The femoral nerve has been keeping me up at night. It’s deviant. And wily. And I don’t like it.

We are doing the lower extremity (i.e. leg and foot) in anatomy right now. And there are two nerves of import – the sciatic and the femoral. The sciatic is not a problem. (Unless you’re a drug user. In which case, please remember to ONLY inject your heroin into the upper lateral quadrant of your butt. Anywhere else in your gluteus maximus and you risk jabbing your sciatic. It will hurt. The needle will get stuck. Just don’t do it. Trust me.)

Anyways so the sciatic is pretty predictable. It starts in your behind area and travels down your whole thigh, leg, and foot. Giving innervation to just about everything in its wake. Sure, it splits a few times. But nothing a seasoned anatomist like myself can’t handle.

The femoral nerve, on the other hand? Enters the front of your thigh from your abdomen at the top of your pelvis. Right next to your hips. And it meanders around. Innervates a few things. Meanders some more. And then suddenly you’re in the lower leg/calf area. And you have no idea what has happened to it. It’s like it just. Disappeared.

This is when I usually wake up. Screaming.

Then I have to remind myself (by which I mean recheck my notes for the umpteenth time) that the femoral does not disappear. It just changes names and becomes a cutaneous nerve (meaning it innervates the skin rather than the muscles). That runs down the inner part of your leg. Obviously.

This may all sound slightly deranged. But the good news is. There’s an end in sight. You see. This is my last anatomy test. Ever. (Until September when we spend five months dissecting the brain and head. But we are not going to think about that right now.)

Maybe I’ll get to be a real person again. Talk to people who haven’t been dead for the past year and a half. Get a haircut. (Which I haven’t done. Since last May.) Cook ridiculous food. Clean my room.

Until Friday, though? I have a date with my anatomy textbook.

So I was super glad that the theme for this week’s IHCC was Pantry Raid. Not only did I not have to go to the store. But I was prohibited from doing so. Gotta love Natashya, Deb, and Kim. Always looking out for my best interest.
When deciding what to make I thought about what ingredients I had sitting in my fridge that needed to be used up. There was about a cup of coconut milk left over from a curry I had made. And some string beans and chard that I had bought at the farmer’s market last week. That I had absolutely no plans for. So I set to googling. And stumbled across this list of simple salad ideas that Bittman wrote for the NY Times last July. Number 96. Swapping in string beans for peas and red swiss chard for spinach. Rice and pistachios, which I always have on hand. And cardamom pods. Which I just restocked last month. Perfect.

Coconut Rice with Swiss Chard, String Beans, and Pistachios
Serves 4, adapted from The Minimalist

1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 cup lite coconut milk
2 cups water
3 cardamom pods
pinch of salt
1 lb string beans
1 bunch swiss chard, torn
1/4 cup shelled pistachios
a hint of soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste

In a pan with a cover, combine the brown rice, coconut milk, water, cardamom pods, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for fifty minutes.

In a separate pan, steam the chard and string beans in water with a drop of soy sauce until cooked to desired consistency.

When the rice is done cooking, remove the cardamom pods. Mix the rice with the veggies. Salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with pistachios.

I am submitting this to Reeni’s Side Dish Showdown!
To go with the rice, I also decided to make Bittman’s Baked Tofu with Soy and Sesame, as tofu is also something I always have on hand. This recipe comes from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and is SO simple.

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine 3 tbsp soy sauce with 1/2 tsp sesame oil. Cut a block of extra firm tofu into four pieces. With a paper towel, squeeze out the liquid. Brush the tofu with the soy/sesame marinade. Reserve the extra marinade. Put the tofu on a greased baking pan and bake for one hour, brushing every so often with the remaining marinade.

Please, if you haven’t yet, vote for my morel recipe over at the MarxFoods website. Mine is the Butternut Squash and Morel Chutney!

And remember to submit your recipes to me for Regional Recipes: Haiti!

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at 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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67 Responses to Bittman’s Coconut Rice with Swiss Chard, String Beans and Pistachios and Baked Tofu with Soy and Sesame

  1. BAKED TOFU! that looks so good!

    anyways, really re: b? sorry i’m like uhhh why would someone like me! (i thought we’re too different coz he drinks and clubs. i don’t)
    i know. i think i surprised him. i wonder why he was so taken aback that we met his ex. so strange.
    AND YES. you are my wall of defense. you’ll kill him if he’s just playing.

  2. sra says:

    In India, anatomy is the subject most med students fear! A lot of fear and angst around that time.
    This dish is so simple it’s almost like a simple salad!

  3. Awesome recipe with all the pantry ingredients. Love the baked Tofu and especially love the last picture.
    Hey, this IHCC seems to be an awesome event. I just have come to know about this from your blog. Should see if I can participate.

  4. Beautiful salad, I’ll pass on the tofu though. Maybe a piece of fish for us. Don’t you just love Mark’s salads?

  5. Barbara says:

    I can’t eat tofu. I just can’t. Well, once when I was in Turks and Caicos, a chef served it grilled in something divine and I ate that. But that’s it. Don’t ask me.

    Great salad invention though!

  6. Debbi Smith says:

    Nice to know if I decided to become an intravenous drug user I know exactly what to do. Good to have something to fall back on.

    Your title scared me but it actually looks pretty good. With a piece of chicken, not tofu. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Pam says:

    Wow! What a great combo of ingredients! I love this recipe and it’s a “to-do!” Swiss chard is so good!

  8. this is such a simple and lovely recipe…love the baked tofu!

  9. such a healthy and delicious looking dish…

  10. Astra Libris says:

    I loved reading your story of the femoral nerve – you described its mind-boggling challenges so cleverly! Good luck on your upcoming test!! You’re going to rock that lower extremity! (If it’s any comfort, too, Zach found that despite all the hype about head and neck, he actually thought it was easier than the extremities. Yay for being done with the extremities! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Your coconut rice is gorgeous – I’m so impressed that this was a pantry dish! I’m also in love with the baked tofu – that’s the most sensual tofu I’ve ever seen! Must. Fix. Immediately! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I’ve never baked tofu before but it looks positively yum so I’ll have to try it out. I love not having to go to the store to whip up an easy dish.

    Also, the leg was the bane of my existence in anatomy. Not sure why. The brachial plexus and cranial nerves were so much easier to remember.

  12. Kim says:

    Thanks for the shout out! I’m glad this week’s theme didn’t have you running to the store:D
    I just made my first recipe with the coconut milk and I loved it, PLUS I LOVE cardamom – great recipe! I bet it was truly delicious.

    The tofu looks tasty and delicious. I might just break down and try it, especially if you keep making it look so great!!

  13. Sounds great dear,,baked tofu is good for the health n ur recipe presentation looks awesome..

  14. Azita says:

    what a healthy and delicious salad! love cardamom and pistachios! I’ll have to try tofu someday!

  15. I like the baked tofu- it looks so good! I need to be more generous in terms of the sauce, my baked tofu is always so light colored :p

    coconut rice??? sounds fun!

  16. Mari says:

    chica this is totally not food related but I need some study tips! I have been having so much problems focusing when I am studying and who else is better than a med student to give me some tips =)

    Marzipan needs HELP haha

  17. Katerina says:

    This is a great salad. I have never tasted tofu. Perhaps I will try it now. Anatomy is a very difficult subject. Hang on summer is on its way.

  18. Mo Diva says:

    i havent stopped by in a while! I loooooooove the new layout and the pics are to die for!
    Look at you! i love it love it love it!

    and i havent had tofu in quite a while. this look slike a MUST

  19. Joanne, You are boring. Every recipe, you share is fantastic. Could you share a flop with us? You must have made a mistake once.

    This looks great.

  20. Mimi says:

    I love cooking out of the pantry. It makes me feel so virtuous.

    I live in a town where the streets are like the femoral nerve. They have one name for a couple of miles and then change names. Really annoying and confusing too.

  21. Mary says:

    What a lovely recipe. That it is also good for you is another plus. Good luck with the exam. I hope you have a great day…Mary

  22. 2 tofu recipes this month… and just a few posts back, you were discussing your lack of a love life… Coincidence???

    Or maybe you are thinking I am just going to randomly pick a recipe from your impressive collective for my taste and create. Post more tofu recipe and I will be more likely to cook one.

    Well, I have selected a recipe, tofu free, and will be making it in a couple hours. So feel free to use normal ingredients and stop trying to trick me.

    Tofu… It’s always a mistake, ya young whippersnapper ya

  23. Andreas says:

    Nice salad improvisation.
    Those beans look great in there.

  24. Pam says:

    What a great combination of ingredients!!

  25. Bridgett says:

    I will have to give tofu a try again as it has been so long and I can’t even remember if I enjoyed it or not. Here is the perfect recipe to give it a go. Love the salad!

  26. Love love love coconut rice. Miss it, must make it soon….maybe with garlic sauteed spinach in place of the chard. Thanks and good luck with that test ok – femoral….doesn’t disappear. See, I’ve learnt!

  27. ruchikacooks says:

    I love that coconut rice, much healthier with brown rice instead of white. Tofu sounds good too, for a second I thought it was steak ๐Ÿ˜‰

  28. Shannon says:

    this sounds delicious, and another reason we don’t eat out enough ๐Ÿ™‚ sounds like this weekend will be a good time to “celebrate”!

  29. Jessie says:

    I seriously should have had you teach me anatomy rather than that old guy I had. He would never have used awesome words like “meander” and “behind area”. Good luck on your LAST ANATOMY TEST OF SPRING 2010!!

    I always think cardamon and coconut and rice is one of the best combos. Great recipe!

  30. Faith says:

    Congrats on your last anatamy exam…that’s pretty exciting! The rice looks delicious, I really love the pistachio in there for a little crunch!

  31. This looks like a very healthy meal! I like the different textures in the coconut rice. Oh and I love baked tofu!

  32. Caronae says:

    Love the flavor combinations here! Yum. I wonder why coconut goes with everything?
    Def. about to go vote for you!
    Oh and I find the sciatic nerve very troublesome actually! I have a lot of sciatic pain everywhere from my pelvis through my legs. Ick. So I like the femoral more, by default!

  33. That is some of the best looking tofu I have ever seen! It looks like fish. Love the coconut rice too, such great flavors. It will be a great addition to the Showdown. Thank-you! And good luck tomorrow! I know you’ll kick butt.

  34. sophia says:

    I already voted for you…can I vote again? Maybe I can make different identities….hee hee hee.

    Yo this dish is like PERFECT. except for the rice. Well, I guess brown rice is more flavorful than white. I’ll make this with barley. Awesomeness!

  35. Nicole, RD says:

    That is one serious recipe title! That sounds DIVINE!

    Good luck on your test. I understood what you were saying, and now I know how to be a heroine addict. Pain free. Woo!

  36. Debinhawaii says:

    Both recipes look great–I love all the creative ingredients in the rice and that tofu looks absolutely yummy. Perfect pantry picks! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  37. tigerfish says:

    hiho, what a sumptuous dinner you are having here!

  38. polwig says:

    My husband has problems with his sciatic nerve… that explains…He must be on drugs ๐Ÿ™‚

    This looks absolutely devine… I love that type of cooking….

  39. Half Baked says:

    Mmmm a lot going on in that dish! It sounds wonderful!!!

  40. Joanna says:

    I adore coconut rice and yours looks great! Thank God for a new chef ๐Ÿ™‚ Nigella wasn’t working for my waistline.

  41. Joanne

    You crack me up! Talking to people who haven’t been dead for a year and a half, indeed! I am amazed that you managed such a delicious concoction when time is definitely not plentiful! And the tofu recipe is great too, I did not know I could bake tofu, perfect!
    PS I was floored when you said you could not handle cooking chicken livers~ you, of all people!

  42. that recipe looks delicious and i just love anything with grains and coconut!
    i love your anatomy talk-i am sure you are sick of it though-good luck on your test joanne!

  43. Hannah says:

    This salad is absolutely calling my name. I can’t think of one thing I’d change!

  44. Michelle says:

    Hmmmm….never made coconut rice with coconut milk before but it sure sounds good!

    Glad to hear your getting a break from anatomy for a few months. You deserve it!

  45. RV says:

    Glad to know that Anatomy nightmares are coming to an end. This dish is absolutely healthy and perfect for the pantry raid event

  46. PJ says:

    good luck with your date with anatomy textbook.. glad that you will be ‘separated’ for a while though after this date ๐Ÿ˜€ This salad is so delicious, I have always felt salads are extremely under-rated.. thanks for the Bittman list of salads too, I am browsing that now.

  47. Cherine says:

    This is one good recipe! A great combo of ingredients!

  48. Cynthia says:

    Mmm this looks so good! I love coconut and rice so the two together can only be sublime! Congrats on this being your (almost) last anatomy class! I can only imagine how relieved you must feel. Good luck with your exams!

  49. Gulmohar says:

    That’s a hearty meal..yumm.Have a great week end !

  50. natalia says:

    What a wonderful meal ! I have tofu and chard !!!

  51. You are in NYC!!! who knew? I love this combo… after this next post I have promised to eat better and stop with all the antique rich sauces… this is a great place to start… much thanks… and let’s do a NY blogger drinkfest, shall we?

  52. Julie says:

    kill. that. test. girl ๐Ÿ˜‰

  53. Lori says:

    What an great dish especially the coconut rice part, for me. I’m not a huge tofu fan, but can appreciate it in certain dishes, especially when said dishes are eaten in Asia. Ha, ha! Love the new look of the blog!

  54. Lynn says:

    I’ve used coconut milk only a time or two, but I loved it. Bet this is good ๐Ÿ™‚

  55. Katerina says:

    Wow, and I thought not getting a haircut since last Nov was bad. Thanks for putting it in perspective.

    I just love coconut rice, a little sinful but so worth it!

  56. Lea Ann says:

    ah..thanks for the anatomy lesson, I think! ๐Ÿ™‚ As always, great post.

  57. msmeanie says:

    Great way to use up fridge food. I think you read my mind because I have been looking for a grilled tofu recipe, this looks perfect. Hooray for your last exam too!

  58. Valen says:

    What a delicious healthy looking meal!

  59. teresa says:

    i actually had a problem with my femoral nerve. it’s a long story, but it hurt!

    this looks amazing, so healthy and full of flavor!

  60. Jennifer says:

    I am loving the sounds of this rice with the coconut and cardamom!!! Beautiful meal!

  61. I don’t think you’ve been conversing with cadavers too much if you can pull off this dish! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Looks great!

  62. Chris says:

    Thanks for the tips on shooting heroin. I needed a new hobby ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Tried to vote for you but missed the voting window ๐Ÿ™

  63. What a fantastic rice dish – great combination of ingredients and brilliant raid on the pantry. I have all those things, so I need to give this a try. Think I would have to pass on the tofu though – it is something that I just have not learnt to like – even though you make it look pretty good.

  64. Tiff says:

    What a great meal! This looks delicious, even the tofu looks good and I only eat tofu here and there, because my husband kind of likes it.

  65. What a lovely recipe. That it is also good for you is another plus.

  66. i can’t imagine how it feels, it is certainly very delicous and tempting.
    so yummy of course

  67. Ana Powell says:

    Awesome side dish.
    Great combination of flavours x

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