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March 2020: What I'm Doing

March 21, 2020

I was recently skimming my inbox and the subject line of Frank Gruber’s newsletter caught my eye: “remember to breathe”. Definitely some advice we all need to follow (especially in these times).

Besides offering great advice to work from home, and be a neighbor, he has a section at the bottom with links to stuff he’s reading/watching/listening to.

I hope to do something similar with this blog post, and I plan to make it a recurring event each month or so.

What I’m Reading

  • The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells (shoutout Naveen Selvadurai) - I’ve been interested in climate change since the early 2000s (shoutout Al Gore) and while I know it’s an enormous issue, I haven’t checked in on the latest research. The author paints a grim picture of what life will look like if we don’t shape up. I have only read the first few chapters.
  • Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables by Joshua McFadden - I have never been to any of Josh’s restaurants in NYC or Portland, but I’m obsessed with this cookbook. The six seasons are spring, early summer, mid summer, late summer, fall, and winter. Each chapter is a vegetable and there may be multiple chapters for the same vegetable, since they are different in each season. The first dish I made from this book used the green carrot tops to make a salsa verde. There are lots of pasta recipes in here too.

Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables

What I’m Cooking

These days it’s usually a quick meal in between meetings. I’ve been trying to incorporate more veggies into my cooking. Here are a few of the latest dishes I’m proud of:

Za’taar Fish & Chips from Bon Appétit - I went a little heavy on the garnish; you can barely see the cod but it’s in there. The best part of this dish was that I got to buy zataar seasoning, which is mostly sumac and thyme. It’s good on chicken too.

Za'taar Fish & Chips

Shrimp & Pea Risotto from my brain - We were both in the mood for risotto and I luckily had a stash of arborio rice & white wine. This was the first time I roasted shrimp in the oven, which I highly recommend. Clean, dry, salt, pepper, oil, and put in a sheetpan at 375 for 10-12 minutes.

Shrimp & Pea Risotto

Penne alla Vodka from Bon Appétit (shoutout Molly Baz) - The rigatoni version of this is one of my favorite dishes to cook. The key is a full tube of double-concentrated tomato paste and lots of freshly grated parm. I recently visited my mom in Virginia and I made this for her.

Penne alla Vodka

Quick Breakfast Sausage & Fried Egg Taco from my brain - A quick throw-together from ingredients in the fridge. Highly satisfying and worth the mess.

Quick Breakfast Sausage & Fried Egg Taco

What I’m Watching

  • Harry Potter - Neither Kristine nor I have read the Harry Potter books or seen any of the films… until now. We’re thoroughly enjoying catching up with YouTube Movies rentals ($3.99 a piece).
  • Quarantunes with Jasper Lewis (my wife’s cousin and one of my favorite music therapists) does a weekly live show on Facebook every Sunday. It brought us great joy last week when we were feeling doomed. Check out last week’s episode and don’t forget to tune in tomorrow.

Jasper Lewis

  • The Chef Show on Netflix - Another food thing. Jon Favreau (Ironman, Chef) and Roy Choi (Kogi taco truck in LA) take the viewer on a cooking adventure through different cities and cuisines. Season 3 just kicked off, and I especially love episode 2 with the ladies from Border Grill in Las Vegas.

What I’m Learning

  • Designing Data Intesive Applications by Martin Kleppmann - This book was suggested by multiple mentors at work (thanks Anirban & Fred), and it’s a great deep dive on how to build apps & services in a cloud-dominated, data-heavy software landscape. Chapter 3 is all about how databases store and retrieve data; chapter 4 deals with encoding data; chapter 7 dives into transactions. The last chapter is all about the future. Highly recommend this book if you’re writing code every day.

Designing Data Intesive Applications

What I’m Listening To


Thanks for taking time to check in and please respond to this post with some of the things you’re doing. Stay safe and healthy!

Look for the positive