Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Green Smoothie Bowl with Strawberry and Coconut

Hello everyone, I've been quiet on the blog for a while, but I'm done with my US Medical Licensing Examination Step 3! It's a wonderful feeling to be done, as Step studying has been one of those tasks on my to-do list that's always there in the background, whispering "you should be studying instead of Pinteresting and baking..."
Avocado Green Smoothie Bowl with Strawberry and Coconut | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Supposedly Step 3 matters the least out of the USMLEs, but the premed / med student habits ingrained me in me decided it was time to buckle down for studying. It's amazing how much ob-gyn, pediatrics, and surgery you forget when you don't use it. Fortunately the bulk of the exam is Internal Medicine (we are the most important field in my humble opinion!)
Avocado Green Smoothie Bowl with Strawberry and Coconut | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
The test is 16 hrs over two days - the first day is only multiple choice, and the second has some multiple choice then a section on "clinical simulation cases". The multiple choice wasn't too bad, but the cases are definitely the most nerve-wracking part of the test. On a computer interface, you evaluate a patient, order labs, triage, diagnose, treat, follow up and counsel ... all under a ticking clock. The cases will respond based on your orders, so if the patient isn't getting better, you need to figure out what you're doing wrong fast!
Avocado Green Smoothie Bowl with Strawberry and Coconut | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
A few updates from the last post, in which had a lot of frustrating recently happened. I found a lovely new apartment that's a bit further but reasonably priced; in fact I'm upgrading to a 1 bedroom and it has a giant kitchen with an island! I'll be moving next month and look forward to more baking and cooking in this new space.

Also, B and I had our vacation block (yay!) and we went to the Caribbean, which I'll be sharing more later. While I spent the first half of vacation time studying and taking my Step 3 exams, and had to come back early from vacation to cover for a medical ICU shift, it was wonderful to have a week of rest. Time (and sleep) heals everything.
Avocado Green Smoothie Bowl with Strawberry and Coconut | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Here's a green smoothie bowl, made with creamy avocados and sweet strawberries plus a coconut and cacao nib crunch. This is a great and quick power breakfast, whether you're taking a 16 hour exam or about to lounge on the beach.

Green Smoothie Bowl with Strawberry and Coconut


Ingredients
1/2 avocado
1 cup spinach
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1/2 cup ice, additional for thickening
white sugar, to taste
Toppings: cacao nibs, unsweetened coconut, fresh strawberries

Instructions
Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth. Add ice or avocado (to thicken) or almond milk (to thin) to desired consistency. Pour your green smoothie into a bowl. Top with cacao nibs, unsweetened coconut, and sliced fresh strawberries. Enjoy!
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Friday, March 31, 2017

Maple Poached Figs and Granola Parfait

Apologies I haven't posted in a while. It's been a tough past few weeks. I am taking a blogging break the next two weeks to study for my US medical licensing exam.

Longtime blog readers will know that B and I have been long distance for >5 years now. This past year B had applied to transfer his residency to Yale (even redoing his intern year). After his application, we had been eagerly waiting for results, eager to finally live together. We had gotten great feedback from the program's residents and were very hopeful he would be accepted.

Unfortunately, it didn't work out.
Maple Poached Figs and Granola Parfait | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
We had a new apartment and a puppy lined up - those, along with our dreams of finally living married life together - vanished instantly.

And while life goes on, and not much would differ from the status quo (life was the same as the day before the news - us living in separate states), it hard hard to contain my disappointment.
Maple Poached Figs and Granola Parfait | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Additionally, I had lost my apartment lease since I had to wait til Match to know whether to renew my current studio. Despite me having 3 months left my lease, and imploring the management to wait just 2 weeks for the Match results to see if I needed to stay, they rented my apartment out the very next day. Suddenly homeless for the next year, I had to scramble for housing.

Without B and I living together next year, I couldn't care for a dog, let alone a puppy on my own. Sadly, I had to tell the breeder that given the circumstances, we were no longer able to get a dog anymore. Giving up getting a dog was the most painful part, but a single second year resident schedule with frequent 28 hour calls is not conducive for a happy dog.

Finally, I'm culminating these lovely few weeks with taking Part 3 of my United States Medical Licensing Examination - two 8 hour tests. Studying has been difficult, needless to say.
Maple Poached Figs and Granola Parfait | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
B accepted everything well,  but I did not because, as he pointed out, I was not used to having things not go as planned. It was true. I had been so ready to live together. I went through the stages of grief in perfect order - denial, anger, bargaining, depression.

I still wait impatiently for the last stage - acceptance.
Maple Poached Figs and Granola Parfait | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
I'm not a fan of the Match system because it give no control to doctors (who of course are the most type A planners ever). Given our schedules, B and I will continue to finish our residencies apart.

After two weeks, I finally found new housing, have accepted not having a dog/moving to a new apartment/continuing long distance with B, and I'm not longer doing 14 hr overnight shifts in the cardiac ICU, so life is slightly better. My fellow Yale residents / mentors and B have been wonderfully supportive and all around awesome. 

This detour in our plans was a bitter pill to swallow, but it made for a big paradigm shift - rethinking how the role of family/personal life would fit in the future with the role of doctor. For now, our residencies determine our lives, but I look forward to the day where B and I have more control of life's decisions, and one day can live together.

Maple Poached Figs and Granola Parfait recipe by me.


Maple Poached Figs and Granola Parfait


Ingredients
6-8 fresh figs, sliced
4 Tbs cup honey
4 Tbs pure maple syrup
Greek yogurt
granola
1-2 figs, quartered to garnish

Instructions
Heat honey and maple syrup in a small saute pan over medium heat for about 1 min. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add sliced figs; cover, and simmer until figs are just tender, (depending on your fig size and amount). Gently transfer figs to a plate with a slotted spoon.

In a parfait glass alternate yogurt with poached figs and granola. Drizzle maple syrup on top. Granish with a quarter of fresh fig. Enjoy!
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Friday, March 10, 2017

Tomato Basil Soup

B does not like modern art. He's not a fan of art museums, but he especially avoids any museum titled with the word "modern art." He did take me to the SF MoMa when we started dating 6 years ago, but that has since stopped lol.

Now that he lives in NYC, we are surrounded by amazing art museums. I did convince him (and my visiting brother) to try the Guggenheim to see the Agnes Martin exhibit, but that sort of minimalism didn't go very well.
Tomato Basil Soup | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
B doesn't like modern art because he always says, I could have done that.

To which I say, but you didn't.
Tomato Basil Soup | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
One piece that has always caught my eye was Andy Wahol's Campbell Soup Cans pop art, which is conveniently located in the NYC MoMA. First exhibited in 1962, the 32 canvases, each featuring a different flavor, was grouped together like in the grocery, and rocked the art world. It reignited the age-old debate about art versus commercialism (which remains a fascinating discussion even now, as it came up during my Art History classes at Stanford).
Tomato Basil Soup | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Fun fact: the first flavor introduced by Campbell was tomato, in 1897.

Another fun fact: The art dealer Irving Blum originally told Warhol to sell each piece cheap while gaining exposure. Then he soon realized selling the cans individually would cause the collection to lose its power, so he went to all the owners and bought back all of the sold pieces. Then Blum paid Warhol $1000 for the collection, which he held on for decades, then finally sold it to the NYC MoMA for >$15 million. (source)
Tomato Basil Soup | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Tomato Basil is one of my soups, and has so many variations. This is a really easy recipe adapted from Ina Garten. Perhaps, one day I'll paint it.

Tomato Basil Soup

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 yellow onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes, with their juice
3 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 cups chicken stock or water
parmesan cheese, shredded, to top

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper; spread on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

In a pot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with olive oil until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, chicken stock, and red pepper. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. To puree, I put the soup (after letting it cool) into a food processor and blender. Serve topped with cheese and a slice of bread. Enjoy!
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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Double Chocolate Chip Muffins

It's weird to think I'm over halfway through intern year now. One of the changes is seeing patients independently during clinic. Of course we still discuss the patients with our attending, but seeing patients on your own really makes you take ownership of your patient panel.
Double Chocolate Chip Muffins | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
As a primary care doctor, you feel extra protective of your own panel of patients - we educate them, encourage them, advocate for them, and know them best. By now, I've built up a relationship with many of my patients, which is the highlight of primary care - especially when you help them make positive changes like convincing them to start insulin or cut back on smoking or give up soda (Nothing makes your doctor prouder! We're very easy to please - even baby steps makes us happy)
Double Chocolate Chip Muffins | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Of course, there are downsides - like paperwork and bureaucracy. The amount of paperwork is incredible - the home nursing forms, the disability forms, the prior authorization for medication forms, the referral forms, the home medical supply forms. And the phone calls and the emails. And making appointments on behalf of patients and coordinating the speciality clinics and writing letters to insurance companies. And then clicking off the check boxes for billing, appointments, medications, labs, ICD codes, and so on.

Also, I'm like my dad and compulsively "prep" my notes before each patient visit - it takes extra time, but having a "plan" (or at least an idea of a plan) makes it so much smoother. There's a lot of chart digging to do in electronic health records.
Double Chocolate Chip Muffins | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
These "doctor logistics" were probably the toughest part to transition - not something you learn in medial school. As I'm getting into the groove now, with experience, comes efficiency (at least that's what I tell myself when I fill out the 40th home nursing form).
Double Chocolate Chip Muffins | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
The best part of clinic is the weekends is when my fellow "red block" interns (who are on the same clinic schedule as me) get together. We had a fabulous brunch (filled with all the things we tell patients not to eat), and I brought these double chocolate chip muffins adapted from Allrecipes. At least the plain yogurt at least lightens the muffins and these aren't overly sweet. Happy Brunch!


Double Chocolate Chip Muffin



Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup plain Green yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.

Combine flour, sugar, 3/4 cup chocolate chips, cocoa powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. IN another bowl, whisk egg, yogurt, milk, and vegetable oil. Mix the dry and wet ingredient bowls together and stir until batter is just blended (don't overmix). Fill your muffin pan and top with the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips.

Bake in preheated oven for about 20 mins - they're done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
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Friday, February 17, 2017

Korean Bulgogi Tacos

I love fusion cuisine, especially with Asian foods. I grew up in Texas, so we had a plethora of Tex Mex and Hispanic food but Asian food was quite a bit harder.

I had no Asian friends growing up til I went to college, if you can believe it (my elementary through high school was all Hispanic, white, or African American. The only other Chinese person was... my sister).
Korean Bulgogi Tacos | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
I'm sharing a fun recipe that's easy to make and great for parties or date night - Korean Bulgogi Tacos, which is one of my favorite fusion meals. Classic items like Korean BBQ and kimchi are wrapped inside a Mexican corn tortilla for a unique twist.

I kept mine simple - I marinated my beef with bulgogi BBQ sauce in a jar, which can be found at any Asian supermarket. You can also make your own bulgogi sauce to be more ambitious, or buy meat that's already pre-marinated if you're in a time crunch. Toast your tortilla, then add chopped kimchi (I've partnered with Chili Everyday to share a kimchi recipe and other useful kimchi tips), avocado for fillings. Then add spicy sour cream, lime, and cilantro to top it off for an easy gourmet meal
Korean Bulgogi Tacos | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Korean tacos started in Los Angelos less than 10 years ago, with credit to Chef Roy. At that time, Korean food was still considered exotic, but now you can find them all over the US. (New York Times)
Korean Bulgogi Tacos | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
One of the great things about American Cuisine is that everything can become American - nowhere more than in the US do chefs borrow from ideas all over the world to make a food their own. As one article by Community Table states, America is "the greatest smorgasbord on Earth," a reflection of America itself. Bonus: that article also features New Haven's famous White Clam Pizza!
Korean Bulgogi Tacos | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Real American food wasn't created by premier chefs, but by waves of immigrants, bringing their own culture while adapting to America - nachos, chili, pizza, sushi, pita bread, and so on. Having lived in multiple urban areas all over the US - south, west, midwest, east - has definitely been an advantage since I've gotten so much exposure to all cultures (and cuisines!).

While tensions are high amongst Americans regarding immigration right now, hopefully we remember our country's roots. Since everyone loves eating, I share this fusion recipe in solidarity with the hope that food will remind us there's more common ground that not.

Korean Bulgogi Tacos


Ingredients
TACO INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup kimchi, chopped
1 avocado, sliced
4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
1 tablespoon siracha
1 lime, cut in half
4-6 corn tortillas

BULGOGI
1/2 lb flank steak, thinly sliced
1 jar bulgogi sauce (at Asian supermarkets)
2 tablespoons sesame oil
sesame seeds, to top

Directions 
Chop your kimchi finely to make a slaw. Slice your avocado and cilantro. Mix your sour cream with siracha (adjust amount to perfered spiciness level), and juice from half a lime to make your spicy cream.

To make the bulgogi, pour the marinade sauce and meat into a bowl or ziploc bag and let it marinate for at least an hour, ideally overnight. Heat your wok/skillet on medium on the stovetop, add sesame oil, then stir fry about 5 mins until the meat is just brown. Do not overcrowd your meat while stir frying (cook in batches if needed). The meat will cook quickly since it's thin. When it's ready, set aside and top with sesame seeds.

To assemble your Korean tacos, heat your corn tortillas in a toaster oven or grill on stovetop using a skillet. When crispy, top with bulgogi, kimchi, avocado, cilantro (careful not to overfill). Drizzle with spicy sour cream and remaining lime juice.  Eat while fresh. Enjoy!
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Friday, February 10, 2017

Raspberry Chocolate Tart with Gingersnap Crust

As Valentines/ our anniversary comes up, gift giving becomes a challenge when you've been together for so long.

Raspberry Chocolate Tart with Gingersnap Crust | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
 B: What do you want for Valentine's / anniversary gifts?

Me: Eh, I don't need things... but how about an experience doing something?
B: *googles "New Haven Experiences" *

Raspberry Chocolate Tart with Gingersnap Crust | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
B actually did a great job and booked a glassblowing class. It was so fun - we decided what we wanted to make (vase, glass, ornament, flower, paperweight), picked our colors,  then heated, rolled, and blew the glass (with assistance of course since glass making can definitely be dangerous). While next to the fire, I felt like my skin was melting off.


The finished item needs to cool for a few days, then it's ready to go. Can't wait to use my new glass!

Raspberry Chocolate Tart with Gingersnap Crust | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
In regards to Valentine's day, there's no better way to my heart than berries and chocolate. B knows - that's how he bribed me to date him in the beginning.

B: My pickup line in 2 words. Infinite. Berries. 
Me: *swoons*

He wasn't that smooth, but that's how it started (in his head). In reality, it was more of a struggle catching my attention thanks to "Natalie's obliviousness," but that's for another day.
Raspberry Chocolate Tart with Gingersnap Crust | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
To celebrate, here's a raspberry chocolate ganache filled tart made with gingersnaps for the crust. Fruits, especially berries, are lagging up in the northeast winter but when you find them, they're precious. Enjoy!


Raspberry Chocolate Tart with Gingersnap Crust


CRUST
8 ounces gingersnap cookies (about 32 cookies), coarsely broken
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of salt

FILLING
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped crystallized ginger
raspberry

For crust:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Finely grind gingersnap cookies in processor (yielding 1 1/2 to 1 2/3 cups). Add melted butter and salt; process until moistened. Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Place pan on rimmed baking sheet.

For filling:
Combine finely chopped bittersweet chocolate and heavy whipping cream in heavy medium saucepan. Whisk over low heat until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove saucepan from heat. Whisk egg yolks, egg, sugar, flour, ground black pepper, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Very gradually whisk chocolate mixture into egg mixture until smooth and blended. Pour chocolate filling into crust.

Bake chocolate tart until filling puffs slightly at edges and center is softly set, about 30 minutes. Transfer to rack. Sprinkle chopped crystallized ginger over top. Cool tart in pan 20 minutes. Gently remove tart pan sides and cool tart completely.
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Monday, January 30, 2017

Cacao Nib Mexican Chocolate Pudding

This Cacao Nib Mexican Chocolate Pudding is easy and tastes so much better than store bought pudding. It has a great kick to it with cacao nibs, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper - one way to spice up Valentine's Day and impress your better half.
Cacao Nib Mexican Chocolate Pudding | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
When I first saw the word cacao, I assumed someone had made a typo and swapped the a's and o's, meaning to say cocoa instead. Cocoa powder is actually cacao roasted at high temperatures. Supposedly, cacao powder has more fiber and calories than cocoa powder because the nutrients from the whole bean are still intact.
Cacao Nib Mexican Chocolate Pudding | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Cacao nibs have a chocolatey taste, but they're definitely much less sweet. The nibs contain theobromine, the bitter alkaloid part of the plant. This is found in tea and the component is similar to coffee. Theobromine means "food (broma) of the gods (theo)", which is a pretty apt description for chocolate, tea, and coffee. (source).
Cacao Nib Mexican Chocolate Pudding | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Cacao's impact on cognitive function, blood pressure, heart health, and mood has been published in Circulation, the New England Journal of MedicineJAMA Internal MedicineNature.

For my non-scientist/doctor readers, those journals are super prestigious - if you publish here, it's a huge career win. So clearly chocolate is important to us (and I'd happily volunteer to be a subject in their studies).
B feels like eating cacao nibs is like eating chocolate dirt, and the bitterness is somewhat of an acquired taste. If you love dark chocolate over sugary chocolates, then you'll enjoy cacao's flavors. I do eat occasionally cacao nibs straight up, but prefer to eat cacao as a topping, especially with chocolate items since the flavors go excellently. 

Cacao Nib Mexican Chocolate Pudding


Ingredients
3 large egg yolks, beaten
1 cup Dutch cocoa powder
3/5 cup sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cacao nibs

Directions 
In a medium bowl, beat your egg yolks and set aside.

In a large saucepan set over medium heat, combine the cocoa, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and 2 cups of the milk. Stir constantly as it boils and thickens, about 8-10 min to avoid lumps. Reduce the heat to low.

Pour some of the hot mixture into another bowl with your egg yolks, then stir the egg yolks back into the hot mixture to temper it (slowly cook it without scrambling). Stir constantly until the mixture thickens to the consistency of pudding. Add the remaining 1-2 cups of milk to reach your desired thickness. Mix in the cinnamon, cayenne pepper and vanilla extract. Remove from the heat.

Place plastic wrap over the saucepan to prevent a skin from forming, and then cool (I chilled mine in the fridge overnight). To serve, spoon into ramekins and top with cacao nibs. Enjoy!
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