Orange Almond Biscotti

Happy Father’s Day!  In commemoration, I’ll tell you about an item on my pre-residency bucket list.  I’d had my eye on a file cabinet on Pinterest that had been converted into a mini kitchen island.  However, I was also  fully aware that the only tools to my name are a convertible screwdriver and an abandoned hammer that I once filched from my apartment basement.  I found a filing cabinet at a thrift store for $5, but wasn’t sure how to break into an entirely new realm of “recipe”.   So I called upon my dad, who went with me to Home Depot and helped me find the necessary hardware.  I then went to my brother-in-law’s father’s house, where we used an electric drill to install the wooden top and casters (and he was impressed by my recognition of the metal awl).
At the end of a few weeks of planning and two afternoons of work, I’m thankful that these two dads were willing to help me construct my crazy dreams, didn’t laugh at me while doing it, and taught me something new.  And now I get to cook with the result any time I want.

Recipe (can be found at Smitten Kitchen by clicking here…I know, I know, next week will have a different source!)

I made these as a thank-you gift for all of the help I received for this project.  It is now my go-to for last minute gratitude.  It is about as easy as banana bread, but more portable — it doesn’t go stale for 1-2 weeks and holds up to shipping (done once already).  Here’s my advice:

  1. A 1/2 recipe will suffice for one gift; it makes about 15 biscotti
  2. During the second bake, don’t worry about the biscotti still feeling moist in the oven before you take it out.  If you wait until they’re completely hard, they won’t be very tender.
  3. Play with the ingredients…the next time I think a lime & cardamom might be nice.  Anise lends a traditional yet more adventurous taste.
  4. If you’re shipping, ship in an air-tight container, preferably with layers of parchment or wax paper between layers of biscotti.
  5. This a gift that is especially good for coffee and tea drinkers.
Posted in Cookies, Dessert, Snacks | Leave a comment

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.
Posted in Dessert, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

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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