Monday, April 16, 2012

Feels like summer - tastes like it too!

winding down. by friday at 5pm, spring break will commence. one week off. with glorious weather.

heck yeah!

that's not to say that i haven't loved this rotation - being on my internal medicine rotation has been awesome. seriously. my first month on cardiology was reaffirmation that the heart is a damn cool organ. and this month on gen-med at our large, local community hospital has been super. i love love love inpatient medicine! the hospital can be chaotic, disorganized, and really sad - but it's the coolest place to see and practice medicine (i think so, anyway). and on gen-med, i see everything. they call it "bread and butter medicine"; i feel like everything i learned last year actually gets applied in this rotation. how cool is that?

as "fun" as it is to take care of super sick people, it's also really heartbreaking at times. one day i'll come home a bit depressed about a patient's situation. the next day i'll be inspired by another patient. the next day i'll just be plain annoyed. it's a burnt-out cliche roller coaster, but i love it. really.

as much as i adore work, i also adore time off, which comes in the form of one day a week. yesterday was BEAUTIFUL out, and i was pumped to make something tasty. my intern enticed me with thoughts of a strawberry-peach-basil pie he makes, so i took inspiration from that and here's what i got: a strawberry-filled "peach" cake with basil white chocolate frosting.

uh-huh. wrap your head around that one:

fyi, the "peach" cake comes from a little trick i learned recently. remember these pumpkin muffins that only required cake mix and a can of pumpkin? well apparently this trick works with any canned veggie/fruit. just take a box of cake mix and mix it with a 15oz jar of fruit that you've pureed down - in this case peaches. the flavor doesn't really come through, not with the peaches anyway, likely because cake mixes tend to have their own cloyingly sweet flavor that could probably mask brussels sprouts. but i won't go trying to prove that one.

strawberry-filled "peach" cake (makes 52 mini-cupcakes)

1 can sliced peaches in light syrup
1 box yellow cake mix
1 jar strawberry jam (not preserves)
  1. puree the peaches and stir it into the cake mix until well incorporated. batter = done. 
  2. fill your mini-cupcake pan about 2/3 full and bake at 350F for 13-15 minutes. Careful - overcooking these is really easy and you may end up with burned bottoms. that definitely happened to me. oops. 
  3. remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack. 
  4. empty half the jar of jam into a bowl and stir vigorously until it's pourable. pour into a piping bag fitted with a filling pipe (i used wilton #230). alternatively, just put that sucker in a ziploc bag and cut the tip (may be harder to fill, though!). 
  5. insert the tip 2/3 of the way into the cupcake and gently squeeze the filling in. the hard part is this: i tend to oversqueeze cause i want a solid bite of jam in that sucker. but this easily puts cracks in your cake, so when you unwrap it, it kinda falls apart. that being said - who cares. it's all going in your mouth anyway. 
basil white chocolate ganache

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 oz basil leaves (about 1/2 bunch)
12 oz white chocolate, chopped (try to get the quality kind - i used food lion brand. bad idea.)
  1. over the stove on low heat, steep the basil leaves in the cream. you don't want this to come to a boil, just let it sit steeping for several minutes while it's nice and warm. 
  2. empty the chocolate into a large heatproof bowl. pour the cream over the chocolate, straining the basil leaves in a sieve. let stand for a few minutes, then stir until all the chocolate is melted. 
  3. here, you have options: A) dip the tops of your cooled, filled cakes into the ganache and let set. B) after the ganache has set in the bowl, fill a piping bag and pipe away. Or, C) chill the ganache in the fridge, then whip using a stand mixer before piping. i opted for choice C, but as i alluded up top, the chocolate i had wasn't too quality. my ganache was extra oily - not sure if it's the brand or if it's the ingredients in white chocolate. but it didn't hold it's shape well at all. oh well. like i said - it tasted damn good anyway!

it tastes as good as it looks, people. something about basil makes it ever so sweet, but familiar at the same time. but not familiar in the way italian pasta with basil is familiar (because in cupcake form, that would be gross). familiar in the sense ... that you never want to stop eating it.

so don't!

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