Monthly Archives: November 2012

Onion and Thyme Soup and Living with Lyme Disease

 

Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection. I got it when I was around 12 years old. We don’t exactly know when I got it, because it was months after I started feeling ill that we got a diagnosis. This was in the early nineties, when Lyme’s existence in the medical field was only about 20 years old and not nearly as quantifiable as it is today (though many aspects of it are still incredibly difficult and under-researched). I’ve had serious flares 3 times (meaning periods when I’ve been so ill I’ve been unable to work and merely “waited” out courses of antibiotics and immune building until my list of symptoms abated). During my “recessive” periods, I still battle digestive issues, joint pain, major fatigue, sensory overload, feelings of paralysis on one side of my face, sleep problems… symptoms that come and go and can be light or severe, depending on many factors.

Since my last serious flare, which ended around 3 years ago, I’ve had a good run.

But now things are changing again, I can feel it. And it’s scary. My body hurts, on a daily basis. Lights seem harsher, sounds seem louder, the world seems to be pulsing at a higher speed.

I can feel my body screaming, “Stop, pause, rest, be still. And I’m trying to slow it down. But when you have a day-job that pays so well you can actually see yourself clearing up that medical debt (I’m definitely pro Obamacare) and writing work that is soclose to being enough to sustain you financially, it’s hard to know what to give up. I work in a kitchen. I interview chefs for a weekly column. I review food events. I’ve got a crazy/awesome month of giveaways and features set for the Easy Eats blog. I go to CT to help out in my family office. I (attempt to) keep this blog going because I enjoy it. I love what I get to do. But once again I’m worried that my body can’t keep up with the “if you can make it there…” pace in the city I love so much.

This post may seem gratuitous the week of Thanksgiving, but it’s because of giving thanks and the joy of the holidays (that I adore and which give me so much inspiration) that I wanted to express this. This blog was inspired by my history with Lyme, but the past few years my symptoms have been a regular but manageable part of my life, so Lyme’s presence here has been relatively absent. Now it’s taking a bit more of my thoughts. I am so thankful for my health, especially for my ability to walk from A to B after not having been able to during my first bout as a child. But there are so many symptoms and ins-and-outs of living for so long with an intricate, changeable and painful illness. I want people to talk with about it. Because when we talk we process, and share ways to help, and ways to move forward.

Saturday I spent 7 beautiful hours talking through things with a good friend with Crohn’s. Yesterday I got a wonderful/heartbreaking email from someone reaching out about her 19-year old son dealing with his third year of Lyme. It’s important that those of us with chronic but not overtly visible illnesses have people to talk with. So please, if you know someone with Lyme, R.A., Crohn’s or similar immune illnesses and they need an ear, send em my way.

This soup I made at work a few weeks ago, in love with the idea of making something simple and warming with only a few ingredients. It’s incredibly basic: yellow onions, chicken broth, garlic, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. I love it. I made it at home again recently as it doesn’t threaten the stomach and got my body warm again, inside and out.

Stay warm, and thankful.

Thanks for reading,

– Jacqueline

Onion and Thyme Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

The key to this soup is slicing the onions into thin strips and cooking them low and slow until they practically melt. Then just fill with broth and season with some fresh thyme and salt and pepper!

Ingredients:

3 large yellow or Spanish onions
4 tbsp unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock or broth, or more to desired liquid level
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
Cut the onions into quarters and then thinly slice.

In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and toss to coat. Add around 1 tsp salt, garlic and thyme, a toss to coat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let cook until soft (stirring occasionally), about 30 minutes or more, until they practically melt with pressure from a spatula.

Fill with broth until it just covers the onions. Bring up to a simmer and simmer around 30 minutes, until the onions have softened into the soup completely. Taste and season with salt, pepper and more thyme as desired.

Advertisements

Video! Basic Gluten-Free Pie Crust (3-methods)

Basic Gluten-Free Pie Crust from Jacqueline Raposo on Vimeo.

I’m a dork for pie. No matter the season, this is my go-to basic gluten-free pie crust recipe, with 3 ways to make it depending on your tools. The video is silly. Silly AWESOME (I hope)! Wishing you good things this holiday season and all year ’round,

– Jacqueline

Easy Gluten-Free Pie Crust

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • Gluten-free flour blend: 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/2 cup tapioca starch OR arrowroot starch, 1/4 cup millet flour, 3/4 tsp xanthan gum, 2 Tbsp sticky rice flour (this helps pull the dough together – if you don’t have it, add 2 Tbsp more brown rice or millet flour). 
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp palm, sucanat, or white sugar (optional)
  •  1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small cubes (higher fat the better)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Method:

If you have a standing mixer, place the flours, salt, and sugar in the bowl and fix with a paddle attachment.  Mix flours to combine thoroughly.  Cube or thinly slice the butter, add to the bowl, toss to mix.  Then mix on low until the butter is just incorporated into the flour, making it look like cornmeal or buttery flakes.  Make a well in the center, add the egg and lemon juice, and mix on low until just combined, to the point where it doesn’t pull into a ball but is about to.  Gather with your hands, wrap in plastic, flatten to a disk and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

If you have a food processor, use the directions above but pulse the butter into the flour, and then the wet ingredients into that mixture.

If you have neither, don’t despair!! You have ten awesome little kitchen gadgets at the ready!  Use the tips of your fingers to blend the butter into the flour, being sure not to use your whole palm or the fleshy part of your fingers (you want as little of the heat from your hands transferring to the dough).  Then use a fork to pull the egg and lemon into the mixture.

Once the dough has been chilled to where it’s not sticky but not too hard to roll, flour a pastry board, parchment paper or Silpat with rice flour, and roll to desired thickness.  Fit into a pie plate, tart plate or slide onto a baking sheet for the perfect galette crust!

Hurricanes and Hunger

Speaking with Chef Seamus Mullen at Tertulia during the Sandy blackout, photo GrillWorks

Life is such a cacophony of beauty/horror right now.

The holidays are coming, and I thrive during the holidays. There’s the beauty.

The horror is that two weeks ago my city was hurt badly. This morning I wept openly on the subway reading this article from the New York Times about the 8 who died in Midland Beach on Staten Island. The other day my buddy Johnny Iuzzini (who, like many chefs, is doing some great volunteer work out there) tweeted this video on what’s happening in the Rockaways that sent chills down my spine. I can’t stop watching it. Another video – NYC Dark – captured how eerie and foreign lower Manhattan felt during the blackout.

I’m not suffering-by-association. I’m incredibly fortunate that my apartment didn’t even lose power and I only lost two days of work from lack of transportation.

But this is my city, man. And my city is hurting.

Because of my health there are some things that I am just not able to do. Sometimes it render me feeling helpless, but I’m not even going into what they are for fear of sounding ungrateful.

I need to contribute.

So last week I did what I was able: amongst other things I wrote a series of three pieces on what a group of four chefs are doing to help out with what they’re calling the “NYC Food Flood“. The chefs (who also took big losses when their restaurants we closed due to blackouts) are taking turns bringing their skills to those in the hardest-hit areas of Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. The pieces – an introduction to the NYC Food Flood, a narrative on dining during the blackout at one of the chef’s restaurants and coverage of the fundraising dinner that raised over $20,000 for their efforts – went up on Serious Eats NY last week.

I also organized one on a Gnosis, a chocolate company based out of Queens that is donating 5% of profits this month to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy relief, on Easy Eats magazine’s blog, which I edit.

If you have a few minutes, please check out the pieces, available at the links below. And for other ways to help, check out the links that Venessa at Gnosis compiled for us.

————-

For those of you in the NYC area who are looking to volunteer, here are a list of organizations who could use your time and energy:
– Google Crisis Map (shows nearest shelter/evacuee centers)
– New York Cares
– NYC Service
– Food Bank for New York City
– Follow the hashtag #sandyvolunteer on Twitter

For those of you who are looking to make donations, here are a list of organizations who are doing great work specifically to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy:
– Red Cross (text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10)
– Red Cross Blood
– New York Blood Center
– Operation USA
– International Medical Corps (helping those affected by Sandy in Haiti and Cuba)
– Salvation Army
– Save the Children (text HURRICANE to 20222 to donate $10)
– ASPCA

————

Help and Healing with Chocolate, on Easy Eats Magazine’s blog, Nov. 7, 2012

Peanut Butter Cookies – Milk Bar Mondays

I walk into my kitchen to get a cup of tea and Christmas fills my nostrils. Maybe it’s the strains of Love Actually coming from the living room where my roommate is wiling away the Saturday afternoon. Maybe it’s the fact that now that Halloween is over I can officially start planning menus and dreaming of trees. Maybe it’s needing something to distract me from Hurricane Sandy coverage in NYC. Maybe it’s these things and…

peanut butter.

Every year for as long as I can remember, I’ve made those classic little peanut butter cookies with a Hershey kiss on top (even though I’ve never freed them of gluten so haven’t been able to eat a bite). Out of all my holiday collection, they are the most requested and I make them by the hundreds…

Our Milk Bar Monday group took a little hiatus for the past few weeks to give space for Audra Wahab to be renamed Audra Fullerton and Krissy Winnick to welcome baby Ezekiel Vincent Winnick into the world!!! But now we’re back in our kitchens – though with slightly diminished numbers – and still determined to bake our way through Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar cookbook. Continue reading

Rise Up, New York. (and Big Apple Cupcakes)

My friend Robbie…

There’s something about when the lights go out in New York City.

When restaurants are closed, Broadway stages are dark, and bridges and tunnels flooded.

I’m incredibly fortunate. Washington Heights is called the Heights for a reason in that we’re elevated, so my neighborhood wasn’t in danger of flooding – though ten blocks away and the highway below me got wiped. We passed a relatively uneventful night, the howling outside and occasional crash of something flying and falling a soundtrack to the news we couldn’t look away from and the movies we eventually distracted ourselves with. Eerily, the streets were empty. But, though it flickered, we never lost our electricity. We woke to quiet.

Everyone I know is safe, though many are still without power and a few have flooded homes.

I am very fortunate.

Anytime something strikes NYC – a madman with a gun, a massive transportation strike, a blackout, a hurricane – I become even more in love with where I live. I truly love New York City. I love the community, the diversity, the possibility. Yes, it takes energy to live here, but it gives me energy as well. It doesn’t feel like a big city at all. It just feels like… home.

So, thank you to those who are working to repair our home. To those who helped evacuated the hospitals without power and on fire. To the emergency responders who helped people out of collapsed homes, evacuated the areas in danger of being crushed by a falling crane, who worked to put out fires through floods and who are still working in teams to bring help to those in need. Thanks to those hauling away debris, washing muddy roads, pumping out the subway tunnels and working to get the millions of us without power back into the light.

My heart is downtown…

…and for all those who have made sure we’re safe and sent loving energy from Toronto, Cape Town, Denver, Tampa, California… please hug someone you love.

Because hugging is awesome. And we should do more of it.

For a NYC-inspired recipe and more blubbering about why I love my city so much, check out my Big Apple Cupcakes with NY Cheesecake Frosting.

– Jacqueline

%d bloggers like this: