Tuesday, October 18, 2011


So you may have noticed that I haven't posted in a while. The thing is that I started this blog because I wanted something to keep me entertained for a year before starting a master's in geography and, well, I started grad school. School itself wouldn't be so bad, except that I'm still working full time, and I'm exhausted. I'm not willing to give up on feeding myself relatively nutritious food and buy all my meals, so that means that cooking has basically turned into drudgery. I frantically try to marinate a bunch of vegetables for a salad during the week and make a slop bucket of something to go with it, plus a savory breakfast to help me resist the siren song of bacon, egg, and cheese on an everything bagel from the cafeteria in my office building. Plus get all my homework done, get a reasonable amount of sleep, and relax, have fun, and get outside to enjoy the fall weather. For the most part, even when I am home for dinner, I haven't had the energy to do more than slice some cheese and eat it with some crackers. It's depressing.

But I'm not conceding defeat. I signed up for regular produce deliveries. I'm not sure if that's a good idea (12 pounds of produce arriving at my place could definitely make cooking feel like a death march), but I can stop any time, and it's nice not to have to worry about getting to the farmers' market on Saturday morning for good produce. Over this past weekend I felt a cold coming on, and against all odds, instead of wanting to curl up on the couch with trashy tv, I had the urge to cook before I really got sick. It started with a dread of canned chicken noodle soup that led to making a relatively elaborate but delicious-smelling Italian broth, and continued with Greek spinach and chicken pie with feta (a variation of spanakopita), then mini quiches with sweet potato and fennel from my produce box. It felt so good that last night, when I hadn't really gotten sick but didn't have much to do because I'd prepared so well to get sick, I raided my fridge and the rest of my produce box and made a mango lassi, caesar salad from scratch, and Smitten Kitchen's roasted sweet potatoes with fall salsa. And you know what? It was delicious. I'm already plotting what I'll do with this week's box, and a fun brunch for this weekend.

I haven't totally dropped the international cooking either. Kenny and I have made a couple of really great meals (South Korea and Brazil) that I haven't gotten around to writing up and posting yet, and I have a few left over from the last few months (yes, I've been holding out). I'll get to those, and I'm thinking about a different approach for this blog during the school year. Planning a whole meal is, frankly, a lot of work. Work I don't think I have the mental energy for. Same with writing it up. So while I'm in school, I'll be cooking and posting about individual dishes. As the mood strikes, I may go back to a country and make a meal, but I hope that toning the obligation down will help keep my blogging motivation up.

Looking ahead: this week's produce box menu is inspiring a Portuguese kale and potato stew. Perfect for fall!

Aaaaaand a little food porn after the jump.

Last night's dinner: Apple cider, caesar salad, garlic bread (frozen), sweet potatoes with fall salsa, and mango lassi for dessert.
Sweet potato mini quiches with fennel and caramelized onions. They're ugly because they stuck to the muffin tins. Maybe I'll make them in little cups next time. But they're pretty good.

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