Boahemaa turned 22 yesterday, so we had a simple lab lunch. We inaugurated our lab rice cooker, and made short-grain brown rice, something Xiangjun says he may never have tasted before! We stirred in some sweet potatoes, like they do in Taiwan. I also made sugar snap peas with garlic, ginger, and lime zest. The cake was supposed to be red velvet, but I didn’t add the red food coloring. I had chocolate, not cocoa, and that came out in lumps. No buttermilk, so I soured regular milk with vinegar. OK, because vinegar was part of the recipe anyway, but that was for the baking soda which I didn’t have either, so I had to use baking powder. No regular milk, so I used powdered milk. No vanilla extract, so I used whole vanilla bean. It was the first time I made boiled frosting – good! The cake came out a little heavy, but very moist with all that butter. I really should get to the store sometime.

There are ten of us now, so a birthday nearly every month, though of course they don’t stack up like that. The next two are Debbie and Tracy, and they would like walnut pie and tres leches cake respectively. it should be fun! I wonder how many different things we can make with our lab rice cooker? (No, I didn’t make the cakes in the rice cooker :))

Besides lunch, we are meeting twice a week right now, and I’m really enjoying both journal club and lab meeting. We’re discovering some cool things to read, like the two papers jeff just pointed out, one by Harmit Malik and his group on the centromere paradox, of potential importance to our microsatellite repeat work. The other is from our former postdoc, Kevin Foster, on stabilizing cheating in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. I expect jeff smith may blog on one or both of these soon, so stay tuned to


About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
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