Sunday, November 2, 2008

Calm before the Storm

Tapering can be fun if you are able to distract yourself from the various aches and pains that show up and occupy the time you usually spend running. I have done a good job of not having too much "tapering madness" as well as not over or under tapering. Tapering for a 100k race can be tricky. You can't back off too much, but you can't keep the mileage too high. Howard put me on a good schedule that balances keeping quality up and quantity down. I have spent my time working too much, sleeping alot, developing a new obsession with the show House and cooking lots of new recipes.

Before I get on to the recipes and food, I have to share two cool things I saw on my run today and wished I had had my camera on and recording video for. The first was a young boy, probably 7 or 8, in his front yard practicing gymnastics. I am not talking about somersaults and cartwheels, I am talking round of with a half twist type craziness. And he was sticking the landing too and throwing his hands in the air in the way they do in competition. It is no the first time I have seen him and frankly, I have never seen him miss a landing or chicken out on a difficult looking move. The second thing was when I took Frog out for her little 3 mile run. I always encourage her to be interested in squirrels and will even assist her in a chase if the squirrel is close enough. I have to keep her on the leash, so if the pursuit won't cause me injury, what the heck. Gotta give the little one some entertainment. Well, we were crossing the street and a squirrel didn't see us, so she got a good run up on the squirrel. It dashed up the nearest phone pole with Froggie's teeth inches from her but Froggie didn't lose a beat, from a full sprint she launched herself vertically in the air and jump to literally twice her extended height if she were on her hind legs. If it were a basketball hoop, she would have nearly gotten rim. It was crazy. But also a good lesson in why fences need to be pretty damn high for greyhounds.

Now on to the food. I have been trying out different flavors and pushing myself to try new things. It has been fun and I have had some delicious results. I made Jamaican Jerk Lamb Tenderloin and West Indian Vegetable Curry one night for Dad and Fran, Dijon Roast Vegetable Wrap with Garlic Hummus, Avocado and Roast Bell Peppers another. Yesterday, I made my Pumpkin Corn Bread and then made it into an Egg Sandwich with Avocado and Parm Reggiano. For dinner, I made a Jamie Oliver recipe of Jacket Potatoes w/ cottage cheese, beets and fresh horseradish. Everything was delicious and it was fun to get in the kitchen alot again.
Jamaican Jerk Lamb Tenderloin and West Indian Vegetable Curry

For the lamb tenderloin, I made a marinade of extra virgin olive oil (about a tbsp), dried Jamaican Jerk Seasoning (3 1/2 tbsp), balsamic vinegar (1 1/2 tbsp), bay leaves (4, crumbled finely) and minced garlic (the more the merrier). I only got to marinate the lamb tenderloin (which comes in long thin strips, I had 5) for a few hours, but obviously the longer the better.

After you marinate, cook the lamb to your liking, you can grill it or pan sear it. I pan seared it. And whatever you do, DON'T get rid of the marinade. No, make it into a nice spicy sauce for your meat. Once you take the meat out of the pan, put the marinade in there, add a tbsp or two of flour (I used buckwheat flour) to thicken into a roux and then start adding vegetable stock in to make it into a nice sauce. When you plate, put the vegetable curry on the bottom of a nice platter, top with meat and then put the sauce over top. In theory, you could make a very nice Jamaican Jerk Tofu instead of lamb.

The curry comes from this recipe. The only thing I changed was the cooking spray thing. I don't use stinking cooking spray, I use evoo. It has great spice and could easily stand on its own or be paired with rice. I had been planning on making grilled plantains with this meal but couldn't find them anywhere, bummer.
Dijon Roast Vegetable Wrap with Garlic Hummus, Avocado and Roast Bell Peppers

Ingredients:
For veg:
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp evoo
double pinch of herbs de Provence
1/2 eggplant, sliced medium
1 med. yellow squash cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 zucchini, same as squash
1/3 cup chopped red onion

For dijon sauce:
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Wrap (for each serving):
1 rice tortilla (unless of course you can eat wheat then get something that stays together better!)
1/2 avocado
2 tbsp garlic hummus
1 roast bell pepper (from a jar)

Directions:

Combine the veg ingredients and toss well. Place veg in a roasting pan and roast on 350 until the veg are beginning to get tender. Meanwhile mix the dijon and balsamic vinegar together. When the veg is nearly done, pour the mix together and continue cooking. I think the veggies being super tender worked well in the wrap, but it is a matter of personal preference too.

To assembled, spread the avocado (mashed up) on the tortilla and the hummus on top, place the slice roast bell pepper on top. Spoon the roast veggies down the middle and roll the wrap up. I find rolling it over on the folded side secures a full wrap. Put on some foil on a backing sheet and put back in the oven (still on 350). Cook until the wrap has a bit of crunch to it. You can feel free to skip this step (or pre warm your tortillas and then wrap). I liked it this way, but will most certainly try other ways too.


Egg Sandwich with Avocado and Parm Reggiano
This was a delicious combination of salty and sweet. I also could envision replacing the parm reggiano with a nice pepper jack cheese and adding bacon for the salty kick. I don't know what fake bacon tastes like, but if it is salty, I would say that vegans could use that. I never partook in that faux bacon, chicken nugget thing, I think they are as over processed and chemically as a bag of cheetos, but if you are into that...by all means, try it out. But it does need something salty in it, which is why I used the parm reggiano. The corn bread will not hold together thoroughly so be ready with fork and knife.

For assembly:
1 egg, fried
2-3tbsp of grated parm reggiano
1/2 avocado
sliced tomato
1 slice pumpkin corn bread, sliced in two and toasted under the broiler

Slather the avocado on the corn bread and pile egg and tomato on top. Sprinkle cheese on both halves of the bread and broil until the cheese melts. Put the top on and dive in!



Jacket Potatoes w/ cottage cheese, beets and fresh horseradish.

Ingredients:

2 baked potatoes (bake on 375 for 1-1:20), halved
cottage cheese
cooked beets marinated in 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar. I got some cooked beets from WF
chervil
fresh horseradish root (cut off the outside bark and then use a microplane to grate)
sea salt

Assemble:

On the halved potatoes put a knob of Earth Balance or butter if you do butter. I like Earth Balance. Then spoon cottage cheese down in there, beets next with a little juice but not to much. Top with a sprinkle of fresh chervil and then go to town with the fresh horseradish root. I mean really, we all went crazy, it really brings out all the flavors. Sprinkle salt on top. Enjoy.

All this food writing is making me hungry....off to make the next creation.

6 comments:

  1. Now I'm really hungry. Wow, those recipes look great! When's your cookbook coming out?

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  2. Ditto what Jamie said. Holy cow D, you've got some serious culinary skills! Lucky!

    Can't wait to hear about your 100K. I know you're gonna rock it.

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  3. Your dishes look delicious and the plating's so profesional, too. You need all the cabs you can get for the 100K! Look forward to reading your race report.

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  4. Drool. . .I'm so very hungry now.

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  5. I definitely just drooled all over the keyboard. Yuuuuuuuuummmmm. I forgot all about jacket potatoes, even though I would eat them about twice a week for lunch in London. :) Good Luck in Italy!

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  6. That was the best looking egg sandwhich I've EVER seen. (and believe me-I've seen a lot). :)

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