Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Time to Uproot

I’m feeling a little stuck right now.  I think since match day I’ve lost my motivation.  That match day envelope contained my entire future.  The day after match day I received a Fed-Ex envelope requesting my scrubs sizes, my white coat inscription and my vacation requests.  Being a doctor is no longer some fantasy, some far away goal that I’ve been slowly working towards for the past ten years.  My MD is coming fast, and it’s about to slap me in the face.

As excited as I am to leave Cleveland, I am mourning the end of my Midwestern life.  I will miss the cool summers, the proximity to my family, and most importantly, all the people I have met here from classmates to friends to mentors to patients.  It will be a drastic change to transform from medical student to doctor since the only difference I see in myself is two more letters on my white coat. 

More than anything, I hate moving.  The act of sorting through all of one’s things and carrying them down three flights of stairs and back up again is not only emotionally dreadful, but physically exhausting.  Psychologists show that moving is a draining time in people’s lives.

In a survey of 111 relocating professionals in the UK, well over 75% of the subjects found the experience to be somewhat stressful to very stressful [1].  Those moving great distances and those who had spouses who needed to find new jobs (that's us!) had significantly more stress than those moving short distances and spouses that did not need to find jobs. Another study conducted in England showed that between those moving, those that were greater prepared before they moved had better post-move adjustment [2]. 

Whether I’m ready or not, it’s time to pull up my roots and plant them in the hot Texas soil.  They’ll probably grow faster there anyway.  The potato is as uprooted as I am, and I’ve invited him for a warm dinner. 

Fortunately, the potato makes delicious soup for a cold, rainy, disgusting Cleveland day like yesterday.  There’s nothing better to make than a slow soup to un-stick my stuck self hour by hour.  I started with chicken bones that have been accumulating in my freezer, simmered them leisurely into stock, and then strained the stock to cook with hearty vegetables.  The soup was pureed and topped with a vinaigrette of bacon, green onions, white wine vinegar and olive oil which gave a nice boost of texture and flavor. 

Let me tell you guys, if you’re going to make any of the recipes on this silly blog, make this one!  My fiancĂ© pooh-poohed the idea of potato soup and then ate three whole bowls and licked them clean…and then took the leftovers for lunch.  Simplicity and heart taste the most delicious.

Uprooted Potato Soup

7 cups chicken stock (try not to use canned broth, recipe below) or water
1 tbsp butter
1 large onion diced
1 large carrot diced
1 rib celery diced
3 cloves garlic diced
1 sprig rosemary chopped
1 tsp salt
6 medium potatoes peeled and diced into 1” pieces
1 cup low fat sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

For vinaigrette
4 pieces thick cut bacon (optional)
3 green onions finely chopped
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil

Chicken stock
2-3 lbs chicken bones (I have accumulated about 3 chicken carcasses from roast chickens over time.  Don’t throw them away!  If you don’t have these, you can use chicken backs.  They make great stock and are very cheap)
1 rib celery
½ onion
1 tsp salt
1 carrot
Sprig rosemary, sprig thyme
10-12 cups water

To make stock
Preheat oven to 425.  Place chicken pieces on baking sheet and bake until golden brown (I just put them in frozen and they turned out great) about 35-45 minutes.  Add chicken and all other ingredients to large stockpot.  Bring water to boil, boil for one minute and reduce heat to low.  Cover, and cook for 4-6 hours until flavorful. 

To make soup
Add 1 tbsp butter to large pot on medium high heat.  Melt butter, add carrots, onion, celery, garlic, herbs and salt.  SautĂ© veggies until onions are soft, about 10 minutes.  Add potatoes and stock.  Cook on medium high until potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes.  Turn off heat, add sour cream and puree in blender or with immersion blender. 

To make vinaigrette
Cook bacon until crispy on medium high heat.  Strain on paper towel and chop into small pieces.  To small bowl stir onions, bacon, vinegar, add oil and add 1 tbsp to the top of each bowl of soup.

1. Munton, A.  Job Relocation, Stress and the Family.  1990.  Journal of Organizational Behavior.  11; 5: 401-406.
2. Martin. R.  Adjusting to job relocation: Relocation preparation can reduce relocation stress.  1999.  Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology.  72;2: 231-235.

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