29 July, 2011

recipe sharing

I'm really gearing up to get back to school, which means a delicate balance between having as much fun and as much relaxation as possible, as well as eating really good, fresh, personally-prepared foods. My go-to recently has been interesting salads, because it's too hot to use the stove, because I could not safely eat lettuce for the five weeks I was in Bolivia, and because it's summer and the produce is amazing. Last night it was arugula/kale/radishes/radish greens/cilantro/fresh corn off the cob with a dressing of olive oil/lime juice/agave nectar shaken in a practically-empty jar of salsa, topped off with coriander/cumin/feta and bits of blue corn tortilla chips. I was really just throwing together the last bits of what was left in my fridge, but it was phenomenal. I love cooking this way - experimenting with flavors based on what I have, turning something simple into something delicious. It also is a wonderful creative outlet for me, as well as quicker and easier than following a recipe. If you ever need some inspiration, this fun blog has had a lot of really interesting salads lately.

I feel like eating well and fueling my passion for healthful living will give me the energy I need to get through this year with a smile, and I'm psyched about the new Interest Group for Integrative Medicine that a friend and I have started. We have a lot of really fun ideas, including a nutrition week with a cook-off and recipe-sharing fundraiser, as well as a regional conference that's a pretty big deal. I believe that sharing recipes is a great way to start encouraging one another to invest in the health of our friends, family, and ourselves. It's a big part of why I started this blog.

Of course, now I have to share a recipe with you. I didn't measure anything as I made it, so I'll just be giving rough estimates, but feel free to play around with it or to ask me if you want more direction. I'll be bringing this to a barbecue lunch tomorrow at Loyola's day of service, but it makes a great lunch on its own. In fact, this follows the ideal skeleton of a one-dish meal: grain + protein + vegetable.

picnic salad recipe:

grain + protein:
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 cup corn kernels (I used frozen but fresh would be better)
1 can garbanzo beans
crumbled feta cheese

1 bunch radishes
1/4 of a red onion
handful fresh basil
handful fresh cilantro

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1-2 tsp honey
pinch cayenne
salt and pepper

Start by cooking the quinoa according to package directions. When it's done throw in the corn, so that it gets a bit cooked (or thawed). Salt and pepper to taste. Stir in garbanzo beans. Set aside or in fridge to cool.

Meanwhile, Dice the red onion. Cut the radishes into cubes/chunks. Throw out the stems but keep the leaves, stack and roll them like a cigar and slice into thin ribbons. Do the same with the basil leaves. Mix all of these together, along with the cilantro.

Mix dressing ingredients in a glass jar and give it a good shake. Taste and adjust as needed.

If you're eating right away, go ahead and mix it all up, sprinkling feta cheese on top. If you made it ahead of time or are traveling, add the cheese to the bowl with the quinoa/beans/corn, leaving the dressing in the jar and the vegetables in a separate bowl. Toss all together just before serving, or set them out separately and let everyone do it for themselves.

19 July, 2011

a new look

I decided to change things up around here a bit. What do you think? You know, they say that once you start a blog you shouldn't change it too much. But I don't think they are reading this, so it doesn't matter to me. I'm feeling the need to simplify my life, and this was a fun start. My sister has started a tumblr account, which looks like a lot of fun. I was tempted to start one for myself, but I'm just going to stick with this.

14 July, 2011

anatomy and art

This summer has been a whirlwind. I feel like I have been not just in multiple countries or continents, but in multiple worlds. Now I'm back in Texas, visiting my family and trying to soak up enough heat and humidity to get me through  my next Chicago winter. I'm also trying to mentally prepare myself for second year, about which I have only gotten scary warnings. Actually, I should probably say prepare myself emotionally because I am not planning on doing any studying during these last 2 weeks of summer. I heard one friend mention his plans to review anatomy and physiology this month, while another one spoke of getting a head-start on studying for the Boards. I wish I had never heard them say these things - every time it crosses my mind I feel a tinge of both guilt and panic. Nevertheless, I refuse to pull out any textbooks or old powerpoints until at least the day before classes start.

Okay, now that I'm through with that, here's an attempt to push my mind back towards medicine. A vacation in Italy is actually a great place for this when you think of the earliest anatomists like Leonardo da Vinci. I even got to visit the church where Michelangelo studied cadavers, hiding himself from the rule of the Catholic church with the help of a priest. It is obvious that Michelangelo's anatomical knowledge allowed him to master the human form in sculpture and painting, but that wasn't enough for him. He wanted to show off a bit, so he snuck some neuroanatomy into the ceiling of the Cistine chapel. The amazing thing is that this was not noticed until the end of the 20th century. In 1990 a paper was published, noting that the cloth around God in the image of God Creating Adam is shaped like a sagittal cross-section of the right brain. More recently, it has been noticed that God's neck in The Separation of Light from Darkness is an uncanny depiction of the brain stem. For pictures and more, read this.

I love it when art and anatomy collide, and it's funny how medicine has changed the things I notice in art. For example, the veins of David's arm are much more interesting than I'm sure they would have been a year ago, and I was really excited when I noticed that this statue had a traumatic auricular hematoma, also known as "cauliflower" or "boxer's" ear.

In fact, it's something you can find all over the place. I came across a fun blog called Street Anatomy when I attended the opening of an art gallery that they hosted at the Museum of Surgeons last year. (I especially enjoyed this post.)

Here's another fun one that I noticed a few years ago on Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

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