Archive for the ‘Comfort Food’ Category

Foxy’s Fall Century 2016

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

For the last 10 days I have been checking the weather forecast regularly and have gone back and forth between wanting to ride and wanting to bail on today’s Foxy’s Fall Century. The forecasts changed a bit daily – rain, no rain, but wind was a certainty each time I checked the Weather Channel’s site.

By the end of the workday yesterday I had convinced my self that riding today would be a bad idea, but I checked the weather forecast again when I got home and decided that I would reevaluate in the morning if I would ride or not. As of last night, the forecast was no rain until late afternoon and fairly reasonable winds until about 2:00, when they were projected to be 20+ mph. I began to think that if I started early enough that I could finish the ride before these 20+ mph winds started. So, I packed up all of my gear and went to bed with the promise that I would make my final decision in the morning.

I am so glad that I rode today.

What's a ride without a fabulous selfy?

What’s a ride without a fabulous selfy?

For a couple of weeks I’ve been trying to get friends to do the ride, but no one wanted to. I have not been cycling nearly enough this past year, so I wasn’t feeling particularly eager (or confident) to do this ride solo today. But I really needed to do the ride, so I was quite happy when another solo rider pulled up alongside about 10 or 15 miles into the ride and we got to chatting and finished the course together. I was very appreciative for the nice company.

After the ride, the lunch was good – lasagna, salad, gluten-free bread, desserts (ice cream sandwiches, macaroons, gluten-free chocolate cake).

Foxy's Fall Century - Lunch

Foxy’s Fall Century – Lunch

By the time I got home, I was a little hungry again …

Golden Milk - healthy and soothing.

My new go-to recovery drink is Golden Milk.

The weather held out throughout the ride. I did not get rained on this year and the wind didn’t get that bad. Actually, the winds were for the most part pretty favorable today.

I know I said this last year, but … next year … the full century is the goal.

Golden Milk

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

Golden Milk is being touted as a “wonder” beverage loaded with all kinds of healthy benefits (click here). This recipe showed up on my Facebook feed one day and caught my attention. I need to start upping my calcium intake, but I’m not a huge fan of plain milk. The additional health benefits (especially the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties) were very appealing. I confess that initially I did not read the entire article and just barely watched the video to get the recipe, so I missed that it’s made with coconut milk, not cow’s milk.

I’ve got to do some more research about this, but for now, here’s my version:

Golden Milk

1 cup milk (your choice)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
maple syrup or honey to taste

Place all ingredients in a jar and shake until well blended, then strain (if desired) and serve with or without ice.

You can also mix in a blender with a little ice to make your beverage smoothie-like.

I tried it heated up last night, but surprisingly didn’t really like it as much.

 

Celebrating Mom in Bodega Bay

Monday, September 12th, 2016

One of Mom’s last wishes was to treat my sister and me to a nice lunch in Bodega Bay. Saturday would have been Mom’s 93rd birthday, so we celebrated Mom with a nice lunch in Bodega Bay. Our group met at Fisherman’s Cove and enjoyed a relaxing late lunch and visit. We shared a few favorite memories about Mom.

Portuguese Fish Stew - made from scratch, all local ingredients w/ rock cod, claims, shrimp, linguica, and organic vegetables

Portuguese Fish Stew – made from scratch, all local ingredients with rock cod, claims, shrimp, linguica, and organic vegetables

Oysters Kirkpatrick - fresh Tomales Bay oysters, grilled with spicy Worcestershire sauce and bacon

Oysters Kirkpatrick – fresh Tomales Bay oysters, grilled with spicy Worcestershire sauce and bacon

Of course I had to try the fish stew because it sounded like something I would want to make at home. Everyone else had sandwiches. My friend and I split a dozen of the oysters. Normally I am not a fan of cooked oysters, but these were fantastic – very tender and flavorful with just the right amount of spicy heat.

Fisherman’s Cove in Bodega Bay offers a simple menu, and Mom would have loved it – especially the oysters. The atmosphere was rustic and comfortable. The service was friendly and prompt. They’ve also got a nice selection of local beers, fine wine, and champagne.

Tropical Salsa

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Two (of the many!) things I loved about visiting Hawaii were the fruits and fresh fish. Here is a way to celebrate them both. Aloha!

Tropical Salsa

1 pineapple
1 Hawaiian papaya
1 mango
1 red onion
1-2 handfuls of fresh cilantro leaves
juice of 1-2 limes
salt & pepper to taste

Fresh Hawaiian Papaya

Fresh Hawaiian Papaya

Fresh Hawaiian Mango

Fresh Hawaiian Mango

Tropical Salsa

Tropical Salsa

Rinse the cilantro leaves in cool water and set aside to drain on a towel. Clean and prepare the fruit and onion for chopping.

To cut the pineapple, start by cutting off the crown (top) and the stem end (bottom). You’ll want to use a sharp knife and have a stable base to cut on – pineapples are juicy and can get slippery when you’re cutting them. Stand the pineapple up on one end, then cut the skin off the sides, cutting from top to bottom. Then, cut it into 1/2-inch slabs or slices, then into 1/2-inch or so chunks from there. Place into a large mixing bowl.

To cut the mango, slice in half by inserting a sharp paring knife into the stem end. You’ll want to make sure you’re cutting around the pit. Slice off one side, then the other. Using either a peeler or a paring knife, remove the skin. Then, cut the mango into 1/2-inch or so chunks. Add to the pineapple.

To cut the papaya, slice it in half lengthwise, remove and discard the seeds. Using either a peeler or a paring knife, remove the skin. Then, cut the papaya into 1/2-inch or so chunks. Add to the pineapple and mango.

Chop the red onion into about 1/4-inch chunks. Add to the fruit.

Chop the fresh cilantro and add to the fruit and onion. Add the lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

I like to let it sit a little before serving (up to about 30 minutes), but it’s great right away. It also keeps in the refrigerator for a day or two.

If you like it spicy … a Serrano chili or two is fantastic with this.

Here are a few serving suggestions …

Topical Salsa with Grilled Fresh Broadfin Swordfish

Topical Salsa with Grilled Fresh Fish

Tropical Salsa with Huli Huli Chicken

Tropical Salsa with Huli Huli Chicken … this salsa had a bit of Serrano Chili

 

 

Hawaii!!!

Monday, August 29th, 2016

I spent last week in Hawaii … What I thought was going to be a hiking and biking trip turned into a foodie trip due to rain. Oh, the fruit. I can’t wait to go back!

Day one shopping ...

Day one shopping …

Pineapples ... my mouth is watering .

Pineapples … my mouth is watering .

Dragonfruit!

Dragonfruit ...

Dragonfruit …

Lilikoi - Passion Fruit

Lilikoi – Passion Fruit

Sweet and tart lilikoi ... I want more.

Sweet and tart lilikoi … I want more.

Mangoes!

Mangoes!

Papaya ... oh, mya!

Papaya … oh, mya!

Yes we have bananas today! Apple Bananas, that is.

Yes we have bananas today! Apple Bananas, that is.

Fresh coconut ... o.m.g.

Fresh coconut … o.m.g.

Avocados and Rambatons (similar to lichee fruit).

Avocados and Rambatons (similar to lichee fruit).

Mangosteens

Mangosteens

Oh, and then there was the coffee, the chocolate, the vanilla, the fresh fish …  and … the beaches and warm rain and volcanoes and hot lava and cold observatories and …  those will have to be later blogs. I have to switch out of vacation mode and back into regular life mode soon. Oh, sigh … that was an amazing week.

That Was Hot, Hot, Hot!

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

Sunday’s ride … We started our ride on the American River Parkway and rode up to Folsom, then up to Auburn and back to Sacramento. We got a late start (bad idea when the forecast is for 100+ degree heat). Normally the heat doesn’t get to me too much, but by the end of this ride I was pretty much whipped. Almost 70 miles total, which doesn’t seem like that much on paper, so to speak, but … slogging up that hill to Auburn in the brutal sun … yeah. Whipped. Let’s just say I got a little cranky (no pun intended!) by the time I got to the top of the hill.

The perfect mid-ride, 100+ degree weather snack.

The perfect mid-ride, 100+ degree weather snack. I was back to my cheery self in no time!

I drank about 10 bottles of water on this ride. It was hot, hot, hot! Thank goodness for insulated water bottles.

Still smiling, but even my sunscreen was melting!

Even my sunscreen was melting.

Have a great day – here’s hoping you get a nice ride in today!

Zucchini Lasagna Rolls

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Here’s another idea for the bounty of zucchini that happens this time of year.

Zucchini Lasagna Roll-Ups

Slice some large zucchini lengthwise into about 1/4-inch thick slices. Lay them out on paper towels, sprinkle with salt, turn over and sprinkle the other side. Allowed to rest to pull out some of the liquid. Blot the zucchini dry before grilling.

Meanwhile, mix together your favorite lasagna filling. I use a mix of ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, shredded cheeses like mozzarella, Asiago, Parmesan, spinach, a little black pepper, fresh herbs such as basil and thyme, and sometimes I will also add an egg. Mix all this together.

Spinach & ricotta filling.

Spinach & ricotta filling.

Grill the zucchini slices – brush with a little olive oil before grilling. Don’t overcook at this point, you just want them to have a nice grilled flavor and soften them up enough to be rollable.

Grilled to perfection!

Grilled to perfection!

You can either use a homemade marinara sauce or your favorite prepared marinara sauce. Put a little bit of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Start to assemble the rolls.  Spread a tiny amount of pesto on the strip and then a layer of cheese mixture, rolling up place them in the pan.

Spread with a touch of pesto.

Spread with a touch of pesto.

Top with the cheese filling.

Top with the cheese filling.

A toothpick can help to keep them together until you place them in the baking dish.

A toothpick can help to keep them together until you place them in the baking dish.

Arrange in your baking dish.

Arrange in your baking dish.

Top with marinara and cheese.

Top with marinara and cheese.

Continue until you finished all of the rolls. Top with more marinara sauce, some grated cheese like mozzarella, etc. Bake in the oven about 350. I think I baked in about an hour, maybe a little longer. One important thing to remember with any kind of lasagna dish like this is to let it rest about 10 minutes after you remove it from the oven before you start cutting into it. This will allow it to set up.

Yes, I know that this doesn’t have measurements, but this was about 3 or 4 large zucchini, one large tub of ricotta, half a pint of cottage cheese, 1 egg, a few handfuls of shredded cheese, a couple of pounds of fresh tomatoes, umm …. I based this on Mom’s recipe, which was taught to me that way! A handful of this, a splash of that. One thing I will say is that I could  have made just half the amount of filling. There was quite a bit leftover, but that’s OK, because there are lots more zucchini where these came from, so I see some more zucchini lasagna variations in the future.

It’s Zucchini Time Again!

Friday, July 15th, 2016

So many zucchini … so many possibilities.

Zoodles ... there's a special gadget that will turn your zucchini (or summer squash) into "zoodles" ... a low carb and delicious alternative to pasta.

Zoodles … there’s a special gadget that will turn your zucchini (or summer squash) into “zoodles” … a low carb and delicious alternative to pasta.

My first recipe with these was a Shrimp Scampi with Zoodles …

Garlicky, fresh, light and healthy!

Garlicky, fresh, light and healthy!

To make this, simply prepare your favorite scampi recipe and when the shrimp are about 3/4 of the way cooked, remove them from the pan and set aside (cover to keep warm). Add the zoodles to the pan, adding a splash of wine or lemon juice if needed, turn the heat to high and stir fry for a bit. You don’t want to overcook these, so remember to work quickly. Reduce the heat to medium, return the shrimp to the pan, give a good toss to distribute the ingredients evenly, then cover to warm through. You do not want to overcook this or the shrimp will become tough and the zoodles mushy.

And, of course, there’s always the classic Stuffed Zucchini!

Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed Zucchini

This recipe will have to follow later … I’ve got to get to work!

 

Ono! So Simple. So Delicious!

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

When times get tough, the tough get to cooking. What’s better than super healthy comfort food?

Ono, curried cauliflower, greens & shiitake mushrooms.

Ono, curried cauliflower, greens & shiitake mushrooms.

Light. Healthy. Nutritious. Delicious!

Ono, also known as Wahoo, is lean and mild-flavored. You’ll want to be very careful to not overcook this fish.  I cooked mine in a little avocado oil with a grind or two of one of my favorite seasoning blends (use your favorite!). I quickly seared both sides then turned the heat to low, covered and cooked gently for a few minutes. You really don’t want to overcook this fish, so watch it closely.

The greens and mushrooms … not much to say except shiitake mushrooms are amazing.  Slice and cook them in a bit of avocado or olive oil on high heat. Sprinkle with a pinch or two of salt to taste. You’ll want to brown the mushrooms a bit, then put the clean greens (use your favorite blend of cooking greens) on top of the mushrooms, cover, reduce heat to low and allow to steam to your desired level of doneness. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

This batch of cauliflower I cut about a quarter of a large head into 1/4-inch thick slices and sauteed these in avocado oil on high heat. I wanted it to brown and caramelize a bit before adding the curry. I used a prepared curry powder (use your favorite!) and added just a bit of heat with some chili flakes. Turn the temperature down to low, cover, and allow to steam just a bit. I like my cauliflower very al dante, and not soft. Cook to your desired level of doneness.

This would be a terrific post-ride meal for a big ride like the Napa Valley Tour de Cure, don’t you think?

Enjoy in good health!

Greens, Mushrooms, Andouille … mmm

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Finally … time to cook a healthy hearty but light dinner …

Organic Dino Kale, Shiitake Mushrooms, Chicken Andouille Sausage, and Whole Grain Rice Medley .

Organic Dino Kale, Shiitake Mushrooms, Chicken Andouille Sausage, and Whole Grain Rice Medley … a little drizzle of your favorite hot sauce … oh, yeah.

Now that’s a good way to reset after a busy busy day! Hello Spring Quarter 2016.