Saturday, August 22, 2015

This. Almond. Tart.

I just finished eating a slice. It is so good. Simple, not too sweet, not overwhelming. Just the cookie-like crust, the slight tang of the jam and the wonderful flavor of the almonds. My words of advice: if you don't have almond meal, you can make it easily by pulsing whole almonds in a food processor. Pulse them because you want almond meal, not almond butter. Please don't skip out on the layer of jam on the crust, it add to the flavor. Pick a jam that isn't too sweet and has a little'll go a long way. I'd go with apricot, or sour cherry. Enough with the words, on to the recipe.

Almond Tart 
Slightly mdified from Cooking with Manuela

Tart Crust

2 egg yellows (save the whites for the filling)
0.33 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp milk / heavy cream (I used heavy cream)
1.5 sticks butter, cubed
2 cups all purpose flour
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a food processor or with a hand mixer or even in a stand mixer, beat the egg yellows and sugar together until well combined. Then add the vanilla, heavy cream/milk, salt, and mix. Then beat in the butter until it's mixed thoroughly with the liquid (it doesn't have to be smooth, just mixed). Then, mix the flour in a 1/2 cup until it comes together. Since this is a tart dough, it'll be wetter than usual crust, and that's okay. Transfer the dough into a pre-buttered and floured tart part, sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough, and press it out thinly into the pan. You want the tart crust to be thinly spread because it will rise, so you can peel off any excess. Poke holes in the base with fork tines so that no bubbles form during the baking process and put it in a 375F oven for 20 minutes.

While it's baking you can make the filling:

0.25 cup jam (tart and sweet, but not too sweet -- apricot, blackberry, cherry. I used a jam from my friend Laurie over at Laurie's Little Kitchen)
5 egg whites
0.33 cups sugar
2 cups almond meal
Slivered almonds for topping

You can either buy the almond meal or make it yourself (see above text prior to recipe). Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Add in regular white granulated sugar, and fold it in by hand. Then add in the almond meal, and fold in well. You'll see the egg whites deflate a little, but that's okay, just make sure you're folding, rather than stirring the stuff in. assemble the tart! After the shell comes out of the oven, turn your oven down to 350F. Pour the jam filling into the tart and spread it out, creating a thin layer. Then pour the filling into the tart and spread it out with a spatula/spoon. Top with silvered almonds. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top is slightly brown.
Pull out, let cool, and serve with powdered sugar dusted on top, or by itself.

So good

Immediately post-baking

Friday, August 21, 2015

Cauliflower Bowl

I want to do things this summer/fall. I'll make a list. That way I'll get like 80% of them done.

1. Kayak on the charles
2. Get through Native Son, Notes on a Native Son, Queen of Shadows, and Lolita. A mix of books.
3. Join a book club.
4. Go camping x 2...hopefully in New Hampshire. Or the Berkshires!
5. Paint something
6. Finish applications...that way I know I do AT LEAST one thing
7. Train my dog to do 1 new tricks.
8. Run 2 miles at < 10 minute pace for each.
9. Finish Insanity
10. Find and purchase my "fall tea" collection.
11. Perfect my banana bread recipe.
12.  White Mountain Hike.
13. Start posting weekly menus

Thirteen things. I'll come back and mark them off as I go along. Hopefully. But this way I've articulated it, it's on paper....or e-paper in this case, and when I'm thinking...what should I do? I do this stuff. Instead of watching Fraiser. Too much Fraiser.

And now for something entirely different, a cauliflower bowl! I've been skeptical about cauliflower "rice" for quite some time. I've seen it all over other blogs, on pintrest, and some of my friends have gone on about how much they love it. But meh.

Then I saw this great cauliflower rice bowl from and figured...why not? I have the time, I didn't yet have my articulated list of pre-prescribed activities. Plus, I think I can do it under 30 minutes. Hey, if I can make it in <30 minutes on a weekday, I'll give it a shot.

And this worked. The "rice" has no real it's takes up the taste of whatever you season it with, in my case a little garlic, salt, pepper, and lime juice. It acts as a medium over which you can layer other flavors, beans, guacamole, salsa, corn, cilantro, red pepper, etc. and is healthier than rice.
Finished product!

Surprisingly easy to make if you have a food processor,'d be harder. I used the grater attachment on mine to get the cauliflower small. I just cut it into raw relatively large chunks, put it in the food processor, and it's done. You can also use a box grater...or just cut it up into small pieces.

Then just sautee it up with some olive oil or butter until it reaches the "softness" you desire. Try it out.

Cauliflower Rice Bowl (Mexican flavor inspired) 

1 head raw cauliflower
Butter/olive oil

Optional toppings:
Red Pepper
Hot Sauce
Red Onion

Cut the head of cauliflower into pieces that either fit into your food processor/food processor shoot, or to use on a box grater, or cut into small (super small) pieces.

When it's grated, heat up a pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter, add garlic or whatever other aromatics you want at this point, then toss in the cauliflower when warm. Sautee the "rice," turning it moderately frequently until it reaches the crunchiness or softness you desire.

Then top it with your toppings! I did a Mexican-inspired one (see optional toppings above). You can do middle eastern inspired with some yogurt, roasted eggplant, yams, and spices. Or try Greek inspired with cucumber, tomato, red onion, yogurt, etc. Or Asian inspired and top with a stirfry.

The "rice" keeps in the fridge for ~2-3  days, so you can reuse it :-)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Chocolate Chili Peanut Butter Popsicles

During my fourth year, I've been more able to give things outside of medical school more focus than I could during my third year. It's still pretty novel for me, but I'm trying to enjoy it. Going on run and experiencing summer: the smells, the colors, the inevitable allergic rhinitis. Dog walking and the inevitable apologizing for Krinkle barking a dog 10x his size. Trying new recipes and the inevitable mishaps (never put turnip and beet in coconut curry) and the undeniable successes.

These popsicles fall into the latter category. I forgot I had these popsicle mold I bought last summer with dreams of all different kinds of frozen treats. In reality, I made 2-3 types of popsicles and packed the molds away. But I've been craving them recently, because let's face it...there's nothing like coming back from a run in the middle of summer like a popsicle.
Telling Tyler "pull out the popsicles, I want to take a picture" and hearing "...whoops"

Especially these ones: chocolate + chili + peanut butter + honey + milk/yogurt + salt + popsicle mold + freezer = Honey sweetened chocolate chili peanut butter popsicles. Clearly when it comes to dessert names, size matters.
Evidence of their deliciousness

I made this in the morning in under 10 minutes on a whim. Try them out. If you're hoping to make it vegan, use full fat coconut milk. If you want to make them a bit healthier / don't love super sweet things, cut down on the honey by half.

Chocolate Chili Peanut Butter Popsicle

0.25 cup honey
1 cup milk / yogurt / half and half
0.75 - 1 cup peanut butter
0.33 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp red chili powder / cayenne (or less if you want it less spicy)
1 tsp salt
Dash of cinnamon

Whisk together honey, milk, and peanut butter until there are no clumps. Then add in the cocoa powder, chili powder, salt, and cinnamon and mix until clumpless. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for 3-4 hours. Pop them out on a warm summer day and enjoy!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Vegetarian Meatballs

I am a fourth year medical student. It is still peculiar to say. It's odd to have a definitive answer when someone asks me what residency I am applying into, and to say that I have finished my Sub-I (sub-internship) rotation. There is so much I want to say about third year. It was wonderful and horrid at the same time. Dabbling a little in every field gave me a strong respect for the different aspects of medicine, from psychiatry to surgery. I hope that respect stays with me--too frequently do I hear specialists speak poorly of other fields. I don't want to do that. I am happy it's over though, it is tiring to switch tasks every 4, 6, or 8 weeks and begin learning about a whole new field.

I learned a lot about myself though: what I liked, what I didn't like, and that I can be cheerful at 4:30 in the morning during surgery rounds.

Now, Step 2 CK is over, I have CS coming up, and I am making my way through my anesthesia rotations, as a fourth year. Time is happening.
So much is happening in the world, and there is so much I want to say...but let's start with these vegetarian meatballs, because well...because.

We don't do pasta very much in the Shappenfeld household, but every once in a while I crave the basics, some spaghetti + tomato sauce. Simple, quick, comforting. I figured I'd try meatballs again, I've done a few variations in the past and not been satisfied, but these were different, and so, so good. The original recipe that I modified was vegan, so if you're interested in that, click on the credit link!

Vegetarian Tempeh Meatballs 
adapted from the Minimalist Baker

8 oz Tempeh
1 egg
0.5 cup parmesan cheese
0.33 cup bread crumbs
0.25 cup cilantro
2 Tbsp marinara sauce (we used Arriabata from Trader favorite!)
4 cloves garlic
1 red onion, medium size, coursely chopped
canola oil

Preheat oven to 375. In a food processor, toss in tempeh, and pulse until it's small. Then add salt, pepper, garlic, onion and pulse together. Then add cilantro, marinara, egg, cheese, and bread crumbs, and pulse to mix well. Transfer mixture into a bowl. The mixture should be moist, and should easily form balls. Cover the bottom of a sautee pan with canola oil and put over medium high heat.

Form small balls out of the mixture and pan fry them in the sautee pan until brown on both/all sides (I made mine flatish, so I could just brown them on both sides). Then transfer to a pre-greased/parchment paper covered baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray or brush with olive oil, and put them in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

Serve over pasta, cover with marinara sauce, and enjoy!

Suggested appetizer -- roasted peppers and fresh mozarella, balsamic and olive oil

Friday, June 5, 2015

Rose and Raspberry Lemonade

It's time for pretty drinks over ice in mason jars, sunglasses and sunscreen, and sitting outside.
This is how excited we feel about summer.

This drink is summer in a glass. It's pretty. It's pink. It's delicious. It's easy to make. It's refreshing. If you don't have rose water, don't sweat it, just make the raspberry lemonade. Want to add something different? Add lemon zest. Or mint. Or basil. 

I made this with a mix of fresh lemons and Santa Cruz Organics Lemon Juice. I know, I know, making lemonade with concentrate just doesn't taste right. But when you ain't got enough time, this is the way to go, and it honestly doesn't taste like regular lemon concentrates do -- I can't taste the difference between regular lemons and the SC organics. 

Raspberry Rose Lemonade
5-7 lemons (alternatively, Santa Cruz Organic
 Lemon Juice about half a cup)
1 cup frozen raspberries
1-2 tbsp Rose Water
Blend the lemon juice and raspberries together, and then strain them to get out the seeds. Put the mixture into a large mason jar, or pitcher. Add water to taste, basically making it as sour as you want, and mix. Then add simple syrup and rose water to taste. Mix well, and store in the fridge for up to 1 week. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Frozen Banana Bites

So third year is over. That happened. I'm taking some time to process, but I'll probably write about it. Let's be real actually, I'm not taking time to process, I'm studying for the Step 2 Boards and shoving my eyeballs into Bob's Burgers. And looking at desserts. Buuut I don't have eggs.

Let's ignore that Whole Foods is a two minute walk away, and that Trader Joes is a 10 minute walk away. Let's ignore that and talk about Banana Bites instead. I bought these Gone Bananas bites from Trader Joes a while ago...and they are so delicious. I feel quite adorable eating them. I forgot to buy them on this latest run...sadly, but I had 3 bananas that were getting a little too mushy for me to want to eat. So I figured...why not make my own?

Well if I was going to do that, I might as well put peanut butter on them. And oh wait, I had leftover homemade butterscotch why not put this on top?

And so this delicious monstrosity was created...two frozen bananas with peanut butter in the middle, topped with butterscotch sauce, covered in chocolate and frozen again. They. are. so. good.

They'd be amazing even without the butterscotch sauce, but it definitely adds to the flavor. Make these. They are amazing and don't take long.

Frozen Banana Bites

3-4 bananas, sliced a quarter inch thick (or really how thick or thin you want, I wouldn't go more than 1/2 an inch thick though)
Peanut Butter (I used Skippy)
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 tsp canola oil or coconut oil
Optional: Butterscotch sauce (see above link for recipe from smitten kitchen!)

Slice up your bananas, put them on a baking sheet that's covered in parchment paper, and freeze them for about an hour. Then put down a layer of peanut butter, and put down another banana piece (so it's banana, peanut butter layer, banana...or you can keep it banana and peanut butter alone) and re-freeze for about an 1-1.5 hrs.  Then put a thin layer of butterscotch sauce on top (again, optional...but oh so delicious). Re-freeze for an hour. Right before you pull them out, melt the chocolate in a double boiler here's how. The short of it is that you put on a pot of water to boil, put a heatproof bowl over it, put the chocolate in, and stir around as the steam melts the chocolate. When the chocolate is full and melted, add the oil...why? It's a shorthand trick to 'temper' the chocolate, so that when you dip stuff in it, instead of being soft in texture and dull looking, it gets that chocolate 'crunch' and shine.

Pull out the banana bites, cover them in chocolate, re-freeze for about an hour, and enjoy! You can store them in a plastic back for up 2 weeks in the freezer. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

First fitness post + HIIT interval timer app

Let's be real, I'm sitting here drinking coffee and eating homemade butterscotch sauce off a spoon. I'm not the beacon of health and fitness that I (sometimes) envision myself to be. Although the butterscotch really is helping my mental health on this cloudy day, so there is that.

But I have been known to workout a time or two. Actually it's been one of my goals throughout medical school -- stay on point with the working out thing. It started first year when I saw my friend Lauri's dedication to making it to the gym no matter what. She was great about it and helped me realize that an extra hour - hour and a half of studying was not going to add much to my knowledge base, and would probably make me go crazy in the end. So I started going to our local gym.

At first, I hated it. I wasn't really good at it, I tended to get out of breath pretty quick, and the sweat...oh jeez. I inherited my dad's sweat glands, and I was like a faucet. No cute glistening sweat here, just rivers of smelly person-juice. I went ~3x per week, and by week 3 I started noticing a difference. I could run a little more without feeling like my insides were going to curdle, I could hold a plank for longer, and my arms weren't killing me every time I lifted up whatever weight I was going to use. I was becoming stronger. YAY!

But I also noticed I was happier. I had something that would break up my day of studying, time that was just me, my music, and whatever I was doing. I honestly feel like I started to remember more -- it was like I took time out of my day away from studying, but then actually felt like I could process more. Maybe it was a placebo effect, maybe I'm just making it up, who knows? But I felt good, and I liked it.

So 2.5 years later, I still workout consistently. I'm not a part of a gym anymore, because it was a (freezing) pain to walk to the gym 10 minutes there and back during the winter months, so I started investing in home workout stuff. By that time I knew I was dedicated enough to actually keep up with doing it at home, so I bought a mat, some weights, and started using high intensity interval training (HIIT) videos to work out. That was 1.5 years ago, and I've been doing them ever since...during second year while studying for my first Board certification exam and during my clerkship rotations third year. When I was on a clerkship that had me out the door at 4AM and back home at 7PM, I modified the workout to be 20 minutes of intense stuff, but I still did it. It's why I prefer working out at home, if I had had to go to a gym...well, it just wouldn't have happened. Working out doesn't have to be about losing weight, or fitting into socially constructed image of gendered bodies, it can just be about being fit and all the benefits associated with that. It can be about being able to lift some stuff up and not getting tired; being able to run and not feel like your lungs are going to explode; being able to be like heck yeah I'm strong. Do whatever fits with your schedule, you got 10 minutes? Make a plan, and do 50 seconds on and 10 second off for 10 minutes.

Today's post, aside from being about my workout story (that sounds odd...), is about this new timer app that I've been using that I love. So the HIIT training, you do x number of seconds 'on' and then x number of seconds as a rest. For me it's usually 30,40,or 50 seconds on and a 10 second rest. There are special (expensive) timers that you can buy that are specific interval timers that you can use at home or at the gym...buuuut why when you can use an app on your phone? If you have an android (I think it also works with iPhones), download this now. You can put in how much prep time you want, how many second you want as your 'on' period where you workout, how many seconds of rest you want, and how many rounds. It works in the background of your phone while music is playing, doesn't drain your battery like a lot of other apps, and hasn't crashed in the middle of a workout. It's GREAT for jogging if you're not a huge fan of running (like me) and you prefer to run for 40 seconds with a 10 second rest for a specific amount of time. So far, I'm loving it, and I suggest y'all download it.