Friday, December 31, 2010

Getting Back to Normal



It’s been quite a month. Typically in our house, December is a month filled with fun traditions that we look forward to all year long. However, this December turned out to be a stressful, anxious month, filled with more doctor appointments than I care to think about. Andy’s mystery eye swelling turned out to be a something called an Optical Pseudo Tumor. As the name suggests, it’s not actually a tumor, but a condition that causes severe swelling around and behind the eyes, which in turn causes double vision and a lot of discomfort. Since this is not a common thing, it took a while to diagnose, getting worse by the day. There were some very bad days. After more tests than I thought possible, and so many different doctors, Andy was finally put on steroids to reduce the swelling. Thankfully, they are working, albeit slowly, and he is still experiencing slight double vision and general tiredness of his eyes. Each day seems to be just a little bit better, and the doctors seem happy with the way things are going.

As you can imagine, cooking has been the last thing on my mind. After almost daily doctor appointments that lasted for hours, all I had the energy for was takeout and prepared foods. Actually, my appetite was nowhere to be found, and Andy ended up eating many meals solo. Finally, yesterday (four weeks later), I got back into the kitchen. I had fun, the dish turned out great, and it finally seemed like things are getting back to normal. Except I didn’t take pictures. Oops. So that dish will have to wait. But for now, this is a dish that I made for a Thanksgiving appetizer that I’ve wanted to write about for weeks.


Shrimp Poached in Spicy Asian Broth with Braised Bok Choy

Makes 2 full size servings or 4 appetizer servings

Bok Choy:
2 heads baby bok choy, leaves separated
vegetable oil
splash sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green onion, chopped
white wine

Heat the vegetable oil and sesame oil in a saute pan. Saute garlic and green onions in oil. Add wine to cover bottom of pan and bring to a simmer. Put bok choy into pan and cover. Let simmer, tossing occasionally, until tender. When bok choy is done, remove from pan and roughly chop into bite size pieces. Return to pan and reserve.

Shrimp:
Vegetable oil
1 green onion, chopped
1 hot pepper, diced
2 fresh cayenne peppers, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 cups seafood stock (I use Penzeys Seafood Soup Base)
splash fish sauce
12 shrimp, peeled

In a little vegetable oil, sauté green onion, peppers, garlic and ginger. Add stock and fish sauce and bring to a simmer. Poach shrimp in broth until cooked through. When shrimp are cooked, add bok choy and braising liquid into broth. Stir to combine and simmer a few minutes longer.


This is a very flavorful, spicy broth that pairs well with the tender poached shrimp and braised bok choy. A bit of heat lingers in your mouth, but doesn’t knock your socks off. A small bowl of this makes a nice start to a meal.


It’s hard to believe this year is already over. 2010 went by so quickly, with the exception of December of course. It’s been a wonderful year full of amazing memories, fun trips, and fantastic food, but we’re both very happy to be moving forward from a very long month.  Thanks to all of you that wished Andy well over the last several weeks.

Here’s to a new year, good health, more amazing memories and fantastic food. And to getting back to normal…

Happy New Year!

46 comments:

  1. Oh Karen, I am so sorry to hear of the stressful times over the holidays. I am very thankful to hear that Andy's swelling turned out to be something readily addressed and he's on the mend.
    The shrimp looks terrific!

    ReplyDelete
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  2. Karen, whew! Glad that Andy is on the mend...but what a tough journey you've had. Your shrimp looks fabulous...especially paired with bok choy! YUM.

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  3. I'm glad he is feeling better and that things are looking good. This dish looks so good, especially the bit of spice! Here's to a healthy new year!

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  4. Sorry your December turned out badly! I hope all looks up into 2011...no doubt it will. Enjoy your delicious looking dish. And happy new year.

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  5. I was sad at first reading about the swelling but a little happier now that everything is getting back to normal.
    your shrimp dish sounds delicious.

    May this new year bring many opportunities to your way,
    to explore every joy of life
    &
    may your resolutions for the days ahead stay firm,
    turning all your dreams into reality
    and all your efforts into great achievements.
    Happy New Year to you & your loved ones.

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  6. Glad that the eye is on the mend, and you're back to cooking. This shrimp dish looks amazing; I know I love the flavor mix.

    May you have a Happy and Healthy New Year!

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  7. Hope that your stressful days are over, and Andy is on the road to recovery. Your shrimp dish sounds like what we need after many days of holiday food, something light and very flavorful, and healthy.

    Hope that you and Andy have a great 2011!

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  8. You always do the best stuff with shrimp! Happy New Year and keep making stuff so I can steal it and make it for me :)

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  9. So glad Andy's getting better and things are getting back to normal. Your shrimp dish looks fabulous! Hope you have a great new year!

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  10. Yikes. Sorry you guys had to go through that at all, nevermind during the holiday season. Glad to hear he is feeling better. The shrimp looks amazing!

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  11. I'm so sorry to hear how stressful December was for you and Andy. I hope that things continue to improve as we enter the new year!

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  12. That looks so yummy. It was so nice to see you and Andy last night - and the apps were delicious as usual!

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  13. Wow! What a stressful December you have had! I hope things continue to improve. I know that is frustrating for both of you!

    The shrimp look amazing! I just tried Bok Choy for the first time this year and love it!

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  14. Believe me,I know all about anxious and stressed filled holidays, with multiple trips to multiple doctors. Glad that things are starting to mend and that you can "get back to normal." The poached shrimp looks and sounds delicious. And... Happy New Year to you and yours!

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  15. I had a difficult December myself this year so I understand how it can be. Glad to hear Andy is on the mend. Hopefully next Christmas will be a better one for all of us.

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  16. It's been a while since I have "seen" you! It has definitely been a hectic time of the year and I can't wait to get back into the normal routine of things. I cannot believe the story about Andy's eye, and understand why it would squash any desire to cook! Hopefully with the new year, everything will get better, and quickly! This soup looks great, I love bok choy. Happy New Year!

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  17. Hope Andy's health continues to improve. Your recipe looks amazing and healthy - just what I needed to get inspired for healthy living! Happy 2011 to you too! Hoping to "visit" more often in the New Year!

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  18. Oh you poor things! I really hate having medical tests, it's so stressful and sometimes I think it's harder on the partner. I'm glad he's on the mend.

    Your prawns look delicious! I need some healthy food (and to get off my bum again) to lose some of this weight I gained over christmas .. ! Am glad it's over tbh!

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  19. It is great that the doctors eventually found what was causing the problem. In this way curation is on its way. I am so sorry for you two. Have a very Happy New Year full of health and love. The dish looks perfect!

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  20. You have been through quite a month. We love bock choy.
    Wishing you all the best and a healthy 2011.

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  21. I know you had a stressful December - I am hoping 2011 brings you calm, health and wonderful days in the kitchen!!! I know it will! :) This looks fabulous BTW!

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  22. Sorry about all your health issues. Hope 2011 is a happy, healthy year for both of you!

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  23. HI, congratulations for your blog.

    SABORES&OLORES ˚˛*˛°.˛*.˛°˛.*★* Feliz *★* 。*˛.
    ˛°_██_*.。*./ ♥ \ .˛* .˛。.˛.*.★* Año 2011 *★ 。*
    ˛. (´• ̮•)*.。*/♫.♫\*˛.* ˛_Π_____. ♥ ˛* ˛*
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    ...From VIGO SPAIN , Greetings MARIMI

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  24. Glad things are looking up and a diagnosis was found so things can be repaired. This looks delicious, and very fany, might be something to try for Valentine's day :-)

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  25. Wow. I'm glad that Andy is on the mend. Must have been scary for you both. Any appetizer with braised bok choy has got to be fabulous!

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  26. Glad to hear your husband is doing better, hope that continues!

    This recipe looks so delicious! I've been in the mood for asian dishes recently..and this looks wonderful!

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  27. Karen- so happy to see you cooking again. It's funny but for me, spicy broth like you've written about is my current go-to comfort food when I'm anxious or not feeling well. We will definitely give this a try, as we also love Bok Choy! So glad to hear that your sweetie is on the mend, and may 2011 bring you complete health, delicious food, and unexpected joy!! Cheers!

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  28. I'm so glad that they finally found out what was up with Andy and that the issue curable. I hope by now that his vision is fully restored.

    Your poached shrimp looks fantastic. We're huge fans of Asian-inspired cuisine so the flavors in this are right where we like them. Thanks for passing along the recipe.

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  29. This sound so good! Fantastic combination!
    Happy New Year!

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  30. Que fascinante se ven los camarones,delicosos y que encanto de fotos de las verduras e hierbas,me encantó,me quedo en tu blog ,me encanta saber de otras culinarias y enseñar de la típica comida Chilena,abrazos y bendiciones paea el año 2011,cariños.

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  31. The life is good. Great this blog. I loved. Congratulations for your blog. That look so beautiful. Have a nice week. Kisses.

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  32. Happy New year to you. I am looking forward to read all your culinary creations in 2011!! Love the Asian inspired shrimp dish...

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  33. I was just about to delete my blogspot blog, as I have my site up now as a .com, and I saw your comment on one of my pages so I checked out your blog again. I forgot how wonderful it is! So wonderful I am going to put it on my blogroll. Just wanted to let you know. I too understand the stress of the holidays and illness and the inability it creates in being able to blog. I was and still am there. Regardless...I look forward to connecting back with your blog!

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  34. hope things are sunny side up for you now. happy new year and wishing you good times ahead and tasty trials...

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  35. This dish looks incredible. I am going to make it for sure. just love your blog. I should come here more often. No question. Keri

    samwich365.com

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Karen, How is Andy? Hope he is feeling much better and on the speedy track of recovering. Love the shrimp with spicy broth, looks delicious!

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  37. Hi Karen, it's me again. Just dropping by to let you know that I've an award for you. Please stop by anytime to collect it when you can. No hurry! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Happy New Year- better late than never, I suppose! I've missed your blog- with the new design of mine, I lost some of the blogs I used to read regularly. Love prawns, and as always your dishes are amazing.
    Ishay
    www.foodandthefabulous.com

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hy Karen,
    love your prawn recipe...new to your space..
    interesting recipe collections...
    Happy to follow u..
    Do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty appetite

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  40. Sorry to hear about all of the stress and panic I would imagine...I hope his eye is doing much better now. This is a wonderful recipe and looks delicious :)

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  41. Really delicious! not only that receipe I have just seen but the others above.
    I will take my time to read your nice receipes.
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
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