Food/Recipes

15 things I learned about running from food


  1. Salt makes all the difference.
  2. Just because the recipe worked today doesn't mean it will work tomorrow. 
  3. And just because the recipe worked for someone else, doesn't mean it will work the same for you.
  4. There are 100s of ways to troubleshoot a problem and salvage a dish. Sometimes that means scraping it and starting over.
  5. You can't say you don't like it if you've never tried it. Don't be afraid to try something new- it may be your new favorite thing. 
  6. Practice makes perfect. Whether its knife skills or cooking the perfect steak- the more you do it, the easier and more efficient it will become.
  7. You have to adapt for altitude.
  8. Be patient. Good things can't be rushed. Cooking things low and slow often create the best flavors.
  9. You get out what you put into it.
  10. Every recipe is not a winner and every food isn't your favorite. Sometimes being edible is good enough.
  11. Don't be afraid of failure and never stop learning. Just when you think you have it figured out, your souffle will drop, you'll burn the bacon or you'll over whip your whip cream.
  12. There is more than one way to cook a goose.
  13. There is not ultimate defining meal of your life.
  14. Good food is best when shared.
  15. It doesn't have to be pretty to taste good.


Fast Foodie Cooks: Weekly Recipe: Gluten Free, Sugar Free Whole Grain Waffles


I have been focusing on the quality and timing of my diet much like I was before my Olympic Trials qualifier earlier this year and trying to ensure that my heavy training load is fueled by high quality foods that maximize my training and recovery. That said, I've hit a point in this training cycle (4 weeks until race day!) where my hunger is out of control. I work at making sure that I am eating a small meal every 2-3 hours to keep the hunger at bay, but some days I feel like I need something more substantial to tame the savage beast that is my stomach.


This morning, after a 25 mile double day (10 in the morning, 15 in the afternoon- all trail) yesterday, I could tell today was going to be one of those days. We headed out before dawn to chase down some early morning sunshine and did a fantastic loop above the fog on Mt. Tam. I can't tell you how many times we simply stopped in our tracks and soaked in the sun's rays. Midway through the run, my stomach was already grumbling and I spent the rest of the run thinking about breakfast, like I do on so many runs. I announced to Nathan that is was a waffle kind of morning, as long as we made it home in time to make them. I knew my standard bowl of gluten free oats would keep me full for -.5 seconds, so I was hankering for something heartier. We finished up the perfect 10 mile loop and jumped back into the car and made our descent back into the cold, fog.


I've been working on this recipe throughout this training cycle because it accommodates the current restrictions on my diet. I am eating very few grains these days and usually its just my morning oats. I am always gluten free, so these waffles were naturally gluten free. I also wanted them to be healthy, so I included sorghum and buckwheat (whole grain) in my mix. They also had to be sugar free. I am not doing sugar or sweeteners right now, so that was a necessity. After a few trials, I am very pleased with how these waffles came out. They are whole grain, they are sugar free, they are hearty but not heavy and definitely not unhealthy. They are perfect topped with a drizzle of almond butter or peanut butter and make a typical dreary San Francisco morning seem a whole lot brighter.

Gluten Free, Sugar Free Whole Grain Waffles
Ingredients
1/2 cup gluten free sorghum flour
1/2 cup gluten free buckwheat flour
1/3 cup gluten free sweet rice flour
1/3 cup gluten free tapioca flour
1/3 cup gluten free coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious sugar free vanilla coconut milk)
1 egg
1 small banana, mashed
1/2 tsp almond or vanilla extract (optional)
butter to grease waffle iron
for topping: peanut butter, butter, maple syrup, fruit (optional)

Directions
Heat waffle iron.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients until well incorporated. In a small bowl, mix together milk, egg, banana, and almond extract. (Baker's note: for extra light and crispy waffles, whip egg whites vigorously until you get soft peaks- because there is no sugar you won't form good peaks). Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Don't over-mix.

Grease waffle iron with butter to prevent sticking. Scoop 1/4 cup of the mix in each of the waffle molds (our waffle iron makes 4 square waffles). Cook 5-6 minutes or until done. Top with butter, peanut butter, maple syrup, fruit or any of your favorite toppings!


Fast Foodie Cooks: Weekly Recipe: Farmer's Market Frittata


I haven't been posting nearly enough recipes on my blog. I am currently in the best shape of my life, culinarily speaking. I am geeking out on seasonal produce, creating amazing meals for my clients and coming in to my own as a personal chef. I think everyone can be their own chef, so I might as well help this along by providing you recipes that help fuel me up with the healthful energy I need! My goal is to post a weekly (ok regular) recipe post with some delicious goodness that is being thrown down in Casa De Ninja!



Farmer's Market Frittata
Serves 2-4 (2 as a main, 4 with something else)

Ingredients
8 large organic eggs
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup spring onion, baby spring onion or regular onion, chopped
1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 cup zucchini with blossoms, zucchini sliced and blossoms separated, sliced- set aside.
2 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
optional: 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Saute the onion, zucchini, mushroom and butter/olive oil in a 10-inch oven proof skillet (such as a cast iron) or pan over medium heat until starting to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute. 

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the squash blossoms, salt, and pepper and cheese (if using) and combine. Pour the mixture over the cooking vegetables and place the skillet in the center of the oven. Bake for about 50 minutes, until it puffs and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve hot directly from the pan with a side salad of fresh mixed greens.





Routine as white rice and butter

Our first CSA box from Eatwell Farms

I haven't felt routine in a while. We moved, we had guests, more guests, races to prepare for, nesting to be done, shelving to be built and hung. While bucking routine is nice to change things up, I do enjoy routine. I think one of the reasons I thrive as a runner is because I get to plan, organize and execute a training schedule. There are curves in that I can depend on. I like that. I like spontaneity too, yeah but that is a bit different than just being caught up in a rapid fire of change. Thankfully one of the things that brings me a great deal of comfort and dependability (beyond running) is cooking. And I have been cooking.

Gluten Free Sugarplum Vegan Carrot Cupcakes- a reward for a 48.5 mile run

I may have not been journaling, tweeting, blogging, photographing or following along on the news, but I have been cooking. Routine things. Moderately interesting things. We've been getting a CSA the last few weeks, so there has been lots of greenery. I have been peaking in training, so there has been lots of steak. We've made sandwiches, stir-frys and boring white rice with butter (which suddenly has become one of my favorite things). I have been making coconut granola and crusty breads.

Gluten Free Crusty Boule

With family in town and family leaving town, we have eaten out a great deal. Green Chile Kitchen, Nopalito, Outerlands, Starbelly, Foreign Cinema, Fish (Sausalito) and noshed on fresh fruits and treats from the farmers market.

Ferry Building Farmer Market

It's been a whirlwind, I tell ya. And I am not complaining. No, not at all. This post is more about remembering those dangling little participles before they are swept away than any firm resolute point. I have to share the pictures, the moments before they are pushed aside in the mind by another deep, rich moment.

Family brunch at Outerlands in the Sunset

I had been really good about journaling, but over the last two months have been crap. Really crap. And I don't really like that. That is a routine I need to get back into. Blogging too, because I have much to do and share. There is work to be done, along this funny road I am traveling on. For the next 10 days, I have a one track mind though: Western States 100 mile race. That's got my brain going and my body resting. Over the next week and change there will be a lot of steak/meat. It is my favorite pre-race fuel. And possibly lots of white rice and butter.

On Sunday, it was round one of the steak fest. The baker and I cooked for his mother who was visit from Ohio. We made peri peri rubbed rib eyes, seared in the cast iron. Cooked to a medium rare perfection. We wilted greens from the Eatwell Farms CSA box, cooking them down and down, simply. Olive oil, salt, a dash of water. The risotto was something special. Risotto has a special place in my heart because it is the first recipe I learned that required specific technique and care. I learned porcini mushroom risotto and have made much since that day. Ours was simple and fresh as the late spring day we enjoyed, herbed with basil and parsley, sugar snap peas and a nice sheep's milk pecorino. The Baker stirred and stirred and stirred it to perfection. The meal was simple but beautiful. While complicated, ornate, involved food can be fun, to me there is nothing better than simple good food that lets amazing ingredients stand up and speak for themselves.

Peri-peri rubbed rib-eye, sugar snap pea and herbed risotto, wilted greens


Gluten Free Banana Ginger Muffins


Calling my name, GF Banana Ginger Muffins

There are many times in life since going gluten free that I will pass by a bakery window and gaze in upon stacks of beautiful fresh baked muffins and wish that I could have one too. As I have mentioned, I don't crave sweet that much but I do love an occasional muffin. Last year, when I was able to "take a break" from my no-gluten diet (doctor's recommendation for testing) I stumbled upon my all time favorite muffins at Macrina Bakery in Seattle. Vegan Banana Ginger Muffins. I went home after that, totally obsessed and created a version of my own and posted the recipe. But those were made with whole wheat and spelt and soon I had to reliquish their hold over my tastebuds and go gluten free again (thanks for the painful vacation doc!).



I will wait for these to cool, I will wait for these to cool.

After that, I baked muffins occasionally, picked up muffins at Flying Apron when I was in Seattle, and generally went without. And then, the other day I remembered these muffins. I think it was because I was planning a big group run around Discovery Park in Seattle for my visit home this weekend. Last year a bunch of speedsters got together and ran some loops and then went to Macrina. Oh those muffins. I instantly knew that it was up to me to create a gluten free version that would be as crave worthy as the Macrina ones.

I did it. Yes, me and my little creative brain did it.



I took my own original recipe and then worked through some possible flour combinations/ratios. With muffins, especially gluten free ones, texture is huge. And picking the right flour combination makes a huge difference. I settled on brown rice flour and garbanzo bean flour in a 2:1 ratio. Flying by the seat of my pants as it were, I also kicked up the ginger content two fold as I recalled that my previous batch a year ago was not as gingery as I liked.

I baked. I waited. I let them cool so completely that by the time I went to eat them I was bonking from lack of food. I think there was a bit of trepidation in there too. I was afraid to try them. The looked like a winner, but would the taste be triumphant? Would the texture leave me once again annoyed that gluten free will never translate the same? Would they dissolve into a wet, fallen mess overnight (like a lot of GF baked goods do)? Would they be hockey pucks?


In a word: No. I was awe struck by these muffins. Look at that texture! If I didn't tell you it was gluten free, you would not know. The taste, oh my! Smooth banana flavor with a perfect and very present ginger flavor. They played nicely together, letting each other have a share of the glory and spotlight. Neither dominated, they comingled, they made music together and my taste buds were singing! My favorite part was that the banana and ginger were present but the muffin was still predominately savory, not overly sweet- just enough. Again a very fine balance, I think.

I was so excited I couldn't wait to share them with the Baker.

He made me wait though. I fed him way too much bibimbap and homemade coconut milk ice cream for dinner. I waited patiently for my second opinion. I finally got it post early morning run with our regular crew in the Headlands. I open the container (which I left on the counter), prepared myself for some caved in or other gluten free horror to unfold but they were still perfect, together, moist.  The Baker took one out and  took a bite, I prepared myself for a polite, "they're good" and to go back to the drawing board.


"Wow" He said. "These are good. These are really really good. Where did you get the recipe?" Happy dance in my head, something along the lines of a end zone dance, complete with strutting and waving of arms!

"From my head" I answered. "Completely original recipe". I liked being able to say that. I feel it is important to my perspective to keep perspective on the whether things are "good for a gluten free item" (because we all know there are plenty of really bad options out there) or "universally good", meaning gluten free/egg free or not these are damn good. I am glad my second opinion heralded them as the second. I made my muffins in small muffin tins so we shared a second muffin, though I am sure we easily could have each had two and not be making a bad dietary choice (since in addition to all the other awesome things about this recipe, there is only 1/4 cup of butter and that is the only fat). These are not "you can eat those because you run 100 miles" muffins, these are part of a healthy and delicious lifestyle muffins. I don't think it is a bad thing when you can have your decadent cake and have it be nutritious too. It is just an added benefit to these muffins that you don't even have to think about it.

They are good. Damn good. I will be making them again and again and again. I have a feeling that down the line, someone will be looking at one of these babies through the window of my own bakery.

Gluten Free Banana Ginger Muffin

Ingredients:
5 small very ripe bananas (if not super ripe, add 1/4 cup almond milk)
¼ cup butter , room temperature
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 ⅓ cup brown rice flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
⅔ cup garbanzo bean flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
2 ½ tsp. ginger zest, divided
4 tsp. crystallized ginger, minced, divided
1 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
pinch fresh nutmeg

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 and line with parchment cups/grease 2 muffin pans (12 muffins). In a food processor, mix together the bananas and butter. Mix in the two types of brown sugar and blend together. Add in vanilla, 2 tsp of minced crystallized ginger, 1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger (zest).

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients including the remaining ginger until incorporated. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir to combine.

Scoop about 1/4 cup of muffin mix into the muffin pans, making 9-12 muffins. Sprinkle the muffins with dark brown sugar and bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted and the tops are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes

Not reinventing the wheel



Beef Bourguignon, the perfect way to end a weekend

This weekend was an absolutely wonderful and blissful weekend. In food, running, life.  It was Valentine's Day Weekend which has never meant a thing to me one way or another. Like most holidays, I don't get swept up in the commercialism and hype. I do my own thing. This weekend was no different, but it is the first time in the history of my life that I have ever received flowers and chocolate on Valentine's Day, and I have to admit it did make me feel all warm and fuzzy. And then I tasted the chocolates from Recchiuti Confections in the Ferry Building as my last bites for the weekend I am about to describe, which pretty much cemented it as one kick ass weekend.

Beautiful flowers from the Ferry Building Saturday Market

The weekend started with a fabulous Friday night of food. I decided to indulge in a non-gluten free friendly meal and it was decidedly worth the risk. In fact, other than a bit of asthma symptoms on Saturday, I was pretty non-reactive to it. We went to Little Star in the Mission and had a deep dish Classic, which has sausage, mushrooms, onions, bell pepper. I had been seriously craving pizza for a long long time (I haven't had a slice since November at Delfina) and this definitely satisfied that craving.

This weekend seemed like it was created straight out of my imagination, it contained all of the things that combine to make me insanely happy and content. Saturday kicked off by getting up early and, for the first time in a while, instead of going on a long run, we headed down to the Saturday Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building to pick up ingredients for our planned Sunday dinner as well as our other weekend meals. I wish I had had my camera. We met Brett and Larissa down there, sipped on some Blue Bottle and wandered around gathering more and more ingredients, as well as snacks with each lap around the market.

Our dinner plan for Valentine's Day was simple. After watching Julie and Julia last week, we couldn't help but think about Julia Child's beef bourguignon and since I had never ever had beef bourguignon, it was an easy pick for a Sunday at home on a special occasion. We grabbed our beef from Prather Ranch Meat Company as well as a half chicken for Saturday. We picked up Batch 21 Cheese and Crescenza cheese from Cow Girl Creamery. We shared a box of potatoes from Roli Roti. I drank an outstanding smoothie from one of the purveyors, we snacked on dates and filled our bags with greens, tiny potatoes, beautiful King Oyster mushrooms, spring garlic, beautiful sprouts and pickled veggies from Happy Girl Kitchen. It was a blast. By 10am though, the market gets crazy busy and we were ready to go. Brett and Larissa headed off to Tomales Bay for the weekend and we headed back to my house with all the goodies. We changed, went for a nice long run on the Miwok 100k course from near Rock Springs to the turn around point of the course at the bottom of Randall trail and back. 24 miles worked up our appetites, we made a quick stop at Whole Foods post run for a few ingredients and ice and we headed back to dive head first into our farmer's market goodies.

First there was salad to temporary satisfy the ravenous beasts we were quickly becoming. I tossed a beautiful mix of Greens with Sprouts and topped with avocado, sauerkraut and mild pickled peppers from Happy Girl. The huge ramen bowls were empty in less than five minutes. We put our half chicken into the oven and cooked it "brick chicken" style, using my cast iron grill press. While it cooked, ice baths were taken, beer/cider was opened, veggies were chopped. When the chicken was done, we made fajitas with handmade tortillas from Primavera (also from the farmer's market), bell pepper, jalepenos, onion. We kept the seasoning light and the flavors clean, a bit of avocado, crescenza and lime were all that was needed. Absolutely delicious. The evening was finished off with Coconut Bliss and some gluten free graham crackers which I made on Friday.

We had decided that we wanted to be done running and heading home by 11:30am. We also had planned to run really really hard for a long way, so that meant we didn't have to get up too early. In fact, we each managed to run 19 miles in just around 2:40 and that is on the climby-est part of the Miwok course. Very nice. We were back at the car and heading back into the City by 10:45, which was a vast difference than Saturday when we hadn't even left for our run yet! Lunch was a redux of the previous days salad. And I am thinking that I may be making it for myself every day as long as the ingredients are still available to me. My favorite part was the crunch from the "Market mix", which is a blend of sprouted beans. Wow good.

The beef bourguignon takes a while, so got to work on it pretty quickly. While easy, tasty meals are awesome, there is something really fun and validating about working on small little details and ingredients and spending hours and hours in the kitchen. Sunday afternoons in the kitchen are one of my more favorite thing. It's fun just to create and then be able to eat the reward at the end.

I have not done much cooking out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and unlike most recipes, this one we really tried to follow. There would be no reinventing of the wheel on this one, there is a reason that Julia Child's compendium is in 40-somethingth edition and could become a best seller, again, 49 years after its release. I really liked working through each step, each little detail to create the final product. From individually cooking the bacon, browning the meal, cooking the vegetables before cooking them all together for 3 hours with lots of wine to sauteing the mushrooms in butter (don't crowd the mushrooms!), it was a blast. It reminds me how complex it can be to make amazing simple food. And it was amazing. The beef bourguignon had so much depth of flavor, you felt like you were watching a perfectly executed symphony, but instead of listening, you were trying your best not to submerge your whole face in the still hot dutch oven. We paired the rich stew with a very simple playmate: boiled potatoes. And they played well together. Meat and potatoes to something like an exponent of 10. Meat and potatoes at their best. It was damn good and when followed by the chocolates mentioned above, pretty much capped off the kind of weekend you remember for a long time and enjoyed completely from end to end.

Bread and stuff to put on bread

Bread attempts

I am not really the type of person to wish to change circumstances that cannot be or wish things away that simply cannot be wished away. It is futile and a great waste of energy. I change or work for change in things I have control over and celebrate the parts of life that simply are what they are good or bad. No resistance, no stress.

There is one thing though I would change. Ok, actually it's two things. I wish I could eat gluten and I wish I could eat eggs. There is no oh poor me involved in this. I eat these things, I don't feel good. It is a fact of life, one which would be nice to be able to change. People with food intolerance, allergies and diseases like Chrons/Celiac are not doing happy dances when they get their diagnoses I assure you. As much as you can become happy and ok with it, it is not something you'd wish on anyone.

There are a few brilliant individuals such as Karina and Shauna and bakeries such as BabyCakes (NYC/LA) and Flying Apron (Seattle) who are making great strides in creating gluten-free friendly recipes of the things people commonly have to cut out of their diets when they have gluten intolerance and Celiac. It is awesome what they are doing. Goodness knows, I appreciate it when I need a baked goods fix. I have also started to develop gluten free, egg-free recipes of my own that I would some day love to share in a cookbook or bakery.


I think my biggest problem is that I am not really a baked good person in general. You would think that would make being gluten intolerant easier and it does, but the problem is when I do crave a baked good there are some that just cannot be mimicked in a gluten free style. Cookies, cupcakes, even most morning pastries but not bread. The thing I often crave the most is a big hunk of crusty bread straight out of the oven. In my adult life, I have never been much of a consumer of bread on a daily basis, or even consistently of grains. I just prefer veggies and fruit to grains. But there are some days when I can think of nothing more than a hunk of bread with butter melting over it.

Last week was one of those weeks. I wanted bread. I wanted a sandwich. I wanted crusty, flaky warm bread straight out of the oven. And I didn't want to suffer for it. And so, I decided to try my hand at baking on. I consulted many sources but each had something I could not use or work with. One has eggs, another uses a breadmaker and provides no alternate instructions. Each had something I would tweak or change. And so I decided to do that.


I developed a gluten free, egg free crusty bread in my brand new 5 1/2 quart Le Creuset, consulted with the Baker about a few techniques and on Friday baked off my first batch. Fresh out of the oven (after cooling), it had a great outside crunch, the inside was what I would expect of a gluten free loaf- slightly dense, but yes! it had some lift and stretchy bubbles. However, it also had a slightly metallic taste which I had just suggested be worked out of another gluten free recipe that the Baker had me try. The metallic taste comes from the egg replacer which would easily be remedied if I had the luxury of being able to eat eggs. Eggs are a good "cheat" in gluten free baking. The loaf was not bad, in fact, it was probably a revelation in terms of gluten free bread baking. But it was not what I wanted. I will continue to develop the recipe and see if I can create something crave worthy. It is a start and I am intrigued.

Condiment Party



Part of the hope in baking the bread on Friday was that I would have a nice loaf of bread that I could put my hot dogs on for our Super Bowl Sunday party. We decided to throw a Super not Superbowl Party, which eventually became just a Super Superbowl Party. The requirements for coming were to bring a beverage and a homemade condiment. The Baker made buns and we cooked up some great tasting dogs. The day before the big game, we spent a few hours in the kitchen making Maple Baked Beans, Chipotle Ketchup, Roasted Peppers, Caramelized Onions and Spicy Mustard.


Best hog dog buns anyone had ever tasted.



Hot dogs braised in white wine, onions and cloves.



Maple Glazed Beans. Cooked for 6 hours. YUM!


The party was awesome and the party-goers absolutely surprised and delighted me in the level in which they got into making condiments. They showed some great creativity. We had a few types of ketchup, honey mustard, sprouted mung bean relish, spicy thai relish, wasabi mayo, guacamole, tomatillo salsa, sauerkraut, cream cheese. You name it, we had it. It was really fascinating to watch the combination and methods that people chose in getting a maximum number of condiments on their dogs or plates. People had a great time and I was really blessed to have such a great group of people bless my home with their presence and my kitchen with their great dishes!

Taming the Green Monster

I know I am a strange person. That is not news to anyone who knows me.

Yesterday I was reminded again that the things I eat and the foods I crave are also not normal. I was doing an interview for DailyMile and we were discussing food and I mentioned craving salads and vegetables which produced a quizzical look. Later on that day, when I was talking to Scott my massage therapist at Psoas, he said "I never crave fruits and vegetables, just fatty food or sugar, etc". Never? Really?!

I thought about it for a while since honest to goodness I don't have sugar cravings, in fact I wouldn't really say I have cravings at all. Usually on my long runs I start thinking about the food I will refuel with and get particularly fixated on something but it's not a true craving and even if it were, well, I usually have earned it. On my 34.5 mile run this Sunday I got fixated on the idea of having roast chicken and salad for dinner and ultimately that is what we had. Rotisserie chicken from Limon and a big leaf salad. Really hit the spot.

After all the talk of food cravings or not, last night all I could think about was a big green salad. Not your restaurant style green salad which is usually just beautiful greens plus a delicious dressing. I am talking greens, green vegetables and even a herb-y dressing. Yes, I was craving it. I needed to tame that green monster.



And wow was it good. I actually ate WAY slower than I usually do so I could savor each and every bite. The only things that weren't green in this salad were the baked tofu and the sauerkraut. I felt like a superhero after eating this salad. I felt invigorated and satisfied. It is definitely one that I will be making again and again. Salad may not be rocket science, but that doesn't mean it can't be profound on occasion.

Greener than Green Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup broccoli, lightly steamed (to make it less gas producing)

2 stalks of kale, cut into ribbons

4-6 cups of greens including arugula, spinach

2 tbsp fresh cilantro

1 green onion, chopped

1/2 cup sauerkraut

1 package baked tofu

1/2 avocado

1 cup rice vinegar

4 cloves garlic minced

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp fresh ginger

2-3 tbsp mixed fresh herbs

1/2 cup+ peanut oil

Directions:

Mix vinegar, garlic, herbs, sesame oil, ginger in a blender. With the motor running, add in peanut oil until dressing emulsifies.

In a large bowl, put the cut kale into the bowl and add 2 tbsps dressing. With clean bare hands, massage the kale for 30 seconds until the leaves slightly soften. Add in greens, spinach, arugula, cilantro, and green onions. Toss to coat with dressing adding more to taste. Top with steamed broccoli, avocado, tofu and sauerkraut. Enjoy. This salad is definitely a meal, split it into two and have it as a side.

Speaking of weird cravings, last week I was seriously jonesing for chickpeas. I mean really, I couldn't get it out of my head. I decided for Wednesday dinner that I would call on my inner Greek and make some recipes from Vefa's Kitchen which I had gotten over the weekend. I made Vegetable and Garbanzo Bean Casserole as well as Chicken Souvlaki. Both were delicious and I am super keen to try more recipes from the cookbook. It is a good one, a classic and a compendium of Greek Food (it's been called the bible of traditional Greek Food). I won't share the recipes, but I will share a few photos of the delicious final product!



A little bit aloha


I know I promised. Promised to be a good bloggie and post lots of fantastic recipes to have you zooming around the roads and trails and in life. And smacking your lips and rubbing your belly saying, yummmm that was good. But well, I was busy. Busy sitting on that beach in sunny, warm, beautiful Hawaii. I was there for HURT pacing duties for nearly two weeks and it was fantastic. We enjoyed some seriously good eats. Before the race, we cooked a bunch and discovered an absolutely awesome new staple. I can take, well, 0.0% credit for the dish as the Baker made it and I merely prepared it a few times. Coconut Rice. After eating it once with a beautiful piece of fresh fish (one of the many varieties I have never heard or seen before), I couldn't think of anything I wanted more in the world.

Coconut Rice ingredients:

1 cup white rice

2 Hawaiian medium sweet potatoes or 1 large (regular sweet potatoes will do, I guess...if we must)

2 carrots

2-3 jalepenos

1 medium onion

1 can organic thai coconut milk + 1 can water

Coconut Rice directions:

Cut veggies up to bite size pieces. Your choice, not too small though. In a large pot with a lid, bring the coconut milk+ water and vegetables to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat and simmer until rice is cooked and veggies are tender. If you want to get really wild and crazy, do it in a cast iron skillet and after it boils, bake it in the oven until the rice is cooked. You will get good crispy bits on the bottom this way. And we all know the crispy bits are the best.

We enjoyed this meal a lot. It was that good. Hawaiian food is notoriously un-Devon friendly (i.e. gluten, eggs, etc) and not really know for it's healthiness. Before the race, we made the above meal because it was good for ultrarunners stomachs and for its awesome nutritional profile. But after the race...... well that is a different story!


There were fantastic burgers at Kua Aina on the North Shore. I was with 3 post-HURT runners and I don't think there was even a crumb left on the table. They had amazing looking burgers and even though I didn't get a burger, my grilled chicken salad really rocked. I just loved that they put an entire half of avocado on the burgers.


There was also a second trip to Matsumoto Shave Ice on the North Shore. We went on my first full day on the island and got Hawaiian Style shave ice with adzuki beans. So delicious. And we got shrimp and rice from a truck.


After the race we also tried out Morio's Sushi in Wakiki. This sushi place is a natural food grocery by day and a flying under the radar out of this world sushi restaurant by night. It may not be much to look (ok, it is downright ragged looking building) at but the man, Morio himself, was throwing down some amazing food for us. We went 2 times and both times the stuff that was coming over the counter from Morio was amazing and even adventurous (including whole sardines and a natto hand roll). The fish was pretty much straight out of the ocean and every bite was incredible. He was giving hitting us with supreme sushi, brilliant tofu, crab legs! Seriously. It was an experience. Thanks to Gary for the recommendation! Morio's is BYOB and we brought beer, but we could tell we had made it on to his good side when he was giving us shots (ok the bottle) of Shochu. On our second trip, we made sure we brought a case of Morio's beer of choice, which we quickly discovered that all the regulars did. We spent 3-4 hours there each time, chatting, drinking, eating amazing food, digesting, then diving in to more great food. And the price, you just can't beat it.


A final worth mentioning meal was at Helena's Hawaiian Food. I feel that I am always in for a authentic experience when a local waiting for a table next to you ask, "how did you guys find out about this place, we don't get many tourists here?" And it was true, the building was no where near anything touristy and not much to look at. But the food was out of this world. We had Kalua Pig, Laulau, Poi (which I didn't much like), Opihi (on the recommendation of the aforementioned local), Short ribs Pipikaula Style and my personal favorite, Haupia- a delicious coconut milk dessert.

Hmmmmmm, well there you go. A brief recap. Tons of fun in the sun, delicious eats and well, now I have worked up quite the appetite so I am going to throw down some grub!

Helena's Hawaiian Food on Urbanspoon

California Winter Wonderland

I am so happy. I love where I live. California rocks. Seriously.


View of the Pacific Ocean from Point Lobos


Over the weekend, I headed down the coast for a super secret mission that involved a trip to the Monterey Aquarium, wine tasting, and all sorts of adventures from San Francisco down to Monterey. There was Whale Spotting from Point Lobos Wildlife Reserve, Porchetta Sandwiches from Roli Roti and a Saturday night picnic of fresh greens, pickled vegetables (Happy Girl Kitchen), and roast chicken & potatoes (also Roli Roti) from the San Francisco Saturday Ferry Building Farmer's Market. Lunch in Santa Cruz at Walnut Ave Cafe of tofu scrambles and potatoes. There was a perfect run up the Skyline-to-Sea trail and watching the sun go down over the Pacific Ocean. I am sure I am missing a fresh from the market persimmon and loads of Jer's Chocolate Peanut Butter in there too. It was fantastic. It was the kind of weekend where at the end you sigh and say, "wow, we live in an amazing place". I ate good food, ran in amazing places, slept in the biggest bed ever, and pulled off the birthday surprise of the century. Ok, well maybe not the century, but I kept a secret for like a month and that is a big deal. While the weekend sounds packed, it was actually the most fun relaxed weekend I have had in a long long time. After the stress of the holidays, we all need a little vacation right?


Looking up and forward to the new year.


After the weekends activities, actually for about a week before and even now, I have been seriously hankering for hearty, pickled vegetable laden salads. Probably post-holiday balancing after eating a few things my body doesn't like (gluten). I ate really healthy and light for most of the holiday season, but ate my mom's Stollen that she makes every year and a super secret sugar cookie or two as well. As we were driving back, salad was on our minds and I suggested a salad I had been playing with over the course of the week. Fresh greens, arugula, sweet potatoes, sauerkraut, roast onion and a very bright herb dressing. After a bit of brainstorming, we decided that the additions of a nice soft cheese and avocado would take it to the next level. It was awesome.


This salad balances the light crisp flavors of the greens, dressing, sauerkraut and arugula with the hearthy, warm winter vegetables of sweet potato and roast onion. Profoundly good for being profoundly simple. This salad is a keeper.

Sauerkraut, Sweet Potato and Roast Onion Salad

5 cups salad greens
3 cups arugula
2 sweet potato
2 small red onion, sliced
2 cups sauerkraut
2 small avocado, chopped
½ cup soft cheese, crumbled
red wine vinegar
olive oil
salt
pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Baked Sweet Potatoes until tender. With about 10 minutes left before the sweet potatoes are done, roast red onions on a baking sheet with parchment paper until tender.

Compose salad in large bowls. Toss greens and arugula with red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper. Add remaining ingredients to taste.