Friday, January 18, 2013

I've Gout You Under My Skin

Skyscraper piles of snow, deadly flu epidemics, sub-zero nights, and a good old-fashioned vintage winter with all the added horror of modern smog.  AKA I've missed you too, so here are 2 recipes at the bottom.

Gout was a fine word to open a game of Scrabble with the other week, because it reminded me of the need to read about gout symptoms and see if maybe instead of some mysterious new form of pain I just had gout in my feet.  Turns out I did.  This surprised me as gout comes with a stigma and is lumped in with diabetes in the minds of most; one of those semi-culpability diseases people can cure by just putting the fork down or using it to scoop lima beans rather than jelly ones.  I'm not exactly in terrible shape, though by my standards, I've let myself go recently.  Well, turns out gout is just a form of inherited arthritis, and if there is one thing I collect, other than hippos, old music, old cartoons, squashes, and several other things, its any kind of arthritis there is.  Precocious arthritis is my hobby. 

Gout basically is a swelling and stiffening of the feet, also marked by redness, pain or itching or burning, and not wanting to move at all.  Its usually in the big toe, but because I'm never normal, mine was in the fourth toes.  This is charming to discuss, surely.  I had some minor gout, but a little gout goes a long way, as the saying goes.  Made famous by Henry the 8th, the late Ben Franklin, and many a comic strip French chef, gout is actually a hereditary disease triggered by diet, and specifically, uric acid from purines.

Purines come from a surprisingly-benign, or even, healthy list of foods.  The most taboo food items are: mushrooms, cauliflower, lentils, beans, red meat, and sweets such as honey.  (So you can see why gout is synomymous with Henry the 8th, he the man who by force of will power (less-ness) changed the Western diet to a sugar-based one after his first taste of the white powder, and he the man who invented such delicacies as "sugar-crusted roast Turkey drumstrick", and "syrup-dipped pig's feet" with jellied jam sauce.)  The expended list adds chocolate, beer, wine, oats, leafy green vegetables, baked goods with leavening agents, dried fruits, and eggs.  Also, by the way, peanuts are not really a nut, but a legume, so peanuts and peanut butter also trigger gout.

That doesn't leave me much to eat does it?  And if you look back at my most recent posts, you'll notice that I was basically on the perfect diet to discover whether or no I am susceptible to gout.  I was practically begging for gout.  Hell, I ate like a gallon of wild mushroom soup followed by pot roast chili- fabulous and recipe to come below, and preceded by "Canaan Pie", made with cream and honey and dried fruits.  I also satisfied a craving for cauliflower for the first time in a year.  Live and learn. 

Gout is cured by drinking exasperating amounts of water and avoiding foods which contain purines or uric acid.  Protein in the diet should be reduced and pretty much nothing but rice and fresh fruit is acceptable.  Go over that list again.  Its extensive.  Vitamin C is helpful.  Also, there is no better medicine than dried cherries.  As far as medicines go, this last one is pretty delicious.  I now have 3 lbs of dried bings around for flare ups, though this was my only noticeable gout incident to date. 

The best treatment is prevention.  Spread out the taboo foods, or eliminate them. 

Well, after my gout cleared up thanks in large part to several days of hunger, I succumbed to this flu which is apparently ravaging Utah and everywhere else, and had some infected sinuses.  I started to feel poorly, then spent a 36 hour period with an animal's wiped mind, laying in a fetal position wrapped inside blankets and still shaking with cold.  I slept 29 out of 30 hours at one point, sitting up just long enough to do the necessities and fill in one sudoku puzzle.  Now I'm still recovering from that.  So I have not been out skiing while failing to post to this blog, I promise you that. 

Enough moping.  My other news is I registered for college courses and will learn web development, including writing code in HTML and several other languages.  This should provide me work, and hopefully that work will be stimulating, or at least, not unbearable.  I am curious about programming, but its so new to me, I don't know what to expect.  I had some financial aid to utilize or lose soon so the whole thing is paid for, and I will treat this like a job, a job that doesn't pay but should eventually.  I will be going full-time, so we shall see how much cooking I do, and whether or no I can offer a recipe every week.  That will depend on if I keep trying new things and finding the time to do so.  I think I will.  I started today and now I get a 4 day weekend.  But I can do most of next week's work at home with a tedious text book.  Hurray.

Pot Roast Chili

This is a very good option for a chili, a little more deluxe than ground chuck varieties. Also its a second recipe to use with roast cuts.

1. Slice 1 lb beef roast or pork roast/loin into 1/2 inch slices, season if preferred, and bake in oven 90 minutes at 375 F.  I did not season my beef roast as it was a nice fatty cut and I let the fat do the work and get all melty.
2. On a range top, in a large pot, combine: 1 can black beans, 1 can kidney beans, 1 can butter beans, and 2 cans pinto beans, all part-drained, with 1 can diced tomatoes (or fresh is that is a palatable option), 1/4 butternut squash (pre-baked), peeled and diced into cubes, 1 cup golden corn kernals, 1/2 green bell pepper diced, onion (or powder), and seasonings.  I suggest: coriander (coarsely crushed), cinnamon, minced garlic, green chives (if you did not add chopped onion), brown sugar, mustard, and white pepper.  Bring to a light boil, then simmer 30 min.
3. Serve as 2 dishes.  Its a vegan chili with the meat available to those who want it, as complimentary dish, or to be dipped into the chili. 

I will never make a chili again without butternut squash.  Its a colorful, healthy, and satisfying addition, helping to replace meat, but not conflicting with it.

Thai Lemon Butternut Squash Soup

Finally found a butternut squash soup recipe I like.  Invented this one after finding a markdown deal on some "La Tourangelle Artisan Thai Wok Oil".  This oil is good for wok cooking, or as additive in soups, and consists of Thai Basil and Lemongrass in Safflower oil.  My roomate claims it smells like Fruit Loops, which I find insulting, as he hates sugared cereals and thus, Fruit Loops, but I think he's just not familiar with the scent of lemon or of Fruit Loops. 

For your soup you need:

1 large pot
1 butternut squash, baked or boiled, peeled, and cut into cubes.
16 oz vegetable broth
16 oz water
1/3 cup wok oil
onion powder
white, red, and black pepper
1/8 cup brown sugar

Add all into your pot and boil for 30 minutes.  Then let cool, put through blender or food processor, and reheat to desired temperature for consumption.  Pretty easy and pretty basic.  Might be improved by adding some noodles or fresh leaves, or peanuts, or something else I am not thinking of, but as an experiment, I just made it as basic as possible.  The above recipe would reduce to a very thick near syrup and will probably take water before serving, but you can also serve it very thick.  Will make 8-10 bowls.

Next post will be about fruit emulsions and how to use them.

Rather than a music recommendation I offer you a book this week: Parnatti's Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things.  Great fun.  Delightful 2 page or less stories about where almost everything you've ever touched in your life or heard in your life comes from.


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