Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Running without Meat!

Well, we're coming upon Good Friday, which means the last Friday in which I'll be abstaining from meat.  I really do enjoy fish and pasta, and have been having some fun trying new recipes.  Here's my latest... a Salmon dish that I just love!  Super easy, and great tasting!  I have to give credit to Alton Brown from Good Eats - I just love his wacky takes on food and cooking!

This particular recipe calls for a 1-2 pound piece of wild salmon.  Costco has a wonderful selection of both wild and farm raised salmon!  Here's what you do...

Combine 1/3 cup of dark brown sugar
2 T. lemon zest
1 1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t black pepper

Take your 1-2 pounds of wild salmon and place it on a foil lined half sheet pan.  Evenly spread the brown sugar mixture on the salmon and let sit for 45 minutes at room temperature.

Turn on the broiler for 2 minutes and then place the salmon in the oven to broil for 6-8 minutes about 3 inches from the broiler.  Let the fish reach 131 degrees and remove from oven and let sit for 8-10 minutes.  Serve immediately.  Through the broiling, the brown sugar mixture has turned into a sweet/spicy glaze!

I have to say, I never understood the purpose of zesting a lemon, but the aroma and citrus flavor are so fantastically noticable in this recipe! Now I get it!

The recipe says to let the fish sit, but to be honest, we start sampling it and on some evenings it never really makes it to plates!  A glass of wine, a barstool, and a fork have been the setting for this dish on a few occasions - that's how tasty and inviting this recipe is!

I paired this salmon with some delicious roasted asparagus with red onions.  For that fantastic idea, check out Bo's Bowl!  You'll be amazed at the wonderful recipe ideas Bo has been cooking up!

Now here's a question that I've been trying to find an answer you broil with the oven open or closed?

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Running with Red

It's my first time sharing on Rednesday with Sue over at It's A Very Cherry World!  I'm so excited!  

This is my red chair!  It's a overstuffed, leather chair that I have in my bedroom.  I love spending time reading in this wonderful chair.  It's just big enough for me and one of my kids, which means it's our favorite chair to share stories in.  

The last book Baby Girl and I shared in this chair was Dragonrider by Cornelia Funke.  If you haven't read this with one of your kids (2nd grade or older) it is a must read!  It's a huge book - 525 pages, but it's a remarkable book about an orphan boy who meets up with a dragon who's on a journey to save the last of the living dragons.  It captured both my attention and Baby Girl's attention!  We looked forward to reading it together every night.  I also read this to my 3rd grade class last year - they loved it!

There on the ottoman is my Kindle.  I'll blog about that later, but as you see, it's also red!  Thanks for visiting me on Rednesday!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Running...With a Book!

One of my favorite books that I've read in the past couple of years is Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  It is the most clever, enthralling book from cover to cover.  It's one of the few books that I have read more than once!  I just couldn't put it down!  It's one of those books where you start slowing down as you come to the end because you just don't want it to be over!

I went to see Elizabeth Gilbert speak in San Rafael last year, and she is wonderfully entertaining.  She read from her latest book, that came out in January, Committed.

I have to admit, I didn't enjoy Committed as much as I loved Eat, Pray, Love.  It took me a long time to finish - about 6 weeks off and on.  I'm usually one who gives up everything to finish a great book - but not this time - sorry, Liz.

But, I can't say that Committed was not enjoyable in it's own fashion.  The book picks up from the end of Eat, Pray, Love as Liz and her lover Felipe HAVE to get married in order to be able to remain together in the U.S.  So Liz, who swore to never be married again, begins a research journey into the subject of marriage in order to come to peace with having to be married again.  

Reading Committed made me look at my marriage and how marriage in general is viewed.  I've been married for 14 years.  My hubby and I have done a pretty good job of continuing to grow together and evaluate ourselves over the years.  We've had our share of ups and downs, and our share of counseling sessions, but I love him with all my heart and plan on growing old and gray (ok, I'm already gray, but monthly touch-ups keep that secret hidden) with him.

One of my favorite parts of the book is a discussion about love versus infatuation.  We've all had that relationship that we believe is LOVE, but turns out to really be INFATUATION.  Gilbert describes the difference beautifully - "Infatuation is not the same thing as love; it's more like love's shady second cousin who's always borrowing money and can't hold down a job."

She goes on to describe "real, sane, mature love - the kind that pays the mortgage year after year and picks up the kids after school."  A love "not based on infatuation, but on affection and respect."  When I described this to my hubby, he didn't understand, he believed this to be a boring description of love. I don't agree - I think this description is all about love, and trust, and respect, and being able to count on someone.  To me that's love.  Knowing that I can trust hubby to be there for me and our kids everyday.  We have a trust that been built over the years based on respect and reliability.  I know that he's going to come home everyday, talk to me when things aren't right, and yes, pick up the kids after school when he says he's going to.  I'll take that over infatuation anytime.  Boring? No.  That's love!  I love you hubby!

So tell me, what is real love to you?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Running without Meat!

As a faithful Catholic, and as a typical Catholic, feeling guilty when I'm not, our family doesn't eat meat on Fridays during the Lenten season.  This poses a problem for me because my long runs are usually on Saturday mornings and I have convinced myself that if I don't have lots a glass of red wine and a steak on Friday night, my running suffers.  (Isn't that great how I can convince myself of that - or really, just about anything if it involves wine?)  So I've become creative with my Friday dinners without using meat.  Something that I tried just recently was a pasta recipe that I found in Fine Cooking for Orecchiette with Brussels Sprouts, Gorgonzola, and Brown-butter Pecans.  Now, Orecchiette pasta was a little hard to track down in my local supermarket, but of course, a trip to Whole Foods (any excuse for a visit to Whole Foods) 
revealed it in their pasta aisle.

I have just discovered in recent months how delicious brussels sprouts are when roasted.  My favorite way to prepare then has been to cut them in fourths, toss with olive oil and red pepper flakes, roast them at 450 for 18 minutes and drizzle with honey and white wine vinegar!  Fantastic!!

For this pasta recipe the brussels sprouts were sliced thin, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted. 
 The pecans were toasted with butter in a skillet over medium heat.  

Butter and shallots were cooked over medium heat and then cream was added along with Gorgonzola cheese to make a sauce.  (This has become one of my favorite cheeses - it has a nice strong flavor, 
but I don't think it is as sharp as Blue Cheese.)  

Everything is then added to the cooked Orecchiette, tossed and then sprinkled with the pecans and more Gorgonzola!  This was so flavorful and not your typical pasta meal!  

Doesn't it look delicious?  What are some of your favorite meatless meals?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Running Through the Blossoms!

The first run of my self-proclaimed "Running Season" took place last Saturday - The Blossom Trial Run.  I was really looking forward to it.  There's nothing more satisfying (ok, there are things more satisfying like chocolate, a nice, hot, white chocolate mocha, Hawaii...but anyway, back to my story) like taking off when the race begins, and running with a huge crowd of people.  The energy that pulses through is so electrifying!  

I probably had not been running as much as I should have to prepare myself, but I tried to pace myself so I wouldn't just curl up in an exhausted blob after mile 1.  My Running Buddy took off at her own pace - remember, she's run a few marathons, so I enjoyed the time running by myself with my iPod and the beautiful blossoms along the route.  

Now at this point I have to share with you my greatest fear about running in races.  I actually have 2 - the first one is my fear of stumbling and falling down, spread eagle, 15 feet from the finish line because I've tried to give the last 50 yards an all out sprint!  My second fear is throwing up near the finish line, again, because I have tried to give the last 50 yards an all out sprint! So, as I came to the last 100 yards, and turned down the final street I saw that my hope of finishing 6.1 miles in under 1 hour was a forgotten dream, because according to my Garmin timer, I was at 1 hour, 3 minutes.  I didn't give an all out sprint since my time was already over my goal.  Nevertheless, I began to feel queasy!  Now, realize, I was not sprinting, I was feeling very relaxed, but as I saw the finish line, my hope was that I could get past it and not throw up amidst the cheering crowd of onlookers!  I had to make a decision - run as fast as I could through the finish and hope not to throw up in front of the crowd, or slow down with the hope of my queasiness diminishing before I got to the crowd.  I decided to run for it.  The man collecting the tags at the end was lucky he had a quick grab!  So as I left the finish line I looked for the nearest bushes, ran to them and up came the little bit of water I had consumed along the race route.  But here's the thing that made this episode not so bad...5 feet away from me was another racer losing it in the bushes!  I guess the old saying is true...those who run together, hurl together - ok, that's not really a saying.  But I felt great after that and there's the story of my first race of the season!!

I hope you at least enjoy the beautiful pictures!  And, does anybody know...does this kind of thing happen to runners very often?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Running...on Healthy!

Our latest dinner with the Wine Gurus was another great meal and wine pairing event!  We went with a healthy theme this time around.  The Mrs. Wine Guru took her dinner recipe from the latest Food Network Magazine.  A healthy stir-fry was on the menu.  She choose our protein, our vegetables, and our sauce. 

Look at these beautiful shrimp!

Take a look at her gorgeous mise en place!

And viola, the final dish!

I know I haven't eaten this healthy in a long time!  And, everything was delicious!

Of course, being the Wine Gurus, we had a great pairing of wines.  The WGs belong to several - ok - many, wine clubs and the wines we had with dinner came from the Paso Robles Wine Region on the Central Coast of California.  We focused on white this evening to compliment the shrimp and fresh vegies!  Our first pairing was a Robert Hall Sauvignon Blanc vs. Eos Estate Winery Sauvigon Blanc.  They both had a clean finish, but the Eos Estate wine was declared the winner in this pairing.

Our next pairing was a Reynolds Family Estate Chardonnay vs. Eos Chardonnay.  This one was a split decision.  2 of us liked the Eos, and 2 liked the Reynolds wine.  I must remark that none of our wines were "flabby".  Flabby?  Yes, flabby!  It's a new wine term that we learned during this evening.  It means a wine is past its time and doesn't taste like it should have in its prime.  And, no, we discussed this term before we even started drinking, so it's not some word we just made up in a drunken exchange!

Finally, we had dessert.  Since the Wine Gurus hosted dinner, Hubby and I brought dessert.  Our choice this evening was a Linzer Torte!  Hazelnut and cocoa flavored crust with a raspberry filling!  We brought our own wine to share, not really intending to pair it with the desert, but the "Wine Gods" were shining down upon us and the Acacia Pinot Noir we choose was a perfect compliment to the dessert!  The Acacia had a deep, chocolatey, fruity nose (see, another wine word I didn't just make up - it's true!)  The Linzer Torte recipe was from the the latest issue of Food and Wine Magazine.  Very simple to make, and very delicious to eat!  Not too overpowering in sweetness, and the slightest hint of chocolate in the crust is just divine!!

And where did we find this great wine?  At one of our favorite haunts - Costco!  Believe it or not, Costco has a very fine selection of wines - at great prices too!

As our evening ended, we all had to agree that we are truly Red Wine fans.  But, make no mistake, we will keep searching for good Whites wherever we can find them!  

So tell me, what is your favorite wine - and what do you like to pair it with?

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