summer salads (pasta & otherwise)

One of the best things about good weather is quick summer salads .... that consist of less lettuce and more of pasta and everything else that is fresh. I've been doing a lot of cold pasta salads recently and really loving the results. To be clear, I am pretty much winging it every time ... so I feel pretty lucky. Summer salads are perfect for Sunday dinner on the fire escape. I'm pretty much in love with my little Sunday tradition.

let there be peonies

I'm not really a perfume person, but if there is one that consists of peonies and salt water I would buy it.

My parents have had these peonies for 20+ years. I used to remember coming home from school and finding neighborhood ladies snipping blooms off when they thought nobody would catch them. Silly ladies. Either way, the peonies bloomed this past weekend... and it timed perfectly with Father's Day weekend. 

I drove back to Boston today with cupholders filled with peonies ... and that seems perfect. My brother gave me some as a thank you for taking him to Dick's Sporting Goods. Super cute. They smell phenomenal and look even better. I cut the second bunch of peonies from the garden and I intend on taking them to work. I think they'll look great next to my dueling monitors and pile of Wheat Thin crumbs.

desert + mountain + ocean

My past two recent trips to LA have been pretty much all business. So, it was awesome this time around to do a little bit of exploring and relaxing. 

I'm a sucker for a view - so it naturally led to a trip to Joshua Tree National Park. As part of that I spent the night in a pool side casita (apparently that's what they call it). I went for a little bit of a night swim. I ate some guacamole under a big flowering tree. It was pretty great. 

my jaunt to the desert

Current conundrum = how many pictures of palm trees is too many? What if they all are of different palm trees... but that palm trees all look the same? Does it help that one of them is at night with the moon in the back? I think so.

Regardless, I'm not going to stop taking them except for when I get on a plane to go back to Boston tomorrow. Then, I'll stop taking pictures of palm trees and instead start snapping shots from Row 28 of America. God Bless America - even all those states in the middle.

I got to LA on Saturday mid-morning and practically raced to the desert. That was my plan and I achieved it ... the thing is, the desert was empty and I didn't need to race a soul. I spent about 3 hrs in Joshua Tree National Park ... and saw about a dozen cars. After that, I proceeded to kick it in the Palm Springs vicinity for the night before doing some Sunday adventuring. 

raspberry macarons with coconut filling

This past weekend, I had four eggs left in my refrigerator which I elected to turn into pancetta cheddar scones.... and raspberry macarons. I made the macarons with my friend Lara in mind. At the time of making them, she was pregnant with twin baby boys. Seemed like a good occasion to make someone a tasty treat. I've always been really impressed with Lara and Dave's cooking. They were the ones that turned me to try lemon curd and I actually learned about macarons from Lara six whole years ago when we met. I remember her telling me how she had the most perfect macaron in Paris. 

I first attempted macarons pretty much exactly a year ago - and it turned out great. I'm still not sure how because according to the internet they are some finicky bitches. A couple of months ago, I stumbled upon this raspberry macaron and loved it from the pictures. I altered the original recipe because I have no idea where you find freeze dried raspberries that you then pulverize into dust. 

braised chicken with tomato and honey

In the spirit of getting settled in my apartment, I made great progress this weekend.

I planted some flowers on my fire escape, rearranged some furniture, and got rid of a few more boxes. I have increasingly high hopes for my green thumb this year. I bought this little watering system for $7 and it seems to really work. I also took a few good neighborhood runs and spent more time in my kitchen. I whipped up a batch of my cold brew iced coffee, my favorite pancetta scones, this braised chicken dish... and even some raspberry macarons.

memorial day wrap

It's hard to believe that it is almost the weekend again ... but I'm thankful for that.

There is something quite phenomenal about long weekends and Memorial Day came at the right moment. Nothing crazy, just the right moment for an extra couple hours away from Microsoft Outlook, pivot tables and sunset views from 12 floors above Boston.

I spent much of the three day weekend doing pretty much nothing. I've been trying to run more... so I ran each day. I'm trying to get back into cooking ... so I cooked three new things of which this was one. I'm trying to step back from my computer and phone ... so I did more reading in the hammock. I'm also trying to get into meditation ... so there is that. Long story short, it was pretty restorative and just what I think we all needed.
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