Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Channeling Betty Crocker, Marathon Relay and The War of the Worlds makes for a full holiday weekend!
I sometimes wonder if other people are like me. I read cookbooks for fun. I can look at a recipe and, unless there are ingredients that I'm just not familiar with, imagine how it will taste. Combine, whip, fold, mix, blend this with my love of cooking and desire to try new flavors and foods and most of the time I'll end up with a meal that surprises me by turning out restaurant-quality. Granted, I still remember my worst cooking disaster. Years later I wonder if the smell of charred banana leaves and burnt cochinita pibil is still clinging to the sheetrock of the kitchen where I commited that culinary crime. Live and learn!
This weekend brought several cooking opportunities, as I took advantage of the large kitchen of the home where Frank is housesitting. Saturday evening I decided to try prosciutto-wrapped scallops paired with a mixed greens salad with gorgonzola dulce, diced Comice pear and a balsamic vinegar pear viniagrette and rosemary baked potatoes. The scallops were super easy since all I did was sprinkle them with a little sea salt and freshly ground pepper before wrapping a slice of prosciutto around them. I pan grilled them for one minute each side in a little bit of sesame oil. I was very surprised that my viniagrette turned out so well. I don't make salad dressings often and was experimenting with pear infused balsamic vinegar and sesame oil. It was a tart, zingy, tasty viniagrette. Sunday brunch was a yummy one as well. I made omelettes with homegrown tomato, crispy grilled hot soppressata (an Italian cured pork salami with red peppers mixed in), a bit of sauteed red onion and garlic, a generous amount of mixed shredded cheese (monterey jack, cheddar, queso asadero and queso quesadilla courtesy of the "Mexican Blend" in the bagged shredded cheese section of the grocery store) and topped with shredded mozzarella. I served them with extra tomato and hot soppressata slices on the side. I have burgers planned for this week to use up the left over gorgonzola. Mmmm burgers topped with thickly-sliced smoked bacon and gorgonzola sound fantastic to me!
Our marathon relay team was up bright and early on Independence Day for the first ever Silicon Labs Marathon Relay. We started off with overcast skies and a breeze but the sun broke through early and temperatures rose fast. Frank's 12K run ended with a highly respectable 9:09 minute per mile pace. I started off strong in my 10K leg but things went downhill halfway through when my aggravated hamstring decided to send a searing pain all the way up into my glutes. It didn't last long but stayed aching and twinging the rest of the run. I took it as easy as I could and maintain a somewhat decent pace. The run was a hard one. It was getting very hot and because it was a relay, there wasn't a lot of company on the road. I felt very alone. Somewhere after mile 4 I started talking myself down, concentrating on how my hammie was aching, how hot and tired I felt and how isolated it seemed to be, back in the Enfield neighborhood portion of our route...I instantly felt exhausted and ready to stop. I had to turn it around, tell myself that I was close to the last mile, kick it in, just do it. It helped that an APD female runner came up behind me, shouting encouragement and some running tips. Her advice and "good job, runner!" got me through the last quarter mile. I handed off to Darla, who had a good run even though she felt like she should've been faster. Julie had a bad 10K---she looked down into her cup at the water stop and saw something floating and grossed out to the point that she didn't have any more water the rest of the way. Leslie brought it home in Jackie O style with her fashionable headband and sunglasses. Her first race was a success and now that she's gotten the running bug, we'll see her crossing more finish lines in the future. Here's a link for the Austin Fit website, Leslie. http://www.austinfit.com/ If you want to see the training schedule go to Schedules and choose Full Schedule. The password is AUSTINFIT. Look at the orange pace group and you'll see how the marathon & half marathon training is broken down. The schedule posted is last year's....this year's won't be up for another month or so. Despite the heat, the race was a good one. I was impressed with the AFD homemade "slip & slide" (fire truck spraying water over a big blue tarp) and the other activities they had set up like the rock climbing wall, children's mini waterslide and wading pool.
After a wonderful cool shower and a quick nap, I went to see "The War of the Worlds". Without spoiling it for anyone, let me say that this is the scariest movie Steven Spielberg has given us since "Jaws". It isn't horror movie boogie man scary but more of a "wow this seems real" scary. The ideas and plot line were presented in a very logical, reasonable fashion and hooked me in from the beginning. While I thought there could've been a little more character development, I think it is well worth the price of admission, popcorn, a soda and a box of candy...and that is high praise coming from me.
I hope everyone had as great of a weekend as I did!