Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Foods of Summer

I have to admit that I haven't had the most exciting diet this summer, if you can even call these rainy days a summer.

Anyway, with the Seattle Century around the corner, I've been focusing my diet on things rich in protein, lean, etc. So I've been eating a lot of smoothies for dinner. I have to say that I have mastered the smoothie (finally). First, you put the ice in (I use about 6-8 cubes) and crush. Then I had 1/4 cup juice and blend. Then 1/4 cup greek yogurt and 1-2 spoonfulls of peanut butter. Then half a frozen banana and some frozen berries. You can use any fruit you like a smoothie flavored after. I like blackberry. It's sort of like a peanut butter and jelly smoothie. Delish!

But I haven't been eating smoothies every day and despite the crappy weather, the Ballard Market has managed to provide me with greens and radishes and beats and other delightful things. And Seafood Fest gave me a whole salmon at $2/pound. Ridiculous pricing. I wish I had gotten pictures of the whole deboning process (which I mangled). But all of these things together have given me some super fresh dinners.

After deboning the salmon, I marinated it in a dressing made with lime juice, vinegar, olive oil, thyme, salt & pepper. I cooked at low heat in the oven. The fish turned out super tender but I kind of overdid it with the lime. Still, doesn't it look pretty? The medjool dates were a wonderful addition. But I kind of think they always are.

The salmon being too tart ended up being kind of glorious because I turned some of the salmon into magnificent salmon salad sandwiches. I used a small amount of tartar in place of mayo, and then diced up radishes, carrots, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes, and threw in a pinch of my mom's zuchini relish. It was pretty much in my top 5 sandwiches of all time. And I wish I had a picture of that too.

A couple weeks ago, I house/dog sat for my parents. With the Century coming up, I didn't want to give up a weekend training ride so I brought my bike down with me. I sought out a ride with at least one big hill that would be about 40-45 miles. It turned out to be the most beautiful ride I have yet to do. The weather cooperated. And it was so smooth on a beautiful bike path, I rode through farm land, prairie, and right up the base of Mount Rainier. Almost the whole ride, I could see it shiny in the distance.

Then I got to feast off of strawberries from my mom's garden and a veggie pasta tossed lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper.

It was simple, light, and totally rejuvenating after a long ride.

While I've been having my usual egg on toast for breakfast, and most often a smoothie for dinner of late, I have still be trying to cook something big each week to take for lunch. This week it was fried rice. I had one of those days where it just sounded so damned good. And I almost never cook rice (usually subbing quinoa for any situation where it would be appropriate). But I really wanted rice.

I started with jasmine rice (which I had to go out and buy since I don't keep it on hand). I put two cups in my steamer and let it go. Then let it sit for two nights. When the rice was ready, I pulled out my big frying pan (because I haven't yet bought a stinking wok) and put some olive oil in at medium heat and let it warm up. Then I tossed a diced walla walla onion and a mashed and chopped giant clove of garlic in the pan. I let them brown and soften slowly. Then I tossed in some diced mixed peppers (some red, yellow, and orange). I don't like it when my peppers get all mushy so I didn't leave them in too long. Then I doused them in hot chili sauce and soy sauce. I wanted to make sure there was a nice flavorful sauce. Here I added some baked tofu. I made sure they were nicely coated and warm and then, finally, tossed in the rice. I mixed and mixed until my arms were sore. That was a lot of rice. I mixed until the rice was fully coated and warm. Then I added peas and mixed. Then, I made a hole in the rice, dropped in an egg, and mixed until it was mixed and cooked.

It's maybe not the best fried rice I've ever made. Mostly because I really didn't care for the Trader Joes Baked Tofu. I really wanted the protein but I've picked around it and it's still pretty damned good.

I've also had a few failed attempts at homemade mayo. It turned out like mayo, but I haven't gotten the vinegar ratio like I like it. And I also made meringue because you only use the yolks when you make mayo, so you have to do something with the whites. What better than meringue, eh? Soon I might try my hand at marshmallow though.

Up next, and soon, tales of pork ribs on the barbie. Yum!

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