Monday, January 24, 2011

Savory Triangles & Sweet Curd Sauce

My family. We have our quirks and inside jokes, but I love my siblings more than anything. They have always been the light in the darkness of my life.

This past week, my brother went for some tests since he had not been feeling well. We all may not like the doctor, but since our father passed away so young from heart disease, we don't mess around.

After being admitted to the hospital and undergoing testing all day, the tests came back negative last Monday and the doctors said he was the picture of health. He kept reiterating that something was wrong and wanted more tests done. We certainly didn't want them to find anything wrong, but better safe than sorry, so he stayed overnight for observation and to prepare for more tests.

I didn't hear from anyone all day last Tuesday and I was getting really nervous. My brother was under general anesthesia for two of the tests and I was praying they would find something simple and easily fixable, if anything, to help him feel better.

Late Tuesday night, I was able to get his girlfriend on the phone and the news was regrettably not good. The doctors had diagnosed him with a very rare disorder, called Brugada's Syndrome. This disorder involves the electrical impulses that keep the heart functioning, so if the disorder ever leaves its dormancy and becomes active, it can cause sudden death. Since the disorder has no predictability, the only thing that can be done to counteract it is to implant a pacemaker and defibrillator.

I lost it.

I was trying to control myself on the phone so his girlfriend could catch me up on the past two days and how the doctors had confirmed without a doubt he had this disorder, but I didn't say much since I wasn't holding myself together well. As soon as we finished talking, I ran into the office to tell Guy, where I nearly collapsed from crying so hard. I would not have been able to organize everything to get down to my brother so quickly without Guy's strength.

And that was just my reaction - what the junk was my brother going through?!?

They were going to do the surgery as soon as possible on Wednesday. I obviously couldn't sleep on Tuesday night, so I exhausted myself researching the disorder online, packing, etc. On Wednesday morning, I called the dog sitter, but she was out running errands, so we had to wait for her to come home before we could leave. She took much longer than anticipated, and the trip to my hometown is several hours away. Once I said a sad goodbye to my confused pooch, I kept myself mentally busy while Guy drove (since we are still trying to work out a replacement car from my accident last month), and we finally made it to town Wednesday afternoon.

Our mom works at the local hospital, so my brother had a large room that allowed our family to fit inside and be with him during this emotional time. He was sleeping and being checked on by a nurse when we reached the room, and everyone was pretty quiet. I had wanted us to arrive before the surgery to speak with him, but it turns out they had just brought him out of surgery. I just stood by his bed, staring at him sleeping, not knowing what to think. This discovery is not a one-time event. The battery will need to be replaced on the devices, which means more surgery within every ten years, not to mention avoiding complications during his lifetime. I have been having a hard time recovering from my accident, but my brother's disorder and surgery puts this in a whole new perspective.

My brother is a unique person and handled this entire process better than anyone else I know could. He kept thanking the doctors and nurses, thanking my family and I for being by his side, and trying to keep us laughing as usual. My middle sister and our beaus stayed late on Wednesday night talking and keeping our brother company, which hopefully helped take his mind off the pain (with the help of medications). I couldn't bring myself to leave, so Guy and I stayed the night in the hospital. My brother was so sweet and kept asking if my back was okay in the chair I was sleeping in beside his bed, but I told him not to worry since it doesn't compare to what he's going through. It was somewhat comforting to be with him and help him during the night, to know he wasn't in that room all alone.

The doctors discharged him the next day, so we packed everything up and took off for his little apartment. We made a fort out of pillows and tried to tuck him in as best as possible, but those hospital bendy beds are much more forgiving after major surgery. Guy and I stayed one more night so we could check in on my brother the next day, since most everyone had to return to work after being out all week. We started watching Man v. Food again (we both love the show and had stayed up until 2am in the hospital watching it together), which caused him to ask for cheese fries over and over - but he was a little out of it from the pain medication. I of course couldn't say no, so we headed to the store to gather supplies. I made him some cheese fries, which he loved, but it was sadly time to return home. It was very hard to leave, but he's in good hands and we couldn't stay forever.

My sisters and I have to be tested now for Brugada's Syndrome as well. It's usually only found in males, but since our brother has been diagnosed, we need to be checked. I'm not ready to mentally face that yet, but I will have to soon. Obviously, I turned to my kitchen for comfort, trying to feel some sense of normalcy after this week; however, I came home to most of my food being spoiled. I cleaned out the fridge and freezer, making something from anything I had left - including a strong drink.

All the vegetables I had left were cooked with spices, then wrapped in phyllo dough and baked through. I whipped up some sweet curd sauce to counter the savory triangles in just a few minutes. The dish was comforting, quick, and simple - just the item I needed after a trying week (and I didn't even experience the difficult part). I hope you'll be able to enjoy this dish in brighter spirits. I'm grateful my brother was able to get help and he's at home recovering, I just wish he didn't have to go through any of this. My siblings and I are optimistic people, plus we have each other, so we'll keep laughing and joking together through anything in life.

Savory Triangles & Sweet Curd Sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups cauliflower florets
2 cups spinach
1 tbsp curry
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt

phyllo dough - 8 strips, 4" wide, 3 layers deep
8 oz smoked Gouda, shredded
melted ghee

6 oz sour cream
1/4 cup fine organic sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

In a lipped skillet, add the olive oil over medium heat and add the onion. Cook for 5 min to allow the onions to brown. Then add the garlic, broccoli, and cauliflower and cook for 5 min.

Next add the spinach and all spices, stirring occasionally. Cook until the spinach has wilted and all ingredients are mixed well. Remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 400*F. Lay down a kitchen towel and cut the phyllo dough into 8 strips that are 4" wide and 3 layers deep.

Using one strip at a time, add 1/4 cup of the vegetable mixture, top with 1 oz Gouda, and wrap into triangles.

Repeat with the other strips.

On a baking sheet, brush with ghee and lay down each triangle. Then liberally brush each triangle with ghee.

Bake for 12 - 15 min until the triangles are browned.

While the triangles are baking, fill a small pot half way with water and simmer over low heat. Add a second metal bowl on top to create a double boiler, and add the sour cream and sugar. Whisk together until the sour cream has melted. Then add the egg yolk and continue whisking to prevent it from cooking, then drizzle in the lemon juice until fully combined. Remove from the heat and pour into a serving bowl.

Remove the triangles from the oven and serve warm.

~Yields 8 triangles.

~Original by Brie.


  1. Big hugs to you and your family. At least he is now back at home. Hope everyting will be ok soon.

  2. How fortunate your brother persevered till he got a diagnosis...I can only imagine the stress you encountered this week. Sending healing thoughts his way. I think I would have ordered pizza in your situation, but your dinner creation looks so much better!!!

  3. When it rains, it really does pour, huh? I'm so sorry you've had such a rough couple of months.
    I'm glad to hear that your brother was so persistent in seeking a diagnosis and that his condition was discovered early enough to take measures to keep him well. I can just imagine how scary it must have been, though.
    Hugs to all of you.

  4. My thoughts and well wishes for your brother and your family. I wish him a speedy recovery from the surgery and best of health in the coming years. I'm sorry to hear about this and your car accident, wishing you better luck:) Your savory triangles and curd sauce sound amazing, so glad they made you feel a bit better:)

  5. I am so glad they found it! I am amazed with the medical community.

  6. I'm sorry you and your family had to go through this, especially your brother. You know what I read here, though? Strength. You and your family seem like a great support system for each other and that always helps so much. I hope you and your sister will escape the same diagnosis and I hope for continued strength for your family. :-)

  7. Oh honey, I am so sorry you and your family are going through this. Such a good thing though that your brother listened to his gut instinct and was diagnosed. Big hugs to you xoxoxoxoxo

  8. You family sounds strong and blessed with a great family. I just know he's going to do great. GREG

  9. Wow I can so relate, my nephew at 16 had been diagnosed with this, and they did some kind of procedure on him, but didnt realize they didnt get to it all, had to go back in. He had passed out for us to find out about his condition. It was so scarey, but hereditary heart disease is always scarey, my whole family has passed from heart disease and both my brothers had bypass in their 40's. So omg I so can feel your stress, I cryed all the way to the hospital when I had my brother last year in miami, they said they couldnt stop the bleeding at 11pm at night and I thought that was it... both brothers and nephew thanks to modern science are doing great as I know your brother will too! Its harder on us that them.. But we cant stop worring on the ones we love, you are a great sister, he is as well as you lucky to have each other, I hate to say this but that story is a wonderful way to show your love for each other even though it was under stressful situations but you were given a gift so rare these days life and love,God Bless

  10. Wow Brie I am so sorry to hear about the news -- I pray for the wellness of your brother as well as the rest of your family. Technology and medicine have made surprising advances so I have high hopes they will find something that will suit your brother.

    Your recipe is comforting and I love the sweet curd sauce -- because that's how we have to handle life's detours/challenges. We make the best out of what we have and hope that everything works out.

    Sending positive and good vibrations your way, I'll be thinking of you!

  11. Brie,

    Nice to meet you on Twitter tonight!! Love your blog, and am now following. I'm sorry to hear of your brother and his diagnosis. What an awful lot to go through, and very scary!! I hope he's doing well, and he sounds like he will make the best of things. :)

    Denise @ Creative Kitchen