Tag Archives: New Zealand

Do not touch

I have the hardest time leaving my food alone while it’s cooking. Maybe it’s from watching too much Iron Chef.

For some reason, when I put something in a hot pan, I feel the urge to wave the pan around: a circular flourish, flames kissing the bottom of the skillet as I toss its beautifully-browned contents (exotic secret ingredients!) into the air and then effortlessly catch them again.

But of course, I’m no Iron Chef. And there are no flames leaping from my electric stove. And I don’t cook with exotic secret ingredients. And lord knows I cannot catch.

It’s kind of funny how the urge to stir and toss strikes when it’s exactly the opposite that’s needed. Tonight, as I hovered over a pan of cubed tofu, I had to constantly remind myself: Do not touch. Do not move that food. No spatula. No touch, no touch, no touchy touch touch.

The reward was well worth a little patience: perfectly browned cubes that had no problem standing up to a hearty curry sauce.

Recipe: Curry Noodles with Tofu [Adapted from a Food & Wine recipe for Vegetarian Red Curry Noodles, which I would argue is not actually vegetarian because it contains fish sauce…not that I really care, but DERP, F&W, get it right!]

Using pre-crushed garlic, ginger and lemongrass, this dish came together very quickly and was bursting with flavor: more like a spicy stir-fry than a traditional soupy curry.

A crisp white always goes well with spicy food:

This Cottesbrook 2010 Sauvignon Blanc was a good match. Tropical flavors dominated – pineapple, grapefruit, guava – which played nicely with my coconut-based dinner. Very much on the sweeter side of the scale, with a little hint of earthy gravel, and really none of the spicy green pepper that you often get from an SB.

Bottom line: If you don’t mind a sweeter/fruit-forward wine, then get it! (Purchased at Total Wine, $10)

Weather weirdness: today, it was eighty-something degrees. Tomorrow, it will be forty-something degrees.

HEY WEATHER, KNOCK IT OFF.  I don’t need to get sick two weeks before my marathon….

The ghost of eggplant past

Are you ever haunted by a particular food?  And I don’t mean in an up-all-night-on-the-toilet way.  I mean: in a good way.  Like, you ate something so amazing that you just can’t seem to get it out of your head.

Me? I am usually haunted by things like crispy pork belly and Pad Thai.  But ever since our trip to Asheville a couple of weeks ago and that amazing dinner at Curate, I’ve totally been haunted by eggplant.

I don’t think I’ve ever been haunted by a vegetable before.

That honey eggplant at Cutate was that good, I guess.

I knew that I wouldn’t be able to re-create it, but of course I was going to try.  I started off by decking out my little aubergine out in peppy stripes.  Stripes are totally in this season!  Or so they tell me.  (They being the dressing room ladies at Target, where I have flirted with many a stripy frock this summer.)

In addition to making a cute presentation, this makes the skin easier to chew through, and allows the slices of eggplant to expand/contract as they cook, and thus hang together a little better.  Or so it seems to me, anyway.

Next: half-inch-thick slices and a whole lotta salt.

I let them hang out in their salt for half an hour – at the end of which time, that paper towel was drenched, leaving little eggplant sponges that would hopefully suck up the mixture of honey, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and fresh rosemary I’d whisked together.

After being dunked in the marinade, they only needed a few minutes on a hot grill.  (And a little more rosemary and salt, of course!)

Yum!  I enjoyed them with salad, fresh peach slices and a little prosciutto + bread for a light tapas-style dinner:

However, once my food coma wears off, I’m sure the eggplant ghost will haunt me again.  This was very good, but it was a shadow of its restaurant-crafted inspiration.  Something about how unbelievably piping-hot the eggplant at Curate was served…

Perhaps I need to invest in a blowtorch?

(Pretty sure that is not allowed per the terms of our apartment lease.)

Bummer.

Anyway.  I poured a glass of chilly SB to sip on while dinner grilled:

This 2010 Matua Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough was just okay.  Lots of apple and grapefruit, but it was almost a little too sweet: none of the delicious green pepper I’ve started to expect from SB.  And there was something…gravelly about it?  Like, when it hasn’t rained in a while and a car pulls out of an unpaved driveway and makes a big cloud of dust?  That smell?  Is kind of how this wine tastes. That rock/mineral flavor isn’t a bad thing, actually, but it was just a little unexpected and didn’t really work with the other flavors.

Bottom line?  Eh, it wasn’t horrible but I wouldn’t buy it again.  (Purchased at Fresh Market, $12.)

Off to work my noodle-y arms (holy HEAT workout tricep action tonight) on the remote control for a couple of hours.  Good night!

Return of the Rotating Blogroll

It’s been a long time since I did this.

Like…months-long.  Oops.

So how about celebrating this Friday by sharing a little love?  I’m a-bringin’ the Rotating Blogroll back!

1) Melissa Nibbles (http://www.melissanibbles.com)

As a boring old married chick, I love living vicariously though Melissa’s dating shenanigans.  Her blog is funny, thoughtful and honest.  And she’s smokin’ hot, too.  (Just sayin’.)

2) Bees Knees Life (http://www.beeskneeslife.com)

Bree’s blog was actually one of the first that I ever followed, back when I was a wee newbie blogger.  Over the last year, it’s been so much fun to watch her (re)discover her running talent.  She also lifts really heavy things and knows how to make homemade fondant.  Pretty impressive.

3) Will Run for Candy (http://willrunforcandy.com/)

I’m always finding new blogs and adding things to my already-bloated reader, but it’s rare that I come across a new-to-me blog and can’t help but read the entire site in one sitting.  Which is what I did with Will Run for Candy.  It’s that funny.  Check it out, and then join me on a campaign to harass author Allison for MOAR POSTING PLZ.  (Plz?)

And while we’re on the topic of internet harassment, I want to take a moment to call out Rotating Blogroll alumna Sweaty Kid and beg her to come back.  My life is seriously lacking in hilarious parables.  COME BACK PLZ.  Or at least let us know that you haven’t, in fact, been eaten by a bear.  (Unless you have, in fact, been eaten by a bear, in which case…that’s a shame, and not only because that would’ve made a great parable.)

Anyway.

Sometimes I hang out on this fitness forum on a little island of internet crazy which rhymes with The Pest.  Some people there are doing a Weekly Plank Challenge and I decided to join the fun.

It’s pretty simple: just see how long you can hold a plank.  Once a week.  Most of those girls do things like “strength training” and “core work” on a regular basis, so I’m sure they’ll see week-to-week improvement.  Me?  I’m not even sure what either of those things are any more, but I guess we’ll see if I can lengthen my plank, too.  (Zing!)

Yesterday was the first day and I made it to 3:06 (on my forearms and toes, with feet about 6″ apart) before my shoulders started shaking and my moan started escalating to an inappropriate level.  Which actually surprised me; I had set my watch on its side and couldn’t see the time until after I finished.  I expected to see something like two minutes.

Today, it kind of hurts to cough.  Which is unfortunate, because I’m still hacking a little from Wednesday night’s track meet.

I guess I’ll see if I can make it to 3:30 next week!  If you want to join me in this plank challenge thingy, feel free!  I’ll post mine every Friday.  And I highly recommend NOT looking at a clock/watch while you’re doing it and just letting yourself go to failure.  I went lot longer than I thought I could.  (Zing zing!)

Let’s talk about wine!  Would you believe that I’ve been working on the same bottle all week?  Me neither.

But I’ve been trying to cut down the volume a little (calories…) and limit myself to one drink a night.  This 2009 Starborough Sauvignon Blanc has been a delightful evening treat.

Remembering how much I enjoyed the Kim Crawford New Zealand SB that I tasted a few weeks ago, I was excited when I saw this one, and it didn’t disappoint!  Very light and a little on the sweeter side, an almost lemonade-like citrus flavor dominated this wine, but not in a bad way.  Lots of Granny Smith apple in there, too.  More sweet than peppery/spicy.  Perfect for “dessert” on a warm evening.

(And a cute bottle with a starfish to boot!)

Bottom line: If you don’t mind a slightly sweeter wine, get it!  (Purchased at Costco, $8.)

Alright…I’m out of awkward transitions, so I’ll say goodbye.  Happy Friday!  Do some planks!  Drink some wine!  Spread the love and give your favorite new blog a shout-out in the comments!

Ah-CHOO!

I think I’d prefer to have snow on my car, actually.

Spring is in the air.  And all over every horizontal outdoor surface.

Being new to North Carolina, I wasn’t sure what to expect out of allergy season.  Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, where so many things are evergreen, I never had much in the way of spring allergies.  In arid Los Angeles, the smog messed with my lungs, but that was a year-round thing.  It wasn’t until I moved to Ohio in my mid-twenties that I discovered what people meant when they said that spring was in bloom.

Subsequent years in Boston and New York weren’t nearly as bad.  I don’t know if it was being surrounded by concrete or being close to the sea or what, but I began to believe that I’d just been allergic to Ohio.

Wrong.

Scratchy throat.  Itchy red eyes.  Constant sneezing and snuffling.  I’ve been walking around looking like a miserable stoner for the last week.

I’ve got me some Zyrtec now.  It’s helping a little, but I still look and sound like I just watched The Notebook.  Kind of embarrassing.

Please, flora of North Carolina, hurry up and finish your annual sex games.  I’m dying over here.

Today’s EAT: A classic Big Ass Salad.  It was exactly this sort of salad that originally got me interested in salads, actually.

Spinach, mixed greens, roasted chicken, strawberries, goat cheese and candied pecans.  Unbeatable, really.  I could eat this for dinner every night.

(Hmm, I guess technically I could eat this for dinner every night.  Perhaps I should.)

Today’s DRINK: I popped open a chilly bottle of Frenzy Sauvignon Blanc.  (Hey, it doesn’t say anything on that Zyrtec package about not mixing it with booze!)

I’m not sure from whence the name comes, because there is not anything particularly frenzied about this wine.  Perhaps these New Zealand winemakers just needed a word that contained an adjacent N and Z?  (Noting that one for scrabble.  Also, has an F.  Even better.)

Anyway.  It was a fun little wine – tons of fruit, green apples, pineapple, a hint of lemon.  For the price ($9), I’d certainly buy it again.  It would be a great wine for sipping at an afternoon barbecue on a hot summer day.

Today’s RUN: Monday ended up being one of those unintentional rest days.  Oops.  I totally listened to my body and failed to get off the couch.  Stupid lazy body.

Here’s how last week ended up.  Mellow as hell.  I’m blaming the allergies as well as post-half-marathon blahsies for this:

M – OFF (post-race)
Tu – OFF (post-race)
W – 5 easy (45:50, 9:10 pace)
Th – 6.4 easy (57:43, 9:01 pace)
F – 3.7 easy (31:22, 8:28 pace)
Sa – 4.5 easy (38:49, 8:37 pace) + weights
Su – 8.1 easy (w/hubs, 1:22, 10:07 pace)

Total: 27.7 miles.  Aaaaaaaaaand that was a fun rest week.  Time to get back out there!  Obviously I’m not exactly off to a great start.

Today’s QUESTION: Anyone else suffering from Revenge of the Pollen?  How do you deal with it?