Addictions and the Scone

February 9, 2010

I’ve spent a lot of time recently thinking about this. Why do we do things that we know are not good for us? Why, for instance, do I waste time I don’t have, on TV I shouldn’t be watching, and money I didn’t earn, on things I don’t need? Why, instead of studying for my family medicine exam, did I make these delicious cranberry-orange scones? Ahh, the powers of addiction. I, for one, am addicted to procrastination. Also, coffee (new addition). I will find any, any, any excuse to put something off until the LAST possible minute. “Oh my gosh, Modern Marvels: The Potato is on. There is NO way I can miss this.”

I really didn’t get just how strong the pull can be for some people, until this year. During my internal medicine rotation, our team was seeing patients in the critical care step-down unit. These are the people who have just come out of the ICU. We smelled cigarette smoke, so another student and I went to find out which room it was coming from. I assumed it was a visitor trying to smoke in the room, and I was almost speechless when I found a patient with a tracheostomy, trying to smoke by holding the cigarette up to the tube. She had just been taken off the ventilator, and could barely breath on her own yet. She looked at me and mouthed “I’m sorry.” I was, too.

Today I saw a woman who had her gallbladder removed a week or so ago. She had developed an abscess, and was doubled over in pain. We told her she would need to stay to get IV antibiotics, and possibly an incision and drainage of the abscess. She told me there was no possible way she could stay, because she had way too much to do. I tried to explain that she could actually die from this, if it was left untreated. She said, “Look, I’m a smoker. I haven’t had a cigarette in 2 hours, and I am dying here. I can’t stay in this hospital unless I can smoke.” We promised her as many nicotine patches as she could stand, and let her go outside in the snow and smoke before rolling her back in, in a wheelchair. It felt ridiculous.

It’s interesting to know that no matter what the addiction is– cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, yummy baked goods–the brain chemistry driving it is the same. Our friend, the ventral tegmentum.  I remind myself of this whenever I feel myself getting frustrated with people who refuse to help themselves.

In honor of the ol’ VT, let’s make some scones, shall we?

Read the rest of this entry »


This tastes like man food… Braised Short Ribs

February 7, 2010

My sister Cara braved 500 inches of snow in her death trap grandma car to visit me! It was very nice. We decided to celebrate her survival by making ourselves food with plenty of butter in it. And, wine. As an added bonus, I got to use the Le Creuset dutch oven I recently requested for Christmas! It was a very inappropriate purchase, since its really big and I almost never use it, and outrageously expensive. I make bad choices like that all the time. Too bad for me.

So the recipe we made was Braised Short Ribs with Goat Cheese Polenta. We did something right, because it was AWESOME. We also did something very wrong though, because we watched The Forgotten while making it. It was so bad I couldn’t even get scared, and I get scared at anything even remotely suspenseful. Including… Scary Movie. True story. But the food was so good, we almost didn’t care. It’s actually really simple to make, but the flavors come together so perfectly. It’s rich and filling, without being overwhelming. Girls will like it too, but I have a feeling guys will love it. I just sent my sister over to her (capital F) Friend’s house with some, so we’ll see what he says.

The only drawback to the dish is that it takes several hours from start to finish. It’s totally hands-off once you get it into the oven, but if you have no patience (me), it can feel like forever. If you feel like impressing people with your mad cooking skills, make this next weekend. It tastes like it requires a lot more skill than it actually does. Probably because it has plenty of pancetta, butter, and goat cheese. God’s precious miracles.

Here comes the recipe, plus tips and pictures. Most of the photo cred goes to Cara.

Read the rest of this entry »


Smores Indoors

February 5, 2010

One of my favorite cooking blogs is Annie’s Eats, and a lot of that has to do with her pictures. I had a go at her recipe for Smores cupcakes. I wanted to bring something in to the office where I’ve been rotating, and these seemed like a worthy choice. The physician I’m working with is allergic to basically everything but eggs and chocolate. You might recognize her from  the Little Giants. Minus the foam padding.  Anyways, these looked really good, and I don’t think they will invite anaphylaxis.

I’ve heard many times that baking is a much more exact science than cooking, and I believe that. It’s really just tasty chemistry. I took organic chemistry. And I definitely want to consider myself a scientifically-oriented person. You know, the kind that can.. pay attention to detail?


I really hope I don’t fail at life like I do at baking. Do you think these cupcakes look cute? Well guess what..these are the best few of my SECOND batch of 24. I had to do a dry run earlier in the week (I’m SO aware of my baking shortcomings). I learned some secrets.

Read the rest of this entry »


On the first day..

February 2, 2010

I tried to figure out how to make a blog. Someone (my mom) told me I should start one, probably so that I stop telling her stories about all the really weird people I meet. My days as a medical student are filled with lots of awkwardness about my role as a fake doctor, all sorts of private details about peoples’ lives, and more smells than I would have believed. My weekends are full of trying out new recipes, checking out new places to eat, and, usually, enough tasty smells to make up for the week days.

This is my attempt to illustrate what happens in a life when optimism meets cynicism meets science..meets butter.

I know essentially nothing about web design, so if it’s not spoon-fed to me, I pretty much have no hope. BUT, I decided that I refuse to be one of those people that says things like, “Oh those young kids, they just figure this computer stuff out so fast” so I have to do this. Truth. This background is ugly, but I definitely don’t know how to make my own yet. How do all these dumb people have such unique looking blogs??

My first big goal is to make this blog not look like a TJMaxx version of a blog. My second goal is to get some readers. I have no idea how to do either. Except……. Hi Mom! I feel like I should put the disclaimer out there that I am, for sure, NOT a baker. Not that I don’t want to be one, I’m just bad at it. Like, really bad. SO, naturally, my first real post will be….. cupcakes! I’m making them tomorrow night. Explanations to follow. The other disclaimer I have to make is that the lighting I have to work with will be ugly and artificial until I, myself, can experience some sunshine. I don’t have a special lens/fancypants camera. Everything will probably look like refried beans. Consider yourself warned.

Introductions all around:

This is me. I’m 24. I don’t have a lot of free time, but I do love to waste it watching trashy TV.

Read the rest of this entry »