Spiral-cut Brats with Fancy Relish

Spiral-cut Brats with Fancy Relish

Genius, I should have been doing this for years.

hot dog and izzy

Take your hot dog or brat, stick a long skewer through,

hot dog spiral cut

cut around in a spiral with a knife,

hot dog spiral pre-broil

then grill (or broil in the oven if it is raining like it was for me today), and voila, your hot dog extends surface area with nice little relish pockets to tuck more flavor into that hot dog and bun! Keep this in mind for Labor Day.

hot dog apricot mostarda

Apricot Mostarda

Adapted from Food and Wine

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup water

1 cup diced dried apricots (6 ounces)

2 tablespoons sugar

1 shallot, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard


In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, apricots, sugar, shallot and garlic and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the apricots are soft and coated in a light syrup, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in both mustards and season with salt. Let cool completely. Stir in tablespoons of water before serving if the mostarda is too thick.

hot dog pickled pepper slaw

Pickled Pepper Slaw

Adapted from Food and Wine

1 cup sliced mixed green pickled peppers

1/2 cup shredded romaine lettuce

1/4 cup chopped parsley (1 TB if you use jar spice)

1/4 cup chopped dill (1 TB jar spice if you don’t have fresh)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

In a medium bowl, toss all of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Serve.

hot dog close up


9-Spice Grilled Chicken Wings with a New Spice Rack

You can never have too many spices. But the wrong spice rack might make it seem like you do. I had that tiered spice rack, but I still couldn’t read the labels and always had to play an annoying tetris game each time I needed a spice. KP and I were walking through a used furniture store, when I saw this window sill and had a lovely thought:

spice rack

Added on a few wooden accents and repainted the window, KP extended each window sill back to the wall for an added ledge, and voila!

spice rack

Now to put these spices to use, I made grilled chicken with 9 spices. This is better than any grilled chicken I’ve ever had. And tastes great in the taco recipe below this!

chicken 9 spice

Grilled Chicken Wings with 9-Spice Dry Rub

Adapted from Food and Wine


1/2 cup kosher salt

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

3 pounds chicken wings, tips discarded and wings split


1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup sweet paprika

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon granulated onion

3/4 tablespoon black pepper

1/2 tablespoon dry sage

1/2 tablespoon dry mustard

1/2 tablespoon ground ginger

1/2 tablespoon cayenne

Canola oil, for brushing

Lime wedges, for serving

BRINE THE WINGS In a large saucepan, combine the salt, sugar, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaf with 2 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the sugar and salt dissolve, about 3 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, pour the brine over the chicken wings. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.

chicken marinated

MEANWHILE MAKE THE RUB In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients except the oil and lime.

Light a grill and oil the grate. Drain the wings and pat dry with paper towels. In a large bowl, toss the wings with 1/3 cup of the dry rub. Grill over moderate heat, turning, until nicely charred and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Serve hot with lime wedges.

corn crema taco

Corn Crema Tacos

Adapted from Food and Wine

3 ears of corn, shucked

1 pound mixed haricots verts, green beans and yellow wax beans, halved lengthwise

1 cup Greek yogurt

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 ounces creamy feta cheese

3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Eight 6-inch flour or corn tortillas

Slices of that yummy 9-spice grilled chicken above

Avocado wedges, sliced radishes and cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Working in a large bowl, cut the corn kernels off of the cobs. Add the beans and toss.

Using the back of a knife, scrape all of the corn milk from the cobs into a medium bowl. Add the yogurt, olive oil, cheese, chopped cilantro and cumin, season with salt and pepper and mix the corn crema until smooth. Add all but 1/2 cup of the corn crema to the corn and beans, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Spoon the corn and beans onto the tortillas and top with avocado, radishes and cilantro sprigs. Fold in half and serve with the remaining corn crema.

izz is not impressed

Salted Caramel Squares as a Soul Trampoline

And a happy weekend to all. Nothing like eating French toast for breakfast at near noon while watching Men’s Trampoline Olympic finals. I’m feeling a strong sense of recognition in regards to these men who leap and bound on a giant elastic sheet because this is my first day off in two weeks (with a couple 30 hour calls in the rearview window); my soul is doing high-flying aerials while my legs haven’t moved out of their pajama pants from their propped perch on the ottoman. I am hoping to win a Gold Medal today in the Not Moving and Personal Restoration category. I will only break the pose for the sake of a chocolate-covered caramel square.

salted caramel square

Salted Caramel Squares

Adapted from Penzeys

1 Cup self-rising flour
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1 Cup oatmeal
1/2 Cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
pinch salt

1 14-oz. can sweetened
condensed milk
2 TB. honey
1 TB. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla

16 oz. dark chocolate
1 tsp. butter
1-2 tsp. sea salt


Preheat oven to 360°. In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, butter, cinnamon (if using) and salt. Mix well on low. Press onto an ungreased rectangular baking sheet (about 10×14; a 9×13 pan would also work), about 1/4-inch thick. Bake at 360° for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit.

For the caramel, combine the milk, golden syrup and butter in a small heavy saucepan. Heat over medium, stirring constantly, until big bubbles form and the mix is thickened and a light caramel color, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the vanilla—adding it at the beginning will make it much harder to tell when the milk turns a caramel color. Pour and gently spread over the base. Return to the oven for 10 minutes. Let cool.

For the chocolate, melt the chocolate and butter using a double boiler or in a glass bowl placed over a pot of boiling water. Stir until melted. Pour and spread the chocolate over the cooled caramel. Sprinkle with the salt. Refrigerate until the chocolate has set, about 2 hours. Cut and serve or refrigerate the cut pieces in a cookie tin.

And the Gold for Not Moving goes to Izzy–

sweet izzy

Second Place to Donatello Miletello, my favorite fat tabby.

don milletello

And the Bronze to me.

planking post call

Braised Eggplant, Buffalo Mozzarella with Roasted Tomatoes and Lessons in Patience

I decided to grow a Bonsai to better teach myself patience. Early in my second year of a five year residency program, I am learning that one cannot expect to all of a sudden be a good doctor—the time it takes to do this. The time it takes. I need to be reminded of the slowness of growing things right—so I now I have a little tree shoot that, if I take tender care of it, will just be ready for its first pruning when I am budding as an attending and double-boarded physician in 2020.

bonsai sprout

Braised meals are another reminder that slow cooking reaps rewards. Savory sauces are worth the wait.

eggplant and garlic dish

Braised Eggplant with Garlic

Adapted from Food and Wine

2 medium onions, finely chopped (2 cups)

1 medium tomato, finely chopped (1 cup)

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 long green peppers, finely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

1 teaspoon sugar

Kosher salt


6 Italian baby eggplants (2 1/2 pounds)

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1.In a medium bowl, combine the onions with the tomato, garlic, peppers, parsley, sugar and 2 teaspoons of salt. Using your hands, knead the mixture until it is softened and well blended.

2.Peel the eggplants lengthwise at 1/2-inch intervals to create stripes. On one half of each eggplant, make 4 lengthwise slits halfway through the flesh. Rub the eggplants 
all over and in the slits with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

3.Arrange the eggplants slit side up in an ovenproof baking dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Spoon the filling liberally into the slits; some will spill out. Drizzle the remaining 3/4 cup of olive oil over the eggplants and add 1/2 cup of water to the baking dish. Cover and bake for about 
1 hour, until the eggplants are completely tender. Serve warm or at room temperature.


And a bonus:

tomates and mozza tomatoes and mozzarella

Buffalo Mozzarella with Neat and Messy Roasted Tomatoes

Adapted from Food and Wine

2 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved

2 pounds cherry tomatoes on the vine



1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Two 8-ounce balls of buffalo mozzarella cheese, sliced

Crusty bread, for serving

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°. Arrange the halved cherry tomatoes cut side up on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Roast for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the tomatoes are shriveled and half-dried. Remove from the oven.
  2. Increase the oven temperature to 350°. Arrange the cherry tomatoes on the vine on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Season with salt and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast for about 1 hour, until the tomatoes soften and start to split open. Using a spatula, carefully transfer the tomatoes to a large platter. Arrange the dried tomatoes on the platter along with the mozzarella. Season with pepper and serve with crusty bread.

A little water everyday…

bonsai peet covered

Shiftcon Eco-Wellness Conference in New Orleans and Wheat Berry Salad

Calling All Food Bloggers to NOLA!

Shiftcon Eco-Wellness Conference is coming to New Orleans December 1-3, will I see you there? This conference is for all food bloggers, dieticians and companies who care about health, food, and the environment. Shiftcon couldn’t have chosen a more perfect city to set the conversation on important issues like good stewardship of resources, bringing healthy foods to nutrient-poor areas within a community, and using food as good medicine. I’m excited to attend presentations by agriculturalists, dieticians, and integrative physicians like Dr. Tieraona Low Dog whose book on Medicinal Herbs I’ve recently been devouring.

Use FITBAKETHISDAY code to receive $50 off the price of your ticket! Let me know if you are coming to town, and if you used my code to register, I’ll take you on a walking tour of some of my favorite off-the-grid restaurants and watering holes in the city. You might even get a little sample of my sourdough starter to take home….


To get in the ShiftCon spirit, make this salad and rejuvenate your body with natural greens and whole wheat. It doesn’t get any more whole than a wheat berry.

Wheat Berry Salad

Adapted from Penzeys Spices

Wheat Berry part:

1 cup hard wheat berries (red wheat is best)

2 ½ cups vegetable broth

½ tsp salt

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes


4 tb lemon juice

2 tb olive oil

1 tb white balsamic vinegar

1 ½ roasted garlic

1 tsp Turkish oregano

1 tsp greek seasoning


1 onion, diced

4-5 cups of washed and chopped spinach

1 bunch asparagus, chopped into ½ inch chunks

Rinse the wheat berries, place in saucepan with broth, salt, turmeric, red pepper flakes and bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and the cover and cook to desired tenderness, 1-2 hours. You might need to add extra water if all of yours boils off too soon like mine did. Be careful not to scorch the wheat berries. When done, let cool on the counter and then in the fridge, and add 2 tbs of the dressing.

For the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together. That’s it! Use a blender if you want it super mixed.

For the veggie, cook down the onions and greens with olive oil in a skillet until greens are wilted and the onions are browned. Set aside to cool, and then also roast the asparagus in more olive oil. Combine the veggies with 2 more tbs of the dressing, and then put on a plate, topped with the wheat berries, or else, cover and transfer to a cool place to serve later. Serve with extra salad dressing if you have a craving for more flavor.

wheat berry salad all pretty

Prepare your bowels. Top this dish off with a nice senna tablet. Keep things moving, or else suffer the throes of wheat berry obstipation.

My Favorite Call Smoothie to Fight Hangriness – Healthy Skoop

How to keep from getting hangry when on-call. Healthy Skoop.

powder to the peeps

The cafeteria in my hospital is not open overnight, so woe is me when I am working a night call shift because the only other available free food source is the Resident Snack Room, a den of dietary sin with Hot Pockets, Lays chips, Rice Krispie Treats, Teddy Grahams, etc. A physical flashback of my elementary years. The only thing I’ve discovered to prevent me from curing my hangry-ness in that room is drinking one scrumptious protein shake before I go into work.

healthy skoop

I give you, My Favorite Call Smoothie

One cup plain Greek Yogurt

½ cup nonfat milk

2 cups frozen fruit (mangos and peaches are my fave)

1 scoop of Healthy Skoop Viva-nilla plant-based protein powder

1 scoop of Healthy Skoop plant-based Greens blend

healthy skoop powder

I recently discovered Healthy Skoop products, and LOVE this company. They are based out of Boulder, Colorado. One scoop of the protein powder has 16 grams of organic pea and brown rice protein, and it is flavored with cinnamon and coconut sugar so it has a lovely sweety, non chalk aroma. I even use a mini-scoop here and there as creamer in my coffee in the AM if I am feeling too lazy to get the Vitamix out.

protein latte

One other awesome thing about the company is that they give 3% of all sales proceeds to Project Produce – so that for every serving of Skoop you buy, they donate one serving of fruits and vegetables to schools participating in the National School Lunch grant program.

There is also a plant-based greens blend that has 6 servings of fruits and vegetables, probiotics including Lactobacilus, and other herbs like cordyceps, reishi, astragalus and rhodiola. This one also works in the mango smoothie.

healthy skoop with blend

This summer I’ve also been really into making popsicles. I bought little mini-popsicle molds which I keep on hand for lovely dilemmas like “Oops, I made too much protein shake” – freeze and make protein-rich mango peach creamsicles!

healthy skoop popsicle me and izzy and popsicle

Izzy loves the popsicles best.

izzy and skoop

This post is sponsored by Healthy Skoop, opinions and text all mine.

Prayer for Baton Rouge

“A bullet need only happen once to work, but for peace to work, we must be reminded of its existence again and again. My fellow Americans, only we can prove that we will not be divided, again and again. Only we can prove that we have the grace, character, and common humanity to end this senseless violence, to reduce fear and mistrust within the American family. That is who we are and who we always have the capacity to be.”                            -President Obama

Several of us were chatting in the hospital this morning about how what happened in Dallas could happen anywhere, how it could have happened here, and then minutes later someone looks at her phone and relays that, in fact, it now has. Baton Rouge. Awful times we are living through, and tensions are running high. I am so grateful that we have the president that we do, that he offers Lincoln-like prayers on behalf of our aching American family—may our wounds, over time, heal. “Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray…” I choose to hope. There is nothing more beautiful than light on the horizon.

skyline sunset2

Salsa is a snack that always has me meditating on how good it is when differences blend together. Again and again.

Bean and Corn Salsa

Adapted from Penzeys

2 14.5-oz. cans diced tomatoes (or 2 lbs. fresh tomatoes, diced), drained
1 11-oz. can white shoepeg corn, drained
1 15-oz. can black beans, drained
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (about 2/3 cup)
1 4-oz. can sliced black olives, drained
1-2 tsp. fajita seasoning
1-2 tsp. cumin

Mix everything together. Enjoy.

corn and bean salsa skyline9

These sunset pics were snapped on the Skyline Trail out on the mountain hillsides of Cape Breton. KP and I hiked out to the cliffs at sunset one evening last week, and it was breathtaking. Hopefully a foreshadowing. Peace.