About cnvii

About to be 3rd year medical student slash obsessed with all things food!

LIFE POST STEP!!!!! AKA POST-GREAT DEPRESSION ERA

NOTE: skip down a few paragraphs for the food so you can skip my reflection that I just had to get out.

I have had such a weird feeling the last few days. The worst part of my life is finally over (knock on wood!) and now I get to live in this beautiful state of ignorance for the next few weeks before my score comes back. At the same time, I am scared out of my mind for tomorrow, the first day of third year. I have no idea what to expect and even less of an idea of what to do. Somehow I also have this sense of calm, like I know I’ll be okay. I think it’s because I’m so sick of sitting in a desk being bored and having my mind wander while studying that the thought of doing something active, even if I don’t know what I’m doing and make a fool out of myself, still sounds a million times better.  SCARED/STUPID >>>>> BORED/ANNOYED.

Thinking about the last 2 years of medical school, I’m amazed at how much I’ve actually learned/changed. Even though it felt like the whole time I was at a basal level of blahness, I’ve actually had a pretty significant experience. Coming in, I thought it would be impossible to finish our less than 100 page biochem syllabus in 2 weeks and now I know I could probably learn that material in a couple of days and be able to retain it for at LEAST 3 hours. I wouldn’t even have been able to pronounce most of the words in FirstAID and now when I type of my notes almost every single word is misspelled in Microsoft word because I’ve pretty much learned a new language. There have been so many times in the last 2 years where I have thought, “are they fucking kidding? How the hell am I supposed to be able to learn/do all this in such a short period of time,” yet somehow I managed to get through it.

I also feel like I’ve grown a lot as a person. I think in college I always doubted myself and felt constant pressure to be “effortlessly perfect” as they say. Now, I feel much more confidant and have way more self esteem. I think somewhere in the stress of first year I just realized that being that stressed out is not worth it and that it’s okay to not be perfect. Somewhere in these 2 years I really feel like I’ve grown up, felt comfortable with believing that my best is enough, and I don’t feel the need to validate myself to other people. I think it just finally hit me that I need to slow down and understand that I’m not just getting through school to get to the next step; this is still my life and I should enjoy it while I’m doing it instead of constantly thinking about the endpoint.

Now when I look ahead to the next year I’m so excited to watch myself grow even more. It’s crazy to think that one year from now how many skills I’ll acquire and how much more legit I’ll feel. I usually hate change and have a hard time adjusting to new things, but now I’ll have to adapt to so many uncomfortable situations and I’m going to have to deal with all my weaknesses. That’s scary as hell, but at the same time I can’t wait! I have to be on gyn night float tomorrow and I am terrified but at the same time, there’s no better time than now to really start something so it’s going to be amaz!

OK DONE REFLECTING.

So for my recipe:

I usually hate cupcakes because they’re really hard to eat and I hate using utensils for something that should be able to be eaten by hand. But, I was really in the mood to make them because I had watched Bridesmaids the day before and there’s this scene where Kristin Wiig’s character makes a cupcake and I had this URGE to make one too. I wish I knew how to make decorations out of hardened sugar like she did in the movie, but I don’t so it looks a lot shittier, but probably tasted just as good!

I wanted to try a complicated recipe to see if I could do it so I went for this white chocolate lemon cupcake recipe I found on foodgawker. It’s actually not that complicated, but anything that involves the word “double boiler” or “egg white peaks” is really complicated in my book. Here is the recipe with pics!!!! The lemon and blueberries pair really well with white chocolate. It was just the right amount of tartness, richness, and sweetness. And these were small enough to where you didn’t need a fork to eat it! I was really afraid that they wouldn’t turn out good, but they were DELICIOUS and perfect for the summer time! Sadly, the summer is over for me, but I’m still gonna make these again when I get the chance!!!! OH YEAH, HAPPY BIRTHDAY A!!!!!!!! I am so proud to be an American…I think I’m going to cry for 1776 seconds today to commemorate it.

 

Adapted from http://pieceofcakeblog.blogspot.com/2011/05/lemon-blueberry-and-white-chocolate.html.

Makes 12 frosted cupcakes
For the cakes:

0.875 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
Zest of 1 large lemon
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces high-quality white chocolate, chopped bar or chips
1/4 cup half and half
4 ounces blueberries
2.5 large egg whites

For the frosting:

1 sticks butter
3 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled

Yellow food coloring

Coconut flakes

Position an oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees. Line two 6-cup muffin tins with paper liners

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla until very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler (I didn’t have a double boiler so I used a pot full of boiling water and put the chocolate into a ceramic bowl that sat on top of the pot). When it’s just warm to the touch, stir it into the butter mixture on low speed, just until combined–it may separate a bit, but it will come back together. With the mixer on low, alternate adding the flour mixture and the half and half in three batches until well-blended.

Toss the blueberries with about a teaspoon of all-purpose flour in a small bowl, just to coat the berries with a light dusting of flour. Set aside.

With a handheld mixer and a medium bowl or in a clean stand mixer bowl with the whip attachment, whip the egg whites on medium high speed until they reach firm peaks, 2-3 minutes. Stir about a third of the whites into the batter to lighten it,  then fold in the remainder of the whites. When the egg whites are almost incorporated, fold in the blueberries.

Fill the muffin cups no more than 3/4 of the way full with the batter. Bake one tin at a time until a toothpick just comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Invert the cupcakes onto a cooling rack, then turn them right side up and let them cool completely.

For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the butter and cream cheese just until smooth. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and lemon juice. Finally, beat in the melted white chocolate, just to combine. Beat in a few drops of food coloring for a creamy yellow hue, if you wish. When the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost them generously and sprinkle with coconut flakes.

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I GOT MY DRINK AND MY 250+ STEP!!!!!!

That title is SO false. But it’s so clever that I had to share it! I’m glad my brain still functions enough to think of clever things because it is NOT functioning well for step studying. I am so frustrated because I KNOW that I know a lot of this stuff but I just cannot connect the dots. I was going to write a long post that was mostly bitching, but then decided not to because I hate whining. BUT, suffice it to say that LIFE SUCKS A LOT RIGHT NOW and I have NEVER been so frustrated with studying. Ok Done.

During my study breaks I always go to this site www.foodgawker.com. It has the BEST pictures of food ever from different blogs that submit their pictures. One day, maybe soon, after I figure out how to take good pictures, I’ll submit mine!! I was DDxing for a LONG time on what to make. I decided I should make something good for breakfast so I can actually stay awake and alert in the morning.

I have been getting up at 6am and I reach a lull around 10 so I decided to make some HIGH ENERGY FOOD: Muesli. I am obsessed with muesli. I went to Australia 2 summers ago with my brother and I think I ate it for 2 meals a day. Its so filling and it has the perfect combination of sweet and salty flavors. Plus, I love toasted nuts. They’re one of those things that are so subtle that you might not even appreciate it…but they really add texture and a smoky flavor and are way better than just throwing in raw nuts. I also added raisins, dried cranberries, and fresh blueberries to it.

Finally, I had it with vanilla almond milk (which is not real milk but still tastes really good anyway). I absolutely LOVE this stuff. I drink it for snacks all the time. I don’t think it has any nutritional value but its SO DAMN good. This was WAY better than granola and healthier. I’m probably going to make this a million more times (I have a problem with getting addicted to things).

Here is the recipe (adapted from http://5secondrule.typepad.com)

Makes 4 cups

1 cup whole unsalted almonds
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups rye flakes
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried whole cranberries
1/4 cup fresh blueberries
Vanilla almond milk, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lay the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with the oil and salt.  Use one clean hand to rub the oil and salt into the nuts.

Spread the rye flakes and rolled oats on a second rimmed baking sheet.

Place both baking sheets in the preheated oven. Bake for about 15 minutes

Scrape the toasted nuts and grains into a large serving bowl and add the bran and dried/fresh fruit.  Serve warm, with milk

I can’t wait until my next post (which will probably be after step- like immediately after) because I’m going to make something I’ve been thinking about for like 6 months! SO STAY TUNED! And T-11 days until life gets amazingly better!

Superior Quadrantanopia (PIEEEEEEEE)

OMG I just took 1.5 days off my step studying because my fam came into town…I already feel incredibly behind. My brother flew home from school for the summer and my rents wanted to come for the weekend. It is really funny how different my brother and I are. For example, I am feeling really guilty for not studying and he just realized that he has to take the SAT in less than one week and he still hasn’t started studying. But I guess our priorities our different. In high school I used to hate practicing violin so much and was always really unprepared for auditions. One time I even got demoted to a lower orchestra because I pretty much site read my piece. And my violin teacher told me to quit because I would just talk through my lesson and never even open my case…

One thing we do have in common is being insatiable epicureans and having a shared disdain for the same people (i.e. our parents…jk). And we also love getting diet cherry limeades at Sonic. Sometimes we just look at each other, don’t say a word, get in the car, and end up at Sonic! I can’t wait until 4th year when I get my part time job there so I don’t have to pay for them anymore.

So Memorial Day usually marks the beginning of summa time. This year, my summer is going to consist of 3 weeks of misery + 1 week of fun. I decided to start off the summer the same way I’ll end it: pure decadence. This was my first time to make a real pie with a crust on top too! I wanted to try to lattice the top but I don’t think I made enough dough…I also don’t have those kind of skillz. I thought my brother would help me with this but my parents got so pissed that he hadn’t started studying for the SAT that he was forced to read Barron’s or whatever that book is called. Regardless, the pie turned out delicious! I am so full from eating this that I know I’m going to sleep well tonight! I really think they should add eating a massive piece of dessert to the list of things under good sleep hygiene!

Blueberry Blackberry Pie (adapted from http://www.allrecipes.com)

  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Directions

  1. Cut shortening into 2 cups flour and salt until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle in water 1 tablespoon at a time until flour is moistened. Gather into a ball, and roll out onto a lightly floured board. Make two rounds. Place one crust in a 9 inch pie dish.
  2. Mix sugar, 1/3 cup flour, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Stir in berries to coat. Turn filling into pastry lined pan. Sprinkle with lemon juice, dot with butter. Cover with top crust; cut slits in the top. Seal and flute.
  3. Bake at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 35 to 45 minutes. Cover edges with foil to prevent burning, and remove foil for last 12 minutes of baking.

Next time I would probably add more cornstarch because the filling was a little runny but it was still good! I’m also gonna make vanilla ice cream to go with this next time! Then I’m going to eat it, go into a food coma, and die in utter bliss.

Also, I can’t resist: PIE IN THE SKY!!!!! Quick, where’s the lesion?

India India India India

The best thing about being Indian is the food. That, and knowing that every time you see another Indian ANYWHERE you know you’re both thinking, “OMG Indian Indian Indian Indian Indian.”

I rarely ever make Indian food even though I could probably eat it every day if I had to. I think it’s because any time my mom or dad makes it at home they never use precise measurements and that bugs me a LOT. I guess I’m not comfortable yet with just throwing in pinches of this spice and that spice. And I’m extremely anal-retentive. Plus, all the jars in our house are labeled in Telugu so even if I’m helping make something I have no idea what it is (unless its something obvi like cinnamon sticks).

I thnk every Indian person has a spice dish like this. Look at me being more creative with my pictures (that’s a scarf that I put the spice tray on haha):

One of the really great things about Indian food is that it doesn’t rely on butter/oil/sugar/salt to make it taste good. The combination of all the spices that are used is more than enough to give a vibrant flavor We almost never use cream when we cook at home and it still tastes amazing! And if you DO need the food to be creamier, you can always use homemade yogurt, which I don’t know how to make so I’m just leaving it out entirely.

I am almost certain I could be vegetarian if I could eat Indian food more often (I could also do it if all I ate was cereal- which, I pretty much did for freshman year in college because I was stupid. I think you can get marasmus from that). In fact, I think that vegetarian Indian dishes taste much better. The texture of meat, in my opinion, doesn’t add anything to the food. It’s def all about the LEGUMES! I love beans of almost any sort: butter beans and kidney beans are my favorites though. Today I really wanted to make Rajma, which is a kidney bean curry. I have only had this a few times because it’s not South Indian at ALL so we never make it at home. But I had all these extra cans of kidney beans in my pantry so I decided to see if I could whip something up. I’ve had these cans lying around for awhile so hopefully they are still good…they weren’t bulging so at least no botulism risks! And I have all these random Indian spices that my parents use to cook food for me every time they come over, which is a LOT!! I love having roommates that only live with me for 2-4 days a month!

I really hope I don’t smell up a mile radius of my kitchen with this recipe but at least it’s a GOOD smell right? On a side note, I’m going to do another entry with SOUTH INDIAN food sometime soon. I’m going to try to make sense of what my parents do when they’re cooking and come up with a recipe!!

http://www.happytummyblog.com/2009/04/09/rajma-kidney-bean-curry/. This only took me 10 minutes to make!

Recipe: Rajma (Kidney Bean Curry)
Serves 2 as an entree or 4 as a side

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 green chili, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger, minced
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup pureed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Sauté onion, garlic, green chili and ginger over medium heat until softened. Add minced onions, garlic, green chili and ginger. Add water, pureed tomatoes, tomato paste, spices, and salt and stir to mix well. Add kidney beans and stir to coat. Let curry simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until it is thick and creamy. Serve with basmati rice and/or naan.

Ice Cream SOUP!!!!

I am SO over studying for step…time to take yet another break. For some reason I’ve been feeling really energetic lately. I think it’s from all the frustration of sitting at a desk almost all day. My muscles were just fasciculating so I decided to go on a run. I love running because

  1. There are really hot people on Katy Trail.
  2. It’s the only time I allow myself to think about things that are bothering me (I think that’s a mature defense mechanism- Suppression right?).
  3. You’re allowed to wear your emotions on your face and no one’s really paying attention.

    When I go running I always start off with the intention of thinking about what I’ve studied that day. This is a breakdown of what actually goes through my head:

Hmmm I should go over the endocrine stuff I learned today, ok, 17a-hydroxylase deficiency causes masculinization and hypotension. OMG I don’t want to keep studying for step…I feel like my whole mind is numbing from it. Blahhhhh I really want to go to Ice House. All those people look like they’re having so much fun! Maybe I could study there for step (think about that for 10 minutes). ….wow, that guy is really hot…. OMG that woman’s baby is SO CUTE. Shit, I’m almost 24 and my fertility is going to slowly drop…I wonder if I should freeze my eggs (contemplate that for like 10 minutes). I wonder how many people have actually followed Kanye’s workout plan. Hahahaha. RIP MJ. I can’t wait until Jersey Shore starts up again. I think I would take a year off school to do a reality show. I wonder what is going happen to them after the show is over. I should read their twitters. Speaking of Twitter, why the hell did Diddy change his name to swag…he should have changed it to WHACK. It would be so cool to have swag written on my white coat though…maybe I should do it too. Maybe I should really freeze my eggs. Then I get home and I’m like EFF I didn’t make it past 17a-hydroxylase.

And that’s pretty much what happens every time +/- a few deeper thoughts. Now, on to my food!!!!

My ice cream maker came in a couple of days ago so I decided to try to make a TON of ice cream. I really shouldn’t be eating ice cream because one of my teeth needs a filling and I get to around a 8/10 pain when something cold touches it. I know what you’re thinking- I DO BRUSH MY TEETH…I think I’m just prone to cavities…and I chew an unhealthy amount of gum. And I’m so lazy that I’d rather just eat on one side of my mouth than go to the dentist. For now I’m just going to give myself some Tylenol prophylaxis before I eat my ice cream.

I wanted to make a TON of ice cream and invite people over to try it. I finally settled on Blueberry Cheesecake, Caramel Macchiato, and Strawberry. The ice cream maker is super easy to use and so convenient. It makes about 1.5 quarts of ice cream with each bowel. I think the base of the ice cream maker has liquid nitrogen in it so you just put it in the freezer and wait for the liquid to freeze and then you can use it. I had made a batch of strawberry frozen yogurt yesterday to make sure I was using the machine right and it turned out GREAT. So then I figured ok cool…in the words of Jayden Smith “I can handle it.”  The only problem is that the bowel starts to melt really quickly, which I DID NOT realize…fatal flaw. I ended up making really soupy strawberry frozen yogurt, soupy caramel macchiato, and blueberry cheesecake ice cream, which somehow turned out really well! YUMMM. Even though the other two flavors were not the right texture the flavor was really really good and I would totally eat/drink it anyway. Either way, any food that doesn’t require teeth to eat is always good. But next time I’m only going to make one batch at a time…

Blueberry cheesecake Ice Cream (adapted from Brown Eyed Baker http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2008/12/28/blueberry-cheesecake-ice-cream/)

Blueberry Filling

½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

½ cup water

1 ½ cups frozen blueberries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Gram Cracker Filling

2 cups gram cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ cup butter, melted

Ice cream Mixture

1 ½ cups sugar

1 (3.4 ounce) package of cheesecake pudding (or vanilla)

1 quart heavy whipping cream (shit, that’s a lot…I know)

2 cups milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  1. In a small saucepan combine the sugar and cornstarch and stir until smooth (about 5 minutes). Add the blueberries and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Refrigerate until chilled.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine the gram cracker crumbs, sugar, and ground cinnamon Stir in the butter. Pat into an ungreased 13.1 x 9 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until slightly brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the ice cream ingredients. Prepare the ice cream in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions (MAKE SURE THE BOWL IS TOTALLY FROZEN BEFORE YOU START!).
  4. Crumble the graham cracker mixture. In a large container, layer the ice cream, graham cracker mixture, and blueberry sauce; swirl. Freeze.
    I swear it tastes better than it looks!! I need to learn how to take better pictures and get a better camera because mine is kind of jankEven though it looks gross it was a success!! People really like it! I think I’m going to take my friends advice and drop out of med school and start an ice cream company. Either Anita cream (this one has so many good tag lines that can be associated with it), or brown bell…..

First cut is the Deepest…and yummiest!!

My first entry! I’m really looking forward to keeping this blog throughout medical school, especially since I’ve been thinking about starting it for over a year now. It’s going to get a lot more interesting once I start my rotations in July since I’ll have experiences to write about, but for now it’s purely going to be about FOOD…and nerdy things I find interesting. Sometimes I think I would have been way better being a chef or a bartender than going to medical school. There’s just something about infusing flavors and stimulating the palate that is so drawing. I guess mixing cranberry and vodka at parties will have to suffice. Plus, that’s all I’ll be prescribing anyway so I guess it worked out.

OK, so enough digressing and on to the food! WARNING: these pictures are explicit and will arouse multiple senses. They may also provoke hypersalivation, diaphoresis, and feelings of being frustrated as EFF because you can’t just eat the food off the screen!

Last week, after anxiously waiting 6 weeks to get a reservation, 5 of my friends and I ate at this amazing Italian restaurant, Lucia, in the Bishop Arts District. It actually worked out to be good timing because it was sort of a last hoorah before we have to start the painful process of studying for the boards.

When we got there the chef’s wife Jennifer went through the entire menu for us. I wish I could talk about food half as eloquently as she did because I literally wanted to eat everything on the menu after hearing her describe the options.

Right when we sat down I knew I loved the place when they had olives out…and they were warm which made them a MILLION times better! I hope there are guys out there who hate olives because I’m going to need to find one according to the olive theory (HIMYM!!!!!!).

We decided to get Salumi misti for our antipasti, which was a plate of house-made cured meats that is a specialty of the restaurant. I normally don’t eat a lot of meat, or pure fat in general, but this was incredible. I can still taste the lardo melting in my mouth. YUM. I wish fat wasn’t so bad for you because I would be PRADER WILLI-ing all over it.

Salumi misti

Everyone ordered different things and everything was amazing…so complex yet so cozy.

I’m really glad someone ordered the beef tongue because I really wanted to try it but I was too scared to order it as a meal. It was surprisingly delicious and the texture was much smoother than I imagined. I think everyone should try tongue (as a meal).

Gnocci with lima beans

some sort of pasta- i should have posted this right after i ate it so i would have remembered the name. oops!

Quail!!!!!!!!

Squid stew

I have to say that the veal was in the top 5 things I have ever put in my mouth…I still have dreams about it.

I love long dinners. I think we were there for almost 3 hours just savoring the flavors and talking. I really think that the keys to having a happy life are to eat good food and be in good company, and last night was full of both. I was actually considering not eating for a while afterwards because I didn’t want to bastardize my taste buds after such a delicious meal! But then I got hungry and ate Cookie Crisp in the morning…oops.

So my next entry is actually going to be a recipe!! I ordered this ice cream maker on a whim on Amazon so hopefully that arrives this week so I can start experimenting. Also, I hope my writing skills improve past the level of a 5th grader. I don’t think I’ve written anything this long that didn’t involve me taking notes (blindly copying my syllabus while thinking I’m paraphrasing it) in a LONG time.