In the last two days, I had a hiccup with my recovery from infection. It was stressful and frustrating but I am incredibly glad that things are back in order. My IV antibiotics treatment concluded on Sunday and I began an oral antibiotics treatment the next day. Unfortunately, the strain was ineffective and I relapsed back to pain, swelling, and losing range of motion with my knee. I rushed back to the doctor very next day and he prescribed a different antibiotics. The symptoms all reduced in severity immediately after first dose and I am now merely experiencing minor discomfort. For those who are curious, the doctor officially diagnosed it as cellulitis (unrelated to cellulite). Scary stuff that could have gone very very badly. I really can do without all these medical dramas.
Obviously I am not exercising nor even walking much. However, it is difficult to keep my bum on a chair as soon as I regain mobility. Sooooo, I cooked, baked, and canned a few things. You can say I put a nice little dent on my overly long list of bookmarked recipes. Please don’t preach. I can only sit still for so long.
First, I made a half batch of Food In Jars’ Honey-Sweetened Peach Chutney with some late season Bellaire yellow peaches. I adapted her recipe to use shallots, dark raisins, lots of fresh ginger, Aleppo pepper, organic wildflower honey, and white wine vinegar. Why peach chutney? I always love the vibrancy chutney adds to sandwiches though I don’t eat it often enough. The peaches were ripe, firm, freestone, and full of peach flavour. They were perfectly suited to the long cooking required for making chutney. I have yet to taste a jar since the recipe benefits from a bit of aging to let the flavour mellow. One of my four 250mL-jars is already destined to be swapped. I’m hoping that I’ll get a jar of peach mostarda in return.
Staying at home also means eating at home. My modus operandi has always been a short walk to the grocery store next door for whatever last minute ingredients I miss. Well, that was out of the question. Even wiggling myself in and out of the car in my small garage was too much for my knee to handle. So I played games of Pantry Challenges using whatever I found at home. This slow cooker Spanish Tortilla from Slow Cooker Revolution was a fine example. Two pounds of russet potatoes, two links of chorizo, onion, sweet pepper, garlic, a dozen of eggs, and four hours later, I had enough dinner to last me a few days. Too bad there was lots of pot scrubbing afterward.
Another make-once-eat-many-days dishes I made was Ottolenghi’s Ratatouille. I stopped by my favourite Japanese farm stand over the weekend to pick up some vegetable. One of the many joys of farm stand shopping is the complimentary items I get in my basket. My favourite farmer correctly guessed that I was going to make ratatouille when I asked for sweet peppers, zucchinis (courgettes), and kabocha squash. A free heirloom tomato and a free eggplant conveniently completed my shopping list.
I tackled a couple of easy baking recipes too. You know, the ones that do not require much prep time or even breaking out the stand mixer. It is no secret that I love figs, dried or fresh, green or black. I thought other people do too but apparently not. I bought a huge bag of plump organic dried figs for the 24 hour relay but came home with almost a full bag. Well, I certainly have use for them. I bookmarked this Cook’s Country recipe for Oats, Fig, White Chocolate Bar a few weeks ago. This is the type of hearty cookie bar that looks more wholesome than it really is. If you only see the amount of beurre noisette that went into the batter!
On the other end of the spectrum, Dan Lepard’s Chocolate Crumble Date Bar made no pretence at being wholesome. Look at that gooey orange date filling! And all that cocoa crumble and milk chocolate pieces and toasted hazelnuts! I cannot tell you how many times I looked longingly at this recipe only to discover I was missing one or two key ingredients. This is an unusual flavour combination and a novel take on the homely date bar. Eggless too! If you want to get neat pieces like I do in the photo, simply chill the pan of baked cookie bar in the freezer for about 30 minutes before cutting.
I cannot wait to be 100% healthy again.