Cooking Projects to Keep You Busy and Extremely Well Fed

Squash au Vin

Slow-Cooked Chicken Stew with Kale

Pork Wontons With Sesame Sauce

Chicken Braised in Lime and Peanut Sauce

French Onion Beef Noodle Soup

Black Sesame Mochi Cake With Black Sesame Caramel

Get the recipes at Bon Appetit . . . . .

Caramel Chocolate Cream Puff


2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp butter
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
4 eggs, room temperature

Chocolate Cream

1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup icing sugar
3 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
jar of salted caramel


  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF and line a baking tray with parchment paper or with a silicone baking mat.
  2. Sift flour and cocoa powder together in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Crack your eggs into another separate bowl and set aside.
  4. Combine milk, water, salt, sugar and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, remove from heat.
  5. Add the flour mixture all at once and stir it in with a wooden spoon. Return the saucepan to the heat, and on medium-low heat, continue to stir for around 2 minutes until it all comes together.
  6. Remove from heat and transfer the batter to the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with a paddle attachment. Beat on low to release any extra heat from the dough.
  7. While the dough is beating, add the previously cracked eggs one at a time. Depending on how long you cooked your initial dough, you might not need to add all the eggs. Your dough will be ready when you have a creamy yet elastic consistency.
  8. Transfer finished dough to a piping bag fitted with a 14 mm round pipping tip.
  9. Pipe out 6 cm wide rounds, leaving 2-3 cm in between them. Bake for 30-45 minutes. Do not open oven door during baking to avoid the cream puffs from collapsing.
  10. To make the Chocolate Cream, sift together icing sugar and cocoa in a bowl. Set aside.
  11. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer with whisk attachment, whip up the cold cream past the bubbly stage. When it starts to thicken, slowly add cocoa mixture to the cream, turning the machine off while adding.
  12. When cream becomes a thicker consistency, transfer to a piping bag equipped with a star tip and place in refrigerator until ready to use.
  13. To assemble, with a serrated knife, cut off top third of puff horizontally.
  14. While holding the piping bag vertically, pipe a circle of chocolate cream on the bottom part of the choux. Layer 2 more circles on top to create a hollow structure of cream.
  15. Pipe some caramel into the centre, filling the cavity.
  16. Place the top part of choux on the cream. Pipe a rosette of the same chocolate cream on the top for decoration. Keep chilled until served.

Makes 10 cream puffs.

Source: ciao!

Character Puddings of Pastel Stores in Japan

Pompompurin Mini Pudding

Fluffy Pompompurin

A la Mode Pompompurin

Chiffon Pompompurin

Study: N95 Face Masks Can Be Sterilized and Re-Used

Amid a shortage of face masks for medical personnel fighting COVID-19, two studies show that disposable N95 masks can be sterilized and re-used.

A nationwide mask shortage has put health care workers and patients at risk, but the new findings may offer ways to ease that shortage.

Researchers at University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst report that an N95 mask sterilized with hydrogen peroxide blocked infectious particles as effectively as a new mask.

Meanwhile, Duke University hospitals in North Carolina’s capital region have re-started a mask-sterilization protocol that had been developed in 2016.

The key issue: “A used mask could have COVID-19 on it, so reusing it without sterilization poses a danger to the wearer or to another patient,” explained Richard Peltier, an associate professor of public health and health sciences at UMass.

Particulates blocked by the face mask are held inside it, so it must be sterilized if it is not discarded.

However, there were concerns that sterilization might significantly degrade a mask’s filter material, causing it to function improperly.

The new research shows that isn’t the case.

“They work just as well after sterilization,” Peltier said in a UMass news release.

Typically, such a test would be repeated dozens of times, but the Boston hospital that supplied the masks couldn’t spare any more.

“We are no longer under ordinary circumstances and we have to improvise as best we can,” Peltier said.

In related news, Duke researchers confirmed a way to use vaporized hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate masks so they are safe to re-use.

Duke routinely uses hydrogen peroxide gas to sterilize equipment and even entire rooms. The process, tested and published by others in 2016, kills germs on the masks after they’re worn. The earlier studies did not include fit testing after cleaning to prove the strategy had real-world application.

“We had never considered needing it for something like face masks,” said Matthew Stiegel, director of Duke’s Occupational and Environmental Safety Office. “But we’ve now proven that it works and will begin using the technology immediately in all three Duke Health Hospitals.”

Duke published its mask decontamination protocol so that other hospitals can use it.

Source: HealthDay

Dropping Blood Pressure May Predict Frailty, Falls in Older People

Blood pressure that goes down when you stand up is associated with frailty and falls in older people, according to a new study that advocates more testing.

The research, published Monday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, delved into the relationship between geriatric patients and orthostatic hypotension – a type of low blood pressure that occurs when you stand up, sometimes causing you to feel dizzy or lightheaded. The condition occurs in 5% to 30% of people over 65.

Researchers tested 168 men and women, with an average age of 81, who visited a geriatric outpatient clinic for cognitive or mobility problems. Their blood pressure was continuously monitored as they were asked to lie down for five minutes, then stand up and stay standing for three minutes.

The study found dropping systolic blood pressure rates had the strongest association with how frail the person was and the number of falls they had in the past year. Systolic is the top number in a blood pressure reading, and diastolic is the bottom number. Frailty was measured by four factors: mobility, incontinence, cognitive function and activities of daily life.

The magnitude of diastolic blood pressure drop had the strongest association with a different set of frailty markers: unintentional weight loss, exhaustion, physical inactivity, walking speed and handgrip strength.

While low blood pressure isn’t necessarily a problem for healthy people, testing a geriatric person’s blood pressure drop rate could be a meaningful way to predict who is likely to become frail and fall, said Dr. Andrea Maier, the study’s lead author.

“Frailty is a major problem because it means you’re likely not able to continue to live independently and you’re likely to die in the coming years. Knowing why frailty and falls occur is very important,” said Maier, a geriatrician and professor at the University of Melbourne and Vrije University in Amsterdam.

Low blood pressure in geriatric patients can be a sign of inadequate blood flow to other vital organs, including the heart and brain, she said.

“If you’re blood isn’t flowing and it’s hard to stand up, it’s a bit like the electricity has been shut off to the body,” Maier said. “As medical professionals, we sometimes think about treating one organ and we forget that organs interact together, like a network.”

Dr. Jeff Williamson, who was not involved in the study, said the findings serve as a reminder that doctors need to keep a close eye on the subset of geriatric patients with orthostatic hypotension.

“You also need to be careful that blood pressure medicine is not contributing to this, although in the vast majority of people, that’s not the case, and it’s safe to treat their blood pressure to guideline level,” said Williamson, a professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He also is chief of geriatric medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Health. Williamson was part of the writing committee for the most recent blood pressure guidelines issued in 2017 by the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association.

He said the new study was limited by its design. “This is an association study that doesn’t say low blood pressure causes frailty. It just says frailty and low blood pressure walk hand-in-hand.”

Williamson called for future studies on which types of blood pressure medication – and what dosage – works best for frail geriatric patients with low blood pressure. He’d also like to see research on whether moderate exercise and a better diet could help older people with orthostatic hypotension.

Maier said she’s conducting research on oxygenation levels of blood in the brain to better understand how it is impacted by orthostatic hypotension. “We’re trying to individualize our diagnostics so we can have personalized care for blood pressure regulation.”

In the meantime, she asked clinicians to be more aggressive in testing geriatric patients for orthostatic hypotension with the same measurement used in the study: Lie down for five minutes, then stand up and stay standing for three minutes, all with continuous blood pressure monitoring.

“It takes eight minutes, which is a long time for a doctor, and that’s why it’s been a bit neglected in clinical practice,” Maier said. She advises older people to talk to their doctors “if you don’t feel well when you stand up, or you’ve had a fall in the past, or you just think ‘I’m declining physically.’ Given all the knowledge we have, the test should be routinely done.”

Source: American Heart Association

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