I have been doing a great deal of work on my new blog, trying to shape it and refine it to reflect what I want it to be. I desire to increase its readership and bring my food to the world. In the transition, I have worked on separating the foodie parts of my blog, from the running part. While for the most part, I think this is a good idea -especially since neither part is going away- I realized today while out running in the deep snow and cold, that they cannot truly be separated. Running and food for me are intrinsically linked, I have come into my culinary own in a large part because of my running. I find my inspiration on the road, I design recipes on the road, I became motivated to become a holistic natural chef because of my running. And so, should that get lost as I try to refine my own work? Of course not! To take that out, would mean removing what makes my perspective unique. When I think of my audience, I think of not just your everyday foodie, I think of a big group of ultrarunners sitting around a communal table after a 30 mile training run. I think about what kind of food will delight not just paletes, but nourish the body that will enable use to live, run and just be healthy. That is what matters to me. So while things may change, some things stay the same too.
I spent about 2 hours running around in the snow. It was delightful, it was challenging. It is one, if not the, biggest storms that has hit Seattle in a while. It snowed on Thursday, then an even bigger dumping last night, complete with Blizzard Warning. Thus, there was plenty of snow on the ground. While I didn't have the opportunity to get Yak-Traks or put Sheet Metal Screws, I decided that I would brave it anyways. I ran around without aim, slipping, sliding, working hard and being silly. I was working up quite and appetite when the snow started falling really hard. I searched myself for what sounded good, warming and satisfying when it came to me. What is better on a cold day than a nice thick soup and a cheese toastie? Not much! So, I popped into the PCC on the top of the hill (thankfully, I was carrying my fastpacking backpack) and grabbed some ingredients, loaded up the pack and continued on home as the storm worsened. Inspired by the snow, I created a Chili-spiced Double Squash Soup and Double Tomato & Swiss Cheese Toastie. While the weather outside is frightful and has me snowed in, the food in here is so delightful.
Chili Spiced Double Squash Soup
1 can pumpkin puree
1 can butternut squash puree
4 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 large leek, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
⅙ avocado, diced
In a good size stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the leeks and carrots. Saute until the start to get tender. Add the stock and the squash purees and stir to combine. Add in the chili powder, cumin, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer, for a minimum of 15-20 minutes.
Using an immersion blender or in a regular blender, puree until smooth. Make sure if you use a blender that you cover the top with a dish towel and start blending on low so that the hot liquid doesn't come flying out and scald you. Return to pan and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
In a small dry saute pan, toast pepitas until golden, keeping them moving in the pan constantly. Serve soup and garnish with toasted pepitas, diced avocados and cilantro.
Double Tomato & Swiss Cheese Toastie
3 slices tomatoes
3 slices Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons Sun-dried tomato pesto
Slice pita open, keeping one side attached. Spread pesto on one side, place tomato on top and cheese on top of that. Heat panini press or cast iron sandwich press to medium high. Grease both sides and place sandwich on grill. Grill (flipping once) until golden, toasty and melty.
Enjoy with a warm bowl of soup.
I really think that what I love about cold days and getting cold, is the warming up and relaxing part afterward!