Thursday, March 5, 2009

forced calm

it's go time. I have about 10-11 days in which I need to prepare a 20-minute presentation and write 50-pages' worth of final papers. Yikes. I keep telling myself, "don't panic. Just don't panic." Part of this not-panicking was forcing myself to get started on one of those papers tonight. It's only two pages (if that), but hey, it's a start! I think I'm about to stop for the night (hence, dilly-dallying on the blog!), read just a touch more, and get some sleep. I probably won't have finished the entire 300-page book I needed to read for seminar tomorrow, but I'll fall within 30 pages of the end, and that seems good enough, at this time of the quarter.

In the midst of all this, I really am trying to keep my head. I had a bit of a cry last night - induced by the charlie-horses that have been visciously attacking my feet (I think it's just stress), but part of me just sobbed for the relief to sob and let some of this out. But other than that, I've really been trying at least to sleep more, to stay on task and work rather than let myself get distracted with worry. And this weekend, I spent one hour Saturday setting up the garden with Cass (peas and lettuce are in, netting is up and staked. Fingers crossed!), and on Sunday, when he was out skiing with his father all day, I cleaned and cooked in addition to homework.

I think it was good for me. Certainly, it was nice to have some nice food (like a vegan waldorf salad, and cooked azuki beans with mochi flour and coconut milk) to eat in my lunches. I'd planned to make this cake weeks ago, and after replacing the lemons about three times, I vowed to finally try it. Now, I'm not a big cake person, but this Pistachio, Almond and Lemon cake is really something else. Click the title to link to the recipe on Epicurious. I didn't change a thing on this one.

Okay, I may have added a bit more vanilla, but I love my Mexican vanilla, so don't blame me. Also, I think my oven runs a tetch on the cold side, but I had to bake this sucker for at least double the 45 minutes in the recipe, so I think that may be a typo in the recipe. Worth the wait, though. With very little flour, this cake is primarily made of ground nuts. It's moist, just sweet enough, and slightly sticky without being heavy or dense. With an eye to the fat content (see above: it's made of ground nuts!), Cass packed most of it in the firm on Monday, where it disappeared rapidly with morning coffee. This is my idea of a perfect coffee-accompaniment: it's flavourful and has enough personality to be just fine on its own, and it's not dry. And have I mentioned how wonderful it is on one of these soft grey afternoons we've been having, with all the sudden spring rainstorms? With a little tea or coffee, it's just the thing to get me going again. I shared some with a sick colleague this week; he proclaimed, "this is love. LOVE." There you have it.

A final note: the recipe includes an orange salad as accompaniment to this. I didn't make it; actually, I made JUST the orange salad weeks ago, by itself, for dessert. It was quite good, actually, as a light fruit dessert. I'm sure the two are beautiful together, but I have to say, they're also stand-up options on their own!

I'm back to the books. If you don't see me for another 10 days, you know what I'm doing!

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