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Summer Scallop Salad

July 23rd, 2014 · Salads, Vegetables

Scallop Salad

You guys, it’s hot around here. It’s hard not to feel sluggish. And back when I was bragging a few weeks ago that the extra air conditioners didn’t raise the electric bill? Well, I lied. Or at least this month we ran them harder than ever. Today I woke up at 5:05 to make my way to November Project, and going back on my verbal with a coworker, promptly fell back asleep. The heat made me do it! I spent part of the day racked with guilt, and then got over it to go to my favorite class of the week – olympic lifting at my gym. We worked on snatch balances and power snatching. Snatches are my most dreaded lift – more reason to practice them! I’m always looking to bring power to the lift, execute an efficient bar path, and reduce my tendency of muscling up the weight, which *surprise, surprise* doesn’t work when you aim to lift heavier!

When it’s blazing hot outside, it’s doubly hot in my kitchen, so if anything is going to be cooked, it has to be quick! Here’s my dinner tonight.

Summer Scallop Salad

I’m always on the lookout for light summer salads with seafood of any kind.  Some of my favorites are Greek salad with grilled shrimp, Niçoise salad with the addition of smoked fish, and this scallop salad, which is equally good with scallops, shrimp, mussels, or lobster.

Serves 2
scallops 9 or 10 large
olive oil
tomato 1 large
cucumber 1 medium
romaine lettuce a few cups per person
assorted antipasti (optional) olives, gigande beans, crisped prosciutto, corn, feta, roasted peppers are all good!

lemon 1
olive oil
chopped fresh herbs (a handful of dill, basil)

Season scallops with salt and pepper. Heat a few glugs olive oil in a large skillet until shimmering. Add scallops, and cook over high heat until browned on the bottom, about two to three minutes. While they are cooking, go ahead and slice up a cucumber, and cut a tomato into wedges. Turn the scallops and cook for another minute, then take out of the pan immediately to avoid overcooking them! I like arranging this salad on a plate. Layer the bottom with romaine lettuce, and sprinkle on fresh herbs. Add the cucumber and tomato. Add on any extra antipasti (tonight I went for kalamata olives and gigande beans from the Whole Foods Antipasti bar). Drizzle with olive oil, squeeze the lemon wedge over top, and season, if you’d like, with a little bit of extra salt and pepper.

Some reading:

Good coaches and trainers don’t let their athletes work irresponsibly through injury. Great post by Alyssa Royse on why she kicked an athlete out of her gym.

The Man Booker Long List has been released! I’m likely going to team up with some other voracious readers to work my way through the list this summer. Anyone else in?

Also:

I’m currently signed up for B.A.A. Half, and Newton Chilly Half. Should I add Hampton Rock Fest to the mix? (Home turf race!) Maybe Newburyport Half? Do I even like running??

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New Balance Girls Night Out

July 22nd, 2014 · Fitness, Meat

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A few weeks ago, I managed to snag one of the coveted (free!) spots at this month’s New Balance Girls Night Out! The last few events were sold out before I could get on the list, so as soon as this one was posted I acted quickly to get in on the action. The events, hosted by (Boston based!) New Balance are billed as a healthy alternative to a night out on the town, and I always love getting my sweat on with a group. This time around you could choose to head out for a run, take an Equinox class (on the roof!), or a hardcore Flywheel sweat session right in the middle of Copley.

When I arrived at the New Balance Experience store on Boylston, I realized there was a bit of a mix-up – the event confirmation email said 6:30, but the event actually started at 6! The Flywheel and Equinox classes were already booked up and started, but fortunately I was there for the run, which hadn’t yet gone on it’s way! (I’ve just started a half marathon training plan to work my way up to a decent – ie: non brutal – B.A.A. Half.) Tonight I skipped out on track workout to participate, but I made sure to choose the event closest to my goal workout!

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The two folks leading the run were Joel (the experience store manager), and Kate*. We ended up just shy of a three mile loop down the Charles and around the Common, and interspersed were push ups, burpees, lunges, and other calisthenics that truthfully I wasn’t 100% up to after my race weekend. (This is a few miles less than I would have run with our office track workout today, but based on my fatigue after the first mile, that’s probably a-ok.)

After our run, we came back to the store where the party was happening – cocktails, hydration, mini burgers, and other delicious looking snacks. You could get custom t-shirts at a discount, and there were also cute swag bags, filled with a handy towel (which I needed, because I was sweaty!), some stickers, magnets, coupons, temporary tattoos, lip gloss, a usb stick with a running mix on it, and a little headband! I stuck around just long enough to say a very quick hello to some fellow bloggers, and then headed home to make dinner. I think the key to these events is going with friends – I’m so bad at making a game plan in advance, and then get totally overwhelmed and awkward trying to say hello to people without a wing-person! Yep, even if I know them.

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On the table tonight: ground beef with cumin and garlic powder, pinto beans, and a Popeye-worthy amount of spinach. And a huge scoop of guacamole, as you do.

Which activity floats your boat? Running, an Equinox Bootcamp, or FlyWheel?

*A quick aside: tonight I was wearing my much-loved Glen Doherty Cup shirt (my kayak + running race I participated in a few weeks ago.) The event was part of the Cambridge Freedom Run, and in honor of Navy Seal Glen Doherty, who was killed in action in Benghazi. This was a particularly moving race to me, and I was truly humbled to be a part of it in his honor. It turns out that Kate, leading our run, is his sister, and it took everything in my power not to cry right there in the store. Just feeling thankful tonight for meeting her.

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Pork dinner

July 21st, 2014 · Meat

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Yeesh, y’all. Another weekend passes by without a weekly meal plan. I swear, I have an excuse: my very first triathlon which took up most of my weekend! Race recap forthcoming! Fortunately, I have a list for emergency dinners that I’m always fond of here, and I’m always trying to add to it! Tonight’s dinner is filed under emergency quick and easy.

Pork chops + asparagus. Season boneless pork chops on both sides with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. You’ll likely want one or two per person. [We spilt three, just over a pound] In a large skillet, heat a few glugs of olive oil on medium high. Put the pork chops in the pan, and let them sit for 6 minutes without touching them. Resist the urge to fidget and touch them, they’ll be just fine without interference! After six minutes flip the chops, and move them to one side of the pan. Add in a large handful of cleaned asparagus (usually I trim the stalks in one fell swoop while the elastic band is still holding them together.) Cook the pork chops for another six minutes, while flipping the asparagus with tongs or a fork. Test the pork for doneness, then remove the chops from the pan to a plate. (Usually I like them just slightly under my preference, and I’ll let them rest for 5-10 minutes to reach full doneness.) While the chops rest, turn up the heat and cook the asparagus through, tossing gently. Serve as is, pure meat and veg, or round things out with a side of refried beans.

Here’s me crossing the finish line!

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Recovery was a long nap yesterday afternoon, and a long walk today after work.

Here’s the best flower I encountered:

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Happy Monday!

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La Brasa

July 18th, 2014 · Restaurants

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There was a period of my life where I relished trying the newest restaurants, and being “in the know” about every new place, and every new dish. It was, however, exhausting, and while I did manage to eat many a phenomenal meal, I also found myself with quite a few duds, and then I got sick of eating out. It happens, okay? Even to a food blogger. It might have had something to do with working for a dish review site – unlimited delicious meals out felt like both a blessing and a curse. These days we’ve become early bird special type of people, making it out to the same restaurant every week, so often that we’re very much so regulars. Admittedly this has it’s perks. The occasional hot cider donut with salted caramel sauce on the house is one of them.

And I don’t want to sound like a sob story here, because sometimes we actually get out of the house and try new things. Tonight we ventured out into the wild world of Somerville in order to eat at La Brasa, the newest neighborhood restaurant by chefs Daniel Bojorquez and Frank McClelland. I may have made a mistake by describing it to Devon (the Southern Californian) as a Mexican restaurant, but after eating here, I’d call it neighborhood local and seasonal with diverse culinary influence? I suppose you can throw around “hipster” in there, but only if you’d take that to mean people who are a little alternative and very passionate about food.

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We managed to get in without a reservation (okay, so it was 6:00 pm), huzzah! and set forth ordering from their family style menu.

Beet pickled egg with dill and micro greens.  ($2) First of all, you should know that the interiors of the restaurant are totally welcoming. The tables. The mismatched cutlery. The custom lighting, the wide open seating (the space is quite large, and the kitchen fairly open). The Bose sound system hanging from the ceiling makes the music sound great. And how cute are these plates? That beet picked egg, my first bite of the evening did not disappoint. And it was pink!

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Insistent on something green for dinner, we shared this Little Gem salad with buttermilk poppyseed dressing, preserved lemons, and almonds. ($9) For some reason I thought they were pistachios – maybe I’d make this with pistachios in my own kitchen – but this was a nice salad! It always feels good when you order a salad and it comes well dressed, but not overly so. The lemons were chopped into tiny cubes, and gave just enough of a tart and salty hit to make this quite charming.

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We then split an order of Tacos de carnitas. Slow roasted pork shoulder with salsa verde + chile de arbol ($7). These were solid, with good mingling of rich pork with bright salsa verde, although truthfully, while I worship the pork, I’m never fully satisfied with carnitas.

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Now for our meals. I’ll preface this by saying that for a while I was loathe to review restaurants because I didn’t want to have to write anything negative. But that’s part of the fun of a review now, isn’t it? Forgive me kind folks at La Brasa, but our meal had a low point, and it was, alas, the pork sandwich. While  it sounded delicious – roast pork loin sandwich with rapini, chorizo & fiddlehead tomme ($14) – I would not recommend, unless you’d like a dry salt lick for your meal. Perhaps it was a fluke, but the dry pork, bacon, chorizo in combination was difficult to get through even with the nice mustard and cheese in there – so much so that my dining partner suggested that we name the sandwich “The Oscar Wilde“. Truly though, I *really liked each individual ingredient*, but together, alas, no.

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Fortunately, my meal (the top picture of the post) was no less than excellent – lamb liver with summer squash pupusa ($14) – although I felt a little sorry that I was the one with the better choice of the two. It’s never fun to have a slightly discontent dining partner, and alas, for him, he doesn’t love liver, so he didn’t share in my gustatory delight. I believe the description mentioned wild mushrooms, but they must have been chopped finely in a tart little sauce, because I couldn’t quite taste them. The squash blossoms were a lovely touch!

Now, as our meal was finishing, we noticed that there was a cart with a massive piece of meat being rolled around. Yep, meat on a cart, and I couldn’t help but think regretfully that I’d never made it to the House of Prime Rib in San Francisco. So it turns out that they sell rib roast with chimichurri for $3.50 an ounce. Because we’d already eaten, I went for a single restrained ounce. There was a brief moment as she was cutting our steak and I was taking my first bite that Akinyele’s “Just Put it In My Mouth” the erm… non-radio version (yeah, there is no radio version, and please don’t look this song up) started blasting on their Spotify soundtrack. Somehow it was an apt music choice for this buttery steak, but ahem, perhaps not for the majority of the patrons. I did however laugh out loud. Someone noticed at some point and we got a new song.

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With most of the neighborhood serving local favorites Barismo, George Howell, etc. or sometimes bringing in heavy hitters Intelligentsia and Stumptown, I was excited to try a coffee that I’d not yet had around here – a local espresso from Gracenote in Berlin, MA. I missed catching which one it was, but while I found it a little bit fruity for my taste, it was a very nice cup indeed. Espresso – Gracenote. ($4)

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Before deciding on dessert, I inquired about the market sweets (Taza chocolates, and such from their market), but we ended up fortuitously ordering the Butterscotch Pudding with cinnamon whipped cream and rice crispies. ($6) This, my friends, was a great end to the meal. Pudding is the best!

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Two final notes: everyone working here was cheerful and nice – and the service was quick, even as the restaurant began to fill up. Also, while we don’t do too much drinking, the drink menu here looks excellent, including a small selection of smoked! beers. And I regretted missing out on their paloma and boozy horchata.

La Brasa
124 broadway street, somerville, ma
617 764 1412
www.labrasasomerville.com

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The Long Walk

July 17th, 2014 · Wellness

Area Four

Today was supposed to be a “rest day” – in preparation for a big race this weekend – the concept of which I think I’ve forgotten nearly 60 days into my 10,000 step a day streak. I spend a lot of time thinking how to optimally operate as a human being, and for me, streaks are a particularly motivating way to instill good habits. 10,000 steps is sort of an arbitrary goal – in the past, I’ve done 10 minutes of exercise a day, 30 (60, and 90) days of eating mindfully, a mile a day running streak that lasted from Memorial Day to the 4th of July. With my Jawbone sleep tracking I’ve also been working to get in at least 7.5 hours a sleep a night, but haven’t managed to keep that one alive for more than a few days at a time, alas.

The side effect of having a daily step goal is that a mile or two extra a day comes naturally – you find yourself taking meandering routes in order to round out the step count. Suddenly the 10,000 step goal is well surpassed and you’re at 12, 13 or 15,000 steps, and you’ve walked the long way at the end of the evening from Boston to Harvard Square because the weather is so nice.

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Of course, there’s always room for a little reward – this gorgeous evening called for a micro scoop of Turkish Mocha Toscanini’s ice cream (some of the very best in Boston). An excellent treat. By the end of the evening I’d made it up to 17,000 steps, and now I’m sitting on my couch with my feet up.

Did you make it outside today?

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