Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I just can't quit!

Hi, my name is Laura and I am a cook-aholic. Every day I tell myself, Today I will take a break and focus on... But as I sit down with my risk management binder open, as I try to force into my head the formulas for calculating life insurance premiums, thoughts of cookies and curries and elegant, leafy salads start creeping into my mind... and I give in. Yes, this is my last week of school for the rest of my life. So why can I not just put my cooking addiction aside, just for a few more days, knowing that I can indulge myself soon?

Sigh...

In my last post I said I could eat TLTs (or TSTs) all day long. So I decided to try a new spin on it:


TST salad. This salad includes locally grown spinach leaves and tomatoes, a healthy dose of tempeh bacon, about 1/4 of an avocado, and it's topped with a drizzle of an herbed vinaigrette that I made from The Grit Cookbook. It was perfect...


Indian spices are so beautiful and earthy. This is a spice blend for...


Red lentil dahl, courtesy of New Heritage Cooking. I really loved this recipe... It was more flavorful than any dahl I have ever had before. I love the Indian practice of tempering the spices in hot oil to bring out the aromas.

I served it with my inexperienced interpretation of saag. I have never made it before and could not find a suitable recipe in the time I had to make it, so I winged it. I used mustard seeds, curry powder, turmeric, and about 3/4 of a jalapeño (the only hot pepper I could get my hands on), sliced in large chunks. After I tempered these for just a minute, I added some salt and a bag of frozen spinach. Believe me, I wanted to use fresh--but the spinach fates were unkind to me today at the grocery store. Anyway, I cooked this all until the spinach was no longer watery and it had soaked up the flavors nicely, and I took it off the heat and sprinkled some shredded coconut on top. The flavors in this weren't very strong--next time I will use more. It was delicious, though, if not a whole lot like saag I have had before. If anyone has any tips on making saag that they would like to share, I would take them to heart!


We also made some roti, which we have done before.

Bob wanted to make something special for his Bible study group tonight, so he and I together picked out the Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies from VWaV, which we have never tried before.


Aren't they precious? I haven't actually tasted one (and I really shouldn't!) but they smell good. They're very soft and tender--and it's no wonder, because they are a very oily, fatty cookie. The recipe uses peanut oil--a neat touch. So help me, I have to stay out of these! Just a taste...

So, maybe I will get the ball rolling and be able to focus on school for just these last couple of days. Then I have more CPA exam madness to look forward to, but at least I won't be trying to keep up with classes at the same time. At any rate, you will hear from me again soon! Peace, mes amis.

17 comments:

theONLYtania said...

Hehe, I was a bake-aholic until my kitchen was taken away.
That's so great about school, congrats on getting out! Haha. That TST salad looks delicious, very cool idea hehe.
Those are my faaaavorite VWaV cookies! *Drool* They look excellent.

Urban Vegan said...

Good luck with the exams!

I'm a cookaholic, too. It relieves stess. And look at all that healthy yumminess you have to enjoy. Hey--can you email me one of those thumprint cookies? ;) (If only you could!)

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

Your salad looks so fresh and yummy! and the thumbprint cookies look perfect! I haven't tried that recipe yet, but I gotta get some peanut oil.

Best of luck on your finals and sweet freedom and all the cooking that comes along with it is right around the corner!!! :o)

Carrie™ said...

Hmmmm - risk management or cooking? I think I'd sneak off and do some cooking too. Salad looks incredible! I'm not much help with the saag. I'm just starting to do some Indian-type cooking at home (I say type, because it's not always authentic). Cookies look killer! How did the bible study group like them? Did Bob bring any back home? Probably not.

KleoPatra said...

If i cooked and baked like you do, i'd have a hard time stopping as well.

Those TSTs are super fine in their new home amongst spinach, tomatoes & bakn...

Oh, and those thumbprint cookies! They are really gorgeous. Dark 'n' sweet. Veeeeeeeeerrrrrry nice. Lucky Bible study group peeps! These really remind me of those "olde tyme" big, soft cookies... i'm singin' in my head, "Fatty, fatty cookie... i do love you!"

The gold delicacy next to the greens is a sight to behold. i can almost smell the savory flavours...

Hope you can finish your studies in good form... and then go kick some butt on the exams ahead, Laura!

Chantal said...

Good luck for your exams! While we're discussing Indian food, I'd have just one quick question: Cardamom pods... are you suppose to grind them whole with the husk? or open them up and only grind the seeds? I would appreciate anyone's help on this.
Thanks.

Johanna3 said...

is great that you are a cookaholic!! because that make you to post such a incredible beautiful food!

good luck in the exams!

Emmy said...

My hubby would love the TST salad. I have the Grit Cookbook but I've never made the herbed vinaigrette before. Will have to look that up.

The dhal looks so yummy and so does the roti. I've been on an Indian food kick lately. That is a goregeous picture of all the indian spices together.

Good luck with your CPA exams :)

vko said...

I heart all the food in this post!
The picture of the spices is absolutely gorgeous. Like you new blog look too.

Good luck on the exams!!

aTxVegn said...

You go, girl! Cookaholic is a good thing. Yum to everything. You know I'm going to have to make the dahl and the roti!

stonielove said...

oh dear i love roti and was looking for a nice recipe - i will definitely try this soon... thank you for sharing!!!

bazu said...

Yum, yum, and yum!

Good luck on your exams, but I selfishly hope you keep cooking! I'm the same way- even when I cook something relatively simple, the amount of time planning, prepping, shopping, thinking, etc. puts me to shame. Hey, it's a harmless obsession... right?

laura jesser said...

Tania, that does suck about your kitchen... You'll just have to go home and make your favorite VWaV cookies!

Urban vegan, you're right about cooking relieving stress. And I have often wished that we could transmit food over the internet!

Vicki, I really like peanut oil for a lot of things--it's great for Thai stir-fries and such, but I never would have thought to use it in cookies.

Carrie, nope--Bob did not bring home a single cookie (though he had left a few at the house, so we had a secret stash, ha ha). I would like to learn how to do more "authentic" Indian cooking as well--it's hard to know what is and what isn't.

Kleo, somehow I missed that little jingle you were singing! It sounds hilarious, though! Makes me smile. :)

Chantal, you know, I have actually not used cardamom pods before so I am not really sure how to answer your question. I looked it up on good ol' Wikipedia, and the impression I got was that you are just supposed to use the seeds. Good luck!

Johanna, thanks! :)

Emmy, I've been on one of those Indian kicks too. You have The Grit Cookbook? That's cool--I usually think of it as an Athens thing, so I'm surprised when someone somewhere else has it! I used the Grit Vinaigrette recipe...

Vko, thanks! Pictures of spices like that always look gorgeous to me...

Diann, I definitely recommend the dahl to you, of all people! It's so full of flavor and delicious...

Stonielove, you're welcome. I don't know how this recipe really compares with other roti recipes--it's just one I found that worked for me, so I haven't really branched out and looked for another one.

Bazu, don't worry--I'll keep cooking! ;) Yes, it takes a lot of time when you figure in planning and shopping and all that. I love shopping for food, though--almost as much as I like cooking it! Maybe the obsession is just with food in general...

Melissa West said...

Ha! Ha! Ha! I am a cook a holic too. I love baking, cooking, pretty much anything to do with food. Sounds like cooking is a great stress relief for you as you are dealing with the anxiety of the last couple of weeks of school. I'm proud of you for finishing school. I am even more proud of you for staying healthy and eating a healthy diet while you do it! Loved the Indian spices by the way!

Kati said...

Hey, if you have to have an obsession, I think providing nourishment and enjoyment for yourself and others is not a bad obsession to have! I love all the tempeh you've been cooking - it's one of my favorites. And I can almost smell those Indian spices popping on the hot skillet - yum! I'd better pull out VwaV so I can make those cookies, too...

Best of luck with your exams!

scottishvegan said...

I think I would choose cooking over studying any day! All your food looks delish. You are making me so hungry! I made those thumbprint cookies before, but they looked rubbish next to yours! Good luck with your exams!

Melody Polakow said...

I just love dal and indian food... for a more traditional sag "paneer", I saute extra firm tofu in cubes and set them aside, then for the sag:
2 tbsp earth balance
1 large onion, diced very small
2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
5 cloves garlic
pinch cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
red chile flakes (optional)
salt/pepper
2 10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup lite coconut milk or 4 tbsp tofutti sour cream
juice of 1 lemon
chopped tomaotes and chopped red onion for garnish

here's a pic of it on my blog

http://melomeals.blogspot.com/2006/08/indian-food-possible-job.html