Thursday, July 21, 2011

An update.

Today seems to be the first day in about three weeks that I feel normal. I'm no where near as angry as I was, and I even laughed today- a real, genuine laugh.

Of course, today is chemo day, which means this will probably be short lived. The chemo turns me into a complete lunatic. The methotrexate is technically a poison. It interferes with some enzymes which are involved in immune system function. Some of those enzymes that are affected are the ones that are involved in the production of folic acid. You need folic acid to produce healthy, actively growing cells. I take what is essentially an antidote to the methotrexate 12 hours after I take the dose, which helps with some of the side effects, but not all. The methotrexate is also metabolized by the liver, which means I'm really not supposed to drink alcohol. Ever. Coupled with the psycho-crazy screwed up enzymes and affected liver function, this medication sucks. I drink anyway, and so far my liver is just fine (thank goodness).

Anyway... It really frustrates me that I'm finally able to wake up and not want to die and I know that this poison is going to blow that to bits in about 18 hours.

In other news, tomorrow I will be doing some photography at a wedding. The bride is a fellow Iona alum, and the aunt to the kids I babysit for. I'm excited- I love weddings (even though they make me sad), and I love to take pictures. The kids are also super cute and are real hams so I know I will get a few really good shots. I have to charge my batteries and format my new memory card and clean my lenses too- I just wish I had more special effects lenses and stuff to take pictures. Gotta earn some money first, because photography stuff is hella expensive. I also have to find something to wear... crap. My least favorite part about going to events is that I never have anything to wear.

Last night I finally had a craving for a meal (first time in about a week), but of course this dish was one that I had in Rome. Not exactly easy to get. I tried to re-create the dish and it was actually pretty good. I had the leftovers for lunch today. Recipe after the jump, if you want to try it yourself.

Pasta Roma
(Inspired by a dish that I ate in Rome)
1/2 pound of pasta (avoid thin pastas like spaghetti and capellini, go for a penne or a linguine)
1 Quart of Tomato Sauce (I used canned tomato puree to make my own sauce, recipe available on request)
1/2 pint of heavy cream
Olive Oil
1/2 pound of zucchini, julienned (sliced in thin strips, like matchsticks)
1/2 pound of ham, cubed (you can use any kind of ham you like)
Salt and Pepper, to taste

1. Bring a pot of water to a rapid boil.  Salt water, add pasta.
2. While water is boiling, slice your zucchini and cube the ham.  

3.  While water is boiling and you are slicing and dicing, begin to heat your tomato sauce in a saucepan.  Simmer over low heat until you have a high temperature, but not boiling!

4. Once the zucchini and ham are cut, heat a small amount of olive oil in a large, non-stick saute pan.  Once oil is hot, add zucchini and ham, season with pepper and just a pinch of salt to draw out some of the water from the zucchini- the ham will probably be salty so you don't want to over do it.  Saute until zucchini is tender.  By this time, your pasta should almost be done and your sauce should be hot enough to add the heavy cream.

5. You will want to cook the pasta until it is almost done.  The last bit of cooking will be after the pasta is in the sauce, so don't cook the pasta until it is mushy.  I like my pasta al dente, so I usually take about 3 or 4 minutes off the cook time on the box.  Always taste some of the pasta to test the consistency before you drain the pot.

6. Begin to add the heavy cream to the sauce, slowly, stirring constantly.  Continue to add the heavy cream until the sauce is thick and a dark pink color.  Add the zucchini and ham and continue to cook over low heat.

7. Using the saute pan from the zucchini and ham (no need to wash after sauteing), ladle some of the sauce into the saute pan.  Add the pasta and sauce, alternating, until the pasta is coated.  Add the remainder of the sauce, and cook for approximately 3 more minutes, or until the pasta is at the desired consistency.

8. Serve hot, immediately.  Garnish with freshly ground black pepper, parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

*This dish can be eaten leftover too- just reserve a splash of the heavy cream.  Add about a tablespoon of chicken stock and a tablespoon of heavy cream to the leftover pasta and heat on the stove until hot.*

Find out when zucchini are at their peak in your area- the fresher, the better.  Vegetables in season will also be far less expensive than any other time.  This is a great meal that can be cooked on a budget too!  I usually make sauce every three to four months.  I make about 12 quarts of sauce at a time, and freeze them, so I can use as needed.  You might need more than one quart of sauce for this recipe, depending on how heavy you like your sauce.  I like it heavy- easy way for me to get a decent portion of my daily fruits and vegetables!

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