Thursday, September 26, 2013

September Recent Eats and Updates

Exam sustenance -- smoothie from the roomie, and homemade macarons from a friend. What sweeties :) 

Post exam so I finally have time to cook again :) Chinese rib soup, so just pork rib pieces boiled with ginger and bok choi. 

Birthday cake for the roomie! It was just as intense as the last time I made it...

Mapo tofu -- just throwing together ingredients that I have lying around, so not super authentic but still tasty. I use: ground beef, medium firm tofu, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, green onions, and lao gan ma

I've mastered the art of the meal salad! The trick is spring mix with broccoli slaw. Also Trader Joe's sweet and spicy pecans, whee.

Glass noodles with chicken and mushrooms, which I loosely adapted from this recipe. So good, but avoid if you're a cilantro hater cause it calls for a whole bunch.

Skillet chicken and rice with peppers and onions, which I loosely adapted from this recipe. Also delicious. I'm really the worst at following recipes (throw in whatever ingredients/substitutes I have in whatever amounts that I feel like) but it didn't hurt me here. Gotta work on da plating skills though...

This will likely be a series. Until next time, ciao :)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The "Poor Me" Trap

I didn't write this -- I don't know how to write this beautifully. But I read this piece awhile ago and was pretty inspired. I think it's especially relevant to my life now, and wanted to share this to anyone who needs a pep talk (source: ThoughtCatalog).

You’re in a pit. Never mind how you got there, you just know that it’s fairly dark down there and dirt is gradually piling on top of you. Eventually it will bury you alive and you know that, so what do you do?

When these metaphorical “pits” appear in real life, and we find ourselves in the darkest, lowest situations, we often don’t fight for our lives. Why not though? If you were literally at the bottom of a pit with dirt being shoveled on top of you, you’d get the hell out of there. You’d claw and climb your way out – or die trying. At least I’d hope you wouldn’t pop a squat and take dirt to the fact until you couldn’t breath.

In our real lives we fall in pits all the time. Some are small, and for the most part we aren’t in them long enough to feel threatened. Then there are the larger pits. The bills we can’t afford, the frustrating relationships, the jobs we hate, the more we thought we’d have accomplished by now. We fall in these pits and we sit there, miserable. We say, this sucks, I don’t want to be here. Am I going to find a way out? No, I’m going to stay down here and be angry. We blame the a-hole who pushed us down there, we blame the circumstances that led us to the pit, we blame the universe or God for hating us, we look for someone – or something to hold accountable.

That, ladies and gentlemen is the poor-me-trap. Sometimes “just one of those days” turns into one of those weeks, and months and years and suddenly you’re nearing a crappy decade. We’re only here so long, we can’t afford to have crappy decades. Of course there are times in which we need a grievance period. It’s quiet and isolated down there, so you’d like to take a few moments to gather your thoughts before getting out and being normal again. That happens and there’s no set length of time you’ll potentially need, but usually we recognize the difference between recovering and excessively feeling sorry for ourselves.

This trap isn’t limited to finger pointers – people who blame themselves end up there too and it’s bad. In fact, it’s even worse when you’re pouring dirt on yourself, doing nothing to help the situation and even making it worse. It sucks to know that you screwed up but the only thing worse than a failed attempt, an unfortunate inconvenience, a broken heart or a wasted opportunity is the time spent reflecting on that bad memory. It’s dirt and if you allow it to, it will suffocate you.

It may seem easier to say poor me and physically it is, but the mental and emotional exhaustion is a vicious, blood sucking monster. Surely you’ve been in the poor-me-trap before and if you’re lucky enough to live a lengthy life, it’s guaranteed you’ll wind up in your fair share of ‘em. The key is to remember that the way you got in the pit is irrelevant. Self-inflicted or complete victim, if you’re there, you’ve got collect your thoughts, knuckle up and get out. If you’re down in a pit right now, picture this as an extended hand, hoping to help lift you out… And if you don’t want my help, well fine — consider me a pesky police officer, breaking up your pity party and tasing you with currents of positivity for initially resisting.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tartine's Brownies

I spent most of Labor Day weekend holed up in the library studying for a quiz that didn't encompass most of the concepts that I studied for. I was pretty upset about it, so I skipped lecture after the quiz to bake brownies instead since I consider cooking/baking to be "me" time. While everyone was learning about insulin resistance and all that jazz, I was baking up a storm and styling some food pictures. And then I took a long nap. I'm going to do so well in med school...

These brownies are incredible. A coworker made a batch for when I was leaving DC and shared the recipe with me, and it's now my go-to. It's from the Tartine Bakery Cookbook so I didn't expect anything less than fantastic because Tartine is the bomb (I went there last year). The recipe calls for a pound (a pound!) of chocolate so it's incredibly rich. I cut them into small pieces and ended up with 36 brownies, and although I brought some to share with friends in the library, I still have half a batch left. I guess that's not such a terrible problem to have; too many brownies is the ultimate first world problem.


  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

 Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9" x 13" baking pan with foil and grease. In a saucepan, melt butter over low heat. 

Turn off the heat. Add the chocolate to the melted butter (I used a Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Pound Plus bar) and stir, as the heat from the butter should be enough to melt the chocolate. If you are unable to melt the chocolate fully, turn the heat back on for 10 seconds and stir. Once smooth, set aside and allow to cool.

In a separate large mixing bowl, crack all the eggs. The recipe calls for 5 large eggs, but I only had medium sized eggs so I used 6.

Add the brown sugar, salt, and vanilla extract to the eggs.

Use an electric mixer to beat at high speed for about 4-5 minutes until homogeneous and light in color.

Fold the butter/chocolate into the egg mixture. It doesn't resemble brownie batter here yet but no fear...

Fold the flour into the batter until well incorporated. Now it looks like brownie batter.

Pour into the lined pan and bake for about 25 minutes, until the top looks slightly cracked and is soft to the touch.

Fresh, beautiful brownies straight from the oven :) But do NOT attempt to cut them just yet because they will fall apart. They're so gooey that the toothpick test wouldn't work on these. I popped my pan into the fridge to help accelerate the cooling process and let them set.

Once fully cooled, cut into small pieces and eat! Please share...leaving them alone in the house with you is a tad dangerous.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


I'm lucky to live in the city with the best ice cream in the world :) 

From front to back, the flavors are:
1) Pistachio and Honey + Queen City Cayenne
2) Whiskey & Pecans + Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk
3) Sweet Corn & Black Raspberries + Bergamont Froyo + Chamomile

And no, all three were not for me but I did get to sample everything!

3998 Gramercy Street
Columbus, Ohio 43219