Thursday, May 31, 2007

Herbed Pork Roast - Weekend Herb Blogging

A few weeks ago, when I was still stressing about taking the Step 1 exam, my roommate and I had some friends over for dinner. One of them is in Cambodia for the summer, another is in Miami working for a law firm, and another is currently in Europe on a two week "tour" with his we knew if we wanted to get together before the summer, it had to be soon. Months ago I bought a pork loin while it was on sale and put it in the freezer. The size that my grocery store sells is not the little ones that you often see Rachael Ray use...they are quite sizeable, so they aren't really practical for two people to make. I decided that this was the perfect time to do pork loin. The recipe I use is from Southern Sideboards and is what I have grown up on. It always comes out moist and delicious, unlike the typical college cafeteria pork loin (so have no fear if that is what you think of when you hear pork loin!). This recipe does take some time in the oven but is quick to prepare with hands-on time. It's great for a Sunday lunch, as you can leave it in the oven while you go to church, etc.

This recipe uses several different spices and herbs. One of my favorites is thyme. When I looked up thyme, I saw that the proper name is Thymus vulgaris. This made me laugh because, being in medical school, it made me think of a skin condition called pemphigus vulgaris. Okay, enough of that...back to thyme! Thyme mainly contains phenol and carvacol in different percentages based on the time (!) of year. Thyme originated in Southern Europe and is now grown all over Europe and the US. One of my favorite ways to use thyme is on squash...SO good! In addition to tasting good, thyme is apparently an antiseptic, antispasmodic, tonic, and carminative (apparently refers to an antispasmodic used against consipation and flatulence - here's a list of others if you're interested). Well, that may be more than you wanted to know about thyme, but you have it if you want it! In addition to thyme, this recipe uses dry mustard, ground ginger, and garlic. With all of these spices and herbs this is a perfect entry for this weeks Weekend Herb Blogging being hosted by Kalyn. Stop by on Sunday and see all the other entries. Now to the recipe....

Marinated Pork Roast
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup dry sherry wine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon thyme
1, 4-5 pound pork loin roast, boned, rolled and tied (I just use what Kroger sells - already boned and round)

Combine first 6 ingredients. Place roast in large clear, plastic bag. Pour in marinade and close bag tightly. Marinate 2-3 hours at room temperature or overnight in refrigerator (Both work equally well). Remove the meat from marinade. Place on rack in a shallow roasting pan or a baking dish that the roast fits in - I don't have a rack and it cooked fine without one. Roast COVERED (This is a change from the original recipe - this keeps it tender and moist) at 325 degrees F for 3 hours or until meat thermometer registers 175 F. (I cooked for 3 hours and it was perfect). Baste occasionally with marinade during last hour of roasting time (Well, I didn't do this). You can use the juice in the pan for gravy if you want. My family usually serves this with potatoes au gratin, veggies, and fruit. This night, we had sweet potatoes, green beans, and rolls.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


After I made panzanella, I got an e-mail from Linda telling me about fattoush. It is a Lebanese version of panzanella using pita bread and lemon instead of Italian bread and balsamic vinegar. This is full of herbs and veggies. I kind of combined the recipe from Linda with another one that I found. Because of all the veggies, including tomatoes, which are full of antioxidants, this is my entry to Sweetnick's ARF Tuesday. Stop by her site and check out the other yummy recipes that are sure to be there! The recipe is what Linda sent me. I'll make note of the changes that I made. Fattoush
(Mixed Salad recipe from Lebanon)

Break 1 pita bread round, toasted or dried, broken into small pieces.

Chop in bite-size chunks and combine with bread in large bowl:
1 large cucumber
1 onion - I used 4 green onions
2 medium tomatoes - I used 4 ripe from the vine tomatoes
1 medium head lettuce - I used 2 cups pre-shredded lettuce

Chop finely and add to salad:
¾ cup parsley
¾ cup mint leaves
¾ cup purslane (optional, I think because it is hard to find) - I didn't use

Crush together:
2-3 cloves garlic
½ tsp salt

Stir in:
Juice of one lemon - I used 3 T lemon juice
½ cup olive oil - I used 1 T and 3 T water because I saw this as an option from another recipe AND I ran out of olive oil! OOPS!

Add dressing to salad. Toss well and serve.

PS - I just bought a new cookbook yesterday and it has a cornbread panzanella...I may beat Cate to it! ;-)

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Interview

There's an interview meme going around. I've already done one of these at my other blog but thought that a food blog interview would be fun. After seeing Peabody's answers, I thought it would be a great time to ask someone to interview me. Now that my Step 1 exam is over and I have two lovely weeks of summer, I have time to answer the questions. So, if you want to know a few things about me, read on!

1. You seem very close with your family. Have you always been close or is
this something that has come about as you were an adult?

Well, this is something to think about. I think we've always been close. I enjoy being around them and they always encourage me in what I do and pray for me daily. I think that being in medical school, in an apartment has made me realize what a blessing they are to me. My parents are such awesome examples to me of what a husband and wife should be and what parents should be. This year they moved from our hometown of 23 years in Clinton, MS to Jackson, TN. That was really hard for me but I think I appreciate home even more now! Mama and I talk almost every day and definitely e-mail if we don't talk. Daddy doesn't really talk on the phone but "keeps up" with me through this blog (ROSES!!!!!!). So, we've always been close, but I think have gotten closer over the past couple of years.

2. How on earth do you find time to study for medical school and run a food

That is a good question! Sometimes, my study breaks are used to write posts. This second semester I seemed to get busier and posting was more infrequent. I'm afraid that next year will be even worse, as I will be at the hospital most days all day. We have to go around and see all our patients before rounds, which are sometimes at 8. Hopefully, I'll still be here cooking and posting! I really enjoy it and cooking is a pleasure for me...if only I had more people to cook for!

3. You seem to cook a lot of healthy dishes on your blog. What food if it
had no calories would you eat all the time?

Hmmmmm...this really is a hard one! There are foods that I don't make for myself but will eat other places, but those truly are not foods I would want to eat all the time. I guess I would have to say dessert! I don't eat dessert that often but do enjoy it. As you can see from my blog, I also like making it! However, usually when I make it, it's either for someone else or I eat one piece and then no more. My other thoughts were peanut butter, cheesy stuff, and fried foods...oh, maybe fried foods!

4. You are a Southern gal. What is your favorite "Southern" dish?

I LOVE cornbread...I guess if I went with a "Southern" meal, I would say either fried catfish (which I now usually get grilled), turnip greens (recently discovered as yummy) but not cooked with ham hocks, I just don't like that!, and cornbread or a yummy vegetable dinner! Those are great!

5. What kind of doctor do you want to be(meaning, what will your specialty
be) and did you always want to be a doctor?

OH! I want to be a pediatrician. Last summer I worked in the ambulatory clinic at my hospital and absolutely loved it. I mean, I get to play with babies, take care of little sick kiddos and make them better, and encourage parents. Given, there are some times when the parents can be hard to deal with and when 6 year-olds don't want to have their throat swabbed for strep test (if you close their nose, they'll open their mouth!), but in the end it's rewarding and most kids get better. I've been told by MANY people that they can see me doing that and I have the personality for it, so I can't WAIT for my pediatric rotation, which, unfortunately, is my last rotation NEXT April!
Did I always want to be a doctor? WELLLLLL, when I was little I said I was going to be a nurse but found out they practiced giving shots on each other and quickly gave up that idea. This year I practiced drawing blood on a classmate and she did the same to me! Can't get away from it! In sixth grade, I thought I'd be a physical therapist. After about eighth grade, I don't think I really knew what I wanted to be, just that I liked science and math. I went to college and majored in chemistry and minored in math...all while having medical school in the back of my mind. My concerns were over the time that it takes to complete training and the time required during that training. You see, I wanted (and still desire) to have a family - to be a wife and a mama - and didn't see how medical school and being a physician would work with that.
So, my junior year, I took medical physiology and loved it. It was hard but I enjoyed learning how the body worked. I came to the conclusion that God was calling me to go to medical school and serve Him through being a doctor. I just decided one day, that's what I'm going to do...I have to. After that, I had such a peace that I was doing the right thing and have not doubted it since. I am SO excited about what is to come in my life and how I'm going to be able to work with people, encouraging them and hopefully helping them get better.

So, now you know some more about me...what about you? Do you want to be interviewed? Here are the directions:
1. Leave a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. Beware, I may ask personal questions! Please make sure I have your email address.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Blogiversary Cookies!!!!

One year ago today I made my first real post to Cooking is Medicine. Such monumental events seem to happen on this day...last year, a post to my blog and the end of a school year; this year, I took Step 1...perhaps the biggest test I'll take in a long time! Must pass to continue in training...but it's over with for now! For a while, I've mentioned a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that always draws rave reviews. For such a special occasion, I have decided to give you all a gift...the recipe and explanation of technique used to make the cookies! These cookies are from a recipe my mom's best friend gave us. She is famous around my hometown for these and often, people ask if there are any "Joanie cookies." The official name is the Sharpe cookies, owing to the fact that they look like Sharpe bulldogs. Before I give the recipe, there are a few things you must know...BUTTER IS A MUST!!! I've tried margarine and is does not work! Number two, if you have White Lily flour available, use it! If not, use a light baking flour. Number three, either use air bake pans or baking stones. These are all commands (i.e., suggestions) from Joanie! We've done experiments and found that butter is a MUST, White Lily flour DOES make a difference, and the air bake pans aren't a must as stones work as well...I don't know about "normal" baking sheets. I've done several variations on these including white chocolate chips, Reese's peanut butter cups (OH, so good), cappucino chips, and special edition raspberry dark chocolate swirl chips. They all work, but I think the best is the original chocolate chip. So, without further ado, ENJOY!
Sharpe Cookies
2 sticks (one cup) softened unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 cups chocolate chips (I like less chips but the original calls for 2 cups)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together butter and sugars until very smooth (I recommend for about 5 minutes). Add egg and vanilla and mix. Mix together flour, salt, and soda. Add slowly to butter mixture and stir until just combined. Add chocolate chips. Place dough on baking sheet/stone in large tablespoons (I use a FULL tablespoon sized cookie scoop but my brother thinks they should be bigger - Joanie does them bigger). Bake for 11-13 minutes. If you do them larger, they may require more time. NOW, here is the special technique. IMMEDIATELY after taking the pan out of the oven, using the backs to two soup spoons, squunch (I don't know if that's a word, but I think it should be) the cookies together all the way around. This must be done quickly so that they don't harden too much. Allow to cook for a few minutes and remove to cooling rack to finish cooling. Makes about 36 cookies, depending on how big you make them.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

SHF 31 - Shades of White

Last week we had an "it's summer" celebration dinner with our friends here at the apartment. It's a little early for me, as my lovely two week summer doesn't begin until around 5 on Saturday, but I always enjoy dinner with this group, which I have dubbed the dinner crew.Anyway, I made pork loin and it was a great success. The recipe will be coming up. This post is dedicated to the dessert. Seven Spoons is hosting Sugar High Friday this month and the theme is shades of white. I hope that this dessert will be acceptable as the top is most definitely white and the middle could be considered malt or almond...if you use your imagination! This is a recipe that my roomie picked out of her 5-ingredient cookbook - Cappucino Pudding Pie. I used sugar free ingredients with the exception of the crust, as it was premade. However, this could easily be made into a diabetic friendly dessert. The flavor was perfect...not heavily coffee but light and sweet. Quick and easy - this is one of those pantry desserts when you're in a bind. Cappucino Pudding Pie
1 chocolate cookie pie crust
2 4 oz. white chocolate pudding mixes (I used sugar free)
1 8 oz Cool-Whip (I used sugar free, it called for lite)
3 T instant coffee granules
1 cup milk Pour the pudding mixes into a bowl. Pour milk into the bowl and stir until combined. This will be VERY thick. Add coffee granules and around 1 cup of the cool whip. Spread in the pie crust. Spread remaining cool whip over the pudding mix. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Plan B - The Original

Well, I was going to post about a childhood favorite today, but I can't find my recipe. SOOOOO...I'll show the original garden frittata. I think this is from Light and Tasty but I'm not sure. I found that I had a squash and a zucchini...just what I need for this frittata. I only put tomatoes on half, because the roommate doesn't eat tomatoes. This is the perfect dish for summer and is full of veggies. Thus, this is my entry for Sweetnick's ARF Tuesdays. Drop by and check out the other recipes. I'm sure they will be picking up as fruits and veggies are coming into season!
Garden Frittata
1 yellow squash, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 onion, diced
1-2 tomatoes (I like Roma the best)
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons parsley
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup feta cheese
1 cup low fat mozzarella (you can use less if you want)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put prepared squash, zucchini, and onion in a microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Put bowl in the microwave and cook on high for 7-9 minutes. Drain these vegetables and pour them into the bottom of a pie pan. Place slices of tomato on top of the squash. Sprinkle mozzarella on top and then top with feta. Wisk together eggs, milk, garlic, salt, pepper, and parsley. Pour over the vegetables...slowly, to be sure that it doesn't run over. Place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes. Allow to set for 5 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Balsamic Weekend

This weekend I introduced Mama to panzanella. The recipe I have made uses balsamic vinegar. When I asked Mama what she wanted for Mother's Day lunch, she said I had to decide. So, I picked out several recipes and gave her the option. She chose raspberry balsamic chicken. This is a fairly easy and quick (if you follow my tip below!) recipe. I enjoyed it and would probably make it for myself, though I think I would add more was a hidden flavor which, as mama put it, was disappointing.

Raspberry Balsamic Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts*
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves
3 T balsamic vinegar

Cut any excess fat from the chicken and pound to a uniform thickenss (this is my hint!!!, they cook much faster and easier this way). Sprinkle with small amount of salt and thyme. In a heated skillet, saute onions (in cooking spray or olive oil) until translucent. Add chicken and cook on each side for 6 minutes or until juices are clear and the inside isn't RAW! Remove chicken and put on serving plate. Put preserves and vinegar** in skillet and heat until preserves melt. Pour over chicken and enjoy. Serve with veggies and fruit. Leftovers are great on a salad.

*Our breasts were big, so I cut them in half...I mean, they were REALLY HUGE!
**I feel like I've forgotten something but I don't have the recipe here...this is from my head. I'll check and add it if I left something out.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The "I Went Home" Tradition

Yes...I bring you MORE banana bread. There were frozen bananas awaiting me this weekend. I waited until the last day I was there to make the bread because I wanted to find a new recipe. I tried to find one for peanut butter banana bread and then changed my mind. I found a recipe from Bell's Best II and was going to use it. Then I returned to my original thought and decided I would modify the recipe to make it peanut butter banana bread. Well, I guess I ended up changing it a pretty good big because of a brain mistake. When I measured the peanut butter, in a 1/4 cup measure, I over-filled it and thought "that's probably around 1/3 of a cup. SO, from then on out, still using the 1/4 cup measure, I thought I was using a 1/3 cup measure. When you use it multiple times for one ingredient, that changes the total measures a bit! No worries, the mistake was perfect! I also decided to try baking this on convection, which I don't really like all that much. Overall, I don't think it changed much...I still baked it for 50 minutes (after checking the bread at 35 minutes and finding it under-done). However, it was perfectly baked. I asked Mama if SHE could tell it had peanut butter in it and she couldn't. I vaguely tasted it, but I think that is becuase I KNEW it was there. If nothing else, it gave a great texture. Because both peanut butter and bananas are healthly for you, this is my entry to Sweetnick's ARF Tuesday. Check out her site for more great recipes. Peanut Butter Banana Bread
1/3 peanut butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mash banana ina bowl. Add other ingredients and stir together. Pour into greased bread pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

We All Scream...

"...Noooooo, get your own!" That was my brother's reaction when Daddy tried to take a bite of his ice-cream, chocolate chip cookie sandwich. In the midst of studying for my Step 1 exam, I came home for Mother's day. I really do enjoy coming home. There's just something comfortable about being with family, and I do LOVE mine! It'll be fun when I have my own.
Anyway, Philip had apparently asked Mama to get some ice cream sandwiches at the store and she couldn't find the kind he had requested. Light bulb! "Do you want me to make some chocolate chip cookies for ice cream sandwiches?" "Mmm." (That means yes!) So, I went in search of a recipe to use. The normal recipe I use for chocolate chip cookies is definitely not for sandwiches. The one I finally decided on was from The Joy of Cooking. It is not one I would use for just a normal cookie as it i too flat for my taste. HOWEVER, it is the perfect ice cream sandwich cookie - flat but not so crispy that it breaks. When Philip saw them he said, "Oooh, they look like the M&M kind. I suppose that's good! So, put a grin on someone's face and make a might even make them scream! Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies from The Joy of Cooking
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup plus 2 T sifted AP flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup nuts, opt (I didn't use)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cream butter. Add the sugars gradually and beat until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients together and slowly add to the butter mixture. Stir in chips and nuts. Drop batter on cookie sheet or stone. Bake for 9-10 minutes. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet and remove to cooling rack. If making ice cream sandwiches, take a flat, rount cookie bottom-side up and add a scoop of your favorite ice cream. Top with another cookie and enjoy.

Monday, May 07, 2007


A few weeks ago, Cate mentioned a new cookbook she had gotten. She talked about some of the recipes in the book, including a cornbread panzanella. This sounded GREAT to me, so I told her that she should make that and post about it, while at the same time mentioning that I had never eaten panzanella. Well, we made a deal...I make panzanella and she would make the cornbread panzanella. Tada...I've done it! SO GOOD! As I was making this, the aromas just flirted with my tastebuds! It took me back to Kyrgyzstan with the wonderful fresh tomato and cucumber salads with vinegar poured over them. I immediately looked forward to eating this salad. What a super way to use up some stale bread. I'm already ready to eat lunch tomorrow! Because this is FULL of antioxidants from the tomatoes, this is my entry to Cate's ARF Tuesday over at Sweetnicks. Check out the other great entries tomorrow. You'll be sure to find something that you want to make!

Panzanella adapted from Cooking Light
2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed French bread
2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed tomatoes (about 2 tomatoes)
1/4 cup sliced shallots
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt (I forgot to put this in , but I know that it would enhance the flavor)
3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 325°. Place bread on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 325° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Combine tomatoes, shallots, oil, vinegar, and salt in a large bowl. Cover and let stand at room temperature 2 hours. Stir in bread cubes and parsley. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup)
NUTRITION PER SERVING: CALORIES 71(28% from fat); FAT 2.2g (sat 0.3g,mono 1.3g,poly 0.3g); PROTEIN 2.1g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 23mg; SODIUM 193mg; FIBER 1.4g; IRON 1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 11.6g

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Mama's Favorite

While she was here over Easter, I asked my mom what her favorite recipe was. She thought that was a hard question. I already know what Daddy's favorite easy. But Mama. I had NO idea. Apparently she didn't either! I don't think she ever came up with a favorite main dish. She ended up telling me that her favorite recipe is for her chocolate chip pound cake.
Whenever Mama is asked to take a dessert somewhere, this is what she takes. It's always well recieved and is pretty easy. This is the only chocolate cake (fully chocolate) that I'll eat. I'm just not a big chocolate dessert fan. But my favorite part of this cake is the bottom part that sticks to the plate! Cut someone else a piece and I'LL eat the "goody!" In honor of Mama, this is my entry for Food Fight this month. Stop by on Monday to see all the other entries.
Chocolate Chip Pound Cake
1 yellow cake mix
1 cup oil
8 oz. (~1 cup) sour cream
1/4 cup water
4 eggs
1 small box chocolate pudding
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a mixer, mix all ingredients together until well combined. Be sure to stir to the bottom to be sure everything is well incorporated. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan. Bake for one hour or until knife comes out clean when inserted into the middle. Allow to cool. Remove from pan. Serve with ice cream and chocolate syrup (optional).

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Strawberry Pie

This past Saturday I went to my favorite local vegetable stand, Landrum's. As I was about to check out I saw that they had fresh Louisiana strawberries. These are GREAT for making pies. I am not making a pie this time, but made a strawberry pie back in March but haven't posted about it yet. I made this when a friend came over for dinner but no one ended up eating it...and it was the best one I've made yet. Oh, well. I just shared a couple of pieces with my mom and Granny (this was actually the weekend before she died, so she knew that I could make a pie crust! :-) ). I am a pie crust snob and like making my just can't trust the store bought kind. So, I'll give you the crust recipe as well as the pie recipe. Feel free to "lighten" the recipe by using sugar free ingredient...I did and actually think it worked better than the full sugar variety. Because berries are FULL of antioxidants, this is my entry to Sweetnick's ARF Tuesday. Check out the site for more great recipes.

Pie Crust
1 cup sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 T water
1/3 cup shortening

Sift flour and salt into bowl. Remove 1/4 cup flour and blend to a paste. Cut shortening into remaining flour until pieces are size of small peas. Add paste to flour mixture. Mix with fork until dough comes together and can be shaped into a ball (this is best done by putting a piece of saran wrap over the bowl, dumping it, and pressing the dough together.) Place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Roll out crust to 1/8 inch thick to cover 9-inch pie pan.
For this pie, prick holes in the crust with a fork or fill with uncooked peas or pie weights. Heat oven to 400 degrees F and bake for 10 minutes.

Strawberry Pie
1 baked pie shell
1 lb strawberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup 7-UP (I used diet)
3 T corn starch
1/2 packet strawberry jello (sugar free is fine)
cool whip
Put the sugar, corn starch, and 7-UP in a saucepan and cook until thick. When it begins to boil, that is thickest it will get. Remove from heat and add the jello powder. Stir. While you are cutting the strawberries, allow this to cool. It may still be slightly warm when you pour it over the berries. Wash and slice the strawberries. I like mine in quarters or smaller, but if you prefer larger berries, go for it! Place the strawberries in the pie shell and pour the cooked sauce over it. Refrigerate for several hours or until cool and set. Serve with a dolop of cool whip! Enjoy!