Sunday, May 18, 2008

He's Here. He's Safe.

Walter got in around noon yesterday. Heaven only knows how, but I had the sudden energy to spend the morning in a fit of housekeeping. When I picked him up we embarked on a long, careful, tiring bout of shopping and getting prescriptions filled. We did extremely well on our available funds - oh, such excellent shopping we did! So much so, I even called the shot on splurging for some really superior shrimps at Sam's, 15 count wild caught monsters for less than $10 a pound.

We got home and rested on our laurels. Then around 10 PM I made the shrimp, which I can do most of sitting down. Here's a little example of Alternative Cooking for the feet-challenged. You know. Peel shallots - loads of them, like half a pound or more - and peel the shrimp. The rotini was boiling as I peeled.

I have to do a lot of my cooking with my feet elevated, and yesterday it was mandatory. Between some extreme and feet-intensive yard work last week, and all the housecleaning Saturday morning, then the shopping, even with Walter's help dropping me off right by the store scooters, it was way too much. Poor Mr. Foot! He was doing the muffin thing, where he gets so hugely swollen the top of the foot hangs down over the sides like a muffin. He almost went to his *Blue Cantaloupe* stage. And Ms. Foot wasn't far behind. So sitting in front of the computer to do my prep work was a must.

I've no idea if this dish has a particular name; I think I just sort of morphed it together one day long ago. Here's how the recipe went.

First: peeled and washed about 3/4# of shallots. I washed them with soap, because they got a bit of that black onion mold shallots are susceptible to, and it can be highly allergenic, that mold. Bought in bulk rather than those dainty little net bags, purple shallots run from $1.99 - $4.99 a pound down here. I got the organic ones, $4.99 at Whole Foods, because I didn't want to make yet another stop to save a buck a pound - and spend that much in fuel, and a hundred times that much in extra foot pain.

I peeled the shallots sitting in front of the computer with my feet way high, like usual. Then in the kitchen, after washing and thoroughly rinsing I chopped them fast and rough. They went in a large microwave glass bowl with extra light olive oil drizzled over them, a fair amount of it; then on into the nuker. Five minutes, stir, four minutes, stir, three minutes, stir, then wait for the shrimp.

Shrimp that huge I devein on both sides, top and bottom, and wash carefully, then dry on a paper towel. Everything but the washing and drying was done sitting down. Like any manual task, it goes fast once you've gotten some practice in.

I poured the olive oil from the shallots into a medium-heated frying pan, then gave it a dollop of whipped butter. The olive oil not only balances a cholesterol-lowering oil with the butter, it keeps the butter from burning. The olive oil I use has no flavor really, by preference, but the butter is yummy.

When the oils were hot, in went the shrimp. I turned them when they were barely pink on that first side, then dumped the almost-finished shallots on top. They got a sprinkle of salt and a much bigger sprinkle of turmeric. After the second side of the shrimp got barely pink, I started mixing it all, cooking a few minutes longer to let all the tastes blend.

The only other ingredient was scads of fresh-grated parmesan cheese. That's a very high-protein, relatively lower fat cheese. NOT *low fat* to be fashionable and find a great use for extra salt and chemicals, but lower fat because it's the way the recipe goes for making parmesan cheese. (So there, Dr. Idiot! 'Scuse please.)

I can grate 5 oz. of parmesan cheese in less than two minutes. The reason I notice the time on these tasks is because I simply can't stand up, even on a good day, for more than a minute or two before the pain starts to skyrocket. Walking's not so good either, but not as bad as standing.

Back to the food. Fresh raw veggies? You bet. Again, I'm lucky in my tastes: I eat this stuff because it's what I want. I make a salad of them, and almost never use any kind of lettuce. Spinach sometimes, yes. Usually, it's something like tomatoes, sweet onion, carrots, cucumbers. Peeled broccoli stems, black olives, spinach, kohlrabi, water chestnuts, hard boiled eggs or egg whites - depends upon my mood. Cheap Catalina Free dressing, too, in a nod to my diabetes. Walter loves cucumbers and tomatoes with ranch dressing for a *salad,* and I can feed him fresh raw spinach for a green leafy veg. (He's a challenge on the green leafies.)

I drained the rotini and put it in two bowls, way less for me than for Walter because there's your starchy carbs. The shrimp and shallots went on top. I also had a tiny side bowl of just rotini and whipped butter and a mound of the cheese. I like it plain like that, and I don't like the cheese on my shrimp and shallots, but Walter does.

We took our salads and shrimp and pasta dishes and ate like a king and queen, having a special *fancy* dinner for the grand total of about $15. Maybe $20 if you count the electricity to cook it, and the dollops of butter...So, say $10 each, to eat one of my pricier meals in the comfort of our own home? Not bad.

And this whole time, we talked and talked and talked and talked, from noon till midnight. He showed me some gorgeous pix he finally took with a digital camera, my gracious I had no idea he could take pix like that! We love to talk to each other, Walter and I. After all these years we still aren't tired of each other's company.

Tomorrow we have an intense day of strategic phone calls and letter writing and an MRI, and probably a need for a yard work fix to keep me on an even keel after the MRI.

But for today...ah, sleeping and lazing about, and surfing up how to cook this liver pudding ring he got at Penn Dutch yesterday, and fine long discussions of sausage - and giggling about how I had to stop surfing sausage info after reading about Tibetan lung sausage making, and that old saying about eating sausage vs. knowing how they make it - but Tibetans, I mean, who knew? Besides, I was looking for how to cook it, not how to make it in the first place.

I ended up sticking it in the lovely DeLonghi convection-toaster oven at 275 for an hour and a half, and Walter pronounced himself delighted. --How's that for a Don't Stand Up cooking procedure?,-- I asked him. Spray-oil a piece of aluminum foil, put it on the toaster oven pan, take the liver pudding ring out of its wrapper, place on tray, set oven for 275 for 90 minutes, go lay down and read Jane Austen. Ding! Rinse the (already clean enough) spinach, put in bowl, get bottle of salad dressing. Put some already cut-up cantaloupe in bowls for both of us. Sit by computer and listen contentedly to the sound of my guy eating something he really loves, knowing he might have bypassed the spinach part if left to his own devices.

And now the allergies are descending upon us like a sleepy but toxic warm bath, so off we go for another nap.

You see? Our lives have wonderful shares of pleasures, too.


SeaPhoenix said...

Great of the first things I check for when I get bookmarked ksquest...glad you had a good day!

Jan said... make everything sound so delicious!

Being a fantastic cook must be another of your great talents!

I'm glad you and Walter are feeling a little better, and I hope your poor hand is getting better..and please tell Mr. and Ms. Foot to take it easy, too!

Pretty Lady said...

Hooray! Enjoy your happy time, and send your nephew my way!

pepektheassassin said...


pepektheassassin said...

...except for the liver ring. :(

Anonymous said...

I would almost sell me soul to be able to eat shrimp again.

SeaPhoenix said...

hehe Pepek, "ring" food always gives me the willies. We have a restaurant chain "White Castle" that serves "chicken rings", I'm just wondering, What part of the chicken does the "ring" come from? Ewww.

Granny J said...

You've been quiet again for several days, k, and I start worrying about you and about Walter, too. I hope and pray that all is well as it can be for both of you. Besides, I want to see some of those pictures that Walter took!

k said...

SeaPhoenix, thank you. Ha! I'm glad my little tales of things like Yummy Food are keeping you entertained. We aims to please.

Jan, my love, my cooking skills aren't so great as they may have sounded there. I'm in the *decent* category, no more. I do love to cook, a *plain cook* as they say, right? But my repertoire is limited - which is fine by me.

Mostly, I'm a recreational cook. I cook for the fun of it. You, a mother, cook day in and day out to feed your family. That's something I have a great deal of respect for. I don't know how my mom got through that. We were not appreciative kids, and she deserved far more from us than she got. I tell her that now.

Feeling better is always good, isn't it! I never take it for granted. I make sure to enjoy it while it's there. Ms. Hand is doing better every day, and I'm trying hard to give those feets their proper rest.

Ah, Pretty Lady, another true appreciator of Happy Time. And I cannot get over this nephew business. Another little nudge of the hand of fate, I think. This will be very interesting indeed.

Pepek, remember the crab leg on a plate? ;-) I forget sometimes that not everyone likes seafood, so I'm glad you do.

Jack, oh no!!! - are you allergic? Not being able to eat shrimp would make me just cry. Whatever it is, I'm really sorry you can't eat 'em any more.

If you like onions and garlic, you might like that shallot dressing on something else. Nuking them like that, it's really easy to caramelize onions of any kind. On the stovetop it's tricky, I tend to burn them, and it's hard to get 'em to cook evenly. Purists may look down their noses at me for it, but nuking those caramelized onions is THE way to go at the k ranch.

Now: Pepek, SeaPhoenix - About that liver ring.

I am most decidedly NOT a liver eater. So much so I used to have to leave the building if livers were being cooked. I tried to make Walter his chicken livers a few times, early on, but it simply could not be done.

I'm better with it now, but certainly like to maintain my distance. When I took him by the Special Sausages section at Penn Dutch - they produce their own meat products - that Liver Pudding ring looked, to me, like something most discerning people would Not Want.

Note, please, that it's not just a liver food. And not just a *ring* food. Nope. It's a Liver PUDDING Ring Food.

Think about that.

It looked like it, too.

And I was happy to put it in the shopping basket of the store scooter, and happy to surf up How To Cook The Ring Thing, and happy to stick it in the little oven for him.

The things we do for love...

Oh - and White Castle was a Chicagoland chain too, since forever it seems. Living in a Far North Suburb, I didn't have the early Slider experiences some of my friends recounted to me in adulthood.

They did tell me why they're called Sliders, like this: They are not large. They are greasy. So much so - I was told - that they slide right in your mouth end, and slide right out the other.

This instructive tale had the ring of truth to it. I've had a White Castle burger precisely once in my life. I survived the experience just fine, but never repeated it.

Instead I just bask in the joy of watching other folks truly happy in their Slider Consumption. Yup. A non-participant observer.

Granny J. Thank you for your concern. As I go about relearning my movements and habits to become More Safe I think of you often, and Pepek too, because of your earlier reactions to some of my injuries a while back. You two and DC got me refocused on this question a couple years ago now.

We're okay. Well, you probably already read the new post. No new health emergencies, thank heaven! and the existing ones are on the mend. Just needed some quiet time to absorb major changes in our lives.

I'm going to post those pix Walter took, too. He took them in...are you ready?...Arizona!