Cowboy Caviar

Peace out Cleveland. It’s been real.
As of one week ago, I no longer live in Cleveland – my home for the last 8 years. I’m not really sad about this, but mostly because it hasn’t hit me yet. I was forced to start acknowledging this change as I drove behind the uhaul truck carrying all of my worldly possessions to an overstuffed 8’x10’ storage unit in Ann Arbor, but since that point I haven’t given myself the chance to think about it. I’m spending my last remaining weeks of semi-adulthood (I think I officially become an adult when I start work) spending time with family and friends. As I type this post, I’m in an equally overstuffed car with my sister as we roadtrip to LA for her summer internship.
I realize that the move is going to catch up with me one of these days, but not until I give myself the chance to think about the fact that Anita, my roommate for the last three years and BA partner-in-crime, is now my long distance co-blogger. I’ll realize that all the goodbyes to my friends weren’t the “I’ll see you next fall” kind. These are friends who have weathered the last 4 years of not only a medical education, but also an education in life as a grownup…and I’m not ready to give them up.
I have a feeling the first couple weeks/months of residency will feel kind of like summer camp. We’ll stay up late (on call), eat smores (flavored pudding from the nutrition closet), and participate in arts and crafts (of the human body). When August rolls around, however, I won’t return to my “home” in Cleveland. Maybe that’s when it will sink in. It’s time, Ari. Time to put on your big girl (scrub) pants. You’re about to become an adult.
In honor of all the cowboy-themed museums/ranches/posters that plaster the major highways through Nebraska, here’s a tasty recipe that is aptly named “Cowboy Caviar”.


  • 1- 15 oz can corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 avocados (cubed)
  • 2/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 8 green onion stalks, sliced
  • 6 roma tomatoes


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

Mix first 6 ingredients together.  Combine dressing ingredients and pour over corn mixture.  Serve with tortilla chips.

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Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Did you know that another name for a hazelnut is a Filbert?  I discovered this when shopping for ingredients for this cake.  The name is awkward, as is the taste of a raw hazelnut — a little green and plastic.  You could still eat it, but it wouldn’t be particularly rewarding.  But after blanching and toasting, the hazelnut loses its bitter skin and gains an inviting flavor profile.  It is the heart of Ferrero Rocher, the soul of Nutella, and the primary valence of Frangelico.

In a way, Case Western’s campus has undergone a similar change over the last eight years.  Euclid avenue was rebuilt and scrubbed clean, new shops have opened, bridges have been completed, and several buildings on campus have emerged.  I almost can’t recognize what I saw as an eighteen-year-old but for the freshman dorms (which still look like tiny prisons) and the elephant stairs.

UH Seidman Cancer Center at the corner of Cornell and Euclid

Museum of Contemporary Art now on Euclid Ave

Cleveland Museum of Art – Renovations completed 2013

Tony Brush Park in Little Italy

New University Circle Apartments & Restaurants

Tinkham Veale University Center of Case Western – to open 2014

I’m sad to leave, especially when Cleveland has become such an amazing place.  I guess it’s just time to move on and start work on a new nut.


It feels lazy to not write out my recipes, but when they are too similar to the original I think it’s basically plagiarism to post as adaptations.  This is another Smitten Kitchen special (click here).  I made this for my mom’s book club meeting, and it went over well with coffee.  Here are my notes:
  • Addition of 1/2 – 1 tsp salt
  • Addition of 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • I only needed ~30min of baking time, so be sure to test yours with a toothpick at that time
  • This was my first time using a stand mixer to try to achieve stiff peaks from egg whites.  For some reason I kept beating and beating and still was not getting stiff peaks by 15-20 minutes (the recipe suggests 5 minutes).  My guess is that I either let some yolk sneak into the mix or that I did something else wrong that I don’t understand yet.  I was nervous, but the cake didn’t fall when I took it out of the oven; so whatever foam I created was sufficient.  Needless to say, there will be another whipped egg white recipe soon so I can try to master this!
  • I was able to make this cake in the morning and put it in the fridge.  We took it out about an hour before the party so that the cake could return to room temperature.
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T-10 days until doctor-dom…prepare for the nostalgic posts

After 4 years of undergrad, 4 years of medical school, and countless unpaid loans, I can finally see my future…even if it is a little foggy (the first minute of that video perfectly sums up how I feel right now). My entire life I knew I wanted to be a doctor, but only recently did I realize that this goal really only took me as far as getting into medical school. Schooling is something I’m familiar with. I’m comfortable with the title of “student”, and have worn it with pride for over 20 years. Suddenly I am facing the fact that this title will soon be replaced by “doctor”, and the butterflies of excitement I feel in my stomach could easily be confused for nerves. In a matter of a few short weeks, I will lose the safety net that has been beneath me every time I introduced myself to a patient as a medical student. I will no longer shake my head politely and correct patients when they accidently call me doctor. Instead, I will own that title and all the responsibility that comes with it. This new level of responsibility is both terrifying and absolutely thrilling. When the time comes, I know I’ll be ready to accept it with open arms, but for now I prefer to look back over my many years of being a professional student and revel in how far I’ve come. 
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Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

I realize this post is a month late…but let’s just pretend I managed to get this up before passover. Deal?

In some ways passover still isn’t over in my household. Why? Because it turns out that matzah is REALLY CHEAP after passover, and as Anita has pointed out, I can’t pass up a good deal (notice the price tag – it’s was 85% off!!).

In truth, it was my fiance who insisted we buy this heavily discounted cracker treat. He’s obsessed with matzah pizza, and bet me that he could finish the entire box before we moved out of our house in May…so far I’m winning the bet.

(Adapted from Epicurious)

Ingredients (makes about 30 cookies)

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a double boiler (or a makeshift double boiler), melt 1 cup (save the other 1/2 cup for later) of your chocolate chips. Be sure to stir regularly so the chocolate doesn’t burn. Cool chocolate to room temperature
  3. While the chocolate is cooling, beat the egg whites and salt in a CLEAN bowl (otherwise the eggs won’t foam properly) with an electric mixer. Mix until the egg whites form soft peaks. 
  4. Slowly add the sugar and vanilla to the eggs and continue mixing until smooth.
  5. Fold in the melted chocolate and coconut.
  6. Fold in the remaining chocolate chips.
  7. Spoon the batter onto 2 cookie sheets lined with either parchment paper or a silicone mat. Space the cookies 1 1/2 inches apart.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes.
  9. Reverse the cookie sheets and bake for another 10 minutes.
  10. Cool cookies on a rack and enjoy!
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