“Baby I know times are a changin! Time to reach out for something new, and that means you too!” -Prince (may he rest in peace), from “Purple Rain.” Which, I will be singing tonight at Café Istanbul with my new band of intrepid musician Tulane residents. We’ve had two rehearsals, we don’t really know what our sound is yet, likely funkishness, but at least we’ve got a snazzy band name that I fully believe in— “External Medicine.” Great for a group of internists to be. A bright bunch headed into the field as evidenced by my Tulane cohort who presented at the Society of General Internal Medicine in Florida last week:
Over the years, music has certainly been one form of external medicine for me, that is, a creative vehicle by which I can drive my soul away from the often painful and frustrating here and now, a little red soul corvette, let’s say. Cooking is another form. But writing, oh writing, how you have been my solace. I believe it is important to invest in whatever your form of external medicine may be—if that means buying a guitar and forcing yourself to hop the stage of open mic nights, or getting a cookbook and firing up the stove daily until you’ve baked your way through all the recipes… when it comes to wellness, it does no good to say you have hobbies, just like it does no good to say you like chocolate and orchids; you must dedicate the space and time to lavish in the practice and company of that which you love.a
To take more ownership of this blog project, I recently did some big engineering/computer science-y/techno overhaul of this blog that I’m not sure I yet totally understand, so that I am now self-hosting this domain—this little happy bread-baking island out here in the internet world— (so if there are weird little quirks now and then it’s because the only class I took in the Computer Science building at Seattle Pacific was Differential Equations—which may as well have been Cantonese, while challenging and therein entertaining in the same way Scrabble is a nerdy gaff, it is of no use to me in learning the coding needed to self-host a blog.) This transition to a self-hosted space is both practical and symbolic. Practical, because now I can better control the features of the page which is snazzy when trying to seduce you (and potential sponsors) to read; symbolic, because financial ownership necessarily improves my intention with what this space means. Writing is, and ever has been, a way of being for me, a personal discipline I believe worth the investment to foster and protect.
I am coming to the end of my intern year in medicine and psychiatry, an experience I had thought might be equivalent to gruel. Well it was, but thankfully the gruel wasn’t so bad. In fact, at times, it was even delicious. Just like this corn soup I stumbled on. I was skeptical that a bowl of corn gruel would taste fabulous. But it was fabulous.
Corn Soup with Vadouvan
Adapted from Food and Wine
12 ears of corn, shucked
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced (2 cups)
2 tablespoons vadouvan (a delicious new spice for me, some mix of turmeric, etc—I bought mine from The Spice House online)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- Cut the kernels from the cobs (you should have about 8 cups); reserve the cobs. Set aside 1/3 cup of the raw kernels for garnish.
- In a juicer, juice 3 cups of the corn kernels. Reserve the juice.
- In a large pot, combine the corn cobs and 4 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, occasionally skimming the foam, until the broth is reduced to 6 cups, about 1 hour. Strain the corn broth through a sieve into a large bowl; discard the cobs. (Note— I did not actually have corn on the cob, only frozen corn but this ended up saving me a whole hour of this nonsense, and instead I substituted the six cups of “corn broth” (about which I remain skeptical) with 2 cups of vegetable broth and 4 cups of chicken broth. Tasted GREAT anyway.) I’m open to trying the cob broth someday when I unwittingly have twelve real corns heaped up on my kitchen counter.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 10 minutes. Add the remaining corn kernels and the vadouvan and season with salt. Cook, stirring, until very fragrant and the kernels are well coated in the spices, 2 minutes. Add the corn broth (or my 6 cups of veggie/chicken broth medley) and simmer over moderate heat until the liquid is reduced by half, 1 hour. Stir in the reserved corn juice.
- In a blender, and working in 2 batches, puree the soup until smooth; add water if a thinner consistency is desired. Strain the soup through a sieve into a large bowl. Stir in the lime juice and season with salt. Serve warm, garnished with the reserved raw corn kernels.