Thursday, May 15, 2008

Latest Adventures

I swear the next post will be about Chicago. It's been a busy week and there's actually other stuff to write about. Go figure.

THANK YOU for all of the FANTASTIC input on shoes. It looks like I'm going to have to give a pair of Asics a shot, and that buying new shoes every 3 months is a fact of life. I can deal with that. It makes me happy, actually, to know that I'm running enough to go through them as much as other triathletes do. It means that I'm actually putting in the miles I SHOULD be, as opposed to always arriving at races and thinking "wow, I should've done more running."

Today is Bike to Work Day. I still need to buy a commuter bike. Given Courtenay's success with eBay and other people's similar success, I think that's going to be the place to find a cheap used commuter bike. I don't want anything special - just something to ride around town so I can a) give Quasimoto a rest (my fabulous 1989 Nissan Stanza) and b) I can be living a more sustainable lifestyle given that most of the around-town traveling I do is all on flat roads and there's no reason I can't get around by bike.

We volunteered to help run one of the 'aid' stations with the YMCA and the City of Santa Rosa. It was pretty fun, though I would've liked to see more cyclists. It was pretty cool, though. The folks at REI were making pancakes for everybody and they had a bike stand for anybody who needed any quick fixes made to their bikes.
Me and the Group Exercise Coordinator at the Y, Dawn

I made more stuff on Tuesday evening after Yoga. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. Matt was not such a fan, but me? OMG I looooooooooooved it. I'm salivating just thinking about the two dishes I made.

I began with the Ottolenghi Red Rice and Quionoa 'Salad' from 101 I finally took my own photos, hooray!

As far as substitutions go, I went to two markets that specialize in more natural foods and have products you wouldn't find in more mainstream groceries, but never found any red rice. I went with brown long-grain and it turned out fine. In fact, I used only about half of the rice I cooked and saved the rest for the next day's fried rice and egg burrito. I also didn't get any arugula - I went with a spring mix, and it was still fine, though I do think if I had been able to get some nice arugula, it would've added a nice flavor that the spring mix lacked.

I thought that the different textures of the dish were incredible. You had the different grainy-ness of the quinoa and rice competing, then you had the crunchiness of the greens but a different crunchiness from the pistachios, and the nice softness of the dried apricots. They come together so well once they hit your mouth, and the flavors that they all produce is just...well for me, it was harmony. Matt wasn't so won over, but what can I do? This was downright MY KIND OF DISH! I would absolutely make it again and again. Here's the receipe from 101

Ottolenghi and Red Rice Recipe

Heidi notes: Ottolenghi uses (and recommends) Camargue red rice. The red rice most available to me is a Butanese red rice. Use whatever you can find or substitute a good brown rice, farro or wheat berries. I should also note that I've adapted the recipe measurements to suit U.S. cooks.

1/4 cup shelled pistachios
1 cup quinoa
1 cup red rice (see headnotes)
1 medium white onion, sliced
2/3 cup olive oil
grated zest and juice of one orange
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 spring onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
2 handfuls of rocket (arugula)
salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Spread the pistachios out on a baking tray and toast for 8 minutes, until lightly colored. Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly and then chop roughly. Set aside.

Fill two saucepans with salted water and bring to a boil. Simmer the quinoa in one for 12 - 14 minutes and the rice in the other for 20 minutes. Both should be tender but still have a bite. Drain in a sieve and spread out the two grains separately on flat trays to hasten the cooling down.

While the grains are cooking, saute the white onion in 4 tablespoons of the olive oil until golden brown. Leave to cool completely.

In a large mixing bowl combine the rice, quinoa, cookied onion and the remaining oil. Add all the rest of the ingredients, the taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve at room temperature.

Makes a large platter.

While the rice was still cooking and everything else was pretty much finished, I moved on to start the Carmelized Tofu dish, also from 101

If you're not a huge brussels sprouts fan, maybe this dish is not so much for you. However, if you're on the edge, I would give it a shot. I think the flavors really get absorbed by the sprouts and bring out a different flavor so that you only get a little bitterness at the end. I would definitely make it again, though probably cut the sprouts up a little more than I did, as well as use a little less sugar. It was a bit sweet for my liking, though I still really enjoyed the tofu that way.

I would definitely make it again! Here's the recipe from 101

Carmelized Tofu Recipe

I used the Wildwood Organics baked savory tofu here, it browned up nicely and held it's shape, and as was mentoned in the comments it is non-GMO. Though any extra-firm tofu will work.

7 - 8 ounces extra-firm tofu cut into thin 1-inch segments (see photo)
a couple pinches of fine-grain sea salt
a couple splashes of olive or peanut oil
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 lb. brussels sprouts, washed and cut into 1/8-inch wide ribbons

Cook the tofu strips in large hot skillet (or pot) with a bit of salt and a splash of oil. Saute until slightly golden, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and pecans, and cook for another minute. Stir in sugar. Cook for another couple of minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Scrape the tofu out onto a plate and set aside while you cook the brussels sprouts.

In the same pan (no need to wash), add a touch more oil, another pinch of salt, and dial the heat up to medium-high. When the pan is nice and hot stir in the shredded brussels sprouts. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring a couple times (but not too often) until you get some golden bits, and the rest of the sprouts are bright and delicious.

Serves 2 - 3 as a main, 4 as a side

Enjoy! In case I don't say it before the weekend, GOOD LUCK to all those racing this weekend. Courtenay & Greg at Columbia, Kelly, Jocelyn and fellow cycling friends David & Pat at Auburn, Christine at Harriman, Chris & Loren at UVAS, that it? I hope I got everybody.

As far as races, I need to post my calendar, I know. But I don't know what to do between now and Vineman! I'm riding the ride around Lake Tahoe on June 1, which of course is not a race, but that weekend is full, in other words. June 7-8 I have a wedding to go to on 7th (though it's an evening one...) and so the 8th is prob not a good day to race even though there's a gazillion races that day. Hm. We'll see.


rocketpants said...

Looks like you had lots of fun with your bike to work day and food. Tomorrow is bike to work day here, unfortunately I am pretty darn far from work and traffic freaks me out in the morning. Hopefully next year when I'm more confident in traffic.

Eileen Swanson said...

Cute pic. I love your recipes. Thanks for sharing ;-) Have an awesome weekend!


Rainmaker said...

Damn...pancakes!?! My little aid station just had slightly old and hard bagels. :(

elle indsay said...

hey! it's lindsay l. i saw that you're looking to get a commuter bike, which is awesome! but it makes me nervous when you say you're looking for something cheap. go for something sturdy (but light) - if you're going to be riding in the city & alongside cars, you want something that won't cause you to get in an accient (and that will hold up if you do). i used my bike as my primary form of transportation for four years and i've been doored, hit by a car (and narrowly avoided being hit many times), crashed to avoid stupid pedestrians and the like more times than i can count. and i'm a conscientious rider! i have a bianchi milano, a hybrid bike that's light and cute, but it still causes problems when little bits of the fender get loose & fall off while i'm riding - apparently it was not made to withstand urban commuting. so, dude, be careful. unless you have bike mechanic skills on-the-go. (i had a friend who paid $30 for her bike, and accordingly, the tires would blow up about once a month, probably due to a problem with the frame, but she had no problem slapping on fixes as she went.)