Pasta Ida Lucia Pezzino

I’ve made this recipe twice now. It’s delicious and best made with good quality ingredients. I recommend trying it now, before all the good tomatoes disappear for the next few months.

Pasta Ida Lucia Pezzino
Source: Joe Gray – Chicago Tribune, modified by my friend Deb

4 large beefsteak tomatoes, cored
4 cloves garlic, peeled, pressed or minced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced into ribbons
4 tsps olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound capellini (angel hair pasta)
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the tomatoes on a lightly oiled baking sheet; divide the garlic and basil among the tomatoes. Drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil in each; sprinkle with the salt. Cook until tomatoes soften and begin to shrivel but still hold their shape, about 30 minutes. (Mine took 22 minutes.)

Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat; add the capellini. Cook until al dente, according to package directions; drain.

While pasta is cooking, heat the remaining olive oil in a large, heavy skillet; stir in the bread crumbs. Cook, stirring, until crumbs brown and become crispy, about 4 minutes.

Toss the pasta with the bread crumbs; divide evenly among 4 pasta bowls. Nestle a tomato carefully in each bowl. Top with cheese. Serve, allowing diners to break up their own tomato and eat with the pasta.

Mussels in Spicy Coconut Broth

I have surprisingly been back in the kitchen of late. There are a few recipes I’m planning to pass along to you and all of them are pretty simple. With current limitations, recipes have to be very easy or I won’t attempt them at all. This one for mussels is one of G’s favorite combos- coconut milk and curry. I think the broth would make an excellent base for soup as well. With all that ginger, it’s great for cold season. I made the recipe as written but next time, I’ll increase the coconut milk for a richer flavor.

Mussels in Spicy Coconut Broth
Source: Cooking Light, January 2003

1/2 cup light coconut milk
1/4 cup thinly sliced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons red curry powder (such as McCormick)
Dash of salt
1 (14.5-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Combine first 7 ingredients in a Dutch oven, and bring to a boil. Add mussels; cover and cook 5 minutes or until shells open.

Remove from heat; discard any unopened shells. Spoon 1 1/2 cups broth mixture into each of 2 soup bowls. Divide mussels evenly among each soup bowl. Garnish with chopped basil.

2 servings

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 241(27% from fat); FAT 7.1g (sat 2.8g,mono 1g,poly 1.1g); PROTEIN 22.9g; CHOLESTEROL 46mg; CALCIUM 66mg; SODIUM 940mg; FIBER 1g; IRON 7.8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 20.3g

And the Countdown is on

Just 8 more days until my race! I always think an event feels more real when you can see the extended weather forecast for it (usually 10 days out). Although I’m not thrilled with the long range forecast, which predicts rain. Either way, we’re in the final days. There’s nothing more I can do to prepare for the event- except maybe get a lot of sleep. If you’re local, feel free to come out to Cougar Mountain to cheer me on next Saturday. Otherwise, I’ll have to fill you in after the race and some serious resting/eating/tub-soaking occur.

Cause and Effect

Lucy gets it. I watched her yesterday afternoon while she played with a new toy. If you push a certain button, it plays a song. And she figured that out…I watched her press the button, listen to the song and then do it again and again. Surely, she’s a genius for working this out at her tender 8 months of age!

20 pounder

According to our unofficial bathroom scale-weighing, the girl is now 19.7 pounds. Darn close to 20 pounds. Yowsa! No wonder my arms and shoulders are so achy. She turned 8 months last week and is crawling like crazy. Still only 2 teeth, but in all other regards, she’s growing like a weed!

The Taper

Well, my training officially peaked last week. We are now in The Taper. In our 2 prior long runs, we hit 22 and 25 miles, respectively. These runs were amazing, they were insanely challenging, and they kicked my butt. First, we ran a 22-mile loop at Cathedral Rock in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. I think I can safely say this was the most beautiful run we’ve done. There were moments where I would just stop and stare in the midst of running switchbacks below a mountain peak and above a pristine lake. It was so awesome, I was in a good mood for about 3 days afterwards. And surprisingly, I wasn’t terribly sore or tired from the 5 hour, 19 minute endeavor. The same cannot be said of Saturday’s 25-miler (Note: my GPS clocked it at 28+ miles). Oh dear God. Roughly 6 hours and 45 minutes of running; by far the longest run of my life. And it was REALLY hilly. It was the 1st 25 miles (out of 31) of our race course. Our coach even set up aid stations at many of the same places we’ll see them on race day. So this run was a decent approximation of what the actual event will be like. I took it one step further and wore the same clothes and ate exactly as I plan to do on the day. Since the run was at Cougar and Squak Mountains, the scenery was much more boring than Cathedral Rock. But I finished in reasonable time (still slower than I was hoping for) and didn’t struggle too much. The next couple days my legs were quite tired and a bit sore. Nothing debilitating, but certainly enough to make me happy about this whole tapering thing.

Over the next 2 1/2 weeks, I’ll still run but will cut back on my distance. For instance, this coming Saturday’s long run is a 14-miler at Melakwa Lake. Happily, I can continue to eat the enormous amount I’ve been eating with no fear, as I’m supposed to be building up glycogen stores. Whatever. I’m really feeling good about this race. My goal (of finishing) is within spitting distance.