Friday, March 31, 2017

Farro Salad with Cauliflower & Prosciutto

Since I've been sick all of March, I haven't been too interested in food other than comfort food like the chicken noodle soup and lasagna that we made. This week, we tried a new-to-us dish: Farro Salad with Cauliflower & Prosciutto. I really liked the Farro with Mushrooms & Pancetta that we made so we decided to try another farro dish.
It's an easy dish to make. The first step is to cook the farro in water with carrots, celery, onion, and a bay leaf.
Spread the farro out to cool and discard the vegetables & bay leaf.
Roast the cauliflower. Cut the prosciutto into small cubes. We quickly sauteed our prosciutto to crisp it a bit.
 Make the dressing and mix it all together.
This was good, but would have been better with fresh marjoram and parsley and perhaps some lemon zest. I think SP forgot to mix in the dried marjoram & parsley. We opted to roast the cauliflower instead of frying it. It seemed easier and less messy. We also crisped our prosciutto a bit. I think I might prefer thin slices of prosciutto sliced into small bits instead of these tiny cube chunks. This was a tasty and quick dinner. It was 4 servings for us, so 2 dinners.

Official recipe here.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

I finished taking the antibiotic, my stomach started getting back to normal, and then on Monday morning I woke up with a rash all over my neck & chest and it has since spread to my arms and legs. The doctor says it's a rash from an ingredient in the antibiotic and it'll go away. Thankfully, it's not itchy. But seriously, can March get any crappier? My sore throat might be better, but I have either a lingering cold or really bad allergies because I'm still sneezing, stuffed up or runny nose, and feeling congested. And I am a spotted monster.

March Madness: I thought I'd be the big loser since Villanova lost, but according to my mom, SP & I are in the lead and one of us will win. We fill out brackets for the mens and womens tournaments. I need Gonzaga and Oregon to lose in the mens and Mississippi State to lose in the womens. I think if even one of those teams wins this weekend, SP will win.

Meals This Week:

What We're Watching:

  • There was a moment in Monday's Quantico when I turned to SP and went off on how utterly unrealistic and stupid the past 5 minutes had been. He agreed. We have officially dumped the show.
  • We haven't yet watched Monday's 24: Legacy so it's possible that it, too, will soon be dumped.
  • Thanks to Dish & their new guide provider screwing up again, Big Little Lies didn't record on Sunday (after recording the previous 5 weeks). So we watched it Monday. I'm still a little disappointed with the slow, slow, slow burn of the show leading to the death and revealing the "big little lies."
  • Tonight the new season of Amazing Race premieres. I love watching teams do the challenges and bicker and get lost! Plus, Shonda shows. I was so upset at the end of Scandal last week! I am hoping the character who got shot survives! 
  • Tomorrow Grimm ends its run and Sleepy Hollow ends its season. We were shocked at the deaths in last week's Grimm and are hoping the characters aren't really dead.
  • This week Bones ended after 12 seasons. I'll miss the show. At least Kathy Reichs is still writing the books.

What I'm Reading:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

I keep meaning to make more of an effort to post, but once again, a week has gone by and I didn't post. I'm going to blame my continued sick state. Yes, I have been sick since March 4. It got so bad last weekend that I made an "emergency" doctor visit. Actually, I made SP call and get me an appointment because I could barely talk. My throat was so sore. I had that constant swallow pain/difficult to swallow thing that's so bad it feels like your ears are going to explode when you swallow.

I saw a doctor on Monday. He prescribed an antibiotic and a prescription cough syrup with codeine so I could sleep. We got the prescriptions filled on the way home but when we got home, we realized the pharmacy had not mixed up the antibiotic. Yes, mixed up. I asked for a liquid instead of a giant pill that would make me choke & die. They gave us the powder and a bottle and instructions with a huge orange warning sticker to make sure the pharmacy mixes it all up before you leave the pharmacy. ? Nice work, stupid pharmacy. So back to the pharmacy SP went.

The antibiotic seems to have cured the sore throat/swallow/ear stuff, but I still feel sick. I still feel congested in my chest, but I don't have a congested sounding cough. You'd think the prescription cough syrup/expectorant would be helping, but it's not. Codeine does not knock me out so it's not really helping me sleep. As for expectorating and decongesting... well let's just say that I now have a new issue: not being able to get to the bathroom in time because the antibiotic and/or expectorant has created a mess of my digestive system. I am now afraid to stray too far from the bathroom.

Life pretty much sucks right now.

Meals This Week:

  • Lasagna for 4 meals
  • Arugula salad and fried egg sandwiches for 2 meals
  • Madeleines for dessert

What We're Watching:

  • Next week will be the series finales of Bones and Grimm. Excited to see how they end, especially after Tuesday's Bones cliffhanger.
  • SP wanted to continue watching Quantico, so reluctantly I set up a manual timer (thanks Hearst & Dish for continuing to be at odds) and watched Monday's episodes of Quantico and 24: Legacy. By "watch" I mean 50% of my attention was focused on the TV and the other 50% on the game I was playing on my tablet.
  • We've been watching March Madness basketball, too. My Bucknell Bison gave WVU a tough time and lost by only 6, so even though they lost, I think it's really a win for the Bison. As for the rest of my basketball bracket, it is again this year already busted thanks to Villanova losing. At least this past weekend included Duke Elimination Day (as my IN friend calls it). When Duke basketball loses, I'm a happy girl.
  • I watched Elle last Friday while SP was at the hockey game. It was a very good movie and I can see why Isabelle Huppert was nominated for Best Actress.

Nothing. I've been napping the afternoons away.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

So I am on Day 12 or 13 of "allergies or cold?" At first, I thought for sure allergies. But then I got a bit of a cough & a sore throat, which I never have with allergies. So I decided it was a cold. But it's not progressing like a cold for me, or acting like my usual allergies. I've gone through 3-4 bottles of liquid medicine and all I have to show for it is $40 of medicine/cough drops on the charge card and an upset stomach (which happens when I take expectorant medicine). So. Life is lovely.

It's such a pathetic cough, too. And it strikes whenever I shift position while sleeping. I guess rolling over triggers it. And then I cannot stop the pathetic cough, which triggers a drippy nose, so then I have to use tissue after tissue. This goes on for a half hour or so, keeping both of us awake. I think I'm averaging 4-5 hours of sleep a night now.

My niece had surgery to repair her broken collarbone this week. She called me this morning and we got to talk for about half an hour, which was really quite nice because it happens so rarely. She's home from school, recovering, and, I suspect, bored and lonely. She was tripped during a soccer game and when she fell, her collarbone broke. But now, she has joined the metal parts club, though she still has a long way to go before catching up to me!

March Madness begins today. My alma mater is in the tournament - mens & womens! So this afternoon I will be settling in to watch my Bucknell Bison take on WVU. Go ahead. Laugh. My team likely will be crushed by halftime. I picked them to win anyway. You have to pick a few upsets, right? Why not Bucknell? After all, they beat Pitt way back once upon a time when Pitt was ranked in the top ten  (I was at that game at Petersen Events Center in January 2005 (?), wearing the orange & blue of "my" team while my dad was wearing the blue & gold of "his" team and getting very upset with their play) and one year, they beat Kansas in the tournament.

Meals This Week:

  • Pork tenderloin with pierogies and roast cauliflower or steamed broccoli. Sunday through Thursday. Yes. Five dinners. In a row. I might be a little sick of pork (but not pierogies).
  • Giant Eagle shamrock cookies for dessert.

What We're Watching:

  • Six on History ended, mostly predictably but the very last scene surprised us.
  • We watched the first 2 episodes of Trial & Error with John Lithgow on NBC. We liked it a lot and laughed a lot.
  • Designated Survivor is back and we did not see last night's ending coming! 
  • We're still watching 24. I think I decided to stick it out a bit longer because Tony Almeida came back. Still not too into it, though.
  • American Crime is back! But I didn't get to see the first episode because of stupid Dish. Dish and Hearst are still disagreeing so we have no WTAE. Just the OTA WTAE. So I set up a manual timer. It's there. The Timers section shows it. And yet it didn't record. Like many other timers that are set up but not recording. The rage at Dish right now is great. They gave SP some (stupid unacceptable lame) reason that they switched Guide providers and program "secret" numbers/"secret" coding (secret = stuff you the viewer do not see but that makes it all work) was changed without their knowledge and that's why even if you have a show set up to record, it might not record. 
  • And as usual, This Is Us made me cry. *sniff* Thank goodness it's over for a while. Between that show & my cold/allergy thing, I'm using an awful lot of tissues.

What I'm Reading:
Nothing. I have a book due next week but because I've been feeling so crappy I've been napping in the afternoon. I did read some Jan-Feb magazine issues and now the Mar-Apr ones are here/arriving so I need to get on the magazine pile.

GO BISON!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Chicken Saltimbocca

Recently we tried a new-to-us dish: Chicken Saltimbocca. The recipe is from Mario Batali's Farm To Table cookbook. Several months ago we made a veal saltimbocca (which I may not have written about) and enjoyed it so much that we decided to try a chicken version. Plus, we still have fresh sage in the freezer.
This chicken version is a little different than the veal version. This one has sauteed mushrooms with the chicken stock-marsala sauce. And no cheese.
Prosciutto & thawing sage.
Instead of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (the usual chicken dish chicken), this recipe uses boneless, skinless thighs. Happily, boneless, skinless chicken thighs are sold at our Market District.
Pound the thighs, layer on prosciutto and sage, fold like a book, secure with toothpick, dredge in flour, and saute.
Set the browned thighs aside and saute the mushrooms/make the sauce.
We used regular mushrooms, nothing fancy.
Add the chicken back to the pan with mushrooms & sauce and simmer until heated/cooked through.
Since we are trying to watch our carb/sugar intake (without completely giving up pasta/bread, etc.) we decided this was a chicken dish that needed only a side salad (arugula & tomatoes) to make a tasty meal. We had some sliced fontina on the side because we had fontina in the refrigerator and because the veal saltimbocca recipe used fontina and because cheese in salad is tasty.
This chicken saltimbocca is delicious. A little like chicken marsala. It reheats nicely, too. I reheated the chicken & sauce in a casserole with the glass lid on in the oven at 350. Definitely an easy make again meal.

Recipe here or here.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

JAMON CON QUESO (jamon iberico, manchego, seville, olive oil, grilled baguette)
Last weekend we went out for SP's 3rd and final birthday meal: dinner, just the two of us, at Morcilla. We both like Morcilla a lot. This time, in addition to our usual favorites, we tried some new-to-us dishes. The Jamon con Queso was so good!
CRISPY BRUSSELS SPROUTS (sherry maple dijon glaze, pepitas, smoked goat cheese)
These Brussels sprouts might be our new favorite Brussels. I liked the crunchy pepita, the smoky, creamy cheese, crisp Brussels with the bite of sherry. So. Good.
OXTAIL MONTADITO (caramelized onion, mahon cheese)
Yes, we always order the Oxtail Montadito but I took a photo because it's a different presentation. It's on a longer baguette looking bread instead of crostini looking bread. One of us may have remarked that it now looks like a tail.
COSTILLAS DE LA MATANZA (baby back pork ribs, pomegranate sherry caramel,scallions, coriander, crunchy black olive) 
Ribs! Yum. SP asked me if I was going to be a dainty girly and use fork and knife. I said yes. He did, too, but had no qualms about picking a rib up and getting his hands all messy. I found that these were so tender that the bone just slid right our of the meat.
We ate all the pork rib meat. 

SHRIMP EN SOFRITO (roasted carrot, onion, fennel, anchovy, pimenton)
Buried under the sauce in the bowl are 3 large shrimp. In the top right of the bowl you can see the toasted garlic - the danger zone for me! I avoided the garlic.
CHURROS for dessert
Of course we ordered the churros. Instead of 2 long churros, there are now 4 shorter ones standing up in a glass with the sauce in the bottom. Still yummy.

Another delicious meal with great service.

Since then I have felt crappy and I was playing the "Allergies or Cold?" game. That went on for several days but last night it became apparent it is indeed a cold. I feel horrible. SP went out this morning before work to buy me medicine. I can't even sleep, I keep waking up and tossing & turning and ache everywhere.

Our Meals This Week: 

  • Chicken Noodle Soup (actually pastina, not noodles)
  • Chicken Saltimbocca with arugula & tomato salad
  • Dessert: Girl Scout cookies, popcorn, M&M's. No baking this week.

Lots of chicken, but I really wanted chicken soup because of how I have been feeling.

What We're Watching:

  • Victoria ended. It was good, but the last episode seemed a little plodding.
  • Worst Cooks in America ended. I don't want to spoil anything in case someone hasn't yet watched but while I am happy with the winning chef, I am not happy with the winning contestant. I think the other chef/contestant should have won.
  • The Americans is back! Although I was confused for the first 15 minutes.
  • Designated Survivor is back! 
  • Taboo has been renewed for a second season. More brooding Tom Hardy!
  • We watched Moonlight. Really good movie. Now I need to see La La Land. And Fences & Hacksaw Ridge & Lion.

I sure hope Dish & Hearst settle their contract dispute soon. I had to set up manual timers for the OTA WTAE channel to record my shows. Yup. First world problem. But it's so nice to simply let the DVR pick up the new episodes of my shows. No wondering whether or not it's new.

What I've Been Reading:

  • The Agent Runner by Simon Conway. Enjoyed this a lot. Not everyone enjoys spy/international intrigue/thriller books, but I do, and this is a good one.
  • Rules of Civility. Yes. It's taken a while but once I finally sat down and started reading I found myself engrossed and not wanting to put it down. Just as enjoyable as Towles' A Gentleman in Moscow.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

Last weekend was SP's birthday. We celebrated on Saturday, going to see John Wick Chapter 2 and having dinner at Burgatory. Then on Sunday we went to brunch at Casbah.

This week the tree guys came to trim tree branches back from the house and to remove some brush and vines between/in trees. It looks better, but I'd like to see a lot more disappear. SP & the tree guys are all for letting healthy stuff remain, but... I can't stand how much stuff the previous owners planted around the house. We've had so much removed and it still, at times, looks awful and unkept.

It was super windy last night so of course I was worried about another tree blowing over like the spruce tree that missed our deck 2 weeks ago. I am sure there's all sort of trash blown into our yard and woods area. Ugh. It's annoying how much blows into our yard not to mention the trash that is sometimes deliberately left there, like the day we found a six pack of empty bottles placed in the driveway. They were empty, but all lined up in their cardboard box and just sitting there, right in the middle of the driveway.

Meals This Week:

  • Meatloaf. Monday-Thursday this week. It's a 2 lb meatloaf. With Green Bean & Tomato Casserole
  • Tomorrow will probably be scrambled eggs or some fast food meal, like Panera or DiBella's.
  • Dessert: Leftover Raspberry Shortbread. Girl Scout Cookies. Paczki. Paczki season ended on Tuesday so SP brought home half a dozen as a final paczki treat.

What We're Watching:

  • The final episode of Taboo aired this week. It was a bloody good ending (literally). 
  • There's one more episode of Six. I'm wondering if it'll be the ending I expect or if it'll be messier than I expect.
  • There's also one more episode of Worst Cooks in America. We were surprised at the final two.
  • The Americans comes back next week! And Designated Survivor!

We've been watching a lot of Netflix DVDs. We watched Allied and The Accountant. We enjoyed both more than we expected given the reviews. I watched Manchester By the Sea. Oh my gosh what a sad, heart-breaking film. So good, but so sad. Regardless of your feelings about Casey Affleck, what a great performance. I have Moonlight to watch - how crazy was the end of The Oscars?! I'm looking forward to watching Moonlight not just because it won Best Picture but also Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali, who played Cottonmouth on Luke Cage and he was in Hidden Figures (yes, he's had a lot of other roles but those are the ones I am most familiar with).

Nothing this past week. I haven't found time to sit down and get into a book. I've been spending a lot of time doing vacation research since we're trying to plan a vacation sometime to somewhere (we're unusually indecisive this year). After spending a good amount of time on the computer, my eyes are tired and I just want to close them and rest them.