Friday, June 27, 2008

Sibling Bonding

Tomorrow I'm taking a bus (!!!) to New York City, where I'm meeting Misha and Anna for a sibling weekend of fun (let's hope!).

This will be the first time I'm taking a bus to NYC: I typically take Amtrak train or fly, so this should be interesting. More importantly, this will be the first time in more than a year that Anna, Misha and I are all in the same place at the same time.

So far we only have a few things planned:
1) dinner with Jenny and her boyfriend Chris at Pio Maya
2) Jazz at Blue Note: something Misha really wanted to do being a jazz enthusiast and all
3) Brunch with Jenny in Brooklyn at Bubby's

Other than that, just some walking around, eating some good food, and maybe a bit of sightseeing and shopping!

I will most likely have no access to Internet till Sunday night, but I will write updates and post pictures then!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Do What???

This is variation on my "say what???" posts. Yesterday I was on the red line going home, and the train was packed!!! I decided to sit down, even though I had only a few stops to go. The train was holding "momentarily," which really means it can be a minute, or two, or 10. I decided to read Lamb, when all of a sudden someone grabbed my big toe!!!!

It was so unexpected: turned out it was a little boy sitting in a stroller :) His mom was very apologetic and slightly embarrassed, but I thought the whole thing was hilarious and had a mini laughing attack: I don't think I've laughed so much in a long time.

This little boy is definitely going to grow up to be a "legs" man.

2 New Plants

Last week I was in Del Ray neighborhood with Jenn for dinner and dessert, when I saw a little store selling herbs. I just had to buy something. And this is what I bought: purple ruffles basil. It's sitting on my windowsill, and hopefully I'll try it sometime before it dies (sorry for the flashed photo: I took at least 15 pictures and this is the best one).

On Monday, I went grocery shopping and saw Calla plants on sale for $3!!! Of course I could not pass that by. I removed two of the flowers and they are now standing in a vase on my desk at work. The remaining plant is at home. LOVE the yellow color and the speckled leafs.

Monday, June 23, 2008

First there was the rain...

...then there was a rainbow! (taken from inside of my apartment)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

If Only There Was a Wet T-shirt Contest

So lunch at an Indian place with Misha in Gallery Place. I just knew I was bound to spill something on myself because I was wearing my new white t-shirt. And of course I did! UGH! So, I went to the bathroom to wash it out, which I'm not sure was quite successful, and ended up walking in a wet t-shirt for a bit: good thing the sun was pretty strong and dried it out soon enough.

Bro in Town

Misha is visiting me for a day and then Anna and I are meeting up with him in New York City for some sibling bonding time next weekend. Then he's coming back to DC with me and staying another day. We are then all reuniting in Seattle!

I was honestly quite terrified because haven't seen Misha in about a year and a half, and how often do I have a boy staying over?! (sigh)

I picked him up at the airport yesterday and today I was playing a tour guide. Oh, at first I was a great sister and made breakfast.

Day of touring

1) United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: I still think that Yad Vashem in Israel is more emotional, however, I got a bit chocked up when I saw all the shoes and hair left from the people that the Nazis cremated, and photos of peple's arms tatooed with the numbers

2) Washington Monument

3) Lincoln Memorial (it was super hot and I thought we will never make it there, but we did)

4) Vietnam Memorial & Korean Memorial

5) White House (randomly ran into Lisa, who I haven't seen in at least a year)

6) Natural History Museum (I just sat on the bench while Misha walked around)

7) Lunch at an Indian place (quite delicious!!!)

8) The National Portrait Gallery: great exhibits!

9) Old Town Alexandria: coffee and Scrabble at Misha's Coffeehouse and Coffee Roaster with Jenn

10) Home, sweet Home: just before the thunder started

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Great quote

It's 4:20 pm. I'm sitting on my floor, watching Bittman on WETA, and getting ready for Misha's visit: apartment is clean, clean towels are bought and breakfast food is in the fridge.

On Bittman's show, the guest was Jose Andres. Bittman asked him how he knew the dessert will taste good, and Jose said "Because I can eat with my brain."

I think that's a great idea: that's how I know intuitively what foods will go well together: it's a gift :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A cute card for a cute 10 y.o.

My goodness, Laila is turning 10! I remember when she was a 3 year old...that makes me feel ancient, but I digress.

Tools: cardstock, cake-shaped hole-puncher, Post-it flags, and Fiskars scissors

Directions: punch the holes (one for each year), cover the holes with colorful Post-it flags underneath, use Fiskars to make decorative edge. Done!

Hope she's going to like it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I just lost my voice!!!

Why? Because I screamed!
Why? Because as I was getting ready for bed and putting away my jewelry I saw this on my wall:

And being single, I obviously did not have a man around and had to deal with it on my own. I trapped this spider in an envelope, folded the envelope a few times and put a rubberband around it. And off it went into the trash. I hope it's not as evil as just smashing the spider....or is it? Oh god!

PS: yes, I stopped to take a picture. I'm hopeless.

A new blog is born

After giving this some thought, I decided to start a brand new blog where I will write about my cooking adventures. I will still update this blog with my shopping trips, craft projects and travel stories.

For those of you who are interested in food only, check out Mango & Tomato for my original recipes, and of course Bittman In My Kitchen for recipes from Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything Vegetarian cookbook.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Out with the Old and In with the New... that is.

I've had these Bandolino slides for at least 3 years! Jenny was the first one to buy them, and generous enough to "allow" me to buy a matching pair. I absolutely loved these shoes, which is visible by how much I've worn them out.

Time for a new pair. I have no idea how I went from not owning any patent leather shoes to owning five pairs now!

Leftovers from Farmers' Market

I was planning on going grocery shopping after work and making dinner. Mother Nature had other plans: it was raining, and I did not want to get soaked.

I had to make dinner with whatever was in my refrigerator. And you know what? The dinner turned out pretty darn good!

Saute garlic scape with yellow squash in some hot oil (I used the oil from a jar of spicy olives). Season with salt. Once the vegetables are almost done, add the beets' greens. Saute a few more minutes. Season again with salt if necessary, and serve over bulghur. Done!

Notes: Sauteed garlic scape tastes almost like sauteed green beans or asparagus: delicious!

P.S. This is the second time I've cooked bulghur. I came up with a little trick: put uncooked bulghur in a fine sieve, cover with hot water, and once the bulghur is cooked, you can press it with your hand or a wooden spoon to get rid of the access water. Fluff with a fork, and you are done!


After my camera's battery died, I took some of the artists' business cards. Below are some of my favorites.

There were several wonderful mosaic pieces by Lisa Osgood-Dano. Check out her website to see a few of the projects up close and personal. This really makes me want to try mosaics...anyone wants to join me?

I also liked whimsical porcelain pieces by Laura Peery.

Another exhibit that I absolutely loved was by John Pack, who created food sculptures from shells! Check out his pictures here.

One of the most intricate works that I saw at Artomatic was done by Sherill Anne Gross. At first, her work appears as a simple picture, but on closer examination, you can see that it's layers upon layers of cut out paper that form different images. LOVED!

Because I really like modern art, simple design and geometric forms, I really liked the work by Joel Church; unfortunately, his website is not yet operational...check in back next week.

Matthew Langley also had a few of his modern designs on display in Artomatic. His art reminds me of blocks my dad made for Anna and me when we were little. We used those wooden blocks to make larger designs: what fun!

I also really enjoyed contemporary work by Shannon McCarty. Who knew you could make art usinng only fabric and an iron?

Another very cool exhibit in Artomatic was Leaves by Martin Hahn. Unfortunately the artist doesn't have a website, but maybe in the future?

I really wish more of the artists would create a website displaying their art. Even a little blog maybe? It's really not that hard and would be a great publicity tool.

Till next year!


Yesterday was the final day of Atomatic. This was the first time I attended this unbelievable collection of artists. I'm really mad at myself that I waited till the last day because the exhibit was only one Metro stop away from work. But I guess it's better to see a little of it than nothing at all. I'll know better next year.

Below are some of my favorite "pieces;" there would have been more, but my camera died after 15 minutes. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to write down the artists' information for all of them (if available, the names appear below the art pieces).

Kerin McBride

Michael Torra

This woman collects old pairs of eyeglasses and makes them into pieces of art

Jennifer Lindstrom

Amanda Engels (Its Time)

Very cheeful and pretty.

There were 5 dresses and this one was my favorite.

Charlotte Guthery

This was a very cool project: the artist, Vick Fisher, took one photo and manipulated it so that the final product looks like a mandala

There was an entire exhibit composed of peeps!

Of course I had to take a few pictures of jewelry!

Yeonhee Ji

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Eggs A La Edward

Edward (my boss at Sur La Table) loves Indian food. So do I. A while ago he taught me a super easy twist on a "normal" egg recipe:

1. In neutral oil, cook cumin seeds (be careful not to burn them)
2. Add minced ginger and garlic; cook for a few minutes until the aroma of the two ingredients comes out
3. Add chopped red onion and chopped tomatoes; cook for a few more minutes
4. Pour in a few beaten eggs, seasoned with salt and pepper
5. Once the eggs are set, so are you (ha, ha, funny).

This is a super easy and flavorful dish. Top the eggs with fresh cilantro, and you are ready for a breakfast with an Indian twist.

Confession: as soon as I started cooking, I realized I was out of ginger. It was too late to go to the grocery store: I made the same recipe without ginger and it was still great with the flavor from the cumin seeds.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy (Early) Father's Day

Kim O'Donnel from Washington Post requested food related stories for Father's Day. I submitted mine, and it was published in her blog :)

I'll also paste it here for easier access.

I grew up in Moscow, Russia. Both of my parents cooked. My mom made great cakes, delicious potato salad, etc, but my dad's specialty was and is borscht. Even my grandmother (my mom's mom) thinks my dad's borscht is the best. He cuts and sautes the vegetables individually in plenty of olive oil, taking care not to rush the process. The smell of the beets, onions, garlic and carrots travel throughout the entire house. And the color of the soup is magnificent. My dad makes borscht year around. Even though I have been living away from my parents for the last seven years, I know that whenever I fly back to Seattle (that's where my family has been living for the last 15 years), there will be a big pot of borscht in the refrigerator. I can't wait to have cold borsht with sour cream when I come to visit in July.

Not Your Average Potato Salad

I love potatoes. I love mashed potatoes, fries, potato latkes, and I love potato salad. Usually, the only absolutely given ingredient in my potato salad is mayonnaise. Everything else comes and goes: eggs, onions, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, etc.

Alas, I was out of mayonnaise (shocker!), but still wanted to make a warm potato salad last night. And then I had an idea: why not use the garlic scape pesto I made a few days ago as a "salad dressing"?

Ingredients and Directions:
1) Peel and cube Yukon Gold potatoes. Cook the potatoes until tender in salted water, but be careful not to overcook
2) Combine cooked and drained (and still hot) potatoes with garlic scape pesto (the cheese in the pesto will start to melt a bit...what could be better?)
3) Add cubed cucumbers, chopped red onions, fresh dill, capers and chopped boiled egg to the salad
4) Season with salt and pepper, combine all the ingredients and eat the salad warm

All good things must come to an end

Just as I found a new hobby (which became slightly obsessive), it came to an end. As seen below, my new favorite website, TasteSpotting, decided to no longer accept bloggers' recipe entries. I am super sad, because not only did this website brought new readers to both of my blogs, but it also enabled me to see what others are cooking and the great food photography they are taking.

I'm also sad because I did not write down the websites of some of my favorite food bloggers, who I discovered through TasteSpotting.

Guess it's time to find something else!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

2 Minute Tilapia Take 2

Last night I came home and needed a quick meal. I had a piece of tilapia in my fridge, garlic scape pesto from a day before, and some fresh produce. Here's another quick take on microwaved tilapia.

Ingredients and Directions (serves 1):
1 piece of tilapia
2 T garlic scape pesto
2 thick slices of tomato
1 T dill
1 T Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Place tilapia on a large piece of parchment paper, top with pesto, tomatoes, sprinkle with salt & pepper, dill and Parmesan cheese. Fold the edges of the parchment paper to form an envelope around the fish and microwave for 2-4 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.

Ready to eat!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Oooh...a little publicity

My cold beet soup was mentioned on Apartment Therapy's The Kitchn!!!!

All this is thanks to Anna's friend Barbara Ann who told Anna about TasteSpotting, who then told me about it, which has become a latest obsession.

Flower Power

Yesterday I felt fed up with everything and everyone. Solution? Flowers!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Russian Cold Beet Soup

After buying beets at the Dupont Farmers' Market, I was talking with my dad, and he suggested I make cold beet soup. He then put my mom on the phone, and she gave me directions. Thanks, parents!!!

Note: I am not providing the amounts, because everything depends on how many people you are feeding, and your preference for each of the ingredients: beets, beet greens, cucumbers, green onions, eggs, buttermilk and dill.

Do ahead: 1) peel, slice and cook beets in salted water 2) once the beets are almost tender, add sliced beet greens and cook for a few more minutes 3) let the mixture cool 4) separately hard-boil eggs, and let them cool too

1) Place cubed cucumbers and sliced green onions on the bottom of the bowl

2) Add cooked beets, beet greens, and some of the liquid

3) Add a few pieces of a hard boiled egg

4) Pour in some buttermilk

5) Mix everything, add dill, and season with salt & pepper

2 Minute Tilapia

This "recipe" is ridiculously quick, easy to make and tasty! Give it a try.

1. Put a piece of tilapia on a large piece of parchment paper. Lightly salt and pepper.
2. Cover tilapia with garlic scape pesto.
3. Add a few slices of thin yellow squash and red onion.
4. Fold the parchment into a pocket.
5. Microwave for 2 minutes, carefully open the parchment paper and enjoy!!!