Friday, April 1, 2011

Fridays, Feasting With Friends- Featuring Anna Kovacs

"One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends."
~Laurie Colwin 'Home Cooking'

Anna Kovacs

Was there anything in life that you did that you feel changed you, helped you grow like nothing else, and had a huge part in making you who you are today?  Mine was taking a job.  A real one.  It was my first "grown up" job and it was in another state.  I left my family, friends, boyfriend and everything I knew to take a position in Cambridge, Massachusetts working for the Harvard University Art Museums.  I was actually going to be directly using my Art History degree!  What an amazing opportunity!  But I can't even begin to explain the fear I had.  I had never lived completely on my own before.  Once my parents went back to Ohio after moving me in- that was it.  No friends, new home, new job in a very intimidating place.  But I quickly learned first hand how God has a perfect plan for all of us.   The job I was working at was a new grant program with 5 other ladies just like me.  We were all pretty recent graduates, most of us moving far away from home for the first time (aside from college life).  And there it was- instant, built in friends!

This is where I met Anna. She is the most perfect breath of fresh air!  I had never known a more genuine, modest, and kind girl before.  She helped me to feel at home in a new, strange place.  With Anna I never felt I had to be anyone but myself.  I know this is how it should be with friends, but unfortunately it isn't always the case.  Not only is Anna kind and real- but goodness is she silly!!  Have you ever seen someone make themselves laugh before- like all the time?  This is Anna!  She would start to tell us a joke or a funny story and inevitably we would all be laughing before the punch-line.  She would crack herself up so much she had a hard time getting the words out.  Her laughter is so contagious, you couldn't help but laugh too at her silliness and innocent joy!  Along with her silliness, quietness follows Anna.  She can be reserved and modest, not at all trying to be the center of the action.  So I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to see this amazing side of her.  Anyone who has experienced it will tell you it is one of the great things.  Ever.  Anna has so much to offer life and I miss her so!

I am an enormous homebody and eventually grew very homesick for my family back in Ohio.  I had gotten engaged and the thought of raising a family away from grandparents was too much for me.  So I moved back to Ohio and Anna stayed on at the University.  She is doing amazing!  Goodness, I am so proud of her.  I love hearing about all of her updates and getting a glimpse back at my life in Cambridge.  I will always consider Boston as home, but it never would have become that if it wasn't for the beautiful friendships I had there. Thank you Anna for giving me such a gift. So for todays Fridays, Feasting with Friends I bring you sweet Anna Kovacs.

What is your favorite thing to cook?
This is a hard one! But I've been making several soups and risottos.

How about your least favorite thing to cook?

What is your favorite local restaurant and what is one you are dying to try out?
My hands down favorite is Veggie Planet in Harvard Square and I'm dying to try Rendezvous in Central Square.

Music and food go together so beautifully. You are hosting a dinner party, what would be on your playlist?
Dar Williams, Girlyman, mostly folk and indie rock.

Anna, me and another Harvard friend, Sarah at my wedding

What would you choose to be your last meal on earth?
Oooo um probably something pasta based, or sea bass, I love sea bass. I would finish with chocolate mint ice cream :)

What are you currently reading?
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

What is your favorite Kitchen Gadget?
My lemon squeezer and zester.

Do you have a signature go-to dish?
I get into kicks and tend to repeat things over and that was sweet potato fries and this amazing peanut sauce for roasted veggies.

Do you have a favorite meal from your childhood and do you cook it today?
Yes! I loved my Mom's braised red cabbage and I finally learned how to cook it well this past year.

Top 3 Movies of all time?
When Harry Met Sally

Where do you do your grocery shopping?
Whole Foods
Trader Joe's
and a local CSA

What is your favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
So many, but I'm a big fan of sampling so I like to make a cheese, fruit, cracker plate :)

Can you tell me about what you are most proud of?
I'm proud of any connections I make with people who truly understand and listen.

Do you have Culinary Resolutions that you would like to accomplish this year?
I would like to try more roasting and perhaps a souffle :)

One word that best describes you is: 


Print this Recipe

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese
2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
9 ounces powdered sugar, sifted, approximately 2 cups

In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter on medium just until blended. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. With the speed on low, add the powdered sugar in 4 batches and beat until smooth between each addition.

Place the frosting in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes before using.

Yield: approximately 2 cups

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