Thursday, June 28, 2007

Baked Sea Bass

Other people's food allergies/diseases makes me venture outside of my normal eating habits, which is always a good thing.

I am going back to the beginning of June to entertain you with another food story. If you want to get exotic food, go to any ethnic grocery. In Lancaster all we have is Spanish, Asian and Italian/Greek. The last four years I have met many people that have Celiac Disease. I read ingredient labels all the time - that's why it takes me twice as long to shop than it does for Brad. But I have to be more aware of the ingredients when it comes to wheat/gluten intolerance and/or Celiac Disease.

This was the week after the Memorial Day races and we were having my teammates stay with us after the Lancaster/Triple Crown Series Races. My Kiwi mate has the food issues with wheat/gluten and a previous Kiwi racer and fabulous friend that stayed with us years ago did too, so I knew what to shop for - the Asian market for the rice noodles.

I shopped on a Friday so the store gets fresh veggies (veggies I never seen or cooked before), homemade tofu and fresh fish, probably all from Philadelphia. I saw a cooler full of Sea Bass. It was $3.99 a pound. I LOVE Sea Bass (Chilean). The sign only said Sea Bass, though. It was the whole fish, not just the white meaty flesh all cleaned and fillet. Sea Bass from where? Did it matter? It's $3.99 a pound. Cleaned and fillet - it runs about $20+ a pound in Lancaster County. I pondered the thought of buying some. I called Brad. No answer. I wandered the store. (The store is not big.) I come back to the Sea Bass. I look at it thinking it will speak to me. I called Brad again. I wait. Called some more. He hates when I do that. But I did not want to decide on my own. I wanted him to say; "Sure, honey. Buy a bunch of fish with heads on it. I know how to fillet them, no problem." Grrrrr. Fine. I buy two. I was all excited.

After the CSC race, we came home for a fabulous dinner of flat iron steak, veggies and little white potatoes (I think they call these salt potatoes in Syracuse if you soak them in salt water. I will have to try it the next time.) Oh and the sea bass. Brad was not about to touch the fish. It was ALL me. Damn. I whipped out my hot pink dish washing gloves and a bad knife. We did not have the appropriate "fillet" knife. Leeanne supervised me by telling me to gut the fish. Then rip off the head. I had difficulty doing both as I squirmed a bit at the idea of ripping off the head (the damn knife did not cut it - Ha!). Leeanne was a sweetheart! She took my gloves and the awful knife and finished the job off for me. (I would not make it in the mob)

I ran and got the computer to double check what we needed to do to fillet a fish. Because the knife sucked, we could not follow the instructions. We (Leeanne) gutted the fish and de-headed it. Then she did her best to cut it open along the spine. I smeared butter and sprinkled my cajun seasoning on it. We cooked it at 400 for 15-20 minutes. I had the first taste. Hmmmm yummy! I de-boned it and placed the white succulent flesh on a separate plate for serving. It was so tasty, I left the fish for my mates and honey and I sucked the meat off of the bones as to not let any food go to waste. I think it was a hit as I had a brand new fillet knife on the bar the next day. (Thanks honey!)

I have not bought fresh fish yet. When I do, I will let you know how the filleting knife works.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Basque Skillet Beans

I had a pot-luck meeting to attend, wrapping up our Sense of Wonder - nature camp for girls, so I prepared this dish from the Moosewood Restaurant New Classics Cookbook.

1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
1/4 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 cup chopped onions
1 minced fresh chile (seeds removed for a milder hot)
1 3/4 cups canned tomatoes with juice (14.5-ounce can)
1/4 cup dry sherry (I sub. mirin)
3 cups cooked chickpeas (2 15-ounce cans, drained and rinsed - I substituted cannellini beans)
10 ounces fresh spinach, rinsed, stemmed and chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste

In a small heat-proof bowl, cover the saffron with the boiling water - set aside.

In a 12 inch skillet, warm the olive oil on medium heat & saute the garlic, onions and the chiles for about 5 minutes. I didn't have the chiles so I used roasted chili paste - about a teaspoon worth. Using your hands, crush the tomatoes into the skillet. I actually did this and made a MESS even with my Calphalon huge arse wok-like pan - yet I had fund doing so. Add the juice from the can (it happened while I crushed the toms with my hands anyways) add the sherry (did not have any so I used mirin), and the saffron with its soaking liquid.

Stir in the chickpeas (cannellini beans) and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Arrange the spinach on top and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook - 5 minutes - until the spinach is wilted but still bright green. Remove from heat and mix in the spinach. season with lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. (lots of sea salt and pepper for me!)

The beauty of Moosewood - they note servings, prep & cook time and caloric information.

Serves 4 to 6, total time: 40 minutes (I usually reduce the serving size and double the time to prep and cook)
Per 10 ounce serving: 229 calories, 8.1 g protein 6.3 g fat, 33.9 g carbs, .8 g saturated fatty acids, zero mg cholesterol, 562.2 mg sodium, 6.5 g total dietary fiber.

Oh, and they give little tidbits on the dish, how the ingredients complement each other, or how this is Aunt Bessie's favorite dish because it would remind her of her love affair in Spain (oh, just kidding. If they would only be that colorful).

The meal is perfect for vegans and people that cannot eat wheat or gluten (celiac disease). I made a pot of brown rice with wild rice as a side.

Brad commented how he new the fabulous smell was coming from our house as he was riding home. He was excited dinner was ready, too. "Sorry honey, I am off to a meeting - with the dinner." We had leftovers - even better so dinner was ready after our Wednesday Worlds (that he won.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Upstate NY - the home of Wegmans

Sheba had not been to a Wegmans let alone a Super Store Wegmans. Wegmans is like a Whole Foods but better. It has the normal bad grocery store food and the whole foods, organic, gourmet, bulk foods, prepared food, patio furniture, dishes, candles, many non-food things except clothes.

The Bon Jovi Cruise that got canceled was replaced with a shopping spree at Wegmans with us "buying lunch" for an early dinner at Jan's with a mellow visit to Green Lakes Park.

We are lucky we made it to Green Lakes Park as the "let's focus and be quick" so we do not spend two hours grocery shopping. Hmmmmm. I want to blame it on Sheba. I do but I am just as bad; we are too much alike. I have shopped at Wegmans before but my head was still swirling with all the wonderful prepared salads, olive bar, cheese selection, bad food section (pizza! Chinese food, ...) I called Karen to let her know we had arrived at Wegmans (1:30 pm). I call her around 2 ish to let her know we are just about done shopping and Sheba discovers the bulk CANDY section. Half an hour later, we were still milling around sampling Italian blood orange soda with french vanilla ice cream and Karen called. So how are you doing?! "We are heading to the checkout line." It was as if a scavenger hunt began and we scattered in 20 directions. I ran for ice cream (we loved the ice cream sodas), Sheba for the Smart Water, and the cart off to one of THIRTY-ONE checkout lines.

One last detour - the "gumball" machines in the entrance/exit area. Happy Bunny Stickers. I didn't know anything about them but I fell for it. We scrambled for all the quarters we could find to get Happy Bunny Stickers. Now I want this one.

Green Lakes State Park has two glacial lakes surrounded by upland forest. Both Round and Green Lakes are meromictic lakes, which means that there is no fall and spring mixing of surface and bottom waters. Such lakes have a high potential for evidence of ancient plant and animal life.

The perks of racing

Great cities, people, cool aunts/friends/family, food. Reading, Rochester Twilight Crit, Syracuse Wegmans SUPER store with my evil twin Sheba and my mates.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Just say NO to Disco

I must remember not to pack my ipod in my cycling bag that gets put in the trunk when we travel. I found "Flashback weekend" on Sunny 102.1 - from Phoenix, NY.

I think we caught the disco weekend! Not quite race music but I deemed it podium music. Shake your Booty, Love will keep us together, The Hustle, More than a Woman, Staying Alive ... So we laughed and sang, all dreaming of podium spots for our team.

I do not like driving LONG distances anymore for racing, especially for criteriums because the time on the bike is WAY less than the time in the car. Since I am on a crit monster team, I try to make mini-vacations, parties or adventures in the cities we race. Sometimes the cities make the adventures or parties for us! (Watch out Charlotte class reunions) On that note, I want to highly recommend the Saturn Rochester Twilight Criterium to everyone racer (especially the women!!!) and non-racer. It is a fabulous course to race and spectate. The city of Rochester has a population of about 220,000 with buidings in the downtown area that look like they were out of the batman movies. Now this is from 1995 so no batman buildings yet.

The crowds were fantastic. The event was screaming loud with cool pump you up race music with Richard Fries loosing his voice. I love him because he makes everyone shine in the race, whether you are on the front or on the back of the field (another opportunity for the Bellie to be waving to the crowd as I was still attached to the bunch). The race was fast, dry and technical with all the turns, man-hole covers and grates. A smaller women's field made it even more challenging with the the wind but it rocked. We did our best attacking halfway through the race and covering the major players. Others helped as the race almost came down to a field sprint until Jesse McLean attacked from the back right of the bunch on the backside of the course in the final lap (I could not react fast enough because of her amazing explosiveness!!). She had a gap of a few seconds and held it to the finish. We did not get to Shake our Booty on the podium this time. Hopefully another day soon.


My friend and training partner, Karen was so gracious to lean on some friends in Syracuse for host housing for Hub Racing. We rolled in Friday night around 11:30 to a spacious house that backs up to a golf course. We grabbed our beds and were out for the night.

I rode with Ron and Karen for an hour + flat ride. It was a beautiful cool morning as I wore a wind breaker on the way out. The weather was unseasonably cool with the high at 19C/66F. We passed a farm that had at least 7 foals ranging in age from a couple days old to weeks old. They were the cutest little buggers.

When we got back, Ron and Karen took Leeanne and Beca out on their mid-morning ride to see those baby foals, too.

Lunch was in the village of Liverpool, NY was at the Retreat. Karen worked in Syracuse years ago and one of her friends, Ray, took us to the old hangout. The restaurant got slammed as we placed our order so we ended up freezing our butts off on the desk for two hours. It is the end of June. I am excited about this weather but wow, we truly froze. Ray was our "Bon Jovi boat cruise" connection. I found out on Friday that the "cruise" was to take place on Wellesley Island in the 1000 Island region - not the Finger Lakes, hence the need for passports. A death of a friend canceled the "cruise" adventure. After Ray met the bubbly Hub Racers, he too, was saddened that the adventure had to be canceled. Maybe Bon Jovi will be releasing a new album again around this time next year so we can help promote it. (I'm not a Bon Jovi fan, really. I just got stuck growing up in the 1980s) Gosh, those screaming women sound like the Bob Barker contestants. Binky, this is for you: The Price is Right (Another confession: I loved that game show!) I think the invitation for the boat ride, I mean "cruise" will be available next year so maybe we will have a full roster for the Saturn Rochester Twilight Criterium. Binky, I am finding you a job on the East Coast so no more excuses.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Full Hub Racing Roster for Father's Day Weekend

There has been a lot of transporting this weekend for racing, team dinners, shopping and riding. I have lost lots of sleep and my legs are humming from it and from the intense racing.

I am tempted to cheat and link you to my teammates blogs about the weekend. Their writing is more entertaining than mine, too. I hope they all landed safely in NZL, ONT, UK, CA and drove safely to WV.

Okay. I will make you cheat. Some of the links are to the left and are updated regularly.

I am going to work on that sleep. Bonne nuit.

Liberty Classic 2007 - Laughing (no group)

Lap 3 - the Wall after stopping halfway through to let the pro-men's field pass. Surprisingly, the spectators at my "rest stop" did not have ANY beer. Around the 2nd steep section, I held my hand out and someone obliged me.

As my one of my teammate's laughed, I had been caught - red handed!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Angelina Jolie

I happened to be up late f*%#*$'n putzing with packing and laundry. I watched the Jon Stewart Show and she was the guest promoting her new movie, A Mighty Heart.

Jon asked Angelina Jolie if her Pakistani Burka can contain her hotness. Need I say more?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bags and Boxers

My third week of Build turned into a rest week once the stay over in Philly Sunday night rocked my week. Monday, Jdub and I did head bobs and blinking eyes rolls as we tried to look awake all day at our respective jobs (in different states) as the five cups of coffee, 2 diet cokes and handful of espresso beans didn't work. I took another easy day because of the fabulous cool, rainy weather in June. Still tired, I took a trip to Oz as we had threats of tornadoes. I have written before about my great excuses not to ride. How am I doing? The threats of tornadoes were true, thanks to global warming, probably. I believed those threats. At least I rode the computrainer for half an hour watching the news breaking weather reports. After that, I was done for the week. Bleary eyed on Thursday, I tried the computrainer one more time but never made it to the bike. I detoured to my friend's kitchen and had coffee with her.

Tonight, I went shopping with my teammates. We did my favorite shopping - food shopping. Off to Costco for gas and our usual, Nature Valley trail mix bars, Kirkland juice, yogurt, frozen ravoli and I walked out with mocha coffeecake (for Brad's team race on Sunday, right!), mixed nuts, Terra chips, whole grain parmesan cracker bread, gourmet flatbread, ummm, and honey. I forgot to buy the bulk Ghrardelli chocolate squares so I wandered aimlessly in TJMAX at the gourmet food section. The selection lacked a bit of solid chocolates. Too many chocolate covered I don't know whats.

My basic leather purse of 15+ years broke over the weekend so I spent way too much time looking at purses and bags at TJMAX. I was overwhelmed. I could not break down and buy another purse. What seems to be back in style is in my attic. I am definitely not fashion conscious. Tomorrow, I will dig through boxes to find that woven, bamboo, flowery bag from the Philippines. I did find a cool bag and in my team colors, too. It is actually a market tote that is foldable and light weight. I am a sucker for bags. I love to buy them from my travels. It's pretty bad when I get excited over the Whole Foods shopping bags. They are a dollar and come in many varieties - how exciting!

We shopped at Ollies, too, because I got a tip they had upright ACs for sale. Well, they did not or were out of them and I ended up buying two cookbooks and body spray. It was an evening of mindless shopping for everything and anything. Hmmm. Dangerous for the wallet that I didn't buy at TJMAX. Those flashy little buggers were more expensive than my purse budget! Oh, I am not a true shopper.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Liberty Classic 2007

We survived the first lap - rubber side down. I made it to the climb clinging to the tail end of the pack as it stretched up the Manayunk Wall. Here are a few pictures as I lost contact over the top and did not get reconnected.

I will post later on the adventures of laps 2 and 3. I will say I was impressed that I could ride the wall one-handed. It was right after this section that I grabbed a beer from a spectator and had a swig. I would have loved to have chugged the bugger but I could not breath, even going my beer drinking pace up the Wall.

Photos are complements of a local photography from the DC/Maryland area, Dennis Smith.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

National Racing Calendar - East Coast

Snapshots as I am 2 wks behind on the posting...

I had my first weekend of speed racing Memorial Day weekend at BikeJam and Somerville. I hung on like a champ and tried to work the leadout train for my teammates. BikeJam did not go so well for me but I hung on and we all avoided crashes. Jenette Williams (J-dub) finished 5th.

Somerville was another adventure with Jdub flying from the middle of the pack for 8th. Again, Dale Tye and I avoided crashes but that left me out of position to help with the leadout.

CSC - Got too comfortable in the first four laps (what was I thinking?!!) and eventually lost contact with the main group as the hammer went down. Jdub and DT rocked and rolled with the pack and finished 16th & 26th.

I will post later about the Triple Crown Series. I love the series as it starts in my home town. My 'mates were in town since CSC so I was pre-occupied with being Momma Michele. Air mattresses and laptops everywhere and AC units blowing out circuits with over use last week.