Friday, April 29, 2016

This Week's Menu: Pan Fried Ribeye Steak and Honey Glazed Carrots with Asparagus

Oops...a little late posting this but you still have time to get to the store for the ingredients.

This Sunday, I'm breaking in my new cast-iron skillet with some USDA Prime beef and another super side dish, modified from Martha Stewart's recipe.

Recipes at the links below..

DINNER: Pan Fried Rib Eye Steak

SUPER SIDE: Honey Glazed Carrots with Asparagus

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

SUPER SIDES: Honey Glazed Carrots and Asparagus

We're modifying the Martha Steward honey glazed carrot recipe a bit to make this side dish for our pan-fried rib eye steaks.  Also, I'm messing with the prep a little bit so I can have it ready early. That way, when it's time to make dinner, the only thing I have to do is stick the pan on the stove and cook.

6 carrots
4 stocks of asparagus
1/2 cup of honey
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
7 ounces chicken broth
5 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper

Peel the carrots.  

Cut both the carrots and asparagus into 1/2 inch chunks. In a 3-quart pot, melt the butter and cook the carrots for 10 minutes, stirring twice.

Remove from heat and add the asparagus, honey, chicken broth, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover, and refrigerate until ready to cook dinner.

When ready, bring to a boil (we're cooking ours outdoors on our gas grill side burner), then lower to low heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

D-Day - Living with Type II: The Sweet Spot

I'm lucky in one way, I don't really have a sweet tooth. 

It's not that I don't like sweets, I do. I enjoy a good Milky Way bar, had some real good ice cream not too long ago, cheesecake with a good raspberry topping sounds good to me, and I love Jelly Bellies. But it's just not something I crave.

My wife and son seem to live for their desserts while I can go quite awhile without them.

Still, when you have to watch your sugar, things get a little amplified.  I can't just take a swing down to the snack bar and grab a bag of Sugar Babies when the hunger appears or take a simple snag out of the donut box one of my attorneys just brought in.

Once in awhile, though, I do like to have an indulgence and I've found two times I can give in.

First, and this has been very rare since my diagnosis, when my blood sugar takes a precipitous drop. For example, a month or so ago, my blood dropped down quickly from the 120's down to the 80's after a protein-heavy meal.  

That's the sign to grab a few Jelly Bellies...purely for the quick response back into the zone, mind you. A sweet, tasty response at that.

Second, I've noticed on my blood profiles and regular testing that my glucose levels drop the most in the afternoon between lunch and dinner. Frequently getting down to the low 100's or even 90's.

This is my sweet spot.  Not that I really want a whole lot but if I do get a craving, I plan that candy or dessert indulgence for my after lunch let down.

Another reason to remember that the diagnosis is not a death sentence or the end of the fun.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tuesdays with Letty: Din Tai Fung, Arcadia, California

If you're in Taiwan, you know about Din Tai Fung. It's a huge chain there. A few years ago they started to make inroads into America and, now if you live in L.A., you've at least heard of it (if you haven't, get out a little more).

One of Jonathan Gold's favorites and one of the consistently top-rated restaurants in the area, Din Tai Fung is known for it's delicious soup dumplings.

Before the dumplings, however, Letty likes their Shanghai rice cake even better.  With slivers of pork, spinach, and shallots over slices of compressed rice cake, the flavors of this dish are just intense. Add with a little of their hot chili oil, and you've got a meal.

The dumpling, xao long bao, are filled with pork and broth.  I like to poke a little hole in them with the chopsticks, let marinate in a little mixture of rice vinegar and that delicious chili oil, pop the whole thing in my mouth and bite down for a hot, spicy, flavor explosion.

The dumplings are legendary and deservedly so.  They're also cheap, well under ten dollars for an order of ten.

To summarize, we get to have great food in one of the area's top restaurants, and get out for around twenty dollars in damage.  Not bad at all.

The location we go to is at 1108 S. Baldwin Ave., in Arcadia. There are five locations in California and two in Washington.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Friday, April 22, 2016

This Week's Menu: Penne with Pancetta Cream Sauce and Asparagus Cheese Omelet

Going delicious and glucose friendly with this week's menu with a delicious pasta dish (the whole wheat makes it diabetic friendly but you can use regular penne if you want) and a basic asparagus and cheese omelet for breakfast.

Recipes are at the links below.

DINNER: Penne with Pancetta Cream Sauce

BREAKFAST: Asparagus and Cheese Omelet

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved


We've been covering our home state of California with a summer long series of reports up and down the Golden State. That summer long tour concludes today with the finale of our trip to the Monterey Peninsula and the cities of Carmel, Pacific Grove, and Monterey. Hope you had fun on this trip, be sure to let us know via the comment link at the end of the report.

In Part One of our Monterey Peninsula trip, we dodged poison oak to get breathtaking ocean views, had breakfast in a patio across the street from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and walked the streets of Carmel. Now on to part two...

The next morning we have an even better breakfast at Toasties, a comfortable and cozy diner parked in an old house in downtown Pacific Grove on Lighthouse Avenue.

Omelets filled with chorizo and avocado accompanied with silver dollar pancakes, along with French toast for Letty, make a great start to the day.

Monterey Peninsula Video

Watch the Video!

Passionfish…our favorite area dinner house…is across the street. Tim, having heard us rave about it for years, says he wouldn’t mind giving it a try.

This is a surprise as Tim would not usually volunteer to eat at a mainly seafood restaurant.

Our plan today was to go to the fair and load up on the fair food as our lunch and dinner. This throws a happy kink into our plans as I was lamenting not being able to eat there this trip.

“If I can get a reservation, we’ll go for dinner,” I tell Tim and Letty.

Walking across the street, I see there’s no one inside. There’s not a phone number printed on the sign or the menu posted on the door. Should we just try our luck later…on a Saturday night…to see if they have a table available?  Sounds very iffy to me.

Letty goes to a stand of newspaper machines nearby and pulls out one of the local freebie flyers. We’re in luck…Passionfish has an ad in it with their phone number.

Driving off to the fair, I call the number and leave a reservation request on their voice mail.

We get to the fairgrounds about a half hour before opening at noon. Even now, there is no parking available at all. Probably due to the fact that this facility has no parking lot…it’s all adjacent street parking.

Remote parking is available…with a wheelchair accessible shuttle too…but we could not find any confirmation at the time that the shuttle was available. We end up parking about a quarter mile away on a side street and walk in.

The fairgrounds here are small, a long narrow strip about two blocks long. There are exhibit buildings and a kids carnival at one end, a lot of food and drink booths clustered around the entrance in the middle, and the animal exhibits, the main carnival, and an arena at the other end.

The arena, quiet while we’re there, is also home of the historic Monterey Jazz Festival which has featured some great performances over the years including Jimi Hendrix’s historic performance back in the 60’s.

After watching a local dance troupe perform, we wander around a few exhibit buildings ending up at the Agriculture building where, in  addition to seeing blue ribbon winning produce, there’s a farmers market stand where you can actually buy the produce…pretty cheaply too!

I get a quartered navel orange in a plastic bag for a quarter. Nearby is a table giving away samples of berries.  Strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries…all very delicious and, even better, free.

Back in the mid section, the local high school wrestling team sells fried calamari. It’s sort of a famous tradition here at this fair. I’m not a seafood lover but I buy some for Tim and Letty, who seem to really like it. I try a piece, just to shut them up. It’s good…really good.  I want more. It’s some of the best fair food I’ve ever had.

We get to the other end of the fair to check out the animals. Cows lick our hands, goats climb up the side of their pens hoping for a neck scratch, and lambs want to see what we smell like.

It’s all a lot of fun…just wish they had better parking.

After a fun-filled day at the fair, we head over to Passionfish for dinner. We’d gotten a call while at the fair saying the only time they could seat us was 5:30 so off we went.

Dinner was excellent and it’s nice to see how this place has taken off over the years. I see we’re not the only ones who think it’s the best the area has to offer.

With plates of scallops, braised lamb, and duck confit preceded by an appetizer of prosciutto wrapped dates, we were overwhelmed with the deep flavors and fun atmosphere of Passionfish.

One more night, but in the morning it’s time to pack and make that long drive back to L.A.

Copyright 2011 – Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, April 21, 2016

BREAKFAST: Asparagus and Cheese Omelet

We're cooking up some asparagus to put in a quick omelet for breakfast.

Just put some olive oil in a hot pan, cook up for five minutes, and put in an omelet with cheese using our basic omelet recipe.


DINNER: Penne with Pancetta Cream Sauce

Here's a rich and tasty pasta dish that doesn't take a long time to make. It came out so good my son asked for seconds.

INGREDIENTS (6 servings):

16 ounces dry penne 
2 ounces low fat milk
1 ounce half and half\
1 ounce heavy cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 oz. diced pancetta
1 ounce dried Parmesan cheese
1 cup cooked and drained peas
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
5 tablespoons butter

In a 5-quart pot, boil water.

In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter. On high heat, add the onions and cook until translucent.

Put the pasta in the boiling water.

Add the pancetta, garlic, milk, flour, and half and half. Bring to a boil, whisking the entire time.

Add the peas and Parmesan. Lower to a simmer, whisking, for another five minutes.

When the sauce is thickened, turn off the heat and add the cream, whisking in.

Cook pasta until just a bit past al dente (just softening). I use whole wheat, which took 12 minutes.

Drain, serve with sauce ladeled on top. I also sprinkle the top with shredded quattro formagio.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Cooling the Chiles Amid the Wind Damage

We had some high winds last week. Some people lost power and a few trees were knocked down.  Our damage was limited to a couple of broken ribs in this old patio umbrella.

Our top producing plant in the garden, the hot chile plant, gets a little rangy this time of year.

Time to cut it back...I cut the plant to half its height.

Then, I tie up up to a stake to keep it upright.

After that, I notice a couple of good chiles on the Anaheim chile plant. Those will be helpful in this week's cooking.

That, some deadheading, mowing, and other trimming fill our compost can over the brim.

The yard looks better when done, could probably stand to use a sweeping but there's no more room in the can.

Maybe next week.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

D-Day - Living with Type II: Great Helpers in the Fight Against Diabetes

As I go along on the journey of a diabetic, I learn what my friends and foes are in the food world.  I've talked about some of the foes in the past, let's meet some friends.

First, I have to give recognition to two of the best places to find diabetic friendly food, Costco and Trader Joes, I can find quite a bit in those aisle.

Eggs are full of protein and are pretty diabetic friendly but the yolks add a bit of fat and a good dose of bad cholesterol, which can bring some other complications to a diabetic.  I've got good numbers from my latest checkup except that my cholesterol has creeped up just above the red line.

I could eat eggs morning, noon, and night. I love them and would eat two a day.  A bit much so I found these Kirkland egg whites at Costco. Now, I replace one of the eggs with an ounce of this which is not a great sacrifice at only 25 calories, no fat, 5 mg of protein, and 75 of sodium.

It's tasty, easy, and pretty cheap. One container of a similar product at Trader Joes costs about five dollars. A six pack at Costco is less than ten and the other containers freeze very well.

Also at Costco is this jerky, which has half the sodium (330 mg) of comparable jerkies, 60 calories, a half gram of fat, 5 grams of carbs, and 9 protein.

Along with this Havarti cheese from Trader Joes, an ounce of jerky with half an ounce of cheese is good for a quick twenty point reduction in my glucose level.

Bread is not what is considered friendly for diabetics, it's true, but this multigrain bread from Kirkland loads those carbs so slowly that it almost seems neutral.  I made a grilled cheese and ham using it (recipe coming soon!) that actually lowered my glucose by 8 points. It's 140 calories per slice, 1.5 grams of fat, 210 mg. of sodium, 26 grams of carbs, and 6 of protein.

Speaking of ham, I use the low fat and low sodium variety made by Danola or Trader Joe's Healthy Ham for a really good dose of lean protein that really gives a satisfying kick to dishes such as this omelet as well as that sandwich. A slice of that ham has 20 calories, 180 mg. of sodium, no fat, no carbs, and 5 grams of protein. I use half a slice in either the omelet or the sandwich.

It's a journey but I'm glad I'm finding some treasures along the way. All of these foods have gone a long way to be tasty and keep me from feeling hungry. Hope to have some more to share with you soon.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Spring Update

At the end of last summer, my lawn was a brown patch of drought parched straw.

Carefully watching the weather to maximize free water, overseeding with drought tolerant and heat tolerant grass, and adjusting the limited amount of water we're legally allowed to put on it...the lawn is making a bit of a comeback here in the middle of April.

The dandelion patrol has done some great things to limit those weeds but there's still quite a few mixed in with the grass but the war continues on that front.

I would be nice if my neighbors would take care of their weeds, too, since that's where the majority of the seeds come from.

I had my first session of deadheading the roses this weekend.

After, the front yard bushes look much cleaner.

Our first vegetable harvest were these onions with came from a recycled piece of an onion in the fridge (more on that later in the season).

I used them to make this delicious penne dish...

and this asparagus ham soup. You can find those recipes on our sister blog, Sunday Sauce.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved