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

 

Pride 5 Miler & Yogaworks.

Last weekend was glorious Pride Weekend, as well as the annual Front Runners New York LGBT Pride 5 miler in Central Park.

As I’ve stated in the past, I love this race. Regardless of the heat, everyone is in great spirits, the misting stations are out in full force, and there are popsicles at the finish.

Unfortunately for me, however, I pulled my left plantar fascia en route to the start. And because I’m an idiot, I raced instead of going home to ice it and take care of it.

HOT. TOO HOT.

HOT. TOO HOT.

Thankfully, the race went fine, and Lefty Lew didn’t bother me a bit. I even PR’d.

pride_splits

Sunday, however, was a different story. The nagging twinge in my left foot was noticeable, so I rolled it out and did—performed? what is the right term here?—a bit of yoga.

And what poor timing with my upcoming trip to Miami, in which my comrade and I have expressed that we’d like to get somewhat in shape.

So, in an effort to “get jiggy with it” and not “jiggly with it,” purchased a Groupon for a month of unlimited yoga classes at Yogaworks, which has several locations in the city.

On Tuesday morning, we went to our first class, the Yogaworks Vinyasa Flow 2. That ‘2’ stands for the level, out of 3, which I thought appropriate as I’ve been practicing yoga for several years.

Thirty minutes into the class, I was sore all over and sweating profusely. I realized that, when I’m doing a workout at home, I can sort of half ass a pose (or all poses), while His Lordship thinks I look all hot and yogi-like. The half-assed poses could not happen in the studio, where my teacher was straightening my legs.

My body started to shake.

After class, I spent the remainder of my day sore and tired in my cubicle. (And I wasn’t showered. Sexxxyyyy.)

On Wednesday morning, we attempted our second class, the Yogaworks Cardio Flow 2.

I don’t know if I felt internally stronger (probably not) or if the Cardio class was easier (probably so), but I wasn’t shaking nor sweating as much as I was yesterday morning. And I actually attempted crow pose for a full second and a half. (Score!)

I’m sure I won’t d0 a headstand come next Thursday. But maybe, maybe, I’ll show some semblance of a flat stomach.

Just flat enough to make it re-inflate (a word?) with alcohol and Cuban sandwiches.

 

Pepper/Tomato/Olive/Manchego Salad.

On my recent trip to Raleigh, I went through some of my Mom’s new cookbooks. One salad recipe stood out consisting of tomatoes, bell peppers, olives, and manchego cheese.

I added roasted red peppers for a contrast in texture and flavor.

Also, the manchego totally makes this salad.

But you knew that already.

Pepper/Tomato/Olive/Manchego Salad

Summer in a bowl.

Summer in a bowl.

Ingredients:
1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and diced
2 roasted red bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 cup Spanish green olives, pitted and chopped
6 oz. Manchego cheese, diced
extra-virgin olive oil
salt
freshly ground black pepper

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

 

Subway Etiquette.

I’ve witnessed a lot of subway goings-on over the last seven years: drunken behavior, fights, countless delays, vomiting, and even a fainting in which we called for doctors on nearby cars.

With that said, I don’t get too surprised when I witness something new.

Until this morning.

I walked onto my normal 6 train car and sat down.

Let me back up and say that, around the 9:00 hour, the 6 train cars at 96 street tend to be less crowded with several seats available.

Moving on.

I sat down next to a woman reading the paper. I situated myself and my umbrella, and noticed a young 20-something coming to sit down next to me in one of the two seats available.

Instead of leaving some room, she sat almost on top of me.

This threw me for a loop for two reasons: one, there were the aforementioned two seats available, and two, if you’re on your way to work, you should know better than to sit on top of someone unless it’s absolutely packed. This is called subway etiquette.

We picked up more commuters at 77th street. Another woman made a move to sit in the remaining empty seat. I moved over a smidgen, so not to sit on top of the woman reading the paper.

The young girl preceded to move closer to me and sat back, resting her entire left arm across my right and over into my chest.

Feeling heated, I started counting down the stops. She noticed a young man standing in front of her, whom she knew. As I listened in on their conversation (calm down, this may as well have been a threesome at this point), I overheard them talking about their summer internships.

So she’s young, perhaps she deserves a pass.

At 51st street, the woman reading the paper left. I slid over to take her seat, and rested against the railing.

And wouldn’t you know it? My new friend slid over to make room for her beau, and sat on top of me.

Pass revoked.

Thanks, subway jerk, for inducing my claustrophobia on this fine Thursday morning.

Recap: Oakley New York Mini 10K.

There are some days where I race too conservatively.

Unfortunately for me, Saturday, the day of the Oakley New York Mini 10K, was one of those days.

As a newly pregnant lady, ES asked if we could cab to the start at Columbus Circle. I was happy to oblige, and after a quick trip, we arrived at the start ahead of schedule.

It’s been two years since my last Mini 10K, and while some people have their own reservations about women-only races, I truly enjoy the Mini. It was my very first race four years ago, and since then, I’ve worked hard enough to get a position in the first corral.

And running up Central Park West is a nice change of pace from the normal loop of Central Park.

I wished ES good luck, as she had her own race strategy in mind, and I sat in my corral and waited. I tried listening to remarks made by the elites, Mary Wittenberg, and some guy who I’ll never know his name as the speakers weren’t loud enough to hear over the deafening sounds of female chatter.

With fellow North Carolinian homie Katie. Also, I don't recommend running in Aviators. Such a rookie.

With fellow North Carolinian homie Katie. Also, I don’t recommend running in Aviators. Such a rookie.

And then Peter Ciacia appeared, and there was silence.

Then the gun went off.

The first mile up Central Park West is a false flat, and I knew I could start off too fast—not the best idea considering Harlem Hill is imminent upon entering the Park.

I dropped the first mile in 7:30. I eased up further as I reached the hills; I could drop my pace on the East side.

I started in the middle of the pack, a poor decision on my part. I spent much time weaving around people up Harlem Hill. (This is foreshadowing.)

The sun started peeking out, and the humidity became a touch unbearable. I grabbed water at the top of the park and dumped it down my back, which is something I would continue to do at every aid station until the finish.

As I reached the top of the second hill, I tried dropping my pace. I felt I was giving enough effort to drop my pace. Between the weaving and the humidity, my pace was actually dropping.

I saw His Lordship cheering at 94th Street. This, along with my dropping pace (mile 4 clocked in at 7:55), gave me a jolt for the final 2.2 miles.

Smiling. A sign that I may or may not be taking it too easy.

Smiling. A sign that I may or may not be taking it too easy.

At this point, I was doing math in my head to see if I could PR.

Right before I reached Cat Hill, a girl in front of me tripped and fell. I asked if she was alright, and she assured she was, albeit a bit embarrassed.

The crowds thickened at the 72nd Street transverse, and because of this, I got amped up and sped up the hill at 72nd Street.

Horrible decision.

I quickly approached the puke threshold, and nearly came to a halt. With some serious deep breathing, I gathered myself and got myself to a manageable pace.

As I turned back to the West side, I saw my PR fading in the distance, but had some reserves in the tank to “sprint” the final 800 meters. (It wasn’t a “sprint” so much as it was just picking up the pace.)

NYRR_Official

NYRR_Mini_Splits

While I’m ecstatic that my head is back on straight with racing, I’m a bit peeved that I didn’t push myself further, and instead ran this almost as a tempo run. And what a difference running that extra .15 miles makes (don’t weave, folks).

Also, I’m convinced Marathonfoto hates me, as there has been no documentation of myself running the past three NYRR races. What gives?

Does anyone else have this problem? 

Next up is the Pride 5-Miler.

And by George, I will not be conservative.

Look out, puke threshold.

Mixed Greens with Shrimp & Cilantro/Lime Dressing

On a recent trip home, my Mom and I had a lunch and shopping date. Both of us ordered salads—the Asian chicken salad for Mom, and the shrimp with cilantro/lime dressing for myself.

And seeing as how Mom asked for the components of the dressing, I consider myself the luncheon victor.

Disclaimer: Walsh and Ballou, this recipe is not for you.

Mixed Greens with Shrimp & Cilantro/Lime Dressing
Serves 2

Summer! No?

Summer! No?

Cilantro/lime dressing:
1 heaping handful cilantro leaves
1 large garlic clove
1 lime (or 2 if not ripe), juiced
extra-virgin olive oil
salt
black pepper, freshly ground

Place cilantro, garlic, and lime juice in food processor; pulse; with motor running, stream in olive oil until blended to desired consistency; season with salt and pepper; reserve.

Assembly:
2 Tbsps. extra-virgin olive oil
½ pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt
black pepper, freshly ground
1 red pepper, diced
1 ripe Hass avocado, diced
2 ears corn, charred and kernels removed from cob
½ pint grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
2 handfuls mixed greens
2 flour tortillas, lightly fried in olive oil and cut into strips

1. Heat olive oil to medium-high heat in large sauté pan; add shrimp; season with salt and pepper; cook 1-2 minutes per side until lightly pan-fried; reserve.

2. Combine pepper, avocado, corn, and grape tomatoes in bowl; season; reserve.

3. Place 2 to 3 Tbsps. reserved cilantro/lime dressing in bottom of mixing bowl; add mixed greens and pepper mixture; toss to coat evenly; place in serving bowl; add shrimp serve.

 

Salmon With Lemon/Rosemary Beurre Blanc.

Lately I’ve been reminiscing about my time in culinary school.

And I’ll save my love for such for a different blog post.

I’ve been mulling over my course books and recipes (NOT poule au pot, that bitch), and reintroducing them into the Lewis-Baker household.

The beurre blanc—the white butter sauce—was one of the first emulsified sauces I learned.

It’s simple. It’s delicious.

And that’s what she said.

Badaboom.

Salmon with Lemon/Rosemary Beurre Blanc
Serves 2

Please note: I did NOT strain the sauce as I love shallots. I'm also lazy.

Please note: I did NOT strain the sauce as I love shallots. I’m also lazy.

Beurre Blanc:
1 small shallot, finely minced
3 Tbsps. white wine vinegar
⅔ cup white wine
7 oz. unsalted cold butter, cut into cubes
salt
white pepper, freshly ground
1 lemon, zested
1 Tbsp. rosemary leaves, minced

Place shallots, vinegar, and white wine in small saucepan; reduce over low heat until 1 Tbsp. of liquid remains; whisk in cold butter a little at a time; strain; add lemon zest and rosemary; adjust seasoning.

Salmon:
2 4-6 oz. salmon fillets
salt
black pepper, freshly ground
extra-virgin olive oil

Heat 2-3 Tbsps. oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; season salmon fillets on each side; place fillets skin-side down in pan; cook 4-5 minutes depending on thickness; flip**; cook 3-4 minutes or less depending on desired temperature; serve with lemon/rosemary beurre blanc.

**Proteins are meant to be flipped only one time when cooking. If your protein doesn’t give when you try to flip it (it’s sticking to the pan), continue letting it cook.