30 June 2010

I'm not currently dead

I've been working hard and playing hard and eating lots of tasty food. I'll post more when I get home, but so far, I've been to Armando's Pizza, Turner Fisheries, Simon's Coffee Shop, the Otherside Cafe, Le's Vietnamese Restaurant, and Bartley's Burger Cottage.

Pictures, reviews, and stories to come!

28 June 2010

Letter to Myself

Dear Past Self,

Way to not write down that radial velocity. It's not like you'd actually remember it two months later. You would have been really screwed if Midas didn't have such a good memory, but kudos on remembering which session you last used.


Present Self

24 June 2010


Greetings from Cambridge, MA. This will be a quick update, but I wanted to say hi and thank all of my Bostonphile friends for their suggestions. I've been on a run through Harvard, which was sort of interesting, although I didn't mean to make it so long. I ended up getting lost. Oops. I may make that run again tomorrow when I know where I'm going. I've also been to the CfA a lot, but so far haven't been to any restaurants yet. This will change shortly.

Tomorrow I'm going to lunch with some people, including a guy who studies abundances in damped lyman alpha systems from Pomona College. I doubt it will turn into a foodie extravaganza, but later that afternoon there's a wine and cheese gathering on the roof of the CfA.

Saturday is going to be my big day to explore. I'd really like to go to Turner Fishery to try some of Boston's best clam chowder and have my first ever lobster roll for lunch and then I'm going to make a stop at the Museum of Science and then perhaps a jaunt over to Mike's Pastry on the way out. I'm also hoping to go exploring in the morning, but I need to re-read everyone's emails to see what I'm going to do!

22 June 2010


I'm headed to Boston in a mere 5.25 hours. I'll be spending the next almost two weeks working with an astronomer at the Center for Astrophysics. I'll be staying in the Cambridge area, so if anyone who maybe reads this and is familiar with Boston, please please please leave comments about what/where I should visit while I'm there. I won't have a car but plan to make use of the city's apparently good transit system.

And in a quick update about the layout, I'm working with my friend Naomi on redesigning the background and stuff. I'm thinking cartoon-y and cute because it was sort of boring before. Here's a preview:

Cute, no?

17 June 2010

Cheesecake Cupcakes

It's apparently dairy week, which has sort of wreaked havoc on my lactose intolerant gastrointestinal system, but it's been rather delicious. I decided to make cheesecake cupcakes for a picnic that I never went on, but here's the general idea.

I used the cheesecake cupcake recipe from Cooking for Engineers so I won't reproduce it here, but instead of using a Nilla Wafer as the crust, I combined 1.5 T of melted butter with 1/4ish c of crushed Teddy Grahams to fill 6 cups. I then topped each with a blackberry. For the others, I used crushed chocolate cookies and topped with a chocolate chip. I think in the future I may try oreos.

These turned out wonderful, were super simple and quick.

15 June 2010

tomato basil soup

I've been fighting with horrible data ever since I passed my defense. I often complain about the general quality of the data that I work with in my project, but right now I'm dealing with the "problem" stars and they are quite problematic. Instead of chucking my laptop across the room in frustration, I've found that cooking helps quite a bit. Today I made tomato basil soup because a) it's delicious b) Colby likes it and c) I bought a thermos for it specifically so I could take it to a picnic with me tomorrow.

Tomato basil soup:

3 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, diced (I used a Texas 1015, which is by far my favorite onion)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 28 oz cans of tomatoes (I used San Marzanos, but anything works here)
15 oz chicken stock
1/2 c heavy cream
3 T butter
2 T tomato paste
lots of basil, chopped (I used about 2.5 c, loosely packed)
salt+pepper to taste

Heat the evoo in a large pot. Once hot, add in the onions and a good pinch of salt and cook until softened and a bit brown about 5-10 minutes. Add in garlic and stir until fragrant, ~30s or so. Add in chicken stock and tomatoes and stick blender until mostly smooth...ish. Bring to a boil. Bring to medium heat and add butter, cream, tomato paste, and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crusty bread.

13 June 2010

Post 2nd year defense menu planning

I haven't posted a menu in awhile, but I figured I'd do it again because we've been eating in quite a bit lately. Due to some awesome department politics, I get to take a $600 pay cut for the summer, so we've been trying to save. I have a tendency to hemorrhage money whenever I walk near something with a cash register, with food being the biggest vice.

Monday - Tuna melt bagels with smoothies
Tuesday - tomato basil soup, chicken caesar salad
Wednesday -Salmon with sugar snap peas,
Thursday - pasta with prosciutto, sugar snap peas, sun dried tomatoes
Friday - Dumplings (likely bao and some "wonton skin" wrapped dumplings)

09 June 2010

Raspberry Filled cupcakes with coconut cream cheese frosting

Since passing, I've been a bit uninspired about posting. I went out to eat a bunch to celebrate (Estancia, 24 Diner, and Chinatown Mopac to name a few) and didn't cook much for a few days. Then yesterday, for whatever reason, I got inspired and made gnocchi with pasta sauce made with basil from my garden. And then I got invited to a cheese tasting party today and decided to make a dessert to bring and came up with raspberry filled cupcakes with coconut cream cheese frosting.

White cupcakes (from Baked)
2 1/2 c cake flour
3/4 c AP Flour
3/4 t kosher salt
1 T baking powder
1 t baking soda

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 c shortening
1 3/4 c sugar
1 T vanilla extract
1 egg + 1 yolk
1 1/2 c cold water

1/4 t cream of tartar
3 egg whites

preheat oven to 325 F. In a large bowl whisk together flours, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. Cream together the butter, shortening, and sugar. Add in the vanilla and egg+yolk and combine. Alternate in the flour mixture and the water. In a separate bowl (that is SUPER clean), whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Be sure to not get *any* yolk into this because it won't turn out at all. Fold in the egg whites to the rest of the batter. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. I can't really give a better time estimate because my oven is horrible and some of the cupcakes had to be taken out at 20 minutes and some of them had to be taken out at 30.

Raspberry filling
2 c fresh raspberries (although you could use frozen, but it's what I had on hand)
1 T orange juice
1/3 c sugar
1.5 T corn starch

bring all ingredients to a boil, stirring and smashing the raspberries until thickened. Allow to cool.

Cream cheese frosting
8 oz cream cheese
5 T butter, softened
2 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 c powdered sugar

beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together until well combined. Add in the powdered sugar in thirds.

To assemble:

cut a cone out of the top of each cupcake and shave off the bottom part so that you have a flat disk and a cupcake with a hole in it. Spoon in some of the raspberry filling, top with the cupcake disk and then cover in the cream cheese frosting. It's easier if the frosting is at room temp so it spreads well. Top with grated, sweetened coconut and enjoy. :)

05 June 2010


You know what tastes better than pesto made from organic basil that you grew from seeds in your garden? Passing the second year defense.

and now I'm going to start cooking and blogging and being a human being again. It's going to be great.