Farro with Artichoke & Basil Pesto.

Recently, a frolleague of mine (that’s a Lewis term for friend and colleague) suggested I start adding squats and lunges to my weekly workout routines to get faster at running.

I cringed at this, as one set of either squats or lunges leaves me feeling sore for a week.

Nevertheless, I started adding them to my gym workouts once a week.

On Wednesday, I performed three sets of lunges with 8-pound weights.

On Thursday (that’s yesterday), I stood up from my desk and pulled something in my foot.

Frantic, I texted His Lordship, who was en route to his bachelor party in Key West.

I called my physical therapist for an emergency session, only to find out he was on vacation.

“TINA. I THINK I SNAPPED MY PLANTAR FASCIA. WHAT DO I DO?!!,” I told the receptionist.

I texted His Lordship again. He instructed me to mull things over with his co-coach, Speedy Sasquatch, who could give me advice and another name for his PT.

“I don’t think it’s your foot,” he stated. “Tell me, are your calves tight?”

“…Tight? …Maybe?” (I’m an excellent athlete.)

“Sometimes,” he continued, “I’ll go through the same thing if my calves or quads are really tight. Try stretching and foam rolling. If you run, go out really easy and stretch halfway through.”

For sure I thought he was wrong (hasn’t anyone figured out that I’m always right?!).

I started out for an easy run. My comrade was telling me about her recent class at Equinox. And then I realized that my calves and quads actually were tight.

“Josh was right,” I said.

“I hate it when that happens,” my comrade replied (she is also female, and also always right).

And that was the time I was very dramatic and removed squats and lunges from my workout repertoire.

And now, a recipe.

Farro with Asparagus & Basil Pesto
Serves 4

Seen here on top of mixed greens and a healthy dollop of ricotta.

Seen here on top of mixed greens and a healthy dollop of ricotta.

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
salt
black pepper, freshly ground
1 cup farro, rinsed
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1 cup basil leaves
⅓ cup hazelnuts
1 clove garlic
2 cans artichoke hearts, quartered

1. Bring 1-2 Tbsps. olive oil to medium heat in large saute pan; add onion; season; soften for 5 minutes; add garlic; saute 2-3 minutes; add farro; toss to combine; add chicken stock and water; bring to boil; reduce to simmer; cook for 30-35 minutes or until farro is cooked through**; season to taste; reserve, keeping warm.

2. Meanwhile, make pesto: place basil, hazelnuts, garlic, salt, and pepper in food processor; pulse; with motor running, stream in olive oil until well combined and thick; season to taste; reserve.

3. Assembly: place reserved farro, basil pesto, and artichoke hearts in large mixing bowl; toss to combine; season to taste; serve warm.

**Some water may be left in the pot. Should this happen and your farro is al dente, drain the excess water.

Recap: 2014 FI5K Run For Rose.

Previously at the Fire Island 5K Run For Rose, I PR’d and placed third in my age group.

I was ecstatic.

Fast forward to this past weekend, where my comrades and I returned to the scene of the crime. While it was a fabulous weekend with picture perfect weather, I was nervous about the race, and if I could come in victorious third AG once again.

Throughout the weekend, I scanned the crowds for my female competition, but to no avail. Instead, Brian and I talked shit to one another, and I made him my number one target and enemy for Sunday’s race.

The 10:30 start time makes for a warm race. But we’ll get to that.

We went for a light jog prior to the start. I told His Lordship I would play it safe and (hopefully) drop the hammer for the final mile. He agreed it was a fine tactic.

I cooled off with some cold water which were situated next to the corrals. And then we lined up.

A large number of very fit and fast looking female athletes—including the first female finisher of the 2014 Long Island Marathon—approached the start. I suddenly thought about how fast I would have to go to keep up and wondered where these ladies had been hiding all weekend.

The gun went off and so was I—a bit faster than I intended. I slowed down to find a pace that was reasonable enough to hold on for three miles without completely falling apart.

Brian passed me a quarter mile in. He and I were quite competitive the night before over several beverages. Luckily, my competitive nature didn’t rear its ugly head and I stuck to my guns.

Mile 1: 7:16

Although the course changed slightly, it was still flat, and still hot.

I think this is the first time I've ever run the tangents correctly.

I think this is the first time I’ve ever run the tangents correctly.

Right before we turned left onto Bayview Avenue, I saw one of the girls from the first corral slowing to a stop. I tried giving her encouragement as I passed her. I’m not sure it helped.

I took some water at the lone aid station and dumped it on my head. I felt my legs slowing, no doubt from the climbing temperatures.

At this point I kept my sights on two people: Brian and a female who was holding a pace slightly better than I.

Mile 2: 7:31

Shortly after the mile 2 marker, I passed my comrade Jim, followed by the girl I had been pacing. Jim’s cheer gave me a boost, and I set my sights on Brian up ahead.

The whole “dropping the hammer” thing didn’t really go as planned as my legs felt like jello and the increasing heat brought on my puke threshold.

I promise my feet are moving.

I promise my feet are moving.

At this point, I wondered where I was in the pack of females, and if I had enough juice to PR.

Brian was within reach as we turned left onto Coyuga Street.

I passed the 200M To Go sign and checked my watch. I picked up the pace and thought I could PR.

I made the final left onto Bay View Walk and saw the finish line, and it looked to be a lot further than 200 meters. The girl who I had passed at mile 2 flew by me like a bolt of lightning, earning herself 8th overall female.

Mile 3: 7:28
Mile .14: 6:27
Summary: 23:07 (7:22)

2014_FI_5K

I ran almost directly into Brian and congratulated him on beating me (this time).

My puke threshold was imminent. I grabbed water, took deep breaths, and walked for awhile. The girl who passed me was doing the same, and we started chatting. I congratulated her and thanked her for giving me the boost I needed.

While I didn’t PR and didn’t place, I was still happy with my effort.

And any race that doesn’t involve me vomiting or soiling myself is a solid day in my book.

My friends were also happy with how they raced—two of them even brought back hardware after placing in their age groups.

See you next year, FI.

I’ll be back with a vengeance.

 

Tomato Tart with Ricotta & Basil.

 

When things go awry, I turn to the kitchen.

Even more so when things go awry for any of my close friends or family.

My Mother recently sent me a recipe for a tomato tart she made for her and my Dad; both of them loved it.

I modified it a touch to my liking, and made two—one for myself (and His Lordship), and another for a dear friend who was having a tough week.

And seriously, with the abundance of tomatoes available at the greenmarkets here in NYC, why are we not having this on a daily basis? I mean, regardless of life’s curve balls?

Tomato Tart with Ricotta & Basil

I'm told this is just a "fancy pizza".

I’m told this is just a “fancy pizza”.

Ingredients
Tart dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for surface and rolling out dough
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes, and cold
1 egg, beaten + 1 Tbsp. cold water
1 tsp. salt

In food processor, pulse flour with butter until texture becomes sandy; pulse in egg and cold water; pulse until dough is formed; remove from processor; knead on floured surface until combined; form dough into ball; wrap with plastic wrap; refrigerate for 1 hour.

Assembly:
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Asiago cheese, grated
1 heirloom or beefsteak tomato, thinly sliced
3-4 large basil leaves, cut en chiffonade
Maldon flake salt
black pepper, freshly ground

1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.

2. Remove tart dough from refrigerator; roll out on floured surface to 1/4-” thickness; place in buttered and floured tart shell; place back in refrigerator for 10 minutes.

3. In large mixing bowl, combine ricotta and Asiago; season with salt and pepper; reserve.

4. Place tart pan on baking sheet; lightly prick bottom and sides with fork; cover with aluminum foil; top foil with pie weights; blind bake in oven for 10 minutes; remove tart pan from oven; remove foil from tart; lower oven temperature to 325˚F; bake tart for 10 more minutes, or until golden brown; remove from oven; cool on wire rack.

5. When tart shell has cooled, fill with ricotta mix; top with tomato slices, basil leaves, salt, and pepper; serve.

Pasta with Berry Tomatoes, Summer Squash & Bocconcini.

As summer reaches its peak, so too does the produce—strawberries, peaches, squash, and, most importantly, tomatoes.

Indeed, tomato season is my favorite season.

And during a recent trip to the farmers’ market, a gentleman was passing out berry tomatoes for tasting. My comrade and I instantly scooped up two pints.

Gleeful, I returned home to His Lordship, who is in the midst of half-ironman training and therefore always in need of sustenance.

So these suckers got thrown into a summer pasta.

Good luck to all those participating in the New York City Triathlon tomorrow, and happy carb loading!

Pasta with Roasted Berry Tomatoes, Summer Squash, and Bocconcini
Serves 2

pasta_berry_tomatoes

Ingredients
extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 large yellow summer squash, diced
1 pt. berry tomatoes
bocconcini mozzarella, as much or as little as you prefer
handful of basil leaves, cut en chiffonade
½ lb. mezze penne pasta
salt
black pepper, freshly ground

Procedure
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.

2. Meanwhile, add 2-3 Tbsps. olive oil to large nonstick saute pan over medium heat; add onion; season with salt and pepper; saute until translucent, about 3 minutes; add garlic and squash; raise heat to medium-high; saute until golden in color, about 5 minutes; add tomatoes, basil, and bocconcini; toss to combine; season to taste; reserve.

3. Add pasta to boiling water; cook to al dente; transfer to tomato mix; toss to combine, adding more olive oil if needed; serve.

 

Chickpea Salad.

When I returned from Miami, I was in need of vegetables.

You know, for obvious reasons (read: mofongo).

Then when I got the phone call that my wedding dress finally came in, I was in more need of vegetables.

All those vegetables led to three days worth of tacos and bubbling raclette cheese.

That evens out, right?

Chickpea Salad

Dijon vinaigrette:
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1/3-1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt
black pepper, freshly ground

Place Dijon and vinegar in bowl; whisk to combine; while whisking, stream in oil until emulsified; season to taste; reserve.

Assembly:
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1 seedless cucumber, cut into cubes
1 handful flat-leaf parsley, minced
salt
black pepper, freshly ground

Combine all ingredients in a bowl; toss with vinaigrette; season to taste.

tomato_chickpea

Wrap It Up: The Bachelorette.

I must say that prior to my journey, I was both excited and nervous for my bachelorette party.

As I’m nearing 30, I’ve had the opportunity to attend several bachelorettes for my friends—all of them wonderful—but I know how these go down (please reference Bethaney’s “Pics from a Toileted Camera” photo album on Facebook). I prepared myself (and my liver) for four days of debauchery with some of my closest friends from near and far.

And just to put it plain and simple: it was one of—if not the most—greatest trips of my life.

That said, I’ll wrap it up:

No. of Miles Run: 4. Despite what you may think, I actually ran. I ran once. With Katie and Susan. And it was 9:30 in the morning. And it was the worst decision I’ve ever made.

I recommend running on the street where stores keep their doors open. Ahhh, A/C.

I recommend running on the street where stores keep their doors open. Ahhh, A/C.

No. of Trips to Finnegan’s: 5. This could also be 6, but things get a little foggy as we both started and finished our nights at this bar. (Who can say no to a $3.50 happy hour wine?)

No. of Bottles at Bottle Service: 2. They were vodka. I opted for wine.

Like a wizard.

Like a wizard.

Amount of $ Spent on Said Bottles: Zero. Play on, playa.

No. of Times I Fell in the Street: 1. It was something out of a movie: my comrade and I were hailing a cab, and upon yelling, “WAAAAAAAIIIITTTTT,” I tripped on my four-inch heel and faceplanted. Note that this was before heading to a swanky club. I’m very fancy.

No. of Rooftop Photos: 79. A rough estimate, but a boatload were taken as we sipped our coffee there in the morning and sipped our wine there in the afternoon.

Not a bad seat in the house.

Not a bad seat in the house.

Restaurant Recommendation of the Weekend: Pubbelly. We ate at several fine choices in Miami, but Pubbelly rocked my socks off with their Mofongo with pork belly. MOFONGO WITH PORK BELLY. WHY AM I NOT EATING THIS EVERY DAY?!

TASTY.

TASTY.

And finally, I’ll wrap it up with my favorite part of the weekend: waking up with a huge grin on my face every morning. Corny, but true, as I just couldn’t get over the fact that my friends were corralled in one spot. Even my friends that couldn’t make it made their presence known by way of nifty gifties.

Huge thanks (again and again) to my friends and my Team Captain for hosting such a glorious occasion.

Twas a weekend I won’t soon forget.

 

 

Cous Cous with Watermelon, Basil & Feta.

I’ve returned from the city where the heat is on to New York City, where the heat also appears to be on.

After a fun-filled weekend of galavanting with my best gal pals and eating and drinking all kinds of South Beach fare, I’ve come home yearning produce. (Apparently, the grapes in the $3.50 happy hour wines at Finnegan’s do not count.)

Yes, Will dropped by. He thought we were great.

Yep, Will dropped by.

And since what happens in Miami stays in Miami (see: bachelorette party), I’ll get straight to the recipe.

Which is chef Frank approved.

Cous Cous with Watermelon, Basil & Feta
Serves 2

Ingredients
1 cup Israeli cous cous
1 lb. seedless watermelon, cut into cubes
1 handful basil leaves, cut en chiffonade
8 oz. feta cheese, cut into small cubes
½ cup sunflower seeds
⅓-½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, however much or as little you like
salt
black pepper, freshly ground

Prepare israeli cous cous according to package directions; toss with watermelon, basil, feta, sunflower seeds, and olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

watermelon_couscous