Thursday, August 25, 2011

Things I Learned: 8/25/11

I’m still learning things, but I’m changing the rules because:
1. It’s my project.

2. I can’t count (If you’ve trained with me, you know this) and therefore have no idea if I’ve actually learned enough things to account for the time between my last list and now.
3. As you all probably know, I have ADHD. Is it reasonable to ask an ADHD kid to restrict herself to learning a single new thing a day (or to ask her to remember to write down that single new thing)? Hell no.

So here’s some stuff I learned. Enjoy it.

-Multisport started in Mission Bay, CA where the San Diego Track Club started swimming before and after their run workouts.

-James Bond (the fictional one) is named after a real ornithologist. And he’s “007” because that was the number of the bus Ian Fleming took to the local bar.

-The dictionary definition of dork is: 1.) a dull, slow-witted or socially inept person; 2.) a penis.

-One theory of the origins of tennis scoring says that the scores were based on a clock face that was used on the court. Each point was worth a quarter of the clock face (15, 30, 45, 60). The first player to reach 60 won, but to make it so that a player would have to win by more than one point, they introduce “deuce,” changed the 45 to a 40 and awarded 10 points for each point after deuce.

-The origin of the term “love” for zero in tennis may come from the French term l’oeuf (the egg) or from the belief that players have “love for each other” at the start of the match when both scores are at zero.

-Potato chips were invented in Saratoga Springs, NY by a chef named George Crum, who sent the chips to a diner complaining that his French fries were too thick.

-The first cows brought to America landed at what is now Vaughan Woods Memorial State Park in South Berwick, ME.

-In MA, it’s illegal to frighten a pigeon.

-In Waterville, ME, it’s illegal to blow your nose in public.

-Potatoes come from Peru.

- Glenn Burke, an outfielder for the LA Dodgers, invented the high five in 1977. Burke was also the first Major League Baseball player to come out (after he retired in 1980).

-August is admit you’re happy month.

-Cigüeña means stork in Spanish.

-August 13 was national lefthanders day

-After the BP oil spill oil evaporated and ended up in clouds…and then it rained oil (or at least hydrocarbons).

-If a rat’s whisker is stimulated for 4 minutes following a stroke, the blood will seek alternate routes around the blockage, therefore preventing brain damage.

-El Paso, Texas and Antarctica were right next to each other before Pangaea broke apart.

-You can tell the age of freshwater mussels by counting the rings on their shells. (Confession: I may have known this.)

-Friday, August 26 is national dog day.

-Lager is fermented for longer and at lower temperatures than ale.

-Greater flamingos enhance their pink color using carotenoid pigments secreted by a preening gland on their butts.

-Flamingos have salt glands that enable them to excrete excess salt.

-Flamingos are filter feeders: They submerge their heads upside down, using their upper bills as ladles and their tongues as pistons that pump water (and food) into their bills and squirt water out.

-Flamingos stand on one leg to stay warm.

-Flamingos show “handedness.” When they curve their neck behind them (to stay warm), most curve to the right, but some (the left-neckers) curve to the left.

-Flamingo chicks are more likely to survive if they are surrounded by chicks born on the same day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Key Lime Pie-ish Fro Yo Sandwiches

(Adapted from Hungry Girl)

½ cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
1 ½ tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. lime juice
graham crackers (we used gluten-free graham crackers, which come in one flavor—graham—but the original recipe called for cinnamon graham crackers)

1. Combine the yogurt, sugar and lime juice in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

2. Cover and freeze for about 30 minutes.

3. Make sandwiches and freeze for 45 minutes or so, until they reach your desired firmness. (In my opinion, 1 hour in our freezer was too long.)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Gluten-Free Lemon-Raspberry Cake

This was Pete’s second birthday cake. Actually, he shared this cake with our friend Mike, hence the “69”—Mike turned 35 and Pete turned 34 so the only logical number to put on top of the cake was 69.

Anyway, the cake…WOW. This was one amazing cake. It reminded me of our wedding cake (from Cakes for Occasions), which was quite possibly the best cake I’ve ever had (and was not gluten-free).

For the cake:
½ cup sorghum flour
½ cup white rice flour
½ cup tapioca starch
½ cup potato starch
¾ tsp. xanthan gum
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs
1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
3 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. orange extract
½ cup fat-free sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 350° and grease (lightly, with canola oil spray) and line two 9” cake pans.

2. Combine the four flours, xanthan gum, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Whisk.

3. Add butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.

4. Lower the mixer speed to medium and add the eggs, on at a time, mixing thoroughly after adding each egg.

5. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla and orange extract to the stand mixer. Beat in the dry ingredients and then add the sour cream. Beat until everything is combined.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the tops are light golden brown.

7. Let the cakes cool completely before assembling.

For the lemony center:
Lemon curd (click here for the recipe)

For the frosting:
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
12 oz. light cream cheese
1 ½ cups icing sugar
¼ cup raspberry jam
¼ cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. orange extract

Combine all ingredients in a stand mixture and beat until smooth.

To put it all together:
Smother the top of one cake with the lemon curd. Place the second cake on top and smother the whole delicious creation with the raspberry frosting.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Spinach-Pesto Lasagna

THIS is delicious. And when I say “delicious,” I mean so friggin’ delicious that my mouth is watering just a bit as I think about it. If you like pesto, make this now.

(Adapted from Women’s Health)

Nino’s pesto (click here for the recipe)
2 cups (or so) part-skim ricotta cheese
9 lasagna noodles (We use gluten-free noodles, which means we have to cook them first. Go ahead and do that no-boil thing if your noodles allow.)
2 cups cooked chopped spinach, drained
Shredded parmesan cheese
Shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 8 oz.)

1. Preheat oven to 350° and drizzle a lasagna pan with olive oil.

2. Whisk the pesto and ricotta together in a medium bowl, adding just enough ricotta so that the mixture maintains a green tinge when thoroughly combined.

3. Place three noodles on the bottom of the pan and spread half the pesto mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, top with half the spinach and sprinkle with mozzarella. Add another layer of noodles, then most of the remaining pesto, some parm, the rest of the spinach and some mozzarella. Top it off with a final layer of noodles, what little remains of the pesto mixture and a whole lotta mozzarella.

4. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chard with Sherry Vinegar and Walnuts

We get a lot of chard from our awesome CSA. Chard is great (and super healthy), but we can only eat Chard with Feta so many times before we go crazy. So we’re trying out some new chard recipes. Here’s the first one. It’s quite tasty—rather ugly, but quite tasty.

(Adapted from 3/GO Triathlon)

Heaping ½ cup raisins (maybe closer to ¾ cup)
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
lots of chard, de-stemmed, leaves sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
¼ tsp. sea salt
¼ cup (a hefty ¼ cup) walnuts, toasted and chopped

1. In a small bowl, combine the raisins, sherry vinegar and ¼ cup boiling water. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.

2. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat.

3. Use a slotted spoon to remove the raisins from the liquid and dump the raisin liquid into the heated pot.

4. Add the chard to the pot.

5. Add the red onion and salt to the chard and lower the heat to medium. Cook, covered, for about 5 minutes, until the onion and chard are tender. (The original recipe said to cook for 10-12 minutes, but the chard was already starting to look dead after 5 minutes.)

6. Add raisins and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

7. Top with walnuts and serve.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Flourless Chocolate Banana Cake

This was the first of Pete’s two birthday cakes. It was awesomely delicious and insanely easy to make—and it was perfectly attractive until some idiot (me) put the candles in the cake while it was still warm.

(Adapted from Elana’s Pantry)

3 eggs, separated
¼ tsp. sea salt
½ cup agave nectar
¼ cup canola oil
3 brown bananas, mashed
heaping ½ cup cacao powder

1. Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 9-inch springform pan.

2. Combine egg yolks, agave and salt in a blender and blend for 1-2 minutes.

3. Add oil and banana and blend again until combined.

4. Add cacao powder…and blend.

5. Add the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk until they form stiff peaks.

6. Gently fold the contents of the blender into the bowl with the egg whites.

7. Pour batter into pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.

*It’s quite tasty topped with a dollop of Banilla yogurt.