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
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
Hello, friends! I can’t contain my excitement about this weekend – because for a change it’s going to be all about relaxing. Andrew’s brother and his girlfriend are visiting and we’ve plans to eat lots, walk around, take in sights – the works! I’ve so much work piled up, but I’m so excited to be “forced” to put it – and all my tools – down for a bit. Here’s to a refreshed brain by the end of the weekend!
Separately, I have about 45 egg whites sitting in my fridge – any suggestions what to do with them? I have a short list, but I’m always curious to see what others are doing.
My morning is looking pretty busy – lots of work + a breakfast meeting before family arrives, so here are the links from this week – and I hope you all have a terrific weekend ahead. xo, olga
As I get more and more entrenched in book work, I find myself, unfortunately, spending less and less time here, sharing recipes. My days are dedicated either to recipe testing for my books or writing the actual book: narrative, headnotes, tips, editing recipes, and doing lots of research. What that means, at the end of the day, that recipe work, for the blog, falls by the wayside.
I do, however, like to hang around this corner of the web, and even without a recipe, I hope that this can still be an interesting place for us to congregate. As I focus more on paid work, this means that the blog has to change to reflect my current life and time management. I’m thinking about experimenting more with posts without recipes, anecdotes from cooking life, tips, and more informal recipes. In general, I’ve been gravitating towards a rougher feel for this space: Less formal, less styled photos, shooting with my phone, and sharing recipes that I cook for Andrew and me during the week. I’ve become disenchanted with styled food – it’s been looking the same for quite some time. Same props, same concept – and nothing that looks like food you would serve to someone in real life. I don’t want to get negative, but for me, personally, this approach rings false, and so I’m hoping to attempt something else.
Anyway, today, I wanted to share with you my 12 essential tools for book projects. These are tools that keep me organized and efficient. If you’ve worked, or are currently working, on a book, what are your essential can’t-live-without-them tools? I’d love to know!
A bleary-eyed happy Friday to you, friends. Last night around 2am, our smoke alarm decided to go off, and of course it took us a few good minutes – while it was emitting the most gut-wrenching high pitched sound – before we figured out what was making this horrible squeal and subsequently disabling the thing. I don’t know about you, but the sound of those smoke alarms pierces to the depths of my soul – it is a sound I can’t stand. It took me another two hours to fall back asleep and then, less than two hours after that, my wake-up alarm went off. Needless to say, this is going to feel like a long, tough slog of a day. If anyone has any recommendations on smoke alarm/detectors that don’t scare you half to death in the middle of your REM cycle, I’m all ears. And before anyone recommends Nest, keep in mind that they’ve just recalled nearly 500,000 units.
I’m going to try to put together that final kitchen reno post that will tally up the cost. A few of you emailed me curious about how on-budget we stayed (we didn’t, but I can explain why) and what the bottom line was (not that much, given everything, but more than we were prepared to spend, which is probably why everyone tells you to take your budget and add 50% to it because – you never know). So hopefully, I’ll post that sometime early next week.
Anyway, without further ado, here are a few of the links I found thought-provoking and engaging this week. I’m going to go and drink that second cup of coffee – I’ve earned it. Have a great weekend. xo, olga
Hi, friends. Sorry for the radio silence last week. I got a bit busy while out in San Francisco and with the time difference and all, I dropped the ball.
San Francisco, however frenetic my trip was, still delivered. I was doggedly determined to check out a few new places, and so, as part of research, or so I keep telling myself, I set out to b. patisserie, the morning after the conference ended, to sample their famed kouign amann. My trip to Pacific Heights was not in vain. That might have been the best piece of pastry I’ve ever eaten. I’m now told I have to sample Dominique Ansel’s, and I’m a woman obsessed. Laminated dough – it’s going to happen at some point soon.
I had one of the best, and one of the priciest, meals of my life at Atelier Crenn. I’ve been following Dominique Crenn’s career for quite some time, and we knew too many people in common, so I had to go and check it out. The price-tag, and it’s a bit of a long story how that happened, snuck up on me and was a touch of a shock. This was not, by any means, an inexpensive dinner. It’s fair to say that for the rest of the month I’ll be eating peanut butter sandwiches to make up for that expense, but if I had to do it all over again, I’d do it in a heartbeat. While this isn’t inexpensive for me, the meal, all twenty-plus courses, with all its bells and whistles, is fairly priced. At one point of the meal, there was a play on French onion soup with an intense, concentrated three-onion broth and a gruyere gnocchi; at another part of the course had a chocolate branch lightly dusted with porcini powder. I now catch myself wondering why more chocolate doesn’t use porcini powder – they are perfect complements.
There were other wonderful meals. The always-delightful Contigo (whose chef Brett Emerson and I were blog buddies back in the day when he had a blog, In Praise of Sardines, before his restaurant); a richly spiced meal with friends at Kin Khao. I braved San Francisco hill while out for a run with my friend Marianna – who is a serious SF runner – and made it halfway up a steep two-block hill that rendered me breathless – surviving the challenging 3.2 mile run. I say “challenging”, because hills.
I also got to sample some ice cream. While waiting for a friend at the Ferry Building, I tried the famed Humphry Slocombe. Thanks to Instagram friends I now have half a dozen more places to try next time I’m out in SF, but if I’m going to be honest, HS was a bit of a disappointment. The ice cream was too soft, too icy, and lacked a certain pleasant chewiness to it. To each his own, I suppose, but I prefer a little bit more body to my ice cream, which perhaps might explain my deep dislike of sort serve (my husband fiercely disagrees with me on that one).
This week I was a mean, lean ice-cream-testing machine, testing and developing recipes with Ben (one of the founders of Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream) ; though if we’re being totally honest, a little less lean now after over twenty five recipes. Our book deadline is fast approaching, so we’re pushing ahead with recipe testing. And I’m pushing ahead with lots of writing and research.
And lastly, I’ve been playing around with a scallop recipe that involves a butter emulsion sauce with golden raisins and capers. Stay tuned – I’m determined to get it right. And besides that, I might have committed myself to running a ten-miler in DC in October with my brother-in-law. So, uh, I think I need to start ramping up (and actually regularly running). Right? Right.
Anyway, here are some links that engaged me recently. And I hope you all have a great long weekend ahead. I’ve got book work – jealous?