Hi, I'm an economist by day and a salsa dancer/cook/photographer/traveler in my free time.
I spent the first 13 years of my life in Moscow, Russia and then moved to Seattle, WA with my family. After college I moved across country to the other Washington: Washington DC.
Cooking has always been a part of my life: both my parents are wonderful home cooks: they come up with their own recipes without consulting the cookbooks, and that's how I cook too. I have great memories of wonderful Russian meals, but now I cook simple meals with flavors from around the world.
How long have you been a Daring Baker/Daring Cook and what’s your favorite thing about being in the group(s) so far?
I have been a Daring Baker for a year and a Daring Cook for the last 2 months. I joined the group to challenge myself and to try out new recipes (as I very rarely make food from cookbooks). My favorite challenge so far was the flourless chocolate cake: I made it three times!
What’s your favorite kitchen gadget? How about your favorite kitchen appliance?
My favorite kitchen gadget is definitely a microplane: it's great for grating garlic, ginger, taking a rind off citrus or grating cheese and chocolate.
My favorite kitchen appliance is my bright red blender/food processor. I love it for making pureed soups, smoothies, hummus and shredding cabbage and any other vegetables.
Where is your favorite vacation (holiday) destination?
How can I choose only one? I love traveling and seeing different cultures and of course tasting the food! Some of my favorite spots are San Juan, Puerto Rico; San Francisco, New York City, and Atlanta.
I would love to travel to Argentina, Spain, Greece, and Morocco.
What is the ultimate comfort food to you?
Mashed potatoes, matzo ball soup, hot dogs (I know…they remind me of childhood), brownies, tuna melts.
Other than cooking and/or baking. What hobbies do you enjoy?
I'm an avid salsa dancer. I've been dancing for the last 7 years and love it. Whenever I go to a different city I always try to find a salsa club. The funny thing is that Olga is a pretty common Hispanic name too, so people often assume I'm from Latin America and speak Spanish: but I'm just a white Russian girl
You’ve had a rough week. We feel your pain. How do you relax after a rough week?
Lie on the couch and watch a good movie, go out to a casual dinner with friends, blast Salsa music REALLY loud or get a pedicure, flowers, and dark chocolate.
What’s your favorite flower and/or plant?
Orchids!!! That's why my email is orchidgirl1979. I love the variety of orchids, the fact that every time they bloom it's like a little miracle.
Not sure if orchid is technically a flower or a plant I also love Gerber daisies, tulips and African violets.
Do you have a favorite local restaurant? If so, why is it your favorite and what kind of food is served there?
Yamazato in Alexandria, VA has the best sushi!
Zaytinya in Washington DC has great tapas.
Amsterdam Falafel in Washington DC has falafel that reminds me of the ones I had in Israel.
Who taught you how to cook and/or bake?
I learned from my parents and grandparents and from just making my own stuff and experimenting in the kitchen.
You can visit Olga on her blog Mango & Tomato