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Monday, August 8, 2011

Orange Vinaigrette Salad

So I've been meaning to tell you all about my new job.  Well, it has been a learning experience, to say the least.  I know, that might sound like a strange thing to say, especially as someone who just spent the last eleven years as a student.  Don't worry, this all can be explained.

While I was interviewing, I had to make the decision between working in process chemistry and medicinal chemistry.  There is one major difference between the two job, biology.  As a process chemist, you spend your day doing chemistry.  You're trying to make something in a faster, better, cheaper manner than it has been made before.  You need to know a lot about chemistry and how to be extremely efficient.  While I love chemistry, I thought that I would like to work in medicinal chemistry and keep learning.

As a medicinal chemist, you spend your day doing some chemistry, but also thinking a lot about biology.  Medicinal chemists are working very early in the drug discovery pipeline, trying to design the new drugs.  They have to look at proteins and amino acids, think about cell permeability and toxicity, and these are all things that are new to me. 

A synthetic chemist, right out of academia, doesn't know much about these things.  I took biochemistry in 2001 and haven't looked at an amino acid since then.  I was thrown in, head first, into the deep end of medicinal chemistry.  I've been reading tons of papers and books to try and acclimate myself to this new field.  Let me tell you, there are A LOT of acronyms!  I've got a lot to learn, but it's just what I wanted.

Orange Vinaigrette Salad

I prepared all of these items earlier in the week and was able to throw this salad together in a few minutes, just as long as it took to put together the vinaigrette.  Quick, delicious and a great summer meal!

Cook your bacon however you choose, either on the griddle or in the oven. I baked mine for 25 minutes in a 400 F oven. Simply place bacon on a cooling rack, on top of a cookie sheet, and bake until crisp.  Baking it in the oven cuts down on the grease factor a bit.

8 ounces think cut bacon
1 bag (8 ounces) Spring green salad mix
1 Granny Smith Apple, cored and chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
6 ounces blue cheese
1/2 cup pre-cooked, chopped chicken

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp grated orange zest
2 tbsp fresh-squeezed orange juice
2 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp maple syrup (pure maple syrup, not Aunt Jemima)
Kosher salt & Fresh-ground black pepper
2/3 cup olive oil

Arrange the first 7 items on a plate, choosing as much or as little of each!

In a small bowl, combine vinegar, orange zest, orange juice, dijon mustard and maple syrup.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Whisk in olive oil slowly.  Dress your plate of delicious salad ingredients with a few tablespoons of dressing.
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