poor scientist. will blog 4 food.

the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie


Sunday Morning Pancakes

Good morning, blueberries!

Is there nothing better on a weekend morning than homemade pancakes?

I was a pancake failure until I got this recipe from EF. Since then, I’ve garnered high praise such as, “These are the best pancakes ever!” and “Jen, you make the best pancakes!” OK, so this is only from two sources, one of them being myself, but still. I no longer feel like a pancake failure, so I thought I’d share EF’s winning recipe with you.

EF’s FTW Pancakes

1 cup flour*#
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. sugar
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk**
2 Tbs. vegetable oil

* From EF: You can use half whole wheat flour or add a few tablespoons of wheat germ if you want it to be healthier–the wheat germ helps especially if you use skim milk
#UPDATE 6/5/11: Flour quality appears to make a big difference. I usually use King Arthur’s unbleached flour. Today I used Gold Medal and it wasn’t nearly as good. Also, it may help to loosen the flour with a fork (some might ask you to sift it, but that seems unnecessarily complicated to me).
** I’ve used soymilk a couple of times and they’re still really good. So, any kind of milk will do.


  1. Mix all the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients separately, then combine them and whisk as little as it takes to get them together. It’s ok if the batter has some small lumps. They will work themselves out and it’s better to leave them than to over-whisk.
  2. Heat a pan over medium heat. For each batch of pancakes (I make two at a time), melt a pat of butter or Smart Balance.
  3. Drop a dollop (about 1/4 cup) of batter over the melted butter. Add fruit and/or chocolate chips as desired.
  4. When batter starts to bubble, flip the pancakes. Cook until golden brown.
  5. Optional: place pancakes in a preheated oven set to 200F. This will keep them warm as you make the rest of the batch.

Makes 8 pancakes.

Blueberry (top) and banana (bottom) pancakes, with seasonal fruit. Yummers.


“Chickens, Ducks, Llamas, OH MY!” Adventures in Mendocino

This was my Christmas gift from TC:

That would be the Mendocino coast, if you haven’t figured it out.  No, he didn’t buy me the coast, but he did treat us to two nights at the wonderful Glendeven Inn.

The Wine Barn at Glendeven Inn

There are a plethora of bed and breakfasts in Mendocino, so what attracted us to Glendeven? First, it looked cozy without any of the cheesy, faux Victorian or over-the-top Country Living decor. Second, they deliver a full breakfast with farm-fresh eggs to your door. Third, there were many rave reviews on every website that I checked (Yelp, Tripadvisor). Fourth, the location couldn’t be better: picturesque trails were directly accessible by foot, right off the grounds of the inn. Fifth, there was a complimentary wine tasting every afternoon in the Wine Bar[n]. But what really got us? One word: llamas!

“This is a llama.” Even though they were just minding their own business and very gentle creatures, I was still a little scared of them.

What’s more, there were other animals too, including chickens and ducks. They gave us a small bag of seeds so we could make friends with our avian neighbors.

The chickens take a stroll around the grounds.

TC was really good at feeding the ducks. I was too scared. (I can’t help it; it’s the city girl in me!)

As I mentioned above, the breakfast was a huge draw for us. On both mornings, at 9am sharp, a huge basket arrived at our doorstep. The first morning, we had:

  • Fresh squeezed organic orange juice, carafe of coffee
  • Anise-hyssop baked local pears
  • Zucchini-wrapped farm-fresh egg (with cheese, tomato, and onion)
  • Rosemary cheddar biscuits

The first breakfast. Yummy.

The second morning, we had:

  • Fresh squeezed organic orange juice, carafe of coffee
  • Melons in honey-lime syrup
  • Farm-fresh baked eggs Benedict en croute
  • Pistachios, European-style yogurt and honey (my favorite!)

A delightful way to start the day!

Every day between 5-6:30pm, there was complimentary wine and snacks at the Wine Bar[n]. The snacks were very simple — bread, cheese, nuts, some spread, but since I was usually pretty hungry by then, they were a lifesaver. The wine was quite good as well!

Wine and snacks, anyone?

If you can’t tell, I highly recommend the Glendeven Inn. It was just perfect in every way, and the owner John is the nicest, most hospitable guy. He even led us through yoga on the first morning! Stay tuned for other great meals and amazing photos from Mendocino…


Buffets of Taiwan

Happy New Year! Hope everyone is having a great start to 2011 so far. Do you have any food-related resolutions? I don’t usually believe in making resolutions, but if I had to state a couple I’ve been working on since the end of 2010, they are:

  1. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  2. Become a part-time vegetarian. This is related to #1 for health reasons, and also for environmental reasons.
  3. Learn to cook something new at least once a month.

So far, so good. I’ve been making some simple, yet delicious veggie dishes and sides. When I come across a winner, I’ll post the recipe here.

Back to the blog! I’m going to overindulge you with photos, just as I overindulged in Taipei. It was a real shame that I wasn’t more hungry when I visited the following buffets. I felt truly hungry maybe two times in the two weeks I was there, and a tinge of hunger less than 5 times. For reals. I still tried to adhere to my buffet rules, though I’m fairly certain I didn’t get my money’s worth. Sad face.

First up: a Japanese buffet. It doesn’t really matter about the name because it wasn’t that good. It gets good marks for pretty presentation, but the food was just so-so and the desserts were very disappointing. I had a nice time with my family though!


The sushi station (with guy giving me a funny look, to the left). Also, check out the ginormous carrots!


The dessert table looked appetizing but ended up being disappointing.

Again, a beautiful presentation of mussels that didn't deliver in taste.


"Look, Ma, no hands!"

They had made-to-order hand rolls. Not bad.



This poor shrimp was no match for my appetite.

Since the desserts sucked, I had star fruit and passion fruit instead.


Next: my family and I took a mini-vacation to Yilan, a city 1.5 hours southeast of Taipei by train. We stayed at the lovely Silks Place hotel, where we were given complimentary vouchers to the breakfast buffet. This breakfast smorgasboard was amazing, featuring a wide selection of Chinese, Japanese, and Western-style morning treats. My sisters and I especially loved the porridge bar, where every conceivable topping was available (it doesn’t take much to make us happy).


Freshly steamed buns (man tou)

My first round, clockwise from top left: fried egg with hot sauce, porridge with goodies, plate of bacon, croissant, and Japanese rice, and a cafe latte.

Fun with fruit!

Everyone was very happy with their food.


Finally, we went to the Japanese buffet at Wasabi, in the Taipei 101 mall. My mom had discount vouchers, reducing the price of lunch from $25 to a more affordable $17. I enjoyed my food; it was all very fresh and high quality, but we were annoyed that they charged my 4 year old nephew (who only ate rice and a few pieces of veggie tempura) $12. Lamesauce.


The view of Wasabi from the mall.

My first round at Wasabi: lots and lots of fish and other sea creatures.

My sister and dad, with a plate of fried food. Someone decided not to follow my buffet rules!

My mom and I ready to chow down!

A very minimalist dessert. I was stuffed! Upper left: fruit; lower right: various mochis.

The mochi was really good. Two thumbs up!