Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cryo-Blanching to Improve a Classic

If you know me at all, you have probably noticed that I have an obsession with fava beans. I can't explain it. I just love them beyond all reason. I eagerly anticipate the approach of fava bean season every year, buy a big pile of them almost every weekend when they are in season, and then mourn for a while when the season cruelly and inevitably ends...

FYI: Prosciutto Powder is Awesome

I was screwing around in the kitchen last weekend, trying to think of more fun things to do with scallops... and fava beans. I wanted to incorporate a ham-y flavor, and I had been reading a few posts of people making the ham powder from the Alinea cookbook... but I didn't have any ham. I did, however, have some prosciutto in the freezer, so I decided to see if I could make it work. Turns out it does work... And it's awesome.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

By the way...

... The bunnies are still in love. If you click to embiggen the top picture, you can catch a glimpse of Charley's little tongue as he grooms Rico... The bottom picture was taken after Rico left to eat some hay and Pedro took his place so he could start grooming Charley...
All three of my guys seem way happier ever since they starting being a trio (rather than a duo of toothless lops and a solitary Rico...).

A Good Use for Extra Strawberries

I found myself with a bit of a dilemma this week: I have a policy that if I buy produce and it goes bad before I eat it, I put myself on produce-buying probation (with respect to that item) for several months. (I'm pretty much not allowed to buy peaches or grapefruit ever again unless I have an immediate use planned.) Strawberries had been on sale half-price during my last grocery order, and have been so delicious lately that I ordered more than I could possibly consume. I enjoyed them on their own at breakfast and sliced up on top of Crescent Ridge vanilla frozen yogurt for dessert... and then forgot about them in the fridge until it was almost too late and I feared that I was going to end up on strawberry-buying probation. Luckily, smittenkitchen posted a recipe for Strawberry Summer Cake just as I sat down to figure out what to do with the last of my strawberries.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Some Fun (and Yumminess) in the Kitchen...

Things are non-ideal in La Casa de Emmo lately, but awesome friends and yummy food are always a great distraction from pain and other badness. My friends Mindy and Joe came by last weekend for dinner and playing-with-chemicals and were the perfect mood-lifter.Link

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Human Again

So, I had my cyborg parts removed on May 3. It was oddly sudden. I had spoken to the administrative assistant of Dr. Awesome (my neurosurgeon), and she said that he could see me on June 29 and we could start planning the surgery afterward. I e-mailed Dr. Awesome that Friday and he was like "I'm so glad you e-mailed. We can do the surgery on Tuesday if you'd like." Sweet . These things?

Not a part of me anymore. The recovery from surgery was my best-ever. The surgery was at 1pm, and I was ready to leave at 7pm when my awesome friends came to pick me up. We hung out at my apartment afterward with some pizza and wine. Best surgery day ever.

Despite some early promise, the cyborg parts just weren't able to help me the way I had hoped they could. I discovered around Christmas that my underlying pain was getting worse and worse whenever the stimulator was on, even as it was masking pain (up to about a 5 on the pain scale) in the meantime. I stopped using the spinal stimulator after that, but my pain continued to be fairly out of control. My adorable programmer tried several new programs, but all of them were causing additional pain when they were on. My hope was that the sharp increase in pain over the last 7 months was due to the presence of my cyborg parts, rather than to some permanent side-effect of their presence.

So far, there's no indication that the surgery is helping my ankle pain, but I'm still glad to be 100% human again. The pulse generator in my hip was a nuisance (it would get caught on the back of my cooking stool whenever I stood up, and I would snag it with my hand when tucking in my shirt...) and I love having it gone. If it couldn't help anymore, there was no reason to leave it there.

In the meantime, things remain fairly shitty. I can't work anymore. I can't drive more than a couple miles without adding some serious bonus pain. I can seldom leave my apartment (about once every 2 weeks seems to be my limit in terms of the amount of pain I can handle gracefully). I went to a super-fun Scotch-pairing dinner down the street last night, and my ankles are making me pay for it today. (I went in my wheelchair, so it's not as if I did anything crazy like walking or standing... It's fairly exasperating at this point.) I'll be starting with a new pain clinic soon (one where Dr. Ass-face is not the head of the department), and I figure there's about a 1% chance that we can find something to improve my situation. Trying to keep hope alive, but that's not always so easy at this point.

I'll be back in the kitchen this weekend with some Chemistry Adventures and a modified Thomas Keller recipe... Should be good times...