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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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Almond Banana Smoothie Bowl

In residency, a "while cloud" is someone who brings good luck to work - patients always get better, call days are never capped, and workflow goes smoothly. A "black cloud" is one who meets angry nurses, has terrible call days, patients keep crashing, and has general bad luck all around. These are all self perceived of course, but residents are superstitious folk.

I was a white cloud on MICU. No code blues for the whole team and no deaths on my side for my whole month ...  except for one, on my very last day.
Almond Banana Smoothie Bowl | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Mr. M was the first patient I pre-rounded in my first day of MICU, and he passed on my very last day.

A young man in his late 40s with the bad luck of progressing heart and lung failure by genetics, his mind was completely untouched as he was dying. Right up to the end, he could sketch in his art book, surf on his iphone, and stroll about the unit, hooked up to life sustaining machines and medications.
Almond Banana Smoothie Bowl | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
He "felt great" despite his illness - asymptomatic, except for occasional shortness of breath. Over the month, I got to know him and his lovely family, who were full of hope he'd get out despite many dismal goals of care discussions. 

He looked astonishingly well, but his oxygen support requirements and heart tests told us otherwise; he was tied to the ICU with 3 pressors to maintain his shock and fully depending on his oxygen mask, unable to be off more than 30 seconds without fainting. He could never leave the ICU. 

And there comes a point where 'life' is no life at all, but how do you tell a dying young man who doesn't feel like he's dying at all that it's his time? 
Almond Banana Smoothie Bowl | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Normally I talk to the family of dying patients about letting the patient pass away; but it's rare to talk to those dying themselves that it's time for you to let go. I can't imagine more stressful decision in one's life - when are you ready for death? - with your family waiting for your answer. 

Several hours later, while I was in another patient's family meeting discussing hospice care, I was paged multiple times in a row by Mr. M's nurse requesting me to come urgently. After our discussion on his life that morning, Mr. M had chosen "it was time,"; his family and friends had come and gathered around him. His father insisted the we take a photo together on his ipad, and I stood next to his bed smiling in one of his last pictures. 

Once the oxygen was off, he quickly passed peacefully.

And while it was truly for the best, it was a poignant feeling to pronounce my first death as a doctor on someone whom I had grown so attached to. Through her own tears, his sister joked, "Doctors aren't supposed to cry," but I couldn't help it. It was so final to sign the official death certificate, when I had just sketched his in artbook with him a few days prior.
Almond Banana Smoothie Bowl | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
While I did enjoy MICU and matured a lot as a doctor, it was a demanding rotation - mentally, physically, and emotionally - and I'm relieved to be done and have some time to recharge. I'm sharing this Almond Banana Smoothie Bowl recipe - something quick, easy, and beautiful to prepare when you (or someone else) needs a quick pick me up.

Almond Banana Smoothie Bowl


Ingredients
2 small ripe bananas, frozen
2 cups almond milk
1 cup ice
1/2 cup roasted almonds
toppings: blueberries, cacao nibs, banana slices, almonds

Directions
Cut the frozen bananas into thirds to make blending easier. In a blender, blend the bananas, almond milk, ice, and almonds until smooth. Adjust ingredient ratio to desired consistency.

Pour your almond banana smoothie into a small bowl. Top with blueberries, cacao nibs, banana slices, almonds. Enjoy!
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Monday, January 16, 2017

Kale Salad with Pomegranate, Butternut Squash, and Goat Cheese

My new year resolution is to lose the 10 pounds that I unfortunately gained the last year of med school (too many interview dinners!) and which has stubbornly remained during intern year so far.
Kale Salad with Pomegranate, Butternut Squash, and Goat Cheese I Obsessive Cooking Disorder
I confess, I haven't really cooked in a month because I've been eating almost every meal at our hospital cafeteria while in the medical ICU.

Most people are unimpressed by hospital food, but our cafeteria is pretty good actually. My go to lunch choice is the make-your-own salad bar. Salads always seem to taste better when made by someone else, plus they have so many ingredients. 

I've stopped exercising because when you come home super late everyday, and have to wake up early the next day, the last thing that I want to do is running / lifting / doing push ups. 

Also, because, sleeping and eating ice cream sounds more appealing when you come home after a 28 hour call with no sleep.
Kale Salad with Pomegranate, Butternut Squash, and Goat Cheese I Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Cutting back on calories is much easier than burning them, so that's been my plan for those tough rotations. Luckily, I've finally finished MICU and have a little bit more time now as I'll be starting elective! 

While it was a great experience, and I learned a ton (and I really do believe you need the long hours to gain the clinical acumen to be a proficient doctor in residency), I definitely look forward to having time to make more of my own meals :)Kale Salad with Pomegranate, Butternut Squash, and Goat Cheese I Obsessive Cooking Disorder
This Kale Salad with Pomegranate, Butternut Squash, and Goat Cheese is inspired by Ambitious Kitchen, who came up with the amazing combination of fun ingredients. Pomegranate, roasted butternut squash, and goat cheese, make this a hearty fall or winter salad to keep you going through those long workdays (and maybe just a step up fancier than those cafeteria salads).

Kale Salad with Pomegranate, Butternut Squash, and Goat Cheese 

Ingredients
SALAD
1/2 pound butternut squash, cubed
1 teaspoon olive oil
cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper, to taste
1 large bunch of kale, stemmed and finely chopped
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
3 tablespoons goat cheese
1/4 cup slivered almonds

DRESSING
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoons honey

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine butternut squash cubes, olive oil, and spices, and roast for 20 min until soft.

Pour your kale into a bowl. Stir all your dressing ingredients in a small bowl until combined. Pour dressing all over the chopped kale and toss. When you are about to serve, arrange your salad on a plate, and top with your roast butternut squash, pomogranate, goat cheese, and almonds. Enjoy!

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