Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hello summer…

It’s been warm here, and while it’s cooled down substantially today, the search for all things refreshing has been unending. It seems appropriate to celebrate the official start of summer by sharing something cool and delicious with you. Enter Ashley and her knowledge of many things foreign and fancy. When I had dinner with her last weekend she introduced me to the concept of a shandy, a grown-up Arnold Palmer that is half lemonade and half beer. Apparently it is a dainty lady’s drink in Britain… The combination of Oberon and a really good lemonade was really fantastic and, although many beer lovers are probably judging me right now, I would mix them again in a heartbeat.

Fast forward to this morning, when I was describing this drink to someone else, and couldn’t remember the name. Entering “half lemonade half beer” into Google to try to find it, I discovered not only the Wikipedia page for Shandy, but also a Huffington Post article about cocktails made with beer. Because the lead slide was about a spicy Mexican beer cocktail called a michelada, I was somewhat dubious due to my experience with “Chips and Salsa” Beer:

It was not delicious … I’ve concluded that beer should not be spicy. It is not refreshing to have your drink leave a hot burning taste in your mouth…

Looking past the michelada, however, I’m interested to try the Lambic Sangria recipe from Chow. Let me know what you think of any of these if you try them, as I’m eager to explore new beverage options, as well as dodging bullets when I can.

While I suspect that this new knowledge will not get me out of looking like a little kid (with my Shirley Temple) or like a confirmed member of the ladies who love ladies club (with my beer, which never looks dainty at a wedding or other fancy occasion), I suppose I could at least try to ask for a shandy at my next dressy occasion, and hope it comes in a glass that looks like everyone else’s cocktails. Regardless of any long-term possibilities, I will be making these all summer long!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

CSA Weeks 2 and 3

M3 year seems to be getting the better of me in terms of blog posts, but I wanted to share more of the CSA bounty photos… Here is the haul from two weeks ago:

And then this week (minus the strawberries I devoured before taking the photo):

I made a really delicious saag paneer, which was a little complicated but so worth it for the deliciousness.

Also amazing but much simpler is a yogurt chutney that I love, both because it is delicious and because it accommodates almost any greens/herbs left over in the refrigerator and the end of the week.

Yogurt Chutney with Pureed Greens
Adapted from 1,000 Indian Recipes by Neelam Batra

1 teaspoon Chaat Masala (I like the MDH brand, as it contains too many different things for me to make it myself)
4 quarter-sized slices of peeled fresh ginger
3-4 scallions, chopped
1 green chile or a sprinkling of dried ground cayenne
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh herbs in any proportion (I’ve tried cilantro, mint, parsley, dill, basil, peppermint, lemon balm… I've considered adding a little spinach or kale as well...)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt

In the food processor, mince together the ginger, scallions, and green chile (if you’re using a fresh one). Set aside a few fresh herbs for garnish if you like, and add the rest of the fresh herbs and lemon juice, and process until smooth. Add the chaat masala, salt, pepper, and cayenne (if you’re using dried). Add half the yogurt and blend until smooth. Artfully stir this mixture into the other half of the yogurt, or process the rest of the yogurt into the chutney, depending on how much time you have and how you wish to serve it. Garnish with the fresh herbs if you like.

Enjoy as a dip for vegetables, chips, and breads, as an accent with lentils, or as a side with potatoes. Yum!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Status/post week one

From Dose of Reality:

I started writing this post last week, but couldn’t find the time to finish it until today… I’m finding inpatient to be much more challenging in terms of finding time for everything. The math:

24 hours in a day

- 10-12 hours in the hospital

- 7 hours of sleeping

5-7 hours in which to do everything else

Since “everything else” includes taking care of the dog, eating, bathing, and walking to and from the hospital, there are really only a few short hours in which to fit in studying, exercising, cooking, and maintaining any kind of social life. Given my limited time, I think I may be sticking with the list format blog posts for a while… Lessons learned:

  • It can be difficult not to cry on rounds. This is not, as you might have initially imagined, because it is embarrassing not to know the answers to questions posed to you about your patients. Although that is difficult, I got over it pretty quickly when I realized I knew almost nothing. Instead, sometimes on rounds you have to see parents describing how worried they have been about their children’s health. Watching a parent cry during rounds was one of the hardest things I’ve done this year. I’d never met the patient before, and I knew it would have been inappropriate for me to start bawling, but I still had to work pretty hard not to let the tears slip out.

  • Scheduling social events for your days off is important. As much as it seems like a great idea to spend the entire day and night catching up on reading and practice questions (which does, in fact, always sound like a great idea), having a really inflexible schedule can be isolating and lonely.

  • Mom makes awesome quiche that is delicious when reheated in the hospital. Enough said. Thanks mom!

  • Subscribing to a CSA (community supported agriculture) was a great idea. I can count on having produce at home even when I’m too busy to make it to the store. I’ve been making a lot of salad dressings to keep things interesting.

  • I have learned the phrase “status/post”, and I like it. It means “after” something has been intervened on, as in, after the play-doh I put in my sister’s nose when we were little was removed, she was “a 3 year-old girl with play-doh in her nose, status/post removal.”

Apologies for the randomness of these insights (?), but I’m starting on nights in a few short hours and have some stuff to finish up before then!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Benny’s Bakery

I wanted to go for a bike ride today and decided that I didn’t need to wait for someone to be available to go with me to visit a delicious attraction outside the city limits. As I was playing around with Gmaps Pedometer (one of the best uses of Google Maps ever), I saw that I could get to Saline, MI (pronounced sal-EEN, not like contact solution) pretty easily. I promptly headed to Yelp to find somewhere to get a snack when I got there. I discovered Benny’s Bakery. I suspected from the reviews that I would be too late to get the highly sought after Saturday hot pretzel, but consoled myself with the prospect of a delicious muffin or doughnut about halfway through my ride.

My route took me through downtown Ann Arbor and scenic Lodi Township, which is “Rooted in Agriculture” according to their website.

Once I arrived in scenic downtown Saline, I quickly found the bakery, complete with a group of older gentlemen chatting about how smoking used to be considered healthy.

I confirmed that I’d missed the pretzels, and instead had a chocolate-glazed doughnut. It was really good! I also had a juice, though in retrospect this was not enough food.

It was around 11:30am (read: lunch time!) and I got back on my bike to head back to Ann Arbor. Around mile 20, still about 5 miles from home, I started to feel icky, and had to get off my bike and eat part of a Clif Bar I had thankfully tucked into my jersey pocket before I left. It was a lot warmer today than I’d planned for, and I probably didn’t have enough water OR food for my ride. Lesson learned, I rehydrated vigorously when I got home, and all was well.

Friday, June 03, 2011


Knowing that my schedule would be pretty crazy this year, I signed up to split a CSA share from Tantre Farms with a friend. I have been looking forward to receiving a random assortment of vegetables, and finally, my friends, it has arrived!

This week’s share contained:

  • Asparagus
  • Radishes
  • Spicy Greens Mix (arugula, Kyona/Mizuna, and red and green mustards)
  • Spinach
  • Tatsoi
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Green Onions
  • Oregano
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Cilantro, Chives, and Parsley (which were a bonus from Allison’s garden)

You may be thinking, how does one person eat all of those items in a single week. I am thinking the same thing. I gave some of the spinach to my neighbor upstairs since I had so much, and have been trying to plan my meals around the leaf-heavy share this week. (Apparently the crazy rains have caused the spinach to try to take over the world. I’m just doing my part to keep us all safe from these crazy large plants…) My first creation:

Spinach, boiled fingerling potatoes, and capers with Dijon vinaigrette

Dressing (Feel free to estimate on these proportions… I did…)

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • ground pepper to taste