Archive for the 'yoga' Category

21
Jul
12

tagine, badminton, and Bologna.

Greetings from foggy London town, where the Summer is scarce and the condensation oh so prevalent. It’s been just over two months since I relocated from NYC to the Land o’ Scones (official name), and it seems as though I timed my arrival to coincide with sheets of rain and blankets of clouds (going with a bed theme here..just go with it). I can assure you I didn’t. Luckily, the absence of Sun is prolonging my youth! If I can’t find the Sun, then I’m guessing it can’t find my wrinkles. Right?! That’s pure logic.

I’ve been indoors lately far more than my former self dared, so it’s given me ample time to cook and decorate. I’m almost positive I’m turning full-on adult. Proof: today, I bought a small bunch of orange daisies! Who does that?! Adults. That’s who.

While I’ve been getting all domestic, I’ve also been cooking my face off. A few weeks ago, I made a Weight Watchers recipe of Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds:

tagine

Ingredients:

4 halves apricots, dried
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 c chicken broth, fat free
1 tbsp flour, white
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp honey
1/4 c almonds, whole, blanched
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 c whole wheat couscous, cooked

Start by bringing apricots and chicken broth to a simmer in a small saucepan, and then set aside. Coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and cook over high heat. Toss chicken in the flour and saute about 5 minutes, and then stir in onion. Reduce to medium low and cook 10 minutes more. Stir in cinnamon and honey. Stir in apricots, broth and almonds, season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes. Serve over couscous.

Weight Watchers recipes sometimes come out a little lacking in flavor, and this turned out to be no exception. I always feel like I need to add something citrus-y (i.e. lemons) or yogurt-y (i.e. Greek) or oily (i.e. extra virgin olive) on top. This time, I added some extra virgin olive oil for flavor. This turned out to be the right call, although I still feel the recipe needed more. Next time I’d maybe add olives or capers to give it some complexity or something.

A few nights later, I made another Weight Watchers recipe of Mushroom Barley Burgers. I know – I’m a glutton for bland punishment. This one was actually the exception, though. It was all kinds of delicious:

Ingredients:

1/2 c uncooked barley
2 sprays cooking spray
1 1/2 lb mushrooms, portabella caps, sliced
1 egg
1 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 c sour cream, fat free
1 tbsp horseradish sauce

The barley takes a lifetime to make, so I actually made it the night before. You bring it to a boil with 2 1/4 cups of water in a saucepan, reduce to low and simmer, covered for 40 minutes. That’s way too long for me post-work, since I’m always thisclose to gnawing a hand off while I cook, so I made the barley the night before.

Coat a skillet with cooking spray and add mushrooms over medium-high heat. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until tender and transfer to a bowl. Mix together with the barley, egg, sage, salt and pepper and mash with a fork. This recipe also gave the option of blending with a food processor, but I’ve yet to buy one since I keep de-prioritizing it. Never-you-mind, though — forking is great for the biceps.

pasta bolognese

Once the mixture was all decently combined, I formed it into about 6 patties. The recipe said I’d find 4, but for some reason I found 2 extras! Win. I put them on a plate, covered them with aluminum foil, and refrigerated for 20 minutes.I then watched some Friends. Brits looove Friends.

I took the patties from the refrigerator and placed them under the broiler for about 5 minutes per side. I then mixed together the sour cream and horseradish in a bowl. You serve the burgers with the horseradish sauce on top. Delicious. I had never before taken an interest in horseradish, but this recipe converted me. I’m, like, dying for Passover 2013.

All this cooking and domesticating has driven me further and further from the gym, and I’ve neglected to even join a proper gym since I’ve moved. Instead, I’ve taken to the iPad workouts for yoga and pilates. I’m pretty into it, since the workouts are as short as 10 minutes yet there are enough to where you can get a full hour-long sesh just by combining a few. I’ve converted to primarily stretch workouts, and when I want to get my cardio on I’ve been going to dance classes. I’m kind of in love with this new philosophy, especially since I can take it with me when I travel and work it around my schedule.

On top of the yoga, pilates and dance, I joined a slightly ghetto gym for its courts and plethora of pilates classes. I was just introduced to badminton on said courts, and I just may have found my sport. I loved every minute of our 45 minute “game,” and even amongst the government-subsidized rafters I felt just like Maid Marion. And that feeling is just beautiful.

I went to Bologna last weekend (hence the Italian-dubbed Robin Hood clip, for those who clicked), which marked my grand return to Italy since I studied abroad in Rome in 2005. During the trip, I ate pappardelle bolognese (pictured left), spinach and mascarpone gnocchi, ricotta flavored gelato (unreal), chocolate flavored gelato (more real, but still bene) nutella crepes, and proscuitto and melon (pictured below). I’m pretty sure there will be more travels and fitting that much rich and delicious food into my belly, so I’m going to continue with the yoga and pilates and weekly dance and badminton. Cheers!

proscuitto e melone

Advertisements
07
May
12

Sunday Roast and blue cheese.

After 6 remarkable years of Trader Joe’s, Panini Presses, immersion blenders, and culinary self discovery in NYC, I’ve hopped the pond to experience a new city and its charming ingredients. I’ve relocated to London for the next few years! Bring on the High Teas, Sunday Roasts, and radishes, y’all!

a rare moment of self reflection

But first, a moment of reflection. I moved to NYC knowing little more than how to navigate through a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, and my prize recipe was a tuna casserole I proudly topped with Baked Lays and a generous serving of honey mustard dressing. Apparently, I went through a Midwestern phase in college? Come to think of it, I was making said casserole when I went through my Vince Vaughn phase, so that all adds up…

Anyways, I’ll forever be grateful for what New York taught me in terms of food. I ate in all the best restaurants, consumed an impressive amount of Food Network on the weekends, and cooked exclusively with Whole Foods and Farmer’s Market ingredients, so it’s safe to say I nearly peaked in terms of culinary ability.

Nearly is the operative word, here.

My next chapter is one filled with porridge, Yorkshire pudding, and shedloads (I’m a Brit now – mind the slang) of tea, and I’m confident I’ll flex more cooking muscles than I knew existed. And, believe me, I’m culinarily ripped.

Since I’ve arrived, I’ve done my best to go lady-balls-deep (see what I did there?) into the native cuisine, so that began with a Sunday Roast. It’s the equivalent of a Sunday brunch here, but more dudes are apt to join since you replace a $20 egg dish with a £15 dish of the meat of your liking (i.e. leg of lamb, roasted chicken, aged beef, pork shoulder, or fish), and it comes with roasted vegetables, roasted new potatoes, gravy and Yorkshire pudding. It looks like this:

Sunday roast

And it’s typically served with anywhere from 1-5 Guinnesses (Guinnei?) No, you say? That’s entirely optional? Well, I don’t care to experience it any other way.

Yorkshire pudding, for those who are unfamiliar, is that giant crusty popover looking thing to the left of my chicken. It’s alright, although I’d prefer if it weren’t such a misnomer. Say “pudding” and I’m bound to want something gooey.

Now let’s switch gears for a minute and discuss the sweaty side before we cover what British-y meals I’ve made so far in my temporary flat. I toured two gyms my first day here, assuming I’d go into London the same way I went into NYC – staking my claim on a treadmill before I had an apartment or job and considering the gym central to my daily mental health and happiness. As I was price comparing the two, though, I realized that the gym and exercise are not one in the same. I decided to hold off on the contract for now, and in turn encourage myself to be creative with my workouts. Maybs that will curb the resentment I occasionally develop towards the gym? We’ll find out.

For now, I bought a jump rope (or “skip” as they say in the UK) and have been jumping every other day or so. I then do some planks for my arms and core and tricep dips if I feel like showing my wings some more love. I’ve already gone to 3 dance classes in the week I’ve been in London, and the one I went to today was a total arse-kicker. I’ll be back. I may start doing yoga also, because with my Skip in my home I can get my cardio on whenever I want and have the freedom to take non-sweaty classes away from home. I’m SO into this idea.

Today, I went to the grocery before the aforementioned arse-kicking hip hop class (which they actually call “hip pop”..adorable), and I stocked up on some English staples. I got some carrots, radishes, an English cucumber, and blue cheese, and got to work chopping for a little salad I threw together:

Ingredients:

English Salad

4 c baby spinach
1/2 English cucumber, sliced
1/4 c radishes, sliced in half lengthwise
1/3 c English carrots, sliced in half lengthwise
1 oz creamy blue cheese
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp grainy mustard
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

I started by slicing the carrots, radishes and cucumbers, and placing on top of the bed of just washed spinach. I then dolloped the blue cheese all over the salad, because I’ve decided to develop a taste for the stuff all “When in Rome”-style, and I love it already. While my bed of veggies was complete, I whisked together the grainy mustard, honey and olive oil for a thick dressing to drizzle on top. I then finished the whole dish with salt and pepper and devoured. Pretty legit.

I also couldn’t get over how adorable my English ingredients looked on my cutting board. Just the cutest little veggies I ever did see.

I still haven’t quite figured out how to work the oven or microwave, and I left my Panini Press with its affinity for American voltage with my friend Ryan in NYC, so I’m pretty limited to the stove top these days. I went with one of my go-tos tonight with a British twist, so I made kale and tofu with blue cheese.

English cutting board

Ingredients:
4 c kale, chopped
1 yellow onion, sliced
1/3 package of tofu
1 oz creamy blue cheese
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper, to taste

I started by heating the olive oil on medium heat in my skillet. I sliced the onion and tossed that into the oil. I cooked until it was translucent, and then I chopped and added the tofu to the skillet. I’m still adjusting to an electric stove after cooking with gas for 6 years, and I realized it would take approx a lifetime to get my tofu anywhere near golden. That’s typically how I like my tofu, but I was ravenous so I only cooked them for a few minutes. I then added the rinsed kale, and cooked that with the onions and tofu for about 5 minutes until wilted. I finished the dish with the lemon juice and dollops of melty blue cheese. Highly recommended. See below:

kale, onions and tofu with blue cheese

03
Jan
11

spicy parmesan grilled shrimp and tabbouleh.

Well Happy New Year, readers. I hereby resolve to make this the sweatiest and spiciest year of them all. These first two days have been pretty decent, so all signs point to continued success for the next 363. As I danced away 2010 on New Year’s Eve,  a trusty vodka soda in hand, I spent a brief moment reflecting on all I experienced last year. My passport was covered in cobwebs of neglect since I’d tucked it away in 2005, but I revived it in March to go to Mexico and in June to visit Israel. I went to California twice while it was frigid in NYC, and I was even fortunate enough to experience Malibu in all its glory. Yep – I saw it nakey. I went to Austin and had the best damn fish taco of my life, which I bought from the back of a food trailer. I was promoted at work in May, and then I moved to my own apartment on arguably the best street in the East Village (next to 7th street) in October. Quite the eventful year, 2010. I’m sad to see you go.

It will be tough for 2011 to compete with my self proclaimed “Year of the Vacay” that was 2010. I hate to go all “lowest common denominator” on you and deem it the “Year of the Stay-cay,” but that’s pretty accurate as to how I see the year panning out. I’ve bought adorbs dishware, my first ever flat screen TV, and I recently upgraded to a 2-disc Netflix program, so I’m beginning to understand the joy in nesting. I also became reacquainted with the novel I started a few months back, and I’m hoping to actually finish it this year. It’s a marathon, yo. Books are so very long. In the meantime, I’m strongly considering giving birth to another blog that will operate in a more stream of consciousness manner. Stay tuned for that…

In between all the Netflix-ing I’ve been doing, I’ve managed to kick my glutes into shape. Who’s that girl logging an average 60-90 minutes of intense cardio along with more challenging strength training? Oh, that’s just me. I’ve been spinning, stair stepper-ing, ski machin-ing, and hitting a yoga class at least once a week. Suzanne Somers in the height of Three’s Company fame, you say? Well, I guess I have been mistaken for her once or twice.

doppleganger

I need to be bikini-ready for a wedding in Mexico this February, so I can’t exactly take my sweet time getting there. I’m off to quite the sweaty start.

As far as the spicy side is concerned, I’ve had a confusing last few weeks as there seems to be a holiday dinner party every other day that I need to mentally prepare for. The chances to cook have been pretty limited, but everything slowed down once a blizzard slammed the east coast and dropped 20 inches of snow outside my door.

I found myself ill-prepared, as my refrigerator boasted a modest two eggs, a bunch of parsley, and bread crumbs. I found myself impotent to create new meals from such limited ingredients, and I had just two dollars in cash on my person. Delivery was out of the question, and Fresh Direct had put a temporary moratorium on all deliveries. Nice one, blizzard. You win this round.

Left to my own devices, I ate poached eggs and worked on my novel for the full two days. On the third day, I emerged from the apartment to find an unplowed winter wonderland outside:

post-blizzard

I so badly wanted to get to the Middle Eastern restaurant across the street for my falafel fix, but a guaranteed face dive in the snow kept me away. I decided to go home and make my own tabbouleh instead, because the market on my side of the street was much more attainable.

As someone who credits half her body weight to the existence of the chickpea – and more specifically, hummus – I’ve rarely attempted to make my own dishes. My sister and I once made a meal of Mediterranean sides in college, but I credit that olive tapenade, hummus and tabbouleh to her and her alone. I vaguely remember adding colorful commentary while I thumbed through Vogue and halfheartedly toasted pita chips, but I don’t recall actually making anything.

In my post-grad years, I once famously bought a jar of tahini so I could start making my own hummus. The tahini mostly sat in the refrigerator and worked on creating a rusty ring on the shelf from its tin container. I may have made my own hummus just once, but that one occasion reminded me of how much I loathe cleaning food processors. I went back to buying.

I was left with no choice last weekend as the Middle Eastern food craving had already hit, and I was a sea of snow away from the people who prepared it so skillfully.

I found this tabbouleh recipe in the Jewish cookbook that my dad gifted me a few months back:

Ingredients:

tabbouleh

1 package tabbouleh mix
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 red onion, finely sliced
½ bunch fresh parsley, chopped
1 small bunch fresh mint, chopped
juice of 2-3 lemons
¾ c of extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

In actuality, the recipe called for cracked wheat or bulgar wheat, but the only open market was not too sophisticated. I wasn’t able to find either of the above, so I was forced to cheat with the ready packaged tabbouleh mix. I’m so ashamed.

I started by making the mix as instructed on the box. I was to mix the grains with the seasoning mixture with one cup of boiling water, and then remove from heat. It asked me to refrigerate for half an hour, and so I did as told. Meanwhile, I prepped all my veggies. La di da. When the tabbouleh was ready, I added the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, parsley and mint. Then I added lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. It was so tangy and herby, just as the recipe predicted. I ate it the first night as is.

The second night, I grilled some shrimp and ate them alongside the tabbouleh. While the Panini Press was heating up, I threw together this fun little rub to dip them in pre-grilling.

shrimp

Ingredients:
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
1/4 c Panko bread crumbs
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp red pepper flakes
dash of salt

I dabbed my grill with canola oil, dredged my shrimp, and let them grill for about two minutes each side. I’ve watched several hundreds of hours of the Food Network through the years, so I’m aware that for anything to stick one needs a binding element, such as egg. I was maybe a little over zealous with my shrimp rub, because I knew I’d like to avoid turning a simple, 5-minute meal into a more drawn out, painful process. As a result, the majority of my rub ended up stuck to the grill, and solely the flavor of the lemon juice penetrated the shrimp. I have a secret habit of eating grill scrapings and enjoying them far more than the actual intended meal, so I was all too happy to scrape off the cheesy mix and use it to top the shrimp. I did as such, and enjoyed a few shrimp with my tabbouleh. Don’t they look good together? It was yum, too:

spicy parmesan shrimp and tabbouleh

08
Aug
10

broccoli rabe, yoga, Thai food

I just had the most demoralizing experience. Despite prior claims to become a dedicated yoga-goer, I’ve had a hard time dragging myself to more than a class a month (at best). I think it’s because I have a hard time equating it with exercise. I feel all soft when I put on the loose pants and barely bother to tie my hair back. I get so much more out of running in 90 degree heat with sweat dripping in my eyes. I feel like I earned that shit.

I have to gear myself up for, like, weeks before I’ll attend a yoga class. This weekend I had four separate sets of plans to go until I finally caved and went this afternoon. Five minutes into the class and my muscles had had it. I found myself cursing during downward dog and half-assing every plank we did. And the sweat? It found my eyes (and arms, back, legs, etc.) I honestly can’t remember the last time I got that disgustingly sweaty in front of about 50 strangers, but it was probs at The Atlantic. Ahh memories. Anyways, yoga was all, “you got served” to me, and I was like, “recognized and modified, thanks.” I don’t care for smugness.

the least offensive yoga photo on google images

On the spicy side, there are so many greens I’m just now getting to know. And I’ve been a vegetarian for, like, years (two). Last week, I decided to get to know broccoli rabe. I found this recipe on Epicurious, and decided to make it, mostly because I still have pounds of untouched orecchiette pasta left over from my birthday. For those just joining, I had plans to make four sets of appetizers on my birthday, and I grossly misjudged how long I would need to prepare. I ended up cutting the appetizer list in half, sacrificing my much hyped truffle mac and cheese. Failure suuucks.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 15 1/2-ounce cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), well drained
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh sage
1 1-pound bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
1 lb orecchiete pasta

You start by boiling the pasta, and in a separate pot melt the butter and olive oil over high heat. Add the garlic and garbanzo beans, and saute for about 8 minutes until they get all golden brown. Add half the sage and saute for a minute more.

Add broccoli rabe, wine, and 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid to the pot. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes until the broccoli rabe is tender. Then add pasta, remaining sage, and Parmesan cheese; toss to combine and season to taste with salt and pepper. I, of course, added some red pepper flakes for some spicy. It was goooood. I think the acidity of the white wine cut down the bitterness of the broccoli rabe or something, because everything worked really well together.

Try as a I might not to steal Giada de Laurentiis‘s identity, I’m kind of doing it. She’s so damn adorbs, and she has it all. I watched her make Thai food last weekend, and I found myself jacking the Veggies in Yellow Curry recipe for dinner that night, with a few modifications.

orecchiete with broccoli rabe and fried chickpeas

Ingredients:

1 yellow curry jar (she called for coconut milk and curry paste)
1 small russet potato, peeled
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 15 oz can baby corn, drained and rinsed
1 Thai chile, sliced
5 sprigs basil, with stems, plus 1/4 cup chopped (she used Thai basil)
1 tsp lime zest (she called for 3 Keffir lime leaves)
1 tbsp fish sauce

Ok, so Giada made her own curry with curry paste and coconut milk, but I wasn’t able to find yellow curry paste anywhere. I had to settle on using one of these. Just admitting this makes me feel like a fraud, so imagine how I felt doing it! I never like to take shortcuts while cooking. If anything, I like to make things harder on myself. Even the Asian grocery was out of curry paste, though, so I had no choice.

Anyways, you start by heating the sauce, and then add everything. Easy enough, Giada. You win at life. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, I made this really good whole grain brown rice and read a little from my new ibook. That’s right; I’m trendy. Once 30 minutes are up, you remove the lid and continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender, for about 5 minutes. Discard the lime leaves and the basil sprigs. I served atop the rice, and it was all kinds of delicious. It also fed me for — count it — 7 nights. Hello, record breaking leftovers. Where were you when I was perpetually broke? Better late than never, I guess:

veggies in yellow curry

09
May
10

halibut with fruit salsa, green pea and tarragon soup.

I’ve been a vegetarian for all of two years now, and there are times when I openly wonder if I could still claim veg status if I maybe just integrated some cured Italian meats into my diet. Just a few; just to see how it feels. I watch the Food Network and am unnaturally jealous when they prepare those adorable lollipop-like lamb chops. Also, I’m weirdly fascinated by duck and the way people score the backside with a criss-cross pattern before cooking. When’s the last time I had that much fun with an eggplant? I do realize that I’m the only one closing myself off to decorating ducks, but the idea of crossing over to the dark meat side fills me with this unmistakable sense of failure. I have no clue when that will pass, so for now I’m choosing to further explore the world of seafood.

I was in Whole Foods last week and was drawn over to the seafood counter. Before I had a chance to explore my options, I saw one of those “WEEKEND DEAL!” stickers on the halibut. I’ve only ever made more mainstream fish such as salmon or tilapia, but my latest desire to keep seafood interesting drove me to purchase. For just $15.99 a pound (3X the price of the modest tilapia), I was the proud owner of halibut – the Lexus of fish. I took it home and prepared with some black bean and mango salsa, a Deena original I like to whip out once it gets warm. I started out by brushing the fish with some olive oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper, and cooked in on the panini press:

halibut, being pressed

My friend Becca was talking about how professionals always wrap their paninis in aluminum foil before pressing, and how this would lend to a much less frustrating cleanup. I wish I could take credit, but she was the motivation for me deciding to forgo grill marks for the best cleanup of my life. The end result was fish that turned out all kinds of tender, because it behaved as if it were being steamed rather than grilled. Delicious.

Ingredients:

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 mango, chopped

1/4 red onion, chopped

1/2 avocado, chopped

1 handful of cilantro, chopped

lime juice to taste

I mixed together all ingredients and seasoned with the lime juice, salt and pepper. The end result unnaturally jacked up my grocery bill,  so I also made a dirt cheap Green Pea Soup with Tarragon recipe I found on the Epicurious app.

halibut with fruit salsa

Ingredients:

2 16 oz bags of frozen peas

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1.5 c of sliced shallots

4 c vegetable broth

3 tbsp tarragon

plain nonfat yogurt

I made the recipe by the book, except they wanted me to add pea sprouts to the top and I figured we could do without. You start by heating the olive oil in a large saucepan, and throw the shallots in. I had one shallot, some red onion and a few green onions — the poor man’s version of the building blocks for soup — so I chopped all of the above and tossed those in. You cook for about 7 minutes, and then add all but one cup of the peas to the pan along with the veggie stock and 2 tbsp of tarragon. Bring it to a boil, and then reduce to simmer for about 7 minutes. Then, the recipe instructed me to puree, so I did as told with my immersion blender, arguably my favorite kitchen tool ever. Once pureed, you add the remaining tbsp of tarragon, some pepper, and then ladle into bowls. Microwave the peas for a minute, and top the soup with a few of those and a drizzle of yogurt. It was seriously so sweet and amazing. I’m pretty sure I had three bowls the first night, and that was with my self control in place.

On the sweaty side, I’ve held true to my promise for more yoga, and have started going at least twice a week. Hello, dedication. The downside, of course, is I’ve started talking in cult-like yogi terms. “There’s one long line of energy in Warrior 2, and you can really feel it. And you want to open up your heart in your bind, you know?” This rarely seems applicable when I work it into daily conversation, yet somehow I do. After two weeks of yoga and half-assed aerobic exercise, I’ve come to the conclusion that yoga can only be a part of my life when I’m still hitting the gym on the daily. It’s really the only way to get ride of those 10 peanut butter pounds I’ve accumulated, especially since I’m still eating massive amounts of reduced-fat Skippy while trying to lose the fruits (back fat, etc.) of its predecessor’s labor. I have future plans to start dancing again, so stay tuned re: that.

Anyways, see below for my delicious pea soup:

Green Pea with Tarragon Soup

11
Apr
10

shrimp salad with serrano-mint sauce.

My longest term relationship has been with the gym, and I have put a LOT of time into making it work. We first got together in high school, had a trial separation in college, and got back together right before I moved to New York. We’ve been going strong for four years now, and I am bored out of my skull. I’ve tried different things to keep it interesting, but there are only so many options within those confined walls. As a result, I’ve been looking elsewhere for satisfaction. The track and I have had a well publicized affair, but that’s not the only time I’ve strayed. I recently went to Mexico, and the pool and I had some really good times. We’re talking handstand contests, somersaults, et al. Also, what better way to rehydrate than with a swim up bar and giant frozen cocktails? Sorry, Poland Spring. I appreciate a good sport cap, but Pina Colada won this round.

gym assassin

Also, is it any accident that all the girls with the sickest bodies in Mexico were major yogis? Methinks not. I’m all about the yoga now. I was warned that it would change my body, muscle-y-wise, and I’ll be damned if it hasn’t already. I’ve gone maybe five times in the last two weeks, and I honestly look longer and leaner. Seriously, I think my spine went off and elongated itself. Or maybe it’s all in my head, but I’ll take it.

As far as the food goes, I had something like 20 Mexican meals in a row. Not only was I in Puerto Vallarta eating beer battered fish tacos daily, but then, without skipping a beat, I headed to Austin and had street truck tacos and queso for three days straight. Eventually, I returned to NYC with habanero swimming in my veins, and met a friend for brunch at the legit Mexican place down the street. Two days later, I met another friend for dinner and had – wait for it – Mexican food. Think I’ve had my fill? Nah. Although if my metabolism could talk, it would say, “Listen, my dear. Throw me a bone and deprive yourself of chips and salsa for, like, one day.” And I’d say, “You can handle this. Take it all, bitch.” And it would get all pouty and defiant, and I really hate when it’s like that. So to maintain peace, I’m taking a brief departure from all the huevos rancheros and the like.

I made a beautiful little salad the other night that had a fair amount of Mexican flavors, though. It called for:

Ingredients:

1/4 lb pre-cooked shrimp

2 cups baby spinach

1/4 sliced avocado

5 sliced roma tomatoes

chopped cilantro

1/4 lb baby portabella mushrooms, sliced

It started with some shrimp that I bought pre-cooked at Whole Foods. I sauteed some baby portabella mushrooms in olive oil, salt and pepper, and then heated the shrimp in there as well. I sliced the avocado and tomatoes, threw those on top of the spinach, and then added the mushrooms and shrimp as well. I topped the whole mix with the chopped cilantro, and then made this Bobby Flay serrano-mint sauce to use as dressing. It was the spiciest thing I’ve made in ages, and it calls for:

Ingredients:

1 c mint leaves

2 serrano chiles, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

2 teaspoons Agave nectar (Bobby calls for sugar; I didn’t have)

1/4 c white wine vinegar

salt

You throw all ingredients in a blender and pulse until mixed. I drizzled it atop the salad. Even after my two week Mexican food bender, I found it to be just slightly too spicy. I added a little more agave nectar, but the mint, ginger, white wine vinegar and chiles quadruple-teamed each other to make a pretty potent sauce. Anyways, see below for the delicious final product. It may have sacrificed half my stomach lining, but what a way to go:

shrimp salad with serrano-mint sauce

08
Feb
10

pasta with truffle oil, spicy crab cake panini.

Ok so a couple of months back, I was all “Wooooo my computer’s back! All is right with the world. Prepare for the best blog of your LIFE. I’m going to blog so hard. So very hard.” And my computer, vindictive as she is, staged a preemptive strike and almost melted into herself. Who does that?! Whores. That’s who. I sent her to Florida to straighten out. Then, I went to California for shits and giggles, and I didn’t cook for like a week. Also, my fitness was dangerously low, so I had enough material to write something like, “Today I walked from the car to the restaurant and ordered enough French Toast to gag a Frenchman. Like, easily. And then I went and consumed a giant frozen yogurt with frosted Animal Crackers.” No one wants to hear that. So, yeah, I’ve been absent for two months. All apologies.

A few weeks ago I decided to have a few friends over, and I got all kinds of creative with the appetizer list. I quadrupled every recipe, and then of course had poor time management and only made half of what I’d planned. As a result, I have so many unnecessary ingredients just sitting around, taunting me. I made a pasta dish last week with a bunch of my lefties, and it came out kind of Batali-worthy.

pasta a la Deena

Ingredients:

1/2 pound pipe rigate pasta

2 cloves garlic

1/2 vidalia onion, sliced

1/2 lb. portabella mushrooms, sliced

sundried tomatoes

parsley, chopped

lemon juice

truffle oil

olive oil

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

I started by sauteeing the chopped garlic and onion in some olive oil, salt and pepper, and let that go ahead and brown away. Then I added the sliced mushrooms and a little bit of the truffle oil, and continued to cook until they were ready for me.

Meanwhile I boiled the pasta, and then chopped the sundried tomatoes and parsley. Once the pasta was done, I drained it and then added the mushroom mixture right in. I stirred in the tomatoes and parsley, added some lemon juice, and then shredded a bunch of parmesan cheese on top. It was pretty much my proudest pasta ever. Isn’t she lovely?

It was hearty, so my workout routine had to match. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with and really taking to the midday gymming. Every day is kind of a race against the clock, though, so variety has fallen off as a result. I went to my first yoga class in months yesterday, and I’ve decided it’s probably necessary that I welcome it back full time. I’m really sore and MUCH too zen for a New Yorker right now. I kind of love it.

One of the appetizers that made the final cut for my get-together was Spicy Crab cakes with Lemon Aioli, which I bogarted from the Neelys:

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter

1 shallot, chopped fine

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup finely chopped red pepper

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon crab boil seasoning

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 cup plain panko bread crumbs

1 large egg

Hot sauce, to taste

1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over to remove cartilage and shell fragments

1/2 cup peanut oil

I pretty much stayed true to the recipe, although Whole Foods seems never to have heard of this “crab boil” seasoning, so I used Old Bay. And way more hot sauce than just “to taste,” obviously. You basically just mix everything in a giant bowl and then form into patties, roll said patties in bread crumbs, and then sautee over medium heat for about 4 minutes on each side. Since I’d quadrupled the recipe, I only had enough time to make about half of the patties, so I made the rest of the bowl the day after.

I ate some of the 20 some-odd patties in typical ass out, face-in-the-refrigerator fashion, but I got a little fancy with the remainders. I had planned on making some crab and avocado crostinis, so I had a couple of untouched baguettes. I decided to make a crab cake panini with some grilled red and yellow bell peppers and avocado. I drizzled the bread with olive oil, and toasted both halves. I already had the grilled peppers leftover from a delicious bruschetta I’d made (touche Bobby Flay), so I placed those along with some sliced avocado opposite the crab cake. The whole thing was incredible and, like, gives Crayola a complex because of its purdy colors. See below:

Crab cake panini with grilled bell peppers and avocado




October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Categories