My last posting was March 19…..on the 21st of March, one minute I’m standing/walking upright and in the next 1/10 of a second,  gravity is taking over and I’ve tripped and I’m falling onto the brick wall of the lanai (balcony) in my apartment.  Left shoulder hit first….resulting in shoulder replacement surgery….only fun thing about that is I will now be “patted down” by airport security as the hardware which is now part of my body will set off security alarms!  I don’t know if that’s a good enough excuse for my “delay of game” in writing this blog, but it will have to do.  I can’t explain why today I am feeling “up” enough to write, but I will take full advantage of the feeling.

With my left arm in a padded sling most of the time except when I am exercising the shoulder/arm, I am doing tasks one-handed with my  right hand/arm – some tasks still need the helping hands of my husband for which I am very grateful.  Surprisingly, prepping/+cooking with my right hand (I also have some use of my left hand/fingers even while in the sling) has become easier as the days go by during my healing and physical therapy sessions.  Over many years of teaching the culinary arts, my knife skills have become second nature to my right hand – although some skills such as peeling are a challenge – mostly left to my sous chef husband.

Several easy meals have some to our table such as teriyaki salmon with Basmati rice and green peas.  Making the teriyaki sauce was fairly easy – shoyu (soy sauce), minced garlic, minced ginger, brown sugar, touch of sesame oil, chopped cilantro.  The sesame oil and cilantro are my own additions to a classic teriyaki sauce.  Peeling and mincing the garlic and ginger was accomplished with the help of my sous chef – garlic put through a press (I love the one from J.A. Henckels) and the ginger grated on a rasp grater.   A small handful of cilantro roughly chopped and there you go….a homemade teriyaki sauce.  I don’t know why people bother to buy already made teriyaki sauce when it’s so easy to make your own!

The salmon fillets are marinated in the teriyaki for about an hour – no more or else the fish can over marinate and become mushy.  Pan-fried in just a small amount of Canola oil.  I leave the skin on the fillets – if you cook the salmon skin-side down first, then when you flip it over, you can remove the skin easily.  I add some of the teriyaki sauce to the skillet and while the salmon is sauteing, the sugar in the sauce begins to thicken slightly.   Cooking Basmati rice is easy – and frozen peas are the easiest green vegetable to heat up in a small amount of butter – when the rice is cooked, just add the peas to the rice and toss lightly to combine.

Another easy one handed cooked meal …. lemon sole – coated in an egg wash with chopped parsley and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, then coated with seasoned bread crumbs and sauteed in  a skillet with 3 tablespoons of canola oil.  I needed some help in turning the fish fillets as using two hands, each with a spatula, is the easiest way to flip fillets of any kind when sauteing.  A meal I remember from my childhood was fried fish always served with creamed spinach – so after washing the spinach leaves – shaking excess water from the spinach in a sieve – into the 4 qt. size saucepan – cover on – and the spinach cooked with just the small amount of water remaining on the leaves.  When cooked, I removed the spinach to the sieve to press out any remaining water and cut through the spinach with  sharp knife to partially chop it.  In the same saucepan, I melted about a tablespoon of butter – when melted, I sprinkled on Wondra flour – enough to envelope the butter into a roux – cooking the roux for a few minutes but not so much as to brown it.  Then I added chicken broth a little at a time, until the roux thickened the broth to a creamy looking consistency.  Salt & pepper – and then added the cooked spinach and incorporated it into the sauce (veloute) (bechamel when made with milk) and there you go – creamed spinach.

Until my left shoulder/arm is rehabilitated to it’s original state, I will continue to create easy to prepare meals with one hand – and sometimes three!

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