Has anyone else ever noticed how much the brachial plexus resembles Queens Boulevard?

A.k.a. the Boulevard of Death.

Okay but you are probably not from New York. So I will tell you about Queens Boulevard.

Picture the busiest street you can think of in your town or city or wherever it is that you call home. Then multiple it by 12 lanes. All of which are being utilized. At all times. By New York City drivers. (Yes, yes I know. It’s a scary thought. But it’s only going to get worse. So grab your teddy bear or whatever it is that helps you sleep at night. And bear with me.)

Then place this thoroughfare in some of the most heavily utilized areas of your town or city. The metro areas, so to speak. And think about the fact that, coincidentally, these “metro areas” are for some reason inhabited by many little old ladies. Who happen to think that they can make it across this 12 lane should-be highway even after the don’t walk sign has started blinking. (Keep in mind that I can’t make it across after the don’t walk sign has started blinking. Even while running.)

Let’s recap, shall we?

You have these little old ladies in the middle of the street, all the time. You have cars driving well above the speed limit as if it were actually a highway in the middle of nowhere. (What, you mean it’s not okay to go 90 in a 45 mph zone in a residential area?) And then there are the left-hand turning lanes that seem to pop up every five seconds. So added into the mix are cars that are trying to turn INTO the other cars that are going 90. And none of the traffic lights are actually coordinated in any way. So more often than not, you start to walk across the street thinking that you have the walk sign and you find yourself in the middle of oncoming traffic.

Are you feeling overwhelmed yet?
That, in a nutshell, is how I’ve been feeling the past few days while trying to learn the anatomy of the brachial plexus. Which, for those of you non-medical people, is a network of nerves that is located right about your pectoral (i.e. breast) region. That I am from here on out going to refer to as the Queens Boulevard of the nervous system.

Basically, you start out with five roots that come right off of the spinal cord. These roots merge to form three trunks. (Warning – this lane ends in 500 feet. Please. For God’s sake. Yield.) Each trunk then splits into two. To form six divisions. (Proceed with caution.) These six divisions regroup to form three cords. Each of which then branches into a seemingly random number of nerve fibers.

And so you get something like this:

Fun, right?

Meanwhile I just made myself tachycardic while writing that. Read – anxiety attack impending.

Give me a minute to get my heart rate back down.

My only solace throughout all of this. Has been the mini vacation that I get to take every night. Around 7PM.

Brazil and back.

A bowl of salmon fish stew along the way.

(Yes, I am eating my emotions. Do you have a problem with that?)

It’s just what the doctor ordered.
Salmon Fish Stew, Brazilian Style
Serves 4, adapted from Simply Recipes


The cloves from 1/2 head of garlic, peeled, crushed, minced
2 Tablespoons of fresh lime juice
3/4 teaspoon of coarse salt
1 Tablespoon of sweet paprika
2 1/2 teaspoons of dry cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper


1 1/2 lb salmon, cut into bite-sized pieces
Olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
2 large bell pepper, seeded, de-stemmed, and sliced
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
1 large bunch fresh cilantro, chopped, 1-2 cups

1. Mix together the marinade ingredients. Let the salmon marinate in this paste for at least 2 hours. The longer, the better.

2. In a large pan (large covered skillet or Dutch oven), coat the bottom of the pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Add a layer of sliced onions, and then a layer of sliced bell peppers, and a layer of sliced tomatoes. Place the fish pieces, with the marinade, on top of everything, and start layering again – onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Add about half of your fresh cilantro to the top. Pour coconut milk over the top. Drizzle generously with olive oil over the top (several tablespoons)

3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes to an hour, until the vegetables are cooked through.

Serve with rice; garnish with remaining cilantro.

This is my submission to Regional Recipes which is being hosted this month over at Blazing Hot Wok!

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at https://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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53 Responses to Salmon Fish Stew, Brazilian Style – Regional Recipes

  1. Tooo funny… picture yourself 30 years from now when you are retired and living the life you deserve and see “kids” all worked up about these important (at the time) concerns… But, you will get it, it is just a stepping stone that you need to get past.

    And love the stew…

    are you back to running?

  2. Luigi says:

    Queens boulevard I could understand, the brachial plexus is what threw me. lol.

    Another amazing recipe, looks lovely.

  3. Erica says:

    We have a similar stew in Colombia, but we use cod fish! You are very funny πŸ™‚

  4. What a perfect way to forget Queens’ Boulevard! I’ll bet those little old ladies would love some πŸ˜‰ I love cioppino so I’m sure I’d enjoy this too.

  5. SE says:

    Fish is my all time favorite !! this is so good with all the seasoning !

  6. I love the idea of salmon stew – it sounds so delicious and comforting! On my list to make very soon!

  7. Pam says:

    Salmon stew – good. Queen’s Boulevard and the other brachy thing you mentioned – not good.

  8. Maria says:

    Great dish! I really like the coconut milk and cilantro.

  9. I’m loving this salmon stew..

  10. Kim says:

    Well, salmon is brain food so maybe your stew will help make learning about the Queen’s Boulevard of the nervous system easier ;D

    The stew looks really colorful and I love the flavors in the marinade.

  11. Faith says:

    Wow, I don’t know what I’m more intimidated by — that 12 lane highway or it’s counterpart in the nervous system! I can totally see the need for mini vacations! πŸ™‚ Love the gorgeous colors and flavors in this stew!

  12. Bob says:

    Man, I used to live right down the street from two Brazilian restaurants. Good times.

  13. Kris says:

    ha that queens blvd note is fantastic! This food looks great too1 Have a great weekend!

    Oh, about the stakeouts…. I just started school so once I get my head wrapped around life I’d love to collaborate!

  14. Only Joanne can talk about a chaotic extremely busy overwhelming traffic network to an expansive network of nerves and still make me grin…and yeah my cutie polar bear is rite next to me though we both wish that our climatic conditions here naturally,was the same as his birthplace…
    Your stew had me at brazilian and we too had a meaty stew for dinner and maybe the similiarity ends at the word stew but i love ur fantastic stew here….
    THe flavours and pics shine thru….

  15. Hey u baked the rugelach too?Am so so so waiting to see ur wonderfull creation dear-thanx for all ur tips-we dont really find those ready crusts out here and yeah its fun doing it from scratch aint it?

  16. Amy says:

    The only F I ever received in college was statistics. I had to take it again and passed by the skin of my teeth with a D. I remember feeling nervous, stressed out, and nauseous for two solid terms. Your description of Queen’s Boulevard just made me feel the same way.

  17. Mari says:

    LOL I used to work on QB and I know exactly what you are talking about! I would run like a mad woman lol “save yourselves!”

    I am not a huge fish person pero that dish looks really good =)

  18. I would need a huge glass of wine to go with my Brazilian Stew after trying to cross Queens Blvd…since I’m not far from being a little old lady – lol.

    I’d love to meet you for coffee when I’m there if you have time!

  19. Good heavens! No wonder your brain hurts. The stew looks luscious though. So glad you have that to look forward to. πŸ™‚

  20. teresa says:

    girlfriend! what a load you have to study! now i feel like i really need to get to ny so i can see this blvd for myself!

    wonderful stew!

  21. Angie says:

    I have only been to the city once, and we are planning to go this coming Christmas too. I love it so much! The drivers there, even though apparently crazy, seem very much in control, compared to what I observe in Florida. Great recipe too!

  22. Lea Ann says:

    Joanne my brachial plexus was in spasms reading about the Queens Boulevard.

    This stew looks wonderful. Don’t think I’ve ever had salmon in soup. Yum and healthy.

    Loved this post. You’re such a talented writer.

  23. i know. they should proofread their emails . but then again, english isn’t their first language…but that makes it funnier, i guess!

  24. Katy ~ says:

    Brachs, reminds me of candy, actually, so brachial must be candy like. That’s the way my mind works.

    Salmon stew, I’ll have to tell my brother about this one.

  25. Karen says:

    Thank goodness I don’t have to know anything about the brachial plexus in order for it to work! Traffic is crazy, isn’t it? The QB sounds worse than driving in L.A.! Your stew looks *so* good. We’re having salmon tonight… if I had all the ingredients at hand, I’d make this instead.

  26. Yikes, just reading this gave me an anxiety attack – good thing you have this wonderfully healthy and delicious stew to doctor me right back to good health! Yummy!

  27. Tomatoes and fish are supposed to be soothing and calming effect on stress. This soup looks terrific! I hope you’re feeling more relaxed!

  28. Gulmohar says:

    Fabulous stew…You know, we add coconut/coconut products into almost anything and I love it πŸ˜€

  29. Megan says:

    My god Joanne, my eyes started glazing over with all those details. Let’s face it, I’ll never make it as a doctor.

    You? Most definitely!

  30. Debinhawaii says:

    Whatever works to help you learn it. πŸ˜‰ The stew looks healthy and delicious!

  31. Ann says:

    Yum Stew! I’m on the prowl for more and more spicy salmon recipes. When you start studying the lower digestive tract, especially the exit routes, please come to Houston, we have a freeway system that will match handsomely.

  32. Donna-FFW says:

    Sounds like a most delicious way to eat emotions. I love the analogy you gave .. it is hysterical. How long a day do you study, alone or paired, it must be rough.

  33. preventionrd says:

    Tachycardic is right, hah! I LOVE Brazilian food, and this looks to be no exception. Have you ever tried Moqueka? Spelled wrong, I’m sure…but if you love coconut, give it a shot!

    Have a great weekend!

  34. monicajane says:

    looks so totally yummy…
    my dad used to make “zuppa di pesce” — fish soup…

    this makes me think of it…will do soon…

    You amaze me being in med school and being so prolific on this blog…I’m having a hard time getting anything up lately.

  35. you will be a wonderful DR Joanne and you can explain stuff like this to patients, great fish stew could I feature it on an Alaskan seafood companies blog I write for?

  36. The stew sounds wonderful! Just what the doctor ordered. πŸ˜‰

  37. sophia says:

    Uh, Joanne. You kind of lost me. Remember, you are the MIT genius, who looooooves math. I’m the dreamy journalist wanna-be, and all this geometry makes my head hurt. lol!

    that said, the stew looks fabulous. What a great way to have salmon!

  38. Jen says:

    too funny…I have heard of the blvd of death but not the brachial plexus…nice fish stew πŸ™‚ pretty!

  39. Kerstin says:

    This sounds so flavorful! Good luck studying πŸ™‚

  40. Chef Aimee says:

    LOL! And people think I am crazy when I tell them I would rather drive in NYC *any* day over Queens! πŸ™‚

  41. Queens boulevard sounds very much like the 401, but you would never see a pedestrian so brave unless they really do have a death wish. At least you are taking comfort in healthy and delicious dishes.

  42. chrystad72 says:

    Queens Blvd sounds crazy!! Im loving the fish stew though. Great spices and I bet the addition of the cocnut milk gives it such an amazing flavor! Hope you had a great weekend sweetie!

  43. Mireya says:

    Definitely overwhelming! I grew up in a small town and get nervous with 4 lanes (one way) of traffic! Gotta love that mini-vacation!

  44. This stew sounds so rich and creamy with the coconut milk in it. I love everything about it! I read this the other day and have no idea why I didn’t leave a comment. Your so clever for comparing that complicated nerve system to the Queens blvd. I’m worried about them little old ladies now!

  45. Sophie says:

    Amai!! What a lot of strets & lanes! Here in Belgium, we just get max. 4 lanes on a motorway!! This is too much!

    Keep on studying well, my friend! You do us proud!

    Your stew sounds so good right now!

  46. I had to call my husband in since he has his own thoughts about Queens Boulevard. He enjoyed this and laughed all the way through. I think, he will be coming for daily installments.

    As far as the stew goes, I love it. If it is salmon, I am willing to try it. I am going to print it up now and will make that tomorrow if I don’t make the rice pizza. Thanks for filling up my menu.

  47. Juliette says:

    Oh wow! I want that stew!

  48. Kevin says:

    This salmon fish stew sounds really good!

  49. This stew sounds so good!
    You made me chuckle with your description of traffic in Queeens. Sounds a bit like Beirut, except in Beirut people don’t respect traffic signs and traffic cops don’t direct traffic. Fun! ( I will never drive in Queens or Beirut)

  50. Chef Chuck says:

    Hi Joanne, No problem with eating our emotion, I like that! It looks and must taste delish~~

  51. Sounds delish!!
    It reminds me of my husband’s Fig and Dashin Fish Stew from the Caribbean… one day he made little portion for lunch, just for me to try and it was sooo good that I made him to go and buy more ingredients and we were eating the same thing for dinner that day πŸ™‚

  52. oilandgarlic says:

    New to your blog – via Casual Kitchen. I love your intro to the recipe, not what I expected. I am now craving fish stew although I may substitute salmon with cod. It sounds like a great recipe for cold weather days.

    I can’t believe you have time to blog, go to medical school and cook. I knew 2 recipes when I was your age!

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