PRINT this recipe

Print Friendly and PDFPrint Friendly and PDFPrint Friendly and PDF

Friday, July 24, 2009

Yards IPA Pale Ale and Tomato Reduction Sauce

My dinner last night was all about using my weekly CSA Produce Share. The recipe and story were in my previous post. But for the record, I wanted to share my idea for the Yards' Beer ISB Pale Ale Beer and Tomato Reduction Sauce: I had quickly marinated chicken breast with in smoked hickory salt rub from Williams-Sonoma, some olive oil and a dash of Yards Pale Ale. After I sauted the chicken breasts, I used the remaining marinade and some more beer to deglaze the pan - getting the most flavor out of what was left behind. I realize beer and tomatoes don't often get paired together - but they should. Think of this sauce as a sort of minimial barbeque sauce. Once the beer reduced down to a few tablespoons, after about 4 minutes, I added in some seeded and diced tomatoes. Two of my 10 slicing tomatoes had split in transit and I needed to use them asap. I tossed them into the pan along with a generous dash of dried minced garlic (I was out of fresh garlic!) and they broke down into a sauce along with the reduced ale and remaining flavors in the pan. My dinner was platted as such: smashed golden red-skinned potatoes, the cabbage saute on top, a chicken breast atop the saute, and the ale tomoato reduction as the sauce for the chicken. It was simple, fresh and beyond good. Hearty Rustic Farm Food for an Urban Bicycle Chef!

Produce Bounty: Sauteed Cabbage, Onion and Beet Greens

We have been receiving organic produce each week from our purchased CSA Farm Share. The vegetables and fruit we get each week are from various Lancaster County Farms and they are brought down to the City by Farm To City - a CSA cooperative. The produce arrives each Thursday morning at Metropolitan Bakery on 19th and Rittenhouse Square. It's always the highlight of my day when I take my mid-morning stroll over to the bakery to pick up my share, plus it gives me a chance to peruse, ogle and occasionally purchase a loaf or two of Metropolitan's artisan breads. The CSA Farm share is doing a great service for the farmers, us City dwellers and, I am sure, for Metropolitan Bakery's business. I almost always make a boulangerie purchase.
While the cool and rainy weather has limited the crops substantially this season, the bounty is starting to slowly increase. Our box this week was brimming with beautiful tomatoes, peaches, string beans, potatoes, red kale, Detroit red beets and greens, several pounds of candy stripe onions, and a usable sized cabbage. In June, when our share began, we received a lot of lettuces, kales, chards and the occasional rhubarb. The heartier root crops were slower to arrive, and the typical summer crops of tomatoes, cucs and zucchini and fruit have only just begun in earnest. While we were on vacation last week, I had the ladies in my office take the produce share. Last week's "shopping" list made me envious - it was the first week of a bigger bounty. We were not disappointed this week, the "shopping" list was even more generous and the box was spilling over with beautiful vegetables.

Tonight's recipe was inspired in part by my co-worker Phyllis; by my desire to not waste any of the veggies and to make the most out of all the hearty greens; and by wanting to take advantage of nature's two-for-one - the greens attached to the Detroit Red Beets. I love kale, chard, and other hearty yet mild greens however, Liz does not. I have to get creative in order to utilize everything. I'd like to make coleslaw each week, but since I've been off mayonnaise for almost two years - a vinegar based slaw just doesn't cut it for me week after week. My co-worker, Phyllis, and I share cooking tips and recipes with each other. She will often tell me that she blanches the beet, turnip or dandelion greens and then sautes them in olive oil with shallots and garlic. She does the same thing with cabbage. Blanching is key and using good aromatics is also important. You don't need many ingredients nor do you need much of each ingredient. A handful of onion, a bunch of greens, a tablespoon of oil, and a cup of thinly sliced cabbage yielded a beautiful and healthy saute for my late night dinner, effectively utilizing 3 to 5 different items from my produce box of magic treats. Along with my sauteed cabbage, I boiled and mashed a few of the golden red-skinned potatoes, sauteed some chicken breasts and made a Yards Pale Ale Beer and Tomato reduction sauce.

Sauteed Cabbage, Onions and Beet Greens Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil - divided
  • 1 Bunch Beet Greens and Stems - cleaned, stems and leaves separated
  • 1 Medium Onion - large dice
  • 1/4 Small/Medium Cabbage (about 1 1/2 cups) - thinly sliced
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper - to taste

Directions:
  1. Clean the beet greens and stems thoroughly in cold water. Remove the leaves from the stems; coarsely cut the stems into 1-inch pieces and set aside. Roughly chop the beet greens and set aside.
  2. Use a non-stick skillet and heat the olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers.
  3. Add in the diced onions and saute until the onions turn light golden - about 8 minutes. Don't burn the onions, lower the heat if necessary.
  4. Add in the beet stems and saute for 2 minutes.
  5. Next, add in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, the thinly sliced cabbage and the 1/4 cup of water. If you reduced the heat to low, raise it to medium-high, stirring to combine all the ingredients. Saute this vegetable mixture until the cabbage and beet stems are tender - about 5 to 8 minutes and the water is mostly evaporated; season with a pinch or two of salt and pepper.
  6. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of salted water to boil and blanch the beet greens for 1 minute. When the beet greens are bright green, drain them and add the blanched greens to the onion/cabbage saute. Taste and adjust your seasonings, adding more salt and freshly ground pepper as needed.
  7. Serve hot over smashed new potatoes.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

You can Do anything!

With a bit more than a week left until the Danskin SheRox Triathlon, I’m starting to feel that good anxious feeling in my stomach. Last night (Wednesday) there was a bike “clinic” led by my Mentor Sue R. She had a group of her mostly newbie Mentees come out to West River Drive where the triathlon takes place. We reviewed transitioning areas - where race starts, the swim “Beach” area and the run course. After we all rode our bikes out along the 15 mile course that the bike portion follows. Since I’ve done the tri last year and I’ve continued to train – biking, swimming and running a lot over the past year – I’m now an old pro. Ha! The ladies I met on Wednesday night were all so sweet and more than a bit nervous about all the things that newbies to the tri are nervous about: what to eat and when; when to get to the tri the morning of; what to wear; how much more to train, etc. They shared other normal nervous thoughts and asked questions that all the newcomers ask. I felt like I really had come a long way in the past year and was so happy to be able to share my limited knowledge with women who were in the place I was just a year ago. You can really learn a lot about yourself through a life-altering event. I literally have realized how strong I am both physically and mentally. I am willing to take on new challenges – doing the tri for the 2nd year in a row; re-learning how to swim efficiently; finding my runner’s pacing; becoming a stronger and better bicyclist. The other great challenge I’ve under-taken is learning to drive! I am now the proud owner of my learner's permit. It took 2 tries at the written test and about 3 hours of waiting but I did it. So far I've had 3 professional driving lessons and have driven down to Citizens' Bank Ballpark twice, and down along Delaware/Colombus Blvd. I truly believe that my realization that I can do a triathlon, swim that ½ mile in the Schuylkill (and survive it!) showed me that I can do anything I set my mind to, espeically driving! My dear Nana Rhoads always used to tell me – you can do anything, be anything and go anywhere you want – just believe in yourself and do it. If only I can share these pearls of wisdom with all the first time triathletes. Go at your own pace – just do what you can. Mentally prepare. Set your gear out the day before, plan your meals, don’t over-carb load, and most importantly – enjoy the experience. YES! YOU CAN DO IT!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Food Finds: Pure Dark - Chocolates

YUMMY Chocolate! An entry for my food finds - I have discovered the pleasures of this new line of chocolates called Pure Dark - from of all companies, Mars, Inc. What a shocker! The chocolate is pretty good - not as absolutely fantastic as my local favorite - Naked Chocolate in Philadelphia, but delightfully good nevertheless. Actually, I should be more open-minded. I think because the chocolates are made by Mars - I'm biased to think that they aren't SUPER FANTASTIC and the GREATEST chocolate I've ever had. The truth is, the chocolates are a good high quality dark cocoa; it's luscious and the packaging is great. I like Mars' chocolates. I love M&M's and have been especially into the new, "Limited Edition" flavors like the Transformer's Strawberry Peanut Butter and the summer offering of Coconut. My druthers would be that the coconut would have real meaty pieces of coconut in them and the chocolate would be darker. I'd like the strawberry flavoring in the Transformers M&M's to be more assertive, but hey, the candies are good so who am I to complain?

Anyway, these Pure Dark chocolates were a gift from our friends Rob and Lynnette. Rob works in R&D at Mars. We visited with them a week ago and he had this bag of chocolates for us - food for the foodies. I had heard that Mars was producing an upscale line of chocolates and that there was a retail boutique in Manhattan, but I had yet to learn about the candies. Rob to the rescue! Inside the goody bag was a delicious assortment of bark, slabs, coins and nibs. A taste and texture sensation for every mood. Tropical Mango Macadamia Nut Bark; a moody Almond, caramelized Nibs and Dark Cherry Bark; a serious 1/2 inch thick slab of dark chocolate with caramelized nibs; dark chocolate coins with cardamon and cinnamon. And my favorite odd treat - caramelized cocoa nibs. A taste cross between an almost burnt almond blended with a jolt of espresso and dusted with pure dark cocoa. Crack chocolate to get you hooked on an serotonin hit of cacao bliss. I just discovered this morning that the nibs are amazingly good mixed into my morning non-fat Fage Greek Yogurt - making another food find even more amazing.

Here in Philadelphia, we've been spoiled by the likes of 3 Naked Chocolate Cafes; our home-grown 130 year old Shane's Chocolate confections; we were home to the original Goldenberg's Peanut Chews - oh how I miss that dark chocolate and molasses snap of the original candy. We can now boast of Max Brenner's, Chocolates by the Bald Man - an establishment that you have to see, taste and experience to believe - sort of like an upscale Willy Wonka Chocolate Cafe Coffee House with a side of chocolate theater for good measure. I'm not sure that I'll order Pure Dark off the Internet but I sure will go to the store if and when I'm in New York City again. I may however, be very tempted to keep the Pure Dark Chocolate cocoa nibs in my rotation of treats - they are the perfect pop 'em in your mouth pick-me-up that I need and they are the perfect biking fuel, better than a Cliff Bar giving a bigger energy rush than what that odd glucose GU gunk gives you. In the meantime, I am thoroughly enjoying my stash of chocolate goodies and very much appreciate Rob's thoughtful gift to us. I may become a fan of M&M Mars just yet - and give up my Hershey Kisses ways.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Stuff I found - on Craig's List

Trolling around Craig's list, I found this "BEST of CRAIG'S LIST" posting. In the spirit of interesting finds, food, bikes, websites and the like, I present it to you. Warning - it's laden with sarcasm, cuss words and a foul-tempered style. I could have written it from my own Grinchy heart. Enjoy the un-PCness of it all.

A few things from the bike shop.


Date: 2009-05-27, 4:05PM PDT


Whoo-hoo Seattle, the sun is out! Let's discuss a few things before you fumble with swapping the unused ski rack for the unused bike rack on the Subaru.

So yes, you've noticed the sun is out, and hey!- maybe it would be cool to to some bike riding. Let's keep in mind that the sun came out of all 600,000 of us, so for the most part, you're not the only one who noticed. Please remember that when you walk into my shop on a bright, sunny Saturday morning. It will save you from looking like a complete twat that huffs "Why are there so many people here?"

Are we all on the same page now about it being sunny outside? Have we all figured out that we're not the only clever people that feel sunny days are good for bike riding? Great. I want to kiss all of you on your forehead for sharing this moment with me. Put your vitamin D starved fingers in mine, and we'll move on together to some pointers that will make life easier.

SOME POINTERS FOR THE PHONE:

- I don't know what size of bike you need. The only thing that I can tell over the phone is that you sound fat. I don't care how tall you are. I don't care how long your inseam is. Don't complain to me that you don't want to come ALL THE WAY down to the bike shop to get fitted for a bike. I have two hundred bikes in my inventory. I will find one that fits you. Whether you come from the north or the south, my shop is downhill. Pretend you're going to smell a fart, ball up, and roll your fat ass down here.

- Don't get high and call me. Write it down, call me later. When I have four phone lines ringing, and a herdlet
of people waiting for help, I can't deal with you sitting there "uuuuhhh"-ing and "uuummm"-ing while your brain tries to put together some cheeto-xbox-fixie conundrum. We didn't get disconnected, I left you on hold to figure your shit out.

-I really do need to see your bike to know what is wrong with it. You've already figured out that when you car makes a noise, the mechanic needs to see it. When your TV goes blank, a technician needs to see it. I can tell you, if there is one thing I've learned from you fucking squirrels, it's that "doesn't shift right" means your bike could need a slight cable adjustment, or you might just need to stop backing into it with the Subaru. Bring it in, I'll let you know for sure.

- No, I don't know how much a good bike costs. For some, spending $500 dollars is a kingly sum. For others, $500 won't buy you one good wheel. You really need to have an idea of what you want, because every one of you raccoons "doesn't want to spend too much".

FOR YOU INVENTIVE TYPES AND DO-IT-YOURSELFERS:

- Just because you think is should exist, doesn't mean that it does. I know that to you, a 14 inch quill stem makes perfect sense, but what makes more sense is buying a bike that fits you, not trying to make your mountain bike that was too small for you to begin with into a comfort bike.

- If some twat on some message board somewhere says that you can use the lockring from your bottom bracket as a lockring for a fixie conversion doesn't mean that A: you can, or B: you should. Please listen to me on this stuff, I really do have your best interests at heart.

- I love that you have the enthusiasm to build yourself a recumbent in the off season. That does not mean however, that I share your enthusiasm; ergo I won't do the "final tweaks" for you. You figure out why that Sram shifter and that Shimano rear derailleur don't work together. While we're at it, you recumbent people scare me a little. Don't bring that lumbering fucking thing anywhere near me.

A DEDICATION TO ALL THE HIPSTER DUCHEBAGS:

-If you shitheads had any money, you wouldn't NEED a vintage Poo-zhow to get laid. Go have an ironic mustache growing contest in front of American Apparel, so that I can continue selling $300 bikes to fatties, which is what keeps the lights on.

- Being made in the 80's may make something cool, but that doesn't automatically make something good. The reason that no one has ridden that "vintage" Murray is because it's shit. It was shit in the 80's, a trend it carried proudly through the 90's, and rallied with into the '00's. What I mean to say is, no, I can't make it work better. It's still shit, even with more air in the tires.

SO YOU'RE GONNA BUY A BIKE:

Good for you! Biking is awesome. It's easy, it's fun, it's good for you. I want you to bike, I really do. To that end, I am here to help you.

-Your co-worker that's "really into biking" knows fuck all. Stop asking for his advice. He could care less about you having the right bike. He wants to validate his bike purchase(s) through you. He also wants to sleep with you, and wear matching bike shorts with you.

- You're not a triathlete. You're not. If you were, you wouldn't be here, and we both know it.

- You're not a racer. If you were, I'd know you already, and you wouldn't be here, and we both know it.

- So you want a bike that you can ride to work, goes really fast, is good for that triathlon you're doing this summer (snicker), is good on trails and mud, and costs less than $300. Yeah. Listen, I want a car that can go 200 miles an hour, tow a boat, has room for five adults, is easy to parallel park but can carry plywood, gets 60mpg, and only costs $3,000. I also want a unicorn to blow me. What are we even talking about here? Oh yeah. Listen, bikes can be fast, light, cheap and comfortable. Pick two, and we're all good.

ABOUT YOUR KIDS:

Your kids are amazing. Sure are. No one else has kids as smart, able, funny or as good looking as you. Nope. Never see THAT around here.

- I have no idea how long you kid will be able to use this bike. As it seems to me, your precious is a little retarded, and can't even use the damn thing now. More likely, your budding genius is going to leave the bike in the driveway where you will Subaru the bike to death LONG before the nose picker outgrows the bike.

- Stop being so jumpy. I am not a molester. You people REALLY watch too much TV. When I hold the back of the bike while your kid is on it, it's not because I get a thrill from *almost* having my hand on kid butt, it's because kids are unpredictable, and generally take off whenever possible, usually not in the direction you think they might go. Listen, if I were going to do anything bad to your kids, I'd feed them to sharks, because sharks are FUCKING AWESOME.


I hope this helps, and have fun this summer riding your kick-ass bike!

  • Location: Seattle
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
PostingID: 1192150038

Monday, July 6, 2009

Triathlon training tips: 1 month to go!

Today marks just a day under a month away from the Danskin SheRox Triathlon. I've been "training" for this year's tri on a fairly consistent basis, swimming once or twice a week, running on the treadmill two or three times a week, and of course, biking two to three days a week. Yes, I do have time off that's not devoted to exercise, and some days I do two things such as swimming and running or biking and running, or yoga and running. I've temporarily stopped weight lifting, as I'm getting all the cross training I need at the moment. The muscle building isn't as big as I'd like, but my body is toned and things are redistributed enough that I'm pleased with how I look these days. While I haven't had much inspiration to blog about, no great recipes, no momentous bike excursions, I also realized that I've not written much about the upcoming triathlon. 2nd time around, it feels like old hat in some ways, but that's not to say I'm taking any of my preparations lightly. In fact, I am starting to become nervous about it and thought I'd share some tips to folks who read this and may also be doing the Danskin SheRoxTri this year too.

One of the best tips I can offer is to go and watch a triathlon if you can. While the experience of doing one is so uniquely different than watching, you can get a great sense of what a sprint triathlon is like. The set up areas, the course, the amazing feeling of camaraderie and energy in the air. It's also important to know how the gear area is set up and what are good ways to set up your equipment and bike. Last year I went to watch two tri's before my first one, and checking out the course and set up areas was a big help. Of course, you see bikes that are totally tricked out and full of great aerodynamic gizmos and handlebars - not necessary for us beginners/novices. Bike shoes do not have to be pre-clipped onto one's pedals for faster changing transitions. Aero bars, water bottles pre-set with feeding tubes and taped-on food are all not important unless you are an elite racer. Keep your gear simple!

Another great tip - if you have not ridden your bike, in say, about a year - get your bike out of storage! Get it to a bike shop and get a tune-up. The tires need air, the dust needs to be wiped off, and most likely you need to lube the chain. You might also want to consider learning how to use your gears a bit. I keep my front gear - one of the three front cogs, in the middle gear. For my bike, that's the middle ring, or position 2. My back cogs/gears, I keep in between position or gears 3, 4 or 5; rarely in a harder or easier position to pedal unless I need the easy granny gears for up hill, or in harder to pedal position for down hill. 21 speeds or more? You only need to be in 3 places for most of the bike course.

Final tip - go at your own pace. Simple and stupid and oh so obvious. I had a real light bulb moment a few weeks ago when I was swimming. Mentally rehearsing my swim course, I realized that I need to do some warm-up laps and that I cannot swim too fast too soon or else I panic, lose my groove and forget to breathe. If I swim or run slow, it's okay. I am not in this tri to compete with anyone else other than myself. My goal this year is a) to complete the tri, and b) to do better than I did last year. I'd like to swim more efficiently, bike faster and feel secure, and run a steady pace for the whole 5K. I can't be faster than I'm capable or else I'll not find my rhythm. Swimming is a so different than the other two race pieces - you have to breathe differently and getting into the motion and not wasting energy is important. I took swimming lessons this year and I've improved drastically. I'll never win a speed race but I sure will be able to do more than doggie paddle this year. Slow and steady wins your race.

If any other tri-gals are reading this and you have any questions, shoot me a comment or send an email my way - dgorniak@comcast.net I'd be happy to share whatever little pearls of wisdom I have about my sprint tri experiences.