Monday, February 22, 2010

A Trasket, a Trisket, I'm Running...with a Brisket!

I've never tried a brisket before...I'd always heard how briskets can be very tough.  But, I found a great recipe for Red-Wine-Braised Beef Brisket and I gave it a try.  First, though, hubby posed a question - "What's the difference between a brisket and corned beef?"  Hmm, good question!  So I did my research.  It turns out that they both are a brisket cut, but corned beef has been salted and cured in a brine (preserved).  Now, let's take that a step further and look at pastrami!  Pastrami is also a brisket cut, but pastrami is usually cured with a dry rub and smoked after curing!  Doesn't that sound tasty - especially with St. Patrick's Day just around the corner?

Now, the recipe was kind of involved, it called for juniper berries and white peppercorns, which of course, called for a trip to Whole Foods (the home of those wonderful sunchokes)!  The brisket was marinated overnight (or up to 2 days) in red wine vinegar and red wine, juniper berries (I actually thought these were poisonous), white peppercorns, carrots, celery, garlic and an onion.  After marinating, we browned the brisket in a cast-iron casserole (isn't it a beautiful red color), put in diced onions, chicken broth, thyme and a bay leaf and raisins.  

We slowly cooked it in the oven for 3 hours at 275.  What came out was the most tender, flavorful meat I have ever tasted!  Delicious!  I give credit to Food & Wine Magazine for this fabulous recipe! Yum!!  

We served it with a side of roasted shiitake and button mushrooms and sunchokes.

So, what have you been cooking lately?

Sunday, February 21, 2010 Season

Now that I've picked up my running again, I've declared it the beginning of my "Racing Season"!  I started thinking that baseball has a season, as does golf and even car racing - so why not a season for my running?

I've signed up for 2 races so far, and I've decided that my racing season will culminate with the Big Sur Half Marathon in November.  Then, like every good baseball player, I'll take a couple months off for "off-season" training - or in other words, the eating season of the holidays will be my off-season!

And, now that I'm publicly acknowledging my plans, that means I have to stick to them!  Uh-oh!

I put my miles in today, but sadly, I reward myself too often!

Oh well, I figure I ran enough to deserve this today!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Running...with a Bottle in Each Hand!

I've been open to drinking wine for a few years.  Every so often I'd order a glass at dinner or pick up a bottle that looked interesting, but didn't have really any idea about what I was drinking.  And, while I am loathe to admit it, I once ran with a crowd that ordered White Zinfandel - I know, I know, and I beg your forgiveness!

Well, my unsavory past ended when I started drinking with my "Wine Gurus".  The Wine Gurus love wine.  They own a plethora of bottles, belong to numerous wine clubs, plan wine vacations, and have a great affinity for reds, although, they embrace a good bottle of white as well.

But the amazing thing about the Wine Gurus is that they have introduced Hubby to wine.  They have turned his "bitter wine" face into a countenance of ethereal pleasure!  (You like those big words - yes, I used a thesaurus.)    

We have the most fun with our Wine Gurus when we hold our periodic "wine tasting competition" evenings.  We've done Oregon vs. California (Oregon was our winner on that one), Sonoma vs. Napa at  our local Fleming's Restaurant (that one was undecided), and our latest evening was spent comparing 2 World Market Pinot Noirs.  Blackstone 2007 vs. 2008.  We decided that they were relatively mild, but unremarkable, and ended the evening with a bottle of Castle Rock that we would definitely buy again.

We try to pay our respects to the wine tasting experience, and use "wine" words, like bouquet, nose, floral, earthy, front-end, back-end...  Our attempts to sound like true "Vinophiles" are usually abandoned by the end of the evening.  Believe me, the term "back-end" takes on a whole new meaning after 3 bottles of wine!

Hubby had the most marvelous quote from the evening, 

"Wine is the most enjoyable when shared with friends!"

So, here's a glass raised to my friends the Wine Gurus!  Love ya!


It's been cold...and gloomy...and yes, I know I mention Hawaii a lot (I'll try to move on, someday) but after we returned from 80 degree weather in Oahu to 40 degree weather at home all I wanted to do was "cocoon".  See, I have a name for it!  (It's much better than referring to my behavior as just plain lazy - don't you think?)  So, I spent the majority of January snuggled on my couch with a cup of tea or a white chocolate mocha in my favorite mug, wrapped up in a blanket, my favorite warm socks on, and a book or magazine in my hand!  I knew that I could go on like that for some time, but...I call myself a runner, and runners actually have to get up and run to keep calling themselves runners!  So, I told myself that once February came I would go out and greet the world once more.

Amazingly enough, the calendar turned to February, and I actually left the couch and put on my running shoes and...are you ready for this...I actually ran!!  

And, I remembered why I like it so much!!  Running is so free! It's something that I do for me.  I'm not a quick runner or for that matter a "pretty" runner, but it's really an amazing experience to think that my body can run for miles without my heart and lungs exploding!  Plus, I own the most beautiful pair of running shoes...hmmm, maybe I run because it's an excuse to buy yet another pair of shoes! 

I started running about a year and a half ago, just on my own.  I liked it and ran the Race for the Cure 5K (just over 3 miles) for Susan G. Koman and a 5K race in Monterey.  Now, running by yourself is one thing, but when you get in a crowd of runners, the energy is glorious!  And, the knowledge that while I'm not going to actually win a race, but I'm still able to be in front of a lot of other runners takes me back to that childhood competitiveness when you challenged your friends to race you to the fence!  Remember those days?

But then it all changed when I found my "Running Buddy".  My buddy has run marathons, and half-marathons, and other races - and that just amazes me!  So when I casually mentioned to my "Running Buddy" that I was thinking about running a half-marathon, she didn't just say "Wow", she said, "I can put you on a schedule!"  I was committed!  

Running Buddy and I run every Saturday (well, most Saturdays, and not in January).  We drive to a great running park and put in our miles.  There are some mornings when we have to inspire each other - believe me, there are some mornings when the alarm goes off and I honestly would not get out of bed if I didn't know that someone was waiting for me!  We trained together for our half-marathons last November.  Running Buddy inspires me - she reads about runners, and running techniques, and the history of running!  I especially love her story about the group of South American Indians who drink all night and then run 50 miles the next day!  That got me out of bed last Saturday when I had a few too many glasses of wine with my "Wine Buddies" on Friday night!

So, Running Buddy got me ready to run the Big Sur Half Marathon last November (13.1 miles).  Well, if you think I go on about Hawaii, you should have heard me go on about running the Big Sur 1/2!  Running along the Pacific Ocean, with 7,000 other runners was the most inspiring thing I have ever done!  It was glorious, magnificent, gave truth to this quote, "I Run Because I Can't Fly".  

And that's it - I run because I can't fly!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Running Around in Hawaii

With the gloomy weather we've been having lately, I wanted to look one last time at my warm vacation in Hawaii.  Hawaii is just the most beautiful, relaxing place that I can think of...

 Morning on the beach

 My Baby Girl and I decided months ago that when we made it to Hawaii we would SURF!  Now, talking about surfing and actually going into a shark filled ocean are 2 very different things!!  But, my Baby Girl thinks I walk on the "wild side", so I couldn't back out!  We surfed with a company called North Shore Surf Girls.  The gal that owns the business drives an old 4 door diesel Mercedes with surf boards strapped to the top - so Hawaiian!!   I managed to stand up about 5 times and Baby Girl surfed longer than I did.   It gave me a new respect for surfers.  It seems so easy - just paddle out, find a wave, stand up and repeat!  No - it's not quite that simple.  Every muscle in my body ached after 2 hours of surfing, but - we had lots of fun!

The day after we surfed, we climbed Diamond Head - what a fabulous view!  Did I mention how every muscle ached after surfing?  Well, I found brand new aches after hiking up Diamond Head, 
but the view was absolutely worth it!

We visited Pearl Harbor during our stay.  It's amazing what quiet and reverence is shown when everyone is gathered on the Memorial platform.  
So much to consider as you look down at the remains of the USS Arizona.

Our friend Bunny goes on vacation with us, actually, he goes everywhere with us!  Aren't you glad to know he had a good time too?

Well, now I'm back to reality, but my Hawaiian memories will last forever, 
especially through the rain predicted for this week!  


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Running (slowly) With Turtles

In January my family and I went to Hawaii.  It was our first big trip for the family - first plane ride for Baby Boy and Baby Girl.  We rented a house right on the beach and began the most relaxing week of our lives!!
The most magical time during this week was our early morning searches for sea turtles.  It turned out that we didn't have to search far.  We had sea turtles visit us on the beach every day.

We were able to walk very close to these turtles and this one didn't mind us taking his picture.  Look at that face...I truly wouldn't mind being a turtle if it meant I could live on the beaches of Hawaii!

Now a few "Cliff Claven" tidbits of knowledge:  did you know that sea turtles can stay underwater for more than 5 hours?  Sea turtles can live to be over 80 years old?  The longest migration for a sea turtle was believed to be aver 12,000 miles?

Another beautiful place we visited was the Manoa Falls (really more of a Trickle than a Fall though).  The hike to the Trickle Falls was through a rain forest-like area with lush greenery and tropical flowers.

And finally, another colorful and magical place we visited was Matsumoto's Shaved Ice.  We discovered the melt in your mouth texture of shaved ice and went back everyday.  However, it took us 3 days to discover that if you ask for a scoop of vanilla ice cream in your shaved ice it takes heaven to a new level!

Hope you enjoyed a short tour of Hawaii!  It has taken its place as my favorite vacation spot of all time!  Do you have a favorite destination?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...