Thought I would kind of depart from my usual posts today and review my weekend. Yesterday I did too much. I knew I would but I did it anyway. Today I am paying the price. But I wouldn’t change anything. It was fun and made me disregard the new normal for just a little while.
My wife and I got up early and went downtown to the Farmers’ Market. We got there early to get a good spot in the parking garage and to beat the crowd at the breakfast spots. I hadn’t been in two years but now with the power chair, I was up to trying to have a fun morning like we used to have. The place we were going to go wasn’t yet open so we went to another really good restaurant for something fresh and good. I had a starter of oatmeal with brown sugar, pecans and cranberries. Then I had biscuits with a breaded boneless fried chicken breast on top and delicious country gravy. Yum! My wife had “Bloody Mary Eggs Benedict” which was poached eggs, Virginia country ham, roasted tomatoes, and Worcestershire sauce on an English muffin. She loved hers too! And of course several cups of coffee to get us going and keep us going for our morning adventure.
We then went to the rows of vendors. It sure had grown in size and variety since I had last been there. And a lot of choices for early May. We first went for some early veggies from a farm that we had shopped with previously. There, we found some beautiful fresh Kale greens, and small heads of broccoli and cauliflower. Across from this stall, we found some wonderful strawberries that were grown hydroponically. We then found a farm that sold fresh meat. They had Spring lamb and we purchased 8 really nice lamb chops. Next was the baker, someone we also had done business with before. There we bought some English muffin bread and some roasted red pepper focaccia. And boy were they fresh! Finally, we found the dairy that we had bought from before and purchased some real whole milk, you know the kind with lots of fat left in it. It tastes like milk is supposed to taste.
My dinner plans were now in place. We went home, skipped lunch and in the early afternoon I began to prepare my dinner masterpiece. First, I took the lamb chops out. I made a marinade from some farm fresh raspberry jam (also purchased at the farmers’ market) that was tart and not too sweet, two cups of red table wine and a little bit of red wine vinegar for extra acidity. I then seasoned the chops with sea salt and cracked black pepper and dried rosemary and placed them in the marinade to rest in the fridge for a couple of hours. I then prepped the kale. I thoroughly washed it, cut off the large bottom stems and then coarsely chopped the rest and set it aside. I also prepped the broccoli by again washing it and then cutting off the florets. Finally, I prepped the strawberries. I cut them into uniform pieces, tossed them in a little sugar and put them into the fridge to use for dessert after dinner.
While waiting for the chops to fully absorb the flavor of the marinade, I made a red wine reduction using the rest of my bottle of red wine, more raspberry jam, and some really good beef stock. I rapidly boiled it until it had reduced to a little more than half of its original volume and then kept it warm on the stove.
I then took the lamb chops out of the marinade, added more rosemary and grilled them on a very hot griddle for about 3-4 minutes on each side. They were perfect. The broccoli I steamed in a basket with just a little salt, black pepper, butter and a generous sprinkle of cayenne pepper (hot pepper is good for pain!). The kale I steamed in a large skillet. I seasoned the kale with salt and pepper and used more of the beef stock as the steaming agent. When ready I added some red wine vinegar and served. So the plate had a couple of lamb chops covered in the wine reduction over a generous serving of kale with broccoli florets on the side. We use the roasted red pepper focaccia as our bread to get all that good sauce that was full of flavor. I was pleased with the effort.
After dinner we had dessert. For dessert, I toasted some sliced English muffin bread, put on a pat of butter while still hot and then added the strawberries and some fresh whipped cream. So, so good!
Then I collapsed into one big heap on the couch. Tried to post a little on the computer. Watched California Chrome win the 140th Kentucky Derby on the TV while reminiscing that I had actually gone to the 99th and 100th derbies while a student in college. Great memories. Then, I promptly took my medicine, went to bed and fell asleep without much trouble. I did wake up in pain a couple of times, but like I said before it was so good to almost have a day that wasn’t like my “new normal”, I was elated.
Today, I feel the impact of yesterday very much. My muscles and other connective tissues are in knots. My nerve pain is excited. I am going to try to take it easy most of the day. My son is here cooking for us today. So, I don’t have to do much at all. My wife is making REAL banana pudding for dessert. And, one of my best friends who has been ill himself is coming over to share some time with us.
So, I hurt bad today but yesterday was great. I encourage anyone with chronic illness to try and do more than you should every once in a while. While we pay a price, the good place that my mind is today from all that I did yesterday is still a very wonderful feeling!
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