Friday, July 30, 2010

Home for popovers

After a hectic last week filled with more tears and laughter than I have ever experienced in a four-day period, I am finally home. My summer course hit me like a train and left me just as fast. I feel like I've gained two years of experience and emotional maturity while see-sawing back and forth between love and hate of science and myself. I have redefined my concept of what can be achieved in a day. My esteemed compatriots from the course were (are) an outstanding, driven, hilarious and inspiring group of people that I feel blessed to have met and cursed to have to leave after 7 short weeks. Everything experienced at summer camp was about three notches more intense than it would have been anywhere else, and perhaps because of its surreality, it is already fading away into a dreamlike memory. What a ride.

Our T-shirt design pretty much sums up the experience (Thanks, PH!)

Now that I am home, I feel like I have to re-learn the actions of normal life. (What's a grocery store? I have to drive? I can sit around and not think about science?) And it feels glorious. I have the weekend to relax, recupterate, watch some sick Ultimate. Next week, I have to figure out how to move forward intelligently with the knowledge I've gained. But that's three days from now.

the culture I brought home in my suitcase arrives unscathed. Isn't it pretty.

I had expected that upon returning home, I would be whipped into a frenzy of baking to make up for my months of oven-deprivation. But I still feel so exhausted that I don't really want to do anything. So I'm starting things off simple.

lovely summer produce after 7 weeks of apples and bananas

First a prequel: during the course I mostly ate dorm food, which seemed perfectly acceptable for about three weeks. After that I started craving the simplicity of fresh, simple foods that taste like what they're made from. Luckily, a small group of us started sneaking off to a local bakery with divine popovers and real crusty bread. These popovers were enormous crackly affairs filled with luxurious custardy bits. Divine with a pad of butter or honey. Or just plain. Unfortunately, I don't have a photo, but imagine the biggest baddest popover you can conceive of. I knew I had to make some when I got home.

These didn't turn out nearly as good as Pie in the Sky's, but the texture was pretty fantastic and they come a close second. I think I left my pan out of the oven for too long during filling as I groped around for my missing camera. This is for all my lovely summer course peeps:

from the New Best Recipes Cookbook
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole or low-fat milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
  • Oil for the pan
  1. Whisk eggs and milk together in a medium bowl until homogeneous, about 20 seconds.
  2. Add flour and salt and mix with spoon until combined
  3. Add melted butter and whisk for about 30 seconds
  4. Let batter rest for 30 minutes
  5. While batter is resting, prepare your pan by measuring 1/4 tsp oil into each of 10 indentations in a muffin tin (1/2 oil into 6 if you're classy enough to own a popover pan).
  6. Heat oven to 450 and place pan in oven to preheat.
  7. When batter is rested, pour into a liquid measuring cup or other container with a spout. Remove pan from oven and, working quickly, divide batter between greased wells and return the pan to the oven.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 3 minutes before removing from pan. Serve immediately.

just before going back in

my busy bench. goodbye and thanks for the good times, MBL.