Sometimes medical school gets in the way of my real life.
It imposes itself in all sorts of obtrusive, inconvenient ways. It’s clingy. Like a bad boyfriend.
Without even offering up any of the perks of having a bad boyfriend. Like having someone to sleep next to at night. I guess I could curl up next to my anatomy textbook. But I’ve been using it as a platform on which to roll out my calves every night. (And truly, that’s the most useful it’s been since I’ve obtained it. Money well spent, I suppose?) And as such, it causes me so much pain that I don’t really think it’s “imaginary boyfriend material”. You know?
My point being that sometimes I want to do things. Things like make pasta from scratch on a meandering Tuesday night. Things like eat lunch at Le Bernardin. Things like go to the Union Square Farmer’s Market on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Just because I can.
Except when I can’t. Like when I have an exam the next day. Or when I have class the next day. Or when I am exhausted from having to trek up to the Bronx to “see patients” and “physically diagnose” them. Or when I have to study. Which occurs on approximately any day that ends in “y”.
You see what I mean? Medical school can be quite imposing. In a severely unattractive way. Totally not date-able. Not for a million bucks.
Not even in exchange for a cookbook deal. (Okay. Maybe in exchange for a cookbook deal.)
Case in point.
I have a cousin (hi Mia!) who has a roommate (hi Nicole!) who does PR for all sorts of cool food-related things. Like Bravo’s Top Chef. For example.
I’ll wait while you hyperventilate just a little. I know. Me too.
Anyways. Nicole contacted me way back in November asking me if I wanted to go to a brunch hosted by Kraft Foods and Marcus Samuelsson in celebration of their new iPad app Big Fork Little Fork, which includes a whole slew of globally-inspired recipes and cooking lessons.
I said a loud and resounding YES because, really, meeting Marcus Samuelsson truly takes precedent over learning about cardiovascular disease (especially because our heart exam was so hard that being in class wouldn’t have made a dent in my abominable score).
Then, I looked at my schedule. And said a loud and resounding NO because on that day of all days, I was scheduled to see patients. And patients take precedence over brunch with truly swoon-worthy chefs. Or so I was told. By my mother. She’s my voice of reason at times like these.
Nicole was sweet enough to offer to have Marcus video record himself answering any food-related question of my choosing. (Notice that she specified “food-related”. That’s how I know that she reads my blog. I had many other questions. None of which were food-related. None of which were family friendly. Look at Marcus. You understand.) Given that it is the holiday season and that there is tons of holiday turkey/chicken roasting going on, I asked Marcus for some tips for how to roast the perfect bird without having it be dry and gross and unappealing. See the bottom of this post for his answer!
And then. To console myself for not being able to make it to brunch and meet Marcus in person. I decided to take it upon myself to recreate the experience in the comfort and warmth of my own kitchen.
I made English muffin bread. Soft. Holey. Delicious.
I made pumpkin pomegranate butter. It tastes like Christmas spirit. I break out into carols whenever I eat it. Sophie has taken to wearing earplugs. It’s a safety measure.
I made Marcus’s homemade peanut butter. It is the best thing on earth. I shall never buy peanut butter again. I shall probably gain twenty pounds from eating it out of the container with a spoon. I shall have to hide it from myself.
And then I sat down to watch Marcus’s video. It was an experience. Let me tell you. One that I highly recommend. Especially if you are hosting a holiday brunch yourself. This bread combined with these butters. Revelatory. Life changing. Do it.
English Muffin Bread
December’s Bread of the Month at the Artisan Bread Bakers Group
3 cups AP flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp instant yeast
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp vegetable oil
cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan
1. Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Combine the milk, water, and oil in a separate microwave-safe mixing bowl. Microwave until it is between 120 and 130 degrees (about the same temperature as the hottest water from your faucet…warm but not warm enough to scald you). Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients. Beat at high speed for 1 minute. The dough will be VERY soft and VERY sticky. It is supposed to be this way.
2. Lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan. Sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal. Pour and/or scrape the dough into the pan, trying to level it as much as possible. Cover it with a damp cloth and let it rise someplace warm for about 45 minutes or until it’s just barely crowned over the roof of the pan. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
3. Remove the cover and bake the bread for 20-22 minutes or until it is golden brown and its interior is 190. Remove the bread from the oven. After five minutes, turn it out of the pan and onto a cooling rack to finish cooling. Let it cool completely before slicing.
This has been yeastspotted!
Pumpkin Pomegranate Butter
Makes about 3 cups, adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 (29 oz) or 2 (14 oz) cans of pumpkin puree (about 3 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup pomegranate juice
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
juice of half a lemon
1. In a large saucepan, combine the pumpkin puree, pomegranate juice, ginger, cardamom, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir well. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently. Adjust spices to taste. Stir in lemon juice, or more to taste.
2. Once cool, keep in an airtight container in the fridge.
I am submitting this to All Through The Year Cheer!
Homemade Peanut Butter
Makes about 2 cups, adapted from Marcus Samuelsson’s New American Table
2 cups unsalted, roasted, skinless peanuts lightly crushed
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup peanut oil
1. Heat a dry saute pan over low heat. Add the peanuts and saute, stirring occasionally, until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and add the cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt. Saute until the sugar melts and starts to bubble, about 4 minutes. Be careful not to burn the sugar!
2. Transfer to a blender/food processor and puree. With the blender running, add the peanut oil in a thin, steady stream, scraping down the sides as needed. Puree until emulsified. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
And here’s Marcus himself giving you guys some tips about how to roast the perfect holiday turkey!