Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thursday the 20th

Trying to cook "lighter" and within the Weight Watchers guidelines that my wife is trying to adhere to is a challenge for a cook. I went through this exercise eight years ago, when she did the same program while we were living in Gilroy. That was a difficult time, this one's easy in retrospect.

Eight years ago we were under the very real spectre of a cancer scare, which begat an operation, and everything has been fine since, but it was a real anxiety producer at the time. Control over her weight gave her power and confidence. It was the single thing in her life that she had control over.

Like many people, we've lost friends and family to cancer. My wife's was a tough one to handle, but she's beyond it, and she's clearly one of the lucky ones who "beat it." We've lost friends to lung cancer who never smoked. I lost my dad to leukemia, and he was in (otherwise) great health. And we're obviously not unique. Everyone sees it, confronts it, and deals with it in their own way. I work for a company that produces cutting edge products that combat this insidious disease. The drug companies genuinely care. They're in business to make money, but they want people to get better. They truly want to cure the bad diseases, whatever it takes.

Thursday's Weight Watcher's Dinner:
Lean, baked boneless pork chops, seasoned with salt, pepper, lemon pepper, fresh taragon, and a sprinkle of olive oil. Start them in a 450 degree oven, turn it down immediately to 350 and bake for 40 minutes, or until your meat thermometer reads at least 150 degrees.

Organic whole wheat penne rigate, in a tomato, garlic, basil sauce.
The sauce began with a chopped sweet onion (it's the Oregon/Washington influence, I suppose). Sweat it for 7-8 minutes in your best extra virgin olive oil. Add 1/2 a chopped red bell pepper and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes. Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic, a #2 can (the bigger one) of organic diced tomatoes with juice, and a 1/4 cup of dry vermouth. Spice and season it up with 2 tablespoons each of chopped Italian parsley and fresh basil, salt and pepper to your taste, and a sprinkle of dried red pepper flakes completes it. Simmer for 20 minutes on medium low. Garnish with a chiffonade of fresh basil and some parmesan cheese (Reggiano, if you have a choice in the matter).

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