Going, going…gone

So where have I been since Friday? Well, I spent the weekend immersed in housecleaning (a big, multi-weekend project in the aftermath of the demise of our large, beloved, muddy and incontinent dog, a project that also involves replacing every rug we owned), my biochemistry textbook…and finishing my grad school application.

My application is officially sent off, so it’s all over but the waiting. After more than 18 months of largely being in control of my path to grad school, now it’s in someone else’s (or several someones’) hands. It feels strange, and oddly anti-climatic.

Anyhoo…with that off my plate, I can turn some of my attention back to cooking, something that I have done very little of in the last few months. I did manage to make Julia Child’s beef bourguignon a few weeks ago (I usually make it for New Year’s Eve, but was too tired after taking my GREs that morning) but other than that it’s pretty much been making smoothies, assembling salads and sticking trays of chicken breasts and vegetables in the oven to roast. I don’t consider that cooking, really.

Did I feel guilty about not cooking? No, not really. Although I did miss it, which is not surprising when you see this stack of gorgeousness that’s been patiently waiting for my attention:

Yes, I managed to acquire each of these last month (a combination of asked-for Christmas gifts and the fruits of bookstore gift cards and/or Borders Bucks that I needed to redeem). Yes, I already have more cookbooks than anyone rightfully needs to own. No, I can’t be helped, so please, don’t even try.

So what do I do when I make a tentative foray back into the world of recipes over the weekend? Do I crack one of these pristine volumes? Errr…no. I grab the issue of Bon Appetit that just came in the mail. But that’s OK, because I picked a winner of a recipe: Kabocha Squash Risotto with Sage and Pine Nuts. (Note, I used cubed butternut squash and subbed walnuts for the pine nuts, because that’s what I had on hand.) At least Jeff declared it one of the best recipes, ever, and asked that I put it into regular rotation. I don’t think that will quite happen, because I used to have various risotto recipes in regular rotation, back when I weighed 50 pounds more than I do now. I’m not carb-phobic, but I have found that keeping meals that focus heavily on rice or pasta to occasional treats works for me. It’s too easy to eat a big pile of risotto.