So I head back to work for what was supposed to be a light week — just half-time — and turned out to be almost a full week, and 95 percent of that time was spent in meetings. But I’m not complaining. It was a nice transition back, everyone told me they missed me, and no one treated me like the weird girl who suddenly freaks out and has to have a three-week vacation. In fact, it was a bit of a love-in, with some team-building exercises for our IT development group and some nice lunches out.
I did bring them homemade chocolate chip cookies, though, which I think helped smooth the way.
Why would I ever want to leave this company, you may ask? They let me take off for three weeks without warning, then welcome me back with no repercussions, and there are long lunches to boot. You honestly don’t know why I was so stressed out in the first place. I just finished reading this book about zen in the workplace, and one thing it talks about is paradox. In zen, you have to consider and even embrace the paradox. And the paradox here is that this may be a great place to work with great people who really care about one another, but it is also a stressful and insane place to work, and it is all those things all at the same time.
Since there wasn’t a lot of drama to report, which makes things boring for you, I’ll move on to the cooking. There wasn’t a lot of cooking to report, either, because there were a lot of leftovers to finish up and Marty was gone most of the week. But there was one outstanding recipe of the week.
Best Recipe of the Week
The recipe for Chicken with Pasta & Broccoli came from Cook’s Illustrated magazine, and it turned out to be a tasty, satisfying, American-style pasta dish. Cook’s goal was to find a way to make the ubiquitous dish by the same name that appears on the menus of restaurants like Olive Garden actually taste good, and they succeeded. I have a standard workhorse Pasta with Garlic & Broccoli recipe, but this one was a lot more complex, with a sauce made from chicken stock, white wine, garlic, onion, red pepper flakes and thickened with flour. The dish itself was garnished with sun-dried tomatoes, a nice finish. My only quibble was that it called for cooking the garlic in butter over high heat, and so it turned brown right away, too quickly for me to put in the liquids and lower the cooking temperature. I would have reduced the heat first.
I have a standard for recipes. If I could create my favorite restaurant, one that I would want to eat at every day, it would be an old-fashioned, Southern diner-style restaurant within walking distance of my house that would serve breakfast, lunch and dinner all day, with a menu of healthy, tasty comfort food dishes using local seasonal ingredients and an eclectic wine list. When I make a new recipe, I try to imagine whether it would make the menu of my fictional diner. This one certainly would, as would the Huevos Rancheros from last week.
I’m looking for investors, if anyone’s interested…