Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Year of Hell

Incidentally my favorite of Star Trek: Voyager's "there has been a time accident and now these events never happened" episodes.

I was prepared to really hate intern year. One month later, I'm kind of really enjoying myself. There were definitely some low points*, but I feel like I did an okay job and met some interesting patients. I'm now back at Bellevue for a much less time-intensive two weeks on a palliative care elective after a benchmark weekend. I finished my rotation, hit a deadlift PR**, and cooked something fancy to boot.

[pictures of gorgeous fresh produce pending Andy's return with my laptop from his annual Big Science Meeting]

Mussels were only three dollars a pound at the Greekmarket, which means that I could get two pounds and still have large amounts of cash left to blow on fresh vegetables*** for these mussels in Thai broth. I used sweet corn kernels and husks in the base, flavored with ginger, garlic, fish sauce, Sriracha, and lemongrass. There's a bit of coconut milk in there to finish it off.

There is a fresh Thai basil and corn salad at the bottom, then a bunch of vegetables, then the broth, then the mussels, which I steamed over a bit of the broth with some added charred husks for smoky flavor (and then discarded that portion of the broth, obviously). The bread I brushed with a lime compound butter, then grilled on my George Foreman.

Lamingtons are an Australian dessert traditionally composed of cubes of cake coated in chocolate or jam and rolled in shredded coconut. My version used a shiso cake dipped in a hard lime glaze before being rolled in sugar, with a homemade plum sauce (not the Chinese kind, the farmers market-plums-and-star-anise-and-honey kind) and Szechuan pepper custard sauce. The presentation was not what I envisioned, sadly, but that custard was beyond fantastic.

*Point one: I gained four pounds. Dammit, Kirsch, have some control.
**I'm a little proud. Plus, it'll hopefully help me rectify Point one.
***$6 of greens, $6 of herbs, plus purple carrots, heirloom tomatoes, plums, summer squash, eggplant, corn, shiitakes, and more! I may have overcelebrated my first Saturday off in a month.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

By its cover

Chioggia beets are unremarkable on the outside, but slice them open...

Gorgeous, right? Looks even better raw, but I forgot to take pictures (just have a Google!).

This is sliced roasted Chioggia beets and baby zucchini and summer squash with sorrel pasta, crispy sorrel and kale "fries," and a walnut Parmesan tuile over an incredibly silky Northern bean puree.

That dish actually happened two weeks ago. This is what happened on Monday:

God, these pictures are worse than usual!

On my last day off (before today, during which I mostly slept), I took Andy to Teardrop Park. It's my favorite park in Manhattan, in small part because it's conveniently close to the Tribeca Whole Foods (cheap lunch and fun games of How Many Obnoxious Brands Can You Spot On One WUCer!) and in large part because it's gorgeous. We gorged ourselves on salad and fruit* with an ice-packed fresh whole mackerel beside us. Unlike the quart of strawberries, half-pound of cherries, and whole watermelon, it lasted until the next day for me to cook up.

Underneath it is a dollop of paprika aioli with roasted potatoes, pan-seared shallots, and pan-roasted asparagus. There's a relishy type thing with tomato, mixed olives (including these green Castelvetrano olives that I'm a little obsessed with), red wine vinegar, cayenne, and lemon zest. Mackerel is an oily fish; while it takes well to fatty preparations like a rillette, or being smoked in cream sauce, I vastly prefer it with something vinegary. If I had time, I'd have done an escabeche using the relish and its curing liquid, but the dish was thrown together between 8 and 8:45 p.m. after I got home from long call. It shows in the presentation... Either way, that relish may be one of the best things I've ever made.

Other than a few quick curries, it's mostly been eggs and vast amounts of kale. Maybe at the end of this week I'll do something nice, and blog about it in a timely manner!

*[rips open watermelon using flimsy plastic knife and bare hands**]
That... may have been the most feral thing I've ever seen.

**This is why I lift.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Huh. I'm actually... kind of really enjoying myself. That's almost a letdown after all the stress. I mean, I have definitely made some mistakes and harbor some embarrassing inefficiencies, but overall... yeah. I could get used to this.

The "sleep, cook, exercise: pick two" deal is a teeny drawback. I've gone with options A and C for the last couple days, opting for beans 'n' greens tonight and an entire head of kale with a can of tuna and half a pint of blueberries last night. Yeah. You read that right. I'm not ashamed. I'm also developing an addiction to almond milk. I steeled myself to finish off the container I bought for the protein bar recipe, anticipating the weird taste of sweatsocks traditionally associated with this kind of fare. Turns out that first of all, I'm eating enough protein bars for breakfast and lunch that the remaining almond milk will come in handy, and second of all, almond milk with blueberries is fantastic. So is almond milk in chai tea.