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Are you ready for crraaazy?!

I just started my psych rotation today and let me tell you…you may think you know some crazy folks, maybe your coworkers, your family members, but just the patients I met on day one would put your notion of crazy to shame!

So far I’ve heard from people who are actually “angels” who see “floating bubbles” in the sky that say “mean things.”

And of course I haven’t even begun to describe the people who work in the psych department. I am working on descriptive nicknames though…so far “crazyeyes” and “overlytalkative”


Here is to a delightfully sane, elegant dessert!

Blog-checking lines: The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies. Read the rest of this entry »


Black and yellow black and yellow black and yellow black and yellow… This song has been in my head for weeks!

So Sunday was kind a huge disappointment for Pittsburgh. Walking around this week it’s seriously as if the whole city were downright depressed! Treating a whole city for depression certainly isn’t something we’ve discussed yet in medical school, perhaps these cookies would help?

But anyway the weekend wasn’t a total bust. I for one had a great time hosting a pre-superbowl Black and Yellow party on Saturday night where all of the food was either (you guessed it..) Black, or yellow! Good friends, good drinks and good food, it was pretty much a perfect night. And not to congratulate myself too much 😉 but some of food turned out downright extraordinary so I just had to share!

Tell me those aren’t the darned cutest rice krispy footballs you’ve ever seen!

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Whew this month has been a trip. I’ve been doing outpatient medicine, and my job is basically to talk to people. ALL sorts of people.  So far:

-An elderly lady with the same life history as my grandmother. She was born in East Prussia (a country that no longer exists!) And managed to evade the Russians by escaping to Germany during WWII.  Even more interesting though is that after the war her and her family escaped from East Germany to West Germany by sneaking across the Berlin Wall!

-An 80 year old man, healthy as a horse! who spends his time traveling all over the world (he showed me every picture from his most recent cruise) and growing orchids. He brings a few to the doctor every visit. I got a beautiful orange one. He also insisted on calling me doctor 🙂

But anyway, I’m starting to get as long winded as my patients. Let’s talk about the challenge at hand: Biscuit  Joconde Imprime/Entremet, or…Dinosaur Cake!

This was a lesson in blind faith.

Did you ever play that game as a kid where you stand on a table or a deck and fall backwards and trust 6 friends with scrawny arms will catch you?  And then they do?

I had that same feeling when making this cake. You start by piping a design, then over the next few days…you cover it, bake it, trim it, invert it, mold it, fill it…not even getting to make sure it looks ok and at the very end you unwrap it and hope it doesn’t fall to pieces!

You can do it though, you just gotta have faith.

Blog-checking lines: The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.

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I had some serious moral issues with this challenge. I mean…I’m going to be a doctor, which means one day I will be telling you to quit smoking, lose weight, exercise, and QUIT SMOKING! Yea, quit smoking twice for emphasis. In case you’re still smoking and need some help finding motivation, here are some pictures of lung cancer (warning: may be unpleasant).

But yea, one of those is lose weight and while I’m normally not one to shy away from fat (Everything in moderation!…Including moderation itself), given the obesity epidemic in America it feels weird to be writing about a dish that is off the charts for fat content. I mean in the original recipe there aren’t even any vegetables to give it a redeeming nutritional quality!

At the same time, I am a daring chef, and part of that personality trait is that I try everything. So I compromised. I’ve made the cassoulet, but added vegetables, reduced fat and (I think) retained all of the richness cassoulet is known for.  Did I succeed? I don’t know, you be the judge.

Our January 2011 Challenge comes from Jenni of The Gingered Whisk and Lisa from Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. They have challenged the Daring Cooks to learn how to make a confit and use it within the traditional French dish of Cassoulet. They have chosen a traditional recipe from Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman. Read the rest of this entry »

“Is that your bread?”


“Well, who’s bread is it?”


This is my family all day long, every day of Christmas vacation. We love corny puns…it’s kind of our thing. And we’re very good at them.

Ok so good might be a relative term (as in…everyone who’s related thinks we’re good! haha!), but really, if you came to hang out with us, I think you’d laugh.

This bread was actually kneaded in Pittsburgh, then rose in the car 8 hours, and then baked and sugar coated at my parents house in Chicago.

And hey, did you notice? Pictures from a real camera! I finally got it back from best buy with a new and pretty screen.

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book………and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

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Ladys and gentlemen…get out your slotted spoons. It’s poachin’ time.

And don’t forget to wash your hands, because you will be licking that sauce off your fingers…and your spatula…and the bowl…

Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num. Read the rest of this entry »

This is it folks.  The best daring bakers challenge yet. This Crostada will rock your world.

Intensely buttery crust that starts with a crunch then melts in your mouth, insanely gooey caramel sauce, fall spices, and fresh apples.

Holy yum.

You’re gonna love this.

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Four weeks…FOUR WEEKS! and still no camera! Argh Geek Squad…I shake my fist at you!

Oh well, I cannot complain, thanks to a wisely purchased warranty…I break my camera and Best Buy repairs it (or hopefully just sends me a new one) for free.  I can’t really blame them for taking their sweet time about it.  It is however putting  a serious hitch in my daring plans. So for this month, I have iPhone pics. Nope, not the best quality, and no flash, but you don’t need an HD lens to see the browned fluffy goodness that is this souffle.

Oh, and it may not have risen out of the dish like a souffle should, which is partly because I decided to throw everything into it that was about to go bad in my fridge, namely 1/2 lb of ham and 2 giant broccoli florets. Also it’s just in a huge dish.  If you want to have a really pooofy soufle, do not do this. Do this.

However if you want to have an equally delicious souffle AND clean out your fridge all in one swoop, you are in luck!

Here we go!

What it lacks in rise it makes up for in delicious. All browned around the edges. Tastes just like Sunday morning.

Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.

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I have tragic news…

My memory card had so many pictures of gloriously rich donuts my camera tried to eat it, choked, and they both died.

Essentially what I’m saying here is…I have no donut pictures to share with you.

But I do have a cow in my hair!

Did that distract you? Did you forget about donuts? Read the rest of this entry »

Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

I have to admit, when I saw this challenge I had my sleeves rolled up and I was ready for a fight…with the grape leaves. But actually, they were quite tame. If you can manage to get the leaves out of the jar that is.  (How do they get them in there???) In any case, they are a breeze to roll, and despite my best efforts to mangle the leaves, they came out beautiful. So impress your friends, try them out!

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