Saturday, February 02, 2008

What a Day! Hospital, then Home

We had a little scare today. While we were reading the newspaper and drinking our coffee, Don looks over at me and announces, "I need to go to the emergency room. And I can't drive myself." For several weeks he's been complaining of tingling in his arms, pain in his neck and chest, and other scary symptoms. He's been thinking it was side effects of some meds he's taking for cholesterol, high blood pressure, and gout, but apparently he's been worried about it being more than that.

So, off we went to the emergency room, where they immediately took him back for an EKG. It was normal. They took some chest x-rays. They were normal. They took some blood. Nothing found there.

It turns out that he's probably been shoveling too much snow at one time without resting, getting stressed about things (like our daughter's health, money, etc.) and holding it in, being dehydrated, and trying to get back in shape too quickly. The meds may also be causing some side effects, as he guessed, and he sees his regular physician next week about it.

It was quite a relief to come home and know that there's nothing wrong with his heart.

After we came home, I spent the afternoon in the kitchen, building up my Johbisai and doing some make-ahead cooking. This is what I accomplished:

1. Cooked 2 cups of Haiga rice.
2. Froze 4 1-cup bags of cooked rice.
3. Made fried rice with the remaining cooked Haiga, and froze 4 1-cup bags of fried rice.
4. Roasted 2 heads of garlic for tonight's supper.
5. Made a batch of Bittersweet Brownie Bites.
6. Made a batch of Sweet & Spicy Bacon Furikake.
7. Cooked and froze 12 Jimmy Dean sausage links.
8. Made Rigatoni with Roasted Garlic, Mushrooms, and Chili Pepper.

Tomorrow I plan to do some more!

I just picked up another mini-muffin pan, meaning I almost have enough to cook regular recipes - I still need one more, I think. But with three pans I can now make 36 little muffins or brownies or whatever else I want to miniaturize. Two of my pans have very small cups, and one has cups that are amost twice as large. This recipe is from Cooking Light, and it was for brownies in a pan. It made 24 little brownie bites, 12 medium-sized ones, and then two even larger since I ran out of room in the pans.

Bittersweet Brownie Bites

¼ cup boiling water
1 tablespoon instant espresso granules or 2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
¼ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
1 ⅓ cups granulated sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
2 teaspoons powdered sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine 1/4 cup boiling water and espresso in a medium bowl. Add chocolate chips, stirring until chocolate melts; cool slightly. Stir in butter, vanilla, egg, and egg white.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt), stirring with a whisk. Add coffee mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter into mini-muffin tins coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

To go with the plain rice, I made some Sweet & Spicy Bacon Furikake, a recipe adapted from Maki of Just Bento. The way it works, for those of you new to Japanese food like I am, is that you sprinkle it on your rice to season it. This is so good, I want to eat it with a spoon-forget the rice!

Sweet & Spicy Bacon Furikake

6 slices bacon
1 Tbsp. white wine
2 teaspoons raw cane sugar
1 Tbsp. Yoshida’s gourmet sauce
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Chop up the bacon quite finely.

In a large frying pan, sauté the bacon over a low-medium heat until it’s rendered a lot of its fat and is fairly crispy, but not burned. Drain the bacon on paper towels. Wipe out the pan to get rid of any bacon fat. Add the other ingredients over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar is melted. Return the bacon and stir around until the liquid is gone. Let cool completely. Whirl it in a food processor until very finely chopped. Makes about 3/4 cup. This will keep in the refrigerator for a week or two (if it lasts that long).

I'm also going to try two other furikake recipes, plus a soboro. Do you have any to share?


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Anonymous said...

Another sort of furikake is gomasio. It's simply sesame seeds, roasted together with some coarse salt on a dry frying pan until they start to pop, (about 2/3 sesame and 1/3 salt) - then ground lightly in a mortar. Tastes divine on pretty much anything, and is a great overall substitute for salt. Oh and it's cheap and easy and will keep for quite a long time (sesame seeds are notorious for getting rancid very easily, but IMO it's not something that happens in a month or more.. takes a good deal longer than that)