16 December, 2009

Toaster's Stewing Stew

I woke up this morning with an iron wrench knotted around my pancreas as my bowels squirmed and writhed, desperately lamenting the mounting loss of their comfortable microbiome blankets. The peritonsillar abcess I posted about recently came back at me again, and this time after a much more painful drainage procedure I was put on a more aggressive course of antibiotics with a broader spectrum to kill off all the problematic bacteria. Problematically, however, was the addendum that this course of antibiotics was essentially going to kill off all my gut microflora at the same time and that I should expect some uncomfortable adjustments to this. This morning was an example of that, with nausea and a feeling that my upper bowels were somehow melting like Jello left outside on a hot summer day. It took me a while to get going, and the attendant headache didn't help. However, this is preferable to my tonsils being so swollen as to almost close off my throat and render speaking difficult and most eating very painful.

I am not writing this panning for sympathy or support. I find it objectively interesting even as I am subjectively very annoyed by it all. Not only that, but I'll also get to completely re-engineer the ecology of my microbial gut flora! I am aware that Bacteroides and Lactobacillus species are by far most prevalent in most cases, but I am curious what effect an equal proportion of Firmicutes species would have upon my metabolic processing. I would also really like to know how the ecological profile of my microbiome is changing as I continue to take these antibiotics, but sadly I don't have the tools readily available. Over the past several months, I am aware that I had inadvertantly shifted the profile of my ecology by switching from easy, meat-heavy and blank cooking to mostly meatless (eggs, though) cooking with lots of flash spices, hot sauce, and whiskey. I wonder if I'll be able to jump right back into burritos, cookies, orange juice, Tabasco, and Jameson being my major food groups?

Anyway, in light of this rather unpleasant digestive shift, I am going to share with you one of the recipes I have recursively crafted myself:

The Stew!

Toaster's Fast Bacon Stew

500ml volume chopped carrots
750ml volume chopped potatoes, unpeeled
250ml volume chopped green onions
250ml volume chopped celery
0.5kg chopped bacon
0.5kg can of red kidney beans, drained
Handful of noodles (optional)
Spices (see below)

1) Boil carrots in small saucepan until forky but not squishy. Fry chopped bacon in its own fat in skillet and set aside.
2) Meanwhile, combine potatoes, green onions, and celery in large saucepot and add a bit of oil.
3) Saute potato mix with continual stirring until potatoes are sweaty but not yet flaky. During this time, add generous salt, thyme, ancho chili powder, and black pepper as well as conservative coriander and basil.
4) Dump forky carrots in with potato mix. Add drained can of beans and stir in.
5) Add bacon and stir in.
6) Add in dry pasta and stir in.
7) Add just enough water to cover ingredients in pot, cover and boil hard with occasional stirring for 10min. Will still look soupy, but remove from heat and uncover and a stew will emerge in about 5min as the proteins released from boiling up the beans in the prescence of potato starch complex with excess water into a tasty sauce.
8) Subtract desired portion from pot and consume with tasty!

Note: You could add scrambled sausage or sauteed leek to this recipe and it would still be delicious.


LostMarbles said...

I am now imagining a future where people can order personalized gut flora from something vaguely resembling a fast-food restaurant.

Ambivalent Academic said...

Dude - Sorry, that totally sucks. I've been there. I ended up taking some "probiotic" capsules containing a bunch of sporulated gut-bugs when I finally got off the antibiotics. Got things working again waaaaayy faster than the previous bout (after which I didn't do anything in terms of GI critter repatriation). I would work up to Tabasco, orange juice and Jameson gradually if I were you.