Monday, July 25, 2011

German Chocolate Cookies

I didn't really have a good reason for making cookies other than 1. I'm leaving for the Yukon in 2 days and won't have access to a kitchen for a week and a half and 2. Jonathan practically begged me to bake something for the surgery residents.  Enter this merger of two classics: chocolate chip cookies and German chocolate cake (my dad's favorite).  Since I don't have much to say, I'm just going to let these pictures do the talking.

Adapted from the Original Nestle Toll House Cookie Recipe
Just shy of 2 cups of flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts (pecans would be more traditional, but I didn't have any)

1. Beat butter, white and brown sugar until creamy.
2. Add eggs, vanilla, powder, and salt.
3. Add cocoa powder.
4. Slowly add flour.
5. Mix in chocolate chips, coconut, and nuts.
6. Bake at 375 for 12 minutes.
7. Eat warm after dunking in milk :-)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bacon Corn Chowder with Shrimp

I'll admit it, when a new Cooking Light appears on the kitchen table I'm ecstatic.  The only thing better than flipping through the pages staring at the beautiful food-ography is trying out a recipe, taking your own pictures, and of course eating it!  And the only thing better than enjoying one of their recipes alone is with a friend.  Mel and I have been attempting, ever so unsuccessfully, to see each other for over a month.  Well, I hope she would agree that this soup (and dessert which I unfortunately can't take credit for) were worth the wait!

I had dog eared this page and when my mom showed up in Detroit with a bag of fresh picked corn grown right down the road from our Southwest Michigan house, I knew this is what I would be eating for dinner that night!  Not to mention we enjoyed bacon at the Original Pancake House for lunch so why not have some for dinner, too?

Bacon Corn Chowder with Shrimp, adapted from Cooking Light, August 2011
6 slices bacon
1 cup chopped onion 
3/4 cup chopped celery 
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme 
1 garlic clove, minced 
4 cups fresh corn kernels, about 8 small ears
1 14.5 oz can chicken broth 
3/4 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
1/3 cup half-and-half 
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat a sauce large pan over medium-high heat. Add bacon to pan; saute 4 minutes or until the bacon begins to brown. Remove 2 slices bacon. Drain on paper towels.
Add onion and next 3 ingredients (through minced garlic) to pan, and saute for 2 minutes.
Add corn, and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add broth; bring to a boil, and cook for 4 minutes.
Place 2 cups of corn mixture in a blender. Puree until smooth.  Return pureed corn mixture to pan.
Stir in shrimp; cook 2 minutes or until shrimp are done.
Stir in half-and-half and pepper.
Crumble reserved bacon over soup.
Serve with crusty bread or apple brie bread and salad.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, Chris!

Last week was my friend Chris' birthday, which means a chance to bake a cake!  Chris shares my love of culinary experimentation, so the last time we had gotten together I brought my newest Cooking Light to his house.  He seemed intrigued by the plum kuchen recipe.  So that's what he got for a birthday cake :-)  Though it is more of a coffee cake, with the addition of a little ice cream it is a perfect dessert.

Plum Kuchen adapted from July 2011 Cooking Light
1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup plus 2 T white sugar
2 T brown sugar
1 t baking powder
3/8 t salt, divided
1/4 t ground ginger
7 T butter, divided
1/2 c milk
1/2 t vanilla
1 egg
1- 1 1/2 lbs plums (midnight plums have the deepest color, but a variety looks pretty)
1 t lemon juice
1/4 t allspice
1/2 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425F.
Quarter and pit the plums.

Combine flour, 2 T white sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, 1/4 t salt, and ginger.
Cut in 4 T chilled butter until will mixed.
Add milk, egg, and vanilla.
Spray 9 inch round cake pan.  Spoon in batter.  Using a well greased back of a spoon spread batter around pan.
Place sliced plums in a circular patter on top of the batter.

Mix 2/3 c white sugar, lemon juice, 3 T melted butter, allspice, cinnamon, and remaining salt.
Sprinkle evenly over cake.

Bake on a cookie sheet or piece of tin foil (because the juice will bubble over the sides) for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack for an hour.
Slice and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pistachio Chai Muffins

I may as well admit this now.  I have a few flavor obsessions.  One being mango, the other chai.  Both began during my time in India 2 years ago.  And both are pretty hard to satisfy being back home because nothing beats a tree ripened mango eaten the correct way (check out the picture below), or drinking chai served in a tin cup on the side of the road when its 100+ degrees out.

So when I saw this recipe in the May edition of Cooking Light, I knew I would be making them sooner or later.  And now I'm regretting not making them sooner.  However the radiology and surgery residents will appreciate the delay and that I tripled the recipe.

Here's the basic recipe.  Fortunately for me and unfortunately for you I learned to bake with my mom who hardly measures anything and most recipes which are passed down from her are general ideas.  But don't let that scare you, it just means you can adjust the flavors to your own preference and these muffins will be amazing either way!  One can never have too much cinnamon, so I added a bit to the glaze as well as the muffin batter, along with a few other chai flavors.

Muffin Batter, makes 12
1 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
A few shakes of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 (or 3) chai blend black tea bags
1 cup buttermilk (or milk with about 1 teaspoon vinegar added and allowed to sit for 5 minutes)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup chopped pistachios

Preheat oven to 375.
Mix all the dry ingredients.
Add the contents of the tea bags.
Mix the wet ingredients.  Add to the dry mixture while stirring.
Don't over-stir; leave some lumps and bumps.
Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.
Divide batter evenly.  Sprinkle with chopped nuts.
Bake for 15 minutes at 375, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then transfer the muffins to a wire rack.

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
splash of milk
dash of cinnamon
While the muffins are baking mix all the ingredients together.  Spoon on top of the mostly cooled muffins.

Monday, July 11, 2011

What I Ate But Didn't Make: A Taste of Brazil

This is going to be a quick post because I'm at work :) But I wanted to share a bit of my gastronomic experiences from Brazil.

This is me with a paella. No. I did not eat that whole dish by myself. mmmm, I wanted to though :) It was like someone took the ocean, seasoned it, and added rice. Delicioso!

And for dessert:

This my friends is called Pudim de leite. You can't really see the pudim because of the beautifully decorative swirls of solid caramelized sugar... I was told that it is like flan. I don't quite believe them, because I don't like flan and I LOVED this. It's more like a custard. mmmmmmm. And then there were some prunes on the side...strange, but also yummy.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What I Ate But Didn't Make: Chicago

I was in Chicago for Step 2 CS Friday July 1.  My sister and I have gotten in a habit of dragging our parents to Chi-town on holiday weekends so we can take required examinations.  Kristi took the MCAT Memorial Day weekend a few years ago and now we're in Chicago again on Independence Day weekend this year.  BUT, I must say I have better planning because it was also Taste of Chicago.  Growing up 1.5 hours from the big city, we often avoided it when we knew there would be more traffic than the usual insanity, so we had never been.  Well after one evening spent tasting lots of amazing food, I'll definitely be braving the crazy drivers for this again!  Or at least the 40 minute train ride into the city :-)
Mom had printed a vendor list from the website, so I had already picked out a few "must try" items.  First of which were french fries dusted with mango powder and served with tamarind chutney.  AMAZING.  I'll be figuring out how to make these in the future for sure.

Dad tried mustard fried catfish and a Greek sausage served on a pita bread bun.
Mom ate dessert first with chocolate cheesecake from Eli's.  Then she tried fried ravioli.
Pad thai was good, but nothing special.

There was an abundance of free drink stations.  Sparkling Ocean Spray cranberry juice (really good), Sierra Mist "all natural," Monster (yuck!), and Pepsi Max which I had just for Ron Overs.  Definitely learned not to chug the free beverages because then none of us were hungry enough to use the rest of the food coupons.
I had seen a frozen yogurt or "kiefer" as Starfruit Cafe calls it on the vendor list.  The Taste size flavors were listed as original and pomegranate.  The pomegranate intrigued me, so I made a mental note to keep an eye out for that booth.  Well, to my extreme pleasure the pomegranate flavor mysteriously transformed into MANGO!  And this is by far the best frozen mango dessert I've had.  So good that we looked for the shop downtown Saturday and after walking several blocks discovered it in the underground train station, but it was closed :-(  Wish I had gotten a full size treat instead of the sample...  Mom tried a coconut ice and after much deliberation we decided to use the last 6 tickets on an egg roll and Rainbow ice cream.  The ice cream is layers of orange sherbert, pistacio, chocolate, strawberry, and Italian vanilla with cherries and walnuts.  Definitely interesting.

Taste of Chicago was a great experience, one that I will repeat many more times.  However, the best food of the weekend was eaten at Rick Bayless' Frontera Fresco in Macy's on State St.  A small Mexican "fast food" restaurant.  First of all they have mango limeade.  MANGO!!  Rick Bayless is a genius.  Dad had pork tacos and I had shrimp tacos.  Both were delicious.  My mouth is watering now just thinking about it...
Oh how I wish this was a real photo with Rick!

Friday, July 8, 2011

S'mores Cupcakes

I am so glad this cupcake recipe is my inaugural blog post!!  (Facebook friends please be patient as we re-post some of our favorite recipes from previous notes.  There will be new posts coming soon!)  They are quite possibly the best I’ve ever baked, second only to the peppermint mocha cupcakes we whipped up for Christmas last year.  I’ve been craving s’mores for a few weeks now, so I combined and tweaked a few recipes from two of my favorite food bloggers: Joy the Baker and Annie to make these s’more cupcakes.

Part 1: Graham Cracker Crust (Annie’s Eats)
1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs, about one plastic sealed package… which means you’ll have enough crackers to make real s’mores or these cupcakes 2 more times!
5.5 tablespoons butter, melted.
Preheat oven to 350F.  Crush the graham crackers and add melted butter.  Mix until evenly moist.  Drop about a tablespoon of the mixture into each of 24 cupcake papers.  Press down, I found that the bottom of my Tupperware plastic cup was just the right size to do this in one step.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven, but leave oven on.

Part 2: Chocolate Cake (Pillsbury Pudding in the Mix Devil’s Food)
So I simplified (I prefer that over cheating) a bit for this part.  If baked properly, cake mixes do quite well in spruced up cupcakes such as these.  And no one needs to know!  Prepare your favorite chocolate cake and spoon on top of the graham cracker crust.  The cupcake liners should be about ¾ full.  Bake 3-4 minutes less than directed for an extra moist/ semi-gooey cupcake.  Cool completely on a wire baking rack.

Part 3: Marshmallow Frosting (Joy the Baker)
4 egg whites… save the yolks, a recipe using those will come soon!
1.5 cups white sugar
0.5 cups light corn syrup
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
This meringue requires a double boiler.  Here’s how to make your own: Simmer 2 inches of water in a sauce pan.  Mix egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in the bowl to your mixer.  Place mixing bowl over simmering water, whisk egg mixture constantly because you don’t want scrambled eggs for frosting!  Once the sugar has dissolved and is no longer grainy, remove the bowl from the double boiler.  This should take 5-7 minutes and the mixture will be white.  Beat the eggs on high for about 5 minutes, until stiff peaks form.

Use a large star tip in a ziplock bag (you won’t want to clean this sticky mess from a reusable piping bag) and pipe on the top of the fully cooled cupcakes.

Now the fun part!  Place 12 frosted cupcakes on a cookie sheet under your broiler.  Watch very carefully, as they will begin to toast quickly.  Rotate the pan so the marshmallow tops are evenly browned.

You can add a square of Hershey chocolate or a piece of graham cracker to decorate the top, but I thought the toasted swirls were just too pretty to squish!

Part 4: Enjoy!
Not that you’ll need to store these for long, but they can be kept in the refrigerator (especially in the 90F weather we’ve been having!) for a few days before the frosting gets sticky.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Hi!  We're Elizabeth and Kristi.  Medical student sisters who also have a passion for creating delicous eats in the kitchen.  We also have a nerdy sense of humor, hence the blog name!  Our last name is pronounced "wedge."  Just like the smiple machine we learned about in elementary school science class.

Kristi is in Brazil this summer doing research on malnutrition and cholera.  Though she won't have full access to a kitchen, she'll be sharing some of the local fare she is enjoying.

Elizabeth, on the other hand, will have plenty of time to experiment as she is on radiology in July and has August "off" to study for Step 2CK.