Friday, October 22, 2010

Black and White Cloud Pudding

It's been an interesting month.  I wrote about my experiences as a "black cloud" and what that means as a resident here on Kevin MD.  In honor of my first post to KevinMD, an awesome medical blog with significant collaboration from health professionals all over the country, and my new black cloud status, I made a dark chocolate and whipped cream pudding parfait.

The dense, rich chocolate pudding is layered with a fluffy white cloud of homemade whipped cream.  Are you a black or a white cloud?

Dark Chocolate Pudding and Whipped Cream Parfait
(pudding recipe adopted from Bon Appetit)

For the pudding:
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups milk divided
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3 oz very dark chocolate (such as 88% cocoa) finely chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the whipped cream:
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Whisk sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and sal tot a blend in a heavy medium saucepan.  Gradually add 1/3 cup milk, whisking until smooth paste.  Whisk in remaining milk and cream.  Using wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, stir mixture constantly over medium heat, scraping bottom and sides of pain until pudding thickens and begins to bubble at edges, about 5 minutes.  Add chocolate; stir until mixture is smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Allow to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate.

For whipped cream, in chilled bowl, whip ingredients until stiff peaks form.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

From The Board to Bored—a month of sleep

This month has definitely been a change of pace.  From running around non-stop, I’ve switched from the crazy county to the cushy private hospital.  From not eating to over-eating, watching movies and napping, the mania has definitely ended. 

I’m really tired.  That’s that.  I was feeling really good, but I’m positive that even with a week vacation thrown in there, there is no way I’ve caught up on sleep constantly flipping from days to nights and working my tail off.   I’ve had a little mini-vacation at home and I’ve found myself surprisingly waking up at 11 or noon everyday.  I have only slept until noon once in my life before.

Is the concept of sleep debt real?  Scientists argue that, in fact, yes, sleep debt is a true concept.  In one recent study, scientists chronically sleep deprived a study arm of subjects, similar to resident hours.  They found that even if those subjects slept 10 hours one weekend, they were only wakeful for a few hours before performance again began to decline [1].   An editorial article in Scientific American suggests that it is possible to regain sleep debt, however it must be done hour per hour of sleep lost [2]. 

HA! Even after 3 ½ months of residency, I’m positive that the amount of sleep I need will never be reconciled.  However, my body is telling me to relax, so I oblige.   Another perk of a couple of extra hours of free time is time in the kitchen.  I made lovely little ravioli “pillows” the other night.  This recipe takes a bit more work, but the simple, rich fall flavors are certainly worth it.   You don’t need a pasta maker, in fact I found having a pasta maker to be equal work to simply giving it a go with the rolling pin. 

Butternut squash ravioli pillows


1 cup semolina flour
¾ cup all purpose flour
1 egg and 2 egg yolks
1 tsp salt
Glug olive oil
Water as needed

1lb ricotta
¾ lb butternut squash cut in half
12 sage leaves
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ cup grated parmesan
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1 egg

To top
1tbsp butter
1tbsp olive oil
~6 sage leafs
2 tbsp pine nuts
salt, pepper and parmesan cheese to taste

To make pasta:  In bowl add flour and salt and combine.  Make well and add oil, eggs and yolks.  With fork, start to combine.  Bring together with hands.  Add water as needed to bring the dough together so it is slightly moist but not tacky.  Knead with hands a couple of times and then either keep kneading with hands or transfer to Kitchen Aid with kneading attachment.  You can add water or flour depending on whether is dry or wet.  Knead for about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and very stretchy.  Break dough into about 4 pieces and either roll with pasta maker or the OLD FASHIONED way, with a rolling pin until dough is thin enough to be slightly transparent. 

To make filling: Preheat oven to 400.  Place sliced squash on baking sheet.  Bake until very tender, about 1 hr.  In cast iron pan or other heavy bottom pan, coat with vegetable and olive oil and heat until oil is rippling and smoking.  Add sage leaves and fry until starting to brown and crispy.  Drain on paper towel.  In bowl place ricotta, egg, sage, nutmeg, parmesan, salt and pepper flakes and mix.  Once squash is cooked, remove from oven and mash with fork.  Add to filling. 

Put about a tablespoon of filling on the dough and fold in half crimping down with water to seal the edges.  Cut the raviolis with either a cutter, a crimping roller, a pizza cutter or simply scissors.   Add to a pot of boiling, salted water and cook until water reboils about 2-3 minutes.

In pan, heat up oil and butter, add pine nuts and sage.  Add raviolis and toss.

1. Cohen, DA, et al.   Uncovering residual effects of chronic sleep loss on human performance. Sci Transl Med. 2010 Jan 13;2(14):14ra3.