Saturday, September 26, 2015

Miracle Kitten

Two weeks ago this once-feral kitten teetered at death's door: nine weeks old but the size of a kitten half that age, thanks to starvation and the infection burning in the stumps where his lower hind legs should have been -- limbs most probably chewed off at birth by his mother as she bit through the umbilical cord likely wrapped around his feet. He should have died then; he should have died any time in the weeks that followed; but he refused to quit.

He was mere days away from dying when rescued, a feeble, frightened, grubby bag of tiny bones somehow hauling himself through the forest; nursed back to health by his incredibly dedicated fosterer and her equally devoted vet; and now?

Now he's getting pudgy. Now he's bright-eyed and fluffy and playful and throws tiny tantrums when his human mom leaves him. His stumps that oozed pus from skin broken where bone poked through are healed over and he scoots along on his two front feet with pushoffs from his right stump, almost as fast as a normal kitten. He's discovered stair-climbing.

And now he's learning a new skill, thanks to great-hearted well-wishers who made him his very own tiny wheelchair.

And yes, I teared up watching this. I've been following his progress since he was brought in to his foster home, scared, bewildered, in pain, and near-moribund. It still beggars belief that he survived at all, let alone came to thrive. He still has far to go on his recovery, but now I believe he'll make it to a happy, healthy life.

Because he doesn't know he's handicapped. He just knows he's fed, sheltered, loved, and having lots of kitten fun.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Adventures in Cookery!

I haven’t done much cooking in many years, preferring to subsist on salads and the superb prepared foods I can get at the Ipswich Shellfish market, and I was but an indifferent cook when I did do my own meal prep, but lately I’ve ventured into something so simple even I could do it: frittatas.

Armed with “The Good Egg” cookbook, a previous impulse purchase that had been gathering dust for some time, I made my first attempt in an old Joyce Chen pan that was supposed to be nonstick. It wasn’t, alas, at this stage in its life, and I ended up with something far more akin to scrambled eggs, but tasty, filling, and surprisingly easy other than the stuck-on residue. I did not, needless to say, try flipping my frittata, just scavenged a lid from some old pot to cover the pan for finishing.

(Why, yes. Yes, I do have quite an assortment of kitchen stuff – after all, I’ve had decades to accumulate cookbooks and gear for my random spasms of cheffing.)

So – fast, easy prep, fast easy cooking, and good to eat, but that pan just wasn’t doing the job. I needed something better. Once again, Google was my friend, Amazon was my connection, and today I received my prize: a Cuisinart frittata pan set, two interlocking nonstick pans to make cooking and flipping your frittata a snap!

The pans:

And a heck of a good buy they were, too, less than half of list price. I’d used a wooden spoon so far but that was clumsy and not the right tool, so with the pans I bought an Oxo omelet turner:

And so, geared up properly at last, I set about making a frittata to my own recipe: chopped scallions, chopped mushrooms, matchstick carrots, diced sun-dried tomatoes in oil, and a small chicken sausage, also chopped, sautéed together in a bit of olive oil, then covered with the beaten eggs and gently cooked.

And it worked! Nothing stuck! The Oxo omelet turner had just the right flexibility to slide along the curve of the pan’s side under the hardening egg, just the right stiffness to manipulate it, to let liquid egg flow out from the center under the raised edge. Shortly before the frittata was ready to flip I sprinkled it with grated Parmesan and some chopped avocado, cooked it another minute or so, then fitted the second pan on, flipped the whole thing over, and voila! The frittata spiked the landing. A bit more time on the fire, and it was done.

And it was PERFECT. Also delicious. And the pans cleaned up in a jiffy.

That “Good Egg” cookbook has quite a few frittata recipes to explore. Why, armed with my magical Oxo flipper, I might even try making an omelet!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Yes, I Laughed

Oh, Peanut! You poor thing!

He was lying on top of Ted's cage annex with Squash, stretched out on his side, oozing, oozing over the edge....

And fell with a massive THUD flat on his massive side.

And lay there looking stunned for a bit. Then rolled onto his back ("I meant to do that"), then sat up, and has just leaped back up to snuggle into his buddy, purring loudly.

Some few but sufficient inches from the edge.