Thomas just headed out to Rapid City, South Dakota to begin his job as a trust advisor for the Concord Trust Company. I’m so proud of him, but also South Dakota is far away. This is a bummer for two reasons. One, he’s no longer just a 2 hour drive from Stratton. Two, he is currently in the middle of Ohio driving across the country (it’s a 30 hour drive). I’ve always been one to deal with stress through cooking, so I went on the hunt for a recipe that would alleviate some sadness through slight sweetness, and be portable so Thomas could have some high quality road snacks…and avoid expired Twinkies from 7/11.
The other constraint I was dealing with was time. I decided to make him these cookies at the last possible second, so I need a 20 minute miracle. And I needed to have everything I needed already in the cupboard. I had tahini and honey and almond flour, and when I typed these into the Google machine, came across a very simple yet highly rated recipe from Food and Wine. I didn’t modify these at all, although next time I might throw a couple dark chocolate chips in there…because dark chocolate is a cure-all-maladies type of food.
These were meant to last Thomas the whole trip, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t make it past Vermont.
Food and Wine says it makes 30…mine made more like 20
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup tahini
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Place sesame seeds in a bowl (you’ll use this for rolling the little cookies in). Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and lightly grease two baking sheets, or line with parchment paper
2. In a medium bowl, mix the almond flour, baking soda, and salt together.
3. In a separate smaller bowl, mix the honey, tahini and vanilla together.
4. Create a small well in the dry ingredients, and pour the wet mixture into the center. Using a wooden spoon fold together until completely combined.
5. Using your hands, make golf ball sized balls of dough, roll in the sesame seeds, and gently flatten. Place on cookie sheet and repeat until all the dough has been used.
6. Bake for 8 minutes, switching pans from top to bottom half way through. They should be just turning golden brown on the bottom.
7. Let cool completely, and in my case put in a ziplock Baggie for travel food!
Whenever I travel back to Vermont from a stint at home, one of the first questions my teammates ask me is how many times I went to the Power House at Highland. I count the Powerhouse as one of my happy places. Whether it’s a group workout led by Logan or Jill, some one-on-one coaching with Max, a midline and mobility session with Meredith, or a friendly but also fiercely competitive workout with Gunnar…I do my best to be there every day.
As I wrote about last year, the Power House at Highland has a unique environment that encourages people to test their physical and mental limits in a space that is safe and welcoming for that, at times, painful task. Looking back after a full year of calling the Powerhouse my oasis, I think it can be neatly re-dubbed the EMpowerhouse.
At the EMpowerhouse, doing your first real pull up is just as exciting as doing your tenth pull up in a row. Going to Pilates every day is just as impressive as competing in the Crossfit Open, and eating mindfully for a week earns just as much respect as finishing your yardwork. It’s a judgement free zone, where other people’s accomplishments lend a helping hand for you to reach your own goals.
Further, any perceived failure at the EMpowerhouse is celebrated. When you come up short, it means you gave it your all. Give it a rest, and next week you’ll “fail” better. Beyond that, when an entire community shoulders the effects of “failure,” getting up is that much easier.
My goal for September is to raise an additional $5,000. My fundraising for the year is off to a great start thanks to the generous support of my new headgear sponsor MD Biosciences, and a grant from the American Birkebeiner Foundation. Last year I raised enough to cover my journey to my first World Cups, and this year my goal is not only to race in World Cups but place in the top 30. There is a lot of time, money, and energy that goes into this pursuit, and I am humbled and grateful to all of the people who have helped me along the way.
There will be a donation box at the Powerhouse starting next week, and I hope you will be able to join in for a workout on the 24th. The class schedule for that Saturday is available HERE, and if you can’t make it but still want to donate please send a check made out to “Anne Hart” and send to 9727 Primrose Ave N, Stillwater MN 55082.
I have a new restaurant on my ever growing bucket list. After watching the Netflix Documentary series “Chef’s Table,” in which the luckiest people in the world interview and follow and film the world’s most creative, elegant, and talented chefs, I’ve decided I need to get myself to Blue Hill in New York. Head chef Dan Barber essentially founded the Farm-to-Table restaurant movement. Originating from his desire to combine environmentally sustainable practices, nutritiously beneficial food, moral social practices and of course taste, he has become world renowned for the subtle complexities on display at his restaurant. At the most basic level, he wants every ingredient on his plates to have a sense of self worth and integrity. As Chef Barber sees it, a single radish prepared well should be just as impressive as the 24 day aged steak. He finds meaning in simplicity. But for this to work, he has to start with the best ingredients.
With that in mind, I wanted to figure out the best way to showcase the local food star of September: the apple. I wanted to give it the attention it deserves, without losing its essential “apple-ness.” And that’s the trick with food- mixing and matching flavors without losing the essence of any individual ingredient. Every ingredient has a purpose.
I like fruit crisps, but in my mind the apple plays second fiddle to the topping (because butter is a hard flavor to compete with). So I decided to do an inside out crisp of sorts- hollow out an apple, and stuff it with just a tiny bit of a crisp like topping. Then throw that in the oven so the apple can release its natural sweetness, add some creamy yogurt and some crunchy toasted hazelnuts…and the rest is history.
1 local as good as you can find Apple
1 tablespoon rolled oats
2 teaspoons quinoa (I used tri-colored)
1 teaspoon dried cranberries (fruit sweetened if possible!)
1 teaspoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons salted butter (cold and cut into small pieces)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6-8 hazelnuts, toasted
Yogurt for serving
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is preheating, prepare your apple. Using a sharp knife, cut a circle in the top. The size will depend on your apple, but for reference my circle was the about the size of my pinky finger. You want to have a big enough hole for the filling, but not so big you lose the apple! Also be sure not to cut through to the bottom! I found it helped to use the knife initially, and then use a spoon to take out the rest.
2. Prepare your filling. Combine the oats, quinoa, cranberries, syrup, and cinnamon. Then using your fingers, work the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse sand.
3. Stuff all of the filling into your apple. Place your apple in a dish that is just barely bigger than the apple itself. Put a little water in the bottom of the dish (so it covers 1/4-1/3 of your apple). This creates a steaming effect, which gets your apple nice and soft.
4. Bake, uncovered for 20-30 minutes. Total time will depend on the size of your apple, so start checking at 20 minutes. You want it soft to the touch, and the skin starting to separate from the apple itself.
5. Once cooked through, let rest for 5 minutes. Top with yogurt and hazelnuts and a dash more cinnamon, and enjoy! I had mine with two local maple-sage breakfast sausages. A truly harmonious mixture of savory and sweet.
P.S. I’m going to start saving all of my change for a trip to the Blue Hill at Stone Farm restaurant (there is one in the city and one on the farm where the ingredients come from). It might take me awhile, as the full menu costs $238 per person, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity. But once I’ve saved enough money, it will still be 60 days until I can eat there, as that’s how far out one must make reservations. Maybe Chef Barber will read this blog somehow, and invite me there free of charge. Here’s to hoping!
Confession: I usually hate quinoa. In fact, I endearingly call it quino-blah. There really isn’t any flavor in my opinion, so if I’m going to eat it you better believe there are some other things going with it. So when I saw a recipe for a quinoa salad that called for a half bunch of parsley (my favorite herb) I clicked on it. Then I saw it had toasted hazelnuts and apples. So I made it. And it might be the only quinoa salad I make from now on. The quinoa is really just the backup singer to the other ingredients. Toasted hazelnuts are really something special, and as we are now entering apple season, this easy side dish adds a nice fall flair to any meal.
Serves 3, adapted ever so slightly from Food52.com (a great place to find a variety of tasty recipes)
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup hazelnuts (these are expensive little nuts, but in this quantity shouldn’t break the bank. Pecans or walnuts would be tasty too!)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 celery stick (finely diced)
1/2 small onion (finely diced)
3 scallions (only the green parts), chopped
1/2 bunch fresh parsley (finely chopped)
1/3 cup dried cranberries (find some that are naturally sweetened with apple juice if you can! These taste so much better than craisins, but craisins will do in a pinch).
Juice from one lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Make your quinoa. Bring a pinch of salt and one cup of water to a boil. Add your 1/2 cup quinoa, reduce heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until all of the water has been absorbed. Fluff, and then place in the fridge to cool.
2. Toast your hazelnuts. Preheat your oven to 325, and bake hazelnuts for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool (you’ll hear the skins crackle!). Once cooled remove skins (they should just pop right off), and chop these ever so slightly (you still want big pieces!)
3. While the hazelnuts and quinoa are cooling, heat your olive oil in a skillet. Once hot sauté the celery and the onion (along with some salt) until softened, 6-8 minutes. Place into a medium sized mixing bowl.
4. Mix the parsley and scallions into the onion-celery mix. Then add your cooled quinoa, hazelnuts, and dried cranberries to the mix. Give it all a stir. At this point you can core and chop your apple (don’t do this ahead of time or you will get a brown apple). Put your chopped apple onto the top of the salad, and pour your lemon juice on top of that (this prevents browning). Give everything another mix, add salt and pepper as you please, and let sit for 20-30 minutes before serving! These 30 minutes are a great time to prep the rest of your meal- for me shredding chicken and roasting asparagus!
This will keep for up to 3 days in your fridge, and is easily doubled to serve a larger crowd.
Near where Thomas lives in Maine there is a tiny ice cream stand with the world’s best ice cream. Tubby’s (aptly named when you realize who owns the place) hand makes creative combinations, with names like “The Tree Hugger” (maple ice cream with oats, cinnamon, and walnuts) and “Unicorns Do Exist” (I’m not sure what’s in this one), and seriously the ice cream is the best. It has, in fact, ruined all other ice cream for me. I pretty much only get ice cream now when I go to Maine. That’s how good.
So when I spent the week in Maine for a seven day recovery training period, Tubby’s was an obvious destination. Standing in line looking at the flavors of the day, my eyes (and then my heart) set on the “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” I then noticed it was seven o’clock at night, I was wearing a fleece, and it was August 27th. And I was having a a delicious and pumpkin based ice cream. Two seasons combining to create the best possible dessert, and ultimately the inspiration for this blog.
This is an interesting and important time for a ski racer. The workouts shift from volume based to more intensity. Attire changes from sports bras to long sleeves, and the air changes from horribly humid to, in a word, pleasant. With this shift comes a lot of uncertainty, and some fear. A bad workout becomes a little harder to shake off (more on this in a later blog), getting sick becomes scarier, and in general the goal is to start feeling good going 100%.
How to make the shift from raspberry chocolate chip ice cream (my summer flavor) to pumpkin depends on the person. For me the best way is to keep up consistent, good training. I’ve learned I recover, train, and consequently feel best when I’m in one place. So, while some of my teammates travelled to New Zealand for the next block, I opted to stay in Stratton with Pat and Paddy! I have a three day intensity block coming up (which will be my first full L4 intervals of the year!), and am looking forward to some Pumpkin ice cream with the #Patricks.
Thanks for following, and check out a new recipe that will help you usher in fall on the cooking page (hint: not pumpkin, but the other fall fruit favorite).Click HERE for the recipe!
As I shared earlier with the Tahini Marinated chicken, there is nothing worse than bland chicken. I can’t say it enough, so expect it a couple more times. So with some chicken thighs in the freezer, I was looking for a new flavor combination to give the chicken some life (…the irony doesn’t go unnoticed). I stumbled upon a cookbook that Erika gave me for my birthday (or maybe graduation, but either way a present) and landed on a Moroccan chicken recipe.
And because it’s my birthday tomorrow, it is like Erika’s gift keeps on giving. Because this chicken is truly a gift. Grilling the thighs keeps everything juicy, with the added help of molasses and honey creating a nice crispy exterior. Served with rice and some grilled bok choy, the sauce drizzled over it all…a dinner worthy of a birthday eve.
Moroccan Chicken (serves 4)
Adapted from The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook
For the chicken and marinade:
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup local honey
1/4 cup molasses
8 boneless chicken thighs
1 teaspoon salt
For the sauce:
2 cups chicken stock
2 carrots thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
Salt and pepper to taste
Toasted Almonds for serving (about 1/4 cup)
1. Make the marinade. Heat the oil in a small sauce pan, and add the garlic, coriander, and cinnamon. Stir constantly for 1 minute. Stir in the honey and molasses and heat until bubbling. Split the marinade in half (put in two separate bowls to cool).
2. Once cooled, pour half the marinade into a large ziplock bag. Add the chicken thighs and salt, massage, and place in the fridge for at least two hours (up to 24, I did mine for 6).
3. When you are about 45 minutes from your desired dinner time, start the rice. Meanwhile begin the sauce. Pour the second half of the marinade into a sauce pan, along with 2 cups of the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minute stirring occasionally. Add the chopped apricots and carrots, and cook for another 20 minutes.
4. Once you’ve added the apricots and carrots, cook the chicken. Our grill heats up fast, so I started the grill right when the marinade sauce began to boil. On a grill that is medium-high, cook the chicken for 5-7 minutes each side.
5. When the chicken is done and resting, mix the cornstarch with the water. Pour this mixture into your sauce to thicken that baby up. Serve with rice and a vegetable of your choice, and dinner is not only tasty but also served!
And some other things I ate this week… (And a raw cake I want to make)http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1013807-carnitas-braised-in-witbier
And this raw cake is beckoning… It is my birthday tomorrow after all
I have always looked forward to my birthday. I usually have a countdown going (both quietly in my head and out loud to anyone who will listen), and continuously drop massive and not-so-subtle hints about what I’m expecting for the day celebrating me. But during a roller ski last week, I realized three things. One: I only had 10 more days left as a 23 year old. Two: For the first time ever, I sort of wished I wasn’t getting older. Which led me to my third realization…I wasn’t terribly looking forward to my birthday.
First, this was devastating. Then, it was worrying. What was wrong with me. How could I not be looking forward to a day that involved presents and cake and (wine). After some silent and self-directed question and answer, I came upon the following: I wasn’t excited about 24, because my 23rd year of life was spectacular.
Despite the inevitable ups and downs, year 23 lived up to and surpassed my expectations. I qualified for and skied in my first World Cups, made significant gains in both strength and endurance, pushed my mental boundaries and redefined my versions of impossible, and most importantly stayed pretty damn happy, excited, and fulfilled through it all. Every day of my 23rd year I woke up with the opportunity to pursue the most incredible lifestyle I can think of- challenging myself to consistently be a better version of me. Of course this took many forms- some days it meant making the perfect breakfast. Other days it meant maxing out my physical capabilities on snow. And still others it meant being simply present in the moment. Appreciating a grilled cheese with my sister, a text exchange about my brother’s post-surgery love of graham crackers, dinner at Chilkoot with mom and dad, or an intense game of Christmas morning dog-poly with Thomas and my siblings.
One of my favorite books of all time is Andre Agassi’s autobiography, Open. Agassi details his rise to tennis stardom in shockingly honest prose (everybody should read this book). After finishing my copy, I googled Agassi and came across this quote:
“I question myself every day. That’s what I still find motivating about this. I don’t have the answers, I don’t pretend that I do just because I won the match. Just keep fighting and maybe something good happens.”
For fear of sounding fatalistic, I think this is where I’m at. In the pursuit of improving me (as a skier and as a person), I’m constantly questioning what I could be doing better. And this can be stressful. But as Agassi points out, this can also be incredibly motivating. And I think when the time is right, you know when you’ve reached the best version of yourself, and at that time you stop questioning. And I’m here to report… I’m not that person yet. I still have so much to improve on, both as a skier and a person.
So I think, maybe, it is not that I’m not excited to turn 24. Rather, I’m sort of scared to. To reference another Agassi quote, “What makes something special is not just what you have to gain, but what you feel there is to lose.” And how lucky am I that my 23rd year of life was so wonderful that I fear losing it. Thankfully, aging is linear and chronological, so my 23rd year will always be there, providing the sturdiest starting point for my 24th.
I feel like I am pretty good at covering all of my nutritious food bases throughout a day. I eat a wide variety of dishes, eat until I’m full, and then eat again an hour later. But around this time of year- without fail- I go through salad burn out. With all of the amazing fresh and local salad ingredients, for the months of June and July I pretty much don’t go a day without some kind of leafy green side dish.
Don’t get me wrong- I still love vegetables. But I stop wanting them chopped up and mixed on top of a bed of greens. So I get conflicted- I know I need the vegetables, but need a new way to consume them.
So I add bacon. I skip the leafy green stuff and get straight to the goods. I make this 10 minute broccoli bacon salad. It covers all the bases both nutritionally, texturally, and taste bud-y. Walnuts for crunch and some healthy fats, raisins for sweetness, bacon for goodness, and broccoli and red onion for nutritious-ness. And of course my go-to Greek yogurt for some creaminess, and local honey to fight the allergies. I’ll be eating this on repeat (or for at least two more lunches, the recipe serves three of me).
2 broccoli heads, cut into bite size florets
1/2 small red onion
Handful (my very precise unit of measurement) chopped walnuts
6 pieces cooked bacon, chopped
1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and Pepper to taste
Literally so easy. Put the broccoli, onion, walnuts, raisins and bacon into a medium sized mixing bowl. Combine the yogurt, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in a small dish. Pour over the dry goods and mix completely. Serve right then, or put in a Tupperware. This kind of dish tastes just as good (if not better) after a day or two in the fridge.
Two more kitchen highlights:Check back next week for some homemade Graham crackers I’m perfecting, and an energy ball recipe I’m working on for the Birkie foundation!
I am an early riser. My natural alarm clock wakes me right up with the sun, and most mornings I don’t hit snooze. I’m too excited about coffee, and already figuring out what to make for breakfast (and lunch and dinner). My mornings had an added bonus last week, as I was at home reading the paper next to my furry four legged friends. While I appreciate the cats, they tend to want to be cuddling on top of me instead of next to me. This is all well and good until Mac (our most devious cat) spills my coffee.But Liesel- the most wonderful humane society dog ever- is perfect at taking cues. After her walk, she dutifully spins around a couple of times, and takes a seat. She instantly goes into rest mode. And then you take out a tennis ball, and all bets are off.I think Liesel might be my new training inspiration. I’ve never met an individual better at resting, or better at going hard (she will fetch a tennis ball until her legs give out). Further, she’s always excited to go play- even if it’s the same stinking tennis ball on the same stretch of grass. Every walk is a new adventure, and every nap is her best one ever.The dog days of Summer is supposed to be that time of year marks by lethargy, inactivity, or indolence. But I think a better interpretation, for skiers at least, is to take training cues from dogs. Rest hard, play (train) hard, and always get excited about what’s happening in the moment. With a mindset like that, you just can’t lose. I’m back in Stratton after a week off, and we have another big three week block of training on tap. Thanks for following! And now, pictures.
And a most loving hello to Thomas’s new border collie puppy, Micco.
Simple is good. So for this week’s recipe round up, I’m sharing some no-recipe-recipes. These are perfect quick meals for anytime- ideal for a mid-summer rest week. There is plenty of room for substitution- so use this as a template for your own creativity. Or if you’re a mosquito, skip this and just chomp on this writer.
This is an empty the fridge bowl. Since I was leaving Stratton for the week, going to the grocery store seemed excessive. So I opened the fridge to bacon and eggs (two things I always have in the fridge), some leftover polenta, and the last remnants of a successful early week farmers market visit. Oh, and some Parmesan.
Cook polenta according to package instructions (I use corn meal and chicken stock for mine, and add a good amount of butter at the very end for some added richness and deliciousness). Preheat oven to 425, and toss vegetables with some olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes. When you put the vegetables in, fry up some bacon. Once cooked, set bacon aside but DO NOT DUMP THE LEFTOVER GREASE. Use it to fry your eggs. Crack eggs into the hot pan, and don’t touch ‘em! This will give you a nice crispy edge. Cook until whites are set. Put some polenta in the bottom of a serving bowl, then put down your vegetables, the eggs, and finally sprinkle with chopped bacon and some Parmesan. Dinner is served!
Some simple pizza inspiration. I made a sourdough crust with my starter, and topped with some parsley pesto. Then I used some leftover baked chicken (another fridge staple), peaches, sugar snap peas, green onions, goat cheese and a sprinkling of chopped pecans. For an added treat, get yourself a little dish of honey to dip the crust in. Also a cute bicycle pizza cutter doesn’t hurt.
This recipe from the New York Times for corn basil pasta is incredible. I used my ancient grains fusilli for the pasta, but your favorite brand would work. For some serious protein I grilled up a pork chop (well two, one for lunch the next day).
French toast a la me! I used some of my whole wheat sourdough, and soaked the pieces in a mixture of two eggs, a little maple syrup, a dash of vanilla and a sprinkling of cinnamon, I topped it with Greek yogurt, blueberries and roasted peaches- but French toast is a wonderful place to use up anything you have left in the pantry. To roast the peaches (which everyone should do), set your oven to the broiler setting. Halve a peach (or two, I won’t tell), and add a small piece of butter to the middle, drizzle with maple syrup and a little cinnamon. Put onto a baking sheet lined with foil skin side down, and broil for 8-10 minutes. The peaches will just begin to carmalize and be soft to the touch.