Saturday, May 23, 2009

May 23, 2009: So Graduatey, and Totally Zonked

Well, as expected, the graduation was exciting, but very tiring, and now it's 2 days later and all I've managed to do was sleep, eat, watch a lot of movies, and (sort of) book my movers. And packed 1 and a half boxes. I'm moving in slow motion

I don't really have any photos from the past 2 days, mainly because (a) I do not want to even think about most of the horrible, celebratory stuff I've been shoveling into my face and feeding to my friends, and (b) I wasn't really with it enough to take any pictures. Too bad, as well, because actually dinner last night was terrific, courtesy of my roommates N and S, who threw together a delicious meal of strawberry-avocado salad (ooh), and an Asian spices rice pilaf with great big thick asparagus (ahh). And beautiful presentation as well, but you'll just have to take my word for it.

Meanwhile, a few days ago I was thinking I'd whip up a few dozen cupcakes for my grad party Thursday afternoon. Of course I got through one batch and gave up, but they were pretty special:
Yes, that's blue cupcake batter. I ran out of red food coloring, and it occurred to me that I'm probably not packing up my tiny food coloring supplies to bring to a new place, so I may as well use whatever's left. So, Blue Velvet Cupcakes. And then the next day when I went to make frosting, and my whole family was running around like crazy people, I accidentally started making buttercream instead of cream cheese frosting, so that's what we had. They were a hit though, and everyone seemed amused, rather than disgusted, by the bright blueness of the cupcakes. They went pretty fast and the party itself was lovely. Most of my favorite folks, from law school, college, high school, and other eras, were able to make it, and a good time was had by all. I ate a lot of cheese. (Bad quasi-vegan!)

Yesterday, I brunched with the family before they left, and listened to them go on and on about how shockingly expensive everything is in New York. I just feel like a jerk when they say stuff like that, since I'd chosen the brunch place, obviously. It is not an expensive brunch place, but it is true: New York is expensive compared to just about anywhere else. I heard similar reports from friends with suburban parents.

Today I brunched with my mentee from the Law School Women's Association, who is a lovely and amazing lady, and this was sort of our big goodbye since she's got 2 more years of school here and I'm off to BOSTON (woot woot) next week. I wish I had a photo of this one, because it was pretty. "Olive Eggs" from Cafe Fresh on Amsterdam Ave at 121st Street. They were just 2 eggs cooked over hard in olive oil, then plopped onto a large and luscious brioche roll with a bit of cooked spinach on top, and home fries and a salad on the side. Definitely recommend it.

Meanwhile yesterday I had moved the pizza sauce from last time I made pizza from the freezer to the fridge, thinking at some point this weekend I'd do pizzas. So today was the day -- I made the dough this afternoon and whipped up some tofu ricotta (sans basil this time because I didn't feel like going to the store for it).

On the left there is fresh tomatoes and baby spinach, with a few white onion bits left from the other one. On the right is yellow peppers and white onions.

Nom nom nom nom. These pizzas are good. I had some concerns about them, mainly because I let the dough sit after the second kneading for about 3 hours instead of the 2 that I'd planned. Because I fell asleep, which also meant that I was kind of groggy and unenthusiastic when I went to stretch the dough and put on toppings and stuff. So it was all thick in some places and kept getting holes in other places, and I just couldn't seem to get it to work. But it did turn out kind of fine. Slap some toppings on, whatever.

I did do them one at a time this time, but I think the oven wasn't really hot enough when I put in the peppers and onions one, so that one did come out a bit doughy and I just couldn't deal with leaving it in any longer because the excess cornmeal was burning and smoking, setting off my fire alarm nonstop.

This is my set-up to make the fire alarm stop -- I generally just wave a towel at it (after opening all the windows and cranking my AC up to get more air moving around) but I just couldn't stand there the whole time, so I found my old fan in my roommate's room and employed an old trick.

Anyway, the tomato and spinach pizza turned out spectacular (this is what I always order if I'm getting a pie from a pizza shop) and the peppers and onions pizza is very tasty but probably needs a couple minutes in the toaster oven to reach its full potential.

And maybe there will be more posting this weekend/next week. I do have a lot of food (grains and stuff mostly) that needs to be cooked or thrown away so I should get to work on that. It's just hard to figure out how to put it all together, when everything is kind of unrelated. But I'm also hoping to bake some bread. Maybe I'll bake loads of bread and give it out as gifts, so I don't have to worry about these last 4 packets of yeast that are still sitting in my fridge. We'll see how ambitious I manage to be in between packing up my whole life to go into storage and tying up loose ends at school and journal. I can't believe this major era of my life is really ending!

Tonight's plans:Dirty vodka martini, Mad Men. If I could be smoking a cigarette and wearing a retro housewife get-up too you know I would be. This show, well, I keep giving it one more try and I guess I do like it, but I do sometime suspect that the point is just to give writers the chance to come up with snappy sexist and anti-Semitic one-liners. But the wardrobe and hair (and drinks) are pretty awe-inspiring.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Good Day!

Howdy howdy. Sooo busy this week! I am balancing cleaning my apartment with attempting to put together a plan for summer and fall, attending fun graduation events, finishing up some important work, spending time with friends, doing lots of fun new york stuff, catching the series premiere of Glee last night! (Who doesn't love Jane Lynch? She is so amazing. I hope the show is a lot about her.)

Today, I get my degree! And a certificate in international law, which is kind of less useful now that I'm pretty sure I don't want to do international law, but at least I've got that as a little feather in my cap since there are no real "majors" in law school. There was a graduation this morning for everyone who attends Columbia, which I skipped since my family's not here and it sounded kind of boring. My fam gets in tonight in time for dinner at my favorite greasy Chinese place.

ALSO today I found out that I have been offered a totally awesome job for fall in Boston, which is great but kind of confusing because I reallyreally want to go to San Francisco but I'm not sure I'll hear from SF jobs before tomorrow when I have to respond to this offer. OH HARD CHOICES WITH INADEQUATE INFORMATION. It makes me a little nuts, but at least I know for sure that I have at least one really good option available. I will have work!

And then I made black eyed pea and quinoa croquettes from Vegan with a Vengeance. Because I cooked the peas and the quinoa yesterday and couldn't really think of when I'd make them if I didn't do it this morning.
These are made just like veggie burgers, by mashing beans and grains together, adding some spices, and dredging them in breadcrumbs. Then they're baked for 40 mins, but they could also be fried and might be better that way because of the added richness and crunch from frying.

They were . . . meh. I didn't have the dried basil or the paprika that they called for, so I subbed in rosemary and a dash of cayenne along with the thyme, soy sauce, and olive oil. They were just kind of too spicy, in the sense of too many competing flavors. And the recipe calls for serving them with a sort of mushroom gravy, but I don't like mushrooms. I tried one dry to try to figure out what I'd want to dip them in, and settled on marinara sauce (Newman's own roasted tomato). This was a reasonably good combo, but I want to play around with this recipe and try to make it into something I actually really like. I just love croquettes and I love the idea of making them with beans instead of salmon or tuna.

And, since I probably won't have much to report for a couple of days since I'll be busy graduating, here's an old photo I just found on my computer: Pierre, the peep with a beret, courtesy of Jacques Torres. And that's my little brother there in the background on the left cultivating his internet addiction on my netbook.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May 18, 2009

Wow, 2 posts in one day, and on the shortest day of my life since I slept until practically dusk. . . It totally doesn't have anything to do with my friend C mentioning to me last night that she reads this old thing. Hmm.

Anyway, I made the most of my very short day by immediately breaking my vow to not drink (2 weak whiskey & diet cokes during Gossip Girl) and watching some excellent young adult programming.

Oh, Gossip Girl. Oh, Blair and Chuck. And then, worse, Bella and Edward! Yes, I finally watched Twilight. And oh. The abstinence. I will say, kids, that while it is true that abstinence is the only true form of birth control (and prevention of becoming a vampire) it is fairly unsatisfying to watch. I felt like a teenage boy or something, the way I just reallyreally wanted them to finally at least touch each other. Man. I am an old person and a perv.

During the movie I had some popcorn (on the stove, of course, since I don't have a microwave) with the usual topping of salt, curry powder, and ground cumin.
And then, at 11:45, I decided that I was going to have to either go to sleep immediately or make some dinner. Obviously I went for Option #2. Can you tell I'm down to a very small assortment of stuff in the fridge here? This was actually the last of the spinach and tomatoes, so now I really do have to go to the store tomorrow. This is just some whole wheat rotini which I boiled until al dente, drained, and then put back on the stove with: a little olive oil, 1/2 tsp minced garlic, a medium tomato, giant handful of baby spinach, crushed red pepper, and a bit of salt and pepper. When the spinach was pretty much cooked, I threw in a bit of fresh oregano and voila! Pasta aglio e olio! (That means garlic & oil, for the pasta-uninitiated.)

Now I'm going to attempt to go to sleep and get up at a reasonable hour tomorrow, since I've got a phone interview at 10, a gazillion things to do, and much cleaning and laundry to finish. Blech. I still want a vacation, but I guess I've taken it the last few days by drinking and sleeping so much. Plans for tomorrow: wake up early-ish, do some damn work, interview, free lunch at school, do some more work, then Vegetarian dim sum house for dinner! Not sure what that means for the black-eyed peas I've started soaking in anticipation of making the VWAV croquettes, but I guess they can wait until Wednesday. Can't believe my family arrives for graduation in just 2 days! Life is about to change A LOT over the next year and a half as I move to my parents' house for 2 months, then try to find something awesome to do in Aug & Sept, then start a job somewhere, and do the real lawyer thing. Crazy.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Week of Fun: It Begins

Uggghhh. Today I slept until 3:30 pm. The only other time I can remember that happening was after the most raucous and rowdy New Years Eve of my life when I went to bed around 9 am. But the past 2 days of drinking, rabble rousing, etc, have really taken it out of me.

I do have a couple of photos that document intermittent moments of the past few days, which is kind of like my memory of the past few days...
Saturday I got up and made TWO (2!) smoothies, one frozen mocha and one spinach-banana. Pretty crazy! On the week of fun docket for this day: Brooklyn Brewery, in Williamsburg BK, followed by a pub crawl in the East Village/Lower East Side with my high school friend S and his girlfriend and grad school friends. The Brooklyn Brewery offers "tours" at 2, 3, and 4 pm on Saturdays. K and I were shooting for the 3 pm tour, but as usual we were running really late and didn't even make it to the subway until 3, so we caught (barely) the 4:00 one.
On the way we stopped at Absolute Bagels (the best bagels!). I got an everything bagel with veggie tofutti. When I first tried this I thought I was breaking out of my old habit, but I think I just formed a new habit.
Anyway, the thing about the brewery tour is that it's not really a tour, so much as an explanation of who started the brewery and how. It all happens in one room where there are a bunch of tanks of beer in the brewing process. Still, I like to see where my beverages come from, so I thought it was worthwhile. And you get 6 beer chips for $20, so K and I each tried the summer ale, the weisse beer, and the pilsner. We both liked the pilsner the best, but the summer also had kind of an interesting, but very bitter, taste.

Then it was off to Alphabet City, to meet up with S (the boy -- I need new nicknames for people on here since the initials are starting to overlap) and co. I had 2 1/2 amazing lychee martinis at Rue B (by this point I'd had enough drinks that I wasn't remembering to take any photos and pretty much forgot I even had my camera). Most of the other folks had the "strawberry patch" which was vodka lemonade with muddled strawberries. It was happy hour so they were all 2 for $10 (a steal in NYC). Really tasty.

After that, we had felafel sandwiches, which were certainly not the best felafel sandwiches ever, but for $3 on that day, they were the best idea ever. Then more drinking (wine, vodka sodas, a bit of a friend's very strong margarita), garlic knots at the pizza place, and my friends introduced me to a friend of theirs that they wanted to set me up with. With less than 2 weeks to go in NYC, I'm not really looking, but this chick was very cool so maybe we'll at least be friends.

Sunday -- prom day! My roommates were busy little ants running all over upper manhattan to get things into place for their anti-prom prom party. S (the girl) reserved a space in her building where she and her boyfriend N able to set up a full bar, plus tons of homemade tasty snacks. There was pool, a trivia game that my team TOTALLY DOMINATED and beer pong. And I made cupcakes!
This is a cupcake I had when I woke up today. These ones are the cookies & creme from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and this time I made them with almond extract for the first time. I really am not a huge fan of the almond extract. In some recipes (e.g. red velvet) it seems to make sense and add some depth, but with these chocolate ones, I'd rather stick with the less nuanced flavors and let the chocolate and vanilla shine through. I also made the margarita cupcakes from the same book, which I have to admit I kind of don't like anymore. They're just too sweet and too limey for me.

See, many cupcakes remain -- if you are one of my NYC friends reading this, that means you should come over tonight or tomorrow and scoop some up so that I don't have to eat cupcakes for every meal the next few days.
So, that brings me to this afternoon, when I got up at embarrassingly late o'clock and made myself the hangover breakfast/dinner of champions. Scrambled tofu, toast, and a peach-mango coconut water.

Scrambled Tofu (based, vaguely, on the recipes in Vegan with a Vengeance and How it all Vegan)
Serves one very hungry gal after a very long sleep, or maybe 2 regular people. Easy to double it and serve 3-4.
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 of a small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lb firm tofu, drained and squeezed lightly to expel water
  • giant handful of fresh spinach
  • medium tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground thyme or oregano
  • juice of 1/4 of a lemon
  • pinch of salt, maybe 1/4 tsp
  • dash of freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Toss a small piece or two of onion in there, and when the oil starts to bubble around the onion, put the rest of the onion in and stir with a wooden spoon.
  2. When the onion is cooked through and has turned translucent, crumble the tofu into the pan. Mix it around, and then add the spinach, tomato, lemon juice, and spices. (Note: you can use really any vegetable combo in this recipe. Bell peppers, zucchini, frozen corn kernels, mushrooms, whatever's in the fridge. Hardier veggies like these should go in at the same time as the onions.)
  3. Mix the spices in well (the turmeric will turn the whole thing very yellow) and let it cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 mins, until the liquids have evaporated and the spinach is totally cooked down. Serve with toast, as filling for a breakfast burrito, or by itself. Yum!
Along with the super electrolyte power of the coconut water, this did bring me back to life, more or less. Tonight's plans involve: drinking copious amounts of water, doing laundry, and probably watching Twilight, which I've got from Netflix. And maybe dealing with all the urgent emails I've been not answering while I drink my troubles away the past week.
I'll leave you with this: the awe-inspiring vagina art that was at the anti-prom party venue. Look closely: the clit is made of sequins! Hilarity. N moved it out of the main space because he said it was "ruining all the photos." Ha!

Friday, May 15, 2009

May 14-15, 2009

Being done with finals (yay!) but having uncertainty and tough choices in all other aspects of life right now (boo) have led to a lot of drinking and a lot of eating out, and few photos.

I finished my final Wednesday at 6 and proceeded immediately to drinking champagne, then when that was gone K and I went off in search of middle eastern food. That was a bust so we ended up at a sweet little Thai place with fancy drinks that I didn't manage to try but I'll definitely make it back. The lychee margaritas looked pretty wild but I just had wine because I didn't want to get too crazy after already putting away half a bottle of champagne. We followed all that up with a few drinks at a bar, joined by S, and then another couple of drinks at home and chips and salsa. These ladies are the best thing about NYC by far, and it's going to be a sad day soon when we go our separate ways in a couple weeks, but it's reasonably likely I will be in one of their cities (DC or San Fran) this fall, we shall see.

Here's a photo of me in my graduation cap (which I've been wearing pretty much all the time since I finished) and doing some ill-advised texting. From K's phone -- sneaky! She was there too but had had enough beer that she also thought it was a fine idea.

Hangover breakfast, Thursday around noon. I actually wasn't too bad off, which is a testament to my incredibly high law school-related alcohol tolerance.

A little while later I had some more of that polenta & pesto. Yeesh, there is a lot of this. It made 6 servings, and since no one else had any, I've been eating it every damn day forever. Still delicious! I did this one up in the wee George Foreman, which is why it's a little mangled and has grill marks.

And here, finally, is the last of it, plus the last of the giant asparagus from a few days back too. I fried up the polenta in a little bit of super-hot olive oil, and did make it a little more crispy than the first time. The asparagus is drizzled with a little olive oil, salt & fresh ground pepper, and tossed under the broiler for about 7 mins.

That's all the photos from yesterday, though this toast kind of resembles the toast I had post early dinner and pre Grey's Anatomy season finale. Beer and a Gibson were also consumed (out of olives for my martini, which was pretty sad, but the onions are also kind of good).

Anyway, this was breakfast this morning, some sprouted bread toast with canola margarine, plus coffee and plenty of water. I had a job inteview yesterday and one and a half today -- important to stay hydrated for all that talking.

I am kind of losing most brain functions as a result of the finals, the job interviews, etc etc. I have only a foggy recollection of what else I ate today and I definitely didn't take photos.

THEN I made garlicky tofu, based on my really vague memory of a recipe from a now-defunct food blog. It was a sad, sad day when poco-coco went down, because there were a ton of recipes on there that sounded amazing, including this one.

I think next time I do this, I'll fry the tofu first, then put in the garlic and onions, so the tofu has more texture. Plus it really needed cilantro, but the fresh oregano I had in the fridge did the job of bringing some necessary green-ness to the dish pretty well. This recipe could easily be doubled.

Garlicky tofu
(1-2 servings)
  • 1/2 lb firm tofu, lightly pressed to expel water
  • 2-3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, or more to taste, sliced in 1/4 inch half-moons
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly or minced (depending on whether you like to eat big hunks of garlic, or pick out the garlic from your dish, or eat wee bits of garlic -- I went for the eating big hunks of garlic, since if it's Friday and I'm not kissing anyone you better believe I'm chowing on some garlic)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or more or less to taste (The amount I added really didn't make it spicy at all, just gave a little bit of flavor.)
  • 1 medium tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 2-3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  1. Cut the tofu into rectangles or triangles about 1 inch thick. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on medium to med-high heat, until a drop of water flicked into the oil sizzles or the oil starts to smoke. Put the tofu in and fry for a few minutes on each side, until it is to your desired crispy brown-ness. If you want it REALLY crispy, that takes up to 10 mins per side. I like mine just medium, so it's pretty good after 5 mins or less per side.
  2. When the second side is nearly done, by your standards, turn the heat down to medium-low and push the tofu to the sides of the skillet. You may need to add a little more oil, another teaspoon or so, at this stage if the tofu has sucked up the oil you started with. When the pan stops sizzling so loudly and has cooled off a little, add the onions and garlic to the middle of the pan and let them sautee until they turn translucent, maybe 5 mins.
  3. Then, add the veggie broth and tomatoes and crank up the heat to boil off some of the water in the broth.
  4. Now's the time to either make a drink, clean up a little, or tend to your side dish. When the broth has reduced to about 1/2 to 1/3 of its original volume, then it's done. Toss in your fresh herbs, stir it around, and serve along with a whole grain and/or a simple steamed or roasted vegetable.
Here's my dinner -- along with the tofu I made some quinoa (red and white mixed) and while that was cooking I dumped in about a cup of frozen spinach and some cumin.

This was a pretty humble dinner but it really worked out and I didnt' have to buy anything even though I'm starting to run out of a lot of stuff.

And I've got another portion for tomorrow, which will potentially be the most garlicky thing I have ever consumed after it's been sitting in garlicky broth covered in garlic for a day.

The BEST thing to serve this with (and really one of the best things to serve anything with) is cilantro-jalapeno rice from a Gourmet magazine I bought in the summer of 2006, which I cannot find right now and I'm going to assume it's around here somewhere so I don't have to freak out about that because it's the best EVER.

Week of fun is kind of boring so far. I am supposed to be going out dancing tonight, but my friends are already drunk and I am still in my pajamas. Today I went from pajamas to gym clothes to pajamas and there's a reasonable chance that'll be it, but I may make it out to see a movie or something if dancing doesn't happen. Tomorrow's supposed to be the Brooklyn Brewery tour but I have a sneaking suspicion that people are going to bail on that too, so we'll see. Maybe I'll go tour the brewery by myself!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May 12, 2009

Ugh, this week! It is just one disaster after another, but tomorrow evening I will be DONE with law school, and all that will remain is figuring out my job situation (a whole long story for another day), finishing up all my law journal editing duties, and getting myself moved out of here. In 2 weeks and 3 days, I'll be leaving this apartment that's been home for almost 3 years. Yeesh!

This morning I took my third of four exams. Which required an all-nighter fueled by the evil but amazing greasy Chinese food that I love, from Empire. This place has been one of the staples of my law school experience. I am getting so sappy about dumb stuff like that now that I'm leaving!
So, the damage: scallion pancake, cold sesame noodles, and veggie mooshu with brown rice and tons of plum sauce. So good, so bad, let us never speak of this again!

That is the thing about this kind of food. There is a kind of guilt and psychosis about it. It always accompanies other poor choices, which makes it feel like a really poor choice.

Shockingly, I woke up this morning after a tiny catnap and was reasonably with it, and kept studying until my 10 am exam, which was not nearly as disastrous as expected.

Before I ran out the door to print out my notes and get to the exam, I made some toast with canola margarine and a blended mocha. I am totally addicted to these mochas. Just my style, not too sweet. I use unsweetened chocolate soy milk which makes it chocolatey but not sugary.

During the test I noshed on a cut-up pink lady and a vanilla soy yogurt, then ran to the deli across the street and got one of their fantastic veggie burgers to eat in the park with 2 friends from class. Along with champagne in insulated coffee mugs. So classy! But it did keep the champagne chilly even in the sun and we didn't get ticketed for drinking in public, so all worked out. I didn't have my camera, which is unfortunate because there was the cutest little Canada goose family with 2 goslings walking around by our picnic table. Totally adorable.

When I got back home, I found out I was supposed to take another (self-scheduled) exam by today at the latest. For serious, I am not this irresponsible -- my roommate and I looked at the emails that the registrar said had the info about the deadline, and saw nothing. So, I got permission to take it tomorrow, a day earlier than I'd planned. Oh, sigh. I am really struggling to finish.

Tried to take a nap but I wasn't tired so I threw some soup on the stove and cracked open a beer. I bought this veggie soup mix (lentils, yellow and green peas, tiny alphabet pasta) sometime in the past 8 months when I was feeling sick and it lasts forever because a little goes a long way.

In a little saucepan I sauteed maybe 1/3 cup of finely chopped red onion and half of a very large green pepper also chopped pretty fine. When they were smelling amazing and the onions were just about cooked through (5 mins or so) I added 1/4 cup of the veggie soup mix and 1 cup of water. I had planned to do 1/2 cup of mix and 2 cups of water, as I usually do, but I guess I forgot. My brain was really fried. But it turned out to be just the right amount, anyway.

I also added about 1/2 tsp of minced garlic, 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper and 1/2 tsp of dried thyme. Brought it almost to a boil then simmered, partly covered, for about an hour.

When I came back to it, the lentils and stuff had absorbed most of the water, so I thinned it out with some veggie broth I had open in the fridge, maybe 1/4 of a cup or so. Heated that through and it was done. Delish. Just put it in a bowl, top with a little fresh ground black pepper and a swig of balsamic vinegar. Adding vinegar at the end is my favorite flourish with this kind of soup. It adds sweetness and depth to a very mild and comfort-y soup.

After that I watched a couple more episodes of Noah's Arc (Wilson Cruz has arrived! And he is amazing!) and finally fell asleep. When I woke up at 9, my roommate and his girlfriend had just gone to bed. Let me tell you how incredibly cool and adventurous we are around here.

I was feeling snacky and kind of wanted to go out and get pizza or something, but since my fridge overfloweth and I didn't want to change out of PJs, instead I heated up some of those polenta leftovers on the George Forman grill.

I put some zucchini slices under the broiler too, but they took so long I had eaten the polenta by the time they came out. The zucchini was good, caramely on the top and soft all the way through, but nothing to write home about.

Lots of food today, but at least most of it was not crazy finals stress eating food. And now I'm not sure whether I should be goiing back to bed or trying to study for the exam I''m totally unprepared for tomorrow. I'm pretty pissed off that I have to do it a day earlier than I wanted to, but also excited to be finished a day earlier!

I am definitely going to have to cook something magical on Thursday in honor of being totally done. I'm planning at some point this month in getting in on this celebration of my favorite food blog, so maybe that will happen Thurs when the ladies come over for the Grey's season finale. I think tomorrow I'll probably be having either leftovers or something quick from the grocery or take-out since my exam is from 10 am to 6 pm. Almost done with law school!

Monday, May 11, 2009

May 11, 2009

I was just saying to my friend S (roommate's girlfriend who sort of lives here) that I really wish it were dinnertime right now, or at least that I was legitimately hungry because it'd give me an excuse to take a break. But alas, not the case. However, I've got photos from earlier today that I can post and comment on to distract myself from my ever-increasing sense of doom and horror about tomorrow's exam. The time limit has been reduced, so that although it is an open-book test, there is no chance I'll be able to scramble and look up principles I am not sure about, if I'm going to finish on time. Oy.

On to the gratuitous photos of food!
At long last, I purchased some spinach so I could make the usual breakfast smoothie of bananas & spinach. It really does wake me up and get me going, despite the fairly limited amount of sleep I got last night. Along with some coffee that was waiting for me courtesy of the roommates when I got up.

Fun fact: I stole this beer glass that I always use for smoothies from an English bar in Reykjavik. I really really wanted one that said VIKING, the name of the Icelandic beer, but I had to settle for Tuborg because after watching the bartenders beat a guy up I didn't want to push my luck by rooting around in their stacks of glasses for the one I wanted.

Yes, that's my smoothie glass and my coffee mug from earlier, sitting there cluttering up my living room work space. And a blended mocha (8 oz chocolate soy milk + 6 ice cubes of frozen coffee) plus a pink lady apple and pb2.

Lunch #1: leftover millet polenta squares from last night, with sundried tomato pesto. I grilled these on my tiny George Foreman grill, and they came out almost as good as the ones that were fried, but less oil and less clean-up. Very nice. They did get a bit mangled when I wrestled them off of the grill and onto my plate though.

Lunch #2/mid afternoon snack: bagel from the best bagel place! I got into a rut for like a year where I only ever ordered a poppy bagel with scallion tofutti every time I went to any of the local bagel joints. But this place has outstanding everything bagels and veggie cream cheese. It is the best bagel place, after all. I'm glad I branched out. The tiny bits of broccoli and carrot and onion in my tofu "cream cheese" are tough to see in the photo but they tasted excellent.

Now I'm sipping "Calm" tea that S made for me and contemplating both dinner and my ongoing cramfest. Yes that is Jessica Simpson's face on Vanity Fair that I'm using as a coaster to protect my bed from the hot mug.

Dinner, whenever the time FINALLY comes, will be either (1) more polenta and pesto plus broiled asparagus, (2) steamed tofu and zucchini over couscous with sesame seeds and a big splash of soy sauce, or maybe (3) an old favorite I haven't had in a while: tofu and asparagus with soba. I'm almost out of soba but I should have enough for one.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Primal Scream

Never fails to creep me out, but I'm almost nostalgic for it knowing that the one that's going on right now will probably be the last that I witness. When I was in college it seemed to happen pretty quickly, but at gigantic sprawling Columbia it lasts for ages.

Now where is my midnight breakfast with smiley face potato things?

May 10, 2009: Millet "Polenta"

Well, it's happened again. I cooked another amazing recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, thus managing to fill most of my day with non-study activities. I also started watching the show Noah's Arc, a seriously cheesy gay man show from one of those new gay networks. It's kind of growing on me, which just tells you that I have already watched all of the gay entertainment that exists and have had to lower my standards. However, I think Wilson Cruz joins the show at some point, so surely it will get better.

And here are some pictures of food. A super-sweet pink lady apple plus some pb2.

And a veggie sandwich and big handful of almonds to keep me awake while studying...

These almonds are really not fresh, but they had this oddly familiar taste. Like the almond in the middle of a jordan almond. Ew. But kind of good. There is really no place to get decent inexpensive almonds except Trader Joe's. Which will be so close by when I move in with my family next month. I should totally get a job there. Ever since that movie "Go" I have kind of wanted to work in a grocery store, even though my friends who have done it say that it's not really like that. Probably a bad sign that I have aspirations like "work at a grocery store" at this point in my life and education.

Dinner took most of the afternoon, so while things were cooking I took a ton of photos. I made millet and spinach polenta (kind of a misleading name for it -- the millet IS the polenta, and the spinach is more of a flavoring, shredded and mixed into the millet). With sundried tomato pesto, which consists of: almonds, olive oil, sundried tomatoes (plumped up in some hot water), garlic, basil, salt & pepper. Into the blender, and YUM.

Soon I will have to start making up my own recipes so I can actually post them, but as a student of copyright and a supporter of cookbook writers, I have to have some scruples about not stealing the amazing Isa Chandra Moskowitz's recipes and posting them. You can find many of them at the Post Punk Kitchen, or buy Vegan with a Vengeance (and of course the amazing Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World).

After cooking up the millet with veggie broth, spinach, and oregano, I spread it into a baking dish and left it on the stove to cool for maybe an hour and a half. An offset spatula is super useful for stuff like this -- I bought it for frosting cakes, but it's handy anytime you need to smear something or flatten out a sticky mass like this one.

The pesto! Everything that's involved with this is delicious, so it's not too shocking that the finished product is pretty tasty too.

Here's an action shot of the cooled, cut up "polenta" frying up in a bit of olive oil in a nonstick skillet, on medium-high heat. I think next time I'm going to heat it up even hotter to try to sear the outside of this, but cooking like this did get a little bit of a crunch on the edges, after about 3 minutes per side.

Dinner: 2 hunks of polenta, fried up with some pesto on top, alongside the most enormous asparagus I've ever eaten. Seriously, I think this photo doesn't even do justice to the incredible hugeness of this asparagus.

[Not pictured.] After that, my roommate's girlfriend came over and made a really superb salad with avocados, beets, fancy greens, and a simple vinaigrette, so I had to sample a little of that as well, with some crusty rosemary olive bread from the bakery down the street.

I am excited to have hobbies again now that law school will be over. I really feel sometimes like my whole pre-law school life just ended, and I worried that I wouldn't be able to remember who I am when I'm not editing journal articles and reading cases. But it's coming back reasonably clear right now, since I've gotten back to cooking, been going to concerts, catching up with old friends, etc. I think the old me who had way more free time is still in there waiting to get back to having hobbies and talking about stuff other than the bluebook and statutory interpretation. Huzzah!

May 9-10, 2009

Yesterday was not a great day. Long story short, the Very Important Document that I thought would for sure arrive in the mail either Friday or Saturday, and which needed to go back into the mail with some other Very Important Documents by yesterday at the latest, well it did not arrive. So, between the time the mail came (3) and the time that the 24-hour post office sends out its last Saturday mail (7), I had to email every lawyer-type person I know in NYC (it's a pretty short list, surprisingly) and beg them to meet me someplace so they could sign my stuff in place of the person whose mail hadn't arrived. The backup plan being to hop on a train today to Boston so I could hand-deliver my stuff to the state courthouse on Monday when it's absolutely-no-exceptions due.

Pretty stupid, but the whole process has been a bit confusing, and I wasn't even able to do it until kind of late in the game because I was waiting for crucial test scores and trying to prepare a contingency plan in case I failed this test and wasn't able to take the MA bar exam this year. Thankfully, I did pass, and even more thankfully, I located my friend's brother and was able to get him to endorse my application. And I made it to the post office with an hour to spare. Phew!

So, needless to say, following this debacle and a trip to the very beautiful 24 hour post office by Penn Station, I had to go have a martini or three. I ended up at my best guy friend's place out in Brooklyn, playing cheesy old computer games, throwing back scrumptious vodka martinis like it was my job, and chowing on some of the worst Chinese food available. I really wish I had a photo of that -- I've been to this place several times and it is really a "so bad it's good" situation. No matter what you order, it comes with the same sauce! Really. So far I've had broccoli with garlic sauce, cold sesame noodles, and General Tso's tofu, and all of them have this bright red sweet and sour slightly spicy sauce that probably is ordered pre-made in a 10-gallon bucket.

Here's the first, less-crazy half of yesterday, in food photos.

For breakfast, some pineapple flavor coconut water. This was super-rich with pineapple and coconut puree that I had to kind of scrape off the inside of the container and mix into my drink. Definitely better than the (already pretty good) standard regular coconut water, very refreshing. I got a couple of these on sale at the old health food store the other day.

And then, you know I (with a little help from a roommate and another friend) polished off that pizza. When coffee was ready, I had that with a little leftover pizza heated up in the toaster oven. There were a few doughy spots when I first made the pizza, so toasting the leftover slices definitely improved the crust at those parts in the middle that weren't already crispy.

And there in the photos is also the excellent Vegan with a Vengeance, complete with a zillion post it flags of all the recipes I want to make. I'm trying something new from VWAV either tonight or tomorrow, which I'm pretty stoked about.

And here is the last of the pizza, but it definitely will be making another appearance sometime soon. I love the color combo of the red peppers and red onions, and they tasted great together too, very sweet and mild. Even without cooking them first they got pretty soft. One of my pet peeves is definitely when you order a dish at a restaurant and the onions aren't cooked through. Thai restaurants, I am looking at you!

That's all the photos from yesterday, since sadly I didn't think to bring my camera (or any homework, or water or other essentials) when I left the house in late afternoon.

This morning, I lamented the fact that I still hadn't gone grocery shopping so didn't have ANY of my favorite breakfast things. I was hungry for more than just coconut water, so I munched on a sandwich thin and a vanilla soy yogurt while I caught up on emails and watched my Sunday morning online TV show (Brunch with Bridget).

Then -- glorious! I did grocery shopping. It is such a gorgeous day out so I'm glad I made it out there, though I kind of forgot to go check out the farmer's market. I have no idea if local asparagus and berries are here yet but maybe I'll find out Thursday when the farmer's market returns.

Here's a photo of my grocery store haul: spinach, black-eyed peas, asparagus, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli, fresh oregano, hummus, pink lady apples, sundried tomatoes, Italian parsley, and a prepared tofu salad with curry and chickpeas for lunch. These tofu salads (there are like 20 different varieties) are the best thing about my local grocery store. That and the fact that it's open 24 hours.

And here is a (not authorized by the roommate) photo of my fridge. Note that my stuff is all on the right side and his is on the left. I don't know if you can make this out in the photo, but, as usual, the roommate has got a gallon of whole milk, several cartons of different grades of cream, 2 different kinds of cream cheese, and several other cheeses. Also, butter and eggs. I often refer to him as the president of the dairy lobby.

You do not hear me complaining, however, when he bakes butter-laden amazing chocolate chip cookies, even though these days they knock me on my lactose-intolerant ass. That's what several years of semi-serious veganism get you: you become a vegan by default, which does in fact make the whole thing easier.

Here's today's lunch, with the evil Bluebook lurking there behind it. Ingredients as listed on this package: "tofu chickpeas, curry, sause, fresh cilantro, salt, black pepper, olive oil, grape tomato, espices."

The lovely people who make these salads may not speak English, but they definitely have a way with the espices.