Friday, November 29, 2013

Zucchini Fritters + Fage

Guess what? More. Fage. Can't. Stop.

 Inspired by the Fage website, I made these zucchini fritters - they're topped (of course) with a generous dollop of Fage 2%!

I omitted a few things (cilantro and peppers), but you can find the link to the original recipe here.
These fritters are really very easy and quick to put together. All you really need is one large bowl and a cutting board to prep everything - ideal for tired residents/fellows. I normally come home from the hospital ready to eat, but even I was able to hold off until these were done. Did I mention how delicious these smell while cooking?! Good thing they only need a few minutes on the stovetop. 

Zucchini Fritters with Fage

1 zucchini
1 shallot 
2 spring onions
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 egg (beaten)
1/4 cup strong, farmhouse cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
2/3 cup Fage yogurt (you pick, 0%, 2%, Total - can't go wrong)


1. Grate zucchini and squeeze out extra water, place in mixing bowl

2. Chop shallot and onions

3. Fry shallot and onions until translucent

4. Remove from heat, add to mixing bowl

5. Add egg, bread crumbs, cheese, salt, and pepper

6. Form into patties (makes approximately 4)

7. Fry patties over medium heat, turning a few times until cooked through

8. Top with a generous dollop of Fage yogurt

*The only thing I want to note is that this recipe makes only 4 fritters. If you want more bang for your buck, just double the recipe. 

I hope you'll give these a try - let me know how they turn out! 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Right/Left vs. Top/Down Brain

Check this one out: it's a WSJ article, A New Map of the Human Brain, that gives a brief summary of research that disputes the notion that our brains work mostly in a right/left fashion. It's fun to go read the article and guess which you  might be - there's a quiz at the end, so you can see how well you know yourself! I promise, the quiz is only 20 questions and you can do it, even in a Thanksgiving dinner-induced coma. 

 I did surprisingly well - I'm a "situational" mover, which is pretty  much exactly how I'd describe myself. At baseline, I definitely function more in the "perceiver" mode (as my husband will attest, I can wander aimlessly through the grocery store in a totally disorganized fashion for hours....and leave my cart in the middle of the aisles). But I can also kick it up to "mover" easily too.  No energy wasted here, no sir. Life is too short to be planning like crazy all the time - why not just slow down and take it all in??

In all seriousness though, I doubt you can really divide the brain in any one way - like they say in the article, it's more like a bicycle with lots of interdependent moving parts. But, it's still fun just to see where you stand! 

How well did you guess your mode? 

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Chemistry of Cookies

This post is inspired by my brother, who recently has become quite interested in molecular gastronomy. Because the holiday season is coming up (read: lots and lots of cookies and baked treats), I just wanted to share this interesting little clip from TED ed about what actually goes on inside your oven. It covers the whole story, from the beginning of your cookie's journey to that irresistible freshly baked cookie smell.... this applies to your turkey too!

If you're brave enough, maybe you'll even trust your nose & the Maillard reaction instead of the oven timer.

Happy baking!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Greek Yogurt + Olive Oil Chocolate Muffins

Confession: I have a slight obsession with Greek yogurt, especially Fage. I simply can't get enough of the stuff. It's so filling, creamy, and delicious, that I often eat it multiple times a day. Aside from the simple heavenly combination of plain Fage + honey + walnuts, I think greek yogurt is a fantastic substitute for higher fat oils in baked goods.

I decided to do a little experimenting with a recipe originally posted by Voskos for Greek Yogurt Chocolate Breakfast Bread. In the name of convenience and health, I tweaked a few things to my own liking: 

1) Muffins, not bread. Better portability - great for grabbing on your way out the door in the morning. Great for residents/fellows on-the-go. Muffins have been known to dampen road rage on the way to work. This is very useful given the permanent construction surrounding the hospital. 

2) Whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose for more whole grains. In order to keep the muffins light, I cut the flour down to 1 cup, instead of 1 1/4 cups. 

3) Less sugar. Cut the sugar by half (1/2 cup instead of 1 cup). I used brown sugar. In addition to less sugar (always good), this modification really lets the chocolate shine through nicely.

4) Almond extract. I added 1 tsp - completely optional.

5) Olive oil. Instead of using a neutral oil like canola oil, I subbed in olive oil. Aside from boosting healthy fats, olive oil marries well with chocolate to produce a richer, more complex flavor

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Olive Oil Muffins

1 cup whole-wheat (or white whole wheat) flour
1/2 cup unsweeted cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 cup 2% Fage Greek Yogurt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup reduced fat milk
1/2 cup bittersweet or dark chocolate chips or chunks


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray muffin tin with non-stick baking spray.

2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. Whisk together eggs, vanilla, almond extract, yogurt, olive oil, sugar, and milk. 

4. Add to dry ingredients  and mix until just incorporated; the batter will be lumpy.

5.  Stir in chocolate chunks or chocolate chips.

6. Fill each well in the muffin tin approximately half way. This recipe will make 12 muffins.

7. Bake 15-18 minutes. Test for doneness.

8. Cool for 10 minutes (or as long as you can possibly wait... No judgment here!)

I was thrilled with the way these came out! They are deeply chocolately, yet light. I absolutely loved that chocolate was the star of the show. And with whole grain flour and olive oil, you can feel better about fueling your body with better nutrients.  

Let me know how these turn out for you. Enjoy! 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Outsource and Make Residency Easier!

I happened to come across this article in the NYTimesthanks to one of my co-residents. The author argues (pretty convincingly) that you should outsource certain lower value services (ie cooking, cleaning, laundering), even if you can perform them these takes more efficiently. This is all based on the economic notion of comparative advantage, a principle which should be applied to individuals, not just large corporations.

 The author makes a great analogy to student loans, where you are essentially making an investment in your future. Similarly, the 1 or 2 hours you might need to clean your house might be worth paying for, if you can productively use that time to work on something that advances your career (because we all know there's no shortage of abstracts/paper writing/studying that needs to be done). Even if hiring someone buys you an hour or two of leisure time, that might translate to increased productivity when you go back to work - in essence, something worth investing in.

 Only now - three years into residency training - am I finally beginning to understand this! I wish I had understood it earlier. We've started with hiring someone to help with cleaning, but we're certainly not at the personal chef level yet (might need an attending salary for that one...).

 I have a feeling this is something that a lot of medical students, residents, and fellows struggle with. It's really hard to justify paying someone to do household chores when you feel that you either have no/not enough income, plus or minus student loans. But, check out this article - it might just change how you look a things...

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Lulu App: Female revenge?

Thanks to my mother in law, I happened to come across this article about the new Lulu app today, which you can use to "rate" men. I have to admit, I wasn't sure what to think about it at first. My first thought was that this rating of men is sort of demeaning. Can you imagine what would happen if somebody created an app like this for rating women? Which led me to this just female revenge and backlash against being objectified day in and day out? It's certainly alluded to in the article, where Sewell Powell is quoted: “I think sometimes girls feel like they don’t have that much power in the hookup world.”

That being said, do two wrongs make a right? 

Also, I'm incredibly skeptical about the "behavior-changing" potential of implementing this app. Sure, some guys would change - but most likely for the short term, just to get dates and to up their ratings. We all know it's not that easy to "change" people...please. 

What do you think? Is Lulu just meaningless revenge, or could it actually be useful? 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Insanity of Our Food Policy

This is a wonderfully written article by Joseph Stiglitz highlighting the blatant anachronism that characterizes the modern implementation of the farm bill. What was once a necessary crutch in the Depression era has now morphed into a bloated, twisted version of its original form. This is not entirely dissimilar to our public education system (detailed in the film Waiting for Superman), which is still largely outdated and built on a 1950's style model where most graduates went into the skilled trade/manufacturing sector.

It's morally reprehensible that the wealthiest of all farmers are being paid yet more money to propagate industrial monoculture (corn), which is used to make cheap, processed foods that are mostly terrible for everyone. Even worse, it's the only kind of food that low income individuals on SNAP can currently afford (at a meager $4.39 a day ration). 

What we really need to do is to take the huge sum of money that propagates unhealthy industrial monoculture and re-allocate it SNAP and to educating low-income families about healthy eating. Given that 15% of the population lives in poverty, there's a huge potential for savings in healthcare dollars!

 If we still can't stop pandering to the wealthy farmers, maybe we should just give them the money we saved on healthcare! At least they would steal from a poor person who is food-secure and has fewer medical bills to pay. Actually, I would just be happier if everyone boycotted foods with corn syrup and the mega-farmers went out of business, but then again, you'd have about 10 corn-free foods to choose from in this country. 

Is anyone else as disgusted by this as I am? 


Can you remember the last time you felt true wonder? My husband and I were in NYC over the weekend. Walking through Central Park, we saw the usual myriad of vendors and entertainers. One particular bubble maker caught my eye:

I quickly snapped this photo, but it wasn't until later that I saw the boy in the yellow sweater, mouth agape. I love his expression. This reminded me of our recent trip to Millenium Park in Chicago. It was a weekday morning and the park was swarming with little kids on a school trip.

I was pretty amazed and excited to see the Bean, but oh my god, the kids were beyond excited. They were herded under the bean in large groups. 
But the best part was when they were all huddled underneath and looked up at the underside of the Bean (see view below). That's when the excited screaming started. And I mean collective, unbridled, contagious screaming. It was adorable to watch and definitely put a smile on our faces! 

Thanks for reading! What makes you feel wonder? 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Well, this is encouraging...

I happened to see this opinion piece in the NYTimes today by Tina Rosenberg. While our country has a long ways to go in reforming food policy, these are encouraging results. In my opinion, the WIC  and SNAP programs are fundamentally the same: they are both programs aimed at preventing low-income families from  going hungry. The only difference is that there is more individual freedom with SNAP, which currently has no restrictions on what can be purchased. Why is it that we guide the women, infants, and children (WIC) towards more nutritious food, but not individuals and families with older children (under SNAP)? I can't think of a logical reason, aside from the formidable lobbying power of the big junk food companies. How much longer can we really cheat ourselves and the health of our country like this? 

The director of the Yale Rudd Food Center is quoted saying  “There are people in the anti-hunger community who support a soda tax in general because it affects everyone, but they oppose banning soda from SNAP because it affects only poor people." 

Three things:

 1) Soda is still bad. For everyone. While taxing it at a higher rate may be a disincentive, why not just eliminate the support for buying soda?

2) To those who oppose banning soda and favor taxation (as a more general measure), isn't it obvious that failing to guide people towards healthier choices ALSO affects everyone? I mean, who's carrying the burden of healthcare for low-income individuals with largely preventable diseases? We all are.

3) Although a financial incentive to buy healthier foods is a great idea in theory, it seems that the limited scope and high cost are rather prohibitive. I think the root of all of these problems is lack of education, with the cost of healthy foods following closely behind. If we could just introduce low-income families to healthier options and support them financially and educationally, I think the research suggests that people will propagate these changes on their own. And then we really would all be better off. 

Lebanese Chickpea Stew

Winter is nearly upon us. The sudden drop in temperature has left me craving something warm and delicious - but most importantly, easy and quick to make. So, I was excited to stumble upon a recipe for Lebanese Chicken Stew here. I adapted the recipe slightly by substituting chicken broth for some of the water that's called for (2 cups chicken broth + 1.5 cups water instead of the 3.5 cups of water called for).

Not only was this stew a snap to put together, it makes for quite a few servings, which is obviously ideal for resident life. The stew is melds generous portions of cumin, garlic, and tomato for a rich, complex taste, while the chickpeas impart a delicate nutty and slightly buttery flavor. It's delicious and will certainly be a repeat in the upcoming winter months!

Thanks for reading! What are some of your favorite cold weather soups and stews?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Perfect Fall Weekend

We were lucky enough to enjoy a visit from two of our favorite people several weeks ago: my brother and his wonderful, sweet girlfriend. It's hard to believe that most of fall has passed by already. Looking back, this weekend will be one that I'll always treasure. I'm looking forward to all the future weekends we'll spend together as new family!

My brother has been reading voraciously about food recently. And not only reading, cooking all sorts of delicious things. So what better time to cook together? We started off with a brisk hike at Sleeping Giant, where the leaves were just starting to turn ever so slightly.

After we worked up an appetite, we produced this beauty:

Maple Glazed Pork Roast with Rosemary and Apples
See recipe here 

Arugula Salad with Shaved Parmesan and Red Onion
(Gorgeous wood servingware courtesy of my fabulous co-residents!)

Roasted Butternut Squash (recycled wedding prop!), Apples, and Shallot with Thyme

Just a few short weeks later, we were treated to fall foliage in full swing:

Just wanted to share some of the beauty of this season! It's hard to believe the year is drawing to a close again so quickly. Thanks for reading! What are your favorite things about Fall? 

Monday, November 18, 2013


Welcome to C'est Si Bon MD! This blog was born out of an effort to better define the small things in life that, simply put, make me happy. As a resident physician (married to a much busier physician), down time is hard to come by and stress is plentiful. Through the years, I've found that focusing on the small, daily joys keeps me centered and balanced. I've found my inspiration through cooking, style, and most importantly, my loved ones - family and friends. Through this blog, I hope to inspire you to find some of the same things in your life that bring you inner peace and comfort. Thanks for stopping by!