Monday, September 27, 2010

Food Blog

This IS a food blog so I should probably blog about all the good eats I've been cooking up. I apologize for how unappetizing my last post was! First let's talk the last two weeks of CSA pickups.
CSA Week 12:
Asian Pears
Mcintosh Apples
Two Kinds of Kale
Romaine Lettuce
Summer Squash
Acorn Squash
CSA Week 13:
Macintosh Apples
Green Beans
Red Leaf Lettuce
I took some of those ingredients- specifically the eggplant, romaine, pears and corn and made Crunchy and Spicy Tofu Tacos. I had bought tofu and was looking for something fun to do with it.  Frying the tofu was difficult- I never was able to get the oil at the right temperature, plus I only used a tiny bit of oil which wasn't so good for the three batches.  But in the end, you got the heat of the thai chili paste along with the subtle sweetness of the fig jam and pears.  I think it worked together perfectly!
Crunchy and Spicy Asian Tofu Tacos
Inspired by Food and Wine

3 tablespoons of chili powder
1 tablespoons of thai chili paste
1 tablespoon of fig jam
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
2 tablespoons toasted-sesame oil
Kosher salt
3/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup canola oil, for frying
8 corn or flour tortillas
1 medium-sized Asian pear, julienned
3 scallions, sliced thinly
Sauteed Eggplant
Corn cut off corn
Romaine Lettuce, garnish

Place the tofu on a towel and drain for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 1 T of the chile powder with the chili paste and fig jam along with garlic and sesame oil and season with salt. In another large bowl, whisk the cornstarch with the remaining 2 tablespoons of chile powder and 1 tablespoon of salt. In a medium, deep skillet, heat the oil until it reaches 365 F and preheat oven to 350 F. In another skillet, saute the eggplant until soft and cook the corn and cut off the cob. Add the tofu to the chile sauce mixture and stir gently to coat. Put the tofu into the cornstarch mixture and toss to coat. Fry the tofu in one batch, stirring occasionally, until golden and crunchy, 3 to 3 1/2 minutes;. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the crunchy tofu to a paper towel–lined rack and sprinkle with salt. Meanwhile, wrap tortillas in aluminum foil and warm in oven for about 8 minutes. Then slice asian pears, and cut the romaine into ribbons. Place the tortilla on a plate and add fig jam, then layer with veggies, pears, tofu and lettuce.  Roll up and enjoy! I served these with Kale chips of course!
I also made two different kinds of pizzas- a Bacon Avocado Pizza and a Mexican Pizza.  I've made this Bacon Avocado Pizza a few years ago (before the blog) and loved it and thought I'd make it again. It's inspired by Rachael Ray and absolutely delicious! I mean how could bacon, avocado, crusty dough and tomatoes be bad??
Bacon-Avocado Pizza 
Store-bought Whole Wheat Pizza Dough 
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 shallot, thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 avocados
2 tablespoons of lime juice
One 12-ounce package bacon
2 Cups of Arugula
In a large bowl, toss together the tomatoes, shallot, olive oil and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature. For the avocado "sauce", you can either mash the avocados by hand or let your food processor do it like I did.  I scooped the two avocados into a bowl and squeezed some lime juice and salt and pepper in it and then let it whirl. Preheat a large skillet; add the bacon and cook, turning once, until crisp, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Spread out your dough on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Spread the avocado evenly leaving a 3/4-inch border. Toss the bacon with the tomato mixture and scatter over the pizzas. Add Arugula on top.

The second pizza I made is a Mexican-inspired pizza.  I often get questions about if I cook EVERY night.  Well here's my secret!  I cook 3-5 times a week by making two meals in the same nite!  Like I did with the pizzas.  We ate the first pizza on Monday and this second pizza the next night.  Score!
This pizza is really simple and I love it! Pizza dough, salsa as the sauce, rinsed black beans, corn cut off the cob, Mexican blend cheese and some guac on top!
Wednesday night I had my mom over for dinner and made a very fall-like meal.  I had bought mango chutney and turkey breasts at the grocery store and wanted to do something with them together.  I googled those two words and came up with this recipe.  Thanks Kitchenbelle!
Turkey Rollatini's Stuffed with Cranberries, Cheese and Arugula
adapted from Kitchenbelle
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups fresh arugula
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
coarse salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/4 cups panko bread crumbs, seasoned to taste with coarse salt and pepper
1/4 cup of mango chutney
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 turkey breasts, pounded thin with a meat mallet
1/4 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (I didn't have goat cheese so I used cheddar which was fine)
Preheat oven to 400 F. Heat olive oil in a sauce pan over low heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook until soft.  Add arugula.  Add salt and pepper and use a spatula to move arugula around the pan.  Cook until just wilted and then turn off heat and add chopped dried cranberries, and cheddar cheese (or goat). 
 In a dish combine mustard and chutney.  Mix with a small spoon until combined.   Pour breadcrumbs into a second dish.
Dip cutlets, one at a time, into chutney mixture.   Then pat breadcrumbs onto one side of the cutlet.  Place on cookie sheet and scoop 1-2 tablespoons of the arugula filling onto one side of the cutlet.  Fold top portion of cutlet onto filling and secure with a toothpick (or multiple toothpicks if you are like me).  Repeat for remaining cutlets. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until turkey is done.
I also made a red and white quinoa salad with some mango chutney and many of the vegetables from up above that I had leftover including eggplant, tomatoes, summer squash, Acorn Squash and avocado.
And also sometime last week, I had these three lovely books/magazines sitting on my desk when I walked in to work.  Gretchen somehow gets THREE issues of Bon Appetit a month and gives me one!  She also brought in Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life and Amanda Hesser's Cooking for Mr. Latte.  I immediately got started on Amanda's book and I LOVE IT!  I'm only halfway done and I cannot put it down!
A favorite quote (so far):
This resonated so well with me...
"I've never been the type of cook who welcomes friends into my kitchen to make a salad or to chat with me while I am cooking.  I am not mentally coordinated enough to simultaneously sauté and tell a story. But more than that, I prefer the solitude of my kitchen; I like to hear the faint crackle as my knife slices into a fresh onion, to watch butter and sugar meld into milky fluff as I whisk....I like to chop garlic, dice tomatoes, and carve chicken to relieve tension, just as someone else might go for a run..."
(well I do both : )

I'll tell you about more quotes I find in this amazing book as I come across them. Oh the other great thing about this book is the recipes! (Probably the reason Gretchen wants it back as soon as I finish!)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Runner's Confessions & NY Marathon Training Week 13

I already have two other blog entries started that I wanted to post first- but something happened today and I wanted to share.

I've been a runner since I was 12 and I've finally seen the light... the sport TORTURES me. I've mentioned this before, but I ran track in high school and college.  Back then, my idea of a long run was TOPS 6 miles. However, back then I was tortured in other ways.  Now I know this is a FOOD blog but its also a running blog so I'm going to write about things that are unpleasant. Back in high school, I used to throw up before and after every race.  Before because I was so nervous... and after because I exerted myself so much, I had nothing left.  This continued into the first year of college track and then stopped during my second year.  And it was during that year that I realized, I was falling out of love with the sport.  I was no longer being tortured, no longer getting sick, which translated to ... no longer giving it my all.  I quit the next year.  

I didn't run competitively again until two years after I graduated and then, well, I began the torture process again.  I wake up an hour before my long runs, I've gotten sick before I run, and I should probably pay my running partner Nancy (who is a GI Nurse) for all her GI advice and knowledge she has given me. Before my marathon, I threw up and today, 5 miles into my run with my brother, I threw up.  He looked back at me and thought, "What the hell is wrong with her??" 

Mike (my older brother who has run 5 marathons and qualified and ran Boston twice) and I ran from his apartment at 6:45am.  In the first mile, we realized it was hot.  It's September 25th in Boston, it's not supposed to be hot!  (I don't know you guys in North Carolina and Florida do it!) The worst part about todays run was the humidity.  I tried to stay hydrated but nothing was enough.  At mile 7, (after I threw up all the water I had drank) we bought two gatorades.  At mile 9.5, I was dying.  At mile 10, I made Mike leave me.  Once I got to Mile 11, I walked back to Mike's house.  I tortured myself through another long run.  A long run in which my pains in my achilles didn't matter, instead all that matter was that I couldn't get through it.  I couldn't push myself. In those last two miles, I thought why am I doing this? Can I do this? But I know I can.  I'm going to get through this marathon.  But I have to be honest. After this, I'm pretty sure I'm done with marathons for awhile. My husband misses the girl who didn't go to bed at 9pm EVERY Friday night.  The girl who didn't wake up at 5:30am(or earlier) every Saturday. (I miss her too)

Saturday 9/25/10 Long Run
1:48/11 miles/9:48 pace

Hoping to run an additional 4-6 miles tomorrow.  I felt a little pain in my achilles today, but it was so much better than my 20 miler two weeks ago!

But for some good news- I got my makeup done and I'm off to my friend Joanna's wedding.  Can't wait!

Week of 9/20-9/26

Date: Monday Sept 20
  8 miles on the Charles and Physical Therapy
Heat, Stim, Wall-press, eliptical, step, weights, ultrasound, ice and stim
  8 Miles
Total Time:
Pace: 9:44

Tuesday off

Date: Wednesday Sept 22
  Physical Therapy, Heat, Stim, Wall-press, eliptical, step, weights, ultrasound, ice and stim

Date: Thursday Sept 23
  Eliptical Interval Workout
Total Time:
  35  minutes
Cross ramp at 15, incline at 10, 1 minute holding on, 1 minute running (as hard as you can).  Do this for 30 minutes, cool down.  I swear this workout makes me sweat as much as running.  I never knew the eliptical could be so hard!

Date: Friday Sept 24
  Physical Therapy
Heat, Stim, Wall-press, eliptical, step, weights, ultrasound, ice and stim

Date: Saturday Sept 25
Route/Workout: Ran with Mike on West side of the river
Total Time:
Avg Pace: 9:48
Date: Sunday Sept 26
  Ran with Dave outside
 4.5 miles 
Total Time:
Avg Pace: 9:20

Total Mileage for the Week: 23.5

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Summer Recap

I guess the last day of summer was yesterday which is interesting since it's 80 degrees outside and I'm wearing a sundress with flip flops.  Love New England... one day its 50 degrees, the next it's hot as hell.  Anyway, in honor of the last day of summer, I thought I'd recap what an amazing summer it has been.

In early June (technically before summer really started), my husband and I along with my brother and his wife Natalia went on the most amazing Mediterranean Cruise.  I had never been abroad and this was a life goal of mine.  We saw Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Cannes, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Capri, Sorrento, Pompei, Naples, Mykonos, Athens, Istanbul, Kusadasi, Ephesus, Venice in 14 days and it was amazing.  I'll let the pictures do the talking.
It was a wonderful trip! It isn't a relaxing vacation (we woke up at 6am most days) but it is very informational, breathtaking and enjoyable.  I wish I was still there!

Shortly after we got back, my company celebrated their 41st Anniversary with an amazing summer party!
And I joined and began picking up my CSA (at City Hall).
We had a really fun 4th of July party that ended in flip cup...
And then enjoyed Boston 4th of July fireworks on BFF Courtney's family boat.
I got to meet two of my friends new babies.  Jake seemed to like me.
Cassidy did not.
Future boyfriend-girlfriend in 2025?
We celebrated and threw a party for my in-laws 40th Wedding Anniversary...
And celebrated our 2 year Anniversary with dinner at the Capital Grille...
... and I made Smitten's amazing shortrib recipe for the actual day of our anniversary!
I got to hang out with my cousin's baby, Zoe and my friend Caitlin's baby, Brody.

We spent the weekend at our friends Cape House in August and enjoyed the beach, oyster shooters and lobster : )
I got to meet another little guy- Owen!
My roommate from college visited and I enjoyed nights out in the city...
We had numerous dinner parties at our house...
and ended our summer on a high note with a 20 mile run, the Home Opener Patriots Game and a weekend in New Hampshire.
What a summer it's been! My only goal for the fall is to happily complete the New York Marathon! Wish me luck... (the achilles is feeling better- I will know more after my long run on Saturday)

How was your summer? Sad it's over or ready for fall?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

North Conway, NH Weekend

I spent the weekend in beautiful North Conway, New Hampshire.  My mom rented a house and invited the fam.  It was a lonnnnng drive but when we finally arrived around 10pm on Friday night, it was well worth it.  The house was so nice! We hung out for awhile and then headed to bed.  In the morning, we headed to Peaches for Breakfast.
And sat outside because it was beautiful out!
I ordered the California Omlette.  And it was fabulous.  Eggs, Avocado, Tomato, Bacon and Havarti Cheese.
I love this combination!
Next up, the group broke up and Dave and I went Apple Picking at Hatch Apples.
It was about a 20 min drive from where we were staying. And the apples were only .75cents a pound!!! We got about 10 pounds of apples for $7.50.  Can't beat that!
After apple picking, we headed to the top of Cathedral Ledge at Echo Lake. 
The views were gorgeous!
Once we got back to the house, we took a walk down the path in the back yard.  And look what we found!
My mom made a delicious dinner but the photos don't do it justice.  After dinner, Dave started a fire so we could keep warm and make end-of-the-summer S'mores.
After s'mores we watched Date Night.  I thought it was hysterical!  This morning my family headed out for a hike and I passed because my achilles was acting up and I wanted to rest it for my long run tomorrow.  Around 2:30, we made the long trek home. As soon as I walked in the door, I got cooking.
First up, I got to work on those apples we picked and made the worlds easiest Apple Crisp.

Macintosh Apple Crisp
3 cups (3 apples) sliced McIntosh apples
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oats
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Heat Oven to 375° F.
Arrange apples in a greased 8"square pan.  Mix remaining ingredients, sprinkle over apples.  Bake until topping is golden brown and apples are tender, about 30 minutes.  Serve warm.
But no, I didn't eat dessert for dinner.  For dinner, I made Buffalo Chicken Squares!  I love this recipe- simple and perfect for watching Sunday Football.
Buffalo Chicken Squares
1 can (8oz) refrigerated crescent rolls
3/4 cup shredded poached chopped chicken, cooked
1/2 cup Buffalo Sauce
1/2 cup Ranch Dressing
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup cheddar
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 375.  Spray cookie sheet. Unroll dough and separate into 4 rectangles, and firmly press to seal.
In a small bowl, mix chicken, buffalo sauce, ranch dressing, cheddar cheese and celery.  Spread 1/4 of cream cheese over each rectangle to about 1/4 inch of the edge.  
Sprinkle evenly with the chicken mixture. 
 Roll up the edges to enclose package.
Cook at 375 for 10-15 minutes until crust is lightly browned.
This was so easy to make it was really tasty!  I'm definitely going to make these again (smaller versions) for future football parties. Hope everyone had great weekends!