Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Autumn Return: Orchids, weddings, cupcakes, and more

Dear friends, It has been a LONG time.  More than two months, in fact.  The Kitchen in the Yard has been on a rather extended vacation while I finished my degree and started new work this fall. 

So, yes!  That means I am a doctor now!  A research doctor - not the medical kind, mind you.

All the foodie-ness of this blog has been a saving grace for the past 10 1/2 months since I started posting, and perhaps especially during major crunch times with my dissertation since about April (e.g., when I was really tired, there were times I would tell myself: "As soon as you complete X part of this article, you can edit some photos and write a post!).  I did, in fact, finish the entire dissertation in that time and submitted the final version in early October.  Then all manner of life kicked in and it was time to start new work (more research training), buy a car (I haven't owned a car for almost 8 years!), and get used to many new routines.  

But now it's time for us to catch up.

In my memories of these very recent past few months, working on the dissertation definitely dominates.  However, other things happened, too.  Here are some of the highlights of the past few months since my last post.

Babysitting my friend Megan's orchids while she was between apartments early this past summer.  Having these around was so great, it tempted me to get some of my own.  But let's face it; my track record with plants is absolutely terrible, and that's why I no longer have any in my home - they have all gone to a better place.  Good thing Megan found a suitable home for herself and these, and took them back before too long.

Picking tomatoes in my aunt's garden in Lancaster, PA in August.  Gorgeous, aren't they?  These are all different types of tomatoes!

Stopping by random farm stands in Lancaster County, where lovely blooms, fresh vegetables, and home-baked treats were being sold by a rather eccentric city lady newly relocated to the country.  I love characters like these, and the tarts she'd baked were delicious!

Baking the wedding cupcakes for my dear friends Anna and Willie, who got married in August.

See how happy I was about this wedding?

Watching beautiful sunsets over Cambridge from my office window.  Thank God, really.  My office was rather unceremoniously relocated to this one, where the photo was taken, in mid-June, and it took forever to get myself set up in there again.  However, it turned out to be a great space, not least because its window faces west, unlike the previous office which was just on a local street.  And it was also on a higher floor, so the view was beautiful and these late summer sunsets ended up being something I looked forward to at the end of the day.   

Slicing apples in Maine for apple pies over Columbus Day weekend in October, along with my unofficial pastry chefs Christina and Eliza.  Thanks, guys. 

Taking in the Maine pastoral during a long walk. 

More of that.  Does anyone know what the name of this flower is?  They seemed to line many of the roads in Maine. 

Making my favorite cookies - chewy molasses - over the summer.  These are beautiful dipped in some hot black tea with cream.  They're also great as a more elaborate dessert with bananas, caramel, and cream

Eating one of my favorite pastries in Cambridge.  I think it's the nutmeg gooey-ness that really makes it happen.  I'm probably on my way to my office to work on my dissertation ...  

Catching up with friends and even a cousin at my friend's New York City wedding in October, just about a week after I'd submitted the final version of my dissertation! Doing a little meta-photography.  Now that I think of it, this was one of my very first friends in Cambridge; we met within in a few weeks of when I first moved here for grad school.  Nice. 

... Whew!  That took awhile.  But it's been a while.  Next up: there are heaps of things I want to explore and post about in the next few months.  Number one, last week I started taking a baking class on Saturday mornings, and it is wonderful and I'm learning a ton.  Some of that's going to show up here soon.  And I've also been getting more and more interested in what I guess you could call "sustainability" - with regard to food, learning more about cooking seasonally and using nutrient-rich ingredients to create delicious foods, especially foods baked.  But that'll all come soon enough.

More soon!  It's great to be back! 


  1. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

    To finishing your dissertation and, selfishly, to your return to the blog.

    Now that you have time, come for coffee.

  2. Congratulations, Madeleine! I'm plodding along behind you hoping to meet the Feb date. I will certainly feel bolstered by your kitchen blogs, yah!! So glad you are back online. Remember, we are 20-25 min from your new job! Come cook here!! (Seriously)

  3. (And you can plant and harvest here, too. Seed catalogs arriving this winter! Come hang out.)

  4. Congrats Madeleine. so good to hear about your next steps!

  5. I love those little flowers, too! Did some searching. I think they're fleabane (part of the aster family)...called Robin's Plantain.

    Maddy - those cupcakes were so beautiful!

  6. Thank you, all, for your congratulations! Tara, I am looking forward to catching up soon. Su, you are practically there and I am cheering you on. Kate, thanks for your research on those flowers - I'll be glad to be able to identify them (and who knows, maybe even some others) next time I'm up in Maine!

  7. Su, I would love to check out your seed catalogs and garden. Maybe this can be part of my sustainability education!

  8. congratulations, madeleine!!! i'm so proud of you! and i really miss you! i want to catch up!! will you be in dc at all anytime soon?? maybe i'll just have to truck myself up your way. :)

  9. Thanks, Kim! No immediate plans for DC, but there's a good chance I'll be through there in the next year or so. But please - reschedule that vacation and come to Boston!

  10. Lovely Madeleine, looking forward to all the upcoming posts. oxoxox

  11. Oh, and of course - congrats on the doctorate!

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