Browned butter makes everything better

 …even Step 1 studying. Fyi, Step 1 is basically the first step in medical board exams that allows you to move on from your preclinical years (end of M2) to your clinical rotations (M3-4). It also determines the rest of your future medical career, like where you match into for residency. I thank God that I’m not at that stage in my life yet, because I honestly don’t think I’m physically or emotionally ready for that yet. Imagine the ACT/SAT/MCAT/LSAT/GRE and any other standardized test you’ve ever taken but times a billion. Some of my older med friends are studying for it right now, and as an example to elucidate the torture of this period, I know a girl who has locked herself (plus suitcase, sleeping bag, pillow, and food rations) in one of the hospital study rooms for a couple weeks now and only leaves to take showers. A campus security guard actually asked if she was homeless because she was sleeping there.

Anyways, the point of this being that I made some Step 1 care packages which included possibly the best cookies I’ve ever made. They are adapted from this recipe (Joy is a straight up genius).

BROWNED BUTTER WALNUT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (or more depending on your stress level) milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Heat half the butter (8 tbsp) in a small pan over medium heat (it will froth a little and crackle) until browned bits appear and a delicious, nutty aroma fills your kitchen. Cream remaining 8 tbsp of butter w brown sugar and vanilla. Add cooled brown butter with the granulated sugar and beat until smooth. Add the eggs and beat until mixed. Now remove your electric mixers (!) and use a spatula to incorporate the flour, salt, and baking soda. Lovingly fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts. We want to do this by hand so we don’t over mix the flour, which would result in disappointingly non-chewy/soft cookies (because ew who wants that?). Muster your courage and try not to eat all of the cookie dough; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F, scoop 2 tbsp-sized balls onto a lined baking sheet (mine made 28), sprinkle with coarse sea salt (optional), and bake for 12-15 minutes (depending on how soft you like your cookies – I like mine melty-soft so I only did 12). Let cool (or don’t and try them immeds from the pan). I save my old coffee bean bags specifically for storing/gifting cookies.  

 So how good are these cookies? Not trying to brag, but I’ll offer these testimonies as proof that you need these cookies in your life, stat.
“Those cookies are a wonder of the world. *cookie emoji* *globe emoji*”
“I will def have to ration these or else they’ll be gone in a day!”
“This is sooooooo yummy!!!! I love them!!!!!”
“Girl you need to open a Jenny’s Cookies branch or something. Honestly I am not playing, these are literally the best homemade cookies I’ve ever eaten.”

*brushes off shoulders*… point being, dear readers/friends, if you’re stuck in a windowless room studying for the hardest exam of your life, you’re having a rough/tough/bad day, or you’re just hangry for some cookies, take an hour break and make these beauties. Your soul will thank you.

xoxo,
J

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Matcha almond waffles: a birthday offering

Last week it was my dad’s 60th birthday. Holy moly, 60 freaking years old! Sometimes I kid around with him about him being an old geezer, but one day it seems I just looked at him and realized he had gray hair. Like what the heck happened?! Once it made me cry randomly on a weekday afternoon just thinking about all that gray hair. I know, I’m the strangest.

My dad is a quiet man. He is intelligent and humble, an inspiration for me to work hard to be a great doctor (ps he’s a doctor). He is the equal counterweight to my mom, the social butterfly. While shy and not very good at small talk, I think my dad has a kind face that allows his patients and friends to inherently trust him. He may be the reason why I will always prefer nice, nerdy guys with kind faces over all others. He drove up to visit last week and I baked up a batch of matcha waffles, because his next dream vaca is Japan and also because he likes green things: vegetables, golf course greens, the green of Kentucky that convinced him to move his family here. Below are my ingredients, loosely adapted from this recipe. Mix together all the ingredients, ladle into your preferred waffle maker, and serve warm. Coffee is never optional. Hug or call your dad if you haven’t in awhile. If noticing his gray hairs and pondering the brevity of life haven’t reduced you to tears on a random afternoon yet, they will.

Matcha Almond Waffles

1.5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp ground matcha powder (I have this brand)
2 tbsp cinnamon
0.5 cup of roughly chopped almonds
2 large eggs
0.25 cup of raw local honey
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
1 cup almond milk (I’m obsessed w/ the Califia Farms vanilla)

Spicy Sriracha Nachos

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Hey friends! Sorry it’s been awhile. I know, I know, I promised myself that I was going to write more. Then I realized I started this blog right as our Foundations of Medicine final exam was looming. Fear struck my heart, and I hit the books (anki decks) hard, and I’m pleased to say I came out the other side alive. So here we are two weeks later… on SPRING BREAK! Yee-haw! Besides the fact that everything is covered in eight inches of snow (the South just has no idea how to cope with that white fluffy stuff), I am loving every bit of it.

With my newfound oceans of time, I made nachos – which doesn’t require oceans of time, only a mere commercial break in your netflix viewing. I was a virgin nacho-assembler before this, because I mistakenly thought that layering crispy chips and gooey cheese was difficult. If you’re like me and have never tried, DO IT. You will pat yourself on the back, snap a few instagram pics of your creation (because if you don’t, it didn’t happen), and then swear you’re making them every week for the rest of your life. There’s really no recipe for making these nachos, I just threw things I already had in my fridge on a tray and shoved them in my tiny toaster oven. Five minutes later…. ooey, gooey, crispy nachos! But if you need some hints, below is how I accomplished this.

1. Spread a single layer of tortilla chips on a foil-lined tray.
2. Lovingly spread shredded pepper jack over the layer of chips. The more, the gooier.
3. Next, arrange your toppings of choice as the next layer. I used sliced mini bell peppers and lots of jalapeños. Add another layer of chips and cheese if you’re feeling hangry (always).
4. Pop it in your oven (or toaster oven) for 5 min/until cheese is gooey and chips are toasty.
5. Top with chopped cilantro, slices of avocado, a squeeze of lime, and a thorough dousing of sriracha.
6. Gaze out your window at the frigid tundra and laugh in the face of nature, because we live in the 21st century, kids, and you have central heating and spicy nachos. Enjoy!

Love,
J

p.s. I know this isn’t a food blog, but every now and then I’ll toss in a few food posts just for funsies. Stay warm, buds!