Monday, September 16, 2013

Brinner! ($5.00 dinner for the broke med student)

Breakfast is by far my favorite meal.  What is even better that breakfast? BRINNER! Okay so I picked up that term from Scrubs.   But its simple, breakfast for dinner=brinner.  My mom was a huge fan of cooking breakfast for dinner when she was tired after work and wanted something simple like pancakes and bacon, or a simple BLT; those were the best nights.  I tried to find the episode where Turk and JD school Carla on what brinner is, but this is sums up their love of the meal.  Please watch the video below...hilarious.

So what is a good brinner treat that almost borders on dessert? Chocolate chip pancakes...oh yeah. But only with the best chocolate of course. And all you broke med students and residents out there, a bag of Ghiardelli Semi-sweet chocolate chips at Target costs 2.50 or less. So please forget about Toll House, they make plastic chocolate.

So how do you make this extraordinary chocolate chip pancake? 3 key ingredients. Vanilla, cinnamon, and cayenne. Yes, I said cayenne. No you're not gonna taste it, your mouth is not gonna catch on fire. But it will enhance the flavor of your chocolate. So don't be scared;put a tiny pinch in and it'll rock your world. And since we are all about the quickness with our busy schedules, you can make a quick warm fresh fruit topping in the microwave. All you need is a cup of raspberries (or other berry of your choice), some sugar to coat it and a dash of vanilla. In about 2 minutes you'll have a nice warm topping. Fry up some turkey bacon (Oscar Meyer Smoked 2.99 at target) and you've got the best brinner ever! 

Missy's Perfect Pancake Recipe

Most of these ingredients you should have in your pantry and that's why I call this a five dollar meal. If you don't have them and don't want to make pancakes from scratch (literally takes 3 min) you can buy a mix. A cheap and reliable one for me has been the Krusteaz brand. You would just mix in the vanilla, spices, and chocolate and substitute club soda for the water. Enjoy :)


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp white sugar
2/3 cup milk
2/3 club soda (makes the pancakes light and fluffy)
1 egg
3 Tbsp butter (melted)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
Ghiardelli Semi-sweet Chocolate chips (as much as you like!)
pinch of cayenne

1)  In a large bowl sift the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg, and melted butter; mix until smooth.  Lastly add in the club soda.

2) Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium to high heat. Make sure the pan is very hot before adding the batter. This is important. 

3) Use a scoop to make pancakes of equal size depending on how big you like them and cook until brown on both sides.

Note: Sometimes I use Crisco shortening (or even in the pancake itself) on an electric griddle to make the edges of the pancake crispy. I know what you're thinking, but honestly, live a little. One pancake fried with Crisco isn't going to hurt you. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Know thy oven...

So this is what happens when you forget to do that 3 cookie test batch. When I used to work at the bakery, our most favorite time as student bakers was trying the test batches. One dozen macaroon cupcakes...yum! But of course I did not do this. I was in a rush, and cooking in a rush is never a good idea. I wanted to cook a few dozen cookies and gift a dozen to the writer of my residency letter of recommendation. For those of you who don't know anything about the medical residency application process, apps start to be accepted by hospital programs on the 15th of the month. September is probably one of the worse months in a fourth year medical student's life.  Getting all the data entered in and all your letters of recommendation settled is kind of a mess, but I'm getting through it. 

I titled this blog post "Know Thy Oven" because this is the most important knowledge any baker/cook can have. I usually try to stick to the instructions given in a baking recipe but cook times can be tricky. And my trust of America's Test Kitchen recipes seriously clouded my judgement. I even let the smell test fly out the window. I told you guys, I was rushing... So baking oatmeal cookies for 20min in my oven resulted in the above image x 24. I had an hour left before my meeting with my adviser, and was determined to not go empty handed. I whipped up a second batch in about ten minutes and shoved a dozen in the oven. 12 minutes later I had a perfect dozen of oatmeal cookies. 

I only made a few alterations to the Test Kitchen recipe. I substituted the cherries for craisins and used pecan chips for an even texture. You can toast the pecans, though I did not. I also used 60% cacao Ghirardelli baking chips instead of the bar because I found them to be easier to chop. I also do not own a stand mixer, so the instructions I give will be for using an electric hand mixer.  I have dough hook attachments for mine and this is simply wonderful for making cookie dough.

Enjoy the recipe and let me know what you think!

The Ultimate "They'll Be Gone Before You Try One" Oatmeal Cookies
Yield: About 2 dozen 3" diameter cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats (NO QUICK OATS!)
1 cup pecan chips
1 cup craisins, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup 60% cacao Ghirardelli Baking chips 
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla

1.  Place an oven rack in the middle position of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.  In a medium bowl, use a whisk to mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together and set aside. In another small bowl, mix together the craisins, pecan chips, oats and chocolate.

3.  In a larger bowl, use an electric hand mixer with dough hook attachments and cream the brown sugar and butter. Add the egg and vanilla.  Turn the mixer down to low-speed and slowly add the flour mixture.  Once combined, fold in or mix in (lowest speed) the oats mixture.

4.  Roll dough into 1inch diameter balls and place about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Use the palm of your hand to lightly flatten the balls.

5.  Bake the cookies 12-14 min until the cookies are medium brown and the edges set. Do not worry if they look a bit under-cooked. Again, use your judgement.

6.  Let the cookies cool for 3-5 min on the sheet then transfer to a cooling rack.

7.  Make sure to eat one before they disappear! :)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Baking at Brown!

So what happens when you take time off from med school, you have absolutely no money, are working in a service job (shout out to AmeriCorps!), and need another job? Work at the university bakery and learn basic pastry skills for free :) SO maybe I couldn't afford Johnson and Wales, couldn't make it to CIA, but The Brown University Bakery taught me a ton! After you make 80 dozen cookies in an hour you can do anything!

I'm back in school now studying for the worst test in the world Step 2CK (my second medical licensing exam) and not much cooking is happening. But I've go a backlog of photos and recipes from this year and I'll be posting every Friday so stay tuned!!