November 8, 2011

A Run, a Smoothie, and a Bean Query

Well, it’s official. I’m in marathon-training mode. Coming from the girl who failed every presidential physical fitness test and mile run, this may sound like madness, but indeed it’s true. I’ve signed up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon, along with my brother’s girlfriend and my childhood best friend. It’s something I’ve thought about for three years now, and I finally said “I’m gonna do it.” And I will. We don’t have a time goal, just completion- but I’m competitive enough to try to get to the point where I can run without walking intervals for a decent stretch. Two weeks into training, I’m on track to run 13 miles at the end of February. Keeping this up in icy-cold NYC should prove interesting… I’ll keep you posted.

Post-run, I needed a quick snack with tastiness and some sugar so it was smoothie time!

Super simple: Continue reading

November 4, 2011

Bed and Breakfasts

One of my favorite things about bed and breakfasts, is of course, the breakfast.

Last spring, Mike surprised tried to surprise me with a weekend getaway. He told me to keep a particular weekend free because he had something planned, but I’m just awful with surprises. Now if I didn’t know there was something coming, I would be pleasantly shocked when the unexpected revealed itself.  But if I know there is a surprise, I want to know what it is. I’m like a six-year old in that regard. We spent hours debating how he could have actually surprised me, and I think it comes down to a fake plan and lying, which is probably not the best solution.

Anyhow, things at work were six-days-a-week busy to the point that on Sundays all that we did was laundry, necessary errands, and watch movies. Mike wanted to do something fun, so he booked us a stay at the top-ranked B&B up in Mystic Connecticut where we could visit the Aquarium and explore the town on bikes. He picked this one because of the rave reviews for their breakfasts. (I think the boy might know me pretty well…) Little did Mike realize, March in Mystic is in the realm of freezing temperatures.  No bike riding for us, but bundled up in winter gear with gloves, we did visit the aquarium and penguins.

  I spent an inordinate amount of time petting rays and sharks for a person in their mid-twenties… Continue reading

October 29, 2011

October Snow – Pea Dumplings

It’s truly snowing in New York City… in October…

I remember when I was little, all dressed up for Halloween in a princess or angel costume, and my mom made me wear a light jacket or sweatpants over my outfit because there was a chill in the air.  When I was older and went trick or treating with friends, I’d opt to go without the jacket and just be a bit cold.  This year, it’s literally snowing outside two days before Halloween.

I can envision trick-or-treaters in parkas and snow boots, costumes completely hidden and unnecessary.

Yesterday, on my way home from work, I popped in Essex Street Market. I’d never been there because Mike told me it always smells like fish. Curiosity got the best of me and I ventured inside. Overwhelming fish stench; Yes, it definitely smells like fish.

I ran past the endless counters of fish, seeking refuge in the produce section. The prices didn’t seem any better than Keyfood or East Village farms. But, wait! There were sets of veggies wrapped and labelled “$1.00” because there was an excess in the last shipment. I’ll take it! I grabbed some veg for snacks, looked around for some pre-made dumpling sauce (I am in love with Ling Ling dumpling sauce that comes with the potstickers I used to eat by the sackful and wish I had a bottle of it) but alas, I couldn’t find any. I checked out  and I was on my merry way.

Since seeing this 101 cookbooks recipe earlier in the month, I have been curious how difficult it would be to make dumplings. It’s been a month of dumpling-filled dreams, and finally last night Mike and I gave them a try. Earlier in the week I picked up some green onions, ginger, won ton wrappers and bok choy. A cute little cabbage Mike purchased also sat in the fridge. Next to the cabbage was a bowl of wet split peas.

A few things I learned about split peas:

  • The bag says to soak them. Websites say not to. I’m not sure what’s right.
  • They don’t hold their form when they’re cooking. That should have been fairly obvious because they are split and not covered in skin, yet it completely surprised me.
  • I shouldn’t have used so much water. I ended up with a thin pea broth that I had to boil for a crazy long time to reduce it down to a usable pea mush. Had I known they don’t cook like beans, I would have planned that better.
  • Peas make foam! A LOT of foam! I didn’t know what to do with it at first, and then I read that you should skim it off. The stove was covered in white froth, and the whole apartment smelled like peas.
  • I’m not so sure I enjoy cooking split peas.
After the peas were done, I got cracking on the rest of the recipe.  I modified the 101 cookbooks recipe by using green peas, added in cabbage, used red onions instead of shallots because we had a cut red onion in the fridge that I wanted to get out of there, and we used red pepper flakes heated in oil instead of serrano chilles for the sauce.  I admit it was a big project, but it was also pretty fun.
First up, chopping some scallions.

Make the scallion oil…

Set it aside, make the filling according to directions and mix in some sauteed cabbage. Grab your wrappers– I got these at Key Food. Octoberfest optional.

Fill up some wontons with a scoop of cabbage-pea mixture…

Leave them be for a triangular potsticker, or form them into a wonton-y shape.  I liked the triangles.

Pop them in a pan with a tiny bit of oil… Continue reading
October 20, 2011

Feelin’ Good Spaghetti Squash!

I just got back from a great day at work, a trip to the tailor, and a run… I’m feelin’ good!

What’s for dinner?  How about something that will keep me feeling light and spry?

Looks like spaghetti… but it’s not!

I’m not going to lie and say it tastes like spaghetti, because, well, it tastes like squash.  But with a nice dose of parmigianno reggiano and a sprinkling of herbs from our “garden” ?  …Can you even call three pots between two apartment buildings a garden? Continue reading