Category Archives: Entree

Coconut Fish Curry

Patients, I love them, but they can drive me crazy some times. It’s okay, it’s my job to deal with it, and I’m sure I’m not always easy, but I’d like to take a minute to share a couple of pet peeves/misunderstandings. Try to avoid them, and you’ll make your doctor ever so much happier.

1. Please don’t talk when my stethoscope is on your chest. This isn’t some paternalistic, old-school medicine tradition that’s disenfranchising patients – it’s simple courtesy. A stethoscope is an amplifier, which is what allows me to hear your heart sounds. However, when you talk, that gets amplified too, and, not only can I not hear your heart, it also feels like you’re screaming in my ear. Not fun.

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Artichoke Dip

Today we released our fish into the pond out back! The saga of how two people with zero interest in personal fish ownership ended up saddled with three very large goldfish is long, but a short and highly depressing recap goes thusly: Foolish landlord stocked shallow back pond with 12 tiny goldfish. Some survived and got larger. Winter came. Pond froze. One goldfish survived by being insulated by the dead bodies of its fish friends.
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Artichoke Dip

TOMATO COUSCOUS

I am writing this while sitting on the couch eating freezer raviolis with store bought sauce. Le sigh.

It turns out that becoming a doctor is a lot of work! I know, I know, it’s a surprise to everyone. I’m on my 4th straight month of ED, and while it’s been really nice to be in the department instead of bouncing all around the hospital, I’m still trying to figure out how to create a schedule for myself when my actual schedule is constantly changing. On off-service rotations we more frequently have the same days off each week (similar to what the norms call “weekends”), but not in ED. Next week, for example, I work midnight to morning 4 nights in a row, then have morning conference and the rest of the day off, go to evenings to early morning for 2 days, then go to early morning to afternoon? My body doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going. It doesn’t help that our ED, like most, has almost zero natural light and perpetually feels like 2am.

sunriseset view TOMATO COUSCOUS

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When I get off I often play the “Sunrise or sunset?” guessing game.

This is a dish for the WTF moments my body has. It’s got couscous and tomatoes, so it’s basically tomato mac ‘n cheese, minus the cheese. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense – what I’m trying to get at is that it’s comfort food, but with a little more grownup flavor.

The ingredient list is short. The better the tomatoes, the better the dish, but I made this before our garden ones came in, and the store-bought romas were fine. The tomato paste looks weird because I freeze mine.

ingredients TOMATO COUSCOUS

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Yes for quick spicy tomato sauce!

tomato sauce TOMATO COUSCOUS

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See those nice crispy edges? Those are money.

cooked couscous TOMATO COUSCOUS

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If I had kids, I would’ve cut the couscous patty into shapes (unlikely), or at least thought really hard about doing that (likely).

couscous plate TOMATO COUSCOUS

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Tomato Couscous
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Ingredients
  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 medium onion (finely chopped), 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 2 ripe medium tomatoes or 4 roma tomatoes (finely chopped), 1 cup couscous, 1 cup vegetable broth, 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
Instructions
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened but not browned (approximately 5 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth to boiling. Pour the couscous into a bowl and pour the hot vegetable broth over. Cover with saran wrap and set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste to the onions and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and a few grinds of black pepper, mix, and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the plastic wrap from the couscous and fluff. Pour in the tomato and mix.
  5. Wipe the tomato pan. Place over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the butter. Melt. Press the couscous tomato mixture into the pan and cover. Cook 12 minutes. Unmould onto a plate (use a spatula to loosen if needed) and serve warm.
Adapted from Jerusaleum, a cookbook
Adapted from Jerusaleum, a cookbook
VEGGIESAURUS!!!! http://www.theveggiesaurus.com/

LEMONGRASS TOFU

It’s been a long time since I posted and I wish I had a great excuse for that (super-spy mission, saving the world, kidnapped by Basque separatists), but mainly I’ve been busy with work and my vacation spot turned out to be without internet.

Yes, I did go on vacation. I had over a week off for the first time in a year and it was glorious! Pictures and a recipe will be forthcoming. I know everyone’s excited; there’s nothing better than other people’s vacation pictures :).

For today, however, I’ll pre-bore you with two snaps from a recent work day-trip to one of the great lakes!

mackinac island seashore LEMONGRASS TOFU

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Me and some work buddies biked around an island, an unexpected adventure that I was not entirely prepared for (I wore a dress) so I would estimate that about 50% of the island’s population has now seen my underpants. C’est la vie.

mackinac island arch rock LEMONGRASS TOFU

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In addition we won a scavenger hunt, and I added to my stockpile of prize gift cards.

Here’s the part where, because I made you look at trip photos, I have to give you an especially good recipe. This one was actually requested by my sister, a month ago, and I have been promising to post it ever since. Better late than never?

I am a huge fan of sandwiches, but had somehow never had a bahn mi until I visited my (now) husband in his hometown of Oakland. It was awesome. Unfortunately, good Vietnamese food is not always available outside the big cities, especially tofu instead of meat-based dishes. Thus, I have been forced to take matters into my own hands. This is my recipe for lemongrass tofu, barely adapted from a kick-ass site called Battle of the Bahn Mi. It starts with a blended sauce of lemongrass and other Asian-inspired flavors.

ingredients LEMONGRASS TOFU

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The tofu is pressed using one of the endless supply of blue towels (or, you know, whatever those of you who don’t have suture towels spilling out of your drawers until your husband begs you to stop bringing them home use in your kitchen).

tofu LEMONGRASS TOFU

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The tofu and sauce get to know each other for at least a day, but ideally longer, making this a very handy recipe because you can start the process on the weekend and then just fry it on whatever weeknight you choose for a fast and easy meal.

marinated tofu LEMONGRASS TOFU

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The tofu doesn’t even need oil to fry, since there’s some in the marinade. Below is some of what I like to put in my bahn mi – avocado takes the place of mayo. Also, pickles instead of cucumbers, because, well, pickles are superior. Not pictured are soy sauce, carrots, cilantro, sriracha, and whatever else is lurking in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

bahn mi ingredients LEMONGRASS TOFU

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Lemongrass Tofu
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Ingredients
  1. 1 package extra firm tofu, 4-6 stalks lemongrass, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 3 cloves crushed garlic, 4 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon hot sesame oil
Instructions
  1. Press and drain tofu. Cut into slices.
  2. Blend all other remaining ingredients and place in ziploc bag with the tofu slices. Let marinate for at least 1 day and up to 4 days.
  3. Fry over medium-high heat until golden brown, approximately 4-5 minutes per side.
VEGGIESAURUS!!!! http://www.theveggiesaurus.com/

Coconut Quinoa

I meant for this post to come about 2 weeks ago, but (work) life intervened.
shoes Coconut Quinoa')">
Guess what guys, I’m a second year now! It’s a decidedly weird feeling, mostly good, but little terrifying. I don’t quite know how to explain what one year of residency training means, because it passes in a flash and so much of it isn’t quite comprehensible until later, when I see something in the department and realize that all of those off-service rotations and moments spent studying have paid off because I’ve got this. Continue reading

Coconut Quinoa

ASPARAGUS QUICHE

bananas ASPARAGUS QUICHE

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I had a sad, sad recipe failure this week. My attempt to turn the hideous bananas above into delicious banana bread produced an edible, but overly wet and dense loaf. C’est la vie, I suppose.

grass ASPARAGUS QUICHE

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In unrelated news, I really need to mow my lawn. For real, it’s out of control. If I wait long enough though, BS may do it. Sloth FTW!

seed pods ASPARAGUS QUICHE

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At least we have beautiful tree sperms all over!

When life seems overwhelming and the to-do list stretches endlessly long, I tend to turn to the tried-and-true, recipes that produce multiple days of food, and that I know will be tasty enough to steer me away from the cafeteria and its sloth-making, tummy-ache producing food. I’ve been making quiche for so many years that I know I can always pull it off, regardless of what ingredients are at hand (including that one time I started making it, realized I had no cream, and substituted sour cream; texture a little weird, but it worked). Given the cream in the filling and the butter in the crust, it definitely isn’t a permanent food solution, but it beats grilled cheese and french fries – we go to war with the army we have, not the one we want…

This particular quiche features cheddar and asparagus, which is one of my favorite combinations, and is especially well-suited to my current situation since I’m in asparagus land, baby! Locally produced stuff is popping up for under $2 a pound.

ingredients ASPARAGUS QUICHE

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ASPARAGUS QUICHE

QUINOA BRUNCH BOWL

Shark-dog has been much walk-neglected recently, a fact which he does not hesitate to get across with reproachful, mournful looks. He is the king of the guilt trip.

dog QUINOA BRUNCH BOWL

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I wouldn’t mind a walk; the ones I have managed to go on recently have been decidedly lovely.

green walkway QUINOA BRUNCH BOWL

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However, when I get home from work I’m ravenous and in a rush to make dinner. By the time I’m done cooking and eating it’s dark outside. I can’t wait to be back on ED in a week, where my more variable schedule allows for some daytime freedom, as well as to continue heading for the longer days of summer! Up this far north, by midsummer the sun doesn’t even seem to start setting until at least 9pm.

My dinner focus recently has been on foods that are fast, productive of good leftovers, and not too unhealthy. In addition, with an eye towards the hotter summer months (in my non-air-conditioned house) I’m moving away from recipes that require the oven, and leaning more heavily on the stove.

Towards that end, this recipe is definitely a winner! The only grain content is whole, it has two forms of protein, it’s chock-a-block full of flavor, it comes together quickly, and it lasts so it’s easy to make enough to cover lunch or breakfast for the next two days. It is barely adapted from i am a food blog. If you have never visited this site I strongly recommend it; besides having good recipes the photos are gorgeous.  Continue reading

QUINOA BRUNCH BOWL

DANDELION PASTA (a swing and a miss)

dandelion flowers DANDELION PASTA (a swing and a miss)

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Our yard is awash in dandelions. Seriously, the dandelion to grass ratio is about 50%, and I think the tide is turning in their favor. It feels like it takes less than a day for those yellow flowers to turn into puffballs, and perpetuate the cycle.

dandelion puffball DANDELION PASTA (a swing and a miss)

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As a lead in to this, I never wanted a lawn. I spent most of my formative years in a dry part of the country, and my family was frugal, so we viewed outside space primarily as a place to grow food and raise chickens. However, our house is a rental, and came with a back lawn. I was hoping to kill it off with benign neglect, but the moment it warmed up here the lawn bounced back from winter and, in what seemed like a matter of days, became so long and bushy that I couldn’t even see the cat when he ventured in. I’ve mowed it a few times since then, but sometimes I feel like I can hear it grow.

Back to the dandelions. Were I a lawn aficionado, in response to this I might have fought back with chemicals, time spent pulling weeds… However, given that I liked the grass no more than the dandelions, I determined to be a good forager and make lemonade out of lemons! As often happens when a plan sparks in my brain, wild optimism and selective amnesia were also triggered, and I decided to ignore that we ate dandelion greens when I was a child, and I loathed them. They were bitter, and nasty, and a trial to choke down.

The project started promisingly enough with BS and I plucking leaves together, feeling virtuous and crunchy-granola-y.

dandeliom greens DANDELION PASTA (a swing and a miss)

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DANDELION PASTA (a swing and a miss)

MEJADRA

20150411_021023096_iOS MEJADRA

')"> It’s temporarily gone back to chilly here, which is awesome for biking – less sticky unpleasantness on arrival!

Jerusaleum MEJADRA

')"> With the cooler weather, I was in the mood for something a little heartier, so BS and I made mejadra. I found this recipe in the fantastic Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Sami Tamimi and Yotam Ottolenghi. The duo who wrote it, a Palestinian and Jew who co-own a restaurant, blend shared and different recipes from their respective cultures within Jerusalem.

 

The recipe itself is simple as heck but the different flavors come together beautifully. It is well accompanied by fish, but as it is a bit dry, I think the best addition is a soft-boiled egg or two. My only deviations from the recipe are mostly sloth related as I used all powdered spices. In addition, due to my pickiness (a defining characteristic) I reduced the cinnamon a smidge and did not add the sugar it called for. None of these are based on making the original recipe and finding it lacking, just on my personal preferences. The recipe below is my adulterated version, but if you want to go with the original just search Mejada Ottolenghi and I would guess it’ll pop up. Or buy the book! It’s a very nice one and, incidentally, has puffy covers like a childrens book which is somehow comforting.

Lentils et al MEJADRA

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Let’s begin! As you can see, the ingredient list is short and simple – just grains, flour, spices, and onion. Continue reading

MEJADRA