Plays and Chicken

I can’t wait to be old. Then I can say whatever I want.

My medical school is known for a number of crazy traditions. One of them is the 2.5 hour long musical that we write, produce, and star in every year. This is far more involved than any high school production I ever did…and my high school theater group was not one to half-ass a production.

As with every tradition, this musical is made up of more traditions. The musical always features the “babe dance” and the “stud dance,” which feature the about-to-graduate girls and guys, with the guys always coming up with clever ways to show their muscles and take off all of their clothes so they are dancing in their underwear. There are also roles that appear every year…

The Giant Penis and the Giant Vagina (and, a more recent tradition…the Giant Anus…which is really more of a Butt, to be honest).

These obviously come with huge, handmade (honestly, I wonder whose mother made these, because they are quite hideous) puffy, life-sized costumes. You can see the actor’s face, as they have holes strategically cut out for that.

Now, before I get any further, I should take a moment to say that these are actually quite coveted roles- they always have a lot of lines and it’s some of the most over-the-top acting in the whole show.

My very first year of medical school, I got the role of the Giant Vagina, with some uproar (it’s normally a fourth year female going into gynecology…and that student was not the most happy that she didn’t get the part). My parents decided to come to the play, and I did have to warn them ahead of time that I would be wearing a huge, ugly vagina costume.

My parents took it quite well, but the unexpected call came from my grandfather.

Grampa: Hey honey.

Me: Hey Grampa!

Grampa: So I hear you’re going to play a huge vag?

I managed to eventually choke out a “yes” after I finally recovered from shock.

Costume Inspired Oven Beer Can Chicken

I don’t think I need any more explanation

Ingredients

  • 6 oz beer or some other liquid (soda works well, too)
  • 1 whole chicken (about 4 lbs)
  • 2 tbsp light butter
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • Garlic salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil spray

How-to

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using an empty soda or beer can, pour in your liquid of choice. Or, open a new can of your beverage of choice and drink half.
  3. Mix together butter, rosemary, paprika, garlic, and hot sauce.
  4. Using your fingers, make pockets between the skin and the meat of the chicken. Smear the butter mixture in these pockets. Try to cover as much of the chicken as you can.
  5. Spray the outside of the skin with the olive oil spray and sprinkle on the garlic salt and pepper.
  6. In an 8×8 in baking dish, place the can with the liquid in the center. Place the open end of the chicken over the can and use the drumsticks to almost create a tripod to stabilize the chicken.
  7. Place into the oven and roast for 1 hr 45 minutes to 2 hours or until juices run clear. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before removing from can and carving.

Anesthesia and Pulled Chicken

You know the joke about people who say embarrassing things after anesthesia?

I am one of those people.

Now, before you all panic, this does not happen to all people. This also doesn’t happen after all anesthesia- I’ve seen it happen mostly in those patients that just had those “conscious sedation” procedures such as colonoscopies and endoscopies. (A quick note- conscious sedation DOES NOT mean that you awake. It simply means that we don’t give you quit enough anesthesia to require us to stick a breathing tube down your throat.) We anesthesiologists and our fellow post-op and post-procedure extraordinaires do not take anything you take seriously when you are in the recovery period. That’s also why we give you a few minutes before we bring your families back.

Unfortunately for me, I am just too chatty for too long.

As part of my pre-surgical workup, I had to have a few of those “conscious sedation” procedures. My pre-op nurse was this older, crass gentleman who thought the best way to calm me down (hey, we get nervous, too! if anything, we get MORE nervous than you do, because we know everything that can go wrong!) was to tell me amusing stories.

In particular, he told me about a husband and wife who spent their time in pre-op trying to come up with the best way to describe just how small his penis and testicles were. Apparently the wife won by describing an exploration into her husband’s pants as trying to find some sort of small object (I unfortunately don’t remember what she said) in a large, dark basement.

I then was whisked off to the procedure suite, and the next thing I knew, I was in the recovery area with my friend sitting next to me.

I was also chatting away quite loudly, retelling the awkward husband and wife story that my pre-op nurse had told me. And then, I saw it- a glimmer of an expression on my friend’s face.

Me: I’m repeating myself, aren’t I?

She smirked and said, “Fourth time in a row for that story- not that I’m counting or anything.”

Me: And I’ve been talking in a loud voice, too, haven’t I?

Another smirk, and then, “You really don’t want to know the answer to that.”

Pre-and Post-Op Spicy Pulled Chicken

make this before your procedure, and it’ll be ready to eat once you get back!

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs chicken, frozen (I used boneless chicken breasts, but use whatever you like- just realize you’ll need to go up slightly on the weight of your chicken if you use bone-in)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 c honey barbeque sauce
  • 1/4 c sriracha
  • 1/4 c plain white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp Adobo seasoning
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

How-to

  1. In a crock pot, mix everything together but the chicken, and then place in the chicken pieces. Toss in the sauce.
  2. Cook for 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low.
  3. Remove chicken and use fork to shred. Return to sauce mixture and cook for an additional 30 minutes on high or 1 hr on low.

I think this is great on a toasted whole-wheat bun topped with coleslaw…or on a pizza (recipe to follow next week!)

P.S. Six days until I can cook again…not that I am counting or anything…

Hallucinations and Frittatas

People like to offer me their son’s hands in marriage. Unfortunately, I can never take them seriously.

When I was on my Psychiatry rotation, I did 2 weeks on Psych consults. Now, when most people think of psychiatry, they think of crazy people in a psych ward with soft padded walls. What you don’t realize is that you can only be in a psych ward if you have no other medical conditions, and that many of the drugs that we give patients to treat their medical conditions or relieve pain after surgery can cause “drug induced psychosis.”

Such was the case with one particular patient. For him, the drugs we had to give him to treat his condition had also induced a week of mania. He kept talking very quickly and kept professing his love to his entire medical team, to the point where he had to be restrained in bed to prevent him from constantly hopping out (and potentially injuring himself and others) to run down the hall and hug people.

He also thought that he was the King of England and was head of the United States Navy. I was offered the spot of Princess and my own ship.

The first time we entered his room, he made all of us line up so he could evaluate us, and then he pointed at me.

Patient: You!

Me (questioning): Me?

Patient: You are perfect for my son!

Me (confused): Me?

Patient: You will be a princess!

Me (surprised): Me?

Patient: And you will have both a husband and a ship!

Me (incredulous): Huh?

Patient: He is 35 and has never not failed at a relationship, but you’re going to be a doctor so you will be perfect. Besides, you will be a princess! And have your own ship!

Wife: Unfortunately, he’s not hallucinating about our son’s relationship issues. (to her husband) Honey, our son is 45. And he might have better dating luck if he didn’t still live at home with us or got a job.

We went through this on a daily basis until the son was finally there during one of our visits.

And the wife was totally correct in her assessment.

Meet the Parents Caprese Frittata

no oven required!

Ingredients

  • 10 in nonstick pan with lid
  • Olive oil spray
  • 10 grape tomatoes, chopped in half
  • 2-3 oz fresh mozzarella, diced to the same size as the tomatoes
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Fresh-cracked Pepper
  • Salt

How-to

  1. Spray 10 inch pan with olive oil (put your own in a spray bottle- it’s healthier!)
  2. Place pan over medium-low heat. Add tomatoes.
  3. Mix together eggs, pesto, and milk. Add a few twists of fresh-cracked pepper.
  4. Pour egg mixture on top of tomatoes. Arrange pieces of mozzarella artfully across the dish (this might take 1-2 minutes, but that’s okay!).
  5. Cover with lid and cook for 5-7 minutes or until eggs are set.
  6. Slide out of pan, cut into wedges, and serve! Salt if desired (the addition of the pesto normally means you don’t need it)

Note: If you are using a 12-in pan, increase ingredients to 15 tomatoes, 3-4 oz mozzarella, 4 eggs, 3 tbsp pesto, and 2 tbsp milk. If your eggs are on the smaller size, increase by an additional egg.

Titanic and French Onion Soup

I think it’s a trait of all dads to have the ability to make their daughters feel awkward.

Titanic was one of the biggest movies back when I was middle school. I wasn’t allowed to see it until after we read a play version of the entire movie in my 7th grade class…so I already knew most of the details of the movie. My parents then finally let me borrow the movie on VHS from our neighbors (it belonged to their 8 year old daughter). However, I wasn’t allowed to watch it alone. Since it wasn’t really my mom’s sort of movie, my father was assigned to watch it with me.

That’s right…I had to watch Titanic, the love story of my generation, with my dad. And that wasn’t the half of it.

When it reached the point where Jack draws Rose naked…

Dad: Hey honey…you should probably leave the room now.

Me: Can’t you just fast forward it?

Dad: Then how would I summarize what happens?

He didn’t have to summarize, as I just stood outside the room and could hear the entire scene. I was allowed to return, only to have it be the car incident.

Dad: Okay honey, back out.

Me: Da-ad. I’m almost 13. The NEIGHBOR’S 8 year old daughter owns this movie.

Dad: Your mother said you’re not allowed to watch it, so out.

Me: But you don’t see anything in this scene besides a hand!

Dad: OUT!

After another brief interlude of listening to the movie from outside the room, I was then allowed to watch the rest of the movie…by myself (my dad said the “movie was too long”). I eventually was allowed to watch the ENTIRE movie six months later, but only after I turned 13. (And I, again, had to borrow the movie from my neighbor’s still 8-year-old daughter.)

For Adults Only Drunken French Onion Soup

be sure to use a whiskey you like!!

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs onions
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 c whiskey (see substitution below)
  • 1/4 c sherry
  • 1/4 c worchestershire sauce
  • 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
  • 4 c beef or vegetable broth
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c skim milk (optional)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch (optional)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • French bread
  • Beer Jelly (optional)
  • Gruyère cheese, shredded

How-to

  1. Finely slice onions. Coat bottom of a dutch oven with olive oil, then add onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, or until onions are golden and caramelized (this might take longer than 30 minutes).
  2. Add whiskey and sherry. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, then add in worchestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, broth, and garlic. Bring back to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for an additional 15 minutes to let the flavors develop. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. If you prefer your French Onion Soup with a thinner broth, stop here. If you like yours creamier (like me), stir in 1 tbsp cornstarch into 1 c skim milk, then stir into soup. Simmer for an additional 2 minutes (don’t bring it back to a boil or it might scald!).
  4. To serve, ladle into an oven-safe bowl. Spread beer jelly onto french bread, place on top of soup, and then top with shredded Gruyère cheese. Place under broiler (I actually did this in my toaster oven) until cheese melts.

Note: If you want to make a non-alcoholic version, substitute whiskey and sherry with additional broth.

Childhood Pictures and Sloppy Joes

Parents take a lot of pictures. However, they don’t always realize how embarrassing those can be.

As a kid, my father must have kept every photography store in business in Michigan and New Jersey. There are hundreds of hours of video tape of me crawling around naked in our living room. And I’m not kidding- HUNDREDS of hours. It might have been cute to watch 30 seconds of this footage, but not 300 hours.

There are also pictures. And boy, are there some bad ones.

My parents had taken lamaze classes with the neighbor family four houses down the street, and thus their son and I were destined to become friends (or at least for the first four years until they moved). We did everything together, which my father proudly documented.

Including taking baths.

The most infamous is simply known as the “bath picture,” even though there are two different ones. Both pictures feature my friend the neighbor boy, his 2-year-old sister, and me (we were both about 3 years old at the time). I at least had the sense of decency to try to cover up in one of the pictures with a washcloth, but I failed miserably in that quest.

My brothers first found the picture when I was 10 or 12 years old, and obviously loved teasing me about how naughty I was for being naked with a boy at the young age of 3. (They were the fortunate ones- my father had finally realized by the time they were born that it wasn’t quite necessary to document EVERYTHING). My mother and I kept trying to hide the pictures, but my brothers would always find them and show them to anyone who would look while snickering endlessly.

The true highlight of the story, though, is that I didn’t see my former neighbor for 18 years after they moved, and then we ended up attending the same medical school. And the first thing he said to me after not seeing each other for all that time?

“So, do your siblings tease you endlessly to this day about that bath picture, too?”

That’s right, after 18 years, the first thing he brought up was a naked picture of the two of us. Like I said, some things will always come back to haunt you.

All Grown Up Spicy Sloppy Joes

much better than man’wich

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground meat (you can substitute with 2 14-oz cans black beans for a vegetarian option)
  • 1 large bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 c salsa (I prefer hot, but use whatever you prefer)
  • 2 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 c tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hamburger buns (I prefer whole wheat)
  • Cheese of your choice, if desired

How-to

  1. In a large skillet, saute together ground meat (I normally prefer lean ground turkey), onion, and bell pepper over medium heat. If making these vegetarian and using black beans instead, saute the beans (rinsed and drained) with the bell pepper and onion in 2 tbsp olive oil.
  2. When meat is brown and veggies are soft, remove from heat and drain off any grease. If using black beans, saute until veggies are soft and beans are warmed through.
  3. Return to medium heat and stir in garlic powder, salsa, worchestershire sauce, chili powder, and tomato sauce. If mixture is still too thick, add 1/4 cup water. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes for the flavors to develop.
  4. Serve on your favorite buns (I prefer to serve these open face on toasted whole-wheat buns) and cheese if desired.

Shaking Walls and Spaghetti Carbonara

My roommate and I in college had really noisy neighbors. But not in the way you’re assuming.

We had previously had an empty room located next to us, but in the span of a month, we had two new neighbors. For the first few days, we heard them moving all the furniture around and getting set up.

It was possibly a week later and my roommate and I were studying. Then we began hearing a noise we didn’t expect. It sounded like something was continually hitting the wall in between our two rooms.

KS: What’s that?

Me: Not sure. Maybe they’re rearranging furniture again?

And then we heard a noise that both of us could recognize: the sound of a female moaning.

KS (whose bed and desk were pushed right up to the shared wall): Oh god. It’s the bed hitting the wall.

It was later that week when the bed really hit the wall, so to speak. I had been asleep, until I got woken up by my roommate, who was out of bed and sitting in the chair below.

In my just abruptly woken state, it took me a few minutes to realize that the neighbors were moaning loudly and knocking the bed into the wall again…and they were using such force that my roommate’s bed was moving, too.

Our solution? Hit the wall back and yell at them. (I never said it was mature)

The rabbits eventually got bored with each other or switched to his room, but not before we kindly shoved condoms under the door (our school gave them out for free- but they were in red, yellow, and green- the colors of a stoplight, how fitting!) along with a guide on safe sex.

After all, we were just looking out for their health. ;)

College Cooking Spaghetti Carbonara

even a college kid could make this

Ingredients

  • 1/4 box spaghetti
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 c parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • Salt
  • Pepper

How-to

  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
  2. While spaghetti is cooking, mix together egg, parmesan, milk, parsley, and garlic powder.
  3. Drain spaghetti and return to pan. Pour in mixture and stir so it coats all the spaghetti. The warm spaghetti will cook the egg yolk, but if you’re concerned, do this over very low heat for 30 seconds. Salt and pepper to taste.

Note: I realize this is missing pancetta, but I couldn’t get that in college. I suppose you could add in bacon bits if you’re a resourceful college kid. ;)

Sex after Surgery and Spinach Pesto

Even health professionals get sick. And we hate going to the doctor even more than you do.

To make a long story short, I have to have surgery in less than 10 days. And because of that, I have to endure the pre-op clinic visit. The big purpose of that visit is to get all your bloodwork done, see if you need to see any other doctors, make sure you can have anesthesia, and then finally to tell you everything you’re not allowed to do before and after having surgery.

The last part being the most fun, of course.

So here I was, sitting in the doctor’s office with a well-intentioned, very intelligent, older nurse practitioner. The first part went easy- I just had to have anesthesia two weeks ago for some procedures so there were no issues there. It took a bit of time to edit my allergies- I discovered during those same procedures that apparently I’m allergic to the adhesive for the heart electrode monitors (I looked like I had lyme disease because of hives for 4 days all over my chest and abdomen- sexy…not).

Then, surprise!

Me: Wait, it says here that I’m not allowed to COOK for 2 weeks?

NP: Yup. Pots and pans are too heavy for you to lift. It’s minimum 7 days but possibly up to 21. Remember, you can’t lift anything heavier than half a gallon of milk.

Me: But I can’t COOK?

NP: Correct, but the biggest thing is that you’re not allowed to have sex for 2 weeks. And I mean any of kind of sex. You can’t have oral sex, vaginal sex, or anal sex. You aren’t allowed to use a vibrator. You can’t use a dildo. You can’t use your hands or use someone else’s hands. You can’t have foreplay. You can’t…

Me: Excuse me?

NP (looks up from her list): Yes?

Me: Look, it’s on my form that I’m single and there’s no chance I could be pregnant. I haven’t even had a DATE since January. The chances of me meeting someone and deciding that I’m going to sleep with him in the next month are probably as close to zero as they could be. I have a COOKING BLOG. Me not being able to cook is much more upsetting that you informing me that my recent celibacy is going to have to last at least another month for medical reasons.

NP: Okay. You know you can’t bake, either.

(don’t worry, dear readers-I’ve since been stockpiling posts so I don’t have to disappear from the blogosphere for 7-21 days)

Surgery Approved Spinach and Walnut Pesto

I can at least lift this jar out of my fridge. Shown here with Trader Joe’s Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomato Ravioli (which I am not allowed to cook post-op)

Ingredients

  • 3 c fresh spinach, washed and drained
  • 1/3 c walnuts
  • 1/4 c parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

How-to

  1. In a food processor (I did this in my Cuisinart 7 C food processor), add the spinach, walnuts, parmesan, and lemon juice.
  2. Start the food processor and drizzle in olive oil into the feed tube until you reach your desired consistency (I used 1/4 c). Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve on practically anything. To store, place in small jars and leave room at the top. Cover with a thin layer of olive oil (this will help your pesto stay green). You can also put this into ice cube trays (again, covering with a small layer of olive oil), freeze, then pop those cubes out and store them all together in a freezer-safe bag. That way you can defrost one at a time in your fridge.