubting the Moonwalk on MTV in 1983. We were still perfecting our moonwalks in Junior High, a decade later.

My mom was a college kid at Auburn University when she saw the Jackson 5 live. They brought out their baby sister Janet, who toddled and bounced on the stage in her poofy little girl dress. I was 17 when Michael and Janet's Scream came out; we watched the video debut on MTV.

I never considered myself a fan: for my generation, he's always been around, and we couldn't help but tap our toes and try to moonwalk to his and his family's work that helped to shape our lives. And as a music lover with a collegiate minor in performance, I believe it was for the better.

Sure he had problems. Sure he was eccentric, a nutcase, in desperate need of therapy and deprogramming. Sure my mom HATED when he grabbed his crotch. I wasn't a big fan of that either. Who would ever want to shake his hand? Maybe the glove was disposable. But his was the kind of persona who could put such off the wall thoughts in our heads.

Highly intelligent and talented people are very often highly crazy. It doesn't forgive whatever his personal transgressions were, but I'm sure you can think of a few other examples.

The cold hard truth is this: in his professional capacity, Michael Jackson had more talent in his little finger than any of the Britneys, Ushers, Amy Winehouses, and most musicians of the next generation combined. They are pale in comparison. He was a savant, and I feel sorry for today's generation who will grow up not knowing his genius and believing that the latest American idol has an ounce of his musicality.

Photo courtesy of sing365.com.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Welcome!


I'm still relatively new to blogging, and I just realized that I have followers! Wow! That is such a compliment - thank you.

My dear cousin Katy was my first - you get the prize darlin'.

And now I have new friends! Finsmom, Rinx, Nina, and HannahBanana, welcome. Your blogs are all simply gorgeous, creative, wonderful, and marvelous.

If I didn't link to your blog, I'm sorry - I couldn't figure out how to find it! Send me a link in a comment, and I'll correct. Now if I can just figure out how to add the Followers gadget.......

Photo courtesy of Butterfly062985.

Wireless Meat Thermometer


Now that we're in the middle of grill season, I figured it's a good time to divulge one of our secrets. I know the finest of chefs can determine the donness of their steaks just by gently squeezing them with their tongs. I'm getting there, but very slowly. The point is to not puncture the meat because that gives juices an excellent escape route.

But we don't mess around much with chicken or pork. Not because we're terrified of salmonella or trichinosis, but because it just ruins the meat to take it off the fire, slice it, notice that it's underdone, then put it back on. Again, the juices get to escape. I have actually tried both rare chicken and pork, and I'm not dead. Unless it's smoked through or fixed up in a fancy-pants tartare or ceviche (in which you would find neither), it's just not good. The flavors are completely absent, unlike how steak and tuna have different flavors are different doneness.

We use our thermometer mostly for a pork tenderloin or chicken breasts. Insert it at least one inch into the thickest part of your biggest piece of meat. But remember that if you're doing steak, more thin pieces will be cooked more thoroughly.

And with this heat, there's no point in investing in a grill thermometer if it's not wireless. Let your hot Grill Master clip it to his belt and come in the air conditioning for a cold beer.

Usually I'd do my gadget shopping at Williams-Sonoma, and they used to have a thermometer like this one, but alas, it's not on the website anymore. AND between you and me, I think the WS one was TOO fancy. Apparently it had some sort of creepy voice instead of a good old, standard beep. I'm fairly certain ours came from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and it's very much like this model. I don't know how Mike grilled without it!

Photo courtesy of PartShelf.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Apron


My dear friend Leslie made this precious apron for me. Made it! With a pattern and a sewing machine and everything! I will answer the door in it when Mike comes home, and oh yes, his eyebrows will go up.

Dante completely digs it too.

Thank you Leslie - it's my new favorite treasure!

Father's Day Supper


One of my favorite parts of this past weekend was having Dad, CA, and AW over for supper. It's always great to see them; we really enjoy their company.
We had grilled mesquite cheriyaki chicken, grilled squash grown by Cindy, salad grown by Cindy (I didn't know you could grow lettuce down here!), bruschetta from our backyard with grilled toast, and cherry upside down cake, key lime icebox pie, or lemon bars with blueberries for dessert.



We didn't realize how distinctly hot it would be this weekend, and I felt bad when Mike went out to work on the grill. I went out before everyone arrived to grill toast for the bruschetta. When I fired up the grill, the thermometer was already reading over 100, without the fire!


Dad reminded me that if you plant hot and mild peppers close to each other, their flavors will blend together. So we harvested our first bell pepper to see how it would taste. I had planted them next to the jalapenos in the hopes of getting a spicy bell. Dad said it was completely mild, but I tasted a little kick! How neat is that?!?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Crawfish Stuffed Tomatoes

Or how to get Mike to eat a tomato...



Why did I plant tomato plants? In the words of his grandmother with marshmallows, Mike doesn't even LIKE tomatoes! I love them any way I can get them - right off the vine and a little basil, and I'm good to go.

Anyway, I'm bending over backwards to find new improved tomato recipes for the latest harvest. Dad, Carrie Ann, and Ann Walt came over for Father's Day, and CA and I brainstormed. I've been excited about trying this one ever since. When Mike came home, he wanted to know where I found this recipe. I'm proud to say it came completely off the top of my head.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 medium tomatoes
a handful of fresh herbs - I used basil and oregano
1/4 cup white wine
12 ounces cooked crawfish tails, cleaned and peeled (You can either use frozen leftovers from a boil or chicken out and buy Bernard's at the Kroger)
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup stilton
salt & pepper to taste
Chipotle Tabasco to taste
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees or broil. (350 degrees cooks them more slowly, so the tomato gets hotter. Broil just sears the tops and leaves most of the tomato meat alone.)
  • In a medium saucepan, combine olive oil, onion, and garlic and gently cook until translucent.
  • While cooking, core tomatoes and scoop out the inside, leaving a half to a quarter inch rind. I put the meat into some leftover bruschetta, but you can chop the insides and include them in the crawfish mixture if you'd prefer. Or make salsa.
  • With a sharp knife, slice off the very bottom of the tomatoes so they'll sit up straight on the plate.
  • Salt and pepper the insides of the tomatoes and turn upside down to drain.
  • Add the herbs, wine, breadcrumbs, cheeses, salt, pepper, and Tabasco to the olive oil mixture in the pan. Stir until heated through.
  • Stuff the mushrooms and top with cheese or panko breadcrumbs of your choice.
  • Cook on 350 for 25-30 minutes or broil and watch until cheese is slightly melted and brown.
  • I bet this would be damn good on the grill, but after today's heat escapades, I think I'll stay inside tonight.

Heat Wave


Dante LOVES our daily runs/walks. He knows when it's about time, and if he thinks I've forgotten, he'll bump his leash latch against the wall were it hangs on the hook. It's pretty charming. We've been going in the mornings since early this month due to the heat, but I had an appointment with Dr. E. early today, so we didn't make it. It obviously broke Dante's heart that I was going to work out on the treadmill inside, so I figured what the heck, let's just go around our block.

Well.... the block is residential and windy and actually about a mile. I've driven around it and watched the odometer turn. I got into it and decided it wouldn't be so bad in the shade up around the neighborhood pond, so we added that half a mile before we headed back on our shorter route.

On the way back down the hill, Dante started walking more slowly and actually blocking me. Because he always comes to me, I only put him on leash if I see another walker in our route. At the base of the hill after circling the pond, he WALKED (usually he's trotting, gamboling, cantering, you get the picture) under the shade of a tree and looked at me. The poor dog actually lost balance - leaned to the left, leaned to the right, stumbled, almost fell, closed his eyes, regained balance, and sat down.

Is that what a heat stroke looks like?!?

So I picked him up and carried him straight back to the house. And he had no problem with that. You think it's hot walking in 98 degrees in the noonday sun? Try carrying a 25-pound panting black shedding dog in your arms!

At the top of the hill on the way home, I put him down, and he resumed the trotting, pausing only when he found a patch of shade. He raced back to the house and waited for me in the shade of a bush next to the driveway. We've both had some water and cooled down, and he's sleeping soundly next to me on the couch.

Moral of the story? IT IS DANGEROUSLY HOT OUTSIDE! Don't be stupid like your friend Fran. Keep outdoorsy stuff confined to early morning and late afternoon/evening. And drink plenty of water.

Photo courtesy of WeHeartIt.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Cipriani (pronounced "sip-ree-AHN-ee")



My dad and Mike are both awesome bartenders. One of my favorite times of the week involves Mike going to our bar and pulling out a book I gave him for our first aniversary. We're slowly working our way though it. Dad once made this drink for us, and we THINK it was called a Cipriani, but after I had a couple, I honestly couldn't remember if it was a Cipriani, caipirinha, coolata, or yo' momma.

It's probably not a caipirinha - that's the national cocktail of Brazil, and it includes superfine sugar (pronounced "supafine") instead of bitters.

Anyway, we love this drink. And after several attempts to find out the exact name of it despite my rum-induced muddle, I found Harry's Bar in Venice, one of the spots we hope to visit in September. Harry's Bar is the birthplace of the belini, a joyous little cocktail named after Giovanni Bellini, a fifteenth century Venetian painter, and made of Prosecco and white peach puree, one part peach to three parts Prosecco.

Harry's Bar was founded by Giuseppi CIPRIANI. Coincidence? I think not. Unless I am corrected, the definitive drink name had been found. At any rate, they're very rare, and if you order one from Mike, he'll know what to fix you.

1/2 lime, quartered
Ice cubes
1-2 ounces black strap rum
Dash Angostura bitters
Tonic water

  • Muddle lime in the bottom of a highball glass.
  • Fill glass with ice cubes.
  • Add rum and bitters.
  • Top off with tonic water.
  • Gently rattle or stir.



....Old age has finally come and I go for breakfast every day at Harry's Bar ... I still have one more dream: a tavern - spacious, dignified, festive, and eloquent, where "ombre" fly across the counter like the whiskies and beers in a Western saloon....Sometimes it's good to dream. Now I can take the liberty of raising a toast to myself, to you, to us, as I think of this gift of drink as a perpetual well-spring of joy and good humor.

Cheers to the world!

- Giuseppe Cipriani
Photos, historical information, and quote courtesy of Signore Cipriani and Harry's Bar.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers





The yard just keeps spitting out hot jalapeno peppers, and I'm loving trying to find out how many recipes I can make with them. My talented cousin Katy suggested this awesome recipe. Mike's favorite Mexican food is chile rellno, or a stuffed and fried chili pepper, so I thought I'd try something similar on the grill with bacon. Mike loved them; now we don't know which to fix: these or the jalapeno poppers!
4 ounces cream cheese
3 cloves garlic
pinch of salt
dash of pepper
dash of cayenne pepper
handful of fresh cilantro, basil, parsley, and oregano (a little of each to make one handful total)
6 jalapeno peppers
6 slices bacon
  • Place cheese, garlic, salt, peppers, and herbs in a small food processor and blend together. This can be done beforehand to let the flavors bloom.
  • Set the grill on medium or the oven on 350 degrees.
  • With a sharp knife, make a slit down the side of the jalapeno - don't cut it entirely in half.
  • Squeeze the top and bottom to open the slit up like a coin purse.
  • With a small spoon, scoop out as many seeds as you want (the more seeds you leave in there, the hotter it will be).
  • Stuff peppers with cheese mixture.
  • Wrap with bacon and trim off extra bacon if desired.
  • Secure with a toothpick - Mike doesn't like a lot of bacon, so I made it one layer and toothpicked both the top and bottom. But if you want to really wrap your pepper, just use one pick in the middle. You can also skewer them for one-step flipping.
  • Grill for 20-30 minutes or set them on a cooling rack on a cookie sheet and cook in oven for about 45 minutes or until bacon is fully cooked.
  • Toward the end, you can kick up the grill or oven heat to finish up cooking the bacon.
The low carb version? Replace the herbed cream cheese with shrimp, a little minced garlic, and a spritz of lemon juice.

Cherry Upside-Down Cake



One of my new favorite blogs is The Food Librarian. She just made this cake from a recipe she found via Bon Appetit on epicurious.com, and as I have all the ingredients in the kitchen (except for whole milk. eiw.), I think this might be my next endeavor. Not only is it GORGEOUS, I love how it's a new twist on a classic cake.

Topping
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
14 ounces cherries, halved, pitted
Cake
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup chilled whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar

For topping:


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.

  • Butter sides of 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides.

  • Melt 1/4 cup butter in same pan set over low heat.

  • Add brown sugar; whisk until well blended, about 2 minutes.

  • Remove from heat.

  • Spread mixture over bottom of pan.

  • Arrange cherries, cut side down, in single layer in bottom of pan and press lightly to adhere.

  • Set aside.

For cake:


  • Mix flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.

  • Using electric mixer, beat 1 cup sugar and butter in large bowl until creamy.

  • Mix in egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

  • Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla.

  • Mix in dry ingredients alternately with milk.
    Using electric mixer fitted with clean dry beaters, beat egg whites and cream of tartar in another large bowl until stiff but not dry.

  • Stir 1/4 of whites into cake batter to lighten.

  • Using rubber spatula, gently fold remaining whites into batter.

  • Spoon batter atop cherries in pan.

  • Bake cake until deep golden on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 55 minutes.

  • Cool cake in pan on rack 15 minutes.
    Whip cream, powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in bowl to soft peaks.
    Run small knife around edges of pan to loosen cake.

  • Place platter over cake and invert onto platter.

  • Let stand 5 minutes.

  • Remove pan.

  • Serve cake warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.

  • (Cake and whipped cream can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover cake and let stand at room temperature. Cover and chill whipped cream.)

Update: this is SUCH a suprisingnly tasty cake! I made it a couple of days ago, and it is phenomenal warm from the oven with some whipped cream on top.

Grilled Toast


Part of this blog's reason for being is to record my triumphs and (usually spectacular) failures in the kitchen. I haven't yet shown the "my cup runneth over" chocolate pound cake because it makes me so mad every time I make it. It's to do with both the type of flour I'm using and the fact that I keep putting extra goodies in it. I've gone so far as to write, "TOO DAMN BIG FOR CHA-CHA'S BUNDT CAKE PAN," in pen in my favorite cookbook, over which I'm sure the generations to come will laugh.

But I digress.

Most of theses dishes are completely experimental, meaning I'm sitting on the couch thinking, "Hmm.... I like bacon. And I like corn. Let's try them together!" And if it's good enough to remember, I have to put it up here so I can look back to it myself. That being said, I in no way mean for this post to be patronizing, but Mike and I didn't even know you could make toast on the grill. Yeah, fire + bread = toast, but who thinks like that anyway? Light dawns on yonder brow.

Back to Mayberry? Yeah, try back to the Copper Age.

So planning ahead, I knew I would be grilling steaks to go with my bruschetta last night, and I figured it was a shame to waste all that good hot grill space when I had toast to make too. So here's what I did:

  • Go buy a loaf of Italian or French bread. You can most likely get your baker to pre-slice it for you, but I forgot to ask mine to do it on the diagonal to make it more authentic.
  • With a pastry brush, brush both sides with olive oil.
  • Rub with fresh garlic.
  • Follow with some freshly-cracked pepper.
  • Lay it out on the grill, usually close to the hottest part until brown.
  • Flip.

This exercsise is also a GREAT way to find out exactly which spots on the grill are hotter than others. For instance, I learned that the back of our grill is much more warm than the front, which stands to reason with how our grill top opens. And I didn't burn any pieces to a crisp or have to pull out the fire extinguisher. Cha-Cha would be proud.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bruschetta


Yeah, I'm going to brag on the backyard. Everything in these photos came from out of our own dirt! Even the onions. Derived from the Italian word bruscare, which means "to toast," this is one of my favorite antipasto dishes. I was also rather tired of salsa. I never dreamed my tomato and jalapeno plants would produce so much.

To make this dish, I peeled the tomatoes and chopped everything up. The herbs are basil and parsley. Dumped it in a bowl with a little olive oil and about 2 teaspoons of plain white vinegar to help the flavors bloom. Take some Italian or French bread, brush with olive oil and cracked pepper, toast or better yet- grill it, and you'll have one tasty antipasto.


Tonight's supper menu? Grilled steaks, curried rice noodles, and bruschetta on grilled toast with Dyed in the Wool South Island New Zealand Pinot Noir and mojitos. For dessert: dark chocolate pound cake or lemon bars with blueberries.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Negative.


Oh the nerves of today. Mom had her PET scan last Thursday, June 11th, and we were to report to Dr. S's office this morning. At that point, Dr. S. would tell us what the PET scan revealed and whether or not Mom was going to undergo the last two rounds of Rituxin and Fluderabine, the first of which put her in the ER on Mother's Day, followed by a three night's stay at Baptist. Yeah, we were nervous. I wish we could have taken some of the pills pictured above. A good dose of sanity would have been nice.

Mom's nurse took us back to a treatment room, so we figured the cancer was still there and settled in. Mom reminded the nurse that we haven't yet seen the results of the PET scan, so the nurse disappeared to find Dr. S, only to reappear 15 minutes later to take us to a consultation room. Soon Dr. S. came in to say Mom's PET scans were NEGATIVE. As in, NO MORE CANCER IS PREVALENT IN THE SCAN.

Woot!

The negative doesn't mean that Mom is completely cancer free, and chances are very good (almost positive) that her lymphoma will come back. But for now she is free and clear and doesn't have to worry about anything cancer-related until her next PET scan in October. I think quarterly PETS are going to become a way of life, but as long as it's not chemo, Mom's happy.

Thank you for all your prayers, thoughts, and support. It worked.

Photo courtesy of We Heart It.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Peach Crisp


Betsy, this one's for you.

Nothing says summer like fresh produce, and peaches are some of my favorites. This is my mom's recipe, handed down from her mom. It's such a simple recipe, and I'm quickly learning that often the more simple something is, the better.

10 fresh peaches, blanched, peeled, and sliced into bite-sized chunks(or fewer if they are very large)
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup white sugar
Vanilla ice cream



  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • Line a casserole dish with peaches.
  • In case juices run over, set the casserole dish on a cookie sheet.
  • If the peaches are hard, add 3 Tablespoons water.
  • Cover peaches with light brown sugar.
  • Blend together flour and white sugar.
  • Sprinkle flour mixture over peaches.
  • Pour butter over flour mixture.
  • Bake for 1 hour at 300 degrees until brown; try not to overcook.
  • Serve with ice cream.

Along with simplicity, this dish offers lots of diversity. Over the years, I've tried all kinds of variations: butter pecan ice cream is divine with it. 1 teaspoon cinnamon mixed in the flour makes it sinful. I also like adding blackberries or blueberries in with the peaches. Whipping cream, whipped or plain, helps cool it down straight out of the oven. Have fun and make it your own.

Lemon Bars with Blueberries


This is a picture of the lemon bars naked, before I sifted powdered sugar on top of them. The recipe came from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks given to us by Mike's aunt Nancy. So far, I have only made desserts from The Foster's Market Cookbook, but every one I make becomes a favorite that I make over and over again.

KFC Challenge


Have you seen the dinky commercial on TV with a harried mother and 8-10 badly-behaved children tearing up the grocery store with the voiceover patronistically saying something along the lines of, "There's no way you can make great fried chicken for less money than you could buy it at Kentucky Fried Chicken?"

WRONG.

Hit a sale at the Kroger, and you can make it for a helluva lot less. I found boneless, skinless, chicken tenders for $1.97 per pound, and the rest just came from the pantry. Really, all you need to fry anything is meat or vegetable, oil (that I filter, refrigerate, and re-use), eggs, flour, salt, and pepper. The rest is just gravy (pardon the artery-clogging pun). A fry-daddy given to you by your good friend Jessica S. helps a lot too.

For lunch today, we had home-grown fried green tomatoes, Coconut and Japanese bread crumb-crusted chicken fingers, fried pickles, and fried jalapenos. No, we didn't want fries with that. I added the coconut and bread crumbs to the flour, salt, and pepper mixture and dredged the raw chicken in it after dipping in in egg. I should have dipped the tomatoes in corn meal to give them a better crunch. No, it wasn't great for our bodies. But it tasted great, it was inexpensive, AND we knew exactly what went into that oil. That's a lot more than you can say for any local KFC.

Frying is easy: just don't do it naked.

Coming Soon is Open Now!

There is a new Japanese restaurant in Clinton named Takra, I believe. It has taken about 8 months to open, and during construction there was a sign on the front that read: Japanese restaurant: COMING SOON! So all this time we've called it Coming Soon, and I'm afraid that name has stuck.

Mike took me on a hot date there, and we sat at the sushi bar. The above is the Love Boat for two: sea bass, whitefish, shrimp, tuna, yellowtail, salmon, spicy tuna roll, and California roll. The plate was 2 feet by a a foot and a half if it was an inch. It was divine. I'm not accustomed to sushi pieces being so big, and I usually don't like them as such, but I found those are a perfect 2-3 bites, and the fish is fresh enough so it's not chewy at all. The guys at the bar were a lot of fun. You can barely see it in the photo, but there were sparkly bits in the bar that reminded me of Blade Runner, one of Mike's favorite movies.

The best part? It has a hibachi section too, which is good - I had supper there with our friends Jessica and Ben last week - but since we're in Clinton, I'll bet my butt most of the clientele will be vehemently interested in the hibachi part and very anti-"bait." So Mike and I can while away our evenings hanging out at the sushi bar with our Kirin and no waiting.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Dante Dog!


Monday, June 8, 2009

Jalapeno Poppers



With homemade jalapenos! Mike found these huge babies in the garden yesterday afternoon, and I was in the mood for something spicy. I love this recipe: the sweet of garlic, cilantro, and cream cheese with the spicy of jalapeno and cayenne pepper, the softness of cheese and crunch of Japanese bread crumbs come together for a great appetizer. I was just playing around, so this recipe is very small: serves only two.

3 large jalapenos, split in half and seeded
2 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces shredded cheese of your choice (mozzarella, cheddar, stilton, whatever you want)
1 teaspoon mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 Tablespoon cilantro
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 egg
hot sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon milk
1/2-3/4 cup Japanese bread crumbs

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  • For a more soft pepper, blanch them for 2 minutes in boiling water, then transfer to ice water. If you want a crunchier snack, shorten the blanching time or skip altogether.
  • In a small food processor, combine well the cream cheese, other cheese, garlic, cilantro, and peppers.
  • Wisk together the egg, how sauce, and milk in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Put the Japanese bread crumbs in a bowl next to the egg mixture.
  • Stuff the cheese mixture into the peppers.
  • Dip/dredge the stuffed peppers into the egg, then place in the Japanese bread crumbs and toss crumbs on top. Shake excess crumbs off and place onto baking sheet.
  • Bake at 350 for 30 minutes; until the crumbs are golden brown.

Sure, it's a labor of love, but dang, is it good. I've also heard of wrapping the stuffed peppers in bacon and grilling them until the bacon is done (omitting the dredging and Japanese bread crumbs), but that's for another day and another post.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Dante's Turtle

Check out what we found at Mom's house this afternoon. Apparently Dante doesn't much like turtles.

video

White Blood Cell Delay


Mom and I reported bright and early this morning to get her second of three chemo treatments. You might remember that the first chemo treatment resulted in hives that landed her in the ER, followed by a 3-night hospital stay, so we were both anxious about this dose.

It's normal procedure to run bloodwork on cancer patients before they undergo a round of chemotherapy, and today was no exception. Mom's port went in easily and returned blood well, but I knew something was up when they put us in a room when they called her back instead of in a treatment area. Turns out, Mom's white blood cells have been knocked so low by the Fluderabine that it's not safe to have a chemotherapy treatment right now.

A low white blood cell count isn't a really bad thing. She just feels punk and gets tired easily. White blood cells fight off infection, so it can be very dangerous if Mom is exposed to sickness. If you see her, don't hug or touch unless you've washed your hands.

Dr. S. decided to give Mom 2 weeks to try to raise her white blood cell count naturally. There are drugs that she could take, but it's better to save those for an emergency (i.e. infection) situation. Mom will receive another PET scan on Thursday, June 11th. Dr. S. will receive those results the next day and will decide what to do next. Mom's reaction was so violent last time that if the lymphoma is in remission, Dr. S. might decide to quit chemotherapy altogether.

So we're in a holding pattern. As always, I can't tell you how much your thoughts, prayers, and support are appreciated.

Photo courtesy Psychsurvivor2.

 

Made by Lena