Archive for July, 2010

I have been very uninspired to cook lately. This tends to happen to me every summer since I started cycling. I do ride a fair amount and the rides during the week end around 8:00 pm, so who wants to go home and cook. Having a simple dish is key. I have been grilling a lot, which is always easy. We recently purchased a new grill and I really like using it. I have not messed anything up yet! :)

My sister mentioned a new cookbook that she recently purchased called Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life. She made several dishes from it and was very happy with them. I decided to go to the store and check it out. After flipping through it, I was sold. Everything sounded so delicious. And the photos of the dishes were really beautiful! I could not wait to go home and make some of the dishes. What I love most about this cookbook is that the recipes are categorized by seasons and they require minimal ingredients.

I purchased the cookbook on Friday and I’ve already made three dishes from it. I am super inspired!! :) I have made a Cucumber and Pomegranate Salad, an Egg and New Potatoes with Green Olive Pesto salad, and a Chilled Cucumber Soup with Avocado, Cumin, and Mint. All three dishes were delicious!

I really loved the Egg and New Potatoes with Green Olive Pesto. It is one of the best potato salads I have ever had. The salad included hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, celery, and scallions, which were tossed with this amazing pesto made from parsley, anchovy filets, green olives, walnuts, lemon juice, and olive oil. YUM!! I am making it again this weekend for a friend’s dinner party.

I tend to ride every Wednesday evening, but today has been storming all day, so I could not ride. I decided to cook and bake. I know… can you believe it!! :) I made the Chilled Cucumber Soup with Avocado, Cumin, and Mint dish and served it with some pressed sandwiches. The recipe mentioned to cut the cucumbers in chunks and then blend them in the blender. I quickly realized that you perhaps have to use an industrial grade blender, since my blender did not even make a dent in my mound of cucumber chunks. I switched to my food processor and I was set. The soup required cucumbers, avocado, almonds, lime juice, cumin, jalapeño, scallions, mint leaves, water, and salt. You just put everything in the blender (I mean the food processor) and voilà… you have some pretty tasty soup.

As I mentioned, I made some pressed sandwiched to go along with the soup. I love making them! I don’t have a fancy press. I simply make them in a frying pan and press them with one of those meat presses. I actually used to use a pot, but then upgraded to the meat press. It works great!! I love making sandwiches up. Today I used store bought basil pesto and roasted red pepper hummus, sliced tomatoes, prosciutto, and goat cheese. The combination was delicious.

On Sunday, my mom called me to tell me that she and my dad picked a bunch of fruit, and that I should stop by and take some. They really did pick fruit… a lot of it. She gave me two large containers of blueberries and raspberries, as well as a few apricots and peaches. While I was there, I asked my mom to give me her recipe for a cake that will allow me to use some of this fruit. The cake is called Prăjitură cu Fructe, which translates as Cake with Fruit. I know… very original. :)

The recipe is of course one of those recipes that requires her trusted spoon and cup. As I was getting ready to bake it, I called her to convert the ingredients. We kind of accomplished that task. I had a feeling that it was going to be one of those experimental cakes. I was right! The cake tasted good, but as usual, it did not really look like my mom’s cake. I’ll have to try it again to see if I can perfect it.

I am amazed how a new cookbook awakened my cooking inspiration. I cannot wait to make the rest of the dishes from it. If you are ever uninspired to cook, try flipping through a new cookbook.

Read Full Post »

Keuka Lake is my favorite Finger Lake. I have ridden around it numerous times. I have also ridden within the area numerous times. Each time I go back, I am still in awe of how beautiful the area is.

Keuka Lake

View of Keuka Lake.

I was very excited when I read that the Naples – Hammondsport ride was on the RBC calendar this past Monday. I have not ridden around the area yet this year, so this was the perfect opportunity to do so. I convinced Joel to come along so I would not have to ride it by myself. We decided that we were going to take it easy and stop for lunch in Hammondsport.

Ride start

The ride started at 10:00 am in the town park (aka Bob and Ruth’s) within the village of Naples.  We were very surprised about the small amount of riders who showed up to the ride. We were happy to see some familiar faces: Bill, Jeff, and Dr. Bill.

Climbing up RT 53

Climbing up RT 53.

We took a right out of the parking lot and up we went, and went, and went on RT 53 towards Prattsburg. The hill took us 1/2 an hour to climb. It was a 4 mile climb. At the end of that climb I knew that it was going to be a long day. I guess the ride map was not lying when it said that it was 57 very hilly miles with a total elevation of 4960 feet. Yikes!

Joel and Bill

Joel and Bill resting after the climb.

Once we were done with our first climb, we took a left onto Waldo Rd and followed it to RT 77.  RT 77 is one of my favorite roads near Keuka Lake. It is up on the ridge, so the view is spectacular! And even better, there is a nice downhill that takes you right by Heron Hill Winery. Joel and I decided to stop there for lunch (the rest of the group kept on route).

Herron Hill Winery

Rest stop at Herron Hill Winery.

Heron Hill is our favorite spot to have lunch when riding in the area. As usual, lunch was delicious. Joel ordered the Chicken Caesar Wrap and I ordered the Caprese Wrap minus the fresh mozzarella. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend stopping there. Their patio looks onto Keuka Lake. Just beautiful!!

After our rest stop, we had another awesome descent into Hammondsport. I truly love that hill! :) It’s definitely not as fun going up it though. Once in Hammondsport, we took RT 54A/West Lake Rd up towards Branchport. That stretch of the road was a lot of fun. We were flying. We must have had a tail wind. Also, we greatly welcomed the cool lake breeze, since it was brutally hot out. At one point I asked Joel if he was working hard, and his answer was no. :)

As soon as we arrived in Branchport, I knew that it was going to be a difficult rest of the ride. The route took us up Italy Hill Road. I have ridden up this hill in the past and I knew that it was not going to be pretty. It’s a very long and steep hill. Also, it was freshly paved so the heat felt even worse while riding on it. After about 7 miles of climbing, we finally came to another favorite downhill on Italy Hill Turnpike. At the bottom of the hill, Joel informed me that he hit 50.4 mph. Yikes!!! I thought that I was going fast when I hit 41 mph.


Our lunch at Herron Hill Winery.

The rest of the ride was not very fun. :( I was tired and as I already mentioned it was brutally hot. It was very unfortunate because I really love Italy Valley. It’s one of my favorite places to ride. The road is in the valley (hence the name) and it is surrounded by some beautiful hills. As we were riding along, we came upon a herd of sheep grazing on a hill. They were very vocal and within the herd were a bunch of baby sheep running around. That just made my day!! They were so cute! I immediately forgot how tired I was. Shortly after that we finally arrived at RT 53. I was very happy to see RT 53 since I knew that it was going to be a fast downhill into Naples.

Wind turbines

Wind turbines seen from the corner of Italy Valley Rd and RT 53. They are also visible from the village of Naples.

Joel got himself a chocolate milkshake at the end of the ride. I just had some cold water. Stupid lactose intolerance!!!

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: