Monthly Archives: August 2011

Raspberry Lemon Poppyseed Scones

Raspberries! We got raspberries in our CSA box this week (among other tasty goodies).

As my backyard raspberries have been wiped clean, this was a pleasant and unexpected surprise. In my book, raspberries trump all other berries (and fruits, for that matter). Sweet, tart and oh so perfectly hued.


I admit, I gobbled them all up on Thursday evening without a second thought, enjoying every bite. But they’ve been on my mind ever since. So, on this lazy Sunday afternoon, with it’s overcast skies, I am also thinking of home, the almightly Pacific Northwest. Where coffee is king and available on every street corner. Where it’s often offered with a scone. So my mind turned to scones. Raspberry scones, to be precise. Raspberry Lemon Poppyseed Scones to be even more precise. (Luckily, I had the foresight to freeze some of my backyard bounty … and so these scones easily became a reality.)

Now, I am not actually a fan of the coffeeshop scone. Too often they are dry,  hard and cloyingly sweet. But these scones, the ones I baked this very afternoon, are delightful. Crispy edges and a soft, crumbly interior. The zing of lemon and the crunch of poppyseeds. And of course, the pockets of raspberries. It’s like uncovering a buried treasure chest. And when you add a cup of french press coffee with my favorite Batdorf and Bronson coffee bean from Olympia – well, it made me want to share the whole experience with you.

Raspberry Lemon Poppyseed Scones

makes 4 large scones

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons poppyseeds
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest from 1 lemon
5 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup raspberriesGlaze
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/3 cup powdered sugar


In food processor, add flour, sugar, poppyseeds, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.

Pulse a few times to combine. Add butter, and pulse a few more times, until resembling cornmeal.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg and lemon juice. Add to dough and continue to pulse until it starts to come together. Add milk and pulse until dough fully forms. Remove blade from food processor and add raspberries (if using frozen raspberries – do not thaw).

Tranfer dough to floured countertop (the dough will be sticky) and fold a few times to incorporate the raspberries. Form a 6-8 inch disk, with the middle slightly higher than the edges. Cut into quarters and transfer to a cookie sheet. Brush tops with milk. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Mix together lemon juice and powdered sugar. Drizzle over warm scones.

I repeat: Delightful.

Zucchini Bread

Well before I even started this blog (yikes – I’ve been blogging for a year now!), one of my favorite things to do on a weekend morning is to peruse my arsenal of cookbooks, magazines and apps for recipes. Often I’ll search by ingredient and take in all of the possibilities of what to do with it. Sweet or savory? Simple or complex? Breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert? I’m not going to lie – it can be overwhelming. That’s why sometimes I go straight to my mom’s recipe collection.

A few years back, my mother typed up ALL of her recipes in her collection so that she could have digital copies of everything and that Christmas, assembled them into a well-organized recipe book for my brother and I. Just flipping through it brings back cherished childhood memories of my grandmother and old family friends. So when I noticed a a lone zucchini in my fridge this past weekend, I knew I could turn to my recipe book and find something to do with it. And indeed I did – Spiced Zucchini Walnut Bread.

I was over the moon over this bread. It has the a crunchy crust and moist interior. And the occasional green fleck from the zucchini is nothing short of cheery. Spiced, but not overly so. Cooked all the way through (something I sometimes have issues with) but not so dry that you need to slather it with butter – in fact don’t even try to cover up the deliciousness with it. It’s one of those times that I was glad that I didn’t have to share it with Scott or bring it into lab – I got to enjoy it all. And enjoy it, I did.

Spiced Zucchini Walnut Bread

makes one loaf

2 eggs, beaten light and foamy
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup shredded zucchini (unpeeled)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, zucchini, cinnamon and allspice until well combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder and walnuts. (Tossing the walnuts in the flour prior to folding into the batter will help prevent them from sinking while baking).

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until a batter forms. Pour into a buttered loaf pan and bake at 350º for about an hour.

That’s it. Easy as pie. Easier in fact. (But just as tasty).

Eat it for breakfast or brunch. Eat it after dinner. Eat it at 2:30 in the afternoon.

Rhubarb Cobbler-Cake

I am not sure what to call this.

A cobbler?

A cake?

A pie?

A shortcake?

Whatever it is – it tastes pretty damn good. Rhubarb tossed in brown sugar, wedged between two layers of sweet dough-y delicousness. Served with a generous dollop of whiskey cream. After some discussion, I think I have settled in on Rhubarb Cobbler-Cake.

I so rarely make a full recipe of any sort, so when we had a lab picnic (a picnic with all the lab members – not a picnic in the lab, just to be clear), I almost didn’t know what to do with myself. Cake? Cookies? Bars? Ultimately I decided on this, the rhubarb cobbler-cake. And I am glad I did. Mostly because I got to use my beautiful bright green 10-inch pie dish or maybe because I snuck in one last rhubarb recipe for the summer…

Rhubarb Cobbler-Cake

serves 8

from Gourmet, March 2004
4 cups chopped rhubarb, in 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup whole milk
2 eggs, one separated
Whiskey Cream
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon whiskey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Chop rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces. Toss with brown sugar. Set aside.

For dough:

In food processor, combine flour, baking powder and sugar. Pulse for a few seconds to combine. Add butter and process until it resembles cornmeal. Transfer to a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together milk, 1 egg and 1 egg yolk (reserving the remaining egg white for later). Gradually stir in the egg-milk mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. The dough will be very soft!

Take about half of the dough and press down on the bottom of the pie dish and about halfway up the sides. (Generously flouring your hands makes this much easier). Pour rhubarb and any juices into the pie dish. Top with remaining dough, dropped by teaspoons.

Brush the top of the cake with remaining egg white and sprinkle some granulated sugar over the top. Bake at 400º for about 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

For whiskey cream: whip together cream, powdered sugar, whiskey and vanilla until stiff peaks form.

My favorite kind of recipe: few ingredients, no fancy techniques and big on taste.

Oh, and of course the rhubarb!

(Don’t the pink and green go wonderfully together?)


What a weekend.

There were smiles, tears, hugs, good food and drink and even better people.

And there was love.

Lots and lots of love.

Two dear friends of mine from grad school got married. To each other.

Robin and Dave

Every time I think back on it – it brings tears to my eyes. It was perhaps the most beautiful and love-filled event I’ve ever witnessed. I say with great pride that I am good friends with both Robin and Dave, as individuals and as a couple – so their union turns me into a giant oozing ball of mush.

I met Dave when I was a first year grad student and he was an older and wiser student in my same program. As life would have it, I was nearly living with him (at the time I was dating his housemate) and over the course of the year, became great friends with him and my life has been forever better for it.

Robin entered the scene the next year when she came to grad school and now I can’t imagine a world without her. Remember my post about The Pacific Northwest and my inability to articulate my affinity for such a place? I wrote that with Robin in mind.

Thanksgiving 2005

But let’s get back to the wedding. The crowds descended upon a small town in rural Vermont (I suppose that might be a redundant phrase) where Robin grew up. Family and friends from all stages of life – childhood, high school, college, grad school and now as post-docs. It should come as no surprise, given how awesome Robin and Dave are that they people they have surrounded themselves with people who are equally as awesome. And that, more than anything, is why the weekend was so much fun. Reunions with old friends from grad school and the making of new friends. The sharing of life and love and everything in between.

Bridal Prep

The ceremony was lovely. Robin and Dave entered together, holding hands and exuding happiness. They welcomed their guests and asked representatives from various aspects of their life to join them and speak about Family, Friendship, Exploration and Love, each symbolized with flower. Pete, Robin’s insanely talented stepfather, made a vase of sorts to collect them all. They exchanged vows, rings and sealed the deal with a kiss. And I stood there, next to them, sobbing the entire time.

There were cocktails and a serious spread of tasty cheeses, followed by a delicious dinner where the tables were named after well-known evolutionary biologists (at least to a good fraction of the crowd). And then the dancing began. And continued. And continued some more. My legs are still sore. And to cool off we ended the evening with an impromptu pool party.

If only I had more photos to share with you. But I was too busy partaking in all of the festivities. Luckily they had a fantastic photographer who already has some photos posted here.

I wish that I could put into words how special the weekend was. How touching it was to how happy and excited Robin and Dave are. How much love was shared by everybody who took part. How much fun the whole thing was.

So thank you, Robin and Dave, for letting me be a part your wedding celebration, but more for letting me be a part of your lives.

I love you guys.

*Swampkins is just a funny play on words that we designated for the event. Mostly for Twitter purposes.