It’s the tail end of my first semester of graduate school. In hindsight, it should have occurred to me that this would coincide with the end-of-year fundraising push at work. I have a lot to accomplish over the next eleven days and very few unscheduled hours during which to accomplish it all. My dining table has been converted into a staging ground for my research papers. My sink is full of dirty dishes from the snacks that I’ve been meting out as rewards. Actual meals have fallen by the wayside, primarily because cooking would just be another form of procrastination.
Tonight for dinner, I reverted to two of my favorite snacks. The first is a graham cracker with crunchy peanut butter and raw honey. (Sometimes I substitute raisins for the honey, but I am out of raisins owing to an unfortunate pantry moth situation.) I chased this with half of an avocado filled with half a tablespoon of very good quality aged balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with fleur de sel. These two snacks provide solid nutrition and, when paired with a glass of Spanish Garnacha and a streaming episode of 30 Rock, will hopefully ward off that dream about showing up to your last class with an incomplete research paper and no pants.
I’m kicking off a two-week vacation with a few days in Baltimore visiting good friends who are serious foodies. Last night we hosted a truly decadent dinner party that featured two kinds of roasted bone marrow and a whole lot of wine. Unsurprisingly, I woke up feeling less than stellar this morning.
I dragged myself downstairs for coffee and was delighted to recall that one of our dinner guests had left fresh figs from her yard. I trimmed the stems off and scored the figs into quarters before topping them with some rather pungent sheep’s milk feta and a drizzle of raw honey.
I ate this standing at the kitchen counter. Midway through, one of my hosts appeared and tipped me off that there was fresh mint growing in the backyard, so I sprinkled some small leaves over the top. This dish is so simple and so delicious and works with all kinds of cheese. I am particularly fond of ricotta and soft goat cheese.
As I polished off the last of the figs, I remembered that we scored an invitation for brunch and fig harvesting on Saturday before I head down to the beach. Life satisfaction is high at the moment.
Toasted whole wheat flatbread, ricotta cheese, sliced nectarines, grilled and salted scallions, black pepper and a drizzle of honey. For a brief moment, I forgot about the back pain that has me working from home today.