Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Spotlight: Olga of Mango and Tomato

Tell us about your blog.
Mango and Tomato is a place where I share my obsession with food. Everything is a fair game: recipes I invent, restaurants I visit, food products I like, food events in DC area and any food related traveling.

How did you get into blogging? I first started a blog about my life to share my shopping therapy finds, craft projects, funny stories and cooking adventures with my family and friends. Two years ago, however, I noticed a plethora of food blogs and decided to create Mango & Tomato as a place to document everything food related in my life. Why Mango & Tomato? Because mango is my favorite fruit, and tomato is my favorite “vegetable.”
Favorite ingredient? It’s hard to choose just one. Some of the staples in my kitchen are garlic, olive oil, eggs, canned tuna and onions. If I have these few ingredients, I know I would not be hungry.

How would you describe DC Cuisine? DC cuisine is as diverse as the people living in the city. I wish there were more Mexican and Vietnamese places. Sometimes I feel there are too many restaurants that focus on combining American cuisine with one of the ethnic cuisines.

What is your favorite blog post and why? My favorite post is about a knife skills class I taught for my 5 friends and food bloggers ( It was the first time I taught this class to more than one person. Everyone learned a lot, there were no cut fingers, and the whole experience was a lot of fun. I felt like a celebrity as Stephanie (@Shaw_Girl) was taking photos and Brian (@urbanbohemian) was taking mini videos of various techniques. That one post led to 4 more classes…and who knows how many more people I can educate on the proper techniques and how many fingers I can save from being sliced? ;)

How long have you lived in DC and how did you end up here? I’ve lived in DC for almost 9 years. I moved here for a government job and have loved the city ever since.

Who are your culinary inspirations? My parents and grandparents. They’ve been cooking delicious and unpretentious food for as long as I can remember. Just like them, I rarely follow recipes, and instead come up with my own food creations. It’s more fun that way!

What is your favorite local restaurant and why? I always remember my brunch at Birch & Barley fondly. Great food, d├ęcor, service: a perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday with friends. I can’t wait to go back and try out their dinner menu.

What is your favorite Food Show? Definitely Barefoot Contessa. Ina seems approachable, knowledgeable and normal: no shortening of ingredients’ names, sexual innuendos, too much butter or overly complicated food. I would love to be able to either cook with her or be her dinner guest: or both!

What are your most exciting challenges right now? One of my biggest challenges is how to balance the work I do for my own blog with the freelancing I do for Robyn Webb’s blog, my actual full time paying job and to still have time for dancing, seeing friends, photography, and those pesky household chores. 

 Any recipes to share? One of my favorite recipes, and the one that I make many times a year, is my version of a Russian Potato Salad ( Although it takes quite a bit of time to prepare, the end result is worth it. The salad is made up of potatoes, carrots, peas, boiled eggs, pickles, mayonnaise, apples and dill. Growing up in Russia, this salad was at the center of every celebration: even now that my family has been living in the US for 17 years, we still make this salad each time we celebrate a birthday, anniversary or New Year. If you make it, make sure to have plenty of leftovers: the flavors get better with each day.

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