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Friday, October 3, 2014

friday link love

If you know nothing else about my workplace, know this: it's the kind of place that keeps communal pickles for a snack. And that's all right by me.

Hi friends, happy Friday! It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I missed you and this space. How was your September? Mine was a blur: I started work at Phaidon; I edited two books I wrote this past year; I went to London for work and came back with a cold so fierce I’m still fighting it.

On the other hand, Andrew got the beloved yo-yo biscuits from Ottolenghi* as a souvenir. This doesn’t seem fair to me: I get a cold; and Andrew gets biscuits, but I suppose jet lag + suppressed immune system (thanks, pregnancy!) is a perfect combination of ingredients to yield something resembling a cold, except this was so much worse.

Something is going around here and over on the other side of the pond – some vicious bug – that takes hold of you and makes you cough for about three weeks, no matter the medicine, rest, what have you.

So – between work, two books, a cold, and this tiny human I’m growing, September wiped me out. And so here we are, October 3. Erev Yom Kippur. Guess who’s not fasting?

Guess who’s also barely figured out how to make dinner on weeknights? That’s right – me. It’s not the cooking – well, sometimes when I get home late it is – it’s the planning, the balance of full time work + freelance book work I am committed to completing, that get me. And things come up. Lovely friends come through town last minute and you drop your homemade dinner plans to see them. Or you get held up by work and come home entirely too late, so you cheat and call takeout. But we’re slowly falling into a pattern here, and I’m happy about that.

If you’re observing Yom Kippur, I wish you an easy fast. Otherwise, have a lovely weekend, and hopefully we’ll meet back here again next Friday if not sooner. xo, olga

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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

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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

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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

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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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