Thanks so much for all your well-wishes and thoughts and especially prayers for Bob's recovery. He felt much, much better today--still tired and not much of an appetite, but obviously on the mend. And as for me, so far so good. I have always been prone to throat infections, so living in close quarters like this with his particular illness just makes me a little panicky. But I believe I have been spared!
I've been cooking up some different things, trying to entice Bob to eat something more substantial than garlic soup or saltines. I made some miso soup with carrots and kale this evening, and he ate a bit of that, so I was happy to at least get some vegetables into him.
This one I was sure would win him over. I was wrong...
Mashed potatoes and lightly steamed kale, topped with The Grit's Yeast Gravy. This stuff is dangerous to have around, because I love it so much. Bob didn't feel up to it, but thank goodness he's feeling better because he loves this too, and he'll eat the leftovers so I'm not stuck with them.
I wanted to get him to eat something with some spicy mustard on it, to help clear out his congestion. He didn't want a sandwich or anything like that, but I knew if I made these he wouldn't be able to refuse them.
Everyone knows that big, soft pretzels are just a vehicle for mustard, right? Right! My little scheme worked this time--he gladly partook. I'd never made pretzels before so I referred to this recipe to get the idea down. I modified it a bit, as usual, so I'll include my recipe at the end of this post. These came out soft and chewy, just like a good pretzel should.
This is a potato stir-fry that Bob made a day or so before he got sick. He was actually able to stomach the leftovers, even with cilantro and spicy salsa. Must have been good! Someone recently asked me for the recipe for this meal so I'm going to include it here too, though the possibilities are obviously endless!
I've been drinking blueberry-banana-flax smoothies for breakfast and eating salads or kale & kraut sammiches for lunch, so despite what the above evidence may suggest I HAVE been eating pretty well--plenty of fruits and veggies and whole grains, and I've been avoiding sugar pretty well. If I must sweeten something, I generally either use stevia (for tea) or agave nectar (for porridge and such).
But what's a hot Georgia summer without fruit sorbet? I was inspired to make this champagne peach sorbet by the open bottle of champagne in our refrigerator, left over from earlier in the week when Bob and I had a little celebration. When he got sick I knew that no one would finish it before it went flat, so I used up some of it this way. Peaches and champagne pair so well, and there couldn't be a better time of year to enjoy a treat like this.
So what were we celebrating with the champagne? Well, I found out earlier this week that I have passed both of the CPA exams I have taken! Woot! Now I just have two more to go, and I'll be done by mid-July. Praise God! I couldn't have been more ecstatic.
Wishing you all health and happiness and peace and joy....
Big, Soft Pretzels
1 cup plain soy milk, warmed (not too hot--around 110 degrees)
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon demerara sugar
Combine the above ingredients in a small bowl and let sit 10 minutes, or until foamy. In the meantime, mix in a large bowl:
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Make a well in the center and add the milk mixture. Begin working it together, adding more all-purpose flour as needed, about 1/4 cup at a time. I added about 3/4 cup total. Once you can form the dough into a ball, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes, incorporating more flour if necessary, until the ball of dough is smooth and soft. No rising time is necessary.
Divide the dough into 6 portions, and roll each piece out into a long, thin log. Once rolled out, let the dough rest for about 5 minutes; then roll each piece out more, if necessary, to a length of about 15 inches and a thickness about the size of your thumb.
Preheat oven to 425. Bring a pot of water to a boil. In the meantime, form each piece of dough into a pretzel shape; where you fold the ends of the dough back over the middle you may need to pinch it together slightly so that it will hold--but don't put too much pressure or you will flatten the dough. When the water is boiling, boil one pretzel at a time, for about 5 seconds, then remove and place directly on a greased pan. I found the easiest way to do this was to place the pretzel on a slotted spoon and submerge it; the pretzel stayed on the spoon and I didn't have to go fishing for it. Once on the pan, immediately sprinkle the pretzel with the desired topping (I used coarse salt on some and sesame seeds on some) and then repeat the process with the remaining pretzels. Bake at 425 for 12-15 minutes, until golden. Serve right away with mustard or your condiment of choice!
Bob's "Hash Browns" (aka Potato Stir-Fry)
For each serving you wish to make, you will need:
One large or two small potatoes (any variety should be fine), sliced into wedges
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup chopped vegetables (we commonly use mushrooms, green peppers, zucchini, etc.)
Heat a small amount of oil in a large skillet, adding the onions and garlic as it begins to heat. Sauté for several minutes, until the onion begins to brown. Add the other vegetables and the potatoes and cook on medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add more oil if necessary to keep from sticking (but remember--it's much easier to add more than it is to remove it if you've added too much). During the last few minutes of cooking, season with salt and cayenne or black pepper to taste. Serve with ketchup or, as I prefer, with a bit of cilantro and some spicy salsa.
Champagne Peach Sorbet
1 cup sliced frozen peaches (NOTE: If you use fresh peaches, make sure you slice and freeze them 2-3 days ahead of time to ensure a good texture)
1/2 cup champagne*
2 tablespoons white grape juice concentrate (or simple syrup, if you prefer), or more, to reach desired sweetness
Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the peaches are pulverized and the mixture forms a smooth slush. Transfer to a container with a lid and freeze for one hour. Remove from freezer and stir, then retun to freezer and freeze for 2 hours or more, until set.
* If you prefer, you can just use simple syrup in place of the champagne: Combine equal parts sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Cook for a few minutes until sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture has reduced slightly. Make sure to cool the syrup completely before proceeding with the recipe.