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Meet Me at Camera Three

September 9, 2012

The moment has arrived! I’ve officially gone live with my new medical school blog The Green Stethoscope. I invite all of you to check out the new site. I’ll be trying to post recipes when I can (at least once a month). But medical school, as I am finding, is pretty time consuming. I’ll be posting whenever I get the chance. I hope you enjoy poking around the new site. And all of the recipes here on Cooking Between Classes will still be available (and easy to scroll through in the Recipe Index).

Hope you enjoy my new blog. And happy cooking!


August 20, 2012

I just wanted to give an update to anyone stopping by my site explaining why I have been so remiss for the past few weeks. Last week I began medical school, which as some of you may have already guessed, is somewhat time consuming. This is not to say that I have given up this whole blogging thing and you’re all on your own for recipes in the future. There will be more recipes. I promise.

However, the other reason I have not been posting here is because I am in the process of designing a new blog dedicated to my life as a medical student and my career aspirations. This new blog will include recipes to illustrate that, yes, med students have time to cook meals too (or at least, I sincerely hope they do). Keep an eye out in the next week or two for a link to my new blog where you can get your favorite recipes AND my personal ramblings on what my life is like.

In the meantime, I have a deliciously time-saving suggestion. Before summer is really done and gone, go out and get yourself a watermelon from your local farmers’ market (or grocery store). Rather than having to awkwardly slice off wedges every time you want a piece and wrapping the rest in plastic wrap, slice it up into cubes first thing when you get home.  Then, when you want watermelon, it’s waiting in your fridge, no muss no fuss. My preferred method is to cut the watermelon in half and then cut it into about 1-inch thick rings. I then use my knife to cut the middle of that slice out of the rind in a circle and chop the circle into roughly cubed pieces. It’s a messy undertaking, but then you only have to do it once. Maybe you’ve all thought of this already, but it has revolutionized my summer.

Anyways, sorry again for the posting drought and check back soon for a link to the new blog!

Mediterranean Stir Fry

July 18, 2012

I think this dish would look even better with bright red tomatoes, but what I had on hand was some very tasty orange ones from my CSA.

The weather is continuing to be unbearably hot and so I am continuing to find recipes that cut down on stove time. I saw this recipe for a “Mediterranean Stir Fry” on the back of a can of Garbanzo beans, and it suggested serving the dish over rice. I opted for couscous instead, which takes about 8 minutes to cook rather than 15 to 30.

Stir fries aren’t the ideal hot weather dish – they produce a lot of heat and moisture if you want to get all the vegetables to the right consistency. But my refrigerator was actually a little under-stocked today, so I thought I’d scrounge together something with what I had. This dish took almost no time and it was pretty darn tasty. I opted to not mix in any cheese, but if you’re looking for a more flavorful and slightly less healthy meal, adding some feta cheese would be delicious!

Mediterranean Stir Fry
Serves 4

1 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large zucchini, chopped
1 15 ounce can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 cups tomato, chopped
Oregano, to taste
1 cup couscous, uncooked
1 and 1/4 cup water

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook covered, stirring occasionally, until the onions are starting to soften. Add the zucchini and the garbanzo beans, and continue to cook covered. After about 10 minutes, once the zucchini is getting tender, put the water in a pot and bring it to a boil. Once it is boiling, stir in the dry couscous, turn off the heat and leave covered for five minutes. Either just before or just after you add the couscous, mix the tomatoes and the oregano in with the other vegetables in the skillet. Serve the vegetables hot over the couscous. Add salt and pepper to taste.

CST Sandwich (Cheese, Spinach and Tomato)

July 11, 2012

I don’t usually make two sandwiches, but my mom is visiting for a few days and so I’m packing a dinner for her to eat while I’m in class.

People always ask me what I put on sandwich if I don’t put on meat. And when I tell them they act like it’s like not a lot of sandwich. But I find that with good bread (from a bakery and not a grocery store) plus good ingredients I can make no only a filling meal, but a delicious one I look forward too.

So what do I put on my sandwich? The simplest version is cheddar cheese (probably about half an ounce), spinach/lettuce/salad greens, a tomato and some mustard. Sometimes if I don’t have one on hand I even skip the tomato. I know, it really doesn’t sound like much. But with aged Wisconsin cheddar, fresh greens, a thick slice of juicy tomato and a flavorful mustard (my go to is mango curry mustard which I get from the Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin) it starts to sound pretty mouth-watering. And I can’t stress the importance of good bread. My sandwich tonight is Oregon Herb from the Great Harvest Bread Company which has poppy seeds on the crust and garlic mixed in. It’s hearty and delicious! Of course, if you’ve got the time, homemade bread can be exquisite too! (To be fair, I haven’t had that kind of time in years)

Still doesn’t sound like dinner? Try adding something other than or in addition to mustard that packs a little protein punch like hummus or pesto. Suddenly you’ve got a creation worthy of a clever name in a boutique cafe.

I pack a sandwich for lunch or dinner several times a week. It’s fast. It’s easy. It’s tasty. It’s healthy. It’s cheap. These are all good things.

The other thing I love about sandwiches is this YouTube video (the relevant segment is towards the end, but it all bears watching). Every time I eat a sandwich I get an interna chuckle when I think “sandwiches are for boys.”

Breaking in a New Kitchen

July 4, 2012

I’d say about 80% of why I picked this apartment was the kitchen. I cannot say enough in favor of clean/new appliances and ample counter space.

I’ve already moved into my first apartment once, but moving from my parents’ house to an apartment in Chicago was a similar experience in that I was starting with NO FOOD in my kitchen. Stocking your pantry in a new kitchen is a daunting process – it’s expensive and it can be hard to think of everything you need at first. As you’re buying item after item, it helps to remind yourself that some of these things get used very slowly and you won’t have to replace them for a long time. Here’s what I needed to buy in order to get my kitchen up and running:

Dry Goods (Flours, grains, pastas, etc.)
Whole wheat pasta (my favorites are rotini and penne)
Brown rice
Whole wheat flour
All-purpose flour
Dry roasted almonds
Dried cherries
Kashi Go Lean Crunch
Fiber cereal
Kamut puffs

Canned Goods
Crushed/diced tomatoes (2)
Black beans
Cannellini beans
Kidney beans
Garbanzo beans

Baking Goods
Granulated sugar
Baking powder
Baking soda
Chocolate chips

Whole grain bread
Whole wheat tortillas
Whole wheat pitas
Whole grain english muffins

Greek yogurt
Cheddar cheese
Feta cheese


Condiments and Spices
Chili Powder
Curry Seasoning
Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper

Frozen Foods
Black bean veggie burgers
Edamame beans
Green beans

Non-Food Items
Plastic wrap
Kitchen garbage bags
Sandwich bags
Chip clips

Is this everything you’ll need? Maybe not. Will you need everything on this list? Probably not. But it’s easy to forget about simple things you use everyday when you hit the grocery for the first time in your new kitchen. I wanted to make sure I had everything I needed to make: tomato vegetable soup, a vegetable saute, sandwiches, veggie burgers, pancakes and brownies. Now I know I’m home!

Also make sure to check out this week’s new recipe: Corn and Tomato Salad

Corn and Tomato Salad

July 4, 2012

We’re having quite the heat wave in Chicago this summer, so I’ve been trying to put together meals that involve minimal kitchen heat. I had this memory of a delicious corn salad I’d made a few years ago, and in my head it didn’t involve using the stove or the oven. But when I went back and found the recipe, it turned out it does involve some light cooking on the stovetop. If you eat this salad right after preparing it, it’ll be a hot salad. But it also keeps wonderfully in the fridge and doesn’t need to be re-heated as it is quite tasty and refreshing when it’s cold.

Corn and tomatoes make a great base for a summer salad. Both of these vegetables are in their prime right now and they’re about as opposite as two vegetables can be. The corn is sweet and crunchy while the tomatoes are soft and slightly acidic. I  didn’t have any fresh herbs to season the salad with, so I added a small amount of balsamic vinegar for added flavor. But with some fresh basil or oregano (or other savory herb of your choice), the juiciness of the tomatoes adds enough liquid and acidic flavor such that you don’t even need to add a dressing to this salad.

This salad is sweet (from the corn) and spicy (from the onions). The perfect remedy to a hot summer day.

Corn and Tomato Salad
Serves 4 to 6

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (red will add more color to your salad)
About 2 cups broccoli, chopped
1 medium/large zucchini, chopped
1-2 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped
2-3 ears of corn on the cob
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 0z feta cheese, chopped into cubes
1 Tbsp fresh oregano, minced

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the onion until it is just starting to get shiny (side note: normally I’m not a fan of raw onions, but they add nice flavor to this salad. If you like raw onions, you don’t need to cook these onions very long at all).

Add the broccoli and about a 1/3 cup of water and cook covered for a few minutes. Add the zucchini and remove the lid to let the excess water cook off.

At this point, cut the corn off the cob (I like to chop off the bottom of the cob so I can rest it straight on the cutting board and cut in strips around the edge) and add it tot he skillet. Finally add the tomatoes and cook for a minute or two more, stirring regularly.

Transfer the vegetables from the skillet to a mixing bowl and toss with the lemon juice, feta cheese and oregano. Let cool or serve hot.

Kale and Carrot Stew

June 27, 2012

With all the simmering and stewing required to make this dish, I would advise avoiding hot or humid weather unless you want to be a touch uncomfortable in the kitchen.

I signed up for a CSA last week and picked up my first share last Friday. Now with another Friday fast approaching, I had to figure out a quick (and still tasty) way to use up a lot of the vegetables I’d gotten in my first share. This is the blessing and the curse of food shares – it forces you to eat a lot of vegetables.

What I came up with has a lot more than kale and carrots in it (but liked the alliteration of these two together…plus, it reminded me of “hale and hearty,” so I thought it was a good fit). In my food share last week I got lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, zucchini, carrots, kale, an onion and some assorted fruit. This stew made use of the zucchini, carrots and kale, plus some broccoli I’d bought at the store last week. All in all I thought my “everything in the refrigerator” stew turned out pretty good. Served over couscous (which is such a breeze to cook. I had no idea!) with a little cheese, it was definitely a satisfying meal.

Kale and Carrot Stew
Serves 4-6

*The amounts for the vegetables listed below are very flexible. Chop until it looks like enough of until you don’t feel like chopping anymore

2-3 tsp canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder or cayenne pepper (something with heat)
1 1/2 cups water
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
2 cups carrots, chopped into coins (or half coins if they are too wide)
2 cups kale, chopped
2 cups broccoli, chopped
1-2 cups zucchini, chopped
1 15-0z can of cannellini beans
1 cup uncooked whole wheat couscous
1-2 oz cheddar cheese, grated

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. After a minute, add the onions, stirring occasionally until they start to soften. Add the garlic and the spices and stir occasionally until they are starting to get browned and aromatic (this is good time to chop the vegetables).

First, add the carrots and the water to the skillet and cook covered while you prep the next vegetables. When I chop kale, I like to cut it into strips and then haphazardly cut lengthwise along the pile of strips. This usually breaks it up into bite-sized pieces. Add the kale, broccoli and zucchini (you can stop to chop the next vegetable after you add one, the timing here is flexible). Cook covered for a few minutes until the carrots are just starting to get tender. Then remove the cover and lower the heat to allow some of the excess water to cook off. At this point, drain and rinse the cannellini beans and stir them in with the rest of the vegetables.

While the stew simmers, bring 1 1/4 cups water with a pinch of salt to a boil in a covered saucepan. Once the water is boiling, add the 1 cup of dry couscous, stir quickly and remove from the heat. Place the cover back on the saucepan and let sit for 5 minutes.

Once the couscous is ready, the vegetables should be to (test one or two for doneness. If there’s a lot of excess water, you can pour it off carefully through a slotted spoon). Serve the vegetables over about 1/2 cup of couscous and top with just a little cheese.