Sunday, September 22, 2013

Life updates

1. I watched a horror movie called American Mary--very twisted, very witty--on Netflix. My related recommendations include a cheesy comedy called The Cleaver Family Reunion. I'm guessing the link has something to do with hacking implements, but still, Netflix clearly needs to make a few adjustments, particularly since Zoolander was the next recommendation.

2. Powerlifter Dan Green has some great tips on fixing common errors in your sumo deadlift. The one about spreading the hips rather than dropping the butt is life-changing. Seriously, I instantly did 3 additional reps on my top set (for a total of 7 at 200) and 4 additional on my drop set (for a total of 8 at 185), with less effort than it took me last week to do nearly half that amount of work. If I ever meet that man, I owe him a few scoops of whey powder.

3. Andy and I had a plan to hike Breakneck Ridge today, it being the last day of summer and all. I even made an all-out picnic lunch, complete with blanched green beans! To my disappointment, it rained all night, and even though the weather today was perfect, we woke up and surmised that since it was still raining on the mountain, we'd go out there to a sticky, slippery mess and be miserable for half the climb. Next weekend, I hope... but I was still crushed. To comfort ourselves, we went to Smorgasburg in DUMBO, like every other white 20-something in the five boroughs. I got a seitan steak sandwich and halo halo, and Andy got a Milk Truck grilled cheese with a twist and dulce de leche doughnut. At least we still got to enjoy the amazing day from Brooklyn Bridge Park; as Andy put it, the worst thing about living in Manhattan is being unable to enjoy the skyline view from across the East River.

Side note: if anyone knows where I can get the components for halo halo, hit me up. That stuff is addictive.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Let's talk about ugly.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a monkfish. It's a moist, dense fish that, if cooked properly, has a similar texture and taste to lobster (thus it's nickname, "poor man's lobster") and is truly delicious. It's also cheaper than halibut at Fairway by nearly half, and, unfortunately, it's difficult to butcher. I foolishly assumed that because the fishmonger at the grocery was being extremely flirtatious, if I played nice instead of telling him to lay off the innuendo I'd get a good filet.

As you can see, it had a whopping great bloodline down the middle. So much for putting up with strange men behind fish counters.

The pistachio crust came out just as I anticipated, though, as did the creamed corn with green beans and tomatoes. All the flavors are, well, generic enough to pair with a variety of fishes or even meat, for those of you who are into that kind of thing.

Pistachio-crusted monkfish over creamed corn
Technique based on this article

1/2 lb monkfish filet, gray membranes removed
Dijon mustard
3 tbsp panko
2/3 cup raw pistachio meats
salt, pepper

2 large or 3 regular ears corn
1 cup chopped green beans
1/2 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup Greek yogurt (more or less to taste; I actually used about 1/4 cup, but I like mine a little less creamy. You can also finish this with butter.)
2 cloves garlic
salt, pepper, paprika


Preheat the oven to 475 F (yes, you read that right), with a cast iron skillet or heavy grill pan in the oven during the preheating. Rinse the monkfish and pat it dry. Liberally oil one side of the filet and set it down on that surface. On the non-oiled surface, rub some mustard and sprinkle with a bit of pepper. In a food processor, pulse the pistachios, panko, and a touch of salt until it resembles coarse crumbs. Gently pat the nut mixture onto the mustardy fish. When the oven is preheated, carefully slip the filet, oil-side down, onto the preheated pan. It should cook in 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish; cover the filet with a sheet of aluminum foil if the crust browns prematurely.

For the creamed corn: remove the kernels from the corn and put all but 1/2 cup into a food processor. Using the flat of a butter knife, "milk" the cobs into the food processor. Add 2 cloves garlic and puree. In a saucepan, cook the green beans, tomatoes, corn puree, and reserved kernels just until the green beans are tender; stir in the yogurt at the end. Season with pepper and paprika and a touch of salt.

To serve: slice the filet and lay over a mound of the creamed corn mixture. Finish the whole thing with a few grinds of sea salt and a sprinkle of chopped parsley and chives.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Plantar fasciitis

I'm loving my MICU rotation. Loving. It. Maybe loving it even more than these dachshunds love their bath.

That being said, the rounds are very, very long, and I can't help but think about this when we get back to the call room (replace nurses with PAs, since the nurses have their own stations to kick us out of). When I'm an attending*, I'm going to sit all the damn time. All. The. Time.

Other drawback: the food. Aside from the daily lunch (which, by the way, is a steady rotation of ciabatta sandwiches, pizza, and pastas, hold the salad) helpfully filched from the internal medicine noon conferences, everyone insists on bringing in delightful carb-laden snacks and breakfast items.

Including me. Hypocrisy?!? Where? I ate one at work, and then when I got home I ate more under the guise of filling them with healthful scrambled eggs.

The way I see it, I'm undoing all the hard work done the previous week, during which I made a series of delicious salads involving dressings made from pureed avocado and herbs and lemon juice.

The dressing has chives, parsley, and basil in it.

Rounds of shaved raw squash and zucchini filled with
sauteed mushrooms and raw avocado.

I included oven-baked chickpeas, but this needed
an additional crunchy element.
Not pictured: the salad with almonds, kale, apples, and an avocado-mint-parsley dressing with lemon juice and a touch of champagne vinegar.

*Creeping ever closer, by the way, at least insofar as ERAS submission is coming up in three days. Only four years of grueling residency plus (likely) two years of fellowship to go!

Monday, September 2, 2013


I'm going to tell a very embarrassing story about myself. Perhaps airing it will strip it of its humiliating power.

One day about a year ago, Andy made a comment about me lifting a ton, or 2000 pounds, over the course of a workout. This is the conversation that followed:
Don't sell me short, it's two tons!
...Hannah, how much is a ton?
One thousand pounds.
No. No, it's two thousand.
What? Oh. [beat] Oh my god, Andy, dinosaurs were really big!

He likes to reference that conversation, as you might imagine, but I also have my own "dinosaurs were really big" moments. For instance, contemplate the Hubble Deep Field images. Meditate both on its size, its relative tininess, and the fact that some of the stars in that picture were dead long before their light reached earth*. Gnarly, dude.

One of my favorite sandwiches used to be a BLT. Crisp bacon, juicy tomatoes, a tiny swipe of mayo, with the freshness of lettuce and yielding crunch of toast... Alas, vegetarianism put a stop to that. Ever since, I've been using tempeh bacon or Morningstar brand veggie bacon. Morningstar has the flavor (with a tinge of artificiality), but a weird, crumbly texture. The tempeh has neither the flavor nor the texture. Both are pretty processed, to boot. So when I saw a recipe for mushroom "bacon," I got really excited.

Damn online photo editor isn't working.

I increased the amount of both soy sauce and oil and added smoked paprika and just a touch of brown sugar. It was delicious, although I'd recommend actually buying and slicing whole fresh chantarelles and/or oyster mushrooms. The other varieties in the blend I bought didn't have nearly as nice a texture.

The bread is a homemade whole wheat and flaxseed loaf.

There's a swipe of Greek yogurt under all that veg.

Pound for pound, the price of mushroom bacon and store-bought fake bacon are approximately equivalent, although this of course depends on the season and your local farmers' market. The mushrooms win in the naturalism department. Overall, I'd say the extra work is worth it.

*On the other hand, there's really only one way to define what's true now, and that's what's true here. Shut up and feel the wonder.