Feet First

“It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” - Sir William Osler

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    Saturday, May 01, 2010
    Russian Potato Salad

    It has been a crazy two weeks at work. The Firm finally switched us all over to the new completely unnecessary EMR system. This was an en masse switchover: All nearly one hundred of us docs, plus the front and back office staff, started using a new dysfunctional and inefficient system on the same day. I will leave you to imagine the madness that ensued.

    Our old system was rather basic but by comparison, easy and quick to use. Two examples: To print lab results takes about four mouse clicks and we can only print one result at a time instead of highlighting all of them and printing them out together. In other words, if the patient has four labs drawn it will take 16 clicks to print out the results. Also, the old system would allow us to fax results to any doctor in the Tertiary Medical Care system straight from the desktop without printing them out first; new system? Oh, I'm sorry, we can't do that. Grr.

    So this weekend, seething in frustration, I have fallen back on cooking some basics which don't require a lot of thought as I don't really feel up to thinking right now. One dish I made today is Russian Potato Salad, a recipe I got from Arthur Schwartz's What to Cook When You Think There's Nothing in the House to Eat (a great cookbook, BTW). Russian potato salad calls for diced pickle, diced onion and peas as well as potatoes. If you think potato salad is okay but sort of bleh, this is the recipe for you - it has a lot more flavor than your standard potato salad. You don't have to measure anything. Proportions are based on how much you want to make and what you personally like. I tend to go heavy on the pickles and onion.

    I use russet baking potatoes for potato salad, myself. You don't have to, you can use red potatoes or whatever you like, but I like the mealier texture of the russets. Plus they soak up dressing as they sit so you get some lovely, high caloric potato salad. You can also add chopped ham or chicken, but I don't recommend this as it really pushes the salad into the too-heavy range. The original recipe calls for hard-boiled egg as well. You finely dice the white and add it to the salad, then sieve the yolk over the surface of the salad when you are done. I made it this way the first time, but then never bothered with it again as I think it is fine without egg.

    So. Boil your potatoes, then cool and peel. Make sure they are cooked through: With large russets this may take up to 30 minutes. Then dice the potatoes, chop your pickle (you can use sweet or dill, I like dill pickle with this) and onion. Cook some frozen peas, drain and add them. Just to give you an idea, today I used three russets, three dill pickle spears, about a cup of peas and 1/2 cup of chopped onion. For the dressing, I mix mayonnaise (Best Foods or any good brand), mustard and black pepper and thin it with lemon juice. You will need plenty of dressing, so don't skimp. Mix it separately to combine the dressing well without mushing the salad ingredients. Then gently fold the dressing into all of the above ingredients.

    You may not need any salt as the pickles, mayo and mustard all contain plenty. But potatoes do need salt, so add it if you need it. Just taste it first.

    This is a great side dish with baked chicken or hamburgers and will last for several days in the fridge. Don't be afraid to make more than you need, as it is a great leftover.

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    Oh yum. How mustardy is it...? Have been dying for some summer food w/ high mayo content, just in time for my cholesterol to start acting up again :( Off to buy some Cheerios...

    By Blogger Pisser, at May 4, 2010 at 3:20:00 PM PDT  

    P.S. I guess it's too late to scrap the new system?! Does it do ANYTHING better than the old one?!

    By Blogger Pisser, at May 4, 2010 at 3:20:00 PM PDT  

    You can add as much mustard as you personally like, I like rather a lot. :)

    As for the system... it has Spellcheck and you can enlarge the note area so it's much easier to read... that's about it. In every other way I prefer the old system. I think their motto is "why use 1-click when six or seven will do?"

    By Blogger Dr. Alice, at May 4, 2010 at 6:15:00 PM PDT  

    Yum! Totally unrelated, but what is your medical opinion of this
    (sorta kinda not safe for work)?:


    By Blogger Pisser, at May 15, 2010 at 3:08:00 PM PDT  

    I, um. Yikes! You seid *medical* opinion, right? Not ethical? [g]

    Well, as far as I can tell this would be "safe." I have never heard of a case of bloodborne infection caused by crabs, nor have I found one when I searched the Internet. And as for the eggs shipped to the purchaser, I imagine they are in fact sterile, about as safe as ladybugs or anything else would be.

    Would I avail myself of this service? No, I would not. YMMV.

    By Blogger Dr. Alice, at May 16, 2010 at 5:43:00 PM PDT  

    That's hilarious. Good to know the pubic louse (?) er, crab, isn't any kind of known vector-!

    (Not that I plan on availing myself of this "service", either :)

    By Blogger Pisser, at May 25, 2010 at 12:41:00 PM PDT  

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