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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Baked Pears & Salad

This whole, Working in the real world, thing is taking some getting used to!  Between the corporate and academic worlds there seems to be an inverse relationship between working hours and meetings.  That relationship has been very apparent this week and it's only Tuesday.  Let me explain.

While I was working in academia I spent the majority of my hours in the lab.  I have friends who worked for professors with set work hours of 9am - 11pm, with an hour break for dinner of course!  Yet, when it came to meetings, they were almost non-existant.  We had once-weekly group meetings for an hour or two every Monday.  During the summer we didn't have any meetings!  Summer was the time to get lots of work done in the lab, not time to sit in the conference room!

Working in the corporate world, my hours have been cut in half.  Sadly, my time in the lab has been reduced by at least 60% too.  I like working in the lab, I like making stuff.  With this decrease in working hours has come an increase in meetings.  In the 16 work hours so far this week, I've spent half of them in meetings.  My butt has been falling asleep a lot, I need to bring my office chair with me to these five hour meetings.

I've been told to get used to all the meetings, because my schedule is only going to get more full as I've worked there longer.  At least I'm learning lots of new and exciting things at these meetings!  Sounds like my working hours are going to increase a little more as I get a fuller schedule, luckily I was given a laptop at my new job!

Baked Pears & Salad
Adapted from Back to Basics

I really was in the mood for a salad last night.  Why?  We got lunch during our five hour meeting yesterday.  It was a little heavy (and I ate three cookies...) and I thought I should balance out my calories and produce for the day.  The blue cheese gave it just the right amount of decadence.  Be sure to buy some good quality blue cheese.  Use ripe pears, un-ripe ones won't be quite as delicious.

2 ripe Anjou pears
Juice from one lemon
3 tbsp dried cranberries
3 tbsp chopped walnuts
3 tbsp blue cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup apple cider
3 tbsp blueberry pomegranate juice
3 tbsp light brown sugar

3 tbsp apple cider
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
pinch of kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 cups baby arugula

Preheat the oven to 425.  Peel the pears and cut in half.  Cut out the stem with a knife and scoop out the seeds with a melon baller.  Slice a little off the bottom so that the pear halves will sit without rolling.  Place the halves into a small baking dish.

Mix together walnuts, cranberries and blue cheese.  Divide evenly between the pear halves.  Combine apple cider, blueberry pomegranate juice and brown sugar.  Pour over pears and into the baking pan.  Bake pears for 25 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, combine cider, vinegar, mustard, salt and black pepper.  Whisk the ingredients and slowly add in olive oil.  Add baby arugula and toss to coat.  Divide between two plates and top with two pear halves.  Crack on some more black pepper and enjoy!
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