Vet School and Food

My adventures through the Veterinary School process, and the meals along the way.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Andrew's Favorite

Life is crazy, but wonderful. This whole owning a home thing isn’t as different as I had expected it to be. Yeah, I am crazy in debt, and scared something will go terribly wrong—you know like in that eighties movie with Tom Hanks and that girl from Cheers. Mostly, however, I am pleasantly surprised how much fun it is. Homeownership is hard work, but it is turning out to be very rewarding. This week I painted 12 different colors on my wall (along with my very patient mother) before deciding on a pleasant blue.

In addition we have managed to get our new gas stove piped and installed, ripped out and replaced (almost) our shower-including raising our shower head to the level of normal people from its previous location at midget height- and hooked up our wireless network. Naomi (Andrew’s mom) has done wonders with our very scraggly looking yard and managed to make friends with our neighbors who have a truck. I think this will be incredibly useful in the scheme of things.

It is strange, but I think I am going to get real into this small town, nearly rural living. I love running down to the building supply (which happens about five times a day) and knowing everyone’s name, and them knowing mine. The rolling green hills and the mosey-along speed of life is going to work just fine for me. When school starts I would neither have the time nor the energy to keep up with the speed of life in the city.

The first meal I made on my new stove is Andrew’s favorite:

Sausage and Orzo Simmer
2 T olive oil
1 lb of Italian sausage, removed from casings
½ of a large onion minced
1 small garlic clove minced
1/3-1/2 box (5-8 oz) of orzo pasta (It doesn’t seem like that much, but remember the volume increases exponentially as it cooks)
2 cans stewed tomatoes (with juice)
1 can chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T of butter
Ricotta to top

Heat oil on high in a deep skillet or dutch oven
Add onions and garlic, simmer a minute or two
Add sausage, break apart into bite-sized pieces and cook until brown on the outside, then reduce heat to medium
Allow the sausage to cook a few minutes longer-the amount of time will depend on the size of your pieces
Once the meat is mostly cooked through, add the orzo, tomatoes, and chicken broth.
Bring to a simmer breaking tomatoes apart, reduce heat to low, cover and cook stirring occasionally until orzo is cooked through. You may need to add some more water or chicken broth to completely cook the orzo.
Remove from heat, stir in butter and add salt/pepper to taste
Serve in warmed bowls with a dollop of ricotta

Note: The Italian sausage can be mild, sweet or hot depending on your taste. Also if you get sweet or mild you can always add some chili flakes or powder to increase the spiciness.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Asian Chicken Salad

This week was particularly busy.
The house was set to close on Thursday, but there was a bump in the road—plans are for us to have possession Monday… we shall see.
The moving truck is set to be picked up Tuesday and we will pack it and make the big drive on Thursday.
We decided finally to go for a gas stove to replace the non-functioning electric one currently in the house. This meant trying to find a stove… which was easier than expected. It is a strange place on the planet we live right now. We were able to find a high end gas range for less than 15% of its original cost. It is only a few years old and in great condition.
Oh yeah, and it was the last week of classes ever in my undergraduate career here at the UW. It wasn’t any different than any other week really. I have completed my two big term papers, now I have one more and an easy final and I am done!!

The other thing about moving is the quest to eat everything in the pantry, fridge and freezer so we don’t feel guilty about throwing it out.
As a result we now have very little food left to work with. So yesterday I asked Andrew: if he could have anything in the world for dinner what would it be? After the obvious: “Thai Tom spicy noodles” response he said “Asian Chicken Salad”… and so it was… and it was so good we made it again tonight:

Alice’s Asian Chicken Salad
Serves 2 as main meal or 4 as starter

Two boneless chicken breast or 6 boneless chicken thighs cut into chunks or strips
One cup Yosidas, or teriyaki sauce or soy sauce
One cup chicken broth
One cup water
One package of yakisoba noodles from the grocery cooler
One heart of romaine
One sliced pear (whatever kind you can find that is sort of ripe—it is ok if it is a little crispy, the texture is nice)
One can of mandarin oranges
A handful of sliced almonds

4 or 5 drops Sesame oil
A few T Olive oil
Juice from half of one Lemon (can substitute fresh orange juice)
1 or 2 T Cider vinegar
1 t Dry ginger (I only had dry, but I am sure fresh would be better)
1 clove Garlic minced
¼ t Chinese five spice
1 or 2 t Honey
2 T Soy sauce

Poach chicken in Yoshidas, broth and water. Place chicken in the (unheated) liquid in a sauce pan, cover and bring to a boil. When chicken is completely cooked remove from water and set aside. It is your choice to serve the meat warm or chilled. (The chicken may be done ahead of time and kept refrigerated.)

Prepare yakisoba noodles per packaging directions—be careful some of the flavor packets have MSG, if so just sauté the noodles in a little oil with teriyaki, soy sauce, Yoshidas, or whatever you have.

Combine all dressing ingredients—The measurements are a very rough estimate, it depends on the acidity of your lemon(or orange) and your taste.

Slice lettuce and pear, open and drain mandarin oranges.

Assemble. Toss lettuce in dressing (don’t combine with fruit for this step, they absorb too much dressing and get bruised by the process). Place warm noodles on a plate, top with chicken, dressed lettuce, pear, oranges and almonds.

Serve, enjoy!!