29 February, 2012


This week we took in a friend's cat while he visited San Francisco for spring break. Yes, I have spring break in February. They never really became friends, but did warm up to each other a bit.

...finally able to stand being near one another.

Didn't you know cats love the ancient Greeks?

That's Zenith, probably trying to figure out how to get Peter to play with him. It will not be successful.

20 February, 2012

pass the peas

Sunday night we had a couple friends over for dinner. I made this butternut squash lasagna, they brought over wine, as well as chocolate and tea for dessert. I had intended to take pictures throughout the evening, but somehow once I started cooking my camera never even crossed my mind. All I have to show you is this morning-after table.

Fortunately, some morning-after meditation helped me get going on a day full of studying.

I also have a recipe. I've been putting it off in a way because, well, first, I have to convince you that I really do like peas. My mother will be shocked to read this, but it's true. It all started with this recipe. Sure, it livens things up with lots of butter and prosciutto, but in the end you are still eating a big bowl of peas. And I can eat a really big bowl of peas for dinner. It's one of my mainstays when Ian is not around because it is quick and easy, and one of the few foods that he does not care for. In the end it is basically just a bowl of every child's least-favorite vegetable, but I can't get enough of it. The key is to cook the peas just long enough for them to soften up and release all their sweetness, but not to let them turn into mushiness. It should be a vibrant green, a sweet earthiness with flecks of garlic and acidity from caramelized tomatoes. If you're not convinced, try the link above, and then when you fall in love with it, go ahead and give this one a try too.

Sauteed Peas & Tomatoes Recipe:
1 clove garlic, minced
1 handful grape tomatoes
1 cup frozen peas
olive oil
salt & pepper

Heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and add the tomatoes. Cook until the skins begin to brown; they may even burst as you push them around with the back of a spoon. The more patience you have the sweeter they will get. When they are near done add in the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more.

Add the peas, cook with a lid for 5-10 minutes, checking occasionally to give them a stir and to be sure you do not overcook them. They should be sweet and tender, but still a vibrant shade of green. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with more olive oil and a squirt of lemon juice if desired.

Take it up one more notch by adding some Parmesan and a hearty slice of bread.

05 February, 2012

bottle that feeling up

I recently read Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. This novel did not receive very high reviews amongst the literary community, but it was strongly recommended to me by several medical students and physicians. Like them, I loved it. I suppose it stems from a love for the intertwining of medicine and art. Verghese is a physician who displays passion for pure, simple, hands-on medicine. He lauds the skilled physician who considers the whole of the patient and is able to diagnose with only his hands. Reference: "A doctor's touch" TED talk.

Throughout the novel he describes anatomy and disease processes in a clear and beautiful manner. Well, beautiful compared to a textbook. Apparently it's gibberish to the non-medical ear. Either way, I soaked it up and felt inspired to continue along this path to becoming a doctor. It made me want to really know my stuff - well enough to write about it without having to reference Netter's, well enough to feel minute but essential differences between radial pulses. (Shoot, I still get excited when I feel a liver edge.)What I'm about to say may sound crazy, but it was enough to make me think that studying for boards might not be that bad. Synthesizing all that I have learned the last 2 years, putting the pieces together and seeing the bigger picture of what all this time and discipline has really been about.

Wow. I wish I could bottle that feeling up and carry it around with me for the next 5 months.

Maybe a little Ethiopian food will help as a reminder. You see, most of the novel is set in Ethiopia and descriptions of the food sneak in every now and then. Of course, I became curious about sour injeera and garlicky wat. Finally, this weekend, we went to the Ethiopian Diamond with one of our favorite food-loving couples. To be honest, the experience itself was worth a lot more than the food. Don't get me wrong, it was tasty, but I don't think I would get excited about leftovers. The dinner itself was fabulous. The restaurant was filled with groups of people from every ethnic background imaginable, all eating with their hands, smiling. I love eating with my hands, like adding in that additional sense makes the food that much better. Ian had a bit of a cold, but medical students are pretty proud of their immune systems and nobody minded his hands in the mix. The sour injeera, salty meats, sweet honey wine, and friends to share it with all combined to make a beautiful evening.

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