Sunday, November 29, 2009


Geez, my keyboard is giving me a hard time again. What's with that anyway. But that is not what this post is all about.
First, I go back to Moffitt tomorrow for my second targeted chemo treatment on Dec 1. I will probably be in the hospital until Friday. At least this time I know what to expect and more importantly what not to order on the menu. No hot food; only fruit, cereal, salads, sandwiches,and whatever I can have brought in under cover of darkness. The hot meals were disgusting the last visit. I will probably not have another post until I get home, unless it is a very short one from my iPhone.
Second, my good friend, Frank, fixed me a pre-hospital meal this evening which was wonderful. He prepared a perfectly cooked medium rare filet mignon with French fries, and a baby romaine salad. He nailed the steak. So good.
Third, I haven't mentioned our Thanksgiving Eve dinner, and if I don't document it here, I will not remember what we fixed when we plan next years menu. Since I was only one day out of my embolization, we decided to keep it easy. After an appetizer of pate and cheese, Frank prepared Duck Breast with Port and Figs from the Wiliams-Sonoma Paris cookbook. Fortunately we were able to find fresh figs. I fixed a green bean risotto.The duck and figs was oh so good and the risotto was a nice accompaniment.Since I didn't find the time the night before to fix the intended cherry clafoutis, I cheated and bought a Autumn Berry pie from Whole Foods. It was good, but not the cherry clafoutis I wanted to have. 
I spent Thanksgiving day at my nephew Biff's home in Bradenton with the rest of the family, enjoying a very good traditional turkey (count them, three turkeys) dinner with all the tasty side dishes and homemade desserts. Then Friday, the family ventured to St. Petersburg,where we dined at Primi Urban Cafe, frequently mentioned in this blog. We had a great time. And Paolo got chased around the living room by a couple of dogs that Biff and Butch brought with them, since they were heading to Gainesville for the UF/FSU game on Saturday.  But that is a story for another time
I will catch up with you later in the week, but for now...
That's all I'm Saying !

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Embolization is what they call it

A pain in the back is what is was. I had a successful embolization (the proper term for the procedure) yesterday. I was awake and aware the entire time, and the worse part of the entire process was having to stay on my back for 6 hours after the procedure without moving my right leg. Otherwise, I am fine, and went to work today. 
I have much to be thankful for, most of all my friends and family. I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving. 

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Finally - New York City Photographs

I have finally posted some of the photographs from my trip to New York City. I didn't take a lot, considering this is my um-teenth plus trip to The Big Apple. Most of the nine photographs are of art work at MOMA. Enjoy!

Sear Those Scallops

     My good friend Karen, Frank and I get together periodically for dinner or lunch. We usually go to a local restaurant in St. Petersburg, but last night we cooked at Bistro 523 (my fictitious restaurant in case you forgot). For months, Karen has been mentioning (hinting) that she loves scallops but didn't know how to fix them. So I figured it was time for a little cooking lesson, (move over Jacque Pepin). I picked up some U-10 scallops, corn meal, and asparagus, among other items. While we were waiting on Frank to arrive from a late work night, we prepared (and tested) some tasty bruschetta, a la Paul Tuten. One was apricot preserve, prosciutto, and ricotta; the other was a sun dried tomato spread with shaved parmigiano reggiano. Karen proclaimed the apricot one the best. After Frank arrived, and with Karen's able assistance, we prepared my "famous" Belgium Endive salad with Gorgonzola dressing. We pan seared the scallops, then deglazed with white wine, followed by shallots, thyme, and butter for a simple pan sauce. This was served with roasted asparagus, and polenta (hence the corn meal). Karen was an excellent student. I should have taken a photo of the plated meal, as, (a little bragging here) it really looked great, and tasted even better. 

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Results are In

Dateline: Saint Petersburg
Simpson Department of Health Update
Today, I got the results of my last CT scan and MRI. The good news is that the liver tumors have diminished in size, even after only one treatment. I am thrilled with that result. The other good news is that the MRI of the brain was clean. (Yes, really, they found a brain). The only negative from the CT scan was the identification of a very small nodule in the lung. While this is disappointing, the current plan is just to monitor it while we focus on the targeted chemo to the liver. I am fine with that, and very happy that there was no other evidence of tumors in my body. 
That's all I'm Saying!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fishing for Recipes

     But before I get to the fish, I must give another 15 minutes of fame to my friend Bob. He must be up to about 1.5 hours now via my blog. Anyway, Bob recently bought a condo at Top of the World, a very large complex in Clearwater. Friday evening I had the first opportunity to see his furnished unit. He did a great job; it is very cozy and comfortable. We then went to a local favorite, Sunset Grill, on Sunset Point Road. It isn't fancy; think of it as an over=sized diner,  but it has great comfort food. I had calf liver and grilled onions. I know, I know, I am one of the few people you know who like liver.. ok, I love liver. 
     This afternoon, I was sitting at home, watching cooking shows, and trying to figure out what I wanted to fix for dinner. So I stared going through a stack of cooking magazines looking for a fish or shrimp recipe. I needed seafood after the liver last night. Well, ever try to find a seafood recipe in the Thanksgiving issue of Bon Appetite or Food & Wine or Saveur. I found 20 recipes of what to do with my leftover turkey, but I don't have a leftover turkey yet. Then, voila, I found a Moroccan Halibut recipe in Bon Appetite. So off to Publix I went, and opted for Tilapia since Halibut was not to be found in the seafood case. It was very easy and very tasty. The recipe is below, direct from 
     Finally, from the Department of Health, I had another CT Scan and MRI on Thursday. I will get the results on Monday. I am currently scheduled for round two of the targeted chemotherapy on December 1, with a preceding outpatient procedure schedule for Nov 24. Stay tuned for further updates. 
Back to the good stuff... here is the recipe.

Moroccan Halibut with Carrots

Yield: Makes 2 servings
Active Time: 25 min
Total Time: 25 min

2 5-ounce 1-inch-thick halibut fillets
1/4 teaspoon (generous) ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon (generous) cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, divided
1 cup 1/4 x 1/4 x 2 1/2-inch sticks peeled carrots (cut from 2 large)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint

Sprinkle both sides of fish with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then with half of cinnamon and cayenne. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy medium skillet over mediumhigh heat. Add fish. Sauté until brown and just opaque in center, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer fish to plates. Remove skillet from heat and wipe out. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter, carrots, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and remaining cinnamon and cayenne. Toss to blend. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until carrots are just tender, about 5 minutes. Mix in mint. Mound carrots on fish and serve. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Feeding Frenzy

The past weekend was another feeding frenzy in St. Petersburg. Friday, I was at Primi Urban Cafe, (frequently mentioned in this blog), with Frank, John, and Marsha. Since my last visit, there was a change of ownership, but so far, it has not impacted the service, or the quality of the food. The chef and wait staff remain from the previous ownership. Sunday, (I will return to Saturday in a minute), found me at Patty Burke's, the Irish pub down the street, with my friend and 15 minutes of fame addict, Bob. That evening, Frank and I stopped at Red Mesa Cantina for a drink and a couple of their delicious soft tacos - always a good choice. But the real food highlight of the weekend I must say, was Saturday evening. Our good friends, Paul and Libby (see "Paul & Libby's World of Travel" link to the left), came all the way from Pasco County for dinner at Bistro 523, my fictitious restaurant. Paul and Libby provided a three course appetizer of mixed crostini. Frank, the salad expert, prepared an Asian Pear and Arugula salad (a la Food & Wine magazine), and I fixed a simply wonderful (forgive my boasting), Pan Seared Sea Bass with Endives and Grapes, also from Food & Wine. When I first saw the recipe, I wasn't sure how the combination of ingredients would blend together, but they were great. There was the saltiness of bacon, the bitterness of the endives, the sweetness of the grapes, all combined with the seared, flaky bass. While I feel somewhat guilty about eating sea bass, due to it being over-fished, I stuck with the recipe recommendation. If you want to try the recipe, click HERE to link to the Food & Wine site. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I fixed Lemon Panna Cotta with Red Raspberry Coulis for our dessert. Yum...

That's all I'm Saying

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Not Much News

Since the trip to NYC, life in Tampa has been fairly routine, hence no posts in the past week. Although I should mention that we ventured to a new restaurant at International Plaza, Brio Tuscan Grill. Yes, it is a chain, with locations throughout the country. And being a chain serving Italian food, we approached it with caution. Well, the decor was knock-your-socks-off over the top, typical for a well financed chain. The food on the other hand, was OK, not bad, but no way near as good as you can get in an independent local Italian ristorante, like Vino e Pasta in Tampa or Primi Urban Cafe in St. Petersburg. Frank and I both started with a very ordinary Caesar salad. I order the Shrimp & Scallop Risotto, which was loaded with shrimp and bay scallops (nice), in a heavy tomato cream sauce (not quite right). The rice seemed to be an afterthought, which is just all wrong for a risotto. Send the chef back to Tuscany for remedial training, I say. Frank ordered Pasta Alla Vodka, which had "little purses" filled with ricotta in an OK vodka sauce.  Better vodka sauce is readily available at the previously mentioned Vino e Pasta. While the flavor of our food was fine, it still seemed like "chain" food. So, there is my food snobbishness showing through again. So be it !

That's all I'm Saying