In anticipation of our upcoming move to North Carolina, we’re trying to squeeze the last bit of south out of South Carolina. I made watermelon rind pickles, which I had decades ago in Charleston while visiting my grandparents. Since I was about 9 the last time I had these, I have no idea if I got the texture or flavor correct. But, they’re pretty tasty, so I either closely approximated the taste or I invented a new pickle (probably the former). I used this recipe:
I love the fact that after making these pickles, the only waste from the watermelon is a small pile of green peelings. It did take me about an hour to peel an entire watermelon (as you have to peel the outer green skin and just use the lighter rind), but I had a system down by the end, so I think it would be faster next time. For dinner, I served these pickles on the side of a bacon/ apple/ gorgonzola/ arugula salad and patacones from platanos verdes. So southern it was South American!
We did our last Sunday stroll by the battery after church, and then possibly our last run from our apartment to the top of the Ravenel Bridge. It will be weird to live in a place with more than one hill in town.
And in other news: I’ve signed a contract to teach middle school and high school science (hopefully Biology, Anatomy/Physiology, and Nutrition) this coming year. I realize that this probably seems like a crazy idea to someone who hasn’t been in close contact with us recently (and maybe also to those who have). But to me, this seems like a ray of sunshine and a breath of fresh air!
It has been almost a year since we’ve updated Doctor’s Pantry. So, here is the first post of 2016- a year that has already brought so many changes, so much joy, a fair dose of heartbreak, and many hopes for new beginnings. Dr. K is a new mom; Dr. L is in a new job; and we are moving!
We’re creating a new section of Doctor’s Pantry- “Cottage by the Park.” We’re creating this section to document the adventures that await us as we delve into the worlds of home ownership/renovations, brewing beer, gardening, and canning and cooking tons of NORTH CAROLINA produce, hopefully all in this cute cottage by a park (for which we are in the due diligence period of buying). We’ll be moving from South Carolina to North Carolina, and we couldn’t be happier about the opportunity. Many career changes are coming as well; T will soon be the newest doctor of the Doctor’s Pantry family, and I am possibly embarking on a completely new career.
…This is 10% terrifying and 90% exciting, which are pretty great odds.
Today, I’m feeling reminded of this hymn: “For the beauty of the earth/ for the beauty of the skies/ for the love which from our birth/ over and around us lies…”
Here’s to recognizing the continued beauty on earth, which over and around us lies!
A few weeks ago, we went to Austin for the first time, and I fell in love with that city! Of course, it helped that we were traveling with wonderful friends and going to a wedding of wonderful friends. Despite only having a short amount of time there, I feel like we crammed in some really fun stuff:
- Frisbee on the UT-Austin intramural fields
- Lunch at la Barbecue, where they had DELICIOUS brisket and pulled pork. I’d also highly recommend the chili food truck parked in front. Fun plus: they gave us free beer while we waited in line.
- Quick visit to Lady Bird Lake and the surrounding park.
- The wedding was on Lake Austin, which was so beautiful.
- Barton Springs Pool: This community pool (a dammed-up section of the river) truly made me want to move to Austin. What a great place!
And then the very next weekend, we headed to San Diego for a pediatrics conference. Again, we had very little time to explore, but we tried to make the most of it!
- We stayed next to the Padres stadium, and while we didn’t go to a game, we experienced it through osmosis (sooo many excited fans), and we enjoyed hanging out in the stadium when it was a little less crazy.
- Took the ferry to Coronado Island, where we ran about a mile to the beach (and the historic Hotel del Coronado), and then back to the main part of town
- Visited Coronado Brewing Company’s brewpub
- Walked a few miles to Balboa Park…where I would have loved to go to the zoo if we had more time, but $48 seemed too steep for only a few hours
- Visited a satellite site for Stone Brewery
- Ate at a delicious new restaurant, Comun, where we had tasty tostadas. it was reminiscent of Minero in Charleston (which is our favorite)! http://www.comunsd.com/
And next up: our recent Charleston explorations, which have mainly included biking and breweries…
This is my new favorite non-pasta. Growing up, we had a few go-to recipes that we made at least once a month: taco soup, Greek cornbread, and spaghetti carbonara. It wasn’t a very fancy (or healthy) version of spaghetti carbonara; We would mix evaporated milk, Parmesan cheese, bacon bits, and ranch seasoning (?) to put on top of noodles.
So, here’s an upgraded version that is low-carb, uses turkey bacon, and retains its original comfort food-ishness.
- spaghetti squash
- olive oil
- 1 clove (or tsp) minced garlic
- 2/3 cup whole milk, cream, or half-and-half
- 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 raw egg
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 4 pieces (1/2 package) turkey bacon
- Halve spaghetti squash and cook, cut ends down on baking sheet, for 30 min at 400F.
- Allow to cool, and then use a fork to remove all of the strings of squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Cook turkey bacon in frying pan (or large sauce dish) until browned. Remove bacon.
- Add a splash of olive oil to the pan with the bacon drippings, and then add the spaghetti squash and frozen peas. Cook for 10-15 min uncovered, attempting to get out any extra moisture and finish cooking the squash. Add the frozen peas in the last few minutes.
- Meanwhile...mix the milk, cheese, garlic, and egg.
- Remove squash mixture from heat and mix in the sauce.
- Crumble bacon on top, and sprinkle with black pepper.
- Usually you cook spaghetti squash for more like 35-40 min, but it can get mushy. It works better to cook it for less time, and then saute it for a few extra minutes after spaghetti-ing.
As winter finally ends (I realize I have no right to say “finally” when I’m living in a wonderfully mild coastal city), we’ve been making the most of Charleston’s great springtime weather and sunsets:
~L&Q came to visit a few weeks ago, and they brought their new puppy, who was delightful! We celebrated Puppy’s First Beach Walk and Puppy’s First Brewery.
~I’ve run to the battery a few times (which is few times more than my norm). And I also ran the bridge TWICE in the last month…IS THIS REAL LIFE? I think I’ve run the 10K Cooper River Bridge Run 6 times before, and this year’s was my second fastest (I’m pitifully slow): 1:06. That’s right…11 minute miles was my second FASTEST. My dad the Ironman was amazingly patient and stuck with me. Unfortunately, I also get really yucky “runner’s stomach,” which didn’t respond well to Pepto Bismol. My plan for the upcoming triathlon? Don’t eat before OR DURING the race…Why did I think a donut at Mile 5 was a good idea?
~For T’s birthday, I planned 24 dates: two a month for the next year. More on that present later. But so far, we’ve had a fancy rooftop dinner, ice cream by the battery, a “dollar night” (dollar menu foods and $1 rented movie), and a “puppy love” beach date, during which we celebrated our wonderful puppy’s 6th birthday.
So, it might seem from the pictures above that I’ve had lots of free time. But, I’ve actually still been working pretty crazy hours and alternating between day shifts, night shifts, and even dreaded 1pm-to-1am shifts. And I’m back into a gluten-free mood, so I’ve been struggling to think of easy, fast gluten-free options. The answer: zucchini noodles. I made 2 new recipes that are super easy, super fast, and ideal for anyone else working 60+ hours per week.
- zucchini, washed (2+ per recipe)
- 1 lemon
- freshly ground pepper (or TJ's ground lemon pepper)
- parmesan cheese
- pine nuts
- marinara sauce
- turkey meatballs
- ricotta cheese (whole milk!)
- parmesan cheese
- spiralize noodles. put in colander, sprinkle with salt, and let sit for 15+ minutes. squeeze out the water. saute on medium in olive oil for 3-5 min.
- zest a lemon.
- sprinkle the noodles with lemon zest, freshly ground pepper, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.
- thaw meatballs (if frozen) in microwave.
- layer zucchini noodles, meatballs, and marinara sauce in oven-safe dish.
- place heaping spoonfuls of ricotta on top, and then sprinkle with parmesan.
- low-broil until warmed through.
Today is a beautiful day in Durham – 60 degrees and sunny (quite a change from the 12+ inches of snow we’ve had in the past two weeks). Our wonderful friends came over and brought some of the leftover ingredients they had in their fridge, and we made a delicious mixture of foods. The best was Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash, made with spaghetti squash, chopped tomatoes, half of a grilled eggplant, and some spices and condiments. We ate the meal al fresco. I’ll attach the recipe below. Now we’re all sitting around with full bellies and happy dogs in our laps, letting things digest before going for an evening run. What a delightful day!
-K (plus C, L, J, I)
- Spaghetti squash, baked and shredded
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- Salt and Pepper
- Italian seasoning
- 1/2 baked eggplant, diced
- Green olives
- Feta cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Bake spaghetti squash and shred it. Mix in a bowl with a can of diced tomatoes.
- Place mixture in a shallow pan and top with olive oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
- On top, place the diced eggplant and a handful each of olives, raisins, and feta cheese.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 1/2 an hour or until the mixture is lightly crispy and warmed all through.
It may not be the most impressive-looking store from the outside, but oh my goodness I’m still loving what Veggie Bin has on the inside.
Over the past week, I’ve made zucchini chips, kale salad, shepherd’s pie, vegetables au gratin (see below), and I have the makings for ratatouille. My favorite meal is always just vegetables roasted in olive oil and salt (+/- NomNom Paleo’s “Magic Mushroom Powder”), but sometimes I feel obligated to spice it up (or at least re-name it). Hence, Vegetables Au Gratin.
- sweet potatoes, cut into thin rounds
- cabbage, chopped
- onion, cut into thin rounds
- kale, washed, dried, and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- tomatoes (I used sundried)
- french-fried onions
- parmesan cheese
- Roast all vegetables in olive oil at 400F.
- Crush the french-fried onions and mix 1:1 with Parmesan.
- Once veggies are soft (potatoes take the longest- about 30 min), throw all into casserole dish. Top with onion/ Parmesan mixture and bake for about 15 min (until slightly browned).
Update: I made ratatouille, which I thought was a little plain. Confirmed by this conversation. Me: “Did you think the ratatouille was a little plain?” Husband: Pause……”It tasted like vegetables?”
Over the holidays, we got really into Season 2 of Mind of a Chef, featuring Sean Brock and Southern food. As we’re living (and eating) in Charleston, it’s great to see someone cooking fresh, new, healthy(ish) versions of Southern food. It inspired us to make a few new dishes, including this boiled peanut salad. I based the recipe on this Fat Hen recipe.
Mainly, I was just excited that I figured out how to really, really easily make boiled peanuts. Per usual, I didn’t measure anything, just threw it all in the slow cooker:
Mix a few cups of raw peanuts with about half a cup of salt, and fill the whole slow cooker with water. Cook on low overnight.
If you haven’t had boiled peanuts before, I’d highly recommend them. Of course, I grew up in SC and can’t even remember life before boiled peanuts, so maybe this is considered an acquired taste? If so….acquire it!
For the salad, mix brown rice, “grilled” corn (although I didn’t grill it; I just sautéed corn and let it sear slightly), boiled peanuts, and tomatoes (I used sundried). For the dressing, I blended chopped parsley, juice of one lemon, splash of apple cider vinegar, and spoonful of homemade mayo.
- brown rice
- boiled peanuts, shelled
- tomatoes (sundried if preferred)
- fresh parsley
- apple cider vinegar
- Boiled peanuts: Mix a few cups of raw peanuts with about half a cup of salt, and fill the whole slow cooker with water. Cook on low overnight.
- Salad: Mix brown rice, "grilled" corn (although I didn't grill it; I just sautéed corn and let it sear slightly), boiled peanuts, and tomatoes (I used sundried).
- Dressing: Blend chopped parsley, juice of one lemon, splash of apple cider vinegar, and spoonful of homemade mayo.
And as we’re on a Southern Food kick, here are some other pictures from our recent Lowcountry explorations.
Indian-spiced patties with yogurt sauce
This morning, I remembered why I looooove going to a.m. clinic — I didn’t have to get there until 8:30 am! And to add to the niceness, C was already awake when I got up at 6, and he cooked a delicious, filling, and gluten-free breakfast: almond waffles! He made up the recipe, and it was delightful. Happy Friday!!
- 2 3/4 cups almond flour
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Few drops of vanilla extract
- Fruit (optional)
- Powdered sugar (optional)
- Combine almond flour, milk, vegetable oil, eggs, baking powder, and vanilla extract. Mix well, adding flour or milk as needed to achieve a pasty consistency.
- Pour into a waffle iron (for waffles) or onto a skillet (for pancakes); cook for ~3 minutes.
- Top with fruit, syrup, powdered sugar, or toppings of your choice.