Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Weird food

I walked into Whole Foods the other night to pick up milk and pastrami. On my way in, the first produce table I saw had berries and kumquats for sale on it. I've always been curious about kumquats and I'm trying to eat a healthy variety of things these days, so I picked up a bucket, intending to research them once I got home. Before I had time to do research, I ran into my friend Bea, who is a weird food connoisseur. My friend Bea knows all about food. I asked her the other day if she'd ever had kumquats, and she not only had eaten them, she had stories of her dad's parrot eating them and her family making kumquat-ade out of them, and generally surprised me completely with her knowledge of things kumquat-related. We started talking about what I was going to do with my golden bucket of kumquats, and she suggested I make some of them into mustard and serve them with pork chops by altering a raspberry mustard recipe that she had.

Tonight, we were supposed to grill with our friends Kristen and Jake, but their refrigerator became belligerent and quit working today, so they were busy salvaging their perishables and waiting on the repairman. I hadn't had time to buy all the necessary things for the real raspberry mustard recipe, so I altered the recipe and improvised AT THE SAME TIME. If you've ever seen me cook before, this is nothing new. In fact, I'd say it's the reason I bother owning cookbooks in the first place, so I can ignore their instructions and make their food my own way.

Anyway, Test Kitchen recipe #1 was a resounding success.
Kumquat Mustard
2/3 c. whole kumquats
3 Tbsp. deli-style or brown mustard
1 Tbsp. prepared horseradish
1/3 c. orange juice
1/3 c. rice vinegar (any mostly-sweet vinegar would do)
1/4 c. chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
1/3 c. honey (to taste)

Put all ingredients together in a blender. Start with half the honey. Blend well on high until smooth. You want to make sure any kumquat seeds and peels are thoroughly blended in. Taste, add honey if needed. Once desired flavor is achieved, transfer to a saucepan over medium heat and cook until thickened, about 5-10 minutes.

Rose grilled the pork chops to medium and we served them on a bed of this sauce with a drizzle of sauce on top and a green salad on the side. Yum!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Relax, it's just Asthma...

I finally got my followup from the pulmonologist, and then I promptly left town and started running at a pace too frantic for blogging. (Metaphorically, alas!) So, I apologize for leaving you all on that cliff where I thought I had emphysema, or something.

I have exercise-induced asthma, and that is all. I don't have "regular" asthma, at least not when I'm on my preventive inhaler. There is this lab test they do that's intended to test that. And the description sounds worse than it is: they give you an inhaled irritant and then wait to see if you blow up. Sound like fun? Yeah, I kinda had myself worked into a tizzy over it, honestly. Because asphyxiation, even if it's only partial asphyxiation, is about as far from fun as you can get without crossing over into near-death experiences. Perhaps because it feels so very much like a near-death experience.

Anyway, the test wasn't bad. It's called a methacholine challenge, for those of you who may ever find yourselves facing it. And they don't actually try to trigger an asthma attack with their inhaled irritant. They take careful measurements of your lung capacity throughout, and if you start reacting to the irritant, they give you a rescue inhaler and stop the test immediately. Also, if you find yourself doing this test? Take a book. There are stretches of 2-5 minutes where you just have to sit there and wait, and your technician has stuff to do while that's happening, so they may be unable to chat with you.

So, with that said, I'm taking another triathlon class this spring. It starts tomorrow. At 6 AM!!! The triathlon I'm taking on at the end of the class is a lot shorter than the one I tried last time. In fact, the swim is about half the distance I made before my asthma attack during my first attempt at a tri. I figured that wouldn't be much of a challenge, but it would also not be very intimidating. I want to have a good experience with this one, and if it goes well, I'll try taking on longer sprints later in the season.