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archive for May 2008

bri on the brain

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

I need a favor here, folks.

I’m a pretty independent chick, ask anyone who knows me. It’s a fairly small circle of people that I allow myself to rely upon – that I allow myself to feel safe enough around when I’m vulnerable or in need. It is just my way. This was especially true during chemo. I made mention of how chemo kinda sucked and made a mess of my ski season and my food blogging but… I never talked about the other stuff like desperately holding back tears and an unexpected wave of shock when I left the hairdresser’s after getting my head shaved despite not caring about the hair itself. Or trying to get sick as quietly as possible in the middle of the night hour after hour, night after night so I wouldn’t wake Jeremy because he was exhausted from taking care of me and working 80+ hours a week on his own demanding job. Or feeling so hungry from not being able to digest solid food for 5 days that when I dared to nibble on soft bread it felt like razors going down my throat and racked my insides for hours. Or lying in so much pain at home alone that I couldn’t get up to take my meds and I actually cried to the dog to fetch the bottle (it didn’t work – she just kept pawing at me to be let up on the bed to snuggle).

But the worst was the mental and emotional isolation. Even though Jeremy tried to always be there for me, I could see he was giving more energy than he had. Did I mention that his sideburns have started to turn grey since I began chemo? Yeah, I’ve given my beautiful husband premature grey. I couldn’t bring myself to ask more of him, to ask him to talk to me about my fears, my sadness – only to stress him out and force him to pile more on his plate – because he would do that for me. So I let those thoughts fester in my mind for a long time, alone.

**Jump for more butter**

daring bakers: opera cake

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Recipe: opera cake

To my Darling Daring Bakers: I made the cake yesterday and planned to have a post up by this morning, but I got really sick. I’m just posting the final pic and I will have the rest up at a later time. I am off to the ER. I’m sorry!! xxoo, jen

Update: May 30, 2008
I’m back, kids! Sorry to worry everyone. I had a 48+ hour bout of seriously bad stomach juju with fever to boot. Oncology doesn’t like fever+chemo (no one seemed all that concerned with my debilitating stomach cramps) and sent me to the ER to check for infection. I mean, wouldn’t it suck to finish 6 rounds of the toughest chemo regimen on tap only to die of some damn secondary infection at the very end? That answer would be a resounding hell yeah.

So thanks for all of the wonderful and kind comments you have left. It wasn’t my intention to stress you happy bakers out.

the daring bakers: we knead to bake

As most of you have figured out, I *am* a Daring Baker. Daring Bakers kick ass and they are also spreading like a virus through the food blogosphere. If you aren’t a Daring Baker (all two of you who are left) then you will be assimilated soon enough… oh yes… you will be. This month’s challenge is: The Opera Cake. Our hosts for the challenge are our beloved Daring Bakers’ founders Lis (La Mia Cucina) and Ivonne (Cream Puffs in Venice), and two of our newer DB members Fran (Apple Peaches Pumpkin Pie) and Shea (Whiskful). You can scope out all of the gorgeous Opera Cakes at the rest of the Daring Bakers’ blogs on the blogroll. Thank you, ladies!

ground almonds are the base of the jaconde

**Jump for more butter**

messin’ with texas

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Recipe: texas barbecue beef brisket

Having grown up in Virginia, the butt of our local jokes was usually West Virginia. When I headed to California for college, I began to hear a lot of jokes about Texas – especially after I met Jeremy, the native son of New Mexico. The one I heard most was:

Why is it so windy in New Mexico?
Because Texas sucks and Arizona blows.

I’m sure you can replace the states in that with any set of neighboring states, but it’s quite amusing to see how tickled folks from New Mexico are when they deliver the punch line… every time. The point is, it is not cool to love anything about Texas in the company I keep.

Well, I have to make an exception – two, in fact. I love Kathryn, who is a Texan transplanted to Norway, and I LOVE Texas-style barbecue beef brisket à la Dr. Hogly Wogly’s Tyler Texas Bar-B-Que (in Van Nuys, CA no less!). My former house president and good friend, Jack (oops! another Texan… make that three things I love about Texas), introduced me to The Doctor. It’s a hole-in-the-wall joint nestled between skanky billboards advertising gentlemen’s clubs and adult bookstores on Sepulveda Boulevard [8136 Sepulveda Blvd., Van Nuys, CA (818) 902-9046]. The waitresses are strapping ladies, not a single one under size 14 or shorter than 5 feet 10 inches, who can haul pounds of barbecue chicken, pork ribs, beef brisket, hot links, and the most delicious and decidedly non-vegetarian baked beans. Come to think of it, I don’t think a single thing on their menu is vegetarian… except possibly the lemonade and iced tea.

The Doctor is one of our favorite go-to eats when we visit So Cal, and their beef brisket is one of our favorite items on the menu. It sells out on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, you name it. F’ing Good Stuff. A couple of weeks ago, a magazine editor contacted me asking if I had a nice photo of barbecue beef brisket. Um, I didn’t have any good ones and I usually barbecue pork because I am from Virginia where Pork is King. Ever since that email exchange, I have had barbecue beef brisket on the brain.

4.5 pounds of brisket with a healthy slab of fat on the other side

**Jump for more butter**