Saturday, January 3, 2009

Report from the Twit Army Mess Hall - Pennsylvania Dutch Turkey Soup


Turkey carcass stripped of most of the meat & skin (be sure you clean out any residual stuffing)
5 celery ribs, sliced cross ways
1 onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
Curly parsley, 6 sprigs
1/4 tsp whole peppercorns
4 medium potatoes, the type you'd boil not mash so the new potatoes are good
1/4 tsp saffron (this is a must)
1 lb leftover turkey shredded, us a combo of light and dark meat
1 scallion, thinly sliced white & green parts.
1/2 lb egg noodles


In a pot big enough to hold everything put the carcass, water to cover (about 1 gallon), 1 of the celery ribs, onion & carrot. Bring to a boil and skim (essential if you want clear soup). Now add the parsley, 1 tsp of salt or to taste & peppercorns. Simmer for 2 hours & then strain the broth (BTW, this is also a great turkey stock to save for later use, if you freeze it).

Reheat the broth, add the rest of the ingredients except for the noodles & turkey and simmer until the potatoes are done (about 20 minutes). Bring the soup back to a boil add the noodle and cook until done. Add turkey and heat.

Serve sprinkled with scallions.

Adapted from the Turkey Cookbook by Rick Rodgers

Friday, January 2, 2009

Report from the Twit Army Mess Hall - New Years Eve Black Eyed Peas

This is a recipe from Terry (TerryH of the Army) & looks very good.


½ cup butter, however; I prefer bacon drippings
1 ½ small white onion
1 med. sized green pepper
1 whole Johnsonville smoked sausage (sliced) (Terry says kielbasa may be substituted)
3 whole cloves Garlic (minced)
½ teaspoon salt (or less)
½ teaspoon pepper (or more)
2 15oz. cans of black eyed peas (drained)
1 8oz. ham hock
1 cup water
¾ cup white long grain rice (pre-cooked)
¾ cup Sharp Chedder Cheese (shredded)

Put butter(or drippings) in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Add the onion, bell pepper, and sausage; next add the garlic, salt & pepper.
Cook till sausage is colored, and onions clear.
Add the black eyed peas, & the ham hock cook on low heat for about an hour and 10 minutes. Now add the cooked rice & cheddar cheese, & keep stirring till all the cheese has melted into the mix.

Serve in a deep bowl, with toasted garlic bread & enjoy

Note from Dr. Mom - I'm not sure how many this will serve, in my family maybe 2 but we're big eaters. Based on the cheese & rice I'm also not sure how well this will keep. The peas & ham should be able to keep warm for a while but once the cheese & rice is added it probably needs to be eaten fairly quickly.

Follow up, Terry says that this will serve 4 so enjoy

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Report from the Twit Army Mess Hall - Dirty Rice Dressing

1 lb of smoked turkey or pork sausage such as kielbasa or andouille
Giblets from your turkey
1/2 stick butter, sweet
2 medium onions, chopped
2 celery ribs w/leaves, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp paprika*
1/2 tsp dried thyme*
1/2 tsp dried oregano*
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 c. long grain white rice
1 c. chicken broth
3 c. water
Salt to taste

* This seasoning mix is for the milder sausages, if you use a highly spiced andouille sausage I'd cut the seasoning in half.

Grind the meats (skin the sausages) in a food process until finely ground (you'll need to remove the tough portions of the gizzard)
Melt the butter in a large saucepan and cook the ground meats until dry (about 10 - 12 minutes). Add the vegetables & saute for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add seasonings, stir. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
During this time you can be prepping the turkey for stuffing.

Stuff the turkey and roast until done. Otherwise you can bake the extra stuffing in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes just to heat since it's already cooked.

This stuffing is especially good with pan gravy from the roasted turkey

Adapted from the Turkey Cookbook by Rick Rodgers

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Report from the Twit Army Mess Hall - Chocolate Fruit Cake

This is a rich chocolate loaf fruit cake for those who really don't like fruit cake. It contains NO CANDIED CITRON or other sticky gunk.
Takes a little care to make but is well worth it.

Here we go:
2 c. sifted flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon, Ceylon or Vietnamese if you have it
3 tbl Dutch processed cocoa powder (this is unsweetened cocoa powder, not hot cocoa mix)
1 Stick sweet butter (unsalted)
1 tsp dry instant expresso
1 c sugar
2 eggs, large or extra large
1/2 c. whole milk, not skim or low fat
1 c. dates, cut in half and pitted
2/3 c. assorted dried fruits, I use a mix of raisins, craisins (dried cranberries), apricots, cherries, & pineapple. Just cut the fruit into raisin sized pieces if necessary and DO NOT USE SUGAR COATED FRUIT, sweetened craisins are ok.
2 c. walnut halves/large pieces
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees,
Butter & flour a 9x5 loaf pan (8 cup size) if you want put the a piece of buttered floured parchment on the bottom of the pan, helps prevent sticking.
Sift together the dry ingredients. In an large mixing bowl, cream the butter, add the vanilla, espresso powder and sugar. Mix well. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the dry ingredients slowly and only mix until encorporated, do not overmix!. After 1/2 the dry stuff is mixed in add the milk, mix and then mix in the rest of the dry ingredients. Slowly, & only by hand, mix in the fruit and nuts.
Pour into the pan and smooth the top. Bake for 90 minutes or so until a cake tester come out clean (for you uninitiated a cake tester is a clean broom straw, long toothpick or very fine skewer. It should come out without any cake sticking to it when the cake is done.
Let cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes or so, then remove from the pan and let cool completely. The crust will be crunchy, don't worry it's not burned but you'll need to slice it with a bread knife.

Enjoy, This is great either by itself or with a scoop of ice cream

Adapted from Maida Heatters Book of Great Chocolate Desserts

The Grumpy Test

Do you pass the grump test???

If at least one of these pictures does not make you smile, then you are grumpy and need to go back to bed.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


The following is the official announcement from the American Board of Surgery. This was my second recertification exam and now I don't have to do it again for another 10 YEARS!!!!

Following is a summary of Board records for your recent examinations. Please print a copy for your records as this will serve as a confirmation for changes submitted.

Records for Completed Examinations

Following are your itemized results from your recent Board examinations. These results are accurate and final. Please do not call the Board office to verify your results. A written confirmation for all examinations is mailed on official Board letterhead to your primary address as noted above and provides details on your results. For reasons of examination security, review of examination questions in the Board office is no longer permissible. Also, manual scoring of examination results is no longer appropriate as examination responses are recorded electronically.

General Surgery 2008-2009 Recertifying Examination
Status: Completed Examination
Result: We are pleased to inform you that you successfully passed this examination.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Report from the Twit Army Mess Hall - Seafood Paella


1/3 lb. shrimp, peeled (reserve the shells for broth)
Pinch of saffron threads
Salt to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 lb. scallops
1/2 onion, grated on the largest holes of a box grater
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 ripe tomato, halved and grated on the largest holes of a box grater (discard the skin)
1 1/2 cups medium grain rice
8 small clams (1/2 lb.), scrubbed
1 lemon, cut in wedges for garnish

  • 1/3 lb. shrimp, peeled (reserve the shells for broth)
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 lb. scallops (or calamari, cut in rings)
  • 1/2 onion, grated on the largest holes of a box grater
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 ripe tomato, halved and grated on the largest holes of a box grater (discard the skin)
  • 1 1/2 cups medium grain rice
  • 8 small mussels or clams (1/2 lb.), scrubbed
  • 1 lemon, cut in wedges for garnish

In a medium saucepan, boil 3 1/2 cups of salted water. Add the shrimp shells and simmer, covered, for about 10 min. Strain the broth, and return it to the saucepan. Toast the saffron gently (in a dry skillet or toaster oven), crush the threads with the back of a spoon, and add to the shrimp shell broth. Taste for salt; the broth should be well-seasoned.

In a 14-inch paella pan, heat the oil on high. Meanwhile, pat dry the shrimp and scallops . When the oil is hot, sauté the shrimp and scallops until almost cooked through, about 2 min. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Pour out all but 1 Tbs. of oil from the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté the onion and garlic until the onion softens, about 5 min. Add the tomato, season with salt, and sauté until the mixture, called the sofrito, has darkened and is a thick purée, 10 to 15 min.

Meanwhile, bring the shrimp shell broth back to a simmer. When the tomato-onion sofrito is ready, add the rice to the pan. Sauté until the rice loses its opaqueness, about 1 min. Increase the heat to medium-high. Pour in 3 cups of the simmering broth (reserving the remaining 1/2 cup) and stir or shake the pan to evenly distribute the rice in the pan. As the liquid comes to a boil, arrange the mussels or clams in the pan, submerging them as much as possible below the level of the liquid. From this point on, do not stir the rice.

Cook the paella on medium-high, rotating and moving the pan over one or two burners to distribute the heat. When the rice begins to appear above the liquid, after 8 to 10 min., reduce the heat to medium low. Continue to simmer, rotating the pan as necessary, until the liquid has been absorbed, about 10 min. more. Taste a grain of rice just below the top layer; it should be al dente. (If the rice is not done but all the liquid has been absorbed, sprinkle a bit of hot broth to the pan and cook a few minutes more.) Arrange the shrimp and scallops (or calamari) in the pan.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and cook gently for another 2 min. to help ensure that the top layer of rice is evenly cooked. With the foil still in place, increase the heat to medium-high and, rotating the pan, cook for about 2 min., until the bottom layer of rice starts to caramelize, creating the socarrat. The rice may crackle somewhat, but if it starts burning, remove the pan from the heat immediately.

Let the paella rest off the heat, still covered, for 5 min. Sit everyone down at a round or square table. Remove the foil and invite people to eat directly from the pan, starting at the perimeter, working toward the center, and squeezing lemon over their section, if they want.