Monday, November 18, 2013

Evidence-based medicine

There are many common critiques of our current reliance on--and, practice-wise, deep trust in--evidence-based medicine. This article summarizes five of them and presents a quite reasonable assessment of how EBM should be used in clinical practice. Keep all that in mind... but oh, by the way, this article is just so cool. A relatively cheap, straightforward study examining a common test we've used on a common condition since time immemorial? I love it.

This has comforted me; better homemakers than I take really bad photos of food, which is my new excuse for this tentacled monstrosity.

Fresh octopus!

Post-braise, pre-strip of all the nasty outer parts I don't want to eat.

Finished dish.
This is a delicious, delicious octopus over orzo and vegetables. I paired it with caramels for dessert for no reason other than the fact that I'd made Andy a dense chocolate cake (ahem) with an amazing caramel glaze* the other day and had to get rid of the rest of the heavy cream.

Totally didn't measure anything other than the exorbitant amount of octopus I purchased. Instead, here's a list of ingredients, along with some instructions:

white wine
your choice of vinegar
juice of two small lemons, plus the rind of one half lemon
plum tomatoes
bay leaves
kosher salt

I combined everything but the sugar, tomatoes, and most of the salt in a huge pot and filled it with just enough water to cover the octopus, then simmered him** for about an hour, until nearly tender. I stripped a lot of the mucoid outer skin with my hands--how much you want to work on this depends on how much the texture bothers you--and broke down the octopus as I reduced the boiling liquid and added some extra vinegar and salt, as well as sugar. Then I let the octopus slices soak in the briny liquid for about another hour to chemically tenderize it. Just before it was done, I made orzo browned in butter with plum tomatoes, kale, and garlic, and served the octopus over that. Top with plenty of parsley and cracked black pepper, and maybe a squeeze of lemon; it needs the parsley freshness for sure.

*Seriously, I could have eschewed the cake and just eaten the glaze. It cooled to a sort of thick, praline-y texture that was just ridiculous.
**Every once in awhile I'm bothered by eating octopi, as they're supposed to be quite intelligent.

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