Showing posts with label strawberry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label strawberry. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sweet Break up

Happy Valentine's Day! Or Happy February 14th? However you are spending today, I'm happy to bring you another delicious recipe. Personally, I am spending this evening on my own because I am traveling for work. Bad timing for meetings this week mean that I had Chipotle for dinner, by myself in my hotel room. So romantic!

Though this isn't terribly different from how the boyfriend and I have spent many of our thirteen Valentine's Days. Eight of those years were spent as a long distance couple. We didn't even see each other for this holiday until four years ago. Needless to say, Valentine's Day isn't a big holiday for us!

One holiday that I didn't know was a thing? February 13th - National Break-Up Day! 


Apparently the reasoning behind National Break-Up day is this - You've made it through the winter holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years) and have made your parents happy by showing them that you aren't going to die alone. But here's the reality - you hate this person you're dating! In order to keep from wasting money on a Valentine's gift/dinner there is only one option - Break it off!


I haven't taken part in National Break-up day. I just broke up with boyfriends on random days for all the normal reasons - he showed up drunk to a high school football game, or he didn't support my plan to go to grad school, he didn't realize he was gay. You know, the normal reasons.

In honor of National Break-Up Day, Perry's Ice Cream has developed a new flavor - Bad Breakup. Sea salt caramel chocolate ice cream with fudge swirls and caramel-filled chocolate hearts. I'm so glad that it only comes in pint sizes. because I could seriously eat an entire quart of this stuff. If you haven't tried Perry's yet, hop in your car or get on a plane and fly to Western New York to get some.

Since every breakup needs lots of chocolate, I decided to make a chocolate and strawberry cake to enjoy alongside. Chocolate and strawberries has too long belonged to the lovers on February 14th. This chocolate and strawberry cake is for all the single ladies (and gentlemen!) who just want to indulge!



You don't have to be newly single to enjoy a big slab of chocolate cake and heaping serving of Bad Breakup Ice cream. I cleaned this plate while sitting on the couch with the boyfriend!


No matter your current situation, if you are in need of a little cake and ice cream I'm going to recommend this combination! The recipe is for a 6-inch cake, just enough for a little dinner party or a week's worth of cake for a singleton. My recommendation though? Bring it to the office and butter up your coworkers! They'll complain, but be really happy at the end of the day.

One Year Ago: Homemade Moon Pies
Two Years Ago: Homemade Girl Scout Samoas
Three Years Ago: Whole Wheat Pasta with Sausage and Leeks
Four Years Ago: Chipotle CopyCat Recipes
Five Years Ago: Chocolate-Peppermint Marshmallows
Six Years Ago: Homemade Butterfinger Bars

Friday, February 3, 2017

Strawberry Shortcake Mallomars


I'm so sorry for these lackluster photos. Especially because these cookies were so amazing! Recently I was feeling the winter blues and decided to bring out some springtime flavors. Obviously I don't have any freshly picked spring strawberries, but I do have freshly picked, frozen strawberries!

Now you know that I'm a huge fan of making marshmallows. I could probably make them in my sleep now. I can't believe that I never used strawberries to make a strawberry marshmallow! By simply swapping out the water for pureed strawberries, you too can have these fluffy marshmallows in your life! This is also the perfect time of year to make marshmallows, cool temperatures and low humidity are a candy makers dream conditions!

Not only are these cookies a reminder that spring is only a few weeks away (no matter what that silly groundhog has to say!), but they are perfect for February and Valentine's Day! A mixture of red, pink and white sanding sugar really amps up the holiday theme. I'd recommend topping them with a candy heart and giving them to your favorite person.

One Year Ago: J@H - Fauxritos
Two Years Ago: Parmesan Fries
Three Years Ago: Magnolia's Banana Pudding
Four Years Ago: Homemade Granola
Five Years Ago: Homemade Fondant
Six Years Ago: Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Happy 5th Birthday WITK!

I can't believe that it's been five years since I started writing here at WITK! I remember reading food blogs during my down time in the lab and thinking that I'd like to share my cooking online too! A lot has changed since those early days in the kitchen...



In 2010, I was living in Colorado and getting ready to move to Connecticut. It was probably the worst time to start a food blog, since my kitchen was about to be packed up and shipped off to the East Coast!


I spent a year cooking from my tiny studio apartment in New Haven, Connecticut, before landing my first real job and moving to New Jersey. Not just moving to New Jersey, but moving in with my boyfriend of eight years.


I spent almost two years at my first job before the company was closed and I found myself unemployed! During my six months of unemployment I started a lifestyle blog, Wilde in the City, interviewed at a half dozen pharma companies and traveled the US with the boyfriend.


These days I'm happily at a new pharmaceutical company, in a completely different position, traveling the world and occasionally getting into the kitchen. With my work and travel schedule, I've been lax with my posting here at WITK, but I couldn't let this date pass me by!


Since it's July, I thought that I would celebrate the fruit of the season - the Strawberry! The cake is flavored with ripe strawberries and layered with strawberry compote and fresh whipped cream. To top it all off, the cake is covered with an amazing cream cheese frosting.

Thank you for coming along on this exciting journey at WITK! I wish you could all come over and have a slice of cake. I guess I'll just have to eat it all myself!

One Year Ago: Neapolitan Cake 
Two Years Ago: Milky Way Cake
Three Years Ago: Sponge Candy Cake
Four Years Ago: Pizza Foccacia
Five Years Ago: Chocolate Cupcakes

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy Fourth Birthday WITK!

I've been MIA a lot recently but I just had to remember to wish WITK a Happy Fourth Birthday! This year has brought a lot of change and writing at WITK (and WITC) really helped me through a tough time. WITK has been with me through lots of changes and I always like to take this time of year to reflect on how much has changed and how far I've come!


Four years ago, I was living in Colorado. I was packing up my Boulder apartment and getting ready to move across the country, again. My boss had accepted a position at Yale and was bringing a few of his students and postdocs with him. Food blogs were new to me and I thought it would be a great way to stay in touch with my friends across the country.


Three years ago, I was in the midst of moving from Connecticut to New Jersey. I was a few days from starting my first real job and busy deciding what to wear. WITK went from three days a week posting to just two and I was trying to figure out how to cook dinner for two instead of one.


Two years ago, WITK was in the midst of its first big food challenge (Why Bother 2012!) I was enjoying my first summer as a real employed person. Easily distracted, I neglected to cook dinner and made lots of sweets. My coworkers happily gobbled up the resulting desserts.


Last year, it was a tough time and I was in the middle of my summer of unemployment. Recently laid off and seeking a new full-time gig, I threw myself into WITK and my new venture - Wilde in the City. With two blogs to distract myself from the lack of interviews, my third blogoversary gave me a great reason to make a seriously involved cake. So delicious.


This year, I find myself at a new job, getting ready to buy a house and juggling everything rather poorly! Over the past four months I have racked up over 70,000 frequent flier miles, traveled to six different countries and finally made it to Hawaii. All this travel has been tough on WITK, I cooked very little over the past four months.

In order to properly celebrate four years online, I made WITK a beautiful cake. I've been meaning to make something from the SprinkleBakes cookbook for a while now. I flipped through the pages until I found this cake - the Neapolitan cake. Three different flavors, baked from a single batter, this cake was a great combination of flavors. My favorites? I preferred the strawberry and vanilla layers. The chocolate layer wasn't flavorful enough for me. If I were to make this again, I'd use some melted chocolate for flavoring the chocolate layer.

Happy Birthday Wilde in the Kitchen! Thanks for being there for me though all the changing times! Also, many many thanks to all of my internet friends out there! Without you on the other end of the internet, it would just be my mom reading these posts! Thanks for coming along for the ride.

One Year Ago: Milky Way Cake
Two Years Ago: Buffalo Sponge Candy Cake
Three Years Ago: Pomegranate Moon Pies
Four Years Ago!!!: Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate or Peanut Butter Frosting

Neapolitan Cake
Adapted from SprinkleBakes

The bake times for these cakes were way off. The cookbook suggested that all three cakes would take about the same amount of time in the oven. This wasn't the case however and it's mostly because you have to add extra water to the flavored layers. It takes much longer to bake out all this excess water. I've listed both the suggested and actual bake times in this recipe. Keep in mind that your oven could be a bit different and you should check the doneness with a toothpick. Poke it in the center, when you pull it out there should be only crumbs clinging to the toothpick.  Happy baking!

Cake batter
3 sticks (24 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3 cups sugar
6 cups cake flour, sifted
2 tablespoons baking powder
12 egg whites, room temperature
2 cups milk (I used skim milk with a dash of heavy cream)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-ounce package strawberry Jell-O
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup hot water

Icing
1 pound cream cheese, removed from the fridge 20 minutes ago
1/2 pound (16 tablespoons) butter, softened
1 pound (about 4 cups) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Grease three 9-inch round pans with butter. Line pans with parchment paper (I used wax paper because it was what I had!), butter the paper.

In a large bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form. You can also do this with a hand mixer or in your stand mixer. You'll have to transfer the whipped egg whites to another bowl if you use your stand mixer.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy.  Sifter together flour and baking powder. Add vanilla to milk.  Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the creamed butter. Mix on low until incorporated. Add 1/2 the milk, mix until blended. Add flour, milk and then flour, mixing until smooth after each addition.  Add egg whites all at once. Gently fold in the egg whites, try not to beat too vigorously and deflate the egg whites.

Divide the batter into three equal batches (I used a food scale to ensure I had three equal amounts). Add 1/4 cup hot water to the strawberry Jell-O. Stir until gelatin is mostly dissolved. Add this to one of the batches of batter and stir until there are no streaks remaining. Pour into one of the prepared pans.

Mix remaining 1/4 cup of hot water with cocoa powder, it will form a slurry. Add cocoa mixture to the second batch of batter. Pour into the second prepared pan. Pour remaining vanilla cake into the third pan. Bake cake layers as follows.

Vanilla - Suggested (30-35 minutes), Actual (33 minutes)
Strawberry - Suggested (30-35 minutes), Actual (45 minutes)
Chocolate - Suggested (25-30 minutes), Actual (40 minutes)

Remove cake layers from the oven and let cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and peel off paper from the bottom. Let cool cakes completely before cutting. Level the tops of the cakes and stack while you prepare the frosting.

Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until the entire pound of sugar is added. If it's too thick - add 1 teaspoon of milk. If it's too thin, add more powdered sugar, one tablespoon at a time.

Assemble the cake - Chocolate layer on the bottom, spread about 3/4 cup frosting on top of the chocolate layer. Add vanilla layer and top with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with strawberry layer and top with 1 cup frosting. Spread cake with a thin crumb coat (Here's a nice video to learn how to crumb coat!). Pop it in the fridge for about 1 hour to harden.  Remove from the fridge and frost with the rest of the frosting. You can get fancy, but I just went with a smooth outside and a swirly top.

Feed this cake to lots of people, there is a lot of butter in here!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Strawberry-Bacon Pizza

Say hello to delicious.


During my days of unemployment, I usually wander around Montclair, read books at Starbucks and bake cookies for Boyfriend.  Lunch often falls by the wayside and I wind up having a yogurt around 3:00.  Yesterday I was inspired to actually make lunch after flipping through Fitness magazine.  This strawberry and goat cheese pizza screamed my name.  Top it all off with a hefty load of crumbled bacon and I was tearing this recipe from the magazine and heading to Whole Foods. 

This pizza comes together quickly, which is perfect for someone craving bacon and goat cheese.  Using naan for the pizza crust, this lunch went from ingredients to delicious in only fifteen minutes. 

And it was amazing.  I should make lunch more often.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Wilde Away

What does someone do when they've been laid off?  They go on vacation!  No wait, that doesn't seem like the normal thing to do.  Nonetheless, boyfriend and I are not in country right now, we are in Morocco!  In a way it's a good time to go on vacation.  It gets the mind off of the fact that I don't have anywhere to go in the morning.


Boyfriend and I are currently in the Sahara desert, riding camels around.  We got to spend the night in a Berber camp in the desert, where I saw the stars for the first time in a long time.  We have spent the past few days in Marrakech and will be moving on to Agadir tomorrow morning, where we will learn how to surf!  I'm very excited and totally frightened for my life.  The ocean is scary and I'm hoping we're surfing little baby waves.  On giant surf boards.  While wearing floaties.


Until I come back, enjoy these uh-mazing strawberry bars.  I made them just before we left, you know, in all my unemployed free time.  I really enjoyed them hot with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.  For breakfast.  Don't judge.

Disclaimer: OXO was nice enough to send me some fun fruit-related products as a part of their blogger outreach program, including the strawberry huller you see in the first image.  I used the huller to remove the hulls of the strawberries.  You can use a paring knife just as well, I like tools.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Strawberry Rice Crispy Treats

We're really getting into the big eating season aren't we?  It feels like it was Halloween just a few days ago and here we are, the day before Thanksgiving.  The malls have already started decorating for Christmas and the Short Hills mall has set up a big Ice Age pavillion for photographs, it's a nice non-denominational set since we have such a diverse population here in Northern New Jersey.


It might come as a surprise to you, but I won't be cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year.  In fact, I won't even be eating a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  I'll be going out to a restaurant with Boyfriend and his parents (the in-laws!).  Since I'm not cooking dinner, I took to the kitchen this weekend and made some treats for my coworkers.  There were chocolate chip cookies, two French silk pies and these little pink beauties.

These are strawberry rice krispy treats.  Made the simple way.  In the past, I have made flavored rice krispy treats using homemade marshmallows.  When I wanted to make flavored treats this weekend, I didn't have the energy to whip up a batch of marshmallows, let them cure and finally prepare the krispy treats.  What I needed was a potent source of natural flavor.  Dehydrated strawberries were the perfect solution.


A little tricky to find (I got my dehydrated strawberries at Whole Foods), I sometimes find myself eating these little gems like potato chips.  Luckily I had set aside a bag of berries for the purpose of making strawberry macarons.  Instead, they made their way into these marshmallow treats and they packed a flavor punch.

Seriously deep with strawberry flavor, the dehydrated berries were the perfect solution to making flavored rice krispy treats without all the fuss.  I'm searching the health food stores for other dehydrated fruits that I can put into my next batch.  I've already found freeze-dried pears and pineapples.  What else is out there?  dehydrated blueberries, apples, beef?  Okay, maybe no to beef-flavored rice krispy treats.


I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving, whether you are cooking, being cooked for or having pizza.  I've had dessert already, so as long as I can score myself some turkey, it will be a good day!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Why Bother? 2012 - Homemade Sodas Part 2

Today is the first full day of Fall!  I'm so ready for it.  I just bought some fabulous, black ankle boots.  Boyfriend hates them.  I've starting to search the stores for sweaters and picked up a few pairs of tights.  We have even been sleeping with the windows open.  And I've dyed my hair brown.


How are you preparing for Fall?  Bringing those sweaters out of storage?  Heading to Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte?  Baking apples and cinnamon into everything?


Whatever you are doing on this, this first day of fall, I'm here to bring you the second installment of homemade sodas!  This particular flavor would have been more suited for spring and fresh strawberries.  Strawberry cream soda!


To make yourself a strawberry cream soda, you don't need any fancy equipment.  No soda siphon or CO2 cartridges necessary for this recipe.  All you need is a pint of strawberries, vanilla extract, milk and your liquid sweetener of choice.


After blending all of the ingredients together, I wanted to just sit and drink the strawberry puree.  Look how pretty it looks!  So creamy and fragrant. 


Once mixed with seltzer water, this was a mild and sweet beverage.  I would suggest adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream and curling up in your fuzzy slippers.  Happy Fall Everyone!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Why Bother? - Homemade Jam

Back in the early eighties, my mom tried her hand at making jams and jellies.  Unfortunately my dad dubbed the products "Not like my mom's jams."  The canning materials went into the basement where they gathered dust for the next twenty-five years, until I went poking around.  Which is why last year, I inherited a large canning pot and three boxes of vintage Ball mason jars. 


I have fuzzy memories of my grandmothers basement.  It was dark, dusty and scary for an eight-year old.  It was full from front to back with old furniture, boxes of Christmas decorations and musty vintage clothing.  One corner also held a make-shift shelving unit, built into the stud of the walls, that was filled from floor to ceiling with dusty mason jars.  From what I remember, they were all filled with peaches.  I have no idea why.  My grandmothers house was in Upstate New York, where there are a dearth of peach trees.  If she had jars of jam in her basement, they looked like peaches to my young, frightened of the dark, eyes.

This weeks challenge was to channel my jam-making grandmother, using my moms vintage canning supplies and churn out modern preserves.  There are so many varieties of jams, jellies and preserves available in the grocery store and at the farmers market, I didn't want to make a plain, single fruit jam.  Why make plain strawberry jam when I can buy fresh, locally made strawberry jam at the farmers market right around the corner from my house?


There are a few reasons why you could make all of your own jam.  1. Using fresh, in season, organic fruits gives the most flavorful product possible.  2. Jam-making and canning is a simple process.  3. Make a batch of homemade jam - you have presents for everyone!

For my canning-fest, I chose two very different flavor combos.  First - fresh and bright Strawberry-Lemon preserves.  Next - tangy ginger-pear preserves.  Yes, I decided to go with preserves for both of my jams.  Personally, I like a bit of chunky texture to my spreads and therefore I'm not really a jelly fan.  I also didn't want to go with any tricky recipes that required added pectin from apples or the baking aisle. Maybe I'll give jelly a go once we finish these jars of jam!


Results - the strawberry-lemon jam was bright and fresh.  The recipe was super simple to follow and the jam came together very quickly.  This was exceptional on my morning English muffin and I will have no problem finishing the two jars that I made.  The ginger-pear preserves took a bit longer to make because the pears were very juicy.  Once complete, this jam made a striking change in a traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

When it comes to jams, jellies and preserves I have two suggestions - Head to the farmers market or "Pick your own" farm and stock up on local, in season produce.  And, when making your own jams, try something a little different, you can get strawberry jam anywhere.

One Year Ago: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Ice Cream

Important!  When it comes to canning, you want to be sure to follow canning rules to ensure a safe product.  To sterilize your jar and lids - Bring a large pot of water to a boil, it will probably take between 15-30 minutes for your water to boil.  Get it ready in advance.  Add your jars to the pot and boil them for 10 minutes.  Remove with tongs and pour out the water.  Let jars cool on the counter top on a kitchen towel.  Place lids in a heat-proof container and pour a few ladles of boiling water over them.  Try not to touch the inside of the lids with your fingers.

Once the jars are full, return them to the water bath and process for the required amount of time.  Remove them from the water bath and set them on a kitchen towel.  Let the jars sit at room temperature for 12 hours.  You should hear the jar lids pop closed after a few minutes.  If the lids haven't sealed in an hour, put those jars in the fridge.

Strawberry-Lemon Preserves
Adapted from Canning for a New Generation

2 pints strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped
2 lemons, washed
1 cup sugar

Cut the ends off of the lemons.  Cut lemons in quarters and remove the seeds.  Slice lemons very thinly, about 1/8-inch thick.  Gently toss strawberries, lemons and sugar in a large bowl.  Cover and put in the fridge overnight.

Prepare 2-3 1/2-pint jars and their lids.  Combine fruit with 1/3 cup water in a large saucepan with high sides.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.  Pour fruit into a colander and collect the liquids in a bowl below.

Return liquids to the pan and bring to a boil.  Cook for 15 minutes until the liquids are reduced to a syrup.  Return fruit to the pan and bring to a simmer.  Stir frequently and cook for about 20-25 minutes.  The strawberries should hold their shape, but be shiny and glossy.

Remove jars from the water bath and ladle hot water over the lids.  Add preserves to the jars.  Wipe the lip of the jars clean with a wet paper towel.  Place lids on the jars and screw on collars.  The lids should just be finger-tightened.  Process in the water bath for 5 minutes with the lid on the water bath.  Remove jars from the bath and let sit on a kitchen towel.  Do not disturb for 12 hours.

You can store the jam in the pantry.  Store opened jars in the fridge and eat within a few weeks.

Ginger-Pear Preserves
Adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

6 pears (choose your favorite type), peeled, cored and chopped
Zest of 3 limes
Juice of 3 limes
2 1/3 cups sugar
1 tbsp grated gingerroot

Prepare 3-4 1/2-pint jars in a water bath.  Place 3 spoons in the freezer.

In a large, non-reactive, saucepan, combine pears, lime zest, lime juice, sugar and ginger.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Stir frequently and cook for 15 minutes. 

Test the gel - Take one of your frozen spoons and scoop up some of the liquid from the pan.  If the liquid drips off in small drops, the gel is not ready.  Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly and test again.  If the liquid falls off the spoon in a sheet, it it ready to can. 

Remove jars from the water bath and ladle jar into the jars.  Wipe off the lip of the jars with a wet paper towel.  Place lids on the jars and screw on the collars.  Process jars in the water bath for 10 minutes the the bath lid on.  Remove the lid and let boil for 5 more minutes.  Remove jars from the bath and place on a kitchen towel.  After 1 hour, check to see if the lids have sealed (the tops should not pop when pressed down).   If any jars have not sealed, place them in the fridge immediately.  Do not disturb the sealed jars for 12 hours. 

Sealed jars can be stored in the pantry.  Opened jars should be stored in the fridge.  Try this with peanut butter for a new take on your classic PB&J!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Relayed for Life!

This past weekend was the culmination of all of the fundraising and we had our local Relay for Life! Boyfriend and I got to participate and make many laps around the Relay track. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, since I've never done a Relay event before, but it was lots of fun for everyone.

I'm pretty sure that it was the kids that had the most fun at the event and who could blame them. It's a parentally okayed event that you get to stay up all night and run around in a field. Or that's how our Relay event turned out to be!


The official events during the course of the evening were both fun and moving. I was intrigued to learn about the reasoning for an overnight event. The event runs from 6pm to 6am and Relay is meant to mirror a persons fight against cancer.

From diagnosis, to beginning treatment, to fighting through the darkness and finally being cancer-free, the setting sun begins the fight and the rising sun brings a new tomorrow with hope for a bright future.


Unfortunately, not everyone who is diagnosed with cancer makes it through the fight. The memory of friends, family and strangers taken early by cancer are celebrated during the sunset luminary lighting. Probably the most moving part of the evening, luminary bags, decorated and dedicated, are lit with candles. These luminaries lined the track, giving the Relayers a guide through the dark, helping us continue through until sunrise.

It was a fantastic event. I would definitely recommend taking part in your local Relay for life event. I also wanted to thank you allot helping raise over $350 for our team in my online bake sale. That amount was actually matched by my company, bringing our total to just under $700! Thanks to everyone!

To give you a little extra thank you, I made you a cheesecake. Made with freshly prepared, homemade ricotta cheese and locally grown strawberries!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Island Sides

The past few days have been feeling more Caribbean-like up here in the northeast. I stepped off the train this morning and was greeted by a hot, humid gust of Long Island wind. Not only is the morning heat very reminiscent of the islands, these afternoon thunderstorms are too!


There is just one big difference between enjoying Caribbean weather while on vacation and suffering through it on a regular day. I try to look presentable when going to work where I don't even bother with mascara on vacation. This humidity is making my hair straightener work overtime! Even after ten minutes with the iron, all of my hard work is undone upon opening the front door!


Luckily I have an appointment at the salon this weekend, where I will cut several inches off my hair. This will make it lighter and easier to curl. The straight-haired days of winter are over. Time to embrace bouncy curls once again! (Which means its also time to confuse my male coworkers with my ever changing hair.)


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Frittata, Spring Arugula Salad & Basil Panna Cotta with Strawberry gelee

Is there a time of the year that is any better than spring?  Personally, it is my favorite season and there are so many reasons why.

First, spring means that I can break out my cute dresses and strap on some adorable sandels.  I'm saying "see you later" to my winter coat and donning my favorite black satin spring jacket (seriously, it's so adorable, I'm sad I can only wear it in the in between weather times!).  Now that I'm a non-grad student type person and have all this weekend free time, I live in dresses as soon as the weather agrees with it!


Next, tulips.  Tulips are the most awesome flower, ever.  I will carry tulips down the aisle whenever I get around the getting married.  I have a vase of pink and yellow tulips sitting on the table next to me at this very moment.  Tulips are so much more amazing that roses because they have a little personality.  I think it looks like they are sighing.  When I see my first few tulips of spring, I'm a happy banana.


Finally, the farmers market.  I fell in love with the idea of a weekend market during my time in Madison, WI.  The market on the capitol square rivals all other markets I've been to, including all the ones I've stopped by in NYC.  I miss the Dane Country farmers market, you could do all of your grocery shopping there.  While our local one isn't quite so large, the produce is fresh and local.  It's also a ten minutes walk away.  While the pickings are scarce right now, soon natures bounty will start to overflow the farm stands.


To celebrate spring, Frigidaire was kind enough to sponsor a series of spring posts via Foodbuzz. In keeping with the fresh and local theme, I headed to the farmers market and picked up everything that I could from the stands (the rest was filled in by our local Whole Foods). Farm fresh eggs with crisp spring asparagus and herbs. Sweet raspberries and peppery arugula. Local cream, flavored with bright green basil and finished off with sweet-tart strawberries. This meal gets me ready for spring and looking forward to the bounty of the farmers market.


This post was sponsored by Frigidaire. When you check out Suzanne Goin's springtime recipes at www.maketimeforchange.com, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children's U.S. programs. Plus, you'll be entered for a chance to win the new Frigidaire Range with SymmetryTM Double Ovens – featuring two large ovens (that can each fit up to a 28 pound turkey!), providing the flexibility to cook multiple dishes at the same time at different temperatures, so you can get more on the table at the same time.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Strawberry Pate de Fruit

Do you remember what you wore on your first day of high school?  I do.  I thought I looked super cool in my overalls, pink Gap t-shirt and matching pink socks.  I also had on my brand new Aasics with the pink triangles.  I loved those shoes and wore them all year long.  The triangles always matched my outfit.  And I still own those pink socks.  Thankfully I no longer own those overalls, I think they were too short about a month after I wore them.


When looking in my closet last night I was faced with a similarly important decision.  What do I wear on my first day of work?  What could I see myself wearing on that all important day?  How would I remember myself as I walked through those glass doors?  This was an important decision.  As I mulled over my closet, boyfriend commented "I thought you would have this figured out a while ago!" 

Luckily, I didn't have too much to decide between.  Having worked in a university lab for the past seven and a half years, my wardrobe consists mostly of jeans and cute t-shirts.  My collection of business clothing is far smaller than my collection of white tees.  I'm going to have to go shopping!


Perhaps you're wondering, what did I decide on?  Sage green, silk button-down with a tie at the waist.  Black pants that I have decided are about a size too big after wearing all day.  Black patent leather ballet flats with a shiny silver buckle.  Today was a great day and I looked pretty good walking through those doors.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chocolate cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream


I am and oxymoron.  My job title is "synthetic organic chemist."  When I tell people this I get many, many looks of confusion.  As an explanation I tell them that I make chemicals synthetically that are naturally found in nature.  Are you confused yet?  Most people just walk away.

You can also call me a natural products chemist.  Is this any less of an oxymoron?  I'm not really sure.  As a graduate student and postdoctoral associate I have been making natural products for the past eight years.  Here is a step-by-step explanation of why a synthetic organic chemist does what they do...

1. Sea sponge (or plant or animal or dirt) is collected by isolation chemists

2. Sea sponge is extracted and lots of neat-o chemicals are found inside of the sea sponge

3. Neat-o chemicals are tested against many, many cell screens.  The biologists look for activity against human disease

4. Neat-o, disease-killing chemical is published and given a fancy name like Neatoside F

5. Synthetic organic chemists (like me!) decide it's a worthwhile target and try to make neatoside F

6. On Friday, June 17th, they succeed in making neatoside F and celebrate with cupcakes!

That's right, after months of hard work, I finished my target.  It's a big day in the life of a synthetic organic chemistry, the day you bring your molecule into the world.  You've watched it grow, seen it make bad choices and even seen it fall apart in the face of tough conditions.  The SOC continues to nurture their target until finally it comes shining into existence.  There is no prouder day in the life of a SOC, until that work finds it's way into a major publication, of course.  It's like a birth announcement.  Welcome to the world neatoside F!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fruit and Yogurt Jars

The heat of the summer is starting to hit most of the country and I’m very excited. I’m the type of person who will not put on shorts until it’s at least 80 outside. And that’s a humid 80. When I lived in Colorado, it routinely got up to 100 degrees during the summertime. However, you would still see me going to work in jeans. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s totally true! It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity, blah blah blah…


Well, I’m back on the coast and there’s definitely humidity here. Lots of it. I can see all the humidity hanging in the air when I open my blinds in the morning. My mornings have been going like this… Alarm goes off – I wake up, excited for a new day. I walk to the windows and open the blinds. My day turns to bad as I realize my hair is going to be crazy today. I’m going to look like Einstein, minus the snazzy mustache.


With all this heat and humidity, I have also been avoiding turning on my oven. Mostly because I’m too cheap to turn on my air conditioning. It was the exact opposite in the winter, when I baked a lot because I was too cheap to turn on my heat. What can I say, I’m a postdoc, we are a cheap bunch. So, instead of baking, I’ve been churning ice cream, making no-bake candies and tossing salads. Today I give you a light, refreshing snack. It’s full of vitamins and topped off with a bunch of protein-rich Greek yogurt. Enjoy some and stay cool!


Related Posts with Thumbnails