Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Popsicles

Hello everyone. I've officially moved to the east coast and started Internal Medicine residency so posts may be a little less regular.

How to I sum up my residency thus far? Well, I feel pretty rusty and nervous as heck. I don a huge long white coat and an old school pager. It's strange being referred to as Dr. Uy (Oh, huh, you're talking to me?) or introducing myself as a doctor (Hi Ms. X, my name is Natal- er, I mean Dr. Uy).

Oh, and my co-interns / residents / attendings are all awesome and share an affinity for good food. I think we'll get along very well.
I'm starting with my primary care clinic block, and outpatient is just as, if not tougher, than inpatient. Our patients can be very challenging, with a lot of medical problems on top of language, psychosocial, and financial barriers. 

Now I'm in the front line of care of my "mini-practice" of 300 patients for the next 3 years, which is an amazing and enormous responsibility!
I had one sweet patient who made me smile today. She needed to lose weight after immigrating to the US from the Middle East recently, as she had unfortunately developed an unhealthy American diet. Through the translator, she sheepishly admitted she loved chocolate - especially dark chocolate - very much and if dark chocolate was healthy.

In case you haven't noticed, I love dark chocolate too, so I empathize. We agreed to tackle cutting out other unhealthy parts of her diet one at a time, starting with sugary drinks instead.
I'm enjoying the lovely Connecticut weather right now. But it's never too cold or hot to eat popsicles. I've join Popsicle Week 2016 and I'm sharing these fun Raspberry Chocolate Popsicles Adapted from Little Spice Jar!

These popsicles are from Ikea for a steal of $1.99. These were the very first things I bought upon moving to the East Coast. (B: So... instead of essentials like a bed, table, or microwave, you rush to buy popsicle molds. Very practical.)
These beauties are so easy to make - to make sure they don't stick, just dip them in a cup of hot water to loosen. I wanted them two toned to celebrate the official start of summer (and my residency). Enjoy!

Raspberry Chocolate Popsicles

12 oz fresh or frozen raspberries
1 cups greek yogurt
¼ cup almond milk
1 oz dark chocolate, chopped

Combine the yogurt and almond milk in a large bowl. In another bowl, using a fork, mash the raspberries. Add half of the yogurt milk mixture to the raspberries, folding with a spatula for a marbled effect. Stir in the chopped dark chocolate in each bowl.

Pour the raspberry mixture first

Pour the mixture into the ice pop molds. Cover molds and insert popsicle sticks. Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove from molds and serve immediately.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tilapia Ceviche Celebration // Chef Uy, MD

Today is the day! In a few hours I become.... Chef Uy, MD!!

I've worked toward this dream my whole life, and it's a little surreal that I've reached it.
B and I flew in a few days ago for our senior gala (aka med school prom). B's parents flew in from California and we took them around Houston, showing off its attractions and top eats (stay tuned for a Houston Food Adventures roundup). Today my family's driving in to celebrate as well!
My graduation robe looks huge on me, but I'm so excited to rock the green (fun fact: academic regalia is green for medicine because of bile - very attractive). No puffy hat though; we just get normal graduation cap and a tassel sadly.
Here's a ceviche (adapted from Food Network) to celebrate graduation - ceviche is very refreshing as it heats up like crazy here for summer. You can make it with a variety of fishes and adjust the heat and spice to taste. I love these festive colors.

And this is my shout out goodbye dish to good Texas / Mexican / Latin cuisine, which I'm sure won't be matched in the Northeast.
This is the last time I'll be in Houston for who knows? I'm sad to leave it and the sunny Texas weather and friendly people, but I'll be off to new adventures in Internal Medicine residency!

Tilapia Ceviche

2 pounds tilapia fillets, diced
1 cup lime juice (about 8 large limes)
3/4 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 serrano chiles, seeds removed and diced
1 lime, cut into wedges
Tortilla chips, for serving

Put the tilapia in a medium glass bowl. Pour the lime juice over the fish until just covered. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until the fish is white throughout (about 30 minutes) making sure to turn the fish over halfway.

Remove from the refrigerator and drain off excess lime juice. Add the tomato, cucumber, onion, cilantro, and serrano pepper. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve chips topped with the ceviche. Garnish with lime slices. Best eaten immediately, but you can keep the ceviche for up to 24 hours in the fridge.
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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Chorizo and Guacamole Burger

As summer is here, it's BBQ season as well as Father's Day. Looking for a Father's Day gift?
In Chicago, B and I have gone on a big burger kick recently. Four burgers in one week. Not really by choice, but we ended up eating with different friends who all happened to want burgers. Not that we minded too much - there's so much variety.
B and I had a debate over what IS a burger? I replied it's a meat between two breads, which B countered is a hot dog a burger? How about a ham sandwich? How about a grilled chicken sandwich? What, what about vegetarian and even vegan burgers... those are still burgers!

We clearly have stimulating conversations.
Well, to prepare for national burger day, on May 28th, I've partnered with Personal Creations to show you this adorable chopping board and some delicious Chorizo and Guacamole Burgers inspired by Rachel Ray.

Despite having moved for only two weeks, I miss Texas already. So we had to include guacamole and chorizo in the burger.
I thought this pig was adorable on this cutting board, and it can be customized with any name. The board is well made, with grooves to catch any juices and is quite large and sturdy, so you can chop meat without fear on this board. Enjoy!

Chorizo and Guacamole Burger

1/2 lb chorizo, cooked
2 lbs ground beef
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons egg whites (or 1 egg)
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
Canola oil
4 slices swiss cheese
4 small burger buns

2 ripe large avocados, pitted and halved
1 serrano pepper, chopped
1 lime, juice
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 small tomato, finely diced
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat a grill or griddle pan over medium-high.

Finely dice or crumble the chorizo. In a bowl, combine the chorizo, ground beef, Worcestershire sauce; add egg to help bind the burger (adjust amount of egg if necessary). Season with cumin and add salt and pepper to taste. Form the mixture into 4 patties. Drizzle the patties with the oil.

In another bowl, mash the avocado and add lime juice. Stir in the serrano pepper,, cilantro and tomato.

GRILL: Grill the patties, flipping once, until cooked through, 10 -12 minutes. Divide the patties among the bun bottoms. Add the cheese on the buns.

STOVETOP: Set the oven / toaster oven to broil to heat up. Add oil to a cast iron pan on the stovetop on high heat. Place patties on the pan and cook until the bottom is browned. Flip once and cook until the other side is browned. Place entire pan inside oven and broil until cooked to desired doneness, about 5-8 min. Toast the buns with the cheese.

When ready to serve, add guacamole on top of the burger and cheese and cover with the top bun.
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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Italian Cream Cake

B hit a milestone birthday today :D And it's his first birthday as a married man whoohoo... as well as having the first birthday with us actually living together - yup, I've moved to Chicago, and we're excited to live in the same city and house finally (at least until residency begins in a month)
Marriage is all about learning to love each other's quirks.

B: Since living together I learned some new things about you...things I never knew before...
N: And?
B: You use a LOT of toilet paper. 

That was definitely not what I expected. Well, I need it for makeup removal and cleaning!
The perk of having a wife who likes to bake is always having a birthday cake.

We had Italian Cream cake for our wedding cake, which is now B's new favorite dessert (I even hand carried the last remaining frozen cake slices on the plane to Chicago). He requested Italian Cream for his birthday, and I'm happy to have an excuse to make cakes.

Italian Cream is undeniably one the richest cakes, but I slightly lightened it with some yogurt and reduced sugar in my version (adapted from Trisha Yearwood on Food Network). The icing has less sugar and more cream cheese so it isn't as firm, but it works beautifully for a naked cake.
Although B specifically wanted me to make a layer cake (cupcakes weren't "awesome enough"), since he and his roommates are also moving out, I had no baking supplies so I had to improvise.

I had only one springform pan, so I lined the bottom with parchment so it wouldn't leak batter - but it was easier to remove the cake. I had to make the entire cake twice separately per layer, as the egg whites had to be whipped and folded right before baking - which was a huge pain.

I also had to use his roommate's ancient KitchenAid to whipping egg whites. I can tell you, the normal models today are much better designed. It was clanky and something that looked like it belonged to the Julia Child if she baked in the medieval era.

Also his roommate's rather old toaster oven for toasting coconut may or may not have caught on fire...

I like baking in my own kitchen with my own supplies and equipment, but I'm willing to do all this for no one but B.
B insisted in getting actual number shaped candles for his birthday cake. Haven't seen one of those kind of candles since my dad turned 50 years old - this means B's at an age where there's not enough candles than can fit on top hehe.

The birthday cake was destroyed by B and his friends is less than 24 hrs. Mission accomplished.

Italian Cream Cake 

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing (can sub 1/4 cup with Greek yogurt)
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 cup buttermilk, well shaken (1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 cup shredded coconut, lightly toasted
Cooking spray

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut, lightly toasted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and lightly flour two cake pans. Sift the flour and baking soda together and set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream the butter and shortening with the sugar until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the yogurt if using now. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating between each egg. With the mixer on medium speed, add the flour and buttermilk alternately. Stir in the vanilla, coconut and nuts.

In a separate bowl with clean beaters, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the batter, just until blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35-45 minutes (time varies, I used an old oven, so make sure to test if done - insert a knife and have it remove cleanly). Cool the layers.

With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the butter on high speed until fluffy. Reduce the speed to medium and blend in the sugar and vanilla. Beat well until the frosting is smooth.

When the cake is completely cool, spread the frosting between the layers and on the sides and top of the cake. Sprinkle on the toasted coconut.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Boston NYC Food Adventures

Just sharing all the goodies we ate on my recent Boston - NYC trip with my friends in celebration of our upcoming graduation whoohoo. 

The people on the East Coast sure love to walk everywhere. On this trip I discovered that Apple health app also works as a pedometer - I walked an average of 24,000 steps over 7 days with a peak of almost 34,000 steps..... yet I still managed to gain 3 lbs from all our eating! That just shows how delicious food is here


Flour Bakery: Enjoying Flour Bakery right next to MIT! The chef is a Harvard graduate who majored in Mathematics and Econ, hated and quit her job to be a pastry chef (having zero experience), working her way up from be very bottom!

Their motto: "Make life sweeter... eat dessert first!" 

Legal Sea Foods - it may be a chain, but I still enjoyed their food and the view at the one on Copley. I had the char grilled haddock, while my friends had the fish and chips (huge), and the classic lobster roll.
The famous Mike's Pastry - this is from the original in North End (a new one opened in Harvard square). It's packed with 5 lines, but it moves quick. The lobster tail is the famous pastry (like a crispy cream puff), as well as the cannolis (mint, amaretto, double chocolate, and florentine). My friend also got us the Boston Cream Puff and Boston Cream Pie.
Tea Do - in the Boston Chinatown, a cute hipster place where you can play games like Jenga and Uno here as well. I recommend checking out their speciality boba menu - with funky names like Grasshopper, The Hulk, and Fire Dragon (Red Bean, Milk, Grass Jelly, Tapioca)


It's not gourmet, but you can fill you ice cream cravings with one of the many ice cream trucks in NYC - you can even have a double ice cream in a double cone! Perfect for sharing - B models the ice cream (alas it was eaten before I could snap a whole picture).
The fabulously unhealthy Serendipity 3 in NYC - get ready for diabetes. Here's the Forbidden Broadway Sundae, Strawberry Fields Forever Sundae, and their famous Frozen Hot Chocolate. This was our dinner (they have real food but people say just come here for desserts). The boys were lame and couldn't handle the sugar - someone had to finish it all (who me?)
Schmackary's Cookies -  here's the Funfetti, Chocolate, and Bacon(!) cookies. They're like little cakes with the icing.

Beyoglu - Turkish food in Upper East Side! Here is their hummus and pita, falafel, and sigara borek (film dough stuffed w feta). Try their turkish coffee too - it's unique. 

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Green Onion and Spinach Omelet

Hello from New York City! Fourth year medical school after match is basically vacation time - many of my classmates have gone all over the world. My friends and I took an East coast trip to Boston - New York City, which was super fun - I hadn't been to either of those cities since I was a little child.
B joined us halfway when we were in NYC. On our last day we saw our first Broadway Show ever! We got "rush tickets" (aka buying tickets the day of at a steep discount) for Something Rotten.
Something Rotten a musical comedy and parody where Shakespeare is a rockstar god known as "The Bard." Basically a frustrated competing playwright, Nick, attempts to find out what Shakespeare's greatest hit will be with a soothesayer - who unfortunately mixes up "Hamlet" with "Omelet" in his vision. The plot of course goes haywire, as there's literally a broadway number called "It's Eggs."

B was not a musicals fan, but after Something Rotten, he loves them. Apparently, heavy classics like Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, and Fiddler on the Roof just isn't his type, hehe.
B is an expert in all things eggs - I'm horrible with making perfect fluffy omelets. These eggs are actually from his friend's dad who's raising 25 chickens! B swears these eggs are thicker and richer; we like to add egg whites to make it lighter (and healthier).
Fun fact: Chickens will only lay eggs when they're super fat and happy so you give them a special protein packed feed. Also the eggs are extremely irregular, with varying colors, shapes, and size.
I now present to you Hamlet... er, I mean omelet ;)

Green Onion and Spinach Omelet

1 egg
3 tablespoons kirkland egg whites (B's favorite brand)
3/4 - 1 cup spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 stalk greenonion, diced

In a bowl, beat the egg and egg whites until the egg is one color and consistency.

Heat the pan to medium-high. Add 1 tsp oil to the pan. Add the spinach and let it cook until it shrinks and shrivels. Add the egg to the spinach and make sure the egg coats the entire bottom of the pan.  Move the spinach around to make sure the egg gets underneath that as well. Reduce the heat to medium

When the egg is no longer liquid and begins to solidify add cheese on top of the spinach. Fold the half the egg onto itself. Season to taste and serve with tomato wedges and green onion slices
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Friday, April 15, 2016

Bowtie Pasta with Shrimp and Avocado Pesto

Given the craziness of recent life events and starting residency shortly, I will alas put my famous food doodles on hold for the sake of time, otherwise I'd be posting only once a month. I have so much recipes and stories to share, just where does the time go? 

As I'm packing up and preparing to move out of Houston, I can't help but feel nostalgic. Sure every gets all excited about where they match for residency, but when the dust settles, you realize heck, you have so little time left with your friends and classmates now!

So in my last few weeks what did I do? I am a huge fan of museums and arts so visited quite a few (Holocaust museum, Museum of Fine Arts, and Museum of Natural Science, and the Houston Zoo), watched the cutest musical Crazy for You at the Miller Outdoor Theater , and hiked lots of pretty places, (Hermann Park, Buffalo Bayou, and Jesse Jones Parks). All this is FREE - Houston has some pretty amazing free day activities which I will sorely miss.
Also I've had to tackle the giant mess of moving. I've spend a good four years in my huge apartment (thank you Texas rent) and now I can only wonder how did I accumulate so much stuff?!

I had this naive dream of packing my stuff in a Uhaul and driving it all up ... until I found out it costs a fortune to drive a Uhaul more than 1,700 miles (even without hiring movers). Nope nope nope.

So I sold most of my stuff, packed what I had, and lived like a pauper the last few weeks - no bed, no tables, no couch, no desk. I ate my meals standing up/on the floor, worked my laptop on a footstool, and slept on a borrowed sleeping bag. Yay!

This is why there's no table in these photos. Just er, bedsheets.
This avocado bowtie pasta is literally made of the remnants of the food I had ... frozen shrimp, two avocados, and homemade Italian pasta bowties. So I present to you my last cooked meals as a pauper medical student in Houston :)

Loosely adapted from Giada on Food Network

Bowtie Pasta with Shrimp and Avocado Pesto 

1-1 1/2 cups dried bowtie pasta
1 large ripe avocado, halved, peeled, and seeded
1 cup spinach leaves
1 cup fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/3 cup olive
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 lb large whole shrimp

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. Place in a serving bowl.

Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh from the avocados and place in a food processor. Add the arugula, basil, lime juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.

Pour the pesto over the pasta and toss together. Add the cheese and almonds and toss together until coated, adding the pasta water, as needed, to loosen the sauce.
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