Wok on the Road

I love our electric wok. It sat forgotten and alone in a kitchen cabinet for years, unused and unappreciated. One day in early June I heard a whisper. “Open the cabinet. Yes, this one, way over in the corner.” When I did and saw the black electric wok with its clear glass lid, a bright idea flashbulb popped.

The wok has gone on the road. It has become an essential tool for making our suppers when we have to stay at the Inn at Mayo in Jacksonville for Tom’s chemo. I’ve sauteed chicken thighs with shallots and mushrooms, cooked yellow squash, salmon, even spinach, and shrimp fried brown rice. All kinds of comfort food.

Tonight I used the smooth nonstick surface to do double duty: first it cooked a diced Idaho potato, onion, chopped garlic and oregano in a smidge of olive oil; then after I turned the potatoes out onto our plates, it scrambled eggs. We enjoyed that feast with toast, strawberry jam, and Earl Grey tea.

We’re in the bedroom now, reading books (well, I’m typing for a few minutes, then I’ll read). Tom has blood labs first thing, then a meeting with his hematologist/oncologist, then a fun-filled afternoon of Rituxian (Rituximab) and Treanda (Bendamustine).

He drove us the whole six and a half hours from Pensacola. He’s whipped, and I’m concerned because he has a little congestion and seems to be trying to get a sinus infection. Plus, the muscle area on the right side of his neck near the catheter for the Bard Power Port in his chest got sore several days ago and is growing more uncomfortable. Needless to say, I’m glad we’re here and that he’ll be seeing his doc in the morning. I’m sure he’ll be fine. I just hate for him to go into a chemo session not feeling well. He felt great Sunday; this came up suddenly.

A good night’s sleep can be powerful medicine, and our wok supper paved the way.

Hope all yall’s evening is peaceful and comfortable.


Oh Yum, It’s a Pond Scum Smoothie

Okay, so I admit to failing so far in getting Tom enthusiastic about drinking a glass of something that looks like concentrated pond scum, which is what my Vitamix smoothies made with a base of Garden of Life Perfect Food Raw  look like. Using myself as a guinea pig is working out well, though. In fact, I’m starting to feel like Queen Kong or Sheena of the Jungle, if not Wonder Woman. It’s a work in progress.

Tom’s concept of a smoothie is milk, (he’s good with almond milk), a package of Sweet ‘n Low (the vile pink stuff), a frozen banana and some strawberries. Any recipe that veers too far from this formula become suspect.

“Green” smoothies are a different animal altogether. I just made lunch of one that contained filtered water and ice, a quarter cup of the aforementioned Perfect Food Raw, one third of a seedless cucumber, a cup of organic red kale, and a handful of frozen mixed berries and frozen strawberries (both ends of packages hiding out in the freezer that needed to be used).  Looked horrible. Tasted great. I can live with that.

I started this whole smoothie jag thinking that Tom may need to use them as an adjunct to the post-chemo nausea, as a way to be sure he gets a full supply of quality nutrients every day. Fortunately, the nausea has been fairly mild so far, and whole foods, such as a baked sweet potato and mild collard greens, seem to really hit the spot for him. Or if his tummy is a little tender, I’ll fix what we’ve always called “chicken in the pot.” It’s simply a whole chicken, onions, celery, carrots, and chicken broth simmered and served with whole wheat noodles in a soup bowl.

Rebecca Katz’s books, shown below, would be excellent resources for anyone’s kitchen, but she and Mat Edelman provide depth and perspective on what works and why when someone is being treated for cancer. I’ve taken her comments on kombu  and now use it to cook not only Katz’s Magic Mineral Broth, but in every pot of dried beans and greens I cook.  Daily digital magazine The Kitchn has an excellent discussion of the Japanese dried kelp called kombu here.