I won’t regale you with tales of the multi-course celebratory dinner we ate last night, keeping Maddie up way past her bedtime. I won’t tell you about the three bottles of wine that proved to be little match for four very thirsty people in very festive spirits. Nor will I expound upon the half dozen cream puffs and tubs of ice cream that became mere memories as the hour grew late.
Yesterday was “match day”, you see, when fourth year medical students at long last get their assignments as to where they will spend the next few years of their lives. Unlike college admissions, in which you collect acceptances and rejections, weighing the possible offers and ultimately deciding where you want to go, the residency “match” process is all or nothing. After submitting your preferences as to where you’d like to do your residency, you receive an assignment and you either take it or you don’t practice medicine the following year. Adding to that stress, the big reveal, when students receive word of their “match”, happens very publicly at a brunch, so that those who thrillingly open their envelopes to find themselves destined for the program of their dreams may find themselves alongside those faced with bitter disappointment. Stressful? Nah.
Maddie, Dylan, and I went to USC yesterday morning to find out our future, where we’d soon be headed for Dylan’s five year surgical residency. Had you told me a year ago that I would be jubilantly celebrating an impending move to upstate New York, I would never have believed it. Yet there we were, hugging, kissing, and even shedding a few tears as our future unfolded. We would have happily taken our second or third choices (Manhattan and Los Angeles), but for many reasons abandoning big city life for something a bit slower seems to make sense for us for the next few years. Dylan and I will be working in the very same building of the hospital, our commute will be no longer than ten minutes, and we’ll be able to afford to buy a gorgeous house with a yard for Maddie to make snow angels (let’s not forget that snow will be a very constant part of our lives!). And in five year, when Dylan finally makes a salary commensurate to his 25+ years of schooling and his long hours of training, we can reassess whether we want to move back to somewhere a bit more urban and cosmopolitan.
So, what, you may be wondering now, does this possibly have to do with grilled lemon cumin chicken with feta? Well, not much, to be honest, aside from the fact that three bottles of wine and several thousand calories later, in our post-celebratory haze, all we can think about eating is something clean and healthy, with fresh, unadulterated flavors. Not one for the hair of the dog and all that jazz, I just want something simple and nutritious, like this well-balanced meal from Family Style Food. I made it several weeks ago and it was a perfect combination of flavors and textures, with a little protein, a little bit of carbs, and some veggies and dairy thrown into the mix. Although it was originally envisioned with fava beans, I was more than happy to skip the labor of shelling them and substitute frozen edamame instead. Now if only it could whip up itself as we recover from our post-excitement exhaustion…
Grilled lemon cumin chicken with feta (serves 4)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb frozen shelled edamame
1/2 cup crumbled feta or ricotta salata cheese
1. Pound the chicken between sheets of plastic wrap to an even 1/4-inch thickness and place in a large ziptop bag.
2. Whisk the lemon juice, oil, mint and cumin together. Reserve half, and pour the rest over the chicken. Seal the bag and refrigerate for an hour and up to six hours.
3. Rub a grill pan with oil and heat the grill to medium-high heat. Remove chicken from the marinade and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken, covered, about 6 minutes per side.
4. Meanwhile, cook edamame on stovetop or in microwave according to directions on package.
5. Serve chicken over couscous or brown rice with the edamame, sprinkled with cheese and drizzled with remaining lemon-cumin mixture.