when life gives you limoncello...

When I first arrived at the corporate apartment, the first thing I did was hide the piles of kitch that I suppose the office manager here thought would make an out-of-towner feel at home in Austin. Cheap baskets (one shaped like the state of Texas), paperback mystery novels, a "New York City" espresso mug set, and my favorite: a tall, skinny limoncello decanter with 6 matching shot glasses. These have been pushed as far back as possible on top of the refrigerator so I don't have to see them. What do they think, I'm going to invite my colleagues over for some limoncello shooters? It's puzzling. Today I went back to the farmers market and found some beautiful fresh red leaf lettuce, tomatoes, arugula and basil. I started to feel hopeless because I couldn't find a small enough vessel to keep my little basil bunch fresh. But then I remembered...

...I had just the thing.



A few days late, admittedly, I feel compelled to comment on my first (and I can only hope NOT last) experience in Austin for South by Southwest, the famous music festival. It's almost impossible to compare it to another city's local celebration, but the anticipation, planning and total distraction that this event causes in lives and businesses in this town is unlike I've anything I've ever seen. Massholes, consider this: if Opening Day at Fenway, The Head of the Charles, St. Patty's Day and the 4th of July were to magically converge over the same four day period, this would only amount to about 50% of the passion that this city feels about SXSW. It was quite an experience, all-day drinking, good music, of course, and the happy-go-lucky vibe of this place that I'm going to miss more than anything. It's awful to think about leaving in 4 weeks.

With Amelia, my new friend. Thanks, GLG!

The photos of the bridge below show the bats of Congress Bridge flying out at dusk. It's too weird to talk about, but yet another interesting fun fact about Austin.

Coming up: My dear friend and neighbor from Santa Monica, Jen, who I haven't seen in two years, is visiting from Fort Colins this weekend. If she doesn't get snowed-in, I should have some good stories and photos to share the next time I'm back a bloggin'.


cooking for one - corporate apartment style

One of the biggest challenges of living in a corporate apartment for three months is not having your own stuff.  And when you enjoy cooking and baking as I do, you come to appreciate all of the small things in your home kitchen that you take for granted.  My collection of spices, my Le Creuset pot, a baking sheet (I had to buy one my first week just to roast vegetables), measuring spoons, whisks.... you get the idea.  Tonight I drew inspiration from chef and food editor Mark Bittman and made a terrific meal that was about as close to one-pot cooking as it gets.  My sister introduced me to Marks book Food Matters several weeks ago, and in addition to the eye-opening and also disturbing details about our planet's current agricultural and environmental conundrum, he provides a series of really delicious, easy recipes that I've been eager to try.  His Orchiette with Broccoli Rabe took 30 minutes on the dot to prepare, and was a delight.  I was lucky to find fennel seed and red pepper flakes in bulk at Whole Foods, where I also had dozens of fresh sausage varieties to choose from.  I am going to definitely keep this one in my back pocket - would be great for a big dinner party or even a date.