TOMATO COUSCOUS

I am writing this while sitting on the couch eating freezer raviolis with store bought sauce. Le sigh.

It turns out that becoming a doctor is a lot of work! I know, I know, it’s a surprise to everyone. I’m on my 4th straight month of ED, and while it’s been really nice to be in the department instead of bouncing all around the hospital, I’m still trying to figure out how to create a schedule for myself when my actual schedule is constantly changing. On off-service rotations we more frequently have the same days off each week (similar to what the norms call “weekends”), but not in ED. Next week, for example, I work midnight to morning 4 nights in a row, then have morning conference and the rest of the day off, go to evenings to early morning for 2 days, then go to early morning to afternoon? My body doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going. It doesn’t help that our ED, like most, has almost zero natural light and perpetually feels like 2am.

sunriseset view TOMATO COUSCOUS

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When I get off I often play the “Sunrise or sunset?” guessing game.

This is a dish for the WTF moments my body has. It’s got couscous and tomatoes, so it’s basically tomato mac ‘n cheese, minus the cheese. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense – what I’m trying to get at is that it’s comfort food, but with a little more grownup flavor.

The ingredient list is short. The better the tomatoes, the better the dish, but I made this before our garden ones came in, and the store-bought romas were fine. The tomato paste looks weird because I freeze mine.

ingredients TOMATO COUSCOUS

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Yes for quick spicy tomato sauce!

tomato sauce TOMATO COUSCOUS

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See those nice crispy edges? Those are money.

cooked couscous TOMATO COUSCOUS

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If I had kids, I would’ve cut the couscous patty into shapes (unlikely), or at least thought really hard about doing that (likely).

couscous plate TOMATO COUSCOUS

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Tomato Couscous
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Ingredients
  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 medium onion (finely chopped), 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 2 ripe medium tomatoes or 4 roma tomatoes (finely chopped), 1 cup couscous, 1 cup vegetable broth, 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
Instructions
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened but not browned (approximately 5 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth to boiling. Pour the couscous into a bowl and pour the hot vegetable broth over. Cover with saran wrap and set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste to the onions and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and a few grinds of black pepper, mix, and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the plastic wrap from the couscous and fluff. Pour in the tomato and mix.
  5. Wipe the tomato pan. Place over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the butter. Melt. Press the couscous tomato mixture into the pan and cover. Cook 12 minutes. Unmould onto a plate (use a spatula to loosen if needed) and serve warm.
Adapted from Jerusaleum, a cookbook
Adapted from Jerusaleum, a cookbook
VEGGIESAURUS!!!! http://www.theveggiesaurus.com/

RHUBARB CAKE

This recipe is a day late and a dollar short. I made it when it was spring, and rhubarb was everywhere, but it has sat on my computer since then. It’s almost cruel to bring it up now, when rhubarb season is so thoroughly over. irritated cat RHUBARB CAKE

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I never claimed to be nice though…

The components are pretty standard cake ingredients, plus ginger. Side note: if you don’t already know, ginger freezes very well and is easier to grate when frozen (plus then you don’t end up with multiple saggy, sad, partially-used ginger knobs in your refrigerator, or, worse yet, no ginger at all).

cake ingredients RHUBARB CAKE

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Rhubarb gets sliced, and mixed with sugar and a touch of lemon juice. I may have leaned too heavy on the lemon juice.

cut rhubarb RHUBARB CAKE

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Dough clouds!!!

dough balls RHUBARB CAKE

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Rhubarb tops dough – see that puddle-y spot to the right? Yup, too much lemon juice.

raw cake RHUBARB CAKE

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Topping ingredients! The only lemon in the topping is in my fevered imagination. Apparently lemons just have a way of sneaking into my pictures. crumble ingredients RHUBARB CAKE

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That is a good looking mess!!! raw cake with crumble RHUBARB CAKE

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And finally, the product, all baked up and beautiful. This cake is excellent on the day made, but even better the day after.

cooked cake RHUBARB CAKE

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Rhubarb Crumble Cake
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Ingredients
  1. For the rhubarb: ~8 stalks rhubarb, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  2. For the cake: 1 stick butter, zest of 1 lemon, 2 eggs, 1 1/3 cup unbleached flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon grated ginger, 1/3 cup sour cream
  3. For the crumble: 1 cup unbleached flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, pinch salt, 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350, line the bottom of your pan with parchment paper, and then grease.
  2. Cut the rhubarb into 1/4" slices on the diagonal. Mix with the lemon juice and sugar.
  3. Cream the butter, zest, and sugar. Add the eggs. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then 1/2 of the sour cream, then 1/3 of the dry ingredients, 1/2 of the sour cream, and the final 1/3rd of the dry ingredients.
  4. Mix all of the crumble ingredients.
  5. Dollop the cake batter over the bottom of the prepared pan then spread out. Cover with the rhubarb mixture, then with the crumble. Bake for approximately 60 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
VEGGIESAURUS!!!! http://www.theveggiesaurus.com/

LEMONGRASS TOFU

It’s been a long time since I posted and I wish I had a great excuse for that (super-spy mission, saving the world, kidnapped by Basque separatists), but mainly I’ve been busy with work and my vacation spot turned out to be without internet.

Yes, I did go on vacation. I had over a week off for the first time in a year and it was glorious! Pictures and a recipe will be forthcoming. I know everyone’s excited; there’s nothing better than other people’s vacation pictures :).

For today, however, I’ll pre-bore you with two snaps from a recent work day-trip to one of the great lakes!

mackinac island seashore LEMONGRASS TOFU

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Me and some work buddies biked around an island, an unexpected adventure that I was not entirely prepared for (I wore a dress) so I would estimate that about 50% of the island’s population has now seen my underpants. C’est la vie.

mackinac island arch rock LEMONGRASS TOFU

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In addition we won a scavenger hunt, and I added to my stockpile of prize gift cards.

Here’s the part where, because I made you look at trip photos, I have to give you an especially good recipe. This one was actually requested by my sister, a month ago, and I have been promising to post it ever since. Better late than never?

I am a huge fan of sandwiches, but had somehow never had a bahn mi until I visited my (now) husband in his hometown of Oakland. It was awesome. Unfortunately, good Vietnamese food is not always available outside the big cities, especially tofu instead of meat-based dishes. Thus, I have been forced to take matters into my own hands. This is my recipe for lemongrass tofu, barely adapted from a kick-ass site called Battle of the Bahn Mi. It starts with a blended sauce of lemongrass and other Asian-inspired flavors.

ingredients LEMONGRASS TOFU

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The tofu is pressed using one of the endless supply of blue towels (or, you know, whatever those of you who don’t have suture towels spilling out of your drawers until your husband begs you to stop bringing them home use in your kitchen).

tofu LEMONGRASS TOFU

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The tofu and sauce get to know each other for at least a day, but ideally longer, making this a very handy recipe because you can start the process on the weekend and then just fry it on whatever weeknight you choose for a fast and easy meal.

marinated tofu LEMONGRASS TOFU

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The tofu doesn’t even need oil to fry, since there’s some in the marinade. Below is some of what I like to put in my bahn mi – avocado takes the place of mayo. Also, pickles instead of cucumbers, because, well, pickles are superior. Not pictured are soy sauce, carrots, cilantro, sriracha, and whatever else is lurking in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

bahn mi ingredients LEMONGRASS TOFU

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Lemongrass Tofu
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Ingredients
  1. 1 package extra firm tofu, 4-6 stalks lemongrass, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 3 cloves crushed garlic, 4 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon hot sesame oil
Instructions
  1. Press and drain tofu. Cut into slices.
  2. Blend all other remaining ingredients and place in ziploc bag with the tofu slices. Let marinate for at least 1 day and up to 4 days.
  3. Fry over medium-high heat until golden brown, approximately 4-5 minutes per side.
VEGGIESAURUS!!!! http://www.theveggiesaurus.com/

Coconut Berry Muffins

Oh man, this post represents an epic post fail. You see, I made some muffins a few weeks ago from a cookbook I’ve been working through, Mangia

Mangia Coconut Berry Muffins')">

and they were pretty danged good, good enough that I ate more than I ought to, and took enough photos for a whole post on them which I have yet to actually write.

Therefore when I made a different muffin recipe from the book a few days later, I did not bother to take pictures. “Why bother, Veggiesaurus,” I told myself. “Muffins are muffins, how different could they be?” “How many muffin recipes do people want anyway?” This was a mistake. The first muffin recipe was excellent, but this one was superlative. Continue reading

Coconut Berry Muffins

Coconut Quinoa

I meant for this post to come about 2 weeks ago, but (work) life intervened.
shoes Coconut Quinoa')">
Guess what guys, I’m a second year now! It’s a decidedly weird feeling, mostly good, but little terrifying. I don’t quite know how to explain what one year of residency training means, because it passes in a flash and so much of it isn’t quite comprehensible until later, when I see something in the department and realize that all of those off-service rotations and moments spent studying have paid off because I’ve got this. Continue reading

Coconut Quinoa

CHOCOLATE CHIP BLONDIES

From the outtake roll for Chest Tube operating theatre. Seriously, I did not even try to get this shot. No photoshop is involved. This is solely the result of the high level of energy that shark dog brings to his every waking moment.

twirling head dog CHOCOLATE CHIP BLONDIES

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Really, I have cute pets, I swear – they’re just not super-photogenic. Or rather, they’re very difficult to catch in photogenic moments. Shark dog, for example has two states: go, and stop. Being an all black dog, when he’s in stop mode he mostly looks like a black thing? Maybe a dog? Maybe a pile of laundry?

dog at rest CHOCOLATE CHIP BLONDIES

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When he’s in go mode, however, it’s difficult to get a picture of him where he’s not half out of frame and blurry, because he can really move. Continue reading

CHOCOLATE CHIP BLONDIES

TOMATO SAUCE

Sometimes I get lazy, and wonder why I put so much effort into cooking. As a resident I have access to the resident lounge AND the physician lounge, so the world is my oyster! If, you know, I want to subsist solely on coffee, generic freezer bagels, cheap mini-muffins, yogurt, and string-cheese.

Of course I could always avail myself of the fine, and highly affordable, cafeteria fare.

spaghetti salad TOMATO SAUCE

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Or not. Seriously, who do they think they’re fooling? That is obviously cold spaghetti with marinara sauce. It would help their case if the hot dinner the night before hadn’t been spaghetti with marinara sauce.

I don’t actually eat a lot of spaghetti as a rule. I am a carb-monster, I have no carb control. Given a bowl of pasta I will eat it and and roar, “MORE!”

However, when I do, I find that the best proof against overindulgence is quality ingredients all around. That means real parmesan and a sauce that sings. I am partial to this recipe. It’s a variation on the butter-onion sauce that’s been floating around the interwebs for several years.

ingredients TOMATO SAUCE

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  Continue reading

TOMATO SAUCE

Food, Medicine, and Miscellany