Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Grilling Out and a Summer Cold

I have a cold (in May!) and it sucks.  If that sounds like I'm whining, it's because I AM whining.  It doesn't really seem fair that as soon as I get home from a sucky business trip (over a weekend no less) and the weather is gorgeous, that I'm unable to breathe through my nose and that it hurts to swallow.  I feel bad for myself, but I also feel bad for my husband who has to live with me.

I've never been a very good sick person and never have been.  I tend to do whatever is necessary to garner sympathy from those around me, including consistent whining, loud updates on my symptoms, and pitiful faces.  If I'm sick, you'll know it.  And its really ironic because when OTHER people are sick, I'm usually quite the skeptic.  I don't think any co-worker of mine has ever called in sick to work where I didn't secretly roll my eyes and think say "yeah right!". 

I'm going to tell 2 sick stories from when I was younger that indicate that I CAN be tough in the face of illness when I really need to be.  I also need to apologize to my parents ahead of time for sharing these stories.  This is going to make it sound like they were neglectful of my health, which couldn't be any further from the truth.  They were (and still are) the best, most supportive and caring parents in the whole world.  My mom is lovely and sharp as a tack.  She's also so kind and nurturing, and my dad is a sweet, funny, brilliant physician who taught me to be mentally tough.  These were TOTALLY isolated incidents, and besides...I ended up turning out okay, right?  Right!

Anyway, when I was younger, I used to get strep throat a lot, and I'd get pretty darn sick, too.  I'm not even exaggerating!  The worst part was that I'd get really high fevers, so high that I'd hallucinate at night and say crazy things that I didn't remember the next morning.  Kind of like frat-boy style blackouts for 8 year olds.  One time I was particularly ill my bratty darling little sister was also sick with a stomach bug.  Even though I was literally too ill to move or walk, I went to the hospital with her and my Mom when she threw up so much she got dehydrated.  Way to steal my thunder!  Plus she was really cute and I was in a bit of an awkward stage, so that didn't help.  When it was finally evident that I needed to go home to bed, my Dad (who worked at the hospital) offered to leave early to take me since I was so sick.  He didn't mention the fact that he had parked 11 blocks away and that I'd be expected to hoof it.  Guess 8 year olds are too young for curbside service!  Mental toughness, I'm telling you!

The second story is the details around the time I almost died from appendicitis when I was 12.  I'd been sick for a couple of days with a stomach ache, but had insisted that I was okay and just needed a couple of days to recover away from school.  Trouble was, my stomachache started getting worse and shifted nicely from the middle of my belly to the right side, 1/3 of the way between my hip bone and my belly button.  For future reference, this is an important spot and indicates that you're screwed if you don't book it to the ER.  Trying to be tough, I didn't really mention this to my Dad, who had been asking how I was feeling.  I mean, I said my stomach still hurt (a lot), which it DID!  No one asked WHERE it hurt.  Finally, after a couple of days, it got so bad that I did mention where exactly it hurt, and you would have thought I'd told my parents I'd just cut off my own pinkie toe and eaten it raw.  We hightailed it to the emergency room where they did emergency surgery to remove my appendix which was leaking poison throughout my body.  Who knew!?!?  The parentals did feel really bad about this, even though it was mostly my fault.  I mean, I had spent my entire life detailing all of my symptoms to anyone who would listen, but the ONE time I try to tough it out and keep my misery to myself, I'm slowly dying of appendix poison. 

I didn't die, though, and the 7 days I spent in the hospital totally got rid of my baby fat and I returned to the basketball court (and the oh-so-judgemental world of middle school) about 20 pounds thinner.  Score!

I love to give my Dad a hard time about this, and you know what?  Ever since then, I've gotten a LOT more sympathy when I am sick.  Go figure.

Anyway, the meal I cooked last night has nothing to do with any of this, besides the fact that I'm blogging about them while feeling like crap on a stick.

The chicken I made is a repeat, and it can be found here.  Its amazing.  Make it.

The potatoes are Ina Garten's recipe, and while I've made iterations of it before, I've never followed it exactly like I did last night.  I thought they were great, but I still think I like some other versions better.  Sorry, Ina!

The salad I made up, inspired by the instructor at a cooking class I took awhile back.  I'll just mention that putting truffle oil on anything makes it automatically amazing.  Try it, its true!

Mustard Roasted Potatoes
Source: Barefoot Contessa At Home

2 1/2 pounds small red potatoes 
2 yellow onions 
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the potatoes into one-inch cubes (halves or quarters for the small potatoes, several more cuts for the larger ones). Place potatoes into a large plastic bag with a zipper seal. Peel onion and cut in half. Slice crosswise to about 1/4 inch thickness to make half rounds and add to bag.

Add the olive oil, mustard, 2 teaspoons salt, and pepper to bag; seal, and toss together. This can be prepped a few hours in advance and left in the plastic bag until ready to roast.

Line a sheet pan with foil and spread potatoes and onions onto pan. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour; until potatoes are lightly browned on the outside and tender on the inside. Toss the potatoes occassionally to prevent sticking and for even browning.

Garnish with chopped parsley and more salt if needed and serve immediately.

Spring Mix and Arugula Salad with Truffle Vinaigrette
Source: Adapted from The Compleat Gourmet Cooking Class, Richmond, VA
1 bag mixed greens (I used 1/2 bag spring mix and 1/2 bag baby arugula)
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white truffle oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
Whisk dressing ingredients together and drizzle over greens.  Top with goat cheese and walnuts; serve.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to hear that you're sick, in May, no less! I hate being sick and I'd like to be a big baby but I usually try to suck it up, unless it's really bad and then I'll lay on the couch and beg for things to be brought to me. :) Hope you feel better soon, that salad looks amazing, never had anything with truffle oil!