“You know, writers are like beekeepers. A writer is the thief of knowledge. And we beekeepers, we are honey stealers. In both cases, you have to be a hunter of dreams. Otherwise you cannot dream.” –Adam Gollner (from an excellent article on Crete in Lucky Peach 7)

Although I have a lot of recipes I want to share with you (I even made a list), for now I’m just going to give you some interesting links to mull over while I finish writing this chapter. I’ll be back soon, though–with both news from Nashville and what pretty much amounts to a  full draft of my dissertation!! After three years, it’s about time, right?

Before I left for Nashville, this editorial not only blew my mind, but also made me glad that I’m a frequent purchaser of arugula. I’m now really excited to read the book.

I’m only at the beginning of A Dance with Dragons and am thrilled to be reunited with Daenerys, Jon Snow and Tyrion, but once I have no more Game of Thrones to keep me going, I’m looking forward to a few recent presents I received: Cooked, The Hare with Amber Eyes and From the Holy Mountain. Variety is the spice of the reading life!

I love these musings on the beauty of the everyday.

This cream cheese pound cake is everything a girl (or guy) could want in an afternoon snack; since it hails from the south, I bet it would be delightful with a tall glass of iced tea (as I learned in the Smoky Mountains, when it comes to tea, there are only two kinds: unsweetened Yankee tea or sweetened Southern tea–take your pick).

I keep finding things that challenge my understanding of the possibilities of rhubarb; this cocktail is no exception.

The blog Not Without Salt is pretty awesome; the blogger is a former pastry chef and her creations are both beautiful and inspired. But what I really like about her site are her posts devoted to “dating her husband.” They’re not just about the food; they’re about keeping the relationship alive in the face of various outside demands (at age 20, I remember angering my Russian host mother when, in a philosophical conversation about love [fyi: such conversations are frequent in Russia; this was nothing out of the ordinary], I said that I thought it was work; she may have thought I was crazy and heartless, but I’m pretty sure my 20-year-old self knew what she was talking about). This one is my favorite. And this one is a close runner up (I could easily recreate this meal at home and be more than satisfied).

The Greek and I went to this fine restaurant to celebrate my graduation and, for those of you living in San Francisco, I highly recommend it. I had pink peppercorn pasta, a sour cherry daiquiri (pictured above) and, for dessert, we shared what the waitress described as “deconstructed baklava with Persian cream and rose preserves.” It’s not an everyday kind of place, but it’s nice for special occasions.

And because I’m a sucker for Henry James–Portrait of a Lady is a favorite of mine–I found this article on Washington Square to offer a compelling case for poor Catherine Sloper, who “loves cream cakes and spends too much money on clothes.”

P.S. For those of you who are wondering, the tartines above are as simple as can be. I like both a sweet and savory breakfast, so some good bread topped with ricotta is an ideal base. The sweet ones have slices of golden apricots with honey and some fresh thyme; the savory ones have thinly sliced radishes, sea salt, tarragon and olive oil. I sprinkle both with pink peppercorns and grains of paradise (I’m obsessed!) and I pop them in the oven (300 F) for about 8-10 minutes. So simple, so magical.

9 thoughts on “A Wave of Gratitude

  1. I'm on book 3 right now of Game of Thrones, it's heating up! I can't get enough of the series or tv show. But with the tv show.. we have a long time to wait now! *weep weep*

    Love the first picture, going to try this with my radishes we just picked. 🙂

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Pamela! It's definitely true that book 3 is when things really start to heat up in Westeros (I don't have HBO so I'm a little behind with the series, but I can't wait to see what they've done with what is definitely my favorite book in the series)!

    Thanks for the photo love; I hope you enjoy the tartines! Radishes have become a fast favorite in my kitchen. I'm currently waiting for my second homegrown batch to finish sprouting! 🙂

  3. After long time (too long!) I stopped by to see how are you doing – and you have graduated!!! Congratulations, I am so happy and proud for you!!! Do you remember when we read Фузий в блюдечке, it was your first year, one one hand it feels like yesterday but when one starts to count… And now it is over! Enjoy your life now 🙂

  4. I recognize that fence shadow:) I love posts like this, where all the beautiful ephemera of life is brought together in one place. So happy for all your fun reading! And those tartines are gorgeous! I haven't baked bread in ages (too hot already!), but I think I should buy loaves, with a special summer dispensation;)

  5. Ulla, so lovely to hear from you as always! And thank you for the congratulations; I should confess that while I did walk in the official graduation ceremony, I am still working on the dissertation–mainly editing at this point, which, although it does present its own difficulties, ultimately isn't half as painful as producing a narrative from scratch! And it's funny, but yes, I was thinking back to our Kuzmin moment in your lovely Berkeley home; I remember making a spicy Mexican hot chocolate (the beginnings of my culinary obsessions) and feeling unsure of what to make of the poem. I think, however, in this last chapter of my dissertation, I've finally made sense of Kuzmin. It really is one of the ways that my grad school experience came full circle. 🙂

  6. For any frequent walker on College Avenue, the sight of that fence shadow must be somewhat recognizable. I'll admit that that day–a few weeks ago–was one of the only times I truly paid attention to it. Isn't it funny how much we can miss when we're not paying attention?

    And thank you for the tartine love; I didn't make the bread myself (since my starter failed, I've steered clear of bread; I'm ready to try again now, although it's been pretty warm here. Come July, however, the elements should be cooperating with me), although I do take full credit for happily showering it with herbs, fruit/veggies and ricotta. I really could never get tired of toast–the ultimate blank canvas. 🙂

  7. Have you ever tried Georgian food? (I mean Georgian in Caucasus, not yours.) I think you should. We had again some baklazhany for Midsummer, seems like it has become a tradition by now. Other stuff have not tried yet, but pkhali and lobio would be on my list next, and I even have a perfect pan for Khachapuri. I think it would be a perfect match for this blog 🙂
    Good luck with the editing! I noticed too after last comment, when reading the blog further that it was not yet the ultimate ultimate. And anyway you deserve congratulations for reaching this stage 🙂

  8. Ulla, yes! Yes, I have; it's actually one of my favorite things about Russia. I always order the baklazhany and the khachapuri. In fact, one of the current graduate students is Georgian and he had a party where he showed us all how to make khachapuri; I've been meaning to make it and put it on the blog forever, but somehow I never get around to it. You're right, though. Georgian food would be perfect for this blog. 🙂 I promise you that it will appear–maybe not in the next month, but soon enough. As soon as I file, zhizn' budet prekrasna i vesela i vsyo, o chyom chasto pishet Chekhov.

    And thank you for the luck; I will definitely need it. The last chapter was well received, so I feel like all I really need to do now is focus on Chapters 1 and 2; even Chapter 3 was decent enough. All of my post-Finland work, thanks to my hours in the library, gave me an authoritative edge. The one thing I can't wait to write is the thank you and dedication page; many people–especially you!–helped make this project possible.

    I hope all is well with you and that you're on vacation–or, at the very least, preparing for a long vacation somewhere wonderful. Work trips do not apply.

  9. Well, I am actually preparing to go – to Georgia! I am sooooo excited, so many layers and dimensions starting from the Hero of Our Time and all captives, to more modern and also personal ones. You will hear then how it was. I saw you had a lovely trip to South. And imagine the lightness of next summer for you!

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