Tag Archives: Breakfast

Unapologetic

I have a confession.

I care deeply how others think of me.

I enjoy being distinctive (my purple hair certainly plays a large part in achieving this – and I love that). I am to be taken seriously – but not always seriously. I like that people like to be around me and that my thoughts and opinions are valued. That I am trustworthy and my research is well-regarded. And that my awesome style impresses upon others. Am I shallow? Narcissistic? Too female for science?

I have cried at work, on more than one occasion and even (gasp!) in front of other people. I’m incredibly open about my mood and my feelings (that seeming span a wide-spectrum). There is a hefty dose of reverse snobbery in academics – that our minds are the only thing to be valued. That we are completely objective towards all things. To say nothing of the passive-aggressive attitudes towards those with pastimes outside of science. I, like so many others, am a complex being with a wide-array of interests and emotions. I refuse to apologize or feel shamed about that.  In fact, I think it allows me to step back to see the larger biological questions and think more creatively.

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I have a hard time discussing gender and science and am extremely sensitive to broad sweeping statements on the subject. Both my Ph.D. and postdoc advisors are female, from different generations and are unalike in many ways. They are two distinct people after all, and who is to say that the commonalities they do share is because of their gender? The same is true of my female peers. I’m not in any position to speak for them.

But I think about it. What does it means to be a female in science? More importantly, to be me? I am decidedly female in my wardrobe – I own about 15 dresses to every pair of pants. You won’t find me in any neutral colors either. I wear heels. I occasionally put make-up on. I spend a considerable amount of money to control my curly hair. I have never been interested in wearing contacts because I think my glasses make me look smarter. I contemplate at length the appearance I present to the world. I agonized over choosing a photo for my faculty profile – they say a picture is worth a thousand words. I wanted something that illustrated my intellect, my openess, and my style all the while staying inside the lines of professionalism. Is that even achievable?

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It’s more than just the way I dress: I try to smile often to seem friendly and approachable – but not too often because I don’t want appear a pushover. I frequently nod during seminars or in conversations to indicate that I am paying attention but don’t hesitate to hide quizzical expressions. At conferences I make a point of asking intelligent questions during the public forums and staying out late to drink beer at the bar with my fellow nerds. I am actively trying to stop apologizing or making excuses for delayed responses. I do these things deliberately because I am female, but mostly because I want to be a vibrant, noteworthy member of my community.

I am making my way through the leaky pipeline and now find myself in a tenure-track position. The department I am joining has exactly two other female professors. Whether I like it or not, I will be an example. Hopefully in time, even a role model for scientists-in-training. My voice has weight. I worry about what sort of mentor and colleague I will be. Not only do I want to be well liked and respected, but to also inspire those I work with and lead. I try my hardest to have my interactions with others to be open, honest and thoughtful, which at times, can be mutually exclusive with being nice, but never with considerate. My intentions are always to be critical of the science, but not of the scientist. I just hope that I can achieve that without those exclusively female labels.

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Raspberry Jam

When given a choice of berry – I always pick raspberry. Their bright sassiness endears them to me. I chanced upon enough of these beauties in my backyard to make a jam (coupled with some strawberries a day or two past their prime) last weekend. This jam is unapologetically tart. It doesn’t sugarcoat the ‘I AM RASPBERRY’ spirit. Enjoyed best with a batch of buttermilk biscuits and a steaming cup of coffee on early on a Saturday morning.
 
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1 cup freshly picked raspberries
1 cup strawberries, diced
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
pinch of salt
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Collect the ingredients in a small saucepan and Cook over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes. Mash slightly. The jam will thicken slightly as it cools. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers – it will keep for a few days.
 

Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes

It’s the weekend!

Which means it’s time for breakfast awesomeness. Cereal and toast on a Saturday morning may just be the saddest thing ever. Perhaps I am being melodramatic, but I take weekend breakfast (or more often, brunch) very seriously.

We are in the stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas and these Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes fit in just about perfectly. The pumpkin flavor is subtle, but keeps the pancakes uber-moist. Add some pecans and maple syrup and you have something special. A perfect start to a day filled with tree decorating or shopping for the perfect gift.

Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes

makes 6 large pancakes

modified slightly from Bon Appetit

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3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup whole milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
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Whisk both flours, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk milk, pumpkin puree, egg yolks, melted butter and vanilla. Add pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Beat egg whites until stiff (but not dry); fold into pancake batter in two batches.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and melt a tablespoon of butter. Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls into the skillet. Cook until bubbles form on the surface of the pancakes and the bottoms are brown. Flip and cook for a minute or two longer.

Serve with toasted pecans and maples syrup.

Honey Muffins with Minted Berries

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

I love weekend mornings and the foods that accompany them.

There’s really nothing like sitting down with your steaming cup of coffee with the morning light streaming in. And if you have a honey muffin with some minted berries, well, that’s even better.

It’s a small batch, as always, I am trying to adapt to cooking for one (and sometimes two), but this can easily be doubled or tripled.

Honey Muffins with Minted Berries

makes 4
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Honey Muffins

3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey, plus more for glaze
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 egg, beaten
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon orange extract

Minted berries
1/2 cup chopped strawberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup raspberries
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon mint, cut into thin strips
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Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter muffin tin and set aside.

Sift together the flour and baking soda.

Add sugar, honey, butter, egg, sour cream and orange extract. Stir until just combined.

Spoon into muffin tin. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from tin and glaze with honey.

Combine strawberries, blueberries, raspberries with the honey and mint.


Serve warm.

Sweet Orange Cardamom Rolls

I love my dad. He’s my scuba diving buddy and fellow nerd. He’s good-natured and almost never gets angry. He is an adventurous eater. He is simultaneously serious and silly and will always be there to help you out of a jam. I really couldn’t ask for a better dad. So thank you Dad, for being mine.

In my family, we are pretty low-key about holidays. No extravagant gifts or giant fuss. Instead, there might be a nice meal or some family outing, like a walk through the park or an afternoon movie. One of our favorite breakfasts were these sweet orange rolls that come out of can from the refrigerator section. Hey, I wasn’t always a food snob. I think they must have put crack in that icing or something equally as addicting. I always volunteered to make them so that I could have first go at the remains of the icing container. Sweet, dough-y, orange-y weekend morning amazingness.

I can’t be with my Dad today for Father’s Day, but I have been thinking a lot about those weekend mornings – the simplicity and the joy of popping open one of those weird roll canisters and racing to be the first one to the icing container. So here’s my version … Sweet orange rolls with cardamom.

The dough is essentially the same as these Cinnamon Rolls, I’ve just modified the filling and the glaze.

Sweet Orange-Cardamom Rolls

makes 9 rolls

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Dough
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 large egg, beaten
juice from 1/2 orange
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
 
Filling
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
zest from 2 oranges
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
 
Glaze
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
juice from 1/2 orange

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Combine milk and butter in small pot. Heat over medium-low heat until butter melts and mixture is warmed to 120 – 130 degrees. Pour into stand mixer bowl, fitted with paddle attachment. Add yeast and pinch of sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 15 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup flour, rest of sugar, egg, orange juice and salt. Beat on low speed for about 3 minutes until well combined. Continue to add in remaining flour slowly, until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky.

Change out paddle attachment for dough hook and knead for about 10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Form into a ball, oil lightly, cover and let rise until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

Mix brown sugar, cardamom and orange zest in a small bowl.

Punch down dough. Roll out to a 9 x 13 inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough. Sprinkle filling evenly over butter. Starting with the long edge, roll dough into log. With seam side down, cut dough crosswise into 9 equal slices, ~3/4 inch wide.


Butter a 9 inch square glass baking dish. Arrange rolls, cut side up in dish.. Cover with plastic wrap (can be place in the refrigerator at this point and left overnight and when ready continue with the second rise). Let dough rise, until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.

Bakes rolls in a preheated oven at 375 degrees, until tops are golden, about 20 minutes.

Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and orange juice and beat until smooth. Spread glaze over rolls.

This one’s for you Dad.

Pull-Apart Lemon Bread

And so continues my lemon obsession. Really, I’ve starting buying lemons in three pound bags. But they are just so bright with their yellow color and smell so good. How could you not love them? In particular, when the sourness is paired with sugar – talk about a winning combination. So when I came across this post via Twitter, I knew that I wanted to give it a try. Layers of sweet yeast dough interspersed with lemon peel sugar and iced with a tangy lemon cream cheese icing. My mouth waters just thinking about it. It would be perfect for brunch or afternoon tea.

Pull-Apart Lemon Bread

originally from Flo Braker

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Sweet yeast dough
1/3 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 3/4 cups bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature
 
Lemon sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons lemon zest
4 tablespoons butter, melted
 
Lemon cream cheese icing
3 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

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Put milk and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat until butter is melted, about a minute.

Add water and let cool 5 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast, sugar and milk mixture.

Let sit for 15 minutes or until nice and foamy.

Add 2 cups of the flour and salt. Mix until combined.

Add vanilla and eggs.

Work in the remaining flour and knead with a dough hook until dough is smooth and elastic.

Cover and let dough rise until doubled in size, about an hour. Make lemon sugar while dough is rising.

Combine sugar and lemon zest.

Back to the dough. Once risen, roll out into a 12 x 20 inch rectangle.

Cut into 5, 4 x 12 inch strips.

Brush butter over a single strip of dough and sprinkle with lemon sugar. Layer a new piece of dough and repeat with butter and sugar. Continue with all five layers.

Cut stack in 2-inch wide pieces.

Place stacks, cut side up, in a floured 9 x 5 inch bread pan.

Cover and let rise until double in size, about 45 minutes.

Bake at 350º for 30 minutes.

Let rest in pan for 15 minutes before inverting to remove loaf.

For lemon cream cheese icing:

Cream together cream cheese, powdered sugar and lemon juice.

Finally, ice the loaf, making sure to get frosting goodness in all the nooks.

If my obsession with lemons ever ends, I might also try this with a cinnamon sugar filling …