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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

baby burrito – a tiny announcement

This needed to happen today.

Hi.

I’m looking at the calendar — it says that it’s August 28, and my brain can’t process that. I could ask where the summer went, but it went by while I was working on two books – that’s where. Somewhere in there, I also landed a dream job, and now, like a kid before her first day of school, I’m full of anticipation, sharpened pencils and all. On Monday, I had a pre-work meeting with my boss and we talked about specific books and projects on the docket, and I walked away with a level of excitement somewhere in the eeeeeeee! stratosphere. I can’t wait to get started.

Over the last several weeks, I cooked a lot of different things from blogs, books, and magazines. Something to the tune of a dozen, and not a single one is worth mentioning here. They were solid recipes, but not anything I’d tell you to drop your planned dinner for or anything that I’d repeat – some had good potential but were only so-so in the end; others were lacking balance, like a touch of acid, or a light punch of heat. The last of these recipes, Butter Chicken, from the Sunday New York Times Magazine, was a solid recipe, but it needed (forthcoming) some major tweaking. I was promised a dish “astonishing in its richness and depths of flavor”, but in the end, it tasted a bit bland on my palate – rich in texture, but lacklusters overall – and I wanted more flavor, more intensity, something that would stop me in my tracks.

Stay tuned for that, I’m not done with this one yet. But if you do attempt your hand at it, do make it with ghee instead of butter – and use Heidi Swanson’s excellent primer.

My cooking plans for August, derailed as they were (I get easily distracted!), were dead simple: lobster rolls (check), lots of salads and eggplant caponata (check and check), Swedish cardamom buns (one unsatisfactory attempt to be continued when it’s not 90 degrees out), Dutch baby pancakes (I keep forgetting), and burrito bowls (check, again). On the whole, it’s safe to say that I’ve consumed more burritos (and burrito bowls) this summer alone than collectively in my entire life, and there’s a good reason for it besides the fact that burritos are supremely delicious and gratifying on their own. There was that one day when I had two burritos for lunch and one for dinner – and that was a very, very good day. (Also, if I am forced to count burrito bowls, then the estimates of burrito consumption are far higher…)

Which brings me to this next tiny announcement… I’ve never been good at these sorts of things, and I don’t like to beat around the bush. I’ve been known to bury the lede in the past; I don’t do it intentionally, so let’s just get right to it, shall we?

Continue reading baby burrito – a tiny announcement.

Friday, August 8, 2014

friday link love

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My month of loafing has been off to a non-loafing start. Let’s hope that after today loafing commences at full force, though I’m not so good at doing nothing, so knowing me, I’ll probably reorganize our hallway closet or something. Because I was busy tying up a few loose ends for one of the books, I was a bit preoccupied and didn’t read as much – hence the short list of links. At least I got to cook a fair amount this week – always a good thing – eggplant caponata, broccoli slaw, blackfish with olives and lemon, a black currant streusel cake I’m testing (still have a round or two left to tweak), lobster rolls, lots and lots of pesto to make good use of the most immense pile of basil I got at the market. I made lobster stock with the lobster carcasses – and now I’m thinking of ways to use it up. Lobster + corn risotto? Fancy seafood chowder? Any other ideas, friends?

I hope you have a great weekend ahead. We’re off to Home Depot – again. Hoping to finalize our balcony door solution – the frame, as well as the door, are rotted through and through – and we need to do something about it. Until next week. xx

Continue reading friday link love.

Friday, July 25, 2014

friday link love

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Happy Friday, friends!

I’m actually not the one witnessing this staggering landscape; my office faces the the back of some buildings and sits on top of our building’s garage roof. The picture above was taken by Andrew while hiking at the Rocky Mountain National Park yesterday – he’s spent the week in Boulder for work, and given these kinds of views, I can’t imagine he got much work done. I mean, would you? Look at that expanse!

I, on the other hand, have been a shut-in, waking up at five to write and edit, edit and write. It’s an all-hands on deck kind of a race to the finish line, which, if you think about it, means just my two hands, since those two books due August 1 need my uninterrupted attention. So, what’s a girl to do but work nonstop through the week and make a last-minute decision to slink away to the Cape for a few days? Have I suddenly lost my mind? Shouldn’t the next few days be hermit-like, filled with toast, hard-cooked eggs, and tomato sandwiches?

Yes – that might be the sensible thing to do, especially given the quality of tomatoes at our local farmers’ market (the very best I’ve had in awhile and certainly better than those at our last greenmarket!).

However, what I really want to do, besides finish my books in a timely fashion, is to also see my two-year old niece, whom we haven’t seen in quite some time and who is going to be sojourning, with her parents of course, in bucolic Wellfleet. She’s quite a funny kid, and I feel that with us living in Brooklyn, and her family in DC, we miss a lot of the good stuff. Important stuff.

Deadlines are important – there’s no denying it; but so are nieces and nephews who are growing up faster than the speed of light. Yesterday morning, after perhaps a bit too much coffee (my version of liquid courage), I decided that I could make the trip and meet all my deadlines. Let’s hope I’m as industrious as I’ve been while Andrew spent the week on a work trip in Boulder (lucky lucky guy).

I skipped links last week in light of the sad news from the Ukraine and the heavy news coming from the Middle East; it didn’t feel right to post, and I wanted to take the time to process. I’ll be doing that a long time. I hung on to some of the links (sorry if they feel a bit stale) but only the ones I thought might be more or less evergreen.

I hope you have a good weekend and week. I’ll be at it until August 1: editing and writing, writing and editing. Until I hit that “send” button on two separate emails, I’m singularly focused on getting things done. I have some more exciting things with you to share down the road – good things – but they need to wait. I’m hoping to an August that is calm, quiet, and still. xo, olga

Continue reading friday link love.

Friday, July 11, 2014

friday link love

Midmorning snack.

Happy Friday, friends. It appears some cooler weather is coming our way – sounds crazy in July, but it seems like we might have a week or so when we’re actually comfortable outside. I’m all for it, but I do worry about what this means in the great scheme of things.

My ice cream book with the wonderful folks from Van Leeuwen is due August 1. My copy edits for the book I wrote with Marc Murphy is also due August 1. How the gods have arranged such a schedule is a little beyond me, but now is no time pontificate – but to do. But(!) to make things more interesting, I’ve been battling what seems to be sciatica inflammation for the last two days. I’ve never had anything like it, and I can tell you the pain can be excruciating not to mention – distracting. I’ve a slew of possible treatments to consider – acupuncture is looking good, and my angel of an agent sent me her person’s contact info, so I think I’ll be making a call today.

I skipped posting last Friday because it was Fourth of July and because I found myself (along with Andrew) in the depths of Home Depot researching balcony doors, door frames, house paint, in-wall a/c units (for those of you lucky enough to wind up with in-wall a/c, I feel your pain – incredibly high prices and virtually zero reviews to go on!). So these links might be a touch dated, and I hope you can forgive me. I’m trying to keep myself organized the best I can.

Have a lovely weekend. I’m whipping a draft of the ice cream book into shape to send to the VL team for review July 15. Then copy-edits. Then more ice cream AND copy edits – all until August 1. And then I get to pass out for a day before I pick up with another project – fun! But please – rest up for me, I need to know people have a better work/life balance out there! xo, olga

Continue reading friday link love.

Friday, June 27, 2014

friday link love

Summer!!

Happy Friday, friends! I have a compact list of links for you today partly because I’ve not had too much time this week to do much external reading, i.e. reading not pertaining to books I’m working on. I did read this current issue of the Atlantic magazine cover to cover, but that was because I spent a good chunk of time this week riding the NYC subway to and from various meetings, so I wanted to put my idle time to good use. If you’re not a regular subscriber, it’s a great issue through and through – I found just about every article interesting and engaging. I get to play for a little bit today – there’s dim sum in the works and an improv show Andrew and I will check out. But most of the weekend is very much about work (I sound like a broken record) and will be this way until August 1 and then, hopefully, it’ll be a bit more measured – or so I hope. Have a great weekend! xo, olga

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

friday wednesday link love

We're just getting started. #sundaysupper

Hi friends, I skipped links last week because life and crazy. Also, I spent last Friday running around, mostly soaked in the torrential rain (with sopping wet shoes and socks, no less) and getting boring things done (like changing my legal name at the bank – two years after getting married). For all your single business owners out there, turns out changing your DBA (doing business as) aspect of your business banking is harder than it seems. I thought I just had to go in there with a marriage certificate, my new social security card, and my passport, and voila – name change done! But apparently you have to go to the county clerk’s office and get a letter that summarizes the said DBA which you then bring to the bank. Kind of a pain if you ask me.

This week, I’m afraid I’m not faring much better. Some intense ice cream testing along with possible new projects starting up fast and furious. How busy has it been? Well, it’s been solidly a take-out week, and tonight’s no different. I was just having coffee with another fellow writer and we were both laughing about the misconception that food writers eat these amazing, elaborate meals at home. “You’re so lucky to cook all this amazing food,” people say. If only they knew how much toast we consume on a regular basis – let’s just say folks on those low-carb diets will surely shudder.

When I get this crazy with my schedule, it’s truly tiny things that make me stop and pause and smile. Like this white nectarine I had with my lunch today – it was so lush, so ripe, and so fragrant, that I had to just take a few moments and savor each bite. And thanks to that nectarine, I took a few minutes to breathe and just zone out – a truly wonderful thing!

So, even though it’s Wednesday, already it’s felt like a full week! I’m away tomorrow and Friday (and mostly off the grid – work related, I’m afraid) but I wanted to post this in advance – it’s short but to the point. I wish you all a great rest of the week and a restful, lovely weekend! xo, olga

Continue reading friday wednesday link love.

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