Psychiatrists Part 2 and Meatballs

It’s a rule in med school that residents and attendings are not allowed to ask out a medical student while they are overseeing them. Some people ignore that rule.

Now, this event occurred days after my last awkward encounter. This time, I was working in the Psych ER. This was a six hour shift in a room that was maybe 15 by 15 feet with at least 8 people occupying that space at any one time (and sometimes, more).

I was assigned to work with the resident that night, and the first thing I noticed is that there was something…wrong…with his face. Specifically, it looked like he had been attacked by a herd of clawed animals.

Which turned out to be the case.

Resident: My girlfriend just dumped me. She’s a vet. We had 8 cats that she left with me. I was holding one while I was crying and he didn’t want to be held.

Now, I like to think I’m a nice person, so I expressed my condolences. However, that was a mistake.

Resident: So, are you single?

(At this point, I’m wondering why on earth I’m getting asked this twice in one week.)

Me: Yes.

Resident: You seem like you’d be fun to date. We should get margaritas tomorrow. When are you free?

Now, this guy really wasn’t my type. Plus there was the issue of the 8 cats. Thankfully, I had an excuse up my sleeve!

Me: It’s actually med school policy that we can only have professional relationships with those that oversee us while we work with them.

Resident: Oh come on, no one follows that anyway. Go on a date with me!

I said no. He would not get the hint. He followed me up to the cafeteria when I attempted to escape to get a soda. He followed me around that tiny room. He kept asking. I kept saying no.

Finally, after about an hour of this ridiculousness, the social workers and nurses took pity on me and sequestered me into a corner with at least 2 of them standing guard at any one time.

Get the Hint Pesto Meatballs

just leave me alone so I can eat these! shown with my tomato sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground sirloin
  • 1 lb ground veal
  • 1 large onion, diced in large chunks
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 c breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 c parmesan, grated
  • 1/8 c skim milk
  • 4 tbsp garlic
  • 1/8 c pesto
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

How-to

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a blender or food processor, process the onion until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together onion slurry, eggs, breadcrumbs, parmesan, milk, garlic, pesto, and pepper.
  4. Break up the meat in large chunks and add to the other ingredients. Use your hands to combine.
  5. Coat a baking sheet or roasting pan in aluminum foil (for easier cleanup, but you can skip this step if you’d like).
  6. Use a cookie scoop to form round balls and evenly space meatballs in your baking sheet or dish.
  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until meatballs are no longer pink in the center (or use a meat thermometer to the ground meat setting).
  8. Serve with your favorite sauce on pasta or layer with sauce and mozzarella between two pieces of bread for a delicious sub. You could also coat these in your favorite sauce for an appetizer!
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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.

Alter Boys and Roasted Garlic

For some boys, the attention span does not last long.

I was in 6th grade at the time. Now, the middle school years were pretty rough. I had glasses, braces, and acne. I have a wonderful picture of me in 4th grade, when is when the ugly process started, that people don’t think is me, if that tells you anything.

Anyway, I was at the awkward age of 12. I was at some family function (I think it possibly was an uncle getting remarried, but that’s my best guess) that involved us going to church.

Now, on top of that gorgeous picture I just painted of myself, to this event I was wearing an unfortunate outfit. My mother used to make me a dress every year for Easter and Christmas to wear. Now, my mother was quite a good seamstress, but she always insisted on making the dresses have puffy sleeves.

Back when I was in middle school, I HATED puffy sleeves. HATED THEM.

So here I was, in church with my family, decked out in a floral print dress with puffy sleeves, with braces and glasses that took up half my face (the acne wasn’t as bad as normal that day). We’re in the middle of mass, and we’re at the part where everyone shakes hands and says “peace be with you,” for those non-raised-Catholic folks.

In this particular church, the priest and alter boys would walk around and participate. One of the alter boys made a beeline towards us, shook my hand, and then said, “You’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen.”

I was flabbergasted and flattered, since obviously it wasn’t true. However, he then turned to my cousin who was standing next to me, and said, “You’re even more beautiful than your cousin.”

Obviously he hadn’t learned too much about manners as an alter boy.

Saintly Roasted Garlic

this garlic has more manners than some alter boys

Ingredients

  • Whole head roasted garlic (you can roast multiple at a time)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

How-to

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut off tops of whole bulbs of garlic to expose the tops of the cloves.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Wrap in aluminum foil and roast in oven until soft for 35 minutes.
  5. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Use in sauces or just squeeze out a clove and spread onto a piece of good bread…my favorite!

If I’m Going to Hell, I’m Taking These Wings

If you’re going to tell me I’m going to hell, you have to expect me to fight back.

It was a hot June day and a bunch of us were about to go tubing on the river located by our apartments. I was already decked out in my stars and stripes bikini (nothing wrong with being patriotic, y’all) and gathering up my stuff when my doorbell rang.

Now I had thought that I was supposed to meet my friend at her house, but maybe she was coming to mine instead? I couldn’t see who was outside so I just buzzed the person in, then opened my door to the knock.

Standing in my doorway were two men of God, carrying pamphlets about their meeting over the world ending soon. And they did not have happy looks on their faces upon seeing me.

Me: Hi there, can I help you?

Man #1: We just wanted to come here to save you and let you know that the world will be ending.

Me: Well thank you very much, but as you can see, I’m about to head out.

Man #2: (while sneering) Well that’s fine if you want to continue to damn yourself to hell with your current behavior, but if you want to be saved you’ll stay and listen to us.

As I previously said, I don’t take too kindly to this.

Me: Excuse me, sir, but I was raised Catholic and the first lessons you learn are that 1) God loves everyone and 2) we aren’t supposed to judge our fellow man, because God alone will judge us after we leave this earth. Therefore I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t tell me I’m going to hell, since that will be His decision, wouldn’t it?

I’ve never seen jaws drop as far as I did that time.  I then politely said goodbye and shut my door.

I’m finally off their mailing list for their seminars on the world ending, too.

Sinfully Delicious Hot Wings

if I’m going to hell, these are coming with me

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs chicken wings, tips discarded and wings separated (or just buy drummettes, like I did)
  • 4 c water
  • 3 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • Olive oil spray
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne
  • 4 tbsp beer jelly
  • 4 tbsp sriracha

How-to

  1. Mix together water, salt, white wine vinegar, and crushed red pepper flakes.
  2. Place chicken into a gallon size ziplock bag and pour mixture on top. Brine for at least 3 hours- I did mine overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  4. Remove chicken from brining liquid and dry off with a paper towel. Place on a roasting pan with a rack, or onto a cookie sheet with an oven-safe cooling rack placed on top of it (you can just place in a roasting dish, but you’ll get crispier chicken this way).
  5. Spray chicken with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is starting to look crispy.
  6. Mix together beer jelly (I haven’t tried it, but you could also sub in another type of jelly- I’d probably recommend cherry for a good flavor profile) and sriracha. Remove wings from oven and brush mixture onto each wing. Return to oven for an additional 10 minutes.
  7. Let cool 5 minutes to give the coating a chance to set, then enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce (I prefer ranch).

By brining overnight with the crushed red pepper flakes and then coating in the sriracha, both the outside and the actual meat are spicy. If you like yours hotter, just use more sriracha and less beer jelly.

Soaps and Appetizers

Sometimes, you think your kids aren’t paying attention, and then they say something that shocks you.

My mother used to watch soap operas all the time when I was younger. She’d normally have them on in the living room while I would play with some toy on the floor.

According to her, I was nearly 3 years old at the time. The particular soap she was watching was doing some sort of mystery, and the two main characters were somewhere hot and steamy (weather- and  otherwise).

It was at night, and apparently the main female character was prancing around in some negligee. She then told the male lead that she was tired and probably should be going to sleep.

Normally, my mother didn’t think that I would pay attention to such things. At that moment though, I looked up at my mother and said, quite perceptively…

“Momma, I don’t think she has sleep on her mind.”

My mother never watched soaps again. Ever.

All Grown Up Brie en Croute

appropriate for adults or mature young children

Ingredients

  • 1 circle brie or camembert
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 slices bacon (optional)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced thin
  • Salt
  • Pepper

How-to

  1. In a medium saucepan, fry bacon and set aside to drain. Crumble when cool.
  2. In that same medium saucepan, dump out bacon grease and wipe clean. Add in olive oil, onions, salt, and pepper. Saute over low heat for approximately 20-30 minutes until onions are golden brown and caramelized. Stir occasionally so onions don’t burn.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Slice top and bottom rind off cheese. Lay out puff pastry sheet and put cheese on top in the middle. Top with sautéed onions and crumbled bacon. Fold over puff pastry to cover everything.
  5. Place on a small cookie sheet and brush with beaten egg.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until puff pastry is golden brown.

Serve with crackers or good bread (my favorite pairing is a garlic clove loaf).

 

Ham and Bacon…or Why I’m No Longer a Vegetarian

Starting in middle school, I became a vegetarian.  A lot of it was for health reason,s combined with an unfortunately assigned report on meat-packing plants (not the best choice for a city girl like myself who pretended that all meat originated at the grocery story).

I was a vegetarian for 6 years.  I still ate dairy and seafood, but I had no meat during that whole time. In general I thought it was pretty easy, even with living in the midwest and our lack of vegetables in the winter.

And then, one year in high school, my mother made a ham for Christmas dinner.  Now, back in my meat-eating days, I LOVED ham.  And bacon. And pork chops.  It was pretty much a guarantee that if it came from a pig, I’d probably have eaten it.

The memory is a bit hazy, but I remember walking into the kitchen, led by the smell of that brown-sugar glazed ham.  No one else was around but me. Without hesitating, I first ate one piece, and then another, and then another…until my mother eventually walked into the kitchen…

“Oh my god you just ate half the ham.  OH MY GOD MARC MEGAN IS EATING MEAT!!!!!  SINCE WHEN DO YOU EAT MEAT???  OH THANK GOD YOU CAN EAT LIKE THE REST OF US AGAIN!!”

Yes, most of that was said in a shriek. I had, after all, eaten nearly half a ham.  Quite surprisingly  I didn’t feel sick later at all (though attempting to eat poultry or steak again was a wholeeeeee different story).

Spicy Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts

Ingredients

  • 1 package thick-sliced bacon, rashers cut into thirds
  • 2 cans whole water chestnuts
  • 1/4 c barbecue sauce
  • 3 tbsp sriracha sauce (also known as rooster sauce- can add more to taste if you like them really spicy)
  • 3 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

How-to

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut bacon slices (rashers are the technical term) into thirds.  Wrap each water chestnut in 1/3 piece bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place onto a shallow roasting pan lined with aluminum foil (makes for easier cleanup).
  3. Bake water chestnuts for approximately 40 minutes or until the bacon is a golden brown.
  4. While water chestnuts are in the oven, mix together the barbecue sauce, sriracha, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and pepper. Taste and adjust flavorings to taste (more salty- more Worcestershire, more spice- more sriracha, more sweet- more brown sugar, more tang- more soy sauce).
  5. When bacon is golden, remove from oven. Remove water chestnuts from pan and place onto paper towels to drain. Discard grease in roasting pan.
  6. Dip each water chestnut into the sauce mixture and place back on the roasting pan. Return to oven for approximately 15-20 minutes.  Serve with remaining dipping sauce.

If you’d like, you can skip steps 5 & 6 and use this method instead.  Remove water chestnuts from oven and place into a small crock-pot on high.  Pour sauce on top and gently toss to coat.  Heat in crock pot for 30 minutes, then turn heat to low for serving purposes right out of the crock pot!