One of the things keeping me occupied this semester is my capstone: my very own research project in an active disease research lab. My subject is Francisella tularensis, the causitive agent of Tularemia. More specifically, my target is an F. tularensis enzyme, alpha enolase. Waxing poetically about what precisely I’m doing to and with this enzyme (and why) strikes me as too geeky even for this craftblog, so we’ll leave the science babble at that for now. Anyway, this work typically takes multiple hours out of each days and leaves me little down time until I stumble back home at night; at which point, for some reason, I’ve been driven to cook.
I’m not quite sure why I have such an urge to throw myself into the kitchen when perhaps throwing myself into my textbooks, or even my bed would be more advantageous. After all, cooking is essentially what I do in lab each day: mix so much of this with so much of that and incubate this way at this temperature for this long, etc etc. So it’s “standard operating procedures” rather than “recipies” and “data” rather than “dinner”; you’d still think I would have had enough.
(Side note: this is not an oblique confession to cooking my data. If I were, I’d probably be a lot further along in my project right now.)
The point of all this jabber? Simply that, as I previously resolved, I’m gaining confidence in the kitchen along with enough successful recipies to begin assembling a kind of personal cookbook. This is a milestone for a girl who has repeatedly and disasterously failed at preparing a simple box of Mac and Cheese.
Today, I bring you one of my favorite desserts in the world (barring Walrus Ice Cream, which you MUST HAVE if you’re ever in Fort Collins), baklava.
This was a joint effort between myself and my good friend James. We began with this recipie from the wonderful Simply Recipies blog and took off from there: we used nutmeg instead of cloves (hey, it’s what we had), increased the cinnammon content considerably (because cinnamon is the stuff of greatness), and made half of the pan a walnut-almond mix as versus pistachio (almonds and walnuts are also the stuff of greatness).
James handled the nuts, which might not have been the wisest decision considering he spent part of the evening cracking pistachios open with his forehead. Armed with a pastry brush and a bowl of butter, I took on the phyllo. We triumphed mightily.