Sunday, January 27, 2008

Food, Glorious Food

Finally, a post that has nothing to do with riding your bike in the winter!

A few weeks ago, Jon and I devoured an entire recipe of Roasted Cauliflower in one sitting (that is pancetta, not cauliflower, pictured at left). Cooking the cauliflower in an oven at high heat caramelizes the sugars (yes, cauliflower has natural sugars!) and makes it taste candied. Ever since then, I have been literally fantasizing about eating roasted cauliflower again. So it was this past Friday afternoon, instead of doing the company's work, that I was busily figuring out what to make for dinner that could accommodate roasted cauliflower.

A search on my favorite recipe repository for Gourmet and Bon Apetit magazines--
Epicurious--pulled up this recipe for Whole Wheat Linguine with Cauliflower, Pancetta, and Parmesan. I modified the recipe based partly on other readers' comments and partly on my own hankerings. I initially was going to omit the pork (pancetta) and replace it with arugula but in the end I used both. Here is my version of the recipe. Note: this could easily become a vegetarian recipe by omitting the pancetta and replacing the chicken broth with vegetable broth.

Fettucine with Roasted Cauliflower, Pancetta, Arugula, and Two Cheeses

1 recipe Roasted Cauliflower

1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 lb thinly sliced pancetta
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 lb fresh fettucine pasta
4 cups fresh greens such as arugula, chopped chard, or spinach
1/2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/4 cup) plus additional for serving
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Prepare cauliflower according to recipe directions. While cauliflower is cooking, fry pancetta in non-stick pan until crisp. Remove to drain on paper towel lined plate.
Do not wash pan. To the pan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. When hot, add panko bread crumbs and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until golden brown. Transfer to a small plate or bowl to cool.

Cook pasta until al dente, drain.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan. When hot, add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute on moderately high heat for a few minutes. Add broth, continue to cook for several minutes. Add greens and stir until wilted.

Combine all ingredients in a large serving bowl, placing pancetta on top. Serves 6 - 8.

P.S. I have no idea why this picture turned out so yellow, my apologies.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

You Go Girl!

Limits I say..... You've got to set limits on the things you do, when you can. I don't have a parking pass for the BSU campus so my limit has been set by default. I ride my bike to school, I'm limited from parking a car on campus.

This morning it is cold, bitter cold, and Kate was on her bike early heading to work. The paper said this:

Boise, ID
Currently 8 degrees F, sunny

Almost makes you want to ride or walk to work doesn't it? Luckily, we live close enough to our daily grind to ride a bike. It really does feel good to do it, and no it's not just a hippie thing!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sorry, Guys

Image courtesy of

I started to get dressed this morning fully intending to ride my bike to work. Jon asked what the temperature was and I repeated what I heard on our local NPR station this morning. "Nine degrees, with a wind chill of -10." He told me I should drive my truck to work, that I had to set some limits. Perhaps.

When I think about whether I can ride my bike in frigid temperatures, I think about Jill Homer, the Alaska journalist who is training for the human-powered Iditarod race, a multi-day event in which she will bike across the Alaska wilderness in sub-zero temperatures. She chronicles her training in her blog Arctic Glass. Her reasons for riding are different than mine, but an inspiration nonetheless. When I fret about my 1.5 mile commute, I check Jill's blog to see that she rode 22 miles yesterday in 28 degree temperatures.

I console myself with the reminder that driving to work will give me the opportunity to sherpa home the large garbage bag full of empty plastic bottles I have collected at work so they can be recycled.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How to Help Slow Global Warming

Riding your bike to work or school, even when it is only 20 degrees F outside and the streets and sidewalks are covered with snow pack and ice is one way.

I wrote in this post about Boise bicycle commuters and my own limitations. Since then, I have taken to the streets on my bike, weather be damned! Unfortunately, the two days on which I have ridden my bike to work so far have been 1) during a snowstorm and 2) immediately after a series of snow days when the temperature was forecasted at 14 but fortunately climbed to 20.

I just kept telling myself to think of the polar bears and their melting ice sheets!

Honestly, it's not too terrible. Here is what I was wearing today:

winter biking tights
wool socks
cotton short-sleeved t-shirt
polypropylene long-sleeved shirt
cashmere scarf
my very toasty North Face jacket with quilted liner
polypropylene skull cap
wool took hat
bicycle helmet
biking gloves

By the time I arrived at work, my core body was overly warm, but my finger, toes, and face were very cold. I could have used my face mask (couldn't find it this morning) and some additional protection for my hands and feet.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Magazine and Marketing Rant

Call me ungrateful, but when I subscribed to Yoga Journal, I never expected that my contact information would be sold to sundry fitness companies. As far as I can recall, there was no disclaimer or ability to opt out. There was no mention of it whatsoever and I am now receiving catalogs from Champion and Everlast to name a few.

I called Yoga Journal to have myself removed from this "feature" but I am so incensed that I will not be renewing my subscription. I have a lot of respect for the content and contributors of Yoga Journal Magazine and for the organization as a whole--I held them to a high(er) moral standard.

The moral, however, is that Yoga Journal is certainly owned by some media conglomerate to whom I paid money for the magazine and who in turn marketed and sold my demographic information for an additional profit. I feel totally duped. Now I am left to suffer the conscious and practical burden of unwanted mail and wasted resources as a result of printing, manufacturing, and the transportation of said unwelcome solicitations.

I've heard that the magazine industry on the whole is suffering because paper subscriptions are down. They will soon suffer the loss of one more customer! Arrrrrgggghhh!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Fluffy White Stuff

Our part of the country has been seeing alot of precipitation lately. Jon is in Salt Lake City this week snowboarding on 14 plus inches of fresh powder with friends from Raleigh while I am at home taking pictures and digging out the driveway.

Snow falling in front yard and driveway.

A few inches in the back yard.

Always good to know where you are in a snowstorm.

Snow-covered lilac branches.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

New Beginnings

I don't plan to do much reflecting on last year, but instead just look forward to the coming one.

While in Florida for the Christmas holiday, we took an unplanned side-trip up to Gainesville, where several of my college friends are now living. We had less than 24 hours there, but we made the most of it. Citra Super hosted an amazing barbecue on such short notice with grilled steak, chicken, portabello mushrooms, and vegetable kabobs. We watched members of Holopaw and Elephant Parade duke it out on the ping pong table which sits prominently in the front yard. I saw Shena and Estelle's dad smile once again since losing Leila. In fact, we all smiled and laughed again, gathered together for happier times.

We were invited to stay the night with Sarah and Don and their new baby Dylan. Don made the fluffiest scrambled eggs I have ever eaten and served them with fruit and freshly baked biscuits for breakfast the next morning. He says you can learn alot about cooking from watching The Sopranos. Sour cream is the secret mafia ingredient.

We rounded out the visit with a stop at Burrito Brothers for an epic meal.

We said goodbye yesterday to our first Boise friends, Mike and Roxanne. They are off to try their lots in the big city of San Francisco. Jon and I met some new friends on New Year's Eve and we are excited about kindling new relationships in Boise.

After I wrapped up work yesterday, we drove up to our local Bogus Basin resort and I got to test out what I learned in my pre-Christmas snowboarding lessons. I was really nervous going up the lift the first few times, but I was starting to get the hang of the lift and the bunny slope by the end of the evening. I'm looking forward to staying active this winter.

As far as resolutions go, Jon and I are both trying to be more conscientious about our diets. I am adding more fruit to mine and we are both in general trying to curb our natural tendencies towards expansion by eating less and exercising more. One of the best things I have learned from Jon is that exercise doesn't have to be drudgery; it can be an excuse to get outside.

Personally, I am trying to reinvigorate my daily yoga practice. I forgot an important birthday this year and so I am also working on being mindful of important dates. And finally, we can all learn to practice more tolerance towards ourselves and others and I am no exception.