Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fuel For The Soul and The Run

Using foods from your own garden or a farmers market adds and aspect to you recipes that you may not normally use. Most people buy things like carrots and beets and never see the tops or the leaves. What you may not know is that these things pack a lot of flavor and nutrients. The tops or greens can also add a visual appeal to your dishes. In the following recipe I used as much of the vegetable as I could. The vegetables meld together to create a sweet, earthy, rich vegetable dish and the addition of the poached egg add some satiety and richness. I hope you enjoy it a much as my family did.

Warm Vegetable salad
Serves 4

3 carrots with tops
6 small beets with tops
2 sweet onions (i used onions from the garden and used the tops also)
2 cobs of corn
1/2 pound of green beans
2 tbsp unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch chili flake (optional)
4 eggs
crispy warm bread

Remove tops from the beets, carrots, and onions. Gently wash the tops and thoroughly wash the root part.
Place the beets in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil, boil for 35 to 40 minutes or until fork tender. While the beets cook slice the onions into 1/4 inch slices, strip the corn kernels from the cob using a knife,  wash and cut the green beens into 1 inch pieces, cut the carrots into oblique, and roughly chop the beet greens and a few of the carrot tops. In a heavy pan like a cast iron or a ceramic braising pan (I used a ceramic brasier) heat two tbsp of butter, once the butter bubbles and gets hot add the carrots and onions. Cook the carrots and onions until the onions start to caramelize then add the corn and beans and cook until the beans start to turn vibrant green. Next, add the greens and cook everything until all the vegetables are tender season with chili flake salt and pepper. Once the beets are cooked place them in cold water and peel under water (the skin should come right off) cut each beet into 12 pieces and stir into the other vegetables.

For the poached egg heat a wide pot of water filled up 4 inches, add salt and white vinegar. Add enough vinegar to make the water taste acidic. The water should be at a low simmer, just a few bubbles rising from the bottom. Once the water is heated, gently crack the eggs into the water and let cook for around 4 to 6 minutes. Most importantly the whites should be cooked completely and the yolk warmed through. Eggs are cheap and a tester never hurt anyone.

Spoon about a cup and a half of the vegetables into a bowl and place one poached egg on top of each. serve this with some crispy bread and unsalted butter.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Trip to the Garden

I spent the past weekend in Olean, NY, I will admit that the first couple of visits when I was too cool for school, fat, egotistical chef boy, I didn't much like Olean. As my Love for my wife's family grew stronger, because I got to know them. Of course I loved them by default but know I have reasons for the love. Being that this is a running and eating and drinking blog I will save the sap for another time. This last trip I got to spend 80% of the time with my brother in law. He lives on a dead end road in the hills of Western NY. This is the most time I have spent with him and we are a lot alike, about as much as I thought we were. On this huge country property he has three amazing gardens. He grows corn, beets, carrots, sweet potato, onions, green beans, squash, radish, the list goes on. Among other things I spent a lot of time in that garden. I picked carrots, beets, onions, green beans, I got so inspired I went right into his kitchen to begin cooking. Unfortunately, due to renovations there wasn't much to work with. For that day's amusement, I found an old lodge cast iron in need of seasoning  and so we drank beer while I seasoned it and he did some plumbing work.

The next day I whipped up a warm vegetable salad so that he and his girl friend could taste the fruits of there labor. It was a hit, I used the carrot tops and the beet greens along with all the other vegetables. What we had, was a vibrant, sweet, and earthy combination of vegetables that begged for something else, a poached egg and some crispy bread perhaps. I am going to have to let you know. I brought home a bag of fresh vegetables from B.I.L's garden and tomorrow I am going to come back to you with a recipe or two and some pictures of this amazing garden feast. What an inspiration a garden can be and i cant wait to start a garden of my own. There is only one thing better than shopping the perimeter of a grocery store and thats shopping your own back yard. Who would have thought it would take a trip to Olean to truly understand that.    

See you tomorrow with this awesome recipe

A New Training Lesson

Hey blog land, I want to first apologize to you and to my self for letting this fall to the wayside. My mental state has not been very desirable as of late. I kind of lost focus of life and geared up focus on training for my next race. This may have not been the best way to approach life at this delicate time I am in. As you all know I recently moved back to Maryland, much to my chagrin. However, we are in the process of making changes to  please my wife as well me. Since moving I have been unemployed. One scenario after the next and the excuses piled up why I shouldn't be actively pursuing a job and Here we are 6 months later (the longest stint of unemployment since 16 years of age). Could I have a job at any restaurant? Yes, but it's not the life I want anymore. I want to live the dream and work for my self. Which brings us to the topic or the lesson I have recently learned.

Over the last 2 years I have been embarked on a journey to change the way I live. Through this journey I learned that I no longer like working in the restaurant, that I love to run and I still and maybe even more love food, and lastly I care where the countries eating habits are going. Unfortunately my love of running and challenges have been taking up all my time. I knew this wasn't smart,  but i've lost control. 

The Lesson:
Don't give 100% of yourself to any one thing, but give everything you have to what ever you are doing.

I know your supposed to give 110% blah blah blah, but lets all be honest, in regards to time 100% is all you have 110% of the clock puts you into the next day.  Case and point: all I have been thinking of is running and every couple weeks something malfunctions on my body and it makes me depressed and irritable. This behavior is not fair to my family or myself. Rather than throwing a pity party for my strained Achilles maybe I should limp into a place of business and ask for a job. I am not sure how my wife is so patient with me but I love her for that. I don't want to give the impression that for the last 6 months I have just been running and napping, just running and hiding. There are plenty of things to do when you live this close to family. Plenty of chores and odd jobs to hide behind, I know in my heart if I told my family, "cook your own dinner I have been busy trying to find a job" they wouldn't have asked me to leave. I recently had an interview, the owner of the company explained to me how he only sleeps 15 hours a week, that was inspiring to me. There are 168 hours in a week I am training about 15, that leaves 153 hours to get it together, for my sanity and my families happiness I have to get it together. so this is my first day back, 
I will find a job!
I will Blog!
I will still cook dinner!
I will start my freelance writing again!
I will Build this business that I have a passion for!
I will change the way this country eats one willing family at a time! 
I will be a better husband!
I will be a better son, grandson, nephew cousin and brother!

Life training starts now.