Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Butter Made Me Do It

Two summers ago, I started running.

I was laid off from my job, and—having no clue what to do next—I went through a bit of a quarter life crisis. So I channeled all of my creative energy into cooking and starting this blog, and all of my physical energy into running. That summer I ran my first race—the Ragnar Relay. Ragnar is a 24 hour, 187 mile team relay race, starting in Blaine (near the Canadian border) and ending on Whidbey Island. Each team has 12 people, who each run 3 legs of the race. That first year, my three legs added up to a total of 11 miles. I had never accomplished a physical feat like that. Then last summer, I ran my first half marathon, and completed my second Ragnar Relay—my legs adding up to over 17 miles.

I still wouldn’t say that I’m an amazing runner—it doesn’t come easy to me. It’s really hard, actually. But I love the way it feels to physically and mentally push myself further each time. This summer, I really pushed myself. It’s crazy what the human body and mind can do. I ran my second half marathon in June, and my third Ragnar Relay in July. The night before Ragnar, when I was packing my running pants and Cliff bars, I tripped over a suitcase—my toe got caught inside of it, and rest of me kept going. The pain in my foot was so intense that I couldn't stand for several minutes. The next thing I knew, my toe was twice the size it was supposed to be, and I couldn’t put weight on it. I had fifteen miles to run in the next 24 hours.

I switched my first leg with a teammate—limping through his 3 and a half mile run, instead of the six and a half miler I was supposed to do. Then, at 2AM, I had no choice but to run my second leg—five and half miles, straight up hill. It was miserable. I actually cried while I was running. Partially because I was pissed that people were passing me, but mostly because my foot really, really hurt. On my third leg, I knew that I had a bucket of ice and lots of rest ahead of me, so I pushed it, hard, and ran through the pain. My foot hurt so bad after that race, that I’ve stayed off of it since. The pain, and the fear of injuring myself further (with another half marathon just two months away), have kept me from running. Not only that, once you take time off, even just a few weeks, it’s difficult to get back in it.  Ya need a little push.

Today, I got the push I needed…in the form of butter. Lots and lots of butter. So much butter that I was more than motivated to put on my running shoes and give it a go. My foot’s still not healed, but thanks to Sasha, of Global Table Adventures, I got my groove back… or at least consumed so much butter when I made her Salvadoran Breakfast Cakes, that not running wasn’t an option.

Sasha’s cakes, known as quesadillas in El Salvador, are like buttery muffins—tender, light, and dense all at once. They’re sweet, but also tangy from sour cream, and nutty from parmesan cheese and the crunchy sesame seed topping. She recommends serving them with coffee, which I think is more of a requirement than a recommendation—a hot cup of bold, black coffee is exactly what you need to cut through the richness of the cakes. I would also suggest letting them cool to room temperature—at least an hour—before eating. Otherwise they’ll be so buttery that the requisite cup of coffee will slip right through your hands.

Oh yeah, and don’t forget that post-cake run.

PS. They’re also gluten free! See link above for the recipe.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Another Pie

Another week, another pie. A lot like this one, but with apricots. And bing cherries. 

And one lucky Rainier cherry that somehow found its way into the pie. Kinda like the baby in a king cake.

Amanda found the lucky cherry. Does that mean she has to make the next pie? 


Monday, August 8, 2011

Sour (Ice) Cream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for… sour cream? That’s right, sour cream…ice cream. Believe it or not, it’s delicious. Even a little addicting. It’s tangy, a little sweet, and ah.may.zing.. Especially with a slice of fruit pie. Or on its own. I’m actually eating a dish of it…right this very second. And by a dish of it, I mean the entire container.

Sure, if you think about the fact that you’re shoveling spoonful after spoonful of sour cream into your mouth, then it’s kinda weird. But when you taste it…{swoon} you’ll throw all those weird feelings out the window, because—trust me—you’ll want nothing more than to devour every last scoop of this frozen wonder, and then even lick the bowl clean.

Since this ice cream doesn’t have an eggy-custard base, it’s a breeze to make (with an ice cream maker). I usually decide to make ice cream about 1 hour before I want to serve it (or eat it by myself, hoping Evan won’t walk in as I’m tilting the ice cream freezer toward my mouth) so bases that have to be cooked and the chilled before churning generally don’t work out for me. If with nothing else in life, I’m at least spontaneous with my ice cream maker.  

 PS. Evan hates sour cream and refuses to try this. If you know sour cream haters, first consider whether or not you still want to be friends with them (because that’s just crazy), and then offer them some tangy vanilla ice cream. Feel free to break the news to them after their 3rd serving.

MmmmHMMMM… who hates sour cream now, sucker?

Sour Cream Ice Cream
Inspired by Food Network

1 pound sour cream
1 cup half and half
1 cup sugar
Juice of 1 small lime
1 teaspoon vanilla
*ice cream machine

Whisk together sour cream and half-and-half, then add the sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Once combined, churn in an ice cream machine. If it’s still runny, freeze to harden before serving. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Burning Beast 2011

A big open field and 15 of Seattle’s top chefs, all cooking and smoking various meats over open flame—am I referring to heaven, you ask? No, my friends, what I'm talking about is right here in Washington. Behold: Burning Beast—an event for people who love food, love to eat…and don’t mind getting a little messy. Sophisticated and rugged all at once, Burning Beast is my new favorite place on earth.

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