Thursday, July 30, 2009

Berry Delicious

I have now completed my LAST call of the month. Overall, my team had a REALLY good month. This last call was pretty good except that I really messed myself over by spacing a kid to albuterol treatments every hour at midnight KNOWING that at 3 am I would have to get up and go listen to him to see how he was doing...but he needed it, so I did my job! :-) Anyway, on one of our earlier calls, I decided to take something a little different. I usually make cookies but saw a great looking recipe for blueberry sour cream bars on Anna's site. With the way blueberries are right now, I knew I had to try it. Let me just say...delicious!!!! Everyone liked them and they were the perfect refreshing treat for call. The only problem was that they really got pretty soft if they were not refrigerated. I did have to make a change to the recipe as I was out of brown sugar. They tasted fine and I think that they only change would have been a browner color and slightly richer taste. Please, if you have some blueberries sitting around to be used, try these!

Blueberry Sour Cream Bars

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (118 grams)
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats (60 grams)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (110 grams)
1/2 teaspoon salt (2 ml) – if using salted butter, reduce to a pinch
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut up (85 grams) - I think I used margarine

6 tablespoons granulated sugar (70 grams)
1/2 cup regular (reduced fat) sour cream (114 grams)
1 1/4 tablespoons flour (10 grams)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla (1 ml)
1 teaspoon lemon juice (5 ml)
1/8 teaspoon salt (pinch)
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C). Line an 8 inch metal pan with foil and spray foil with cooking spray.

Combine flour, oats, brown sugar and salt in food processor. Pulse to mix, then add butter and pulse until mixture is a coarse meal. Set aside about 2/3 cup, then press the rest into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes to set crust.

Filling: Mix the sugar, sour cream, flour, vanilla, lemon juice and salt together in a bowl. Add the blueberries and stir to coat. Spread over crust. Sprinkle reserved topping and pecans (if using) over filling. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Chill for an hour, then lift foil from pan and cut into 12 (16) bars.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Clouds of Sugar

It's that time again. That time of them know, when hundreds of bloggers post the same recipe, maybe with different variations and different styles, but the same base. Yep, it's Daring Baker time. The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network. In my slowly becoming sleep deprived brain, I thought it was a week later than it was and decided I'd make these for a wedding shower at work...that happens July 30! Oh, well! Because of my call schedule, I had to break this process up into parts. I made the dough one day and put it in the refrigerator. This was pretty easy, though I was concerned that the dough was a bit too sticky. The refrigeration didn't really help that either. When it came to making the marshmallow, I decided to change things up a change was purposeful, the other was accidental! I didn't have any corn syrup and didn't want to make a trip to the store to buy any, so I substituted cream of tartar (which google says you can do!). The accidental change was my omission of the gelatin, which I DID actually have! ANOTHER mistake I made was putting the marshmallow on before I cooked the cookies...which I thought was how I was supposed to do it. None of these mistakes really made a bad effect on the outcome. I wasn't bowled over by the results BUT my parents really liked them. After a long weekend of moving apartments, my parents discovered these treats and dug in. My dad said, "Oh, yeah!" He really liked the combo of all the different ingredients. His suggestion was to add some peanut butter under the marshmallow or even use cappucino chips (melted) to cover the whole thing. Overall, this was a pretty simple challenge, especially when broken up into separate steps on different days. Thanks, Nicole! If you want to see more results go here.

Mallows(Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies)
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website

Prep Time: 10 min
Inactive Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Serves: about 2 dozen cookies

• 3 cups (375grams/13.23oz) all purpose flour
• 1/2 cup (112.5grams/3.97oz) white sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 3/8 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter
• 3 eggs, whisked together (oops...I just put them in without whisking)
• Homemade marshmallows, recipe follows
• Chocolate glaze, recipe follows

1. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, blend the dry ingredients.
2. On low speed, add the butter and mix until sandy.
3. Add the eggs and mix until combine.
4. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with clingfilm or parchment and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
5. When ready to bake, grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
7. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness, on a lightly floured surface. Use a 1 to 1 1/2 inches cookie cutter to cut out small rounds of dough.
8. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool to room temperature. (Oops! Baked AFTER adding the marshmallow topping)
9. Pipe a “kiss” of marshmallow onto each cookie. Let set at room temperature for 2 hours.
10. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or silicon mat.
11. One at a time, gently drop the marshmallow-topped cookies into the hot chocolate glaze.
12. Lift out with a fork and let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.
13. Place on the prepared pan and let set at room temperature until the coating is firm, about 1 to 2 hours.

Note: if you don’t want to make your own marshmallows, you can cut a large marshmallow in half and place on the cookie base. Heat in a preheated 350-degree oven to slump the marshmallow slightly, it will expand and brown a little. Let cool, then proceed with the chocolate dipping.

Homemade marshmallows:
• 1/4 cup water
• 1/4 cup light corn syrup (1/2 tsp cream of tartar)
• 3/4 cup (168.76 grams/5.95oz) sugar
• 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin (omitted accidentally)
• 2 tablespoons cold water (omitted accidentally)
• 2 egg whites , room temperature
• 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. In a saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar, bring to a boil until “soft-ball” stage, or 235 degrees on a candy thermometer.
2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let dissolve.
3. Remove the syrup from the heat, add the gelatin, and mix.
4. Whip the whites until soft peaks form and pour the syrup into the whites.
5. Add the vanilla and continue whipping until stiff.
6. Transfer to a pastry bag.

Chocolate glaze:
• 12 ounces semisweet chocolate
• 2 ounces cocoa butter or vegetable oil

Microwave chocolate chips and oil for 40 seconds, stir and repeat until melted and smooth.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mini Call

Typically, as an intern on call you don't get much sleep because you are the one the nurses call when they need anything...this child has a fever, this kid's chest is hurting but it's been hurting since they came in, so and so has a rash after antibiotics but this is the sixth dose, etc. Most of the time you don't have to leave the lounge BUT you do have to wake up, get up, and call the floor. Anyway, my second call, I don't think I had a single floor call after midnight...AWESOME! (Just so you know...that hasn't happened since!) Who knows, maybe this "mini" call was due to the mini-cookies I took. Emily, the amazing teen baker, created some cookies for her sister's birthday and I thought they looked delicious. So, I tried them out for the on-call treat. They were perfectly soft and moist but not at all cakey. The perfect cookie. I REALLY love using browned totally adds to the flavor of the cookie. In fact, at some point I have an original recipe from me (!) coming up that uses browned butter. Anyway, I think that a great addition would be some toasted nuts but these cookies were great as is. I used caramel-chocolate swirled chips for a little something special. Try them out for yourself! (Sorry about the poor picture quality!) Mini Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (Recipe by Me)

1/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups quick oats
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup caramel-chocolate swirled chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; continue to cook the butter, whisking frequently, until it starts to brown and foam, about 2-3 minutes. Set aside for 10 minutes (I was impatient and didn't worked anyway).

In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together brown sugar and peanut butter until creamy, about 1 minute; beat in browned butter until combined. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Pour dry ingredients on top of this and lightly stir them together, then reduce mixer speed to low and beat in oat mixture until combined; stir in chocolate chips.

Roll tablespoons (I used about 1/2 tablespoon and got 4 dozen) of dough into balls, place on cookie sheets, and flatten slightly. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown around edges. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Makes 4 dozen mini cookies (I got 4 dozen using 1/2 Tablespoon...I measured just to be sure.)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Resident Eating...or How it SHOULD Be!

You get pretty worn out on wards with Q4 call. My most recent call was particularly taxing. I didn't get any sleep and almost had two breakdowns...once early morning when the call I received was totally confusing and next at about 6:15 when the elevator I got in just stopped! I walked up when the doors finally opened! Anyway, with such a tiring schedule it's really important to eat well and healthfully. I found this recipe in Eating Well and made it a month or so ago. At first I wasn't sure how chickpeas would be but it turned out great. The vegetable protein is especially healthy as well since it can help reduce cholesterol. I made couscous to serve with it. I think when I make it again I'll probably increase the amount of tomatoes and maybe okra in it. Even if you're unsure, I suggest you at least try it.

Okra and Chickpea Tagine from Eating Well

1 pound fresh or frozen okra, stem ends trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
10 sprigs fresh cilantro, plus more leaves for garnish
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 plum tomatoes, diced, or 1 cup drained canned diced tomatoes
1/2 cup vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
3/4 teaspoon salt

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add okra and cook for 2 minutes (I cooked for a little longer because my okra was frozen). This is like blanching it, so place in ice water if you like (Eating Well said to do this). Drain.
2. Tie cilantro sprigs together with kitchen string.
3. Heat oil in a tagine dish set over a heat diffuser or a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper. Cook, stirring, until soft, 2 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
4. Add onion, garlic, ginger and pepper to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, 3 to 6 minutes. Mix in tomatoes, broth, cumin, the okra, cilantro sprigs and half the bell pepper. Reduce heat to medium; partially cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the okra is soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in chickpeas and salt; cook for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat; discard the cilantro sprigs. Serve sprinkled with the remaining bell pepper and cilantro leaves, if desired.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 136 calories; 6 g fat (1 g sat, 4 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 20 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 7 g fiber; 443 mg sodium; 389 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (80% daily value), Vitamin A (25% dv), Folate (20% dv).
1 Carbohydrate Serving

Friday, July 03, 2009

New Beginnings

I have officially written my first order (and many more) and signed it with an M.D. behind it...that means my order is official, no one has to sign behind me. My first day on the job was Wednesday and I had the privilege of being the intern on call that night...meaning that I got to work at 7:30 and left at 1:30 the next day, all with 1.5 hours of non-consecutive sleep and dinner at 1:30 am! It sounds horrible but I guess it's not that bad. I'm doing what I love (really!) and I guess your adrenaline gets going and you're able to do it. By 1:30 I wasn't even really hungry but I had already ALMOST made a mistake in an order and knew my brain and body needed fuel. After that 30 hours on you just come home take a nap, wake up do about one thing productive, eat, and go back to sleep! Today I took another nap and feel great...I do it all again on Sunday!

Just as I did when a medical student, I will be trying to take on-call be on the look out. AND if you have any ideas for a good treat for young docs up all night, let me know...I'll pick some to try and then post about them here! In honor of my new step in life, I decided to let you in on a new peanut butter cookie recipe that I came up with. It ended up having a kind of sandy (as in pecan sandy) texture...which I like. The cinnamon chips add a different dimension and the peanut butter chips heighten the peanut butter flavor. I don't really think that chocolate chips taste quite right in these (it's just not the same) but if you can't find cinnamon chips (Hersey's makes them) then either increase the peanut butter chips or add you choice of chips. Cinnamon Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
1 stick butter/margarine
1 cup PB
½ cup turbinado sugar (this gives it a little crunch and texture...SO good!)
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour (I used the King Arthur white whole wheat...a little less grainy in cookies OR use whole wheat pastry flour)
½ cup AP flour (or cake flour…I used White Lily)
1 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup cinnamon chips
½ cup peanut butter chips

Preheat over to 350. Cream butter and peanut butter together. When light, add sugars. Mix. When well incorporated, add egg. When this is well mixed add the dry ingredients. Mix. Stir in chips. Place on baking stones or sheet in tablespoon sized scoops. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until done. After removing from oven, "tap" slightly with the back of a spoon or cookie scoop to SLIGHTLY flatten.