Tag Archives: friends

Foodstuffs

Standard

This week has been, admittedly, a tad boring on the food front. A is gone, so I haven’t really been motivated to make anything of note for dinner (in fact, every night this week I’ve eaten a banana with sunflower seed butter, broccolini and mashed cauliflower that I made on Tuesday and ate from the whole week). Additionally, as my body has been trying to heal itself, I’ve been sleeping A LOT and have been lucky to get in some sort of smoothie for breakfast, which I’ve taken sips of in between taking the dog out, putting my makeup on and packing my work bag for the day.

Without really realizing it, I went three days without consuming anything but fruits, vegetables and nuts/seeds, which, in hindsight, that kind of super clean eating, probably aided in my body’s repair as well. I have found that the last month or so, I haven’t really been very hungry on most days, either, and while I’m not sure what that’s about (maybe just aging?) the extra rest and good things I’ve been giving my body the last few days have felt a little like pressing a big reset button.  While I don’t eat unhealthily pretty much ever, I think I want to focus more on meals that don’t rely so much on wheat and dairy. I think I just feel generally better without these items.

Anyway, now that “healthy talk” is out of the way, let’s talk about what I’m cookin’ up this weekend, shall we?  Tonight a good friend, L, and I are going to the American Craft Brew Fest at Boston’s Seaport. I went last year with A, and it was so much better than I had anticipated, I was super excited to attend again this year. Last year, as newbies to the event, we didn’t realize that it’s practically UNHEARD of not to attend with a necklace made of pretzels, so L is hooking us up with some fine, edible jewelry for this evening’s adventure. I’m sure I’ll have pictures.

Since she’s clearly staying over after a nice of beer consumption, I planned to make us breakfast in the morning. We might try to hit a hot yoga or a spin class beforehand, but we’ll play it by ear.  I’ve really missed my morning eggs this week, so I’m looking forward to the spinach & tomato scramble I’m going to cook up and serve alongside some healthy, green smoothies.

Later in the day, my friend B is coming over for early dinner before we head over to the Museum of Science to check out the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit.  Since it’s so hot, I wanted something bright and colorful, but, since an early dinner will likely take the place of both lunch and dinner, I wanted something that would also be a little hearty.

I’m going to throw together an arugula salad, a tomato salad, and some bright green spring vegetable risotto (cooked with brown rice; recipe to follow). After the museum, we’ll indulge in some berries, cream and lemon curd, because after making my own a couple weeks ago, I’m obsessed.

So many colors!

So many colors!

Because, it's nice to get a different perspective...

Because, it’s nice to get a different perspective…

Now I just need to think of something healthy and a little special to cook up for A when he gets back on Sunday. Any ideas? What are you cooking up this weekend?

Spring Vegetable Brown Rice Risotto

Serves 4

 *1 cup short or medium-grain brown rice (or, Arborio rice if you’re anti-brown)

*2 tablespoons good quality olive oil

*2 small leeks, white part only, chopped

*1/2 small fennel bulb, chopped

*1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

*1/2 cup dry white wine or water

*between 4 and 6 cups of warm stock (vegetable or chicken), or water, in a pinch

*2 -3 cups of your favorite spring vegetables (I like fresh, shelled peas and asparagus, though I’m using broccolini this weekend since B doesn’t care for asparagus)

*1/2 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest

*2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

*1/3 cup mascarpone, quark or formaggio blanc, optional

*1/2 cup grated Parmesan, optional

*4 tablespoons chopped chives

Step 1:  Set up a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Blanch any of your fresh vegetables that you’ll stir into your risotto later by letting them boil 2-3 minutes until slightly tender and bright green. Remove with tongs to preserve the water and place in an ice bath to prevent further cooking and to capture the color. Set up a small pot and fill with your stock and set over medium-low heat to keep warm. You’ll use this a little bit later.

Step 2: In your already boiling water, stir in your brown rice and let simmer for 10-15 minutes to get the brown rice a little bit more tender. Drain. NOTE:  If using regular Arborio rice, skip this step. Brown rice, as the whole grain, takes longer to soften.

Step 3: Put oil in a deep skillet over medium heat.  When hot, add the chopped leeks and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and softened, about 3 minutes.  Add in your rice and tarragon next, stirring until slightly toasty and covered in oil, about 5 minutes. Next add the wine, and stir until the liquid bubbles away.

Step 4: Begin adding stock a ladle-full or two at a time (until rice is just covered in your skillet) and, stirring throughout, let the liquid evaporate almost completely. When it’s nearly evaporated, it’s time to add another ladle or two or hot broth. Keep at this for about 15 -20 minutes, until the rice is just tender and the mixture is looking creamy and then add in your lemon zest and blanched vegetables. Cook a little longer, adding more broth if necessary, until rice is fully tender.

Step 5: Off the heat, stir in your lemon juice, mascarpone and Parmesan (if using) to add additional creaminess and tang. Serve hot with a sprinkle of fresh chives and cracked black pepper.

Thankful

Standard

With A traveling this week, being crazy-busy at work and not been able to be my usual social-runner self, I’ve been particularly thankful for the incredibly encouraging and kind emails, comments, and text messages I’ve received all week from friends and family. Although I’ve felt a little out of the loop with my running community the last couple weeks, what with tapering and now injury, it’s made me feel so much better and put me in such a better head space knowing that so many of you thought of me, have checked up on me and are rooting for me! I’m so lucky to have such an amazing network of people in my life.

You all rock my socks every day!

You all rock my socks every day!

What are you thankful for this week? What’s making your joyful?

 

Weekends of Food

Standard

Anybody who knows me well knows that I’m more than a little preoccupied with food. I have been for as long as I can remember, although, admittedly the preoccupation has shifted focus quite a bit. As I kid, I think my focus was on cheese (well, maybe my focus hasn’t actually shifted all that much); in college, I was obsessed with pasta and take out, especially super spicy Indian food  (and then Weight Watchers, understandably); these days I’m entirely focused on creating beautiful meals at home. I still have an unnatural attachment to cheese and going out to eat is probably one of my favorite pastimes, but what gives me the biggest thrill is knowing I’ve made something truly delicious and healthy at home for my husband and I to share (bonus points if other folks are coming over to partake in the festivities!). It combines my passion for nutrition, an outlet for my creativity and my constant desire to do something nice for other people all at one time.

 

So, I’ve decided to start a weekly post on Fridays entirely devoted to food. Sometimes it might be a restaurant or event review, sometimes a recipe, or sometimes maybe just a list of what I’ve been eating the past week. It’ll probably develop as I go along!

 

springgirlsday

There’s very few things as gorgeous as a sunny spring day in the Boston Public Gardens!

Anyway, last weekend turned out to be a really fun culinary adventure! It started out a little bleak, when I came home from a 21 mile training run last Saturday, waited too long to consume post-run nutrition of any kind, and promptly expelled the breakfast I tried to hurriedly consume when I found myself growing increasingly nauseous. Thankfully, some water and two pieces of plain bread seemed to cure me after that and I was quickly out the door to enjoy the gorgeous sunshine and spring flowers with friends. When we arrived home, after a snack of prosecco and butternut squash bisque, I got down to instructing the boys on what still needed to be prepped for the three different varieties of pizza-on-the-grill we were making that evening.  A whipped up some guacamole for us to munch on in the meantime and my girlfriends above were kind enough to bring an enormous box of cupcakes for us to indulge in later from Queen City Cupcakes in Manchester.

For pizzas, we enjoyed a roasted butternut squash pizza, with spicy homemade barbecue sauce, goat cheese and red onion; a spring greens pesto with grape tomatoes and burrata; and a maple-smoked bacon, caramelized onion and smoked mozzarella pie. Although the squash pizza with my secret-weapon barbecue sauce is a favorite around our house, I think the charring from the grill paired the best with the creamy burrata and earthy, herbal notes in the pesto.  We stuffed ourselves silly, and still managed to each eat the equivalent of a little over 1 cupcake each.

Who could resist, though, really?

Who could resist, though, really?

Fat and happy, we talked ourselves into the early morning and then headed to bed, the taste of buttercream still on our lips.  Our indulgent dinner didn’t stop us from having a robust brunch the next morning though — homemade turkey sausages, roasted potatoes and my take on my mom’s signature waffles all slowly made their way to the table.  A and I used to hang out with our best friends nearly every weekend when they lived in New Hampshire, and one of our favorite things to do together was cook and enjoy a big Sunday breakfast. While I miss everything about spending time with them since their move to Colorado, I think that’s one of the things I miss the most and I was so thrilled to be able to have them there to sip coffee and laugh with as waffle batter oozed out of the waffle maker and potatoes sizzled in the oven.

The culinary adventure didn’t end there, as A and I headed to Barbara Lynch’s Oyster Invitational that afternoon with Aaron’s sister and her husband. This event was SO.MUCH.FUN. Tons of delicious food (all you can eat lobster rolls?!?!), beverages, and general silliness. Thousands of raw oysters everywhere in which to indulge! Somehow I managed to score more cupcakes, too, AND then eat leftover pizza when I got home. It’s really a wonder how I’m not 400 pounds…

After a work week of eating very healthfully, we’ve got another tremendous weekend of eating in the works starting tonight(!), but this time everything will be made by both me and A. No oyster extravaganza — but there will be more pesto, more waffles, and even some homemade lemon curd involved, so I’ll probably survive.

What’s on your weekend menu?