Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More Adventures in Cooking

In yesterday's post I mentioned that I picked up a bunch of items at the farmers market and TJ's to try out some new meals this week. Well, I got right to it and surprised Woody with a pretty good dinner! It was the first try with both, so there are things I'll do differently next time, but overall the meal was a success.

One farmer at the market yesterday was selling fresh asparagus. I've wanted to try preparing asparagus myself for a while, but it seems like a difficult thing to get right. So often it's either mushy or hard. Unsure how to choose the right bunch, I asked a woman who was also looking at the selection and had obviously cooked asparagus before. She explained that you want spears that are tight at the top, nice and green throughout and that don't look 'woody.' She thought all of them looked very fresh and I couldn't go wrong with any bunch. While asparagus is very low in calories and sodium, it's a great source of folic acid, and a good source of vitamin B6, potassium, fiber and thalamin. Also, it's one of the best sources of rutin, which helps to strengthen capillary walls. After seeing a chef win "Chopped" on the Food Network over the weekend partially because of his spectacular grilled asparagus, I decided that is how I'd prepare it! (using a grill pan, because we obviously don't have a grill in our apartment!)
Preparation tip: store fresh asparagus in the refrigerator standing up in either a bowl or mug with a bit of water in the bottom to keep the tips wet. When ready to cook, wash the spears and then bend them gently at the bottom end until they snap. That snap is natural and gives you a good edge. (I saw this on another Food Network show last week and wasn't sure about it when I started, but it worked!)

Next was a variation on a pizza recipe I saw in Real Simple magazine (unfortunately I can't find a link on the website). I used TJ's whole wheat dough, purple potatoes from the market instead of the red ones the recipe called for, garlic, evoo and some left over chicken pieces from my takeout dinner the night before.
The purple potatoes definitely add an interesting look to this pizza, but they taste fantastic! Knowing how the heat effects the components, next time I'll use more potato slices (maybe a mix of purple and red), either more garlic or onion, and spread the dough thinner. Woody and I like thicker crust, so we enjoyed it, but it would be nice a tiny bit thinner.

I added a few grape tomatoes on the grill pan for the last few minutes and in the end, this is what Woody's plate looked like:
Not too bad if you ask me. We were both very happy with how it turned out. I think Woody is a bit surprised by all the cooking I've been doing lately. Having the time cook is one of the few good things about being unemployed. With plenty of asparagus left, I will try another recipe or two, so check back later this week for more!

In injury news: my foot doc was concerned about giving me cortisone since I have a history of high cortisol with Cushing's Disease, so to play it safe he did a treatment using pricks of novicane in the area instead. This obviously doesn't work as well as cortisone, but he didn't want to take the chance. Then, he followed up with another ultrasound treatment and taped my foot. It didn't hurt the rest of the day and is still feeling okay now, after my workout. I am hoping to hear from my endocrinologist soon, to get his thoughts on cortisone. Hopefully he will give the go ahead. For now, my foot doc has left the ultimate decision up to me, but said that running the half marathon on Sunday will undoubtedly set me back in my progress and could make my injury worse. Needless to say, I was (and still am) not happy to hear that. It's incredibly disappointing but, I'll be the loudest cheerleader out there on the course and my friends and I will still have a great time this weekend!

Do you have any plans for Earth Day?

Workout Stats -
16mi bike ride
150 crunches
2x30 sec planks
stretching & foam roller


Robyn said...

I love reading about your cooking adventures because we eat so similarly! I've never been a fan of asparagus but if cooked right, it can be tasty. Sorry about your foot but not running Sunday is probably the smarter decision.

Erin said...

Looks yummy:)!! Just starting to catch up on the blog a bit. I'm pretty impressed with what you've created! Hope all is well!! xx

just another Belle said...

mmmm this looks delicious! I love asparagus! try putting a little olive oil and seasoning on it, put it in a brown paper bag, and back it. talk about YUMMMM.

Christy said...

Sorry to hear about your Half! I do hope you start getting better soon! And thanks for the asparagus tips! I cook with asparagus all the time and never knew any of this! A really tasty treat is to throw them in the Broiler for about 10 minutes drizzled with some EVOO, salt, ground pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. It's delicious!

shelby @ eatdrinkrun said...

Great asparagus tips! I'm trying to learn to like it.

Sorry about the half. :( What a bummer!

Travel Eat Love said...

I LOVE asparagus! It can be prepared so many ways, but I love it steamed with a little lemon and sea salt or reduced balsamic. Yum!

Karen said...

I just figured out how to cook asparagus myself. It is so easy I don't know why I waited so long! Looks delicious :)

I have never thought of putting blue potatoes on a pizza crust but it looks pretty yummy!

Molly said...

I love to grill asparagus, and toss any leftovers into a quiche or scrambled eggs the next day!

sending you good vibes for your foot!!