Monday, May 26, 2014

100K Before My B-Day

I don't usually set goals, especially time based ones, but here goes!  I decided that I will run 100 km in the month before my birthday, May 24 to June 24.  I know some crazy runner folks knock that out every week without breaking a sweat, but since I only run three times a week max and I'm not that good, this should be a real challenge. Also, since I took today off, I'm already behind.

I'll be keeping track of my runs using Map My Run's app on my phone, so everything should be tracked pretty well and I won't be able to cheat.  Not that I would.  This goal of course is dependent on my not getting injured or really ill in the next four weeks.  I'm obviously not that hard core.

You, dear Internet, don't have to do anything. I'm just putting this out there as a little motivation. But, if you want to try to set a goal, running or otherwise for the next four weeks, we can try together!  (Let me know if you do!)  Luckily, I happen to be in one of the "top cities for runners", so I won't be alone on the trail.

If you do make a goal, remember to make it "SMART" - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.  You'll have a much better chance of succeeding if you make your goals that way, and if you don't make it for some reason, you will more easily be able to determine why.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Jambalaya, a-crawfish pie and file' gumbo
'Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou 
Okay, actually just the Jambalaya part of that.  But I've got Hank Williams III on the stereo, so that's gotta count for something.

Jambalaya is fascinating, delicious, and easy to make.  I'm not sure why it's not more popular outside of the South (a place I've still never been), but maybe it's considered lowbrow or something because much easier to make than it's fancier cousins, gumbo and étouffée.  If you're a subscriber to the Alton Brown school of knowing the background of your recipes, definitely read the Wikipedia entry on Jambalaya.

Since I've got some on the stove right now, I'll tell you how I usually make it...
  • Cut up a package of store-bought andouille sausage into approximately 1/2" sections (kitchen shears work better than a knife for this!) and drop them into a large stock pot over medium heat.  Let them cool through (ten minutes or so), moving them around once in a while so they don't burn too bad.  In the meantime, chop one or two bell peppers (in your choice of color - I'm partial to red), one medium onion (yellow or white), and one or two cloves of garlic (I just use the garlic press).  (Obviously celery is missing from the "holy-trinity" here, but it's tough to buy just a couple of ribs, so I usually leave it out.  Put some in with the onion if you're so inclined.)
  • Once the sausage is done, remove it from the pot and set it aside in a bowl, leaving the drippings and any stuck bits in the pot.  Saute the onions in the sausage drippings until tender, scraping up the sausage bits as you go, then add the bell pepper and garlic and cook for a few minutes more.  Add the sausage back into the pot.  
  • For the rice, I cheat.  I use packaged yellow saffron rice, which is both lazy and non-traditional, but it tastes good, so who cares?  Add the rice, stir to coat it with whatever liquid is left in the pot, and then add whatever amount of water the rice package calls for and finish based on the rice's instructions.  That probably means bring to a boil, stir, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let it cook for twenty minutes or so.  

So there you have it!  It's a whole meal in one pot, and it's definitely of the "stick to the ribs" variety.  And it takes just long enough to cook, you have time to clean up the prep stuff before the rice is finished.  If you haven't been typing the whole time, that is.

People who read the Wikipedia entry would know that this is "brown" or Cajun jambalaya.  If you prefer the "red", or Creole, variety, add some canned or fresh tomatoes before you add the rice.  This one is actually rather yellow because of the saffron, but I digress.

Sound tasty?  Have a better version?  Questions?  Lemme know.  :o)