This is was my first full week back to work after my three-and-a-half week sabbatical, and I calculate that I did not have more than two-three hours’ time total when I was at work and was not in meetings (including lunches). Today, I have a five-hour meeting that I don’t even know what the agenda or objectives are, or why I’m there, frankly. Thank goodness, tomorrow my husband and I are taking the day off to drive up to D.C. and see Bob Dylan.
I know I haven’t been back very long yet, but I think I was expecting some kind of miraculous change, just like I was expecting to instantly feel happy and stop having insomnia the moment I started my leave. But I can see it’s going to be much more of a challenge than that. Either I’m going to have to fight more to change my role so I can actually be happy in my current job, or I’m going to have to leave. The problem is that I really love and respect my team members, and I like working with them. There are parts of my job that I truly enjoy, if only I had time to do them. It’s all the bullshit of working for a nonprofit that cannot seem to get its act togther and behave like a real business, the politics, the endless consensus-building, the dealing with the insecurities of other people that wear me down. And the truth is, I’m scared that if I jump ship and head somewhere else, it will only be worse.
Whine, whine, whine. Ok, I’ll stop now and talk about cooking, even though I didn’t get a chance to do a lot of that this week either.
Best Recipes of the Week
Yes, there were two winners, both from Cook’s Illustrated magazine. The first was Potatoes Lyonnaise, which I served with Chicken en Papillote and a Lentil Salad for Sunday-night dinner. Potatoes Lyonnaise is a very simple dish with only three ingredients: potatoes, onion and butter. But the simplest dishes often prove the most difficult to accomplish well — kind of like life, that way. CI had some great tips: cook the onions separately for a long time over a low heat until they get that sweet caramelized thing going on, and mix them with the potatoes only for the last couple of minutes; and par-cook the potato slices in butter in the microwave, so they brown in the skillet at the same time they are done through. Delish!
The other winner was Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes, Arugula & Goat Cheese. The secret to this simple pasta dish was to roast the cherry tomatoes at a low heat (350 degrees) for at least half an hour with some shallots, garlic slices, olive oil, red pepper flakes and salt. The sweet tomatoes were perfectly offset by the peppery bite of the arugula and the smooth creaminess of the goat cheese, all tossed with penne. (There, I’ve pretty much told you how to make it without violating copyright law by reproducing the recipe.)
A week with two good meals isn’t a bad week altogether, I guess.