Monday, April 28, 2014

“everything bagels” gougères + marc forgione book comes out tomorrow!

"everything bagels" gougeres

So, I wrote a book. And it’s coming out tomorrow. And I don’t know what else to say about it.

In January 2012, I sat down with Marc to discuss his vision for a book he agreed to write for then Wiley (now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). We had been in a conversation, on and off, for months preceding, and the ice was finally moving. I was picked out of a number of writers, and here we were, signing the contract and talking about book deadlines, which, by the way, were six months away (ha!). At the time, I was in the final stage of writing the Kimchi Cookbook manuscript. Other than my work for Melissa Clark and a yet-unpublished book, I didn’t really have a resume. I was eager. I was hungry. I wanted this book.

Never, in a million years, did I think that Marc would take a chance on an unseasoned writer like myself. And when he did, I immediately did a celebratory leap around the apartment, which was immediately followed by a complete and total meltdown.How – how?!?! – was I going to write this book?

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

pasta with cabbage and pancetta

Pasta with cabbage and pancetta

It was over dinner Saturday night that Franny’s restaurant cookbook came up in conversation. A woman seated next to me asked if the book was any good.

“It’s very good,” I replied.

Then I added, “Full disclosure: I worked on it, but it’s very good independent of that.”

The conversation veered in many directions through the evening – fig trees, writing, what we were eating – but my thoughts stayed with Franny’s cookbook through the night and into Sunday morning. It had been too long since I cooked from it.

I had a head of Savoy cabbage in the crisper that was patiently awaiting its fate. Time had turned its leaves more wilted than its normal veining makes it appear – and more limp, too. But cabbage is a resilient vegetable – a few days past its prime and it’s still in fighting spirit. Soups, stews, roasted wedges, cabbage is a marathon vegetable. I can’t think of a single occasion when a head of cabbage went beyond the ability to be salvaged in my house. On the other hand, I can think of countless bags of spinach I’ve forgotten about and found weeks later, way in the back of the refrigerator, the bag’s contents having liquefied itself to a foul-smelling brown liquid. On some unlucky occasions, the bags leaked and instead just removing the offensive produce, I’d spend the next hour scrubbing the refrigerator shelves.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

pickled carrot sticks

pickled carrots sticks

Back in our old apartment, before the move, before the kitchen excavation, our fridge was always full to the gills, except most of if its contents were myriad jars of preserved and pickled things are various stages of fermentation. There was always two jars of kimchi (newly fermented and older), preserved lemons, garlic confit, sauerkraut, quick-pickled onions, a few jams, and jars of anchovies, capers, mustards and the like. When we moved, I had to use up as many of these jars as I possibly could, but inevitably, some of them were thrown out, much to my chagrin.

Then, for several months, while our kitchen was a construction site, it was pointless to have jars of any kind because we didn’t have a kitchen. If we had to make our coffee in the bathroom, there wasn’t much room for preserved goods. Besides, at the time, our refrigerator lived in the dining room.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

tangerine champagne sorbet

tangerine champagne sorbet

I might have just figured out a loophole in this whole no-drinking-on-the-job thing. Suppose it’s a weekday, mid-afternoon, and you need a bit of a pick-me-up. You might be working in an office somewhere or, like me, at home. But unless your job is to review cocktails and spirits, it’s unlikely that you’re going to fix yourself a drink midday. Life, for better or worse, isn’t an episode on Mad Men, and if it were, you’d probably be drinking whiskey or vodka straight or on the rocks.

But, what if someone handed you sorbet with the same ingredients that go into a mimosa? You’d have it, and no one would ever even think ill of you.

You have David Lebovitz to thank for that. I’m just a humble messenger.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

triple-coconut quinoa porridge

Triple-Quinoa Porridge

I’m ashamed to say that breakfasts are sort of an afterthought in this household. If there was a candid camera sneaking around here in the mornings, we’d be in the hall of shame for certain. I start my mornings, early, with a glass of water and lemon (thanks, Winnie!). I shuffle out in my bathrobe and sit, glass of water in hand, while I sift through various emails, make a list of things to do for the day, and generally try to wake up. Each morning, I compile relevant press links for a client, put together a social media strategy for the day. I do it early on because I like to free up the rest of my day to work on books, on writing, on having some flexibility with my schedule. And it’s perhaps because mornings are so packed with activity, that everything: exercise, breakfast, showering, often falls by the wayside.

Lately, in particular, as I was rushing to the finish line with Marc Murphy’s book (it’s been submitted! fireworks! fanfare! celebratory cocktails!) breakfast was, well, it didn’t exist period. I’d realize by about 11am that I was so hungry I couldn’t see straight, and I’d lunge into the kitchen and try to make myself a smoothie (very good), a piece of toast (good, but was getting old), or a few slices of cheddar cheese with an apple (also very good). But did I make myself a proper breakfast? No.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

abc kitchen’s carrot avocado salad

image

I was lucky to do a trail at ABC Kitchen about a year ago. It was made through a connection of a friend who kindly arranged for me to come in for a day. Normally, ABC Kitchen only lets culinary school graduates in their kitchen, but they made a special exception for me, or so I was told. Years ago, the drama department at Carnegie Mellon bent the rules for me as well, letting me take some classes in their closed-to-non-majors program. I’d like to say I have amazing powers of persuasion but that would be wishful thinking; I think I just got lucky. In any case, I got to take classes with this guy among other talented folks, and I’m tickled pink that he’s doing so well. Go Josh!

I had hoped, before my trail, that I was going to impress the ABC Kitchen folks so much with my work ethic and dedication that they’d let me come in for a stage, if only for a few weeks. I wore my kitchen clogs, got my knives sharpened, and even brought tweezers (for plating) in my knife bag. I fancied myself very prepared.

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