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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    Tuesday, May 25, 2010
    When It Was Good It Was Very, Very Good

    ....and when it was bad, it was horrid. Farewell, 24, the show I couldn't stop watching no matter how silly it got. Much of Season Eight was excellent, but I really didn't like the last few hours when Jack became a one-man vengeance machine. The finale was wonderful, though.

    • Smarmy President Logan got his comeuppance. (Greg Itzin, I hope you win the Emmy this year that you should have won for Season Five.)

    • The emotional goodbye between Jack and Chloe allowed the series to end on a good note. The relationship between these two has become the heart of the show.

    • No Aaron Pierce this season?! What were they thinking?

    • I'm really going to miss Dave Barry live blogging the show.

    On the bright side, I suddenly have all this free time now.


    Saturday, May 22, 2010
    *Sigh* Sorry guys, seems like all I can come up with to write about right now is recipes. I'm a little brain dead due to my ongoing wrestling with the New Computer System and the upcoming end of 24 (the last broadcast begins in 48 hours!)

    At any rate I credit this post to my aunt, who is doing extremely well healthwise, I am happy to say. It's not just a recipe, it is an entire dinner and can be expanded to feed as many as you would like. Basically the dinner is hamburger with grilled onions, mashed potatoes and broccoli - it's easy, delicious and works even for one person. Here we go:

    Hamburger Steak Smothered in Onions


    Worcestershire sauce
    Garlic or onion powder
    Milk, butter
    Salt, pepper
    Green veg: broccoli or similar

    Take the hamburger and season it well with Worcestershire, pepper and garlic or onion powder. A pound of ground meat will make three to four patties, depending on appetites and what else you are serving. (If you are adding salad and dessert, a pound will serve four, no problem.) If you are feeding fewer than three or four take the excess patties, stick each one in a Zip-Lock bag and put them in the freezer. They will keep handily for a month or two.

    Chop the onions and set them aside. Prep some broccoli, green beans or whatever you like and get the steamer ready. Peel and chop the potatoes and hold them in cold water in the cooking pot.

    You should start the vegetables first. Once they are cooking, turn the heat down and start cooking the hamburger patties. They will take about four minutes per side. Once you have flipped them, throw the onions over the top and stir gently here and there to get them cooked. If the vegetables aren't done by the time the burgers are you can take the patties out, cover with aluminum foil and let them rest while you finish everything else.

    Season the broccoli or whatever with lemon, salt, pepper and a little butter. Mash the potatoes. Plate the dinner and throw the grilled onions on top of the hamburger patties. Eat.


    Sunday, May 02, 2010
    A Sense of Perspective

    I highly recommend the HubbleSite if you're looking for a background image for your computer desktop. They have great pics of planets, nebulae and galaxies for you to get your geek on, it's easy to use - and all free! Plus on a bad day at work, gazing at the wonders of the universe may put your bad day in perspective. Unless you're Zaphod Beeblebrox, of course.


    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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