roasted kabocha squash chewy amaretti lentil chicken soup giveaway: guess the yuki


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wired

I am spazzing out just like I always do the night before chemo. I started my steroids today, which make me hyper. I drank a cola tonight (I rarely do, but caffeine helps to reduce this crazy swelling I get right about now) and that makes me hyper too. Last time this happened I just rattled on and on all night while lying in bed. My mouth was running 100 mph at poor Jeremy who was trying desperately to catch some shut eye, but he’s too kind to tell me to shut it… or maybe he just knows it’s pointless. There I was, “bluhluhluhlubluhluhluhluhbluhluhluhbluh…” until I finally got up and turned on the computer and eventually went to sleep out of boredom.

Luckily, I took advantage of my spike in energy and made a shit ton of food tonight after dinner. I had an ungodly amount of egg yolks leftover from the petits fours, so I made a quart of matcha green tea ice cream and another quart of coffee ice cream – all for Jeremy. The man loves his caffeine. He drinks two large mugs of dark roast coffee and can fall asleep within the hour. That’s crazy. I wash a coffee mug and I don’t shut up all night. I also cooked up a batch of laab for the guy. It’s always a little frenzied right before chemo. Because Jeremy spends the next 4 days working, cleaning, taking care of me, taking care of the dog, I feel it’s the least I can do to prepare a bunch of food for him ahead of time. He’s got a lovely red curry waiting for him in the fridge too.

Another regularly scheduled event either the day before or day of chemo: big dump snow day. Why? It could just be some periodicity in the parade of troughs that march across the continental US this time of year. Or it could be Mother Nature flipping me the bird. Either way, it’s one more thing I’ve had to just suck up and accept. We had 4 inches on our deck when we grilled dinner this evening (yeah, great planning on my part), and the forecast is for another 8-12 inches tonight. $%#^&@*~!


j-man does his thang

marinated beef skirt steak kebabs



The kebabs were fabulous. If you see kebab meat in the grocery store – don’t buy it. They use some crap chuck cut. What you should seek out is the skirt steak. In beef, tenderness is inversely proportional to flavor. The most tender cuts like filet mignon have okay flavor. The toughest cuts like shoulder, rump – great flavor as long as you slow cook the hell out of them. Skirt and flank are a happy medium for grilling, particularly with a marinade. I cut up a pound of skirt steak and sealed it in a ziploc with the juice of 1 lemon, 3 tbsp of olive oil, salt, pepper, and some oregano. 24 hours later… skewer those lovelies and grill on high to rare (okay, rare for me – you do what you want). That is some happy carnivore fare.

But back to our bipolar weather. Yesterday was hot in our town. Like 60F. The good thing about the warm spell was that we could finally give Miss Stinky a bath. Yes, Kaweah has been sporting a serious stink lately. No longer! Now she’s soft, fluffy, and smells of lavender (Buddy Wash and Buddy Rinse are teh best dog shampoo/conditioner).


she hates the baths

don’t feel too sorry for her



Okay, and back to dinner tonight. [Can you tell I’m spastic right now?!] I had an extra lemon chiffon cake from making petits fours, because you can’t make THAT many petits fours without becoming a little homicidal. What better way to use it up than to make some faux strawberry shortcake. I don’t think I’ve ever made real strawberry shortcake, I just take extra cake I have lying around, macerated sliced strawberries, and freshly whipped cream (add a little vanilla and almond extract for that “oh!”)…

oh, how can i NOT plate it?

top with more cake, more cream, and a garnish



I confess, I took a nibble. I’m supposed to avoid strawberries, but I couldn’t help it… just like the time I ordered a salad because if I didn’t get some raw greens I was going to run outside and gnaw on the hedge. Strawberries taste of warm weather – like the time we had just gone backpacking in Kings Canyon NP and were driving back to Pasadena on the 99 through California’s San Joaquin Valley on Memorial Day some 14 years ago. We (Jeremy, myself, and this other fellow who is what you’d call a human Golden Retriever) stopped at a roadside stand and bought a flat of strawberries for $7. FOR $7!! These were the kind that bled juicy goodness at the slightest touch, they were so ripe. We ate them all while crawling through the Grapevine with the rest of Los Angeles. It looked like murder. Then we got stomach aches. But it was worth it… and so was this.

Well kids, that’s all I got and that’s all you’ll get for a few days. Be good.

26 nibbles at “wired”

  1. manggy says:

    I’ll be good, Jen (you guys don’t get to read about my mischievous deeds anyway, heh heh). I’ll be looking forward to the next post, even if it is a week away. Oh, talk about relativity. Yow! Hot warm-spelly 60°F! Bodies of water here are 77°F. Hahaha. (By the way, I think you are deliberately taunting me each time you take note of the weather… Thank heavens I churned two batches of ice cream!)
    My favorite marinade for beef would have to be simply Maggi (er.. Kitchen Bouquet?) and lots of black pepper :) That shortcake looks like heaven… Even if I hafta tell you to follow your doctor’s advice to the lettah! :P

  2. Peter says:

    I admire your verve and your passion for food is evident…cooking up a storm just before chemo. You go get’em!

  3. peabody says:

    I do love me some steriods…they give good energy(but such bad bloat!)
    I am jealous of your cooking storm. I have little food in the house since we leave for Portland.

  4. Bridget says:

    Heh, that post was a little spazzy. No strawberries right smack in spring sucks. Second to last chemo! (I think.) You’re getting so close to finished with it.

  5. Rachel@fairycakeheaven says:

    Chemo is hell family have told me, you seem to be doing well mentally thought which is brilliant as a positive outlook does wonders!!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!!! I admire your guts and your ability to have kept your sense o humour aswell!!!!

  6. Christine says:

    Jen- the photo of Jeremy grillin’ in the snow is quiet honestly, worth the price of admission! Your kebabs are so righteous with their metal skewers and simple marinade. I totally agree with you on the proportion of tenderness to flavor and how flank and skirt make fantastic grilled meats. You know yo’ meats, girlfriend!

    Your strawberry dessert is kicking my ass so I am running out the door (literally) to buy strawberries.

    Bon courage for your treatment :)

  7. michelle @ TNS says:

    oh, steroids…they turned me into a maniacal moonfaced yapper. and i’m normally quiet and lazy.

    the strawberries made me lick my monitor. which i’ve just learned really needs a washing.

  8. Pam says:

    This is my first time posting with your site. I wanted to tell you how much i love your site!!!!!!!! Also to let you know my prayers are with you.

  9. Shoshanna says:

    Hope you get lots of rest for the next few days! Again, sending you a can of whoop@$$. :P

    I bought Strawberries last week and they weren’t very sweet; *sigh* will be a few more months until I can go pick my own from the U-picks near me.

    Don’t feel bad about the snow; we are supposed to get some this weekend (at the higher elevations)! Sounds like we live in the same city at times, haha.

  10. Christina says:

    Wow, that was some epic cooking/baking going on!

    Amazingly, I bought 4 pounds of strawberries and… wait for it… it actually tasted like STRAWBERRIES! So after eating the whole 2-lb container in a weekend, I bought another. Fruit is my candy!

  11. Maja says:

    I’m thinking of you, kick the cancer out of your body for good! Can’t wait for your next post and to hear that you’re all alright, healthy and cancer-free! We’ll open a bottle of champagne when we hear the good news!
    And btw, i bought flank steak yesterday (we were shopping all afternoon, came home at 9 pm!!, who knew finding nice ceramic tiles for the kitchen was such an exhausting experience ;)), i’m making your beef recipe tomorrow when our fathers come to help us with the kitchen. And now i’ve got an eye on your strawberry dessert. Mmmm. A huge hug! xxox

  12. Hillary says:

    Beautiful food! I love kabobs and I just had some yesterday…yummy!

  13. Tartelette says:

    You are such a good woman to J. :)
    Must have been some serious vibes out there last night: I fixed B. the same dessert with leftover cake I had made in the morning.
    Hope you are doing ok today.

  14. fanny says:

    Thinking about you girl. Hope you’re not feeling too bad. You can puke on me if you want ;)
    Oh and you’re darling dog, she’s just so sweet. Chiffon, my own dog, does the exact same face when I wash her. And then she’s all happy and dashes to the house to show my mum, dad and sister how pretty she is. And you know, if you don’t tell her ‘oh que tu es belle’, she’ll stay there until you do.

    xx fanny

  15. Melissa says:

    You are awesome. I love pretty much everything about your blog and only wish I could take pictures like you can. And I only hope that if I have to go through something as sucky as booby cancer I can face it with as much attitude as you.

    I gave you the Blogging with a Purpose award — a blog I visit almost every day and ooh and aahh over every time I visit.

    You rock.

  16. White On Rice Couple says:

    An inspiration you are, taking advantage of the most of your energy and taking good care of your man! I don’t know if I’d trust myself with a knife in your situation, let alone make two batches of ice cream!!
    Kaweah and Dante would be best “bath hating” friends. He’s gotten a little better, not like the good old days when we tried to bathe a screaming, 110 lb, hound dog. I swear the neighbors thought we were beating our dog.
    I look forward to returning to Kings Canyon again , it’s so beautiful there. Now I know what to feed you when you come into town, fresh Chandler strawberries!

  17. Laura @ HungryAndFrozen says:

    Good luck :)

    Love the dog photos interspersed with the delish food photos. Don’t know if I want a steak or a kitten right now though…

  18. Bri says:

    I’m sending you good thoughts and strength in these days after your treatment. Here’s hoping you feel better soon!

    Bri

  19. Chez US says:

    We just gave you a BIG E for Excellent Award! Check it out – http://www.chezus.com/

    ~ Chez US

  20. Mrs Ergul says:

    You’re a woman brave beyond imagination and this makes me see things in a different light. Take care Jen, you’ll be fine!

  21. Lori says:

    Wow you do have a great sense of humor. And such an artist with your food. I admire your “verve’ as someone said. it is a great word to describe you. Looking forward to your next post!

  22. Chez US says:

    This darn thing cut me off before I could finish writing … we hope you are feeling well and that J is taking extra good care of you! Your strawberry cakes were de-vine!

  23. jenyu says:

    Mark – somehow I just don’t imagine you getting into too much trouble over there ;) I knew you tropical folks would think me nuts for complaining about the heat here. I’m getting myself adjusted, slowly! My oncologist is a particularly cautious fellow – more risk-averse than me!

    Peter – thanks :)

    Peabody – tell me about the bloat, sistah :( However, I have had some excellent workouts while on steroids. Alas, there go my aspirations for MLB (snort!). Have a great time in Portland!

    Bridget – hey, you’re keeping track better than I am :) Yup, now it’s one left and I have mixed feelings about it, but… bring it on and let’s get on with life, yeah?

    Rachel – thank you!

    Christine – you like that, huh? :) I threw a down jacket on the man so he wouldn’t look too gazelle-like – ha ha ha. I hope you found some good strawberries at the store. Thanks for the good thoughts – they always mean a lot to me!

    Michelle – yeah, I have a love-hate relationship with the steroids. I’d just as soon be done with the chemo and never need the steroids again (unless I plan to break out in another random heat rash like I did 20 years ago at that Depeche Mode concert…) ;)

    Pam – thanks, I appreciate your thoughts.

    Shoshanna – oh my gosh, I don’t even know if they have u-picks around here… I miss those!

    Christina – 2 lbs of strawberries in one weekend? You must have no trouble with constipation ;) I have a girlfriend who binge eats based on seasonality: watermelon, blueberries, etc. It’s hilarious.

    Maja – Mmm, I hope you like the flank steak recipe. When your fathers are done helping you with your kitchen, I have some hardwood floors I’d love to put in our downstairs guest room :) Will pay with food!! hee hee

    Hillary – good on ya!

    Tartelette – thank you, dear. I am doing much better now. It’s a no-brainer, isn’t it? Leftover cake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream – just about the simplest and happiest way to end a meal :) xxoo

    Fanny – ahhhh you are such a riot! Thank you for the offer – oddly, it makes me feel loved :) Your puppy sounds so cute! My girl does not care about pretty or praise, she loves to be filthy and smelly ;)

    Melissa – thanks for your sweet comments and for the award, that’s really kind of you :)

    WoRC – I don’t know if I’d trust you with a knife if you were hopped up on steroids either! :) Too funny. The biggest dogs are also the biggest weenies when it comes to baths. No wait, cats are worse… Oh, Chandlers! All of the tiny, sweet, dark varieties grown in So Cal are heavenly. I do miss them terribly. Eat a bunch for me!

    Laura – a steak is lower maintenance, but a kitten is far more cuddly :)

    Bri – thank you so much.

    Chez Us – awww, you guys! You really flatter me, especially considering the company! Thank you :) xxoo

    Mrs. Ergul – thank you :)

    Lori – thanks!

    Chez Us – thanks guys. You’re very sweet.

  24. Christine says:

    Jen – I’m starting to wonder if I have been kidnapped by aliens and just came back to a year worth of your blogs :)

    I did get the strawberries and half were eaten on the walk home.

  25. jenyu says:

    Christine – yeah, I was starting to worry about you because I hadn’t seen a post in a while. Was going to email you until I started getting a ton of comments from you :) Glad you’re back!

  26. Poppies, Wildflowers and a Sweet Show « Hot.Sour.Salty.Sweet. And Umami says:

    […] that you might not have considered or perhaps even shunned — like grilling food in the snow (!) or making mayonnaise without killing […]

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