I celebrated Christmas at my parent's house this year and Nick and I were put in charge of making the salad and dessert. We made a delicious carrot cake (which I will tell you more about next week) and this vibrant winter salad. Hardy fennel and radicchio are available in most places during the winter and their bold flavors are strong enough to complement the pecorino, toasted pecans, and savory dressing in this recipe. I followed Faith Durand's recipe at The Kitchn exactly. Next time, I might try this with a more citrusy dressing – though the soy sauce based option was nice.
I've been working more hours than I expected at the American Library Association and I am really enjoying the experience. The people are wonderful and I feel useful. (Making a bit of extra money for next semester doesn't hurt either.) It has been fun to work in the Chicago Loop again, an area I especially love during the holiday season.
Though, the full work schedule means that I haven't had the time I expected to reconnect with friends or work on personal projects. I had grand plans of finally redesigning and moving this website, working on my XML skills, and enjoying parts of Chicago that I don't often get to visit. I have been able to visit with most of my extended family though, and for that I am very grateful.
Nick made me a beautiful book of some of his favorite recipes from this website for Christmas. He did all of the layout by hand, making it a far more time-consuming – and more beautiful – book than the ones I typically order for loved ones through online photo services. It was a nice way to look back on the last several years. I still have a lot to learn, but it is encouraging to see a physical representation of how my photography has improved since the early days in 2005. I am sometimes tempted to tear everything down and reshoot it all – but other days I appreciate the steady progress this website displays.
I hope everyone enjoyed some time off with friends and family over these past few weeks. Have a happy and safe celebration this evening. I look forward to sharing more photographs and recipes with you in the new year!