Archive for May, 2009

23
May
09

polenta and a glute machine.

A few months ago, I had a love affair with polenta. I bought a tube of it for $1.99 at Trader Joe’s, and suddenly I was fitting it into every meal ever and turning all my friends onto it in the process. I’m generous with my lovahs.

I’ve since introduced other non-cornmeal related foods into my repertoire, and in the process lost the desire for polenta. I was grocery shopping last weekend, and I came across the familiar tube while deciding which grain to go with…couscous? Rice? Quinoa? I can’t handle that many options! I decided to bypass the grains altogether, and embraced my old lovah. It was sweet.

Mid last week I fired up the Press and grilled eggplant, red and yellow bell peppers, red onions, mushrooms, squash and asparagus. I’m boring with marinades as of late, so I just used my old standby of olive oil and cayenne pepper. I really need to get more adventurous. I’m so bored typing this that I fell asleep no less than four times. Narcolepsy? Maybe. My money’s on lack of creative marinades. Anyways, here they are:

grillers

grillers

Aren’t they like a giant bed of diversity? That’s how I felt as I was overseeing this. It’s as if every race and ethnicity, like, got into bed together. Sometimes I’m too profound for my own good.

Speaking of diversity, I made major renovations to my strength training routine last week. I’d grown really bored with all the squatting and lunging I was doing tri-weekly, so I decided to introduce the leg glute press to myself. It’s too soon to tell, but I think it’s drastically improved my overall body and helped me find the meaning of life:

leg glute press

leg glute press

Is it just me, or is that thing enlightening? I can’t be the only one. I know it’s kinda premature, but I think we’ll go the distance.

Anyways, my bed of diversity cooked up kind of great. I cut a few pieces of polenta, coated them in olive oil and cayenne pepper, and threw them in the press as well. Polenta is way mushier by nature when compared with, like, bell peppers, so it took maybe a minute and a half to cook. They came out like crinkle-cut carrots but tasted way better. See below:

polenta and veggies

polenta and veggies

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23
May
09

corn on the cob and yoga.

Guess who finally got the hell out? Winter, that’s who. This past week has been a steady climb to the 80s, and I am LOVING IT. Today it was all, “You want some 85 degrees? Sure, take it. Take it all.” It was all nonchalant-like. And New York was like, “DONE, it’s been received, and no take backs.”

And we mean it this time.

Now that it’s nice out, I’ve decided I should probably grill everything in sight. I don’t know why, but warm weather solicits that kind of behavior in me. Like always, Trader Joe’s was totally helpful in my time of need. I bought corn on the cob for $0.40 a cob, and then decided to make a dinner around it. The panini press moonlights as an indoor grill, so I put the buttered corn inside and grilled away.

On the side, I sauteed a mix of red onions, black beans, spinach, portabella mushrooms and grape tomatoes in some olive oil and cayenne pepper. It was like a little Mexican/Italian fusion stir-fry. SO me:

Mexitalian

Mexitalian

I was pretty damn set on getting grill marks on my cob, so I had to leave the corn on the grill for way longer than I wanted. The stir fry was ready to go, and the corn was taking its sweetass time. When all was said and done, I think it took about 20 minutes to finish. How rude is that?

In other news, I’ve been meaning to get back into yoga, but my whole “living 90 blocks away from my yoga place” has been a HUGE issue. Well guess who’s moving downtown? That’s right. My new apartment will be on the same block as free yoga! Now I have no excuses. I mean, I’m sure I’ll develop some. Or I’ll start going all the time and end up having to duke it out with this girl? Only time will tell.

Until then, check out my delicious dinner complete with grill marks:

stir fry and corn on the cob

20
May
09

lettuce wraps.

Okay, so I kind of let myself go. I let more than a week go without a blog of any sort. WHAT OF IT?!?!

Overreaction? Maybe.¬† To be fair to me, I was cooking and sweating like usual all last week. At times, I even sweat WHILE I cooked. I’m a pretty great multitasker.

Early last week, I decided to make use of my ceviche-reject shrimp with some delicious lettuce wraps. I wanted sweet and spicy (imagine that), so I decided to be heavy-handed with the brown sugar and cayenne pepper. I started by cooking the shrimp in a little olive oil with some sliced portabella mushrooms, shallots, and cashews. I have to have my sauce, so on the side I dissolved brown sugar in about a quarter cup of rice wine vinegar. I brought the mix to a boil, and then turned it off to let it thicken upon standing. Meanwhile, I added a fair amount of cayenne pepper to my shrimp mixture. It looked like this:

sweet and sour shrimp

sweet and sour shrimp

Aren’t they lovely and not all “cockroach of the sea”-like? I think so. Then again, I’m a little biased. I swathed my shrimps in romaine lettuce beds, and then poured my sauce allllll over that shiz. See below for the final picture.

Last week’s sweaty side was pretty vanilla, honestly. I relied pretty heavily on my treadmill to keep things interesting, and it really only has incline and speed to offer me. I did my thing where I continually increase speed and intervals to kick up intensity, though. I was mostly out of commission in the quad department come Thursday, so I was doing something right. Right? I’m still nowhere near being able to wear shiny satin short shorts without shame, and that’s the ultimate goal. Obviously.

It’s important to have goals.

Anyways, see below for my lettuce wraps! I ate them in the open, because what do they have to hide?:

shrimp lettuce wraps

shrimp lettuce wraps

05
May
09

ceviche.

My pain tolerance is beyond weak. Massages are mostly torture for me, and I’m uncomfortable if it dips below 75 degrees. That being said, I’m still trying to figure out how I can down sooo much cayenne pepper in one sitting and be all, “well that was flavorful and not at all unpleasant.” I can handle spice like no other. It really doesn’t make sense.

I made spicy ceviche for the first time tonight. I’ve always been kind of terrified of cold soup, but I think the absence of broth makes it way more salad-y than soup-y. And I basically invented salads, so this speaks to me. This morning, I started the process by marinating a fillet of red snapper and some pre-cooked shrimp in the juice of four limes. I left my seafood to soak in the refrigerator¬† while I ran off the tend to my other love, the gym. I ran the standard couple of miles and did some arms and back strength training, and then I actually managed to do ab work. I kind of loathe crunches, so that was a feat.

Meanwhile, my snapper was all cooking away in the limes’ acidity. When I got home from work, I rounded up the rest of my ceviche fillers. I started with a red onion and a yellow bell pepper:

fillers

fillers

Both are equal parts colorful and crunchy, right? And they definitely don’t skimp on the flavor which I appreciate. When all was said and done, I added about half of each, and then cut up half an avocado, a few roma tomatoes, and a fair amount of cilantro. Then, I drained my fish and shrimp and diced up my fish, and finally tossed the whole thing together. I added olive oil, salt, pepper, and my beloved cayenne pepper, and it was good to go.

I’m always proud of my dinners, but this time I was pretty much an obnoxious stage mom. Usually, I serve almost everything with some form of salsa, chutney, or sauce (I’m a life-long dipper), but this time I ate it in its most pure, undressed state. It was just that good. See below:

spicy ceviche

spicy ceviche

04
May
09

May flowers.

We were supposed to have, like, torrential downpours all weekend. I saw the forecast and was BEYOND annoyed at first, because I was under the impression that it was to be May Flowers. Then, my friend Naomi and I decided to beat the system and spend Saturday at the Planetarium in the Museum of Natural History. Best rainy day plan ever, right? Right?!??! After brunch, though, the weather surprised us by being all gorgeous and sunny and just damn pleasant. At first we were thrown and considered changing the entire day’s plan, but then we decided it would be best to walk to the museum (on the UWS) from 30th and Lexington.

We walked through the park, and it was like Pretty Overload. Seriously, look at the flowers outside the Apple store:

May flowers

May flowers

Aren’t they almost unnaturally pretty? Don’t you want to talk shit behind their backs and spread rumors and not tell them when they have food in their teeth? No? Just me? Weird…

By the time we got to the museum, we were shaky hungry. We came upon the cafe on the lower level, and bought the most delicious Rice Krispies treats I’ve had in MONTHS. First of all, they had red, white and blue star-shaped sprinkles, which made me feel patriotic as hell. Then, they were shaped like balls and called “Space Rocks.” Best treat EVER.

Also, the Space Show at the Planetarium was great. Robert Redford narrated, and now I have a majorly inappropriate old man crush on him. Not as inappropriate as the one I have for Dick Van Dyke (who’s like 95 now), but socially unacceptable nonetheless. In my defense, he said “Big Bang” FAR too much.

After the museum, we walked alllll the way east to her friend’s Kentucky Derby party on 81st and York. So, if anyone’s keeping track, I walked at least 5 miles on Saturday AND went to the gym. That concludes the sweaty portion.

As for my weekend eating, I finally made it back down to Caracas today for the arepas that put mine to shame. My friends and I split an order of the Yoyos, which is fried sweet plantains stuffed with white cheese. Amaaazing. Then, we went to Birdbath Bakery and split a cookie that was approx the size of my head. And I have a sizable head.

I planned to punish myself for that no-holds-barred lunch with a teeny salad dinner, but it didn’t really work out that way. I started with spinach leaves, added half an avocado, some Roma tomatoes, marinated mozzarella cheese, and oil and vinegar. I don’t usually show off my salads, but I thought this one was kind of special. See below:

insalata

insalata




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