Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Blackberry Chia Parfait

Hi everyone, I'm officially done with intern year! Yay!
Blackberry Chia Parfait | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
I finished off intern year with VA hospital nights which can be exhausting - if you've never been jolted awake from pages at 3am (or worse, hammer pages, which is non stop back to back paging), you're not missing out on anything. Sometimes you'll even get 2 or 3 pagers going off simultaneously ("Oh nice, they're harmonizing" - my med school surgeon attending).
Blackberry Chia Parfait | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
While finishing intern year is always a cause for celebration (goodbye waking up earlier to pre-round on patients, endless note-writing, and answering constant pages), I can't help but have mixed feelings about stepping up to second year, since now I'll be in charge of the team when it comes to running the team, making decision and handling emergencies. 

I'm going to miss the ability of saying, "Wait, let me ask my senior..." 
Blackberry Chia Parfait | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Although I'm know I've learned so much intern year, I still feel like there's so much I don't know (I have no idea how doctors managed without internet -all of our medical resources are there, from looking up medication doses for patients with kidney disease to finding possible diagnosis for a a strange case).
Blackberry Chia Parfait | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
During my year end meeting (bleary eyed after a rough sleepless 14 hr night shift), I told my advisor, Dr. S, my concerns, and he said "Great! You should be a little nervous - I always worry about the interns who aren't anxious about becoming the resident!"

"That anxiety means you understand how serious your responsibilities are, which will drive you to be the best doctor you can be. Knowledge can always be gained by simply ready; that's easy. Apathy and arrogance are harder to treat. While knowing this won't make your nervousness go away (sorry), at least you'll know there's a purpose for this stress." - Dr S.

He's right, I still feel anxious. But I can live with it for the sake of my patients.
Blackberry Chia Parfait | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Anyways, I do look forward to meeting the new batch of interns. With my schedule, I happen to have a few rotations (emergency room, clinic) before I work the wards with interns, so they'll have time to learn the basics. In the meantime, I'll continue celebrating completing 1/3 of residency training!

Sharing this gorgeous 3 layer Blackberry Chia Parfait (recipe from The Feed Feed). One layer for each year of residency, haha.

Blackberry Chia Parfait

1 cup frozen blackberries (and/or mixed berries)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup ice

1/2 cup chia seeds
1 cup coconut milk (extra to adjust thickness as needed)

vanilla Greek yogurt
fresh blackberries
toasted coconut flakes

Combine the ingredients for the chia layer in a jar, then stir well to combine. Set in the fridge for at least 30 min.

In a blender, blend the ingredients for the smoothie layer and divide evenly in the glasses. Place in the freezer to chill (about 30 min) while the chia layer is thickening.

When the smoothie layer is semi-frozen,  top with the chia layer.  Place in the freezer again to chill (about 30 min)  for the chia layer to become semi-frozen. Top with yogurt, fresh blackberries and toasted coconut. Drizzle with honey. Enjoy!

* you do not have to chill  each layer in the freezer to enjoy this, however, the layers will not be defined unless it's slightly more solid (in my experience).
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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Orange, Mint, and Blueberry Infused Water

Some exciting news - I've officially moved into my new apartment, and this is the first recipe from my new kitchen! My kitchen is disproportionately large (it's literally the same size as my entire living room), but I can live with that.
Moving was not easy - it was towards the end of my q4 28 hour call month (which means 28 hours straight in the hospital every 4 days), so I was already fatigued at baseline, but with the help of many wonderful friends and, of course B, we did it!
B had a golden weekend thank goodness, so he could come up to Connecticut and move things while I was at work. Fortunately, I married a very tall, strong man to make up for my rather petite size (and also my equally, if not even more petite friends whom I had recruited, as B pointed out with a facepalm).

B wanted to pay for packers/movers 100% but I'm more of a DIY person, especially since we're moving my studio just a few blocks over, so we compromised with paying for movers only for the heavy furniture.
B and I had started moving a few smaller items during the week, but we really moved everything over the weekend. Unfortunately, the elevators in the new apartment broke the day before we started the heavy moving (and of course got fixed the day after we moved), so we were forced to carry everything up 4 flights of stairs.

My friends, despite being on equally difficult rotations ranging from VA, medical ICU, cardiac ICU and despite working 80+ hours, came after work to help out (that's the Yale family, indeed). We drove back and forth, dropping off boxes, and carrying everything over many trips up and down 4 flights of stairs for hours and hours. It wasn't fun, but they definitely made it waaay more enjoyable, and we celebrated with buying everyone dinner and hanging out afterwards.
The next day we had movers; despite their best effort, we had to go over time because one can carry beds and tables and sofas up the stairs only so quickly. Importantly, I had a bed to sleep on, since I had a 28 hr call the very next day >_<

We probably spent >40 hours packing, moving, and cleaning, unpacking, so we were super exhausted at the end. B and I each went up and down >100 flights of stairs, which is crazy. I'm happy to not have to move for at least a few more years.

B says thank goodness it's over, because if I move again while we're working residency hours, he's going to look for a new wife lol!
Even typing about my move is making me hot and tired again, so I'm sharing my infused water recipe, with oranges, fresh mint, and blueberries. The summer heat is coming and this is a great way to stay cool!

Orange, Mint, and Blueberry Infused Water

6 cups water
2 oranges, sliced into circles
1/2 cup blueberries
handful of mint
tray of ice

Combine orange, blueberries, and mint in a pitcher of water and put in the fridge for at least an hour to allow the water to infuse. When ready to serve, add ice. Serve cold and enjoy!
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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Chocolate Coconut Cake with Coconut Frosting

Layered cakes are such a labor of love, so they're only reserved for special occasions... like a fabulous friend's birthday! I've been super excited to share this Chocolate Coconut Cake with Coconut Frosting (made with cream cheese!) - it's almost too pretty to eat.
Chocolate Coconut Cake with Coconut Frosting | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
We've had a stretch of weddings all over the place (3 out of state weddings in 3 months! phew). I just love weddings. The designer in me gets so excited to see all the typography/calligraphy, color themes, DIY, and styling because it's an artistic manifestation of the couple's (ok, really the bride's) style. 
Chocolate Coconut Cake with Coconut Frosting | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
For my dear friend's birthday, she wanted a chocolate and coconut cake, and I asked, you mean German Chocolate? And she said no, just literally chocolate and coconut.

I searched and there wasn't really such a cake (despite it being a perfect combination of flavors). So I just had to invent a cake to fit it. I was inspired by gorgeous wedding cake styling - fresh flowers and textured coconut flakes to cover up any frosting imperfections hehe. This cake reminds me of her - classy, feminine, with lots of white (her go to color).
Chocolate Coconut Cake with Coconut Frosting | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
This cute cake stand was an amazing $5 find at Target and made the cake so much fancier. The flowers are courtesy of New Haven cherry blossoms, plucked fresh (the northeast flowers as dazzling in the spring, although it doesn't do well for my allergies).
Chocolate Coconut Cake with Coconut Frosting | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
This cake is made of a classic chocolate base, and the filling is a coconut custard. For the frosting, I didn't want it too sweet so I incorporated cream cheese. Adapted from Bobby Flay and Allrecipes. Enjoy!

Chocolate Coconut Cake with Coconut Frosting

homemade recipe or 1 boxed mix

1 cup coconut milk
1 cup heavy cream (1/2 cup + 1/2 cup)
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar + additional 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
softened 1/2 cup salted butter (if unsalted at 1/4 teaspoon salt)
3 cups confectioner's sugar
2-3 tablespoons coconut milk
unsweetened coconut flakes

Prepare your chocolate cake in two 6 inch pans. Let cool and level your cake so they stack evenly

In a medium saucepan and combine coconut milk and 1/2 cup of heavy cream, and bring to a simmer. In another bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg mixture, stirring frequently, to temper the eggs.  Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil, whisking constantly, until thickened. Add vanilla extract. Cool to room temperature then chill at least an hour in the refrigerator.

While custard is chilling, make the whipped cream. Beat the other 1/2 cup of heavy cream and 3 tablespoons of sugar in a cold bowl until stiff peaks form. Once the custard is chilled, gently fold the whipped cream with the custard. Let it chill in the refrigerator until assembly.

Beat together the cream cheese and butter (with salt if added) in a bowl. Slowly add the confectioners' sugar, one cup at a time and coconut milk. Add vanilla extract. Continue beating until mixture is smooth. Add additional confectioners' sugar (to thicken) or coconut milk (to thin) as needed for the right consistency.

Take one layer of cake, and spread coconut custard on top. Cover with the second layer of cake. Frost the top and sides with your coconut frosting thinly to make the "crumb coat" (the base for your frosting). Refrigerate for 1 hour for the frosting to harden. After, frost the cake on top of the crumb coat. Chill in the refrigerator for another hour. Press the coconut flakes all over the cake. Top with flowers if desired. Chill before serving. Enjoy!
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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Fish with Coconut Sauce (Pescado Encocado)

While I loved the Dominican Republic beaches and eating (see part 1 and part 2 of our trip), the highlight was getting my scuba diving license!

B got licensed in Chicago (yes, in the middle of North America away from all ocean) a few years ago and had always wanted me to learn so we could dive together.
Fish with Coconut Sauce (Pescado Encocado) | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Initially I had wanted to do just one day of diving during the vacation, but learned a single day of diving was an option but couldn't toward classes/certification in the future. Also, when B got licensed, he had to drive back and forth over two weekends, and both his open water dive were an hour's drive away). In the Dominican Republic, the beach was right there and all the transport was arranged. And once I got the full certification, I could dive anywhere in the world.

So, naturally, I took the full course - I've always been a go-big-or-go-home kind of person anyway.
Fish with Coconut Sauce (Pescado Encocado) | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
My thought was that I was going to lounge and sleep in on this vacation, but I quickly found out diving is no joke.

I had to wake up super early everyday for "theory" classes (so much physics and science of diving - pressure, volume, nitrogen calculations) then do a lot of diving exercises, initially in the pool (closed water), then four open water dives (ocean) and lots of quizzes and a final exam.
Fish with Coconut Sauce (Pescado Encocado) | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Breathing underwater is very unnatural, but the number one rule is never hold your breath (unless you want your lungs to over-inflate and pop). My exercises included what to do if your tank oxygen runs out, controlling my buoyancy with breathing, taking off my mask underwater (the worst!), and removing and replacing my breathing tube. 

Doing them in the safety of a pool is one thing, where you can poke your head above water if there's issues, but doing them all more than 40 feet underwater  in very choppy ocean water is nerve wracking. I can swim for long distances, but it was quite tiring even for me. The last day, someone on the boat got seasick and skipped the last dive, but I was determined to get my license!
Fish with Coconut Sauce (Pescado Encocado) | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Still, the ocean coral is just magical and worth all of the training. There were so much beautiful fish, coral and even wreckages, reminding me of Finding Nemo. I even got to hold a little hermit crab in my hand the last day. B is super jealous because his open diving was in a muddy lake in the Midwest while I had the Caribbean ocean.

Today, I'm sharing the last of my Dominican inspired recipe - Fish with Coconut Sauce (Pescado Encocado). I had a coconut milk fish stew in the Dominican restaurant on my resort with savory plantains and rice. I really love fish - whether I'm eating them or swimming among them!  Hope you enjoy the Pescado Encocado and our adventures! Recipe adapted from Laylita.

Fish with Coconut Sauce (Pescado Encocado)

1 lb white fish (I used cod)
2 limes, juiced
1/2 cup orange juice
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 bell peppers, diced
1/2 cup tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes)
1/2 (14 oz) can of full fat coconut milk
tapioca starch or cornstarch, to thicken (optional)
3 tbs cilantro, finely chopped
Pepper and salt to taste

Mix the lime juice, orange juice, garlic, cumin, paprika, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Marinate the fish for at least an hour if possible.

Heat the oil in a pan. Prepare a base for the sauce cooking the onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the coconut milk, mix it in well and cook for about 10 minutes. If you prefer, you can thicken the sauce by adding 1/2 tsp of tapioca starch or cornstarch.

Add the fish fillets, with the marinade, to the pan. Cover partially and let simmer for about 20-25 minutes. Top with cilantro and serve with rice and fried ripe plantains. Enjoy!
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Friday, May 19, 2017

Pina Colada Smoothie

Sharing more Dominican republic adventures on this post (you can see part 1 featuring plantain tostanes)! When we first arrived on the island, we were both exhausted. I had just taken my medical licensing exams, then we immediately jetted to Michigan for a friend's whirlwind wedding. Then after just 3.5 hours of sleep, we took off to the Caribbean on the earliest flight to maximize our time there. 
Pina Colada Smoothie | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
As soon as we got to our resort, we marveled at the beach, the food, the resort gardens and pools, activities/amenities for about 5 minutes before we passed out in our garden canopy bed for a much needed nap.

We wandered the beach for a while, which had one of the bluest oceans I had ever seen (contenders include Maui, Hawaii and Mykonos, Greece), before we went back to bed again.
Pina Colada Smoothie | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Drinks were unlimited on the resort, so to celebrate, B and I ordered a pina colada, which we both love. If you can drink a lot, you can certainly get your money's worth in all inclusive resorts! (B and I, alas, did not drink our worth since we're super lightweights regarding alcohol... but B made up for it with the lobsters he devoured)
Pina Colada Smoothie | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
I ate endless fruit everyday, especially the pineapples and mangos which are harder to get in Connecticut. I kept eyeing the coconuts on the top of the palm trees everywhere on the resort. The one time I bought fresh coconuts in Connecticut, they actually turned out to be rancid -_-' so I've given up on eating them in the North. On the second to last day of our trip, we discovered that coconuts were unlimited - you just had to find a gardener to get the coconut and chop it with a machete for you. 

After that, we ate so much coconuts! You can see pictures of our coconut drinks (and the ocean) on my instagram feed. I still don't know how the gardeners scale such high palm trees!
Pina Colada Smoothie | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
This recipe is for a pina colada smoothie, which is creamy and light and doesn't have alcohol, although you can add if you wish of course. There's a more classic, rum spiked pina colada recipe on the blog (where you can read to find out the story of why I don't drink much alcohol). The little umbrella is actually from the Dominican Republic, a little souvenir I brought back from the resort :)

Pina Colada Smoothie

1/2 cup fresh pineapple
1/2 can coconut milk
almond milk, to taste
ice, to taste

Add all the ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth. Adjust the milk and ice to desired thickness. Pour into your cup when ready to serve. Garnish with fresh pineapple and paper umbrella. Enjoy!
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Friday, May 12, 2017

Plantain Tostones with Mango Salsa and Cilantro Chimichurri

I'm excited to share today a recipe inspired by my time in the Dominican Republic! Vacation is a precious time in residency, especially because there's no summers or holidays, and we used this to celebrate our 1 year anniversary.

Our last time off was 8 months  ago (which we just went home), so our last true vacation had actually been our honeymoon. As B had never really traveled, I planned the entire honeymoon to Paris and Greece.  Of course, that meant the honeymoon involved a lot of food, museums, art, museums, culture, museums, history, museums, architecture, and museums in a fast paced, action packed trip that included lots of waking up early and no naps (That's how B describes it to our friends). What can I say, I'm a jet-setter!

While B enjoyed the honeymoon, he said he would plan the next trip. It would be a "leisurely," "non-thinking," "no museums," "relaxing" beach resort where he would get to sleep all day.
Plantain Tostones with Mango Salsa and Cilantro Chimichurri | Obsessive Cooking Disorder

I agreed and let B pick - we settled on the Caribbean, close by since we only had a week because of my medical exams and schedule. Also, at this point of residency, I was happy to have a more laid back vacation that included lots of sleeping.

B wanted an all inclusive resort because that would take care of the vacation planning, and we looked at recommendations by friends .... until we saw the $$$ prices.

So we googled "Budget Caribbean Islands" and discovered Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Since we vacation at weird times, there was a package on a huge sale, and the deal was even better because we booked it through Costco (we do love Costco) - so we got grocery vouchers too!
Plantain Tostones with Mango Salsa and Cilantro Chimichurri | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Our all inclusive resort had beautiful beaches, fun activities (Latin dancing classes, paddle-board yoga, casino, local arts and crafts), but most of all, had tons of food. There were buffets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as dine-in restaurants.

As B devoured an impressive amount of steak and lobsters, I tried to eat the Latin and Caribbean foods. I ate lots of seafood, coconuts, and plantains / tostones, which you don't see as much in the northeast. Even back in Texas, I always preferred traditional Hispanic food over the heavy Tex Mex dishes.
B and I were super sad to leave our resort, so to ease the vacation blues, I've been cooking some Caribbean inspired food this week.  Plantain Tostones, twice fried plantains (fry once, then smash, then fry again), are a common side dish. They are delicious on their own, and I've topped them with mango salsa and a cilantro chimichurri for even more flavor. Recipe adapted from Get Inspired Everyday. Enjoy this taste of the Caribbean!

Plantain Tostones with Mango Salsa and Cilantro Chimichurri

1-2 plantains
olive oil
salt, to taste

3/4 cup mango, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 lime, juiced (2 tablespoons)
1 small jalapeno, diced
salt and pepper, to taste

1 small bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 1/2 limes, juiced (3 tablespoons)
1 small jalapeno, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Make your salsa and chimichurri first.

MANGO SALSA: Toss your diced mango, red onion, cilantro, lime juice and jalapeno in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

CILANTRO CHIMICHURRI: In a blender or food processor, combine your cilantro, garlic, onion, lime, jalapeno and pulse for a few seconds. Add a bit of the olive oil, then pulse for a few seconds. Add more oil then pulse briefly againm and repeat until eventually all the olive oil is in, to emulsify the sauce.  Blend until the chimichurri is creamy. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

TOSTONES: For the tostones, preheat a large skillet over medium heat with oil. Peel plantain and slice straight down to make 1" thick circles (not diagonal) and add to skillet. Fry for a few minutes per side til just golden without browning on each side. Adjusting the heat if they brown too much

Using tongs, remove and place on a chopping board. With the side of a large knife (or something flat), smash the fried plantains flat into 1/4 inch thick discs. Fry the flattened plantains again, a few minutes per side until golden brown and crispy. Sprinkle sea salt.

To serve, top each plantain chip with your mango salsa and top with the cilantro chimichurri. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
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Friday, May 5, 2017

Sushirrito (Sushi Burrito)

B loves watching documentaries. He's watched ones about planet earth, about mountain climbing, and of course about sushi, and constantly tells me to watch them with him. I've wanted to watch the sushi documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, forever and finally found some time while on a plane flight.
Sushirrito (Sushi Burrito) | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
The documentary talks about Jiro, one of the world's most prominent sushi chefs, who, at over 90 years old (!) still runs his 3 star Michelin restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro near a Tokyo subway.  The documentary captures his essence perfectly - how mind works, his mannerisms, his approach to sushi, and most of all, his impressive work ethic. I can't think of anyone who works are hard as he does for 83 years (he started working in restaurants as a child) - you just have to respect his discipline and admire his passion. I may be OCD about details, but he is quite like no one else in his quest for perfecting the art of sushi
Sushirrito (Sushi Burrito) | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
My foodie cousin actually ate at Sukiyabashi Jiro on her honeymoon and said it was so worth it (planning for a 3 month reservation time, $400 for a 20 piece meal). He serves sushi to some of the most prominent people in the world. I'm not sure I could ever get myself to spend that much on a meal (even when I have a real salary after residency), nor is my palate probably refined enough to tell the difference between great sushi and perfect sushi.... but if he's still working when he's 100 years old, and I'm around Tokyo, I really need to check it out.
Sushirrito (Sushi Burrito) | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
We may never eat with Jiro, but B and I did eat at one of his apprentice's sushi restaurants in NYC (Sushi Nakazawa) to celebrate B's birthday! Daisuke Nakazawa was one of Jiro's protoges; in the documentary he talked about how he cried of happiness when after months of failure with 200 rejections, his tamago (egg omelette) is finally approved to Jiro's standards. His restaurant is slightly more afforable's Jiro, and it's more laid back than the extremely formal atmosphere of Jiro's restaurant.

When you eat at his restaurant, you can at the bar where the chefs work (more expensive, and you eat each piece one by one) or the regular dining room (where they bring out sets of sushi). The meal is predetermined by the chef based on the market's availability. The fish is paired with interesting flavors like mint or smoked to give it an interesting flavor. His tamago was excellent - practice pays off.

Like starstruck fangirls, we asked to take a picture with Chef Nakazawa, and he kindly obliged. (B even practiced his Japanese with him)
Sushirrito (Sushi Burrito) | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Here is our bastardized version of sushi, the sushi burrito, inspired by when I ate Sushirrito in California. Chefs Jiro would probably be mortified to see this, and my rolling technique is certainly lacking, but I think I did a pretty good job!

Sushirrito (Sushi Burrito)

Salmon sashimi or tuna sashimi
1 cucumber, cut to matchsticks
1 carrot, cut to matchsticks
1/2 avocado
1 stalk green onion
white sushi rice
4 sheets of roasted sushi seaweed (nori)
sesame seeds
siracha mayo (recipe below)

Lay sushi mat on your counter; place parchment paper under a sheet of roasted sushi seaweed. Spread cooked rice on top thinly, covering the surface of the seaweed. Lay your sliced avocado, sashimi, carrots, cucumbers, and green onions on top of the rice. Finish with sesame seeds and spicy mayo. Roll up sushi burrito with the parchment paper around it and slice diagonally. Use a rubber band to keep it wrapped. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Spicy Siracha Mayo

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1-2 tablespoons sriracha hot sauce
1/2 lime, juiced

Mix mayonnaise, sriracha hot sauce, and lime juice together in small bowl. Serve immediately
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