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


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

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

YOGURT LAYER
vanilla Greek yogurt
fresh blackberries
toasted coconut flakes
honey

Directions
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


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

Directions
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


Ingredients
CHOCOLATE CAKE
homemade recipe or 1 boxed mix

COCONUT CUSTARD
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

COCONUT CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
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

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

COCONUT CUSTARD
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.

COCONUT CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
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.

ASSEMBLY
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)


Ingredients
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

Directions
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


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

Directions
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


Ingredients
PLANTAIN TOSTONES
1-2 plantains
olive oil
salt, to taste

MANGO SALSA
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

CILANTRO CHIMICHURRI
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

Directions
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)


Ingredients
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)

Directions
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

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

Directions
Mix mayonnaise, sriracha hot sauce, and lime juice together in small bowl. Serve immediately
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Friday, April 28, 2017

Avocado Toast with Pesto and Egg

Pesto is one of my favorite sauces because it elevates anything into a "fancy" dish. Pesto comes from the Italian word, pestare (to grind, pound) and technically refers to anything that is pounded.
Avocado Toast with Pesto and Egg | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Pesto has been around since the Roman times and medieval times, although although we traditionally think of Genoese pesto, where basil is the main ingredient, doesn't come around until the mid 1800s. (source)
Avocado Toast with Pesto and Egg | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Pesto is classically made with basil, garlic, cheese, olive oil, and pine nuts, but I've seen variations with every possible green leaf and every nut. One fun fact about pine nuts is that it can give you Pine Nut Syndrome or "pine mouth" - in which eating pine nuts can cause taste disturbances (a bitter metallic taste), lasting from days to weeks afterwards.

In fact, there's lots of science journals describing and documenting Pine Nut Syndrome, like Pine mouth (pine nut) syndrome: description of the toxidrome, preliminary case definition, and best evidence regarding an apparent etiology and "Pine mouth" syndrome: cacogeusia following ingestion of pine nuts (genus: pinus). An emerging problem?.

Food science - that's a pretty fun research area where I'd be happy to volunteer as a subject.
Avocado Toast with Pesto and Egg | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
Today I'm sharing a homemade pesto recipe, which is now feasible thanks to my mini food processor, B's Christmas gift for me. Making fresh basil is so much better than the store bought kind. Personally, I like mixing half the basil with half spinach for a milder taste, plus it makes the basil stretch further for budget conscious people. Pesto recipe is adapted from Simply Recipes

I've also partnered with FoodRevPGH, which has provided amazing facts and tips for everything you wanted to know about pesto. Check out their awesome guide!

Avocado Toast with Pesto and Egg | Obsessive Cooking Disorder
I'm also posting a recipe for Avocado Toast - one of those trendy Pinterest recipes that actually tastes as good as it looks. It's fast, easy, and nutritious. I've also partnered with Cook the Stone to show tips on timing the ripe avocado to make the perfect avocado toast. There's a lot of variations but I kept it classic with a sunny side up egg, tomato, and freshly made pesto to top off the avocado toast.  

Avocado Toast with Pesto and Egg


Ingredients
2 slices whole grain bread
olive oil
1 small ripe avocado
pesto, homemade (recipe below) or from jar
1 egg
3-4 cherry tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions
Drizzle olive oil on both sides of the bread slices and toast in toaster oven until golden brown. With a fork, mark your avocado then spread it on top of your toast. Top the avocado with your pesto. Cut your tomatoes in half and set aside.

In a medium hot skillet, lightly grease the pan with olive oil. Crack open your eggs, keeping egg yolk intact,  Fry on medium low for about 4-6 minutes. When cooked to desired doneness, place egg on top of your toast. Top with cherry tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

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Homemade Pesto


Ingredients
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cups spinach
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup pine nuts (or any toasted nuts such as walnuts, almonds, etc)
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 teaspoons)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
optional: 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

Directions
Plae your basil, spinach, olive oil, nuts, and garlic in food processor and pulse until blended. Scrape down the sides of the food processor as needed. Stir in freshly ground black pepper to taste. If you're ready to use the pesto, mix in the cheese. (Otherwise I leave the cheese out so it preserves longer and wait to add it.) Store in a glass jar or container in the fridge. Spread on toast, mix with pasta, top on your eggs, use in pizza, etc. Enjoy!
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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 a series of frustrating events 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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