Monday, June 30, 2008

Pickett's and beyond...

I can't believe I didn't take any pictures of Pickett's Charge! I was too busy running around to stop and take pics. Oh well. It went really smoothly, so I'm happy. I'm also super happy that it's over!!!! :) I love doing those, but they're a lot of work and take a lot out of you. Work's been busy since then too, so I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.

It's getting better now. I had a good weekend. Sunday I steam cleaned my carpets. Again, I'm glad I did it...but did I really have to pick such an already hot day! :) My house was pretty damn warm by the evening. Saturday Barrie and I rode from Swampy down to Bend. The mosquitoes were really bad. And they much preferred Barrie to me. They were driving her insane!

I love that ride. It's so pretty. I was hoping that the trail was completely clear of snow, and it was except for one snow mound that we had to skirt around. It was great though and we plan to do it again soon. I have a couple friends that want to join us on that one next time we ride it.

My legs did pretty well. By the time we got down to Ben's my legs were starting to feel quite weak from all the standing you do on the descending. They didn't hurt though! That may have been helped that we floated the river after riding. Iced my legs. Or at least cooled them. LOVE floating the river! :)

So a couple weeks ago I went to BC to get my Nexus pass and visit the Richmond library for work. I did manage to see my brother and his family which was really nice. They just bought a new house, and it's within walking distance of where they currently live. They're expecting their second child in a couple weeks.

Anyway, we took a walk to see their new place, and of course Kai had to ride his bike. He's so cute. He did have one oopsie into the tall grass.
It took him quite a while to struggle upright then get his bike out. Daddy helped, of course.

The raccoons are back! :) This is my one raccoon that comes every night. I put out a water dish for him too, 'cause he gets HOT. Last night he washed his food in it, like raccoons like to do, then he tipped it over so he could lay in it belly down. Cutie. Don't worry, I'm not making a pet of him.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

BBQ Recipes

So these are the recipes from my BBQ this weekend:

Costal Cuisine Dry Rub
(good for seafood, chicken and vegetables, make in advance and store in an airtight container)
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp black powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp dried tarragon (optional)

Costal Cedar Planked Salmon
1 filet of fresh salmon
3 tbsp Costal Cuisine Dry Rub or your favourite marinade
1 cedar grilling plank

Set salmon, skin side down on soaked plank. Season with Costal Cuisine rub or your favourite marinade.
Place plank on preheated grill with low to medium heat. Grill for 10-20 minutes with lid closed, until salmon flakes easily.

(For cedar planked chicken substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Grill for 30 minutes or until juices run clear.

Red Pepper and Corn Relish
(for on top of salmon)
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp coriander seeds
4 red bell peppers
4 tbsp olive oil
4 cups corn kernels (if fresh, from about 4 ears)
4 green onions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
¼ cup dry white wine
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Toast coriander seeds in a small skillet over medium heat until aromatic, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Cool slightly. Crush in mortar with pestle.
Char bell peppers over gas flame or under broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in paper bag 10 minutes. Peel and seed peppers; cut into ½ inch pieces.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn and green onions and sauté until corn begins to brown in spots, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic and thyme, sauté about 2 minutes.
Add wine and stir until liquid evaporates, about 1 minute.
Remove from heat and stir in bell peppers, lemon juice, honey and remaining 2 tbsp olive oil. Add 1 ½ tsp crushed coriander seeds.
Relish can be made 8 hours ahead: cover and refrigerate. Stir over medium heat until heated through before serving.
Stir in parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.

1 lb bay scallops
8 limes, juiced
2 tomatoes, diced
5 green onions, minced
2 stalks celery, sliced
½ green bell pepper, minced
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Rinse scallops and place in a medium bowl. Pour lime juice over the scallops. The scallops should be completely immersed in the lime juice. Chill the lime juice and scallops all day or overnight until the scallops are opaque (you cannot see through them).
Empty ½ of the lime juice from the bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Stir gently. Chill and for effect serve in fancy glasses with a slice of lime hanging over the rim.

Tuna Ceviche
2 lbs sushi-grade tuna, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped (plus a few leaves for garnish)
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger root
½ jalapeno, finely chopped
¾ cup coconut milk
4 scallions (or green onions), green part only, thinly sliced
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
½ tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp grated lemon zest

In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the cilantro garnish and chill for 2 hours. Salt to taste and garnish with cilantro leaves.

Grilled Vegetables
Marinade - mix all ingredients well, makes about 2 cups
1 cup olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp roasted garlic or roasted garlic puree
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup champagne vinegar
2 tsp Dijon or spicy brown mustard

4 Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 head fennel, trimmed and sliced ¼ inch thick, 8 slices
zucchini, thickly sliced
yellow squash, thickly sliced
10 medium asparagus
Red bell pepper, sliced into wedges
Yellow bell pepper, sliced into wedges
Shitake mushroom caps or quartered large mushrooms
Vidalia onion, thickly sliced
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
¼ cup asiago cheese
½ cup chiffonade basil

To cook vegetables (this is for a more “finished” veggie platter than I did the other night)
Marinade vegetables in about 1 ¼ cup of above marinade for 2 hours (approx)
Preheat grill
Cook vegetables on grill until tender, turning over as needed
Remove vegetables from grill, let come to room temperature
Arrange vegetables on large platter
Sprinkle with basil, pine nuts and asiago; drizzle with remaining marinade

Herb Marinated Back Yard Garden Salad
4 large tomatoes cut into ¾ inch chunks
½ red onion julienne
1 yellow or orange pepper julienne
1 red pepper julienne
1 jalapeno pepper, fine julienne
1 cucumber cut into quartered slices
½ cup basil chopped
¼ cup mint chopped
½ cup scallions (or green onions) chopped
4 tbsp chives, chopped
½ tbsp thyme chopped
(6 oz mixed greens of your choosing) - optional

For the dressing:
4 cloves garlic chopped
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Mix all dressing ingredients in a 2 qt bowl
Add produce and herbs to dressing, fold gently, let stand for 10 minutes
Adjust seasonings if needed
Optional: serve with greens of your choosing

Passion Fruit Sangria
2 bottles sweet white wine (Voniger, Muscat, Sweet Riesling, Gewurztraminer)
2 lemons cut into wedges
2 oranges cut into wedges
2 limes cut into wedges
4 cups passion fruit juice (I used guava since I couldn’t find passion fruit)
4 cups pineapple juice
2 cups ginger ale
2 kiwi fruit

Pour wine in the pitcher and squeeze the juice wedges from the lemon, orange and lime into the wine. Toss in the fruit wedges. Toss in the fruit wedges (leaving out seeds if possible) and add passion fruit juice and pineapple juice. Chill overnight. Add ginger ale and thinly sliced kiwi fruit just before serving.

Blood Orange Sangria
2 bottles fruity red wine
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 cups apple juice or cider
2/3 cup Triple Sec (orange flavored liqueur)
½ cup sugar
4 whole cloves
3 seedless oranges, each cut into 16 wedges
2 cinnamon sticks
1 lemon
1 lime
Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and stir until sugar dissolves. Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight. Discard cloves and cinnamon sticks.

Frozen Blackberry-Lemon Chiffon Pie
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp milk
Cooking spray
3 cups blackberries (fresh if available, but frozen work too)
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
4 large egg whites (I use Egg Beaters)
1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp water

Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl, toss with a fork until moist. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray.
Combine 3 cups blackberries and fresh lemon juice in a blender; process until smooth. Strain mixture through s sieve over a bowl. Discard solids.
Place salt and egg whites in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy.
Combine sugar and water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until a thermometer registers 250 degrees.
Gradually pour the hot sugar into egg mixture, eating at medium speed, then at high speed, until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold in blackberry mixture; pour into prepared crust. Cover and freeze 8 hours or overnight. Let stand 5 minutes at room temperature before serving. Garnish with fresh blackberries and mint if desired.

(I didn’t make this one, but for those that said it sounded interesting…)
Pecan, Cranberry & Apricot Stuffed Apples
4 Rome or other baking apples
¼ cup pecans, finely chopped
¼ cup chopped dried cranberries and apricots
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp melted butter
¼ cup brown sugar
8 cinnamon sticks for garnish

Halve and remove cores from apples. Cut a small slice from the bottom of each half so that it can lie flat on the plank
Combine ingredients and spoon stuffing into each apple half. Garnish with cinnamon sticks. Place apples on soaked plank.
Grill for about 10 minutes on low heat until the apples are tender, but be careful not to overook.
Wonderful served with ice cream.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Suttle Lake

The Suttle Lake ride is truly quite easy, but it's super-fun because of where it is. Here's Izzy taking a swim. Not sure I'd be dipping my toes in there, but next time I go I'm definitely bringing my bathing suit! :)

It was brilliant sunshine when we started, but the clouds started rolling in about 1/2 way through our ride. It was off and on sunny for the rest of the way around the lake. This is a shot from the far end looking back the way we came.

The trail is RIGHT along the lake, so you do pass "through" the campgrounds. Here someone has very nicely tied their boat to a tree across the trail! Barrie wanted to cut the line...I told her she couldn't! :) You can see the trail here. It's like this all the way around the lake - clear and well defined.

We stopped at one of the campgrounds to sit for a while and eat a picnic lunch. We took too long, because about 2 minutes before the end of our ride it started to POUR!!!! Here's Barrie putting on her rain jacket. I'm amazed that you can't see the was coming down really hard. And of course my jacket was in the car. By the time we got there and got our bikes on the roof I was soaked! :) The nice thing about technical clothing is that it dries really quickly

So the look around the lake is only about 3.5 miles, but you start the ride at the Camp Sherman road, which makes it a 13 mile lollipop. The above picture is on our way back along the lollipop stem. The trail in that section is gently rolling with nothing too technical. The "scariest" parts were where the bushes and trees had not been trimmed back yet and you literally had to duck down over the bike and close your eyes to get through! Hee hee.

A super-fun ride that I can't wait to do again.

Monday, June 02, 2008

June is here

Well after a week or two of nasty weather the sun is back! Thank god!!!! All is well, but my poor little legs are just not doing as well as I'd hoped. Still a lot of pain, and some noticeable loss of strength. A lot of that is just from lack of use, but some is probably caused by the surgery. so what that means is that I need to hit the gym more and start concentrating on building that strength back up.

I want one of those Staples Easy Buttons for my life...but evidently it doesn't work that way! :)

Saturday a friend and I rode the Suttle Lake tie and loop. It's not a technical ride in ANY sense of the word, but it was SOOO much fun! The tie is rolling single track beside HWY 20 and then the loop around the lake is super easy but fun because it's so gorgeous there. I was pre-riding it for the beginner ride I'm leading soon. I wanted something that was easy but out of town. Something different. I have a couple pictures and I'll post them once I download them from my camera

Sunday I did the Heaven Can Wait breast cancer walk. This was the largest year ever with 3,300 people walking! Amazing. Oh yea, a couple weekends ago I saw Michael Franti in concert and he was just wonderful! I have a couple pictures from before the concert...but my battery died right when I went to take a picture of him on stage! I was so pissed. We managed to find quite a bit of space right at the front at the side of the stage. Awesome view and he was superb, as always. I'm so bummed that I didn't get any pictures of him though!!! :(