Spiced hot chocolate with cinnamon, cardamom, and black pepper

#becauseitsnotstudying: Spiced hot chocolate with cinnamon, cardamom, and black pepper

For many, a cup of hot chocolate conjures childhood memories of warming up during a snow day. Even now, when I was trapped in my apartment last week because of the snow and forced to *gasp* study for an upcoming exam, hot chocolate brought the same sort of comfort. However, as much as I loved Swiss Miss and mini-marshmallows, my palate has matured a bit – I wanted something a little more grown up.

Spiced hot chocolate

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#becauseitsnotstudying: Tamago Kake Gohan (Japanese-style rice and eggs)

The food addict that I am, most of my time is spent thinking about what I am going to eat or cook next (if my parents are reading this, don’t worry, I study for school also). Every Sunday, I make it a goal of mine to be a grandpa by finishing my work and getting for bed before 9:00 PM s I can listen to The Splendid Table. It’s described as a podcast that is “public radio’s culinary culture and lifestyle program that celebrates food and its ability to touch the lives and feed the souls of everyone.” I don’t care if I sound lame, but this is actually a highlight of my weekend.

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Salmon burgers on avocado flatbread toast with a kale salad

#becauseitsnotstudying: Salmon Burgers

Salmon burgers on avocado toast with a kale salad
Salmon burgers on avocado flatbread toast with a kale salad

A dilemma that I’m sure has plagued many a college student: It’s the last week of break and you barely have anything in the fridge. You also don’t want to buy any groceries because you’ll be home soon and it won’t be worth it. What is a poor soul like you going to do? What you’re going to do is put down the menu of that pizza place and keep driving past Chipotle because today you’re going to learn how to adult.

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#becauseitsnotstudying: Sausage, Kale, and Lentil Stew with Roasted Carrots

With autumn in full swing and the temperature dropping (except for this past week), it’s the perfect time to make what I consider a staple for a chilly fall day – a hearty bowl of stew.

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#becauseitsnotstudying: Epicurious’ Banana Bread

Welcome to my first post in #becauseitsnotstudying, a series of my culinary adventures in pursuit of the ultimate procrastination – eating my feelings. If you don’t know, I love to cook. I actually wrote one of my med school admissions essays on cooking, and they actually accepted me anyway. I’ve posted a few dishes on my Instagram, on which I plan to go back and review and offer my thoughts. Up first is a banana bread recipe from Epicurious!

Before we start anything, I want you all to know that I’m not exactly what you would call a baker. I love to cook, but baking is a skill that I’m convinced I will never master. It’s very precise and I’m not; I love to improvise and taste along the way. However, I will share my attempt at baking with you all.

Directions with my commentary

  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of 1 (9- by 5- by 3-inch) loaf pan and dust with flour.
    1. *gets flour everywhere*
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
    1. Uhh, I only have 1/2 and 1/4 cup measuring cups and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons. I also doubled the recipe. This should be interesting.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the banana, sour cream, and vanilla and stir to combine.
    1. Ok, simple enough.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat on medium until completely incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the banana mixture and beat for about 30 seconds. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, and stir on low until just incorporated, about 30 seconds total. Add the nuts or chocolate chips, if desired, and use a rubber spatula to fold them into the batter.
    1. So at first it’s going to look like the flour will never incorporate itself into the batter, but just be patient. I sifted the flour as well to reduce the clumps. Be sure to fold the batter in a clockwise manner, scooping under the mound to make sure there are no streaks of flour left.
    2. I also toasted walnuts before this step, it was a great addition.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf emerges clean and when you press gently in the center of the loaf, it springs back without leaving an impression, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to let cool for 10 to 15 minutes then gently tap the pan on the countertop to help release the loaf. Place a second rack or a large plate on top of the loaf, invert, and then carefully remove the pan. Use the original rack to invert the loaf again so that it’s right side up then let cool completely before cutting and serving.
    1. To be honest this was too many directions and I was in the gym for most of this time and trusted one of my roommates to take it out of the oven when he thought it was ready. Then I came home and turned it upside-down in my hand then put it on a plate. It was fine.
    2. Barely waited to cut into it because I was starving.
    3. Banana bread is better the next day.

Final thoughts: 10/10, would make again, was equally as delicious as banana bread french toast!



– TS℞