Spring is thisclose to happening. We’re in mid-to-late-March, and, in my experience, NYC can swing either way this time of year. In 2007 it was probably 25 degrees on St. Patrick’s Day, and I remember flaunting my ghastly white arms in a tank top in 2010 when it was 75. This year we got a sweet little “65 and sunny” for March 17, and the t-shirts were out and proud among the crowds of sloppy, day drunk New Yorkers.
After this weekend, I can safely say that 40 is the new 30. Long gone are the days of the 20s and teens. I think 50 may feel comfortable coming out more now that those guys are spent for the season. Please, 50? You’ll receive the warmest reception you’ve ever experienced. This whole city is so ready for you.
I’m looking forward to reuniting with my track, but it feels a little soon to commit to the outdoors until it’s settled for a comfortable degree range. In the meantime, I’ve been preaching the interval training gospel and practicing as well. I’ve been a gym go-er for the better part of a decade at this point, and I could just vom when I think about how many hours I’ve spent doing the same tedious machines. My first few years were spent sans TVs on each cardio machine, too, and this was years before Jersey Shore existed, never mind existed in marathon form.
Interval training has taught me to vary my pace at such short periods of time that I can hardly focus on a show, much less need it to cut through the painstaking boredom. I’ve been walking at a speed of 4 for one minute and then increasing the speed to at least 7.5 for a minute, and repeating until I’ve run for 10 minutes altogether. If I’m feeling ambitious or just dying to see how dickish Ronnie can manage to be in one episode, I’ll complete another cycle, but I’m generally spent after one. I highly recommend this form of cardio.
On the spicy side, I just made a delicious and healthy Thai meal for dinner. All recipes from this post are courtesy of Epicurious, my old “safety school” of recipes. It called for:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 red bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
3 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 package extra firm tofu, drained and cut in one-inch cubes
3 green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
½ to 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 6-oz bag baby spinach leaves
1/3 c chopped fresh basil
1/3 c lightly salted roasted peanuts
Heat oil in a wok over high heat, and add bell peppers, ginger and garlic. Sautee for two minutes, and then add the green onions and tofu. Toss for two more minutes. Add soy sauce, lime juice and red pepper flakes. Toss to blend for another minute. I went ahead and cooked for a little while longer, because I like my tofu crunchy, but then I added the spinach in 3 batches as told. Once it’s wilted, mix in basil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with peanuts, and devour.
I’ve been a stir-fry aficionado for years now, but I did enjoy following a recipe for once and making something extra spicy and exotic.
Speaking of exotic (worst segue ever), I’ve gotten really into another workout I’d alluded to before. I always have a hard time explaining it, but it’s like a ballet barre work/circuit training/yoga stretch class with fun props. My muscles burn during almost every class, and I’m often caught shaking from the effort. True story. I don’t want to overstate this, but this is the best workout of all time. Seriously. First of all, the teachers are lovely and encouraging. Second, the studio is gorge. Third, the workouts never get easier so my muscles are constantly sore and it’s actually working. Obsessed. I behave as if I’m in a cult, though, because I honestly can’t stop pushing my beliefs on anyone who will give me 10 seconds of uninterrupted airtime. To be fair, my butt is higher than it’s ever been, so people are bound to start asking about it eventually. I’m just beating them to the punch.
I’ve realized that carbs are the equivalent of my boring, vanilla, elliptical-centric workouts of yesteryear. Meaning, they aren’t causing a ton of harm to my life, and they’re fine in moderation, but they aren’t necessary for daily life. I’m not joining the meat eaters anytime soon (much to my carnivorous friends’ chagrin), but I am eating a lot more fish these days. The better to fill me up with, my dear.
I made a Salmon Nicoise salad recently that was the best meal ever. Yes, I’m going to continue to speak in hyperbole, and I have no interest in quitting:
1 lb salmon fillet with skin
10 pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped
1 tbsp shallot
1 tsp garlic
2 tbsp basil
¾ lb Yukon Gold potatoes
¾ lb green beans
1 c cherry tomatoes
2 oz baby arugula
4 lemon wedges
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
¼ c olive oil
2 hard-boiled eggs
You start by whisking together the dressing, which is composed of the olives, shallot, garlic, red-wine vinegar, olive oil and basil. It also called for anchovy paste, but I have some juvenile trepidation of fish paste so I left that out.
Anyways, you cook the potatoes in salted boiling water as such: cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes uncovered.
While those cook away, season the salmon with salt and pepper, and cook on oiled grill (hello there, Panini Press) for about 8-10 minutes. Remove from grill and flake fish into chunks.
Transfer potatoes to a bowl, and cook the green beans in boiling water for 4-5 minutes. Drain and transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking and preserve the color. Halve the potatoes and toss in some dressing.
Toss green beans, tomatoes and arugula with dressing and then toss in potatoes. Serve on a plate with salmon and eggs, sprinkle with basil, and serve with lemons. As someone who prides herself on creating exceptional salads, this one has it all: protein, salt in spades, and the unique sensation of eating green beans on a salad (weird)! Also, my favorite diet-killer, cheese, is nowhere to be found. And I didn’t even miss it. See below: