Thursday, March 31, 2011

Psychogenic polydipsia

Our upcoming renal physiology exam is driving me to drink.

Water, that is.

I ate (an at-once-comfortingly-and-disturbingly sodium- and lipid- and calorie-heavy) lunch, but a real dinner is going to have to wait. I think there's more arugula and oranges in the fridge. Yeah. And someone gave me a packet of Skittles today. Those sound good.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In the nick of time...

The kidneys are very distracting organs. On to food:

In terms of "ways to eat your celery," this was a pretty good one.

A chopped salad is tasty, healthful, and delightfully portable. I hate to put it in these terms, but any salad that tastes fine eaten lukewarm after it's been sitting next to a frantically studying diner for 3 hours is a salad that I will get along with.

I attempted to make the dressing reminiscent of deviled eggs by using Dijon mustard and paprika and by disseminating mashed egg yolk throughout the salad (the egg whites were in larger chunks), but it didn't really work. No big. Still good. And yet all I want is chocolate. This exam cannot come soon enough.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Studying the kidneys is making me a little cautious about my salt intake. Not that it's all that high, unless I go on a popcorn binge, but still, I don't want to stress the poor little guys.

Luckily, this roasted carrot and roasted garlic soup, flavored with tarragon and a little Mineola tangelo juice, has a lot of pop, even with just a sprinkle of salt (in the form of soy sauce). The stuff on top is arugula.

Now, does anyone have a recipe that uses a lot of celery? I've bought some to use in a couple recipes later in the week, but I'll probably only use two stalks. Suggestions are welcome!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sometimes I worry myself.

As I was disembarking yesterday's Boltbus from Boston to New York, I collided with another woman in the aisle of the bus. Distracted by acute-onset loneliness (I got married over break, which was cool*. Leaving my freshly minted husband behind wasn't so cool.), I did not think to check for stuff that might have spilled out of my bag after we had our close encounter. And then I discovered about two hours after arriving home that I did not have my wallet. Because I am actually not a functional adult, my method of looking for it involved sifting rationally through my things, then dumping my bag on my bed and rifling through the contents, spraying them about the room in my terror. No wallet.

Many frantic calls later, I discovered that yes, indeed, the bus driver had it, and yes, indeed, he was on his way back to Boston. I relied on the kindness of some awesome friends who bought me food--thanks, guys, I owe you one--until I could get my wallet back. Being utterly without money or a way to get money is a bizarre experience, let me tell you. Anyway, I picked up my wallet today from Boltbus Driver Jim, my new favorite person ever, at the Boltbus arrival stop, but because I am not a functional adult and had to spend the day wildly cramming in a week's worth of studying and reading that I carefully avoided doing while on spring break, I did not make up a nice menu plan or grocery list as usual.

So, if you thought two weeks ago's "hey, look, my excuse for a food blog involves me mushing everything in my fridge up with pasta" was lame, check this out:

Lunch: Jim Lahey's no-knead bread (the whole-wheat version), two of the three eggs I had left in the fridge, half the leftover caramelized onions I unearthed in the fridge, some amazing homemade jam one of today's patron-friends gave me as part of her wedding present.

Dinner: more no-knead bread, the last egg, the last of the onions, and an arugula salad with balsamic-orange dressing and toasted sesame seeds... i.e., the same thing I had for lunch, plus arugula.

Honestly, although I did pick up groceries, do not expect much for the next fourteen days or so. For one thing, a week of vacation-style eating--lots of restaurants, lots of Berry Line--has convinced me to adhere to a not-so-lush diet for awhile. For another, yet another exam impends. Less than a year until clinicals...

I have a success story to share, though! For months now, I have been unable to make sound work in Chrome. I finally confessed last night to a friend who works for Mozilla that I'm switching to Firefox, because it dawned on me how truly stupid it was to keep a Firefox window open so I could copy/paste links in from Chrome when I needed sound. He pointed out that in Windows 7, it was possible to mute specific programs. Lo and behold, the Mozilla employee put me on the right path to solve the problem that reinstalling Flash and Chrome and what have you did not, and now I can do everything in Chrome again! Of course, because I'm not a functional adult, the first thing I did was watch this video.

*Our version of a wedding photo:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vive la revolution!

Komm, süßer Tod, Part III: Jean-Paul Marat
(biscuits au gorgonzola et sauge avec compote de poires)

Once upon a time, there was a French self-made (and, less an honorary degree, self-declared) intellectual and doctor named Jean-Paul Marat. When 1788 rolled around, he ditched the scientific life in favor of incendiary writings on behalf of the Third Estate. To make a long story short, he spent time publishing his journal L'Ami du peuple and went in and out of hiding until 1792, when he got himself elected to the National Convention and turned his attention to hating on a particular legislative faction: the Girondins.

Now, the poor chap had long suffered from a skin disease that has been alternately described as scrofula and chronic dermatitis herpetiformis, aggravated by the time he spent hiding in sewers from his guillotine-happy enemies; as a result, he spent large amounts of time soaking in a bath to alleviate the itching and pain. I'm guessing his friends didn't mind that he was hiding his scaly, scabby self away in a bathroom, too.

Marat carries on, writing political screeds and attempting machinations while sequestered in the tub. And then one day, a young Girondiste named Charlotte Corday showed up at his house and demanded to see him, claiming that she could give him information on a group of Girodins in Normandy. The bescabbed Marat welcomed the befrocked murderess-to-be into his bathroom, where he scribbled notes from their conversation--and no, I'm not sure why she had a fifteen-minute chat before carrying on with her goal for the day. Anyhow, when they were done conversing, Mlle Corday pulled out a kitchen knife she had secreted in her bodice and stabbed Marat in the chest. He promptly exsanguinated.

She got guillotined and he got lauded as a martyr for the cause, so I'm not sure exactly what was accomplished other than the creation of a sticky, bloody mess in that well-used bathroom and the creation of a titillating event depicted to great success by many a painter:

Jacques-Louis David

Edvard Munch
Pablo Picasso
A note on the actual cooking: I played with a recipe I found online to make what I intended to be elegant, Frenchified cookies. Unfortunately, I did not roll them nearly thin enough, and they ended up being quite hefty. And delicious.

Biscuits au gorgonzola et sauge avec compote de poires
180 g flour
90 g gorgonzola
60 g butter
1 egg
2 to 3 tablespoons honey
sage and pepper to taste

Cream the butter with the gorgonzola. Add the egg and honey and mix just until blended and smooth (there may still be some small chunks of cheese). Work in the flour, sage, and pepper; if it seems too dry or not cheesy enough, add a little more gorgonzola. Roll out the dough to an eighth of an inch and use cookie cutters or the rim of a glass to cut out rounds. If you want to make sandwich cookies with little windows, use a smaller cookie cutter to cut a round out of half the larger rounds. Brush half the cookies (the "top half" ones) with a little watered-down honey, and bake on parchment paper in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately remove from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.

300 g peeled pear, cut into chunks
1 shallot
brown sugar
salt, nutmeg, and sage to taste

Toss the pear chunks with butter and brown sugar and roast in a 450-degree oven until golden brown. Meanwhile, caramelize the shallot in more butter. When the pears are done, add them and the spices to the shallot and cook over medium-low heat until the pears are mashable, at which point... mash them or immersion-blend them. Taste and adjust spice levels, then cook a little further until the compote is thick enough to spread on the cookies; keep in mind that it will thicken somewhat as it cools. Let it cool somewhat, then sandwich the cookies together with a layer of compote in the middle.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Baby's in Black

Komm, süßer Tod, Part II: John Lennon
(Spotted dick* with currants, grated ginger, and lemon and orange zest, and crème anglaise on the side)

I don't have to explain John Lennon to you. I probably don't have to explain how he died, but here goes: John Lennon was one quarter of the uncontested Best Band Ever. The Beatles broke up after a series of hissy fits, and Lennon ended up making less awesome music with the help of his screechy wife, Yoko Ono.

And then one day, an insane man named Mark Chapman shot him with four hollow-point bullets. The public response was, naturally, effusive. A few fans even reportedly committed suicide over Lennon's death.

*First: One usually makes spotted dick with beef suet, but I used grated frozen butter. Secondly: Bet you thought I'd make a strawberry dessert, didn't you, for "Strawberry Fields"? We must remember, however, that before he was John Lennon, More Popular than Jesus, he was John Lennon, Liverpudlian boy growing up with his working-class aunt and uncle. A traditional British steamed pudding seems apropos. Also, there's a personal anecdote in this one: My father and brother, when my family was visiting England about twelve years ago, were offered spotted dick by a waitress as the day's lunch dessert special. To her confusion, they promptly began rolling on the floor with laughter. It's become a small family legend.

Assassins' creed

I have ideas sometimes, which is dangerous, not because they're either brilliant or dangerous in the sense of oh-hey-a-novel-explosive-device, but because they tend to be dangerously cheesy and/or pun-filled. So naturally I'm going to act on the one I had a few days ago. My inner dialogue went kind of like this.

Me: Hmm, Andy wants you to make Milano cookies.
Me: Great! I wonder if they're actually associated with Milan.
Me: Wikipedia says no. Wouldn't it be cool if they were invented at the behest of the Milan royalty or something?
Me: Totally... hey, let's pretend they were invented by the Sforzas* in order to commemorate some birth or assassination or something.
Me: I have an even better idea! Let's make a series of desserts commemorating famous assassinations.

And so it goes, ladies and germs, that I bring you the first installment of my assassination dessert series:

La Sforza del destino
(Milanos, with almond extract-flavored cookies and orange chocolate ganache)

Once upon a time, there was a duke of Milan named Galeazzo Maria Sforza.

The Sforza did some good for the city, and Galeazzo was himself a great patron of music, but he was in all other ways kind of evil.

So three angry and probably more righteous officials, led by a guy named Giovanni Lampugnani, viciously stabbed him to death.

Lampugnani was immediately captured by a mob and gruesomely killed and put on even more gruesome display, a fate that later befell his compatriots as well.

And so ends the reign of the naughtiest of Sforzas, as well as the first entry in what I'm going to call my Komm, süßer Tod series.

*Turns out the Sforzas are actually somehow named in the game Assassins' Creed? I swear I didn't know that until I made this post!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mother of invention

As I previously mentioned, I'm going to Boston for the week of spring break, which means I had to come up with a way to use up the rest of my produce. Last night I roasted basically every vegetable left in my fridge and mixed it with pasta and the little bit of cheese left. Delicious, but too haphazard to blog about. Left to use up: one avocado, one sweet potato, half a very large white onion. There were also several eggs and a lemon. Hmm.

I shall call this the croque-médecin: avocado, egg sunny-side up, and saffron-tinged caramelized onions, all on toasted sweet potato bread. After I'm done patting myself on the back for how rich and delicious it was, I'll realize that it's not healthful enough to deserve its name (mmm, copious amounts of olive oil), but for now, I'm satisfied. I couldn't find a great recipe for the bread on the Internet, so I fiddled with a recipe from the sadly defunct blog Raccoon and Lobster and came up with something quite successful. The sweet potato flavor isn't screaming at you, but it's there.

Subtly sweet potato bread
(adapted from a recipe adapted from Nancy Silverton's recipe for pumpkin bread)

8 oz cooked, mashed sweet potato (no skins; those went directly down my gullet)
8 oz water
14 oz flour
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp yeast

Mix all the ingredients except the salt and stir well for 5 minutes or so; the dough is going to be very wet. Add the salt and continue to "knead" for another 10 minutes. A stand mixer with a dough hook would be helpful here. Coat the ball of dough in oil, put it in a bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 5 to 6 hours. Take it out and put it on a piece of generously flour-dusted parchment paper. Let it rise at room temperature for 3 hours; it will probably spread somewhat, but don't freak out. Now, while I could see baking this the Jim Lahey no-knead way (preheat a heavy pot or Dutch oven, tip the dough in there, and so on), I was lazy and just popped it in a 450-degree oven for 30 minutes. Someone try the Lahey baking method and let me know how it goes, please!

And now, from the annals of medicine: I, along with another first-year, sat in on an ethics committee meeting in Bellevue. There were some interesting cases brought up, and a topic near and dear to my heart was discussed: HIV testing. New York has recently enacted some new and more lenient laws; the old ones were created in the eighties, when HIV/AIDS was incredibly stigmatized, and thus HIV testing could not be done without written consent and counseling and so on. Now, among other things, health care proxies can request that a patient be tested, and a patient can be tested anonymously if his status is unknown and a health care worker has been exposed to his blood and possibly put at risk for a variety of blood-borne infections. But there are still many states in which opt-out testing isn't an option; minors have to have parents consent to their being tested; and in which HIV testing regulations are not set forth at all.

And among the above complicated issues, there are two in particular that frustrate me: that of consent to test and that of partner notification. First of all, did you know that, in New York and several other states, patients can be tested for hepatitises (hepatiti? hepatites?) A and B without consent? The rationale, of course, is that these are manageable, chronic, infectious, life-threatening diseases that must be taken into account when managing care in all sorts of situations, as well as when counseling on behavior and lifestyle modification. But HIV remains enough of a bugbear that it is not lumped in with hepatitis*, despite the fact that it is ever-increasingly a manageable, chronic, infectious, life-threatening disease. I find this deeply unfortunate.

Speaking of deeply unfortunate, did you know that in many states, there is no legal requirement to notify contacts of patients newly diagnosed with HIV (or other sexually transmitted diseases, in fact**)? Systems for anonymous notification are in place, including systems to avert domestic violence as a result of disclosure or notification, but I'm shocked that there are still places in the country where a physician may essentially be compelled to allow someone to wander around blithely having been exposed, or under continuous risk of exposure. Yes, patient autonomy must be respected, but shouldn't it also be overridden when someone else's life may be at risk?

In any case, go here for information on your state's rules and regs!

*Some of you might disagree with the whole idea of any testing without consent. That's a whole other matter. Let me know, and we'll chat.
**Sure, chlamydia and gonorrhea are more mild diseases; they can cause infertility in women, but they're very, very rarely going to be life-threatening. Syphilis is worse than those two, but still treatable. But how is it that hepatitis doesn't merit a notification system?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Just can't quit you

I told myself when I got to medical school that I was going to ditch a few aspects of my undergraduate life, quizbowl being one of them. Oops. I should have known better than to think I was actually going to succeed at completely divesting myself of a community of people who can discuss, in quick succession and with acceptable competence, Brahms, Bohr, and Bulgakov. The spending money I can earn by writing questions doesn't hurt, either.

Which is why I'm throwing together a quick dinner of sautéed mushroom and roasted chickpeas with ginger-turmeric sauce and heading out to some café to write ICT questions tonight. Less rambunctious than my other post-exam options, maybe, but a girl needs a little quasi-polymath* time, you know? I'm no longer playing tournaments, so this is the best I can get.

*I say quasi because I'm pretty sure one needs to be better-versed at "everything" than a typical quizbowler is in order to be called a polymath. But a lot of us still know some fun things and will talk about what little we know ad infinitum, given the chance. It makes me smile.

Monday, March 14, 2011


I'm sorry. I can't help it. I'm becoming one of those insufferable people who never shuts up about something they've read or listened to or whatnot anything in the hopes of seeming interesting... or, rather, interested. But this is the last time I'll mention this particular book or author, I swear (especially since I've moved on to finished Bodily Harm*).

One of several tropes in Coin Locker Babies is rice omelettes**. There's no detailed description of how the dish is constructed, other than the fact that it involves rice, eggs, and ketchup (ew). My first thought was that the rice was mixed in with the egg, which was then fried in a sheet, spread with the cloying red condiment, and rolled up, but I wasn't sure. To the Internet! Turns out that in Japanese it's called omurice, and it's fried rice folded up in a thin omelette, which is then topped with the ketchup. My version: a zucchini and Chinese black mushroom fried rice (using reconstituted dried mushrooms) with Sriracha instead of ketchup. I was going to photograph it, but the amount of Sriracha I put on basically made it look like I bled all over my dinner. This irked me because I think I did a darn good job folding the omelette, but what can I tell you; it's not spicy enough unless it makes your eyes water. Here's a photo of a rice omelette vaguely the size and shape of the one I made (although I didn't do the pretty slices in the middle).

*Not her best. Maybe I've read too much Atwood and have thereby become jaded, but this was the usual: there's a woman, man and society and her own body have done her wrong, woman goes on futile attempt to recapture satisfaction, attempt slowly, too slowly, is not what she expects and thereby becomes transformative.
**Do all works of Japanese literature include at least one recurrent object or event? Sometimes these tropes have clear symbolic significance, and sometimes they seem to be significant only in that they recur.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Before you are allowed to read this post, go here and donate a few bucks for relief efforts in Japan, because they basically just got hit with Hurricane Katrina plus her cousin Nuclear Incident Bob. This post may not be worth $10, but the Red Cross sure wants you to be fleeced into thinking it is.

You know, while I love the taste of barley, and I love the taste of corn, I always feel like I never get to chew anything when I eat either, unless the corn is on the cob, in which case I at least get to gnaw.

Luckily, the crisp blanched green beans in this barley/corn/green bean/red onion/tomato/feta salad with mint/Dijon/red wine vinegar dressing were a little less tender to the tooth.

Although I had an amazing (and massive) apple Greenmarket apple earlier today, I'm still sort of jonesing for something sweet. Thankfully, I have a nice, fresh bottle of olive oil that I can exploit after I finish up my study quota for the day...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Another day, another exam to study for, another post-exam party to avoid

One more test to go! Then it's later, lungs and bye-bye, bronchi! As you might be able to glean from the onslaught of exclamation points, I'm antsy to leave pulmonology and continue our breakneck expedition through the organ systems with nephrology. But first, the exam, and then the post-exam party, which I will continue to seek new and creative ways of not attending. Food-related thoughts include seeking out more of the queso de Valdeon that I enjoyed some months ago (oh lord, too many months, more months than I'd first thought). Pondering options with my brain instead of my stomach leads me to options like this one.

But first, the exam. And, along with it, a quick and soothing soup of roasted cauliflower and roasted garlic. It's like the garlic soup I've made several times before, but with more body.

Roasted Garlic and Cauliflower Soup
1 head cauliflower
1 head garlic
1 medium-sized onion
1/4 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Greek yogurt or sour cream or heavy cream or milk or half-and-half
lemon juice (optional)
Parmesan (optional)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp dried thyme (optional)

Cut the cauliflower into florets, and separate the head of garlic into still-wrapped cloves. Toss both with olive oil and roast in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. The garlic will likely need 5 to 10 minutes more than the cauliflower; it's done when it's soft, but not scorched. Peel the garlic cloves.

Dice the onion and saute it in a little olive oil until soft and transparent. Add the garlic, cauliflower, bay leaf, thyme if you're using it, white wine, and about 2 cups of water or stock. Bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes. Remove the bay leaf and puree the soup, add yogurt/sour cream/heavy cream/half-and-half to taste, and give it another puree. Salt and pepper to taste and add a few drops of lemon juice if you like; it's not necessary, but I like the extra bit of brightness, and I think it complements the white wine nicely. Serve topped with parsley or Parmesan or chopped roasted red peppers or scallions or truffle oil or nothing at all.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lettuce go then, you and I

It's been a salad kind of week for this MD stomach, which is a good thing. Yes, folks, it's time to ditch my winter love handles in anticipation of NYUSoM's impending spring break!

Because this is totally my idea of a good time. Yeah. Woo.
Which I will spend in dank Boston, curled up on Andy's futon, lackadaisically reviewing renal for the exam occurring the week after break, occasionally getting up to refresh my mug of hot drink.

This photo brought to you by my new favorite spot on the Internet,
Behind the Gallic Fumes, with its tasteful URL of
Diet-friendly though they may be, lettuce salads are boring*, so in addition to the lettuce-free panzanella and eggplant salads of yore, here's a green bean and pickled red onion salad with fried almonds, also thanks to Smitten Kitchen. Well, sort of. First of all, I roasted the green beans, because I didn't feel like blanching (much less blanching and shocking) anything. I ditched the sliced fennel because I didn't want to pay for it and toasted some fennel seeds with the almonds instead. Sacrilege? Maybe. Delicious? Absolutely.

A follow-up to my ER experience yesterday: I thought more about the patient I mentioned who said that she had considered lying so that she could get home to her kids. She had a history of anxiety issues, but "had that under control" with lifestyle changes and meds. She had symptoms that were indicative of heart trouble, and she was... well, I guess "posturing" is the word, although that sounds so negative... she was trying to be engage with the doctor at as high a level as possible and with as rational a mien as possible. But she broke down crying at one point, and I had to restrain myself from reaching out to grab her hand; I didn't know how the resident I was tailing would take it if I did. It's just that the patient seemed so lonely, and so scared. The doctor hadn't asked her name, and while she was respectful, she was also busy and distant. It's strange and troubling to me that while my first instinct was to comfort the patient, my next was to conclude that I'd have to suppress my empathetic impulses in order to be an effective doctor. I'd seem too mushy, too much of a bleeding heart; I'd waste time holding hands and patting shoulders when I should be doing my job. I'd like to say that I'm wrong on this one, that I can preserve a need to just make someone feel better no matter what the circumstance while also conducting my medical business efficiently. But honestly, I don't know, so I'll just say that I hope I'm wrong.

*I will note that everyone from Modern Family to quizbowl friends has been singing the praises of wedge salad. It's a wedge out of a head of iceberg lettuce with dressing on it. I'll try it one day, I guess, but it'll take a lot of mental activation energy to overcome the barrier resulting from the fact that this is basically an iceberg lettuce salad, except somebody was too lazy to actually tear up the lettuce and toss it with the dressing.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rugae of steel

Yesterday, after I had poured red wine vinegar into my burgeoning panzanella dressing*, I noticed that it looked like this:

Aaaand I ate the salad anyway. Why? Because a. the vinegar was the last addition to the bowl, and I'd have had to start over, b. my only other option was rice wine vinegar, which is both too sweet and too expensive to go sloshing into an Italian-esque dressing, and c. I figured that it couldn't kill me. Now, the reason I waited until today to mention this was, simply, that I didn't actually know whether it would kill me (or lead to a fun night of emesis). But it didn't. I had a lovely five hours' sleep or so. I can gloat about my iron stomach. Consider yourself a gloatee.

Seriously, though, what the hell is that stuff? The Google machine told me that it's a vinegar mother, and it's harmless, and I could add it to my remaining Charles Shaw crapbernet sauvignon to make vinegar. I'm not going to do it, because homemade vinegar is more high-maintenance than homemade sourdough starter, but the knowledge that I could is enough.

All remaining fears thus assuaged, I used the vinegar again tonight to start some overnight red onion pickles, which will appear tomorrow. I also used a teaspoon of it tonight in eggplant salad toasts, from Smitten Kitchen.

I made a kale and apple salad with Dijon vinaigrette to go with this. Delicious. I had a few cloves of roasted garlic kicking around, so I rubbed the toasts with roasted garlic instead of raw; this was a good decision.

Posting is sort of late tonight because I was doing my first shadowing shift in the Bellevue ER. Events of note:

  1. A man thoroughly mangled his hand while using a circular saw and came in, fingers dangling, a lot more calm than I'd be in his situation. When the hand surgeons showed up, they used this awesome portable Doppler flow meter to ascertain whether the more grievously injured digits were still getting blood flow. Cool, huh?
  2. You know how in the computer game The Sims you could have your Sims host a party, complete with guests and clowns and so on, and they'd eventually get bored and just wander about their daily business, completely ignoring the craziness around them? That's the Bellevue ER, except instead of hosts, there are doctors, and instead of party guests, you have drunk people.
  3. One of the residents was either extra hassled or just felt pity for the resident I was following around like a lovestruck puppy, so she had me check a woman for orthostatic hypotension, which meant I actually got to play with the fancy machines. Sure, this involved using a blood pressure cuff, pressing a couple buttons, and reading a monitor, but still.

I also saw a trauma happen, but to be honest, it wasn't as interesting as the row of totally stoned people brought in at once by eye-rolling cops, or the woman who couldn't decide whether or not to lie to the doctors about how she was feeling so she could make it home in time to fix dinner for her kids.

*I didn't notice beforehand because I was multitasking and pouring with one hand**, okay?!?
**Yes, I can open and pour a bottle one-handed. It's the height of badassery, I tell you.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mind your Mannerism

Apparently, I actually have something in common with one of my favorite artists, Bronzino. No, it's not wildly acclaimed artistic talent. Rather, we both love panzanella, according to some writings that Wikipedia finds very important indeed.

Well, my version is somewhat different than his. I included feta and cucumber and mint, and, sadly, excluded the purslane. The bread I used was pretty darn good, though, just a simple French loaf that took me a scant three hours to make. The rest of it will probably make an appearance tomorrow, dare I say in crostini form.

Just for fun, here's a Bronzino painting!

There are some surprisingly sexy (and, although I couldn't really find any details on Google images on which I could expound to support my statement, homosexy) bits in this, for a painting that depicts Christ's descent into Limbo.

And now for drivel: True salad weather is fast approaching--I even considered making the salad around 5:30 and then waiting to eat just so I could exploit the last few minutes of daylight, which no longer occur hellishly early--and I am absolutely titillated. I'm not a sufferer of seasonal affective disorder. In fact, I have to hold myself back from sneering at the idea that seasonal affective disorder is an actual named thing (I may think it sounds pathetic, but the DSM calls it an indicator of true major depressive disorder). But there's something about actual sun and green things and little birdies flitting everywhere* that is just plain nifty.

*Or, like the bird Andy and I saw the other day, lifting off the ground and promptly flying into a brick wall. Don't worry, it had only traveled about 3 feet, so it was okay.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

That's the way (uh-huh, uh-huh)


Flatbread pizza with roasted red pepper, feta, and a full two cups of spinach. I love being able to customize what I eat, because I've never found a restaurant pizza with sufficient vegetables on its pizza. This is the way I like it.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Almost transparent sheep chase

The Murakami v. Murakami contest is easier to judge than Adams v. Adams. H. Murakami clearly wins. However, I will admit that Coin Locker Babies is much, much better than In the Miso Soup. It reminds me a lot of Inter Ice Age 4, actually. The first sentence may have been inauspicious, but thereafter lies a weird, wacky coming-of-age story complete with surprise gavials and bisexual rock stars. One of each, actually.

After a productive trip to the Union Square Greenmarket, an productive trip to Trader Joe's, and an unproductive trip to Whole Foods (where does one go to find kohlrabi these days), I had the materials with which to make a sweet potato and spinach risotto.

There were all sorts of exciting potatoes to be had at the greenmarket, purple and orange and red and so on, but they were not in their prime. And while I loved the idea of cooking with watermelon radishes, which were at the stall next door, I have absolutely no idea what to do with them (Internet says: pickling!). Ditto black radishes. There was some amazing organic spinach, though, which is what I put in tonight's dinner, along with the last of that punch-you-in-the-face Bulgarian feta I got a few weeks ago (speaking of food being past its prime). Oh, it feels good to be cooking again.