Love of studentship, rockin' dinner

As I sat at a long wooden table today, my notebook, pen, text and water bottle before me, handouts being passed, rain pouring outside, I felt utterly cozy and thrilled. Plain and simple, I love being a student. The thought of homework thrills me (95% of the time), and I delight in my myriad shorthand notes, highlighted sentences, margin stars and checks that stain my books and notepads come end of class. If this smacks of nerdom, know that I wave my nerd banner high and with pride! Class was really well organized, and the next three Mondays will absolutely fly by. The teacher is wonderful, and small world story, she and I know someone in common in Florence, Italy, and no, that person is not my sister. Isn't that weird and cool!?

As I left Politics & Prose, armed with my tote bag, rain gear and new Ottolenghi cookbook (it is UNREAL; I salivated over it for at least 30 minutes after class), I felt a skip in my step, and, as Monday is my one afternoon a week off, I took myself to get a much-needed pedicure. Truly, my feet were individual horrors of blister and gnarl. Things are better now, I'm sure you're relieved to know. Anyway, while sitting in the chair, I flagged the hell out of Ottolenghi and tonight made dinner channeling the inspiration I'd gleaned.

Cauliflower fritters became Lodge-seared florets with a wonderfully spiced "sauce" of olive oil, garlic, shallots, cardamom, cumin, coriander and cinnamon of which I'm sure Yotam and Sami would approve. A pistachio-crusted tuna took shape in the hands of Team Tom-Em as seared salmon with a pistachio-pepita-pimenton-lime crust which was amazing (despite its unfortunate resemblance in hue to goose poop; but let's call it cafe au lait) and which I will write up for you immediately. I could dredge anything in it and be thrilled!

We Coravin'd one glass each of a wonderful Pinot (this Coravin thing is really liberating) and toasted each other for a job well done.

As this Monday begins to close, I am left with an immense feeling of gratitude and good fortune. I am a lucky woman and appreciate every bit of it.