Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Bird's Eye, PSW, Carving, Taxes, Chipmunks,

It has occurred to me once or twice lately how much I miss Bird's Eye foods, we used to have them in the UK and in the States, but for some reason we don't have them in Ontario. They are specifically frozen foods and we used to enjoy a lot of their products. Seems odd we can get them in the US but not here. Same thing with Butter Buds which I used to use instead of the high calorie real thing. I can buy them through Amazon but they are very expensive.

Today, I am pleased to say the PSW came at 9 and is doing so again tomorrow.  Much better than 7. Not only that, it is the same guy twice in a row so he should be able to do the exercises with Matt without my participation. Turns out he is Colombian so I spoke to him in Spanish. He didn't understand me. I am working so hard at Spanish and he didn't understand me, I am mortified.

I cooked some flank steak at the weekend and we finished it Monday night. It has to be carved and I hate carving. I never did it until recently. When I was a young woman, carving was always done by the man of the house although in Georgian days, in a well to do family, everyone carved whatever cooked meat was served in front of them at the table. Either way, I never carved until recently and I am not good at it. I do try and keep the knives good and sharp of course, but.....

Because of this Covid-19 business the government is, apparently, shelling out some money for seniors, not sure why, but they are, and I was wondering if this money is going to be taxable. I remember, many years ago, when I was working, things were tough (I don't remember why) so companies were offered the choice of closing on Fridays and employees were paid by the government. Me being one of them When it came to tax time, we basically paid it all back. Seemed like a rip off to me.

David Gascoigne wrote about his new friend DB (David's Buddy) which is a chipmunk that feeds out of his  hand, which is so cure. However, it reminded me, we were on a campsite in Wawa, considerably north of here, a number of years ago, and I was watching chipmunks and wearing flip flops. I don't know if they mistook me for food, but one of them nipped my toe. I jumped, they fled.

I am sure you are all sick and tired of asparagus recipes and, bearing in mind the season is just about finished, I thought I would post something else. This looks pretty good to me.

Potato, Bacon, and Cheddar Tart

It’s crucial to use thinly sliced bacon here, (not thick-cut) to achieve an evenly crisp crust. Seek out new crop potatoes for this recipe; they cook more evenly than potatoes that have been in storage.
Save the bacon drippings for toast, basting roasted chicken, or for making cornbread.

2 lbs bacon (not thick-cut), at room temperature
2 1/2 tsp black pepper, divided
1 3/4 cups finely chopped yellow onion
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbs chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh sage
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 lb aged white cheddar cheese, grated (about 4 cups), divided
2 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 9 cups)
1 Tbs kosher salt, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle position. (A) Place 1 bacon slice in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet so that one end starts in center of skillet and extends along bottom and up side of skillet, allowing the other end to hang over skillet edge. Repeat process using remaining bacon slices, working in a circular pattern and overlapping slices slightly to completely cover bottom and sides of skillet. To reduce the thickness of overlapped bacon in center of skillet, stagger every other slice starting 2 inches from center (creating a longer overhang). Once all bacon is in place, flatten the center using the palm of your hand, ensuring there are no gaps in bacon. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon pepper evenly over bacon.

2. Stir together onion, garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, and tarragon in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup cheese in an even layer over bacon in bottom of skillet. Starting around the inside edge of skillet and working in toward the center, arrange potato slices in concentric circles, overlapping slices by about 1/3 inch, until bottom of skillet is covered with a single layer of potatoes. Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and about 1/3 cup onion mixture. Repeat layering process 5 times using remaining cheese, potatoes, pepper, salt, and onion mixture (sprinkle any remaining cheese over final layer). After each layer of potatoes, firmly press down to compact layers. Once all layers are in place, potato mixture will be mounded above rim of skillet.

4. Fold overhanging bacon neatly up and over top of potato mixture, working in a circular pattern and ensuring there are no gaps. To prevent the bacon from shrinking back during cooking, place a 5-inch parchment paper circle on center of tart; top with a small (about 6 inch) ovenproof lid. Place skillet on a rimmed baking sheet.

5. Bake tart in preheated oven until bacon is browned around edge of skillet, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove parchment paper and lid. Continue baking until bacon is crisp and a wooden pick inserted in potatoes comes out easily, about 1 hour and 30 minutes, tenting with aluminum foil after 30 to 40 minutes to prevent overbrowning.

6. Remove tart from oven. Carefully pour off skillet drippings; discard or reserve for another use. Let tart rest in skillet 10 minutes. Using a spatula, loosen bottom and sides of tart; invert onto a rimmed baking sheet. Pat gently with paper towels to remove excess grease. Invert tart onto a serving plate. Slice into wedges, and serve hot.

Yield: 10 to 12

Source: Food and Wine

Author Notes
Tart can be assembled and refrigerated overnight. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking.

Seek out new-crop potatoes at your local farmers market.

Have a great day, stay well, stay safe.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Blogging, PSWs, Cooking, Video Call, Shopping, Favourites,

Over the weekend I thought of several interesting things to write about, but, being an idiot, I didn't write them down, with the end result that I now cannot think of anything to write about. At least we got PSWs both days, Saturday was fairly early so a shower and exercises were achieved, today (Sunday) she came later and Matt was already dressed. Actually, she came unmasked and I wasn't sure it was the same girl. She ended up by getting a mask from me. As she said, and I perfectly understood, she takes her mask off in the car and this time she had forgotten to put it back on. As this was her second visit, I just left her to do Matt's exercises and to make the beds. I also got her to take the recycling downstairs for me. Later I discovered she had made his bed and not mine, boo hoo. Later on I got a call from tomorrow's PSW and he is coming at 9, not 7. Hooray. Mind you, on Saturday I still had my housecoat on as I was doing laundry. That means dragging to our laundry room and back again, four times all together. Had to do more laundry today due to an accident. On Saturday saw the woman who has started cleaning for me, she was just heading out for her vacation.

I did, however, enjoy my champagne and smoked salmon today. Yesterday I cooked a flank steak in the Instant Pot for supper and tonight I cooked Stuffed Peppers. I have kind of invented my own recipe and it is pretty good. Stuffed Peppers in the Instant Pot are so very easy because you don't have to cook the peppers first which I always thought was a pain. I cook the rice in the Pot first and then later mix everything up and stuff the peppers.

Tomorrow I have a joint video chat coming up with Natalie and Stephanie two of the Social Workers in various fields who have been helping us. Partly, Natalie said, to put a face to the voice they have talked to. Nice for me to do the same.

I am hoping Kathy will be home to do my grocery pick-up on Tuesday (forgot it was Canada Day on Wednesday) I am jealous of these people going off on vacations, it is years since we have been away.

Froze some more of that green stuff today and will probably do some more before I go to bed. Just giving myself an excuse to drive over there again LOL. Reminds me, I bought some Portabella mushrooms which we ate on Saturday. I had forgotten how much I loved them too. For some reason, haven't had them for a long time. Artichokes are another thing I love and haven't had for ages. One of the disadvantages of not going to the store I don't get to see when they are available, if they are available of course.

Reading the tips in this recipe, I have underlined one sentence with which I totally concur.

Asparagus and Shrimp Paté

2 lb (1 kg) shrimp, shelled
½ cup (125 mL) chopped green onions
3 Tbs (45 mL) seasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbs (15 mL) chopped garlic
1 Tbs (15 mL) chopped fresh tarragon
2 Tbs (25 mL) chopped parsley
1 egg
1 egg white
½ cup (125 mL) whipping cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb (500 g) medium-size asparagus spears, blanched
Fresh tarragon
Lemon slices, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

2. Combine shrimp, green onions, vinegar, garlic, tarragon and parsley in a food processor. Process until mixture is just combined. While machine is running, add egg, egg white and cream. Stop machine immediately. Mixture should have a little bit of texture left. Season well with salt and pepper.

3. Lay a third of shrimp mixture into a buttered loaf pan. Add a layer of asparagus trimmed to fit pan. If asparagus is too short then add a second piece as well. Add second layer of shrimp mixture and another layer of asparagus. Finish with remaining shrimp mixture.

4. Place loaf pan into a second slightly bigger pan. Fill larger pan with boiling water halfway up loaf pan. Cover loaf pan with a piece of buttered parchment paper and cover tightly with foil.

5. Bake for 55 minutes or until white juices begin to rise and pâté is cooked through in the middle. Cool in pan and pour off any liquid that has gathered. Turn out on to a rectangular plate and decorate with fresh tarragon and lemon slices, if desired.

Servings: 10

Asparagus, when in season, deserves to be used as much as possible. Combining it with a shrimp purée makes an outstanding pate. To blanch asparagus, toss into a pot of boiling water, bring back to the boil, drain well, and run under cold water.

Author: Lucy Waverman
Source: Food and Drink

Have a great day, stay well, stay safe.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

PSWs, Lunch, Driving to the Farm, Supper, Barbra Streisand, Eagle?

Sorry to keep on about the PSWs but they are my major concern at the moment. This morning, Friday, Glen who has been with us several times, came at 9:30 ish which wasn't too bad. He also mostly remembered the exercises. The only trouble is, I won't be getting the same guy every time so I will have to teach them the exercises. No rest for the wicked.

I then had lunch, earlyish as I wanted to get mine over with so I could then do Matt's. He likes to eat at 12. I missed out on asparagus yesterday and only at lunchtime today did I remember we had missed out on bananas too, we normally have one every day. I am forgetting which day it is lately. I had some asparagus for breakfast and then finished up what I had in the house for lunch plus finishing up the food from lunch the day before. All scraps lately.

After lunch, we headed to the car and went to the asparagus farm. A lovely day to go for a drive and it is mostly country so quite a pleasant trip. Especially as they have re-surfaced a long stretch of the road we travel which makes it nice and smooth to drive on. Winters really screw up our roads here although, with global warming, I guess that will improve. Unless things change, that was my last trip for this year although they don't stop selling asparagus until July 1. I guess I could squeeze in one more trip, maybe.

For supper I made myself the salad I posted yesterday. Matt tasted it and didn't think much of it, I am so glad, I got to eat all of it. Well, I  more or less knew I would anyway, he has really gone off asparagus this year. I noticed, leaving the farm, that the corn is growing well and is looking good for August. ladydog will be pleased. Asparagus is not in her book, but she does love corn. Me, I love both.

Looking for something to watch on TV, I found Barbra Streisand on Rogers on Demand. I selected that for Matt to watch and intended to get on with blogging and Spanish. I don't much like her. Except tonight I thoroughly enjoyed the whole concert, it was excellent. It kept Matt happy too, he didn't know who she was at first but recognised her name. She was always one of his great favourites and tonight was no exception.

Matt saw a brief glance of what we believe to be the young Bald Eagle tonight. I missed it this time. It would be lovely if our little park attracted them to nest here next year.

Asparagus Guacamole

Excellent, I actually thought it was nicer than standard guacamole. It was light and the wonderful
flavour sweet flavour of asparagus just shone through. It really is delicious!

1 1/2 lbs asparagus, trimmed
1 Tbs reduced-calorie mayonnaise
1 Tbs fresh lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
3 medium scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 medium jalapeno pepper, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp hot pepper sauce
1/8 tsp table salt, to taste
1/8  tsp black pepper, to taste

1. Bring large pot of water to boil.

2. Add asparagus and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

3. Drain.

4. Place asparagus into food processor and purée until smooth.

5. Stir in remaining ingredients and serve.

Servings: 1

Author: Nat Da Brat

Have a great day, stay well, stay safe.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Language,PSWs, Lunch, Supper, Eye,

I have heard it said that English is a difficult language. Boy is it ever. Talking the other day one of the spouses used the word gerontology - I wasn't 100 % sure what it meant or how it differed from geriatric. I just googled. There really isn't a whole heap of difference although technically gerontology is the study of old age and geriatric is basically old age itself. Seems to me hospitals don't need two different departments. I get a regular newsletter from the Alzheimer Society and this morning they gave tips for coping and they were straight out of the Chinese philosophy of mindfulness which I learned all about when I did T'ai Chi regularly. Wish I still did. I keep meaning to take it up again but things keep getting in the way.

So today they sent me a PSW at 11 a.m. when, of course, Matt was already dressed and, as I told them, would not undress for them. I felt a tad sorry for her, but... She tidied the beds and took down the bit of recycling I had. Tomorrow, the PSW is coming at 10 and said he would try and make it earlier. I have, in fact, agreed  to have a PSW at 7 a.m. after all. Better than 11 although we are not normally more than just falling out of bed at that time, particularly Matt. I guess we will see how it works.

ladydog picked up the lunch I had ordered. It was pretty good Thai/Viet food. Although I don't think Matt was unduly impressed. Not sure why. We two enjoyed ours. They were extremely generous with their rice mind you. There is enough food for my lunch tomorrow and I used the rice for our Devilled Kidneys tonight. I have decided that Devilled Kidneys are no longer hot/spicy enough for me, I guess we are so used to eating all these very spicy foods these days, a recipe which was, originally invented in Victorian days as far as I know, maybe even before that, is no longer spicy enough for our tastes. Not that most of you care anyway LOL. I have decided to order some sriracha seasoning to spice things up a tad in the future.

Just to add to my woes, I seem to be having trouble with my eye. I just gave it a rinse with eye wash, hopefully that will fix it. Where does one go for treatment for this these days? If necessary that is.

Asian Asparagus Salad

1 1/2 lb young fresh asparagus
4 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp Sugar
2 tsp sesame oil

1. Cut asparagus into 1 1/2 inch lengths of the tender portions only. Should be 3 cups. The recipe book suggests a method of cutting the stalks on a slant, then rolling the spear a quarter turn and slice it again on a slant and therefore you get interesting shapes of the cut ends. Have a large pot of water boiling and blanch boil the asparagus for 1 minute. Then either run them under cold water of plunge into ice bath. This will set the color. Then place them on a towel and dry them.

2. In a small bowl mix the dressing ingredients until the sugar is all dissolved. Then mix the asparagus with the dressing and chill in a refrigerator for 2 hours and serve as a vegetable part of a meal.

Servings: 4

Source: WW Recipes

Have a great day, stay well, stay safe.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

PSW, Doctor, Shopping, Bedtime, Marmalade,

I am glad we don't have video phones. I was about to jump (naturally) into the shower when ours rang. Turned out to be a PSW waiting to come up. Nobody told me to expect someone today. Apparently we have been approved for a daily PSW, but how about telling me. At least she didn't come at 7. Around 9 ish I think, didn't look at the time. Had to throw my nightdress back on. Not sure Matt is going to like having to shower every day.

So then I am expecting a doctor consult at noon. I think I have just got time to go to the loo and guess what, the phone rings. I managed to just answer with my underwear down by my feet. Not my day obviously. However, he sent off a fax for the pills Matt needs and they are sending them to me tomorrow.

After that I ordered a take out lunch at the Pho Tran for ladydog to collect tomorrow - they don't open til noon so we can't get the food before unfortunately. Will make a change, Mind you I didn't order anything for Zoey.

Later, another woman, Trish brought the groceries for me. So very nice of her. I then put everything away and discovered I was short 8 bananas. I phoned them and then decided I would go down straight away as we needed stuff in the liquor store too. Drove past the liquor store first and there was a line up for miles, so got my bananas and went to the smaller LCBO and was able to walk straight in. Decided to see if they had any of my buns at the bakery too, they did so lots accomplished in my quick shop. I think, and hope, Kathy will be back to do my shopping next week.

I must say I feel as though I am running round in circles.

Talking of sleep, as we did yesterday, I fell asleep whilst watching TV tonight but luckily woke in time to supervise Matt's bedtime preparations. He hadn't changed his Depends nor would he have done his exercises without me. He is rebelling now and again anyway. However, I am determined he will loosen those muscles and that ligament again.

I received an email about making marmalade in the Instant Pot. I would never have thought of that. Probably because I have never made marmalade anyway. I don't eat it much any more as, being sugar, I gain wait just thinking about it. I have a friend who makes her own in the UK and wins prizes by doing so. Not sure about the oranges here, in the UK we use Seville oranges which are tart, but I don't know of similar oranges here.

I ordered a couple of Portabella mushrooms today and when they arrived, they really weren't much bigger than my cremini I buy all the time. I also ordered strawberry and then was too tired to hull them for supper tonight. Years ago, when we were staying with friends here (living in the US), I first saw Portabella mushrooms and I bought one each for our hosts and ourselves. Our hostess refused to eat such an expensive mushroom, so, nothing loath, I ate it LOL.

Asparagus and Double Smoked Bacon Popover

Asparagus, double smoked bacon and leeks baked on a puffy popover topped with melted cheese!

1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
4 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 Tbs butter
1/2 cup milk, warm
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup gruyère, shredded

1. Bring a pan with 1 inch of water to a boil, add the asparagus and cook until it turns bright green.

2. Rinse the asparagus under cold water and pat dry.

3. Cook the bacon in a cast iron skillet over medium heat, and set aside on paper towels to drain reserving the grease in the pan.

4. Add the leeks to the pan, saute until tender, about 2-4 minutes, set aside and turn off the heat.

5. Add the butter to the skillet and let it melt.

6. Mix the milk, eggs, flour, salt and pepper and pour it into the pan.

7. Sprinkle the asparagus, bacon, leeks and the cheese over the batter in the pan.

8. Transfer the pan to a preheated 425F/220C oven and bake until puffed and golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Servings: 4

Author: Kevin Lynch
Source: Closet Cooking

Have a great day, stay well, stay safe

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Headache, Alz. Chat., PSWs,

I've had a damned headache nearly all day and can't seem to get rid of it. This morning the PSW came fairly early and after Matt had showered and dressed, we went through his exercise routine. He is still doing the exercises without much protest.

At 10:30 I took part in the spouses online chat and it was nice to see everyone. Discovered one woman lived in Guelph so suggested she could visit me in Guelph General. If I ever get there. Gotta have an EKG first anyway.  Left the meeting a bit early as I needed to make lunch for the pair of us, Matt no longer makes either his lunch or his breakfast.

Later I had a call about more PSWs and was asked if 7 was too early. In the end I said it was. We don't usually get up til about 7. Or I do and get breakfast and then call Matt. Once in a while it would be OK, but every morning at 7, no I don't think so.

This is another favourite recipe.

Asparagus Pesto Toasts 

1 lb trimmed green asparagus
1 cup toasted walnut halves (I used pecans) 
4 cloves garlic, peeled 
2 1/2 tsp salt 
3/4 cup olive oil 
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan 
Freshly ground pepper 

Cook asparagus until just tender. Refresh in cold water, then drain and dry well. Place asparagus, walnuts, garlic and salt in food processor. Process until blended.

With motor running, gradually add olive oil, then add cheese and pepper. Blend together and check seasoning. Place in covered bowl.

We freeze this in ice cube trays, then wrap the cubes in pairs (separated by Saran wrap) and put in a bag in the freezer until we need it.
Have a great day, stay well, stay safe.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

LHIN, Supper, Victor Borge,

Had my assessment check with our LHIN coordinator so that they could update our profile. I had a nasty feeling the video chat was not going to work, but we got it going just fine. She even had a kind of chat with Matt who kept telling her how bad his legs were. She also saw him walk into the room with his walker and him practically bent double, I think he can stand up, but he doesn't despite the nag he is married to. We are still carrying out his exercises and I think we might be able to get some more PSWs to help. Boy do I ever need them. I know he is going to rebel eventually unless someone else does the exercises with him. One thing everyone keeps asking me, does Matt wander? At the moment no because of those legs, but I don't think he has any inclination to do so, but who knows what could happen down the road. I know people who do have the problem and I think it must be dreadful, a big worry.

Sunday night we had leftover Shrimp Creole for supper. Matt has some kind of internal clock because he always starts pouring a second drink (if he is having one) just when I am serving dinner. So, I put his plate in front of him and he ended up pouring tonic all over it instead of into his glass!!! He ate it though. Not sure I would have done.

We spent this evening watching a Victor Borge Celebration. He was one of the funniest men alive. I remember seeing him on stage in Londoa, England, and laughing myself stupid. We have recordings of his, but some of the stuff they showed, or mentioned on PBS tonight, I had never seen before.

I tried a new chicken dish tonight. It was very tasty but I wouldn't have described it as sticky chicken.

Instant Pot Sticky Chicken Thighs

Tender, deliciously juicy, fall-off-the-bone chicken thighs prepared in the Instant Pot with a sweet and
savory sticky sauce. A delicious chicken thighs recipe that’s easy to make and tastes amazing!

6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
1 Tbs paprika
fresh ground pepper to taste
2 Tbs olive oil divided
1 Tbs white vinegar
1 Tbs brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs hot chili sauce, or to taste (like Sriracha)
3 cloves garlic minced
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1 Tbs toasted sesame seeds for garnish
chopped cilantro (optional)

1. Set Instant Pot to sauté mode.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the Instant Pot.

3. Season chicken thighs with paprika and ground pepper.

4. Add 3 chicken thighs at a time, skin side down, to the Instant Pot; brown all thighs for 2 minutes on each side, or until browned.

5. In the meantime, prepare the sauce by whisking together 1 tablespoon olive oil, vinegar, brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, minced garlic, and ground ginger.

6. Arrange all chicken thighs on the bottom of the Instant Pot.

7. Pour the prepared sticky sauce over the chicken thighs. Stir the chicken around so they are coated on all sides.

8. Lock the lid and pressure cook on HIGH (OR Poultry Mode) for 20 minutes.

9. Turn off the pot and allow to release the pressure, about 5 minutes.

10. Transfer chicken thighs to a serving plate.

11. To thicken the sauce (optional), scoop out 1/4 cup of the liquid and whisk a tablespoon of cornstarch in it.

12. Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode and stir in the cornstarch mixture into the sauce in the instant pot; cook for 2 minutes or until thickened.

13. Serve the sauce separately or pour it over the chicken.

14. Sprinkle chicken with sesame seeds and chopped cilantro; serve.

Author: Katerina

Author Notes
Remove the skin after cooking to reduce your points down to 12.

For a lighter meal, remove the skin: One medium chicken thigh without skin is 90 calories. One medium chicken thigh with skin is 140 calories. This is all before adding the sauce.

Have a great day, stay well, stay safe.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Saturday, Technology, Shawl, Canning, Father's Day,

"A funny thing happened on the way to the forum" - that phrase just occurred to me - do you remember it, it was a show and then a movie? Anyway, I thought it funny to get a phone call from a cardiology centre on a Saturday. Cardiology centres don't normally work Saturdays surely. I am having a phone appointment with their cardiologist, Dr. Johnson, on July 8. That is something of a relief. Didn't take too long to get a referral. I only had a mild heart attack 18 months ago, but it feels more comfortable to have a cardiologist on board. Actually I quite like these phone appointments, especially with my family doctors because they are so far away.

Technology is beginning to defeat me. First I kept getting battery warnings from my phone and I
didn't understand it because the charge showed high 80s. So my watch
went dead. I didn't know it  would warn me of my watch!! Forgot to take it off in the shower again. Guess my paint job on the tiles isn't working. So when I plugged it in it said "set time and date", I fiddled with it forever and then it suddenly showed the correct time and date anyway!! Then this afternoon, I took a couple of pix showing the shawl ladydog had made for me, I cannot seem to transfer them to my computer. I tried emailing them. I give up. On the other hand, if at first you don't succeed!! I was trying to show you the lovely soft lilac colours. as well as the long fringe. It is very fluffy and will be marvellous in the winter. Clever girl.

I did manage to can 3 more jars of asparagus though, so now I have 9. Do you think that might last me? Of course I have some in the freezer too so will probably add to that before the season ends. I have a load of ends and no way of pickling them so I think I will cook them and eat them whilst I am having a drink. (I did and enjoyed them). I decided this year that I was very glad to have purchased the "grabber" (no idea what they are called) for moving the jars in and out of the boiling water. It was a very good buy. Of course I will probably only be getting one more batch of asparagus this year unless the farmer has decided to extend the season as it was so slow getting started. I should remember to ask them next time I go.

So far Matt has been doing his exercises as and when requested. At the moment he is only doing 5 reps of each exercise, but I will step that up later. He already has a little more movement which surprises me as it hasn't been long. It would be marvellous if he could walk pain free, or at least with very little pain. Just done his night ones and he is talking of quitting. However, with any luck he will forget that. Monday morning I will be talking, via the computer, to my Coordinator from the LHIN and will have to get down on my bended knees to get some more PSWs to help with these exercises.

I finally got round to playing the Jonathan Antoine CD I bought and Matt thoroughly enjoyed it. He had forgotten who he was until I showed him the picture. That reminds me, he had a call from one of his daughters and it sounded a fairly successful conversation.

Spring Pizza

Asparagus, chives and Fontina cheese top this easy pizza recipe. Serve with baby greens tossed with

vinaigrette and pecans.

3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound)
½ cup snipped fresh chives (from 1 bunch), divided
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
1 lb whole-wheat pizza dough
1 cup shredded fontina or mozzarella cheese

1. Position rack in lower third of oven, place a pizza stone or large pizza pan on the rack and preheat oven to 450°F for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine 2 tablespoons oil and garlic in a small bowl; set aside. Trim asparagus spears to about 6 inches long; slice any thicker stalks in half lengthwise. Toss in a bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, ¼ cup chives, salt and pepper. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about a 14-inch circle. Carefully remove the pizza stone or pan from the oven and set on a heatproof surface, such as your stovetop. Place the dough on the stone or pan and brush with the reserved garlic-oil mixture. Arrange the asparagus in a circular pattern on the dough with the tips facing out. Top with cheese and the remaining chives. Carefully return the stone or pan to the oven and bake the pizza on the lower rack until crispy and golden and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.

Servings: 5

Source: EatingWell

Have a great day, stay well, stay safe.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Friday, PSW. Pickling, Physiotherapy,

Of course, this morning, Friday, there were no memories of last night at all. Just as well really. Today he went for a shower with the PSW just like a lamb. The minute he left, I scooted out to the asparagus farm and was lucky enough to get red lights for the first half of the journey. They have finally instigated the drive through process which was great, in and out in no time with my asparagus in the car. I checked in with Matt to tell him I was on my way home. Nearly home and I went to our closest liquor store and, wonder of wonders, there wasn't a line up so I walked straight in. Only trouble was, I got caught in the line up waiting to pay, instead. Not as bad though.

My car had a nice little run which is a good thing as we aren't going anywhere much lately, along with everyone else. Of course, now I have to make some brine to can (bottle, pickle) more asparagus. The Physiotherapist is due at 2 today so won't be today probably. I haven't figured on supper yet. Thought I might do scallops and spaghetti but I had noodles for lunch and I am gaining enough weight as it is. Ended up doing Shrimp Creole. Yummy.

This afternoon the young man who is Matt's Physiotherapist, came to see him and show him exercises to stretch his ligaments and muscles. Fairly simple, but if practiced regularly, should help him. Finger crossed. He is quite a fun person to talk to and we happened to talk about sushi and how I first met Wasabi. Turns out that what I think of as wasabi is horseradish root coloured. However, Googling it, as he suggested, explains that wasabi is a kind of horseradish anyway but as he explained, it is rare and therefore astronomically expensive. I had told him the story of the first time I had eaten it and "colleagues" had persuaded me to eat a large amount and it nearly blew my head off.

Last year I had an "in" with a young woman who was growing lovage and so I was able to try this soup which was deliciou. I have to find a new source. If you have access to lovage, I urge you to try it, it was good. Great with peas too.

Asparagus and Lovage Soup

3 Tbs canola oil or extra light olive oil
½ cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups lovage leave, chopped plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
2 cups grilled or fresh asparagus, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
3 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
½ tsp paprika

1. Heat a frying pan on medium heat and add canola oil when hot. Stir onion and garlic until fragrant and onion become translucent. Stir in lovage for 30 seconds before adding grilled asparagus and sea salt. Pour into a large pot and add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Let it cook on medium heat until asparagus is soft. About 15 minutes. Stir in paprika. Serve as is or blend in the blender. Garnish with chopped lovage.

Servings: 4

Vegetarian option: substitute chicken broth with vegetable or mushroom broth.

Source: Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen

Have a great day, stay well, stay safe.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Sheets, Present, Shopping, Phone, Fight, Alzheimer Meetings.

As I had a pile of sheets to wash, decided to do them along with some towels this morning. I find this hard work as I have to walk along the corridor, but needs must.... Before they were dried, I checked the video on line about folding fitted sheets. I kind of remembered. So when I got the sheets out I tried to do it and I made a right mess of  them again. I used to manage fine. Then I had to get a small stool to put them in the closet which I could no longer get to - well not the top shelf. Will have to do some re-arranging there. Later ladydog folded them for me again, did one fine but the other was not so perfect.

Ladydog and Zoe arrived and she brought me a delightful shawl which she had crocheted. I will have to take a picture of it. It is lilacs and whites, just my colours. Having discussed lunch and thought of lots of different things, we ended up with Subs again because the Thai/Viet restaurant wasn't open til 12 so we figured it would end up being too late. I checked with them and they said that yes, we could order the day before to pick up at noon. So we will perhaps do that next week. 

She also picked up the rest of my kidneys for me. I am sure you will all be pleased about that. Ladydog and I both want to get some sweetbreads, but we can only buy them in large quantities and frozen which would make it difficult to share. I'm sure none of you like sweetbreads either. You don't know what you are missing.

Later I went down to the store to pick up some few things I had ordered which I hadn't received the day before. It was such a gorgeous day I figured I might as well go to the asparagus farm. Went to phone Matt and the damned cell phone wasn't working, I tried home and then ladydog and nothing worked. I went to the bread store to get some buns (they had none) so I tried the phone again, nothing. I went home having bought a couple of pieces of carrot cake, just what I need.

Of course I phoned and in the end, it was working again until I put the phone down and my cell phone wasn't working once more. However, I did the same as I had done following instructions and it worked OK. Phew. However, I didn't get to the farm!!

Supper time unfortunately ended up in an enormous row which ended up with Matt sitting on a coffee table on which I had a glass. Luckily I managed to retrieve it before  he actually sat down. Just then the guy who delivers our meds arrived, had forgotten he was coming today, and I went to the door crying. He said could he help, I said yes and he came and helped Matt stand up and then sit on his chair. Not an hour before he had been telling me how he would never call me bad names or anything and then he ended up yelling all kinds of stuff at me. Don't really know what provoked it. 

Coming out of our garage into the building, I bumped into a couple I kind of knew, turns out he has dementia. She told me that prior to Covid they had been going to meetings, one for  him and one for her, at the local Long Term Care Home, think its an Alzheimer run programme. She said it was good for both of them. I guess I will look for it.

Shaved Asparagus Quinoa with Soft Boiled Eggs

1 cup (250 mL) quinoa
2 cups (500 mL) CAMPBELL'S® Ready to Use Vegetable Broth
3 eggs
1 lb (454 g) asparagus, tough ends trimmed
2 tsp (10 mL) honey
2 Tbs (30 mL) lemon juice
1/4 cup (60 mL) minced shallots
1 Tbs (15 mL) chopped fresh tarragon
1 Tbs (15 mL) dijon mustard
1/2 cup (125 mL) olive oil
1/2 tsp (3 mL) each salt and fresh cracked pepper
1 cup (250 mL) flat leaf parsley leaves

1. Place quinoa and Campbell's broth in a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all the liquid is absorbed; about 15 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

2. Bring a pot of water to a simmer (small bubbles, not a rapid boil). Add eggs and cook for 6 minutes. Adjust heat to keep a consistent temperature going. Remove eggs from water and run under cold water until cool. Peel and set aside.

3. Use a sharp vegetable peeler to peel the asparagus lengthwise into thin strips, starting at the bottom end. Put into a large pot of boiling salted water for 30 seconds and then remove from pot and directly into a colander. Run under cold water until cold.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together honey, lemon juice, shallots, tarragon, dijon mustard and slowly incorporate olive oil until well blended. Add salt and pepper. Toss with quinoa, asparagus and parsley. Arrange on platter and top with halved eggs before serving.

Servings: 6

1.  Make ahead: Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

2.  For something different, replace the soft boiled eggs with an equal amount of hard boiled eggs, grated.

3.  PLANNING TO COOK GLUTEN-FREE? Before preparing a recipe always read product labels to ensure each ingredient is gluten-free. Products and ingredients can change.

Source: Campbell's®

Have a great day, stay well, stay safe.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Referral, LHIN, Groceries.

Don't know who it was (well I know the name) called me from my doctor's office and arranged to have a referral sent to the cardiologist and also for me to get a EKG which I was supposed to get but which they kept cancelling due to Covid. I know my previous cardiologist wanted to do it before I had any more vascular surgery. I don't expect to hear from the cardiologist for ages, they seem to take their time.

I spoke to my Care Coordinator at the LHIN today and she wasn't sure if I would be able to get more PSW help for Matt's exercises. But, as I explained, he is needing their help with showering more and more so she could phrase it that way. We are doing a video assessment on Monday, not sure how their system will work but we shall see. If not it will have to be a phone assessment.

Cathy came with my groceries and I eventually realised there were several things not included. I know I ordered Kleenex but they certainly didn't appear. I had complained about getting one carrot last week so this week I got two lots, a total of 7. One or two other items - I write notes in appropriate places but they just don't seem to read them. So, I put in a small order for tomorrow afternoon. Incredibly I can do that now. a week or two back I had to place my order more than a week in advance to get a time slot.

Cathy tells me they may be going away to a cottage next week. I am envious, both she and my new cleaner are off for a week to cottages. Ladydog and Zoey are coming for a visit tomorrow so that will be something to cheer me up.

Creamy Roasted Asparagus and Brie Cauliflower Soup

2 lbs asparagus, trimmed
1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 Tbs oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbs oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
4 oz brie, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 Tbs fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbs lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

1. Toss the asparagus and cauliflower florets in the oil along with the salt and pepper, arrange them in a single layer on a large baking sheet and roast in a preheated 400F/200C oven until lightly golden brown, about 20-30 minutes, mixing half way through.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, add the onions and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.

3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.

4. Add the broth and asparagus and cauliflower, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Add the brie, basil, lemon zest and lemon juice, let the brie melt and season with salt and pepper to taste before pureeing to the desired consistency and enjoying!

Servings: 4

Author: Kevin Lynch
Source: Closet Cooking

Author Notes
Option: Add 1 tablespoon white miso paste by mixing some of the hot broth into the miso in a bowl before mixing it back into the pan sauce just after you remove from the heat. (Note: Miso is salty so go easy on seasoning with salt.)

Option: Add morel mushrooms.

Option: Garnish with crispy fried prosciutto, pancetta or bacon.

Option: Replace the cauliflower with a can of white beans, pureed

Have a great day, stay well, stay safe.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Haircut, LCBO, Physiotherapist, Cardiologist, Sweetbreads.

Well, now we look like us again. The amount of hair that came off our heads, I figured we would have had a weight loss. We were supposed to wear masks of course but Matt flatly refused. In the end Katy (pronounced Catty) took him to the chair in the back where she always cuts female hair. Hidden away from any customers coming in. She has offered to come here and I think next time I might take her up on it. If Matt had kept moving he wouldn't be having all the trouble walking that he is experiencing now. Not sure if that's stubborn men or stubborn patients. Bit of both I suspect.

On the way home we stopped at the small liquor store as three of us call it. Much to my surprise, for once, there were only a couple of people waiting outside. Had to get myself some bubbly, can't do without that. I also wanted some white wine for cooking. In the end I settled for a slight more expensive Pinot Grigio because it was in a pack instead of a bottle which I thought would be better for keeping in the fridge.

I am seriously impressed, there is one young woman, well young to me I have no idea anyway, I have never met her, who has been one of the most helpful people I have come across. Two or three days ago I asked her if she could get me a physiotherapist and be damned if one didn't come today. Last time I asked our health people I never did get anyone. He was a very nice Vietnamese young man and after lots of questions, etc. etc. he finally decided that Matt had a ligament problem in his leg with basically was causing his problems (we practically had to carry him into the hairdresser). He said he would be back on Friday with an exercise programme. The trouble is, Matt has decided he wasn't impressed with the young man. I was, so I hope he will forget this. The physiotherapist said it would be better if Matt had PSW's to help him with this programme, and I 100% agree. No way he will listen to me. Please keep your fingers crossed for me or even pray if you are so inclined. He needs this to work and he needs to work at it. Tomorrow I need to see if I can get some more PSW visits to help with this programme. Maybe I will go back to the same young lady who seems to be able to work miracles.

I was reading some very interesting recipes/comments about sweetbreads today, but unfortunately the only way I can get sweetbreads is in a large quantity, frozen of course, which would make it difficult for me to deal with. I would share them with ladydog but I am not sure we could defrost a large quantity safely.

Tomorrow I have a phone call with my doctor to get a referral to a new cardiologist. What a bloody rigmarole. What worries me is that my pending EKG will get lost in the shuffle.

Just so happens I have some Scallops in the freezer as well as prosciutto.

Asparagus with Scallops, Browned Butter and Prosciutto

1 lb white asparagus, peeled, or green asparagus
3 1/2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1 lb sea scallops
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth

1. Cook the asparagus in a large sauce-pan of boiling salted water until tender, about 8 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the asparagus to a colander and leave the pan of water simmering on the stove.

2. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet. Add the prosciutto and cook over low heat until crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer the prosciutto to a plate.

3. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the skillet. Add the scallops, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the scallops to a plate.

4. Add the lemon zest to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until browned, about 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and simmer for 10 seconds. Add the stock and simmer, scraping the bottom of the skillet, until reduced to a rich glaze, about 3 minutes. Swirl in the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Return the scallops, along with any juices, to the skillet and cook over low heat until heated through.

5. Return the asparagus to the simmering water to heat through. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Using tongs, transfer the asparagus to a large platter and spoon the scallops and sauce over it. Top with the fried prosciutto and serve.

Servings: 4

Source: Food and Wine

Have a great day, stay well, stay safe.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Yesterday, Book, Cleaner, Hair, VSM, Credit Cards,

Not sure what was the matter with me last night, bit headachey, bit shaky, just didn't feel too good at all, however, Monday morning I am feeling OK and just awaiting my new cleaner. I do hope she works out. I keep seeing things which haven't been dusted in forever. Matt has called me 3 times already this morning. He had a bad night again last night at bedtime but I think I overdosed him. Whatever, he dropped into a sound sleep. I was the one who had trouble sleeping last night. He keeps telling me he will be OK if I leave him whilst I go into hospital, like hell he will!!

I am reading a book by Josephine Cox called Let it Shine. It's a pretty good story - it was one of the books given to me by another English woman at the bowling alley. Only just got round to reading it. According to the info in the book, she has written a lot of books so I must check them out. This one is written in the early 30's and set in Northern England. Fairly close to where I was born. Takes place in a "working" town. I have now finished it and enjoyed every minute.

Today is looking pretty good. I was pleased with the way this Karen (coincidence) cleaned for me. Unfortunately she won't be back for 3 weeks as she is going on a vacation with family for a week. But that's OK, it doesn't get overly dirty in that time. Then our hairdresser phoned and we are going in tomorrow afternoon to get our locks shorn (or ears lowered).

I had to take another pair of slippers up to UPS (not far from here) to send them back. Matt said they pinched. I think, if he had worn them, they would have stretched, but could I convince him, no way. Then I went to Victoria St. Market to get some sausages. All I went for, now the sausages are apparently expensive because my bill was quite high. I bought some flank steak, couple of large tomatoes, etc.etc. It is a dangerous store to go into. The young butcher (not the one I know) obviously knew me because he said my lamb's kidneys would be in on Wednesday. Then I went to check out and much to my horror, couldn't find either of the two credit cards. Panic stations. Paid with my Debit card (annoying) and went to the car whereupon I searched my bag from top to bottom. Gave up and went home. When I got into my computer room I searched my card holder again and finally found them in a totally different spot!! Weird of me. No  idea why I put them there, but at least I found them. I didn't think I could possibly have lost both cards at once. I think I would have been embarrassed to call Visa again.

I'm ahead of myself today, I have done some Spanish and written most of this blog, maybe I can get an early night for a change. I have never made this recipe, much as I would like to, I have never been able to justify buying a lobster to make it.

Asparagus and Lobster Crêpes with Fines Herbes Hollandaise Sauce

1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed
Cooked meat of 1 large lobster, or 2 lobster tails (about 1 1/2 lbs lobster before cooking)
sprinkling of salt plus 1/2 tsp.
Fines Herbes Hollandaise
2 Tbs white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cubed
2 Tbs lemon juice
white pepper to taste
1 Tbs fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 Tbs fresh chives, finely chopped
1 Tbs fresh chervil, finely chopped.

1. Preheat oven to 300°F.

2. In a large pot, steam or boil asparagus until just tender, about 10 mins, cool under cold water, drain and set aside.

3. Coarsely chop cooked lobster, set aside

4. Prepare crêpes.

5. Divide the asparagus into 8 separate bundles. Place a bundle in each of 8 crêpes, sprinkle with salt and roll to enclose. Place asparagus in a glass baking dish, top with lobster and cover with foil. Just before serving, and no sooner, place in heated oven for 15 mins to warm through.

6. In a small saucepan over medium high heat reduce (boil) vinegar, water and 1/2 tsp salt until approximately 3 tbs remains, remove from heat.

7. Lower heat to medium-low, add yolks to pan and return to heat, whisking constantly until foamy and lightly thickened. Make sure not to scramble eggs; if the eggs begin to cook too quickly pull off the heat and whisk vigorously to cool slightly before continuing.

8. Begin to whisk butter into pan 1 cube at a time. Once all the butter is incorporated, whisk in lemon juice, white pepper and fresh herbs. Use immediately.

9. Place two asparagus crêpes on each plate and top each with some of the warmed lobster. Spoon hollandaise overtop, serve immediately

Servings: 4

Source: Food and Drink Spring 2010

Have a great day, stay well, stay safe.

Sunday, June 14, 2020


Sorry, got a headache tonight. plus gotta get up early because cleaner is coming. Not much to say anyway, quiet weekend as usual. So, off to bed.

Have a great day, stay well, stay safe.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Insurance, Good Day, Foot Nurse, Cardiologist,

I forgot to mention, I told you we had received a $10 from my insurance company, Thursday we received another one for $24. At the suggestion of ladydog I checked with them although I figured I knew what it was about, I was right, it is a deduction on their part for the fact that I am doing little or no driving at the moment due to Covid-19. I had to apply for it online. I assumed they would just reduce the premium, not send me cheques, but I am not complaining. I asked them about the fact that I didn't do much mileage anyway and they said get in touch with them in about 3 months, so I will remember to do so.

Today was a good day for us. First of all the PSW came and Matt went for a shower as docilely as a lamb. I had also said he had to have clean feet for the foot nurse this afternoon. Other than getting out some clean things I didn't have to do a thing. When I spoke to the company this PSW works for I asked if they could make beds, next thing I knew, he was saying goodbye and also that he had made the beds. Kind of straightened more like, but beggars can't be choosers.

Approximately 11:30 ladydog and Zoey arrived. They had picked up some kidneys I had ordered, plus Subs for all of us together with dog biscuits for Matt to feed Zoey. We have to restrain the pair of them or they will all go before they arrive almost. It was wonderful to see ladydog, first time since the beginning of the lockdown. Couldn't hug of course. She brought me a lovely bunch of flowers from her local farm store. Lupins, peonies, lillies, chive flowers, all kinds of things some of which I didn't recognise. Needless to say, we talked up a storm. She was telling me Zoey wasn't too keen on kids to which I replied "nor am I" then I got, but Zoey wouldn't bite them which you would. We both doubled up with laughter. Maybe she isn't so welcome after that comment. Hopefully she will make it again next week.

Just before 2 the new, to us, foot nurse came and now we have lovely feet again, well I do, Matt played too much soccer to ever have lovely feet again. Around Happy Hour, Kathy came to pick up her asparagus so we had a quick chat as well.

One bit of bad news, well kind of, my cardiologist is closing up shop at the end of the month so I have to get another one. Called my doc and they are going to call me about a referral on Wednesday. What a nuisance, especially as I am supposed to be having an EKG one of these days.

We had Shrimp Pad Thai for supper which was pretty good. I had some "green beans" with mine. I now have a good amount of asparagus frozen. I am also contemplating canning some more. All the time I have the water bath can in front of me plus one empty Mason Jar, I am tempted. I do need more jars though.

Asparagus With Grilled Melon Salad 

1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 small cantaloupe, peeled, seeds removed, and cut in 1/2-inch slices
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 Tbs chopped fresh mint
3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 tsp Calabrian chili paste
2 tsp fresh lime juice
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 lb medium-thick asparagus, trimmed
Ricotta salata cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler (optional)

1. Heat a stovetop grill pan over medium-high.

2. Drizzle oil on the cantaloupe, and place the slices on the grill. Grill the slices, without moving them, for about 30 seconds, or until browned on the first side. Flip the melon slices, and grill on the other side for an additional 30 seconds. Transfer to a cutting board to cool slightly.

3. Cut the melon slices into 1/2-inch pieces, and place them in a medium bowl. Add tomatoes, mint, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, chili paste, and lime juice. Mix well; set aside to let the flavors mingle.

4. Meanwhile, heat 5 tablespoons of water in a large skillet over medium. Cut butter into 8 pieces. When bubbles just start rising to the water’s surface, begin adding the butter to the pan, 1 piece at a time, whisking constantly to form an emulsion. When all the butter is incorporated, reduce the heat to medium-low to keep the temperature just below a simmer. Add the thyme and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and swirl the pan to combine. Add the asparagus to the pan, and toss gently to coat it in the butter.

5. Cover the pan, and cook for 5 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender all the way through when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Transfer the asparagus to a platter, and spoon the melon salad on top. Scatter a few shavings of ricotta salata over the salad, if desired

Servings: 4
Author: Giada de Laurentis

Have a great day, stay well, stay safe.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Dementia, Asparagus, Cleaning, Superintendent.

As I was explaining to Ivy of The Happy Whisk yesterday, in the comments section, one of the reasons I am writing about Matt and his Alzheimer's it to let others know just what it is like. I didn't know before it happened to me and I am ashamed now that when someone pointed out to me that a woman had a husband with Alzheimer's my reaction was "poor woman" and that was it. As I said to Ivy, I beg you, if you know someone in a similar situation, please reach out to them. Dementia is a very lonely disease for the caregiver as well as being frustrating, upsetting, and productive of many tears, it doesn't matter if the caregiver is male or female. It is also something that produces a terrific load of guilt because you believe you should be more patient, more understanding, kinder, you name it. In fact, in my experience, the patient themselves doesn't suffer nearly as much, basically because they don't know what is going on. The Alzheimer Society has a leaflet called Ambiguous Loss and Grief in Dementia. Meaning, that whilst you are still sharing a home with your spouse, you have actually lost that person you loved to dementia even though they are physically still with you.

Of course Covid-19 hasn't helped, being cut off from anyone else and being deprived of all association and assistance is a pretty dreadful position to be in. I said to one of the spouses I know, I would enjoy a real conversation, she agreed with me wholeheartedly. Thank God for the internet, it does help. What it would have been like in former years I dread to think. There is a group on Facebook for caregivers as well as other groups which I personally have not yet been in touch with. That's another thing, I don't have a lot of time. Over the years, I have been given a lot of leaflets and literature about what some group  or another does, particularly the health groups locally, but I don't have time to read all this stuff.

Some of my friends might be asparagussed out, but I certainly am not and I went over to the farm today, taking Matt with me, if I left him that long he would probably start to worry. and he tends to forget he can phone me. When I got there, they had made yet another arrangement which was OK for those who can walk, next time I will take a short cut. However, they had pre-packed the asparagus so you could just take as many bags as you wanted. Of course the walk carried you through their back rooms so you could see all the things they also sell. However, by the time I had staggered up the stairs, struggled to pick up four bags and walked the rest of the way, I wasn't remotely interested in anything else. One good thing driving there, most of  the main road is now newly paved and is a joy to drive on. For supper tonight, I decided Matt wasn't getting enough greens so I cooked asparagus. I was informed he didn't like these green beans. He liked them a few days ago!!

I am delighted to report that my neighbour who does some cleaning, has agreed to come and clean for me, not sure how permanent this is, but at least I know she will be good from reports I have heard. She is obviously being paid for her services and will start on Monday so I can tell the woman who is currently doing some cleaning for me as a volunteer that she doesn't have to come over any more. She has done a wonderful job helping me for the last few weeks and I am very grateful.

On the way back into the building this afternoon, I bumped into our superintendent. We had a longish chat about Covid-19 and I asked him if we had any more cases in the building, he said not that he had heard of but said the one person who did inform him, did so by accident. We discussed privacy as opposed to warning the rest of us and his comment was, common sense is not a flower that grows in everyone's garden. I thought it was a wonderful expression.

Anyway, here is yet another "green bean" recipe. If you too are asparagussed out, sorry, this goes on til around July 1 because I have never yet been asparagussed out.

Spicy Thai Asparagus Soup

2 Tbs (30 mL) canola oil
2  tbs green curry paste
1 can 400 mL coconut milk
1 ¼ lbs asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs (15 mL) lemon juice

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add curry paste; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice

2. Heat oil in large saucepan set over medium heat; add asparagus, onion, garlic and lemon zest. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.

3. Add coconut milk mixture.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

4. Tips: Serve garnished with blanched asparagus spear pieces. You can also puree this soup for an added creamy elegant touch. After cooking through to end of step #3, transfer soup, in batches, to blender. Blend until very smooth. Garnish as you would above and with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt. You can also use an immersion blender.

Servings: 4

Source: Food Network

Have a great day, stay well, stay safe.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Shopping, Heat, Kidneys and Fish, Kite Ballet,

I am not sure what is going on at PC Express, but their email said they hadn't any smoked salmon or shrimp. I didn't believe it so I phoned the seafood department, guess what, they had lots of both. Then when I got my order, I had only one carrot. The web site shows 3 carrots (I think) but to be sure I always say I want 3 or 4 carrots. I can probably make do with this carrot as it is fairly large, but.... Maybe it is because they have increased their staff and they are getting a bit slipshod.

Nice to see Kathy again, she is getting so brown as she and her family have been working outside on a major project and it has taken a few weeks. Been a bit hot for that kind of work lately, I certainly couldn't have handled it at any time of my life. I have never been one for a lot of heat unless I was near a pool where I could just fall in. I remember when we were moving down to NC we had a UHaul and it was that kind of temperature. That is what we did, loaded some stuff and then went for a dip in our pool. I miss that pool these days.

Just got a call from VSM saying they could only get me 4 kidneys this week but more next week. Said OK I will be in tomorrow anyway. Need chicken thighs and Italian sausages.Will check out their seafood dept. They have great fish there but it tends to be a tad expensive. It staggers me, these days, cod is one of the most expensive fish. When I was a kid it was one of the cheapest fish you could get. The famous "fish and chips" was always cod, dunno what they use these days. I miss the days when Matt used to cook all the fish we ate (friends joked that we therefore ate fish every night), but he knew a lot more about it than I ever did.

Kathy was mentioning strawberries and later, on Facebook, I saw they had strawberries for sale at Barrie's Asparagus Farm..

Just saw this on Facebook. Absolutely impossible. It must have taken this man years to learn to do this. Matt thoroughly enjoyed it as well.

Much to my surprise, all my friends for whom I purchase asparagus, with one exception, are "asparagussed" out. Even one friend whom I thought was as daft as I am about the stuff. I couldn't believe it. Me, I am thinking of freezing some more and it even crossed my mind to can some more but I only have one Mason jar left and I am not going to go out and buy more, freezing is not the best way of saving it (unless you happen to be a company like Bird's Eye) but it is better than nothing and also, better than the stuff in the stores once the season is over. Not that I ever buy in the stores anyway.

Simple and Citrusy Asparagus Stir-Fry

The trick to this citrusy stir-fry is to get your pan roaring hot before adding the ingredients, which

brings out all of the flavors in the aromatics while keeping the asparagus beautifully bright green and crisp

1 red chile (such as Fresno or Holland), thinly sliced, seeded if you prefer less heat
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 Tbs vegetable oil
1 lb asparagus, trimmed, thinly sliced on a diagonal about ¼" thick
Kosher salt
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 medium orange, halved
½ cup cilantro leaves with tender stems
1 tsp toasted white sesame seeds

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high until hot, 3–5 minutes (a drop of water should jump around in the pan). Cook chile, garlic, and oil, stirring constantly, until oil starts to shimmer and garlic just begins to turn golden, 60–90 seconds. Immediately add asparagus; season lightly with salt. Cook, tossing occasionally, until asparagus is just beginning to brown around the edges, about 2 minutes. Add soy sauce, butter, and 1 Tbsp. water and cook, tossing constantly, until asparagus is still crispy yet cooked through and coated in sauce, about 30 seconds longer.

2. Remove pan from heat. Finely grate zest from one-quarter of orange over stir-fry. Squeeze juice from one orange half over and toss once more.

3. Transfer asparagus mixture to a platter. Top with cilantro and sesame seeds. Taste and squeeze more orange juice over if needed.

Servings: 4

Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day, stay well, stay safe.