Pins and Needles


The Anatomy Lesson

The Anatomy Lesson

Perhaps you have seen a reproduction of this painting or even the original that resides in the Mauritshuis Museum, The Hague. Done in 1632, it is one of the earliest works Rembrandt signed with his first name. Shades of modern medicine, it’s said that many doctors paid the artist to be included.

I felt very much like a live version of the man on the table when I took part in Grand Rounds at a school that teaches acupuncture. Let’s skip over my reason for seeking treatment and just say that I wanted it badly enough to participate in a teaching situation until I could land an appointment with one of the main practitioners. Therau needlese I was (fully clothed) lying face up under fairly bright lights with about thirty students, not one Asian among them. I’ve had acupuncture several times before, always with a Chinese practitioner and have had results ranging from amazing to none. The jury’s out on this one as I’m told it will take a few treatments to have an effect–or not.

Both my primary care doctor (Japanese/Chinese) and another physician (Indian) applaud adding acupuncture to the regimen.  How far we’ve come from the days when non-traditional medicine was summarily dismissed or raised eyebrows. Today, acupuncture is so in vogue it’s used on cats and dogs (and, for all I know, horses and other animals). Full disclosure: in previous acupuncture experiences, the needles were totally painless. In this case, I felt a few as they were inserted but it was in no way unbearable or even truly “painful.” If pain results in gain, I’m all for it.

Thinking about needles….voila, a recipe for chicken satay on skewers. If this makes you feel squeamish, stop here. Otherwise, consider this a pretty quick, no-fail appetizer.


Chicken Satay Martha Stewart

Use 12 metal or wooden skewers. If wooden, soak thoroughly in water so they don’t burn. Recipe says this amount serves 4; I’d say more like 8 as most people will eat two (unless it’s the main event.)

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably natural
3 tablespoons mango chutney
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut across the grain into 1/4-inch-wide strips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

In blender, combine peanut butter, chutney, lime juice, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, garlic, pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 cup water; blend until smooth. Set aside.
Thread each chicken piece onto a skewer (fold the pieces slightly as you work so the skewers go in and out of the meat). Place skewered chicken in a shallow dish; season with with salt and pepper. Drizzle oil and remaining tablespoon soy sauce over chicken; turn to coat.
Heat broiler or grill to high (if grill, lightly oil grates; if broiler, place on foil for easier removal.) Grill chicken until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Be sure it’s not pink inside. Transfer to a platter and serve with chutney sauce for dipping.

Meanwhile, enjoy your turkey leftovers–almost my favorite part of the meal!

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