Sunday, May 5, 2024

Twelve New-to-Me Dessert Recipes

One of my favorite spaces in the "new" house is the kitchen. I've been baking up a storm (as an escape from work) and want to recap a few new-to-me recipes that I've enjoyed recently. While all of these turned out great and there was hardly a crumb behind, I thought the Tahini Cookies were the most unique addition to my repertoire (and a cookie I think you'll like if you are a peanut butter cookie person).

1. German Chocolate Cake from Baking Illustrated by America's Test Kitchen. Worth the effort for the out of this world frosting that is leaps and bounds above store-bought.

2. Banana Pudding Cake from Cooking Professionally after Dolly Parton.

3. Cranberry, White Chocolate and Macadamia Cookies from The Perfect Cookie by America's Test Kitchen.

4. Chocolate Mint Cookies from The Perfect Cookie by America's Test Kitchen.

5. Pumpkin Tea Cake from Tartine. The first recipe that I made from the Tartine cookbook and one that I've repeated numerous times.

6. Cherry Chocolate Chip Cake from The Perfect Cake by America's Test Kitchen. Tasted great, but was light on cherry flavor.

7. Blueberry Muffins from 100 Morning Treats by Sarah Kieffer. Yes, almond flour makes a difference. The best blueberry muffin I've ever tasted!

8. Almond Poppy Seed Muffins from 100 Morning Treats by Sarah Kieffer. This involved my first attempt at frangipane. Incredible. Sarah Kieffer's recipes (many of which are available on her blog) are involved, but the results are consistently fantastic. I also really love her cinnamon roll recipe.

9. Simple Citrus Cake from 100 Morning Treats by Sarah Kieffer.

11. Blueberry Bundt Cake from Gimme Some Oven. Made without the glaze and thought it was fantastic. A faster, denser counterpart to the blueberry muffins listed above.

12. Cranberry-Orange Scones from The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook by America's Test Kitchen. Doesn't look like much, but tastes heavenly. I've also made the maple pecan variation. 

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Six New-to-Me Vegetarian Recipes

I recently finished cooking my way through six new-to-me vegetarian recipes. They were all tasty and worth repeating, so I'm compiling the list of links below for future reference.

  1. Bean and Vegetable Burritos by Smitten Kitchen
  2. Honey Sriracha Tofu by Budget Bytes
  3. Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas by The Garden Grazer (thanks to a link from Lag Liv)
  4. Creamy Cauliflower Soup by Gimme Some Oven
  5. Chickpea Curry by Chelsea's Messy Apron
  6. Roasted Sweet Potato & Chickpea Bowls by Gimme Some Oven
Often, because of busy days at work, I resort to convenience foods. Historically, this hasn't been much of a problem, but I've recently noticed that a meal with too much sugar or fat seems to slow me down. After tracking how I feel after different meals, I noticed that I feel great after eating vegetarian entrees. So, more vegetarian entrees it is!

Monday, January 15, 2024

Return to the Firm - The First Year

Two years ago, while I was working at a great (but somewhat boring) in-house job, I heard from a friend that the star senior associate in her practice group was in dire need of a dedicated, reliable lieutenant. Said star associate was running a sizable client relationship on behalf of an equity partner that had disengaged from the day-to-day as he neared retirement. It was working out well for her except that other associates staffed on her deals were frequently prioritizing other work that they received directly from partners and missing deadlines on her deals as a result. The idea was that I would join as her dedicated associate, free up some of her time to work on client development and, frankly, give her time to sleep a bit or maybe even take a vacation.

I thought about it, met with the senior associate in question to confirm that she lived up to the hype and decided that this was my chance to be the change I wanted to see in this little corner of private practice.

So I resigned, took a severe class year cut and started at this law firm working for star senior associate. We got off to a great start, finishing deals quickly and efficiently, working around the clock, keeping the client happy and collecting at each closing. I saw a grand total of about ten emails from the equity partner during that time--he just wasn't involved. 

Then, at the end of the first year, star senior associate hears from the equity partner that the book will not be passed to her when he retires after all. Instead, the book was going to a male junior partner, but could she and I please continue working as if nothing had changed? (As you can imagine, there are many painful, frustrating details around this that cannot be shared publicly.)

Did star senior associate make partner as planned? No.

Did I blow my billable target out of the water? Yes.
Did I get great reviews and an above-market bonus at the end of that first year? Yes.
Did I achieve what I had set out to accomplish? No.

It was the worst great year I've ever had at a law firm.