Saturday, August 29, 2009

Madison Mini Marathon!!!

Another digressive, non-food-related blog post. This morning, my better half and I ran the inaugural Madison Mini Marathon (which was, in fact, a half marathon. Thirteen miles and change). It was our big race for the summer, and only the fourth foot-race I've ever run. It was quite chilly for August, and overcast as well - almost ideal running conditions. But as you can see from the way I am cheerfully snuggled into my sweatshirt in the photo above, it was VERY cold once the running stopped and the resting began. The explicit purpose of this post is to crow about my 1:43:47 finish, which was well within both my stated personal goal (less than 2 hours) and my actual personal goal (less than 1:45). I felt like I was going to purge my breakfast onto the pavement at the end, which is a sign that one has given until one could give no more, running-wise, and my legs felt like two wooden planks. By the time I was able to locate Caleb in the crowd so that he could use our gear-check tag to get my sweatshirt, I was halfway between shivering and teeth-chattering. One decontaminating shower and restorative nap later and I'm feeling pretty good about the whole episode, but unsure whether a full marathon is in my future. Running is such a mentally demanding sport; I'm not sure if I have the toughness above the shoulders to take it to the next competitive level.

Food-related posts will resume with the beginning of the Two Dudes' school year, hopefully. Fall is nearly upon us, and with it some of my favorite cooking of the year - one-pot, slow-cooked dinners that spend all day developing big flavors on a small budget. Example: anything with the word blanquette in it. How great is it that a food that gets you satisfyingly warm is called, well, a blanket? I wish I would have had one on me this morning after the race. A stew OR a blanket, either would have done nicely.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, Caleb and Barack Obama!!!

Today is not only the birthday of Our President, Barack Obama, it is also the birthday of my really quite wonderful husband of ten years, Caleb. Even before there were Two Dudes to cook for and with, he was the first Dude in my kitchen and has put up with a wife who is inclined to flights of fancy in the kitchen with general good humor, perhaps because he usually likes to eat what I'm cooking. A brief food-based history of my husband and I:

When we were dating, before they met him, my family suspected he was gay because of his willingness to go to the Farmer's Market with me and shop for fresh herbs, and more so when they heard of his appreciation of my pork tenderloin accompanied by plums ("Men," my older sister warned me, "don't understand meat with fruit.") He did a convincing imitation of enjoying cooking with me until we got married, at which point he abandoned the kitchen altogether. He learned to cook absolutely nothing from his mother, and spent his bachelor years eating frozen dinners and dried pasta with Newman's Own sauce, despite what is in fact a pretty discerning palate. He's a very private dude - this blog post is quite possibly his worst nightmare. I became very upset with him one summer when, after an entire month's worth of half-eaten pastries, he finally confessed that he "doesn't like pie after the first day." (this has changed, thank goodness.) He can actually cook anything he puts his mind to, including lasagna, but doesn't like to share the kitchen. He is also, as you can see above, cute as a sackful of puppies.

The dish you see my birthday-celebrating husband eating above is called Beef In Barolo, one of those recipes that transforms an inexpensive cut of beef into a delicious entree by cooking it for hours submerged in a pricey bottle of wine. Barolo, which I have never actually sipped from a glass, reportedly sells for $30 a bottle everywhere except for Trader Joe's, where it can be had for $13. Sadly, this is still on the spendy side for me when it comes to wine, but whenever they have it in stock at T.J.'s, I pick up a bottle to keep in reserve. If you have a bottle of Barolo in the pantry and a chuck roast in the freezer, you have a really lovely and presentable falling-apart-meat-and-sauce main course for your family or a cozy winter dinner party. If there is enough interest in this, I will post the recipe and then you can all rush down to Trader Joe's and ask for their $13 Barolo, which will create demand and subsequently a more consistent supply of cheap Barolo at all of their locations, hopefully including the one I shop at. Everybody wins!!!