Friday, July 17, 2015

Everyday Orzo - my go-to side dish and an update

Everyday Orzo 1
Hi everyone!

I've missed you. I've missed this little corner of my world.

I've missed being in the kitchen. I miss cooking for all my friends. I've missed baking and eating! Yes, I miss eating the foods I love most of all!

I wanted to give you all an update. I'm did my 6th round of chemo this week. Halfway there!! I have 12 total. After chemo is done I'll be having a lumpectomy and then radiation. I've got a long road ahead of me, but I'm going to make it through, and that's all that matters to me.

I've been doing pretty good with chemo. I'm extremely lethargic. I'm napping most days out of necessity. I just can't keep my eyes open. I'm having some stomach issues and I have lost all taste in food, which for a foodie like me is not so great, but again, I'm dealing with it. I'm eating a very bland and boring diet. When you can't taste your food, you lose all interest in it. I eat when my stomach growls or when I know I really should eat something. I've been losing about 2 -3 pounds a week and normally that would be a YAHOO moment, but right now....not so much. My nutritionist would like me to drink some Ensures so I'm getting the vitamins and nutrients I need, so Ensure it is. Yuck!

The hair.....for those of you who know me, I have a lot of hair. I have big, thick, curly blonde hair. Well, I should say HAD, I DID have big, thick, curly blonde hair. My hair started to thin after chemo #4. I was shedding like a husky on a hot summer day. I made the decision to cut it short. I was starting to look like I had a mullet, so I went with a short haircut. Over the last week or so it really started to come out, so I finally started wearing my head coverings. I thought I would be much more upset about it, but I'm really not. It's only hair. It will grow back. I'm going to LIVE and that is so much more important then the hair on my head. I just might rock the bald look.

I'm being treated at Women & Infants Breast Health Center in Providence. I have amazing chemo nurses and doctors. I cannot say enough good things the folks there. I have been pampered and loved on by all my amazing friends and family, I have my good friend Eva as my chemo buddy. She takes me to most of my chemos and we color in those wonderful intricate coloring books to pass the time. I'm reading books I have been meaning to read forever and I'm pinning recipes that I want to try once my taste buds are back. As I said before. Life is still amazing and wonderful and I'm so very happy to be here.

I want to thank all of you that reached out to me since my last posts. I was flooded with good wishes and lovely thoughts. It's one of the hardest things I've ever had to go through, but this time really has held some of the best moments too. People are kind, and sweet and filled with kindness. I thank each and every one of you who reached out to be.

Now I'm happy to say.....on to some food!

I'm revisiting this dish. I originally posted it back in 2010. I felt like there might be lots of followers who didn't get a change to make this wonderful side so I had to remedy that, plus it gave me an excuse to make it again!

Most home cooks I know have a favorite side dish that they make over and over again.

This one is mine.

I fell in LOVE with this dish 5 years ago and I've been making it ever since.

I haven't eaten very much pasta over the past year and half, but this is the one dish that I'll make an exception for and indulge.

What makes it even better's so easy to make!

I tweaked it just a very little bit from the original recipe. The two things you must do to make this recipe turn out perfect are as follows:

1) DO NOT SUBSTITUTE THE CHEESE! The Gruyere makes this dish. If you want to use another cheese, choose another recipe. I'm so serious about this.

2) One you remove that pan from the burner, DO NOT LIFT THAT LID! Patience. It's only 25 minutes. You can do it!

Everyday Orzo2

Everyday Orzo
adapted from a recipe at the Junior League of Seattle.
4 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped fine (I used a combination of onion & shallots)
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
2-1/2 cups chicken stock
1 pound orzo pasta, uncooked
3/4 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded (DO NOT SUBSTITUTE!)
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until soft but not browned, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat chicken stock just until it begins to boil.

Add orzo to onion and garlic in skillet. Stir in hot chicken stock, bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat. Let stand, without removing cover, until all liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes. DO NOT LIFT THAT LID! Stir in cheese until melted. (If your cheese doesn't melt right away, just heat up the orzo over low flame a bit to get it to melt quicker); add chives and season with salt and pepper. Orzo will have a creamy consistency. Serve hot.