Saturday, May 25, 2019

The Importance of Lemon, Lime and Orange Zest!!!

It is Memorial Day Weekend and I have a quart of home grown strawberries (@$5.99/qt.) and
home grown rhubarb (@$3.00/bunch) so I decide it is time to make the fabulous Strawberry-
Rhubarb Cobbler!

I have already done the shopping for the weekend at two different stores plus the farmers market.

All the ingredients are set out and I realize that a most significant, albeit subtle, ingredient is.....
drum roll please.......zest of an orange!

Well, s and d!  I do not have an orange!  However, another drum roll, if you please.....I do have
grated zest of oranges in little packets in my freezer!

Voila!  I take a packet out of the freezer, chop it up nice and fine and sprinkle it over the berry/
rhubarb mixture.  Nothing could be easier!

The reason I am going through this whole scenario is to let you know that many, many recipes
call of a bit of zest of lemons, limes or oranges and the very easiest trick is to zest any of them
prior to use and freeze them!  (please tell me I am not sounding like Martha on this!)

It really is just the easiest to do!  I put the zest on saran, roll it up and put it into a little baggie.
In my freezer I have three baggies guessed it!....the zest of lemons, limes and

This has served me so very well over the years.  I don't know where I first got this tip.....okay,
it probably was from Martha!.....nonetheless,  something that takes such little time and effort is
a huge get for anyone who cooks and bakes a lot!

Just sayin'..........

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Yummy Macaroni and Cheese.....possibly best ever!

Everybody loves, loves mac and cheese!  Children love it....even if it is out of a box!
Adults love it.....mmmmm.....with goat cheese, a stilton, so very gourmet!

I have made it (from scratch) many, many times!  I have made it from every famous chef
I follow!

Each time I had great expectations........and they all fell short!

Something that should be so simplistic.....creating so many pitfalls and problems!

One recipe may be nice and cheesey but not saucey enough.....or the reverse!

I remember when this was the most economical dish.....cheese was not expensive back
in the day (!).....of course, we were not using imported, gourmet cheeses back then either!

Anyway, I determined that for my own personal taste I liked my mac and cheese to be quite
saucey with a lovely cheesey taste.

Every time I would see a recipe for mac and cheese, I would make it....following the recipe to
the letter.....and always was left "wanting"......

Then I found (recently) this recipe on the internet by the chunky chef........I did make some
changes/additions but I think I finally found the "one"........please try it and let me know if you
like it as much as I did!!!

Mac and Cheese

1 lb. dried elbow pasta
1/2 c. butter - either salted or unsalted
1/2 c. all purpose flour (or Wondra)
1-1/2 c. whole milk and 2-1/2 c. half and half (I used ALL whole milk)
4 c. grated medium sharp cheddar cheese, divided and
2 c. grated Gruyere cheese, divided ( I used 4-1/2 c. cheddar + 1-1/2 c. Pepper Jack for top)
1/2 T. salt (or less, depending on the cheeses you are using as they have a lot of sodium
1/2 t. black pepper
1/4 t. paprika

1.  Preheat oven to 350* and grease a 3 qt. baking dish with butter.  Set aside.
2.  Bring large pot water to the boil.  Once boiling, add 2 T. kosher salt, dried pasta and cook as
per directions for pasta.  Drain well.
3.  While waiting for water to boil, grate cheeses, mix, if not using separate cheeses,  and divide into bowls:  3 c. for sauce, 1-1/2 c. for middle layer and 1-1/2 c. for topping.
4.  Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat and sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine,
stirring for about 2 minutes to "cook" the flour.  Slowing pour in 2 c. milk, whisking constantly,
til smooth.  Slowly pour in remaining 2 c. milk (half and half), again whisking constantly til smooth.
Stir in salt and pepper and cheeses, stirring til smooth.
5.  In large bowl, combine pasta and cheese sauce.
6.  In buttered baking dish, add half the sauced pasta.  Top with 1-1/2 c. grated cheese.  Add remaining sauced pasta and top with 1-1/2 c. grated cheese.
7.  Bake for 20-30 minutes til bubbly, melted and golden brown.....and yummy looking!

( can be made prior....BUT....take out one hour prior to baking....sauces tend to "seize" when
chilled.....let it come almost to room temperature before baking!)

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Trish Giordano: Hospital Nightmare!

Trish Giordano: Hospital Nightmare!: It has been quite a while since I have posted......and, as you all know, I usually post about foods, family and friends! However, this pos...

Hospital Nightmare!

It has been quite a while since I have posted......and, as you all know, I usually post about foods,
family and friends!
However, this post will be different.

Recently my brother, who is 62 years of age with Downs Syndrome, went into kidney failure.

I was at Mass on St. Patrick's Day morning when a text was sent by his staff.  I did not receive the text until twenty minutes later.  I went directly to the hospital emergency room where my brother
and the staff were in a private room.

My brother's bladder was no longer working, thus backing up and killing his kidneys.

He was admitted to the hospital and the next morning when my Mother and I went to the hospital,
a doctor explained that the kidneys were dying on Sunday and but had rallied 'round and were now
functioning.....since they had put in a catheter.  He then explained to us that the question now was if
the bladder would be able to work after holding 2,000 ml.

The next day a hospitalist told me that my brother was being sent to the rehab, the catheter would
be removed and all the doctors would follow him.

The third day I spoke with the doctor from the rehab and asked what caused this problem and what
could we do to prevent this from happening again.

He told me he would put in for a Urology consult.

Three days later I asked the charge nurse at the rehab hospital what about the urology consult.  She
explained to me that they had never responded.  She told me she would put another call in to them.
That was a Saturday and that evening at 7:00 p.m. this lovely woman called me at my home to let
me know that she had placed not one, but two calls to the Urologist for a consult.

The following day, Sunday, I was standing at the Nurses' station when this lovely woman said she
had called earlier in the day but would call one more this point the phone rang and there
was a urologist at the other end of the phone line.  She explained to him that they had been attempting to connect with him for a consult since Wednesday, the 20th to which he replied that his was the first
consult received by them and they would be over sometime later in the day.

The following morning the catheter was removed and a "trial" begun.....this was deemed not successful so the catheter was re-inserted and in another week my brother was sent home to his
mother's house.  I had also called the urologists' office and, after providing the proper medical POA,
it took one week for the doctor to return my call - which, of course ! I missed and when I returned his
call, it went to the main line of the hospital (not the phone he called from) and his office had closed
for the day!!! 

I am going through all of this to describe the frustrations felt by the family.

We did not know why this perfectly healthy man landed in the hospital with kidney failure.
Each day there was a different hospitalist.
Once ensconced in the rehab hospital, he appeared to be in LaLa Land......what doctor was treating
The length of time it took for the doctor to return my call (seeking information) was absurdly ridiculous.

The nursing staff was phenomenal!  Such caring, attentive individuals!
(Note to all:  Nurses can only do what doctors tell them to do)

My bottom line is this:  I had always heard that you have to have an advocate when you are in
the hospital or doctoring.  I was there!  I was at the hospital each day!  I was on the phone attempting to contact the doctors!  I talked to the wonderful nurses til I was hoarse!

End result? My brother was sent home with a catheter and the diagnosis of "don't know" what
caused the bladder to cease working and therefore resulting in kidney failure.

So, while I attempted to be the "advocate" I think I failed miserably.  Was there discrimination
because my brother has Downs Syndrome?  Don't know.....hate to think so.

In my day you went to the hospital for a problem, they figured out what the problem was and
prescribed a treatment or course of action to solve the problem and you were sent home.

Oh, for the good old days!