Saturday, July 30, 2011

Birthing and Clams

So we went over to the midwife's house today who will possibly be doing the home birth. She is a lovely woman and has a good balance of respect for the birthing process as a possible medical process but more likely a fairly simple and straightforward labor and delivery without much intervention needed. From my experience (attending about 100 births or so) and most of the stories I have heard from friends, this is going to be the safest and happiest way to bring our little boy into the world... oh yeah, a boy - pics below (Erin didn't scan the one of his package cause she figured I would post it and she was right, but trust me, it's a boy!):

On the way home, we stopped and had some decent Mexican food at a place in Brooklyn run by Chinese guys whose menu was unmistakably set up as a Chinese menu but with Mexican food substituted in - but fresh tortillas and not bad at all. They also had a choking poster depicting Chinese characters doing CPR and the Heimlich maneuver with instructions in Spanish.

Finally, we stopped at the Prospect Park Farmer's Market to get some food for dinner. Peaches were awesome (but pricey), corn looks great and the seafood was good too. Bright yellow zucchini and some eggplant to finish it off. On the way home, Erin kept saying that she thought that clams, corn and potatoes sounded good but wouldn't give a whole heck of a lot more detail as to how she thought the three ingredients might coalesce - she just kept repeating clams, corn and potatoes. She's wonderful. The potatoes look very fresh and so I think may be good a little undercooked even with a bit of tart to them... so here goes one idea to fulfill her vision:

Clams, Corn and Potatoes
- we'll slice the potatoes thin, then broil with herbs and butter for 20mins or so until they have a little bit of crusting going on. The corn will be broiled (until we get a BBQ). I'll cook the clams and mussels in garlic with yellow squash and oregano, and steam them till just the first ones open then add the potatoes to finish in the last 5 minutes to soak up a bit of juice but still be crispy from the caramelizing and then plate with broken pieces of corn on the cob on the side as a platter... we shall see.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Heat wave

So this last weekend was 100+ for most of the time... we still had a good time however. Erin was a star at the bodega in the Bronx - her bright smiling face attracted people who sort of stepped back when I said 'hi, would you like to fill out a survey on what you eat?' Otherwise, went to Mike's show which was good music as usual but crappy location in random place in Williamsburg and had a lovely cool dinner:

Cucumber-mint soup and Watermelon-basil-feta salad with Tiger Shrimp
- all cool for this one: the cucumbers were easy (and one from the garden): just cucumbers in the mixer with some mint, then add some yogurt, sour cream and a bit of mustard. The salad was watermelon, basil from the garden, radish, feta, tomatoes and a little onion with some olive oil - lovely! Tiger shrimp fresh somehow and locally obtained - all served cold in a hot apartment.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bloody Alex

I will be making dinner tonight. Hence, I have tied this post to food:

Alex had yet another bike accident today. I was driving to work this morning, realized I forgot my phone, and in the next moment, had a weird feeling that I should be very very careful because something terrible could happen today. I thought it meant me in a car accident. Apparently, it meant Alex would be injured elsewhere. He got to work via Mili's car, after calling my unanswerable phone, then hobbling around looking for the train station and pausing every 50 feet to breathe. Once there, his team insisted that he go to the ER, because of his rapid breathing. He probably has a fractured rib, although it wasn't clear on the X-ray. Plus multiple contusions and abrasions and an injured shoulder.

Coming home this afternoon, what is his main priority? To get to a bike shop and get the cursed bicycle fixed so he can ride it to work tomorrow. I drove to find him and apparently, I wasn't pleasant. Am I to blame for shouting at him? Is it okay for me to throw the bicycle out the window while he is sleeping tonight? He's so darn perky about it - I think, to contrast with my ferociousness. I don't want anything to happen to him. ANYTHING. Even little contusions and broken ribs and banged helmets. And he's irritatingly cavalier about it all.

Wish other people were reading this post and could figure out another way to make him be more careful, ride slower, ride fewer days and take the subway sometimes- which seems to be much much safer. Because clearly my worry only makes him more determined...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sweet addition to the menu for this week...

I'm making a mascarpone and cream cheese cheesecake with lemon and a sour cream/lemon topping. Sounds amazing, right? Alex loves cheesecake more than any other dessert.
The recipe is on epicurious, at:

I hope it turns out well. There are a huge number of reviews of it, mostly saying positive things, but some warnings about cooking time and amount of butter. Since I'm not an expert chef, I usually just follow the recipe, but I did use less butter for the crust (7Tbs instead of 10T- worked fine), and it wasn't at all set when I checked it at 30min, so it's going for 20min more. With some checking in between.

The batter was spectacular- although, after I'd licked the bowl, the mixer, and the spatula, I remembered there was some warning about pregnant women consuming raw eggs. Oh well---

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dinners for the week of July 18

Inspiration from working in the garden this morning...

Zucchini Coins and Crumbled Feta with Herb-crusted Chicken and Lime-infused rice
- basically thinly sliced zucchini with garlic in a oil cooked on low for 20-30 mins, toss with herbs (basil and oregano freshly picked in our case) and some crumbled feta; I think I'll bake the chicken after a quick batter and crust

Indian Potato Salad with seared Tilapia and Brown-buttered Spinach
- cumin seeds, garam masala and cayenne form the base for the potato salad along with cilantro... the tilapia is self-explanatory and spinach just longs for butter...

Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary and Mustard with a Cucumber and Tomato Salad (garden fresh) and Baguette
- just have to remember to do this the night before: rosemary and mustard with pepper on the pork - then it's easy: put tenderloins on top of a bed of rosemary if you have them and bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes a side

Roasted Cauliflower with Fennel and Honey-Glazed Collard Greens with Naan
- lots o' meat in the others, so this night we're goin green! The naan is just for variety...

Harlem churches:
There is a strange tide of French and Italian speaking tourists that comes into Harlem every Sunday morning and ebbs out by the evening... not long after living here I found out that it was for the churches. If you look in a guide book from France on NYC, one of the top attractions is Harlem Sunday Church - glory hallelujah! There are many things that are almost voyeuristic about tourism in general, but somehow visiting a church is worse. It's funny to see the big buses pull up to a small homey looking church filled with gospel music and have people pour out, peep about nervously before hustling inside. If it were all about the prayer or the building itself, I think I might be more ok with it. However, I the big attraction is the people themselves - the more outlandish, the more yelling and thumpin' the better. Is this any different than watching French kids play soccer in the park or Italians sauntering around the piazza? I suppose not, but it does seem weird still for some reason - and, no matter how much I try to rationalize it, part of the weirdness is purely racial in my mind - mostly rich European folk coming to watch poorer black Americans sing their hearts out... and then go eat Sunday brunch at Sylvia's Soul Food.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dinner week of July 11th

This time, the food first, the commentary second.

- a simple food in theory to make... delicious if it comes out right. I pulled a recipe off Epicurious and here's the basics: 4-5 tomatoes, 2 cucumbers, 1 pepper, thyme and garlic with olive oil in the blender, mix afterward with 3 cups tomato juice and some red wine vinegar and voila! We had it with some crusted bread and sour cream after chilling for a night - perfect!

Garden dinners
- we've had a few of these, I won't get into details on the food other than simplicity - a simple salad with fresh goat cheese or the left over hot dogs (from an earlier post) with salad... the bottom line is that the community garden we have been lent by our lovely neighbor is like an oasis. To be able to sit in the middle of Harlem amongst vegetables growing and a cool breeze on a hot summer night makes just about any food delectable - eating with your lovely wife and unborn little one is the icing.

New York Life
- sometimes this feels like a really hard city to live in: this week I had 3 flat tires in my commute through the Bronx, tried to feel the kindness of strangers when I was not hit by their careening driving patterns, and the clinic was pure chaos - a crappy week overall for other reasons that should not be said here. In clinic this week, I met one patient who helped make life seem less bad for some reason, and we initially connected over food... I won't relate any details that violate HIPPA, but basically his darling little 1 year old came in for a visit, and in asking what she's been eating, he described his home food with some prompting - the peanut sauce seemed unique in preparation and I asked more... apparently, this father was a top student in Mali (about 1/2 of my patients at least are from other countries), and being a top student, he was sent to Russia for his studies where he completed a PhD in sociology, then went on to serve as a war correspondent for the IRC (International Rescue Committee - a refugee organization that I used to volunteer for) and wrote advocacy and journalism pieces for them. He moved to NYC to have the chance at a better life for his family - and now he sells shoes. So here's a guy who speaks French, English, Malian and Russian fluently and has a PhD in sociology who is selling shoes to get by and give his family a better chance. It's funny that I thought I had a bad week after getting a bunch of flats and having a crappy work week as a doctor... it's all relative of course in terms of suffering - one can suffer in riches as well as in poverty, but I am lucky to have such personal examples to serve as inspiration on a near daily basis.

Baby news:
the little one really started moving this week!!! still can't hear a heartbeat with my stethoscope, but he/she is a moovin and groovin - especially when Erin lies down. I'm so excited! Next week we find out boy or girl - don't care which, excited both ways. Had two conversations this week with adolescent patients that felt a little like parenting where they were a boy/girl who didn't have a father/mother to explain life's little joke of adolescence to them and so part of the job fell to me - sweet patients but flash forward in time... actually helped me frame things in a light that was less medical and more sympathetic I think.

More to come this week in food... doing inpatient oncology this week as the senior physician on the floor, so perhaps some neutropenic meals are in order? (bad joke).

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dinner week of July 5th

Well that was a lovely weekend. Only a few entanglements with the madness of what is this city - went driving by the beach that many frequent for July 4th and thankfully kept on driving - the lines and cars and fees and private-ness of it all made me yearn for a west coast free beach with good surf. So it goes. San Diego beaches weren't that good at times either in the summer.
I was thinking a bit about the little one that's coming this weekend too. It's so exciting and yet very intimidating at the same time - and I'm a pediatrician. Apparently that doesn't help much. The only part that is reassuring that I take from work is that I have seen some completely incompetent and idiotic parents who have just lovely children - so there's a chance of success even if we screw it up royally. Erin sent me a study today about how 16 month old children make rational decisions regarding the effects of themselves on the world - basically figuring out what the problem is - them vs the world when something fails to function. This is something that I struggle with in the hospital at times so I'm not sure what that means for me.

Anywho, to food!
We stopped on the way back from the beach this weekend at Bigelow's Clam Shack and had some Ipswich clams and a beer - perfect.

Otherwise, this past week, we've had:

Fettucini alfredo with mustard greens
- now this would normally be nothing to write home about... however, this round was made with parmigiano that our friends brought back from Italy - he is from Reggio and gave us a huge chunk of the good stuff. Made the cheesy goodness with butter and milk and voila! Erin wasn't the biggest fan of the mustard greens with yellow peppers, but I liked it.

Summer squash salad with steak and garlic bread
- also a simple summer dish, nothing fancy but soooo good. The squash I got same day from a farmer's market - the salad is easy: peel the squash to the core so you just have ribbons, roast some chopped almonds, make a dressing with lemon juice, olive oil and a bit of garlic and then add that to the squash ribbons with some lettuce if you wish, salt, pepper, away you go! Steak and garlic bread as per the standard fashion.

Next week we may go back to Fresh Direct and likely more complex and dangerous food...