nested

I have been jokingly saying that for the past few weeks, I have been nesting. Like an expectant mother awaiting the chaos and loss of leisurely times that a new baby brings, I’ve been bracing myself for starting third year, where, as we were told during orientation, we should expect to have none of our ducks in a row.

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And now, the night before my Medicine rotation starts, I sit here with my laundry folded, pants hemmed, bathtub scrubbed, and most importantly, my fridge, freezer, and pantry stocked with food. I’ve realized over the years that knowing that I have healthy, delicious food on hand is a form of security for me—a way of knowing that no matter how crazy a day I have, a fresh, nutritious meal will await me at the finish line. So in preparation for busier times ahead, I’ve been embracing the freezer: mushroom barley soup, lentil stew, Cuban black beans, Spanish garbanzos, ratatouille, veggie chili and mushroom walnut burgers from Kate, and and embarrassingly lot more are neatly tucked away into plastic containers, awaiting a day in the near future when they’ll be lovingly reheated and put to a very noble and nourishing use.

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But today was a final day of leisure. And for me, a leisurely day always incorporates some time in the kitchen. A fresh mango salsa and vanilla almond granola arose from the day’s culinary adventures, as well as a bountiful slaw with miso dressing. Inspired by a carton of plump sugar snap peas from the farmers’ market and a recipe from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook, I concocted a salad of Napa cabbage, snap peas, carrots, red pepper, scallions, and proteinaceous doses of quinoa and edamame. The mountain of vegetables and grains was tossed in a creamy miso, ginger, and tahini dressing, and sprinkled with some fresh cilantro and basil for brightness. This was the ideal recipe to tackle during an afternoon where I was looking for an activity to draw out the hours and listen to some music, as lots of slicing, blanching, julienning, blending, and tossing were involved. But the result is a huge batch of a fresh, protein-packed slaw bursting with sweet peas of summer that will serve as a hearty yet light lunch for the week.

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So, maybe my ducks will be all out of order this year, but at the very least, I’ve tried to make them the best nest I could.

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Sugar Snap Pea, Edamame, and Quinoa Slaw with Sesame Miso Dressing

adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

1 cup quinoa

1/2 lb sugar snap peas

1 cup edamame, cooked and shelled

1/2 pound Napa cabbage, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 large carrot, grated (about 1/2 cup)

3 large scallions, white and green parts sliced thinly on a bias

3 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

Sesame-Miso Dressing

1 tbsp fresh ginger

1 large garlic clove

2 tbsp mild yellow or white miso

2 tbsp tahini

1 tbsp honey

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil

To cook quinoa: bring 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water to boil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Once boiling, turn heat down to medium and allow quinoa to cook for 15-20 minutes, until water is gone and quinoa is soft to your taste. Fluff with a fork.

To blanch snap peas: Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the sugar snap peas and cook for about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water and drain. Pat the snap peas dry, and then remove the stems and slice them thinly on a bias.

In a very large bowl (this makes a ton!) combine snap peas with cooked edamame, sliced cabbage, red pepper, and scallions, grated carrot, and sesame seeds.

For dressing: Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blender and whir until smooth.

Pour dressing over vegetable and quinoa mixture and toss many times to coat completely. Serve right away or store in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days.

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