I love you...

like a [phat] kid loves [cheese]cake

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Finals are Done, Summer Has Begun!

.....For ten days at least.

It has been a hectic week, and the appearance of our apartment proves it. Beds piled with clothes, sleeping a maximum of three hours on the sofa, intense caffeine intakes, and stacks of dishes.

But somehow, somehow, we made it through. We always do, even though it doesn't feel like it at the time, and I am so glad that I can sleep before 4am and go back to getting myself better.

Oh, about that: More blood results came in. Iron and blood count levels are up, but still far below average. I still need to take 7 pills a day and watch my diet closely. Ughhh.

But Apartment 102 still manages to sneak in its fun. Last weekend, we had a night on the town and had dinner at A16, where I intern at. After bringing home leftovers for weeks, we all decided that it was high time to actually go in and try their food legitimately. So in dresses, makeup, and heels, we braved the Bay Bridge traffic and ate til we dropped. Here are some snaps of the night:

Alcohol to get us through the studying: Blushing Angel and Fuzzy Naples.

Mozzarella burrata drizzled with olive oil, served with crostini

Roasted Calabrian chilies [A gift from the kitchen, and so good!]

Ricotta gnocchi with tomatoes [Definitely one of my favourites; simple and delicious]

Funghi pizza of assorted mushrooms and arugula

Chocolate budino tart drizzled with olive oil and sea salt [A16's signature dessert, and with good reason. The salt and olive oil will knock your taste buds out of the park.]

Fig and raspberry crostata with ricotta gelato and imported pistachios [Those pistachios are amazing]

Crespelle of strawberries, pecorino crema, and black pepper [The crema was a little heavy for me, personally]

Being an intern has its perks, including 50 percent off!

Ending our dinner; the perfect study break!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Rhubarb Again? Oh Yes.

I went home for a couple days to get more blood tests done. Yes, more. But only four tubes of blood this time [it was 6 last time], so I guess that's a good sign. Although I am now getting tested for reticulocytes, which I'm still not sure what those are...
All massive blood loss incidents aside, I have been keeping up with my baking. I had two stalks of rhubarb leftover and some raspberries bordering on becoming mouldy if I didn't use them, and that would just be nas-tay, so I decided to use them both together! The result? These light oatmeal bars [gotta get that iron!] topped with raspberry puree and rhubarb bits. Delicious.
If I had more time and patience, I would have gone all-out and made my own raspberry jam, but here I just pureed them, strained out the liquid, and added some cornstarch and sugar. I found that instead of wasting that juice, I could toss the rhubarb in them to meld the flavours of the two, and it worked out well. The rhubarb had a pink glaze before baking that sunk into the pieces during baking and made them more moist and retained their pinkish colour more.

No more rhubarb after this, I promise!

Ideas for next time : Baking them in a loaf pan to make the cookie part thicker and heartier; more rhubarb to make a full layer, nuts?

Rhubarb-Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

For the base:
1 stick of butter, softened
1/2 cup almond paste
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 up oats

For topping:
1.5 cups raspberries, well-rinsed
2 stalks rhubarb, diced
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. sugar

For base:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square pan or a loaf pan.
Beat butter, almond paste, and sugar on medium speed until creamed. Add egg yolk and extract, beating til blended. Stir in flour and oats until just combined.
Press into pan and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool while preparing topping.

For topping:
Puree the raspberries in a blender. Press through a strainer or fine sieve to get rid of extra juices. Save the juice.
Whisk the cornstarch and 1 Tbsp. sugar into strained raspberries and spread over cooled crust.
Toss rhubarb with reserved raspberry juice and remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar. Arrange in layer over the raspberry puree.
Bake for an additional 40 minutes or until the rhubarb are tender and crust is firm. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.