Category Archives: Food / Recipe

Make Some Kimchi So’s You can Eat It!

It used to be pickles. I love pickles and that was the first thing I ever made. Sauerkraut was next because I wanted to make Reuben sandwiches. Reubens pair perfectly pickles. In fact, I say if there isn’t a pickle on the side, it ain’t a Reuben.  It wasn’t till much much later that I would try Kimchi.

I’m not sure where or when I first had Kimchi. I do vaguely remember that I was turned off by the smell, so how it came to be that I would ever want to make it is a mystery to me. However things happened, I’m glad they turned out the way they did.

I’ve just made a big  batch of Kimchi and it is seriously freaking D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S. It’s waaaaay spicy, just like I like it.

God, I’m salivating just thinking about it.

I’ve made Kimchi only a handful of times. Usually, I go by the instructions from Sandor Ellix Katz’ book Wild Fermentation. Unfortunately, my results are inconsistent. And many times, the Kimchi suffers from adding too many vegetables. (Is that possible? Sadly, yes it is.)  But this last batch seems to have everything going for it. It’s simple and it’s hot.

Here is how I made this batch, though I should mention that it’s probably not “authentic” Kimchi. So don’t give me any guff about that. And it’s not a precise recipe. Oh, and I like really hot stuff.

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Behold the glory!

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 LB Napa cabbage
  • 1/2 bunch red radish
  • 1/2 bunch green onion
  • 1 small head of garlic
  • 1 big honk of ginger
  • 3 Habanero chiles
  • 2 Serrano chiles
  • 4-5 dried red peppers
  • box of Kosher salt

You’ll start by making the brine.

You need a big, non-metallic, food-grade container, maybe a big mixing bowl. Whatever, find something. Mix 8 cups of water* with 8 tablespoons of salt and stir until the salt is completely dissolved.

*Chlorine inhibits fermentation, so if your tap is chlorinated, use spring, distilled, or filtered water. I use straight tap water and it seems okay.

Now let’s work on what we will put into the brine.

Take the Napa cabbage, discard the outer layer. Chop off the bottom of the cabbage. Separate the leaves and wash them. Wash the radish and  green onion. Drain everything.

Coarsely chop the cabbage and green onion. (Discard the bulb end of the green onion.) Thinly slice the radish. (If the green tops are attached, chop and keep those.)

Put the vegetables into the brine. Dunk it all into the brine, swish it around, make sure that nothing is stuck together. You want that brine to get all up in that cabbage’s business. You also want the vegetables to stay under the brine. So take a zip loc bag and fill it with water. Set the bag on top of the brine.

Okay, now you’re brining! Set it in a room temperature spot, out of the way. Cover it with a clean dish towel. Let it sit for a few hours to overnight. It’s your call. (I’d let it sit overnight.)

The Next day. Let’s make the paste!

Peel and mince your big honk of ginger. Peel and mince the head of garlic. A garlic press works best.

If you have a mortar and pestle, bust it out. If you don’t, you could try using a small food processor. Or just chop everything as fine as you can. And shortly we’ll be working with real peppers, so I want to see goggles, people! (Seriously, if you’re a sensitive soul, you might consider wearing gloves and/or safety goggles.)

"The goggles, they do nothing for my eyes." - from handsomebwonderful.org
“The goggles, they do nothing for my eyes.”
– from handsomebwonderful.org

Place the dried peppers in the mortar and grind them down. Then add the ginger and the garlic. Mix that all up and smash it and grind it good.

Back to the cutting board. Mince the serranos and the habaneros. Add them to the paste mix. Grind them up as well. Set your paste mix aside.

Grab your brine bowl. Drain it, reserving a cup or two of the brine. Taste a piece of the cabbage. It should be salty, but not overly so. If it’s too salty, rinse the cabbage. If it’s not salty enough, sprinkle some more salt and mix.

Now that the vegetables are drained, add in the pepper paste. Mix everything together. Keep mixing, yeah, that’s it.

Time to pack it in!

Okay now get a jar. You probably have some in the recycling. Make sure there is no residual odor. Take your vegetable pepper mix and jam it into the jar. Pack it in tightly till about 3/4 from the top. Pour a little of the reserved brine over the top. You want to cover the vegetables.

5 lbs of cabbage crammed into two jars. Beautiful!
5 lbs of cabbage crammed into two jars. Beautiful!

Annnd you’re done! If you still have more vegetable- and I hope for your sake you do -pack another jar. Put the jar(s) in the same spot you put the brine and cover with a clean dish towel. Let it sit there for a few days, up to a week or so. Taste a little each day. The flavor develops over time, so once you are happy with it, put the lid on the jar and stick it in the fridge.

Try Kimchi on pizza. Yummmm…

32 oz Bottle of Magic

32 ounces of award winning, plant based, fish free, NON GMO magic.

Udo’s Oil 3-6-9 Blend

I’ve read about plenty of other runners that use Udo’s Oil and swear by it. Both Geoff Roes and Scott Jurek are on the Udo’s train, and they know a thing or two about running. I want to be like them (someday), so I’m getting on the Udo’s train.

“Udo’s Oil 3-6-9 Blend contains the ideal balance of Omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids (2:1)… Every cell, tissue, gland, and organ is dependent upon the presence of essential fatty acids. They are the main structural component of cell membranes and are necessary for cell growth and division.” – From the box.

Omega-3’s and Omega-6’s? Yeah, I’ve heard of them, but what exactly do these Omegas do for me? How do they fix my insides so that I can run faster or farther? Am I going to have to learn some basic biology again? (Really, I should.)

Since I currently don’t fully understand how it works, I might as well consider it “magic.” Hopefully it’s more magic than snakeoil.

D-Day Again So Soon?

It’s go time again. Nerves! Anxiety! Excitement! Fear! Giddiness! And Delirium

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Tomorrow I am running the Cactus Rose 50 Miler, which will be my second 50. Under ten hours is my goal, which translates to a 12 min pace. That seems downright slow after running 7 minute miles in Chicago, but I have to remember that this is a trail race, there are steep hills. And it’s fifty freaking miles. I fully expect to cry at least once. If not tears of frustration, surely tears of joy once I cross the finish.

https://i0.wp.com/www.tejastrails.com/maps/CactusRoseElevCW.gif
This is the the first loop. You just turn around and head back to the start for the second loop.

In order to avoid bonking at the end of the race like I did in Chicago, the past few days I’ve been gorging on carbohydrates in order to fully load my glycogen stores. I’ve also managed to avoid alcohol, and tried to avoid caffeine. I’ve manged to forgo my morning coffee, but had a Coke yesterday. I’ve eaten a lot of quinoa and bulghur, potatoes, rice, bread… and I think I’m going to have some pasta before I head out.

I’m going to leave today and go get a camping spot at the park where the race is. (Well, really a parking spot, as I’ll be car camping since I don’t have a tent.) The race starts at 5am, packet pickup is 4am if you pick it up the day of the race, the drive is 45 min, so that would make for one hell of an early morning if I chose to stay home. The last race I ran at this park, there was a traffic jam getting in. Luckily my dad had driven me, because I had to jump out of the car and run up to the start to get my bib and get to the start line. Not going to let that happen again, no sir!

I’m not sure if this race is considered “unsupported” or not, but there are no volunteers at the aid stations, and no food at the aid stations. The only thing provided is water, ice and, at two aid stations, a portajon. You have to bring your own food. Which in a way is good, because it has forced me to pay more attention to a crucial aspect of running a good race.

Reading from a couple sources, I’m figuring on 250 calories per hour, and about 30 oz of fluids per hour. The sources are pretty far apart in their recommendations, so I’m taking an average. I made “food bags,” for lack of a better term, that contain various gels, cookies, chips, snacks etc that total at least 500 calories. I will pick up a bag at every other aid station. There enough calories per bag to keep me chugging along, and hopefully enough variety that I don’t get sick of any particular thing. (If you’ve ever had more than 3 or 4 gels in a race, you know what I mean.)

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“Food Bag” with splits taped on back.

On the back of each bag, I attached a print out of the splits from that aid station till the next food bag. I plan to hang and clip this bag around the sternum strap of my Camelbak. I like the idea of having all my food easily accessible right in front of my stupid face. But if that turns out to be annoying, I’ll shove it all into the pockets.

As far as hydration goes, I’ll be relying mainly on water, with a handheld with Hammer Perpetuem. I haven’t really tried the Perpetuem in training, and I KNOW YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO TRY NEW THINGS COME RACE DAY, but I’m going to anyway. I’m going to rely on my “food bags” for my calories, so the Perpetuem is more of a supplement. Also, It may help to have something to drink other than water.

So that’s the plan to get through the race. Watch my pace, hydrate, and consume calories. Keep a sense of humour, talk to people, and most of all, remember that no matter how terrible you feel, this is fun!

Today is the day!

“Sweaty Gorilla’s Roadtrip: Enchanted Rock”

The R-U-N group went out to Enchanted Rock, a state park about an hour and a half from San Antonio. It was a chilly morning, but it turned into a beautiful afternoon. (“Sweaty Gorilla” is the trip organizer’s nickname.)

We ran a brief 5 miles on a trail filled with hikers. Everyone and their mother and their dog and their dog’s mother was out enjoying the day. After we finished the run, we hiked up the super steep main dome and climbed some big rocks and just hung out for awhile taking pictures. Apparently everyone else realized how nice an afternoon it was going to be; from the top of the dome, you could see a line of cars waiting to enter the park.

For lunch, we went to Luckenbach, possibly the world’s smallest town. Its population is supposedly 3. The “town” is composed of almost as many buildings. There’s a retired post office turned general store, a saloon, and a dance hall. It’s crazy small enough that they were closing the town at four for a wedding!

I was majorly hungry by the time we arrived. Waiting to order at the little food shack, I was torn between getting the pulled pork or the bratwurst. The pulled pork won, and unfortunately, it was mediocre. According to two other runners, the bratwurst was also a loser, as it was bland. But the jalapeno poppers I got were mighty tasty. Super hot and crunchy, big cheese flavor, but not very (spicy) hot. I could have easily downed another order of those. (I guess you can tell I’m not part of the Instagram world since I didn’t even think to take a picture of the food.) And despite seeing everyone else enjoying a beer, I was perfectly fine having a cherry limeade.

We hung out for about an hour, enjoying the warm sun, drinking beer, and shooting the breeze. A great way to spend a Saturday in a tiny town where “everybody’s somebody.”

*   *   *   *   *

Today I felt like I was on more of a sightseeing tour, rather than a “real” run. So I did what you’re supposed to do on a tour, I took pictures. I will repeat my disdain for using an iPhone to take pictures. As convenient as it is, it’s hard to tell how your photos will turn out until you get home. And then you discover that the images are overexposed. Sigh… I think I’m going to have to break down and buy a small point and shoot. (To replace the one I lost. Because I was sh*t-faced.)

I don’t know if there’s any “real take-away” with this post, but perhaps you can just enjoy it as a snapshot tour of sorts.

No. Freaking. Way.

Absolutely ridiculous ginormous pizza. With all the toppings, of course.
Absolutely ridiculous ginormous pizza. With all the toppings, of course.

This might be what’s wrong with America; we live for the spectacle.

My older sister (on the left) is in town visiting for a week. So the other night, she and my other sister (on the right) and my dad (wearing sunglasses indoors at night – no, he isn’t blind) and I (white hat) went to Big Lou’s Pizza. We’d never been there before and since they were featured on Man Vs Food, we thought it would be fun to check it out.

The place was packed. While waiting in line, we debated on what size to get. For reasons mainly of a touristic nature, we settled on the impractically large 42″ pie. With all the toppings, of course. The cost for this monster pizza and four drinks? $95.53, which did not include the tip.

We were seated and eagerly awaited our order. I noticed that the guy that brings the pizza out has a spotter that clears the way to the table. Several other tables had ordered the 42″er as well. We got our hopes up every time we saw the guys hauling out a pie. Then our waiter brought us these long rectangular platters for our pizza, and then let us know ours was coming out shortly. When the pizza finally arrived, our table was just barely able to accommodate it.

We took a few photos of us and the pizza. And then we ate. And it was really good pizza. I was keen on the olives they used. They were really olive-y. Likely oil-brined olives, not those cheap flavorless water brined kind. I devoured my first slice in no time and began working on my second. Chewing away at this monsterpiece, I wondered what it would be like to be Adam Richman, the Man in Man Vs Food. He’s always talking about hitting the wall…

And that’s when I hit the wall. After only a slice and a half, I was stuffed. I couldn’t eat any more, the joy had left the food. I was slightly disappointed. I felt I like eating a third slice would have been an accomplishment. Wait, what?!! I know that doesn’t make any sense, but I was high on pizza. My sisters and my dad hit the wall shortly after me. Final tally: my older sister and I downed two slices each, my other sister and my dad a single slice each. Half of the pizza remained intact. We packed it up and took it home.

*   *   *   *   *

So what to make of this? What lessons can be drawn from this experience? How does this relate to running? Does this relate to running?

Actually, yes. It does relate to running. It’s a writing exercise.

Specifically, I am trying to write in a clear and concise manner. Because what’s the point of keeping a blog if I can’t write clearly? How can my stories about running help you if I cannot articulate them? Just like running, or making art, I need to write regularly to get better at it. And sometimes, it’s good to do weird random things that you wouldn’t normally do, like write a little story about ordering a 42″ pizza.

(P.S. Don’t get the anchovies. My sister got them on the side = food poisoning.)

Recipe – Szechwan Slaw

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Adapted from the Whole Foods Market Cookbook, an easy to make Asian style slaw that will get you to your RDI of vegetables PDQ.

This is one of my favorite things to make when I feel like I haven’t been eating enough vegetables. I’m pretty sure I haven’t been, which is why I’ve been sick. So do your body good and jam some of this into your gob, post-haste!

*   *   *   *   *

You may not have all the ingredients on hand, but they’re worth getting just for this recipe. This recipe makes quite a bit, so you can halve it your first go around.

The Szechwan Dressing

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1/8 cup canola oil

1/8 cup toasted sesame oil

1/8 cup mirin

1 teaspoon Braggs aminos (or tamari)

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili flake (if you can get a whole pepper and crush it yourself, the heat is much more potent, if you’re into that sort of thing.)

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

The Slaw

3 cups thinly sliced red cabbage

3 cups thinly sliced green cabbage

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

4 scallions, sliced thinly and diagonally

1 large carrot, grated

1/4 pound snow peas, sliced thinly and diagonally

1/8 cup sesame seeds

Prepare the dressing.

Combine dressing ingredients in a bowl. Adjust to taste. Set aside.

Prepare the Slaw.

Combine slaw ingredients in a bowl. 15 minutes prior to serving, pour dressing into slaw and toss to mix. Serve.