Author Archive

Salted Halvah Chocolate Chip Cookies

Written by Tad. Posted in Cookies

Our daughter, Hilary, gave us a mid-eastern cook book for Christmas. This recipe was in that book and, with the unusual ingredients of tahini and halvah, we just had to make them. Our grandson, Hunter flattened them out with the bottom of a glass and our granddaughter, Pippa pressed the halvah into the tops of the cookies. They came out very tasty, kind of like peanut butter cookies but different.

Recipe By:

Eating  Out  Loud

Yield:

12

Ingredients:

1⅓  cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup salted butter, at room temperature
  cup tahini paste
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups bittersweet chocolate chips
½ cup small chunks of halvah, (see Note)
Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, kosher salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix together the butter, tahini, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and airy, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to medium. Add half the flour mixture, and mix to combine. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix to combine, scraping down the sides with a spatula, if necessary.

5. Use a spoon or spatula to fold in the chocolate chips.

6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for at least hour or overnight. (You can actually do this up to a week in advance!)

7. Heat the oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

8. Using a 2-tablespoon cookie scooper, form dough into balls. Place the cough balls about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Push down a little on each ball to flatten it slightly. Place a couple little pieces of halvah on top of each cookie and gently press them into the dough. Sprinkle with the sea salt.

9. Bake until the cookies are lightly golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the pan before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Notes:

The author says that if you can’t find halvah, you can mix together 2 tablespoons of tahini with 2 tablespoons of honey. After you’ve flattened the cookies on the baking sheet, press small dents into each cookie and spread about a teaspoon of the mixture on each cookie. Finish with the sea salt. I can’t say how this would turn out but the melted halvah was the best part of the cookie, in my opinion. It was easy to get both the tahini and halvah on line:

 

Yellow and Black

Written by Tad. Posted in Trauma Strap Bags

   

As I have said, I have been going through scraps and making bags out of them. Here, I have bags made of three different kinds of yellow straps. It is a fun challenge to plan the bag so I have enough of one kind of yellow strap to finish the whole bag.

Peanut Butter-Miso Cookies

Written by Tad. Posted in Cookies


Shari and I went to Carlsbad for a week during Covid-19. McKenzie had this recipe and invited me to help her whip them up. They are lovely cookies to look at. The texture was nice but the flavor a bit nondescript. The chocolate drizzle fixed that!

Recipe by:

New York Times Cooking

Yield:

18

Ingredients:

  cups all-purpose flour, 225 grams
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½  teaspoon baking powder
½  cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup 1 cup (220 grams) light brown sugar, 220 grams
½  cup granulated sugar, 100 grams
  cup white miso paste
¼  cup chunky peanut butter
1 large egg
  teaspoons vanilla extract
½  cup Demerara sugar, *see notes

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and baking powder, and whisk until incorporated. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter, light brown sugar and granulated sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

3. Add miso and peanut butter to the mixing bowl, and continue to mix at medium speed, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of the bowl to make sure all of the ingredients are evenly incorporated, and mix a bit more if needed. Add egg and vanilla extract, and mix until just combined.

4. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, and mix on low speed until flour mixture is incorporated. Repeat with remaining flour mixture in two batches until all of it is incorporated.

5. Place 1/2 cup Demerara sugar into a small bowl. Using a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop out a ball. Drop the piece of dough into the bowl of Demerara sugar and turn to coat. Transfer each ball to a parchment-lined baking sheet, arranging them about 3 inches apart. Repeat with all of the dough.

6. Refrigerate for 2 hours and up to overnight. (Even 15 minutes of refrigerator time will help the dough firm up, and the flavors meld. The longer the dough is refrigerated, the more mellow the flavors will be.)

7. When ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake cookies for about 15 minutes, until crisp at the edges and slightly puffed in the middle. They should still be a bit underdone in the center. Pull out the baking sheet and hit it against a counter. Place back into the oven to finish for about 3 to 4 minutes. When cookies are firm at the edges and slightly puffed in the center, pull them out and again hit the baking sheet against the counter. The cookies should appear flat and crinkly at the center. **see notes

8. Let the cookies cool on a baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Notes:

* I use Sprinkle King Con AA White Coarse Sugar from supplyvillage.com.

** I found that, cooked this way, they were overdone. I skipped both the counter banging and the second trip to the oven and they turned out great.

***As McKenzie and I were making these, the idea came up to put some chocolate on them. She melted some semi-sweet chocolate chips, stirred in some coconut oil then drizzled it over them. A great improvement in these interesting cookies!

Intussusception

Written by Tad. Posted in Kooks

Usually, kids with abdominal pain and vomiting do not have worrisome medical problems. Most of the time, they have eaten something that didn’t agree with them or have a stomach virus. But, there are some serious conditions that give kids abdominal pain and make them vomit. An emergency physician has to think of the bad things every time, in order to make certain that nothing life-threatening is missed.

An example of such a serious condition is intussusception. This happens when a part of the intestine folds into an adjacent part. This “telescoping” causes strain on the walls of the intestine and its blood supply. The damage to intestinal tissues can cause blood and excess mucous in the stool. The classic stool of patients with intussusception is described as “currant jelly,” meaning dark purple and slimy with mucous. If intussusception is not diagnosed quickly, the bowel can become severely obstructed and the involved section of the intestine can die, leading to the need for emergency surgery or even death. Intussusception is something that, though rare, should not be missed by an emergency physician.

Often the diagnosis and treatment of intussusception are accomplished with a barium enema. Barium is a liquid preparation that shows up on x-rays. When intussusception is suspected, the child is sent to the radiology department and the radiologist gently squirts barium through the anus into the intestine, while taking x-rays. If an intussusception is present, it shows up on the x-rays and the diagnosis is made. Often, the pressure of the barium being injected into the colon causes the intussusception to be “reduced,” meaning the intestine is pushed back into normal position. In such cases, the diagnosis and treatment take place at the same time. When a kid comes in with abdominal pain and vomiting, the emergency physician has to decide if the chances are high enough for intussusception to call in the radiologist from home to do the barium enema.

I have only made the diagnosis of intussusception twice in my long career.

Ryan was a previously healthy, 16-month-old boy who had been having abdominal pain and vomiting for three days. He had been seen twice in that time by pediatricians who treated him for dehydration and sent him home. On arrival in our emergency department, he had a large, black stool covered in slime. Given that history, it was clear to me he needed a barium enema. I called the radiologist, who came in from home and confirmed my diagnosis. Unfortunately for Ryan, the intussusception was not able to be fully reduced. I had to admit him to the hospital to be cared for by a surgeon.

Such a case makes me feel really good. I identified a sick kid. I thought of the right disease. I ordered the correct test. This led to timely and appropriate care. It is just the kind of case that makes emergency medicine so fulfilling and rewarding.

The very next night, I saw another little boy, about the same age, also with vomiting and abdominal pain. He had a distended abdomen and had passed a stool that was dark and covered in mucous. You can imagine how this played with my decision making. In all my years as an emergency physician, I had only diagnosed intussusception one time and it had been the night before. Could this even be possible? Yet, all the signs were there and I called for the barium enema.

The radiologist was pleasant but skeptical. Intussusception is unusual enough that, earlier in the day, the radiologists had all sat around together and looked at the x-rays from my case. So, this radiologist knew I had made that diagnosis the night before. Essentially, he was questioning my need for another barium enema, suspecting my diagnosis the night before had me over-call the need for another one tonight.

I acknowledged his justifiable skepticism but said something like, “Last night, we got lucky. Tonight, this kid read the book.” By this, I meant that he had all the things a textbook would say to watch out for in intussusception. He agreed to come in and, just like the night before, made the diagnosis of intussusception. Again, he was unable to reduce it with the barium enema, so I admitted the patient to a surgeon for further care.

As far as I know, I have only seen two patients in my career with intussusception. And they came in on consecutive nights. What are the chances of that?

 

 

Chocolate Thumbprints with Caramel and Sea Salt

Written by Tad. Posted in Cookies

These are more complicated to make than a lot of cookies but they came out striking looking and are delicious.

Recipe By:

Sunset

Yield:

12

Ingredients:

COOKIES
1 cup flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sparkling sugar or powdered sugar for rolling, or just leave plain

CARAMEL* see notes
1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tbsp.-size chunks
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus about 1/2 tsp. for sprinkling

Directions:

1. Make cookies: Heat oven to 350°.

2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

3. In another bowl with a mixer on medium speed, beat butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy.

4. Reduce speed to low and add egg yolk, cream, and vanilla.

5. Gradually beat in flour mixture.

6. Scoop dough into rounded 2-tablespoon portions and roll into balls. Roll balls in sparkling or powdered sugar to coat. Place 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

 

7. With end of a thick-handled wooden spoon, gently press an indentation into center of each cookie. (I use a cork that we have had in our kitchen for years. I don’t think it has any other reason than to make thumbprint cookies.)

8. Bake until cookies are just set, about 10 minutes. (The depressions tend to fill in a bit as they bake, so as soon as they’re out of the oven, give them another press with the spoon if necessary.) Slide parchment with cookies onto cooling racks and let cool. If you’ve used powdered sugar, sift a little more onto the cookies.

9. Make caramel: Put granulated sugar in a large nonstick frying pan; spread evenly. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Sugar will form clumps but eventually will melt and turn into a dark, amber-colored liquid, about 6 minutes.

10. As soon as it’s liquefied, reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in butter until incorporated.

11. Stirring constantly, drizzle in cream. Boil 1 minute, stirring. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Scrape into a bowl and let cool completely.

12. Assemble cookies: Spoon about a teaspoon of caramel into each cookie. Sprinkle with a few grains of sea salt.

Notes:

You’ll have more caramel than you need, but that’s never a bad thing–it’s great on ice cream. Don’t be tempted to cook a half-batch of caramel, as it won’t cook right and will seize up.

I used the Peter’s Caramel block I had in the cupboard. Shari shaped a 12-gram discs of caramel for each cookie. Three minutes before they were to be cooked, I took the baking sheet out of the oven, placed a caramel disc on each cookie then returned them to the oven to finish cooking. I sprinkled the sea salt on when they came out.

Things Always Come in Threes

Written by Tad. Posted in Kooks

My mother-in-law says, “Things always come in threes.” I don’t believe that but I can’t help notice coincidences in my practice. Usually, it involves looking for different patients with similar illnesses or injuries. In this first case, it was infant twins who shared three identical abnormalities.

Mom brought in her fraternal (not identical) twin daughters for fevers. They had been sick about the same period of time. I diagnosed both with urinary tract infections. It was kind of a surprise that the two of them would come down with an infection like that at the same time. I also noticed they both had umbilical hernias and were tongue-tied. Umbilical hernias are hernias at the belly button. They are not at all unusual in kids this age but it was certainly an interesting coincidence that they both had them. To be tongue-tied means that the frenulum (the small fold of skin beneath the tongue) is too short or tight. This keeps a person from being able to stick his or her tongue out normally. It is usually treated with a minor procedure where the doctor numbs and snips the frenulum, releasing the tongue to stick out normally.

It seemed to me quite a coincidence that both of these sisters had the same three abnormalities.

Speaking of coincidences…

One night, a young man was dancing. While doing so, he thrust his arm into the air, causing a dislocation of his shoulder with the arm stuck straight up in the air. Shoulder dislocation is a pretty common injury we see in the emergency department. That it happened when he was dancing was really unusual as the shoulder usually dislocates because of a fall or other injury that involves more energy. Also, a shoulder dislocation usually results in the patient’s arm hanging down at his or her side. Having it dislocate so it is locked with the arm pointing straight up in the air is also very unusual. I gave him pain medicine and sedatives. I was then able to easily get his arm back in the socket again.

Two nights later, another young man came in with his shoulder dislocated and stuck up over his head. Rather than dancing, this happened when he rolled over in his sleep. It sounds crazy but there are people whose shoulders can just pop out of joint, even from rolling over in bed. Usually this joint instability arises from previous dislocations which damage the supporting structures of the joint leaving it subject to easily popping out. This often needs to be corrected with surgery. Again, they usually present with the patient’s arm down to his or her side. That he also had his shoulder locked with his arm pointing up only two nights after the other guy is quite a coincidence.

You can imagine my mother-in-law would have had me keeping my eyes out for that third shoulder dislocation with the arm pointing up in the air, but it never happened.

 

Orange Strap Ends

Written by Tad. Posted in Trauma Strap Bags

Most of the trauma straps end with the end folded back and sewn to itself. As time has gone by, I have saved the ends of a bunch of straps. The other day, as I have been moved by Covid-19 isolation to get organized, I decided to use a bunch of the ends in bags, using them in a random fashion. Here is what they looked like.

          

Coconut-Oat Cookies

Written by Tad. Posted in Cookies

Sometimes, people in the emergency department would ask me to make eggs-free cookies. Other than coconut macaroons, it was hard to come up with something for them. Here is an egg-free cookie that is lovely to look at and delicious to eat.

Recipe By:

Food Network.com

Ingredients:

1½ cups unsweetened coconut flakes, divided
½ cup granulated sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon pure coconut extract
½ cup rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used more)

Directions:

1. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350˚ F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Toast the coconut in the oven or on the stove top until browned but not burned. Combine 1/2 cup coconut flakes with the granulated sugar in a blender and process until the sugar is finely ground and the coconut is in very small pieces. Set aside.

3.  Put the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Let cool slightly.

4. Stir in the coconut-sugar mixture, brown sugar, salt, baking soda and coconut extract. Then stir in the oats. Add the flour and ½ cup coconut flakes and stir to combine.

5. Scoop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough and gently shape into 2-tablespoon balls. Arrange about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until the cookies are set around the edges and the centers are puffy, 16 to 18 minutes. Let cool 3 to 5 minutes on the pans, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

6. Put the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring, until melted and smooth. Transfer to a small resealable plastic bag and snip a corner. Drizzle the chocolate over the cookies, then sprinkle with the toasted coconut. Let the chocolate set, 10 to 15 minutes.

His Brain on Meth

Written by Tad. Posted in Kooks

Police were called to a home where a naked 27-year-old man was causing a disturbance. He reportedly threw a dresser at the police when they tried to subdue him. To keep him safe and protect those caring for him, he was hogtied. To hogtie someone, the police cuff the wrists behind the person’s back and cuff the ankles. Then, the wrist cuffs and the ankle cuffs are connected together, behind, with a third set of cuffs, forcing the subject into a position with his back arched and his ankles fastened to his wrists behind his back. After restraining this man, the police loaded him in their squad car and headed for the emergency department.

I was called out to the ambulance loading dock because the police and ED staff were having trouble getting him out of the back of the police car. Hogtied, naked, sweaty and still fighting, he had thrown himself forward, off the back seat. His head was wedged under the back of the front seat with his rear up in the air. All I saw when I peeked into the car was his naked butt with his scrotum sticking up by his crack.

When we finally got the man onto a hospital gurney, I noted he was not moving any more. A quick check showed he had no pulse and was not breathing. This changed the nature of our situation profoundly. Instead of controlling a drug-addled patient, we had a patient in cardiac arrest.

We moved him immediately off the loading dock into the closest room in the emergency department where the police reluctantly removed his cuffs. I was then able to quickly assess him and give some orders including starting CPR, inserting an IV and getting him on the monitor. Since he was not breathing, I immediately passed a breathing tube into his windpipe and got him on a ventilator. As we got all that done, his heart, which had actually not stopped but had just gone to a very slow rate, was now fast and he was starting to wake up. Though that was good news for him, it also required immediate sedation so he would not pull out his IVs and breathing tube.

A more careful examination showed him to have abrasions on his extremities where the cuffs had been placed and a dislocated elbow, which had probably been suffered at some point during the fight to restrain him. After I stabilized him for admission to the ICU, I got his elbow back in joint and splinted. His testing was all negative except for methamphetamines in his urine.

Copyright © 2014 Bad Tad, MD