May 30, 2007

Bacon Recipes: 2 Healthy Canadian Bacon Dishes

Well, folks, I did it. I found a way to utilize the remaining Canadian bacon in this month's bacon shipment. I've learned that diced Canadian bacon is a great addition to recipes. It's not greasy at all, compared to American bacon. It is, however, very salty. As in more salty than American bacon when browned in the pan as a side to eggs. Unpleasantly salty on its own, really. But, it goes quite well as an ingredient in dishes (where you can leave out the other salts traditionally used in the recipe).

Canadian Bacon Vegetable Stew

-2 carrots, washed and chopped into 1/4 inch rounds or so
-1 large russet potato, washed and chopped into 1/2 inch X 1/2 inch X 1/4 inch solids of various shapes (leave the skin on, it's full of vitamins)
-5 stalks of celery, washed and chopped into 1/4 inch moons or so
-3/4 red onion, washed and chopped
-1 yellow onion, washed and chopped
-extra virgin olive oil for cooking
-1/4 lb. canadian bacon, diced
-1 small can beef broth
-4 cups water
-Italian seasoning
-dried rosemary
-dried parsely
-black pepper
-dry aged cheese for grating (parmigiano reggiano is excellent).

1. Sautee onions and celery in olive oil on medium heat for a few minutes. Add bacon and stir for another minute or two.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
3. Lower to a simmer and cook until potatoes and carrots are tender and have started to make the liquid starchy (approx 1 hour). Check the seasoning and add more if you feel something is missing.
4. Remove from heat and serve into bowls. Grate cheese over the top. Sprinkle with more black pepper.

And, since Labor Day has passed, I declare it officially summer. Hence the light, brightly colored, fresh green bean based recipe below.

Of course, my sister exclaimed, "Gross!" when I described the ingredients of tonight's dinner. But, she was off to have dinner made for her by an ex-sous-chef from the French Laundry, so I suppose she can afford to be selective. She was wrong, though. It was actually very good and quite pretty. Plus, it's extremely healthy and filling. I do admit, though, the ingredient list alone does not inspire supreme confidence...

Summer Green Bean Couscous Salad

-1 lb green beans, washed, ends trimmed, chopped into 1-inch pieces
-1/2 yellow onion, washed and chopped
-3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
-1 T. dijon mustard
-1/4 lb. canadian bacon
-1 cup couscous
-extra virgin olive oil, for cooking, a couple times around the pan
-3 cups water, or so

1. Sautee onions and garlic over medium heat in the olive oil for approximately 2 minutes.
2. Add bacon and cook for another minute.
3. Add water and mustard, bring to a boil.
4. Add couscous and green beans, boil for a couple of minutes.
5. Remove the pan from heat, cover for 10 minutes or so.
6. Remove the lid, fluff and allow to cool until no longer steaming.
7. Serve immediately with black pepper.

May 28, 2007

A Holiday Wedding and Birthday Weekend

I had my first day of no billing in 18 days on Friday. It was glorious. It was a Friday, but since I'd worked both days of the last two weekends, the actual name of the day didn't interest me in the slightest. I kept up my strike for 4 days straight and will return to the office tomorrow to work for the first time since Thursday evening, when I received a heartfelt email from one of my supervising partners encouraging me to enjoy a much-needed vacation.

You don't have to tell me twice.

On Friday, after checking into our hotel in New Jersey post red-eye around 8 AM EST, I slept in. I roused myself for lunch with E at the hotel. Then, I walked across the street to treat myself to a pedicure and manicure. Next, I indulged in some time by the pool reading. Then, we were treated to a rehearsal dinner where we met extended family, enjoyed good food, and entirely too much alcohol was consumed. Then sleep. Glorious sleep.

Saturday was more of the same. I, well, in fairness, we, slept in so long that we had to order room service in order to be ready for the wedding in time. I sat through a Catholic wedding and said the words upon instinct. It was my first visit to a church since the oath. Six months and there I was again, in a church to attend another big, emotional event: H's wedding. It was gorgeous.

The party was as it should have been. Rowdy. Crazy like only a half-Polish-Greek-New-Jerseyite and half-Irish wedding could be. Fun. Lucky_girl talked some 15-year-old golf-cart attendant boys into racing with us as their passengers throughout the golf course during the dinner. A and I danced together like the crazy girls we are because B's knee was hurt and E did his obligatory I-hate-dancing-but-I'm-married-so-I'll-let-you-have-a-slow-dance-or-two bit. The food was amazing. The after party was long and wild. I called it a night at 4:30 AM and people were still going strong. I heard the next day that the maid of honor called it at 6 AM and people were still going. I wonder what time it finally ended?

On Sunday, E and I headed to Brooklyn for his grandfather's 90th birthday. It was such an amazing party. Grandchildren flew in from all over the country. Old people came to celebrate and share their wisdom. E's grandpa, his namesake, was standing by me at the end of the night and when I thanked him for including me, and all he could do was tell me how lucky he had been in life to have such a wonderful family and to have fallen in love with and married the right girl, E's grandma. I was charmed and made a silent wish that I will be able to attend E's 90th birthday just as his grandma attended her husband's and that he will say and feel such complimentary things towards me.

After snacks on the porch in Brooklyn, the party consisted of a proper 4-hour multi-course Italian meal with vino, prosecco, and espresso. Imagine enough antipasti to make 3 meals (not the least of which were arancini di riso, a treat I hadn't had since I was last in Italy), a pasta course, a main course of chicken and veal, and, of course, canoli cake, just like E's parents had at their wedding. The owner of the the restaurant and his wife punctuated the meal with arias. In English and Italian.

Family gathered from afar who has welcomed me into their embrace with open arms. My favorite type of food, and too much of it, with an invitation to eat to excess. Laughter. Opera. Hearing servers speak Italian. I was in heaven.

Today, we slept in, and returned, just 6 weeks later, back to our favorite NYC (well, the only one we've visited) dim sum with E's parents and sister. This time, it was gorgeous weather and we walked from our hotel enjoying the views of chinatown, little italy, the bridges, and wall street. Plus, it was fun to go to dim sum with people who have never had it (E's parents). After two visits, I can highly recommend this place. Delicious. Excellent value ($45 with tip for brunch for 5 people). Authentic. And, unlike home where we tend to have someone who speaks mandarin or shanghainese(?) with us when we go, this place has pictures and english labels on the carts, which helps enourmously if you don't speak any Chinese languages.

Finally, we're home and the low down is simple. I haven't run nearly enough miles (did you notice there was lots of reports of sleep and no reports of running this weekend?) to do next weekend's race. But, we have no plans to leave our hometown for 5 weekends, which for us, is unheard of. So, I'll hope for a more reasonable work schedule. And, I'll research my options and find a nearby weekend race in the near future that I can properly train for.

Because the 18-day work-binge plus the holiday weekend of gluttony combined with being home, summer associate season and barbeque season mean I need to get some mileage in before my clothes all stop fitting.

Last, but not least, I leave you with a quote from the trashy novel I read on the plane back. After the juxtaposition of many hours at work, which I loved, against a memory-full, but expensive, tiring, and time-consuming trip to celebrate major occasions with friends and family, this quote struck me as very wise.

The trick to life is working out what the important things are, Nat. Some things aren't worth the compromise or sacrifice--other things are worth giving up everything for.

May I learn to let the unimportant things roll off my back.

May 20, 2007

Delirious Ramblings of a Stereotypical First-Year Lawyer

Since I started my practice of law, I've been able to avoid the multi-week push of unsustainable hours for the most part.

Every month, I tend to have a few days in a row of ridiculous hours, and a few other surprising random singleton days of unexpected madness when multiple clients have simultaneous emergencies, but really, I'm keeping it fairly balanced.

Except, of course, every two months or so, when I get on a big deal that owns the majority of my spare time for a week or two.

This time, the big hour-eating deal is also combined with the client list I've built up and all of their needs and the general increased level of business in the valley.

Which means, I've barely seen my husband and I've billed more this month in 20 days than I have in any month prior to this one.

Hence the lack of recipe, running, and introspection postings.

As far as recipes go, however, I will say that this morning's brunch of lemon cake with lemon icing, scrambled eggs, and Canadian Bacon was pretty damn good.

Of course, Canadian Bacon isn't anywhere as fatty, decadent and delicious as American bacon, but I think I'd only had it on pizza before. So, I have the bacon of the month club to thank for my first-hand knowledge and opinion.

Anyways, assuming I manage to find my way out of bed and the office this week and assuming I can fit in some miles for the run to which I've committed , then maybe I'll actually see what I can do to come up with a clever recipe for the remainder of the Canadian Bacon. Suggestions?

May 17, 2007

Now that's better

I came home from work exhausted after 11 hours at the office.

There's no food in the house.

So we headed to a local pizza joint where I gorged myself on potato skins and chorizo, jalapeno, cheese, tomato and bell pepper pizza.

I feel infinitely better. I'm even re-motivated. Who knew?

May 16, 2007

Signed up for one more race

Since the last run, I've fit in 9 miles. 9 miles and 2 hours of yoga in 11 days.


6 of those 9 were today when I put my foot down and insisted that I allow myself a break after work before returning to more work.

It felt good.

So I'm going to register for another race and use it as motivation. I have to fit in the training runs somehow. It just needs to be a priority.

Back to work...

May 14, 2007

Can't Talk


The good news is, I'm much more comfortable at my job.

The bad news is, I have to be since most of my waking hours are spent doing it.

May 8, 2007

A Father's Love

I always knew that I had a "good" relationship with my father, despite it's problems and lack of normalcy. And tonight, after speaking with a friend, I realized something.

When I was 19, I found my father so infuriating in his sexism and lack of concern for my feelings that I stopped speaking to him. I held out for quite some time until he apologized, several months later.

During this time, I was mad. Indignant. Angry. Hurt. But, I never questioned his love for me.

I knew he loved me.

In fact, and I'm sorry to admit this to you fathers out there, it was my undeniable faith in his love that allowed me to rebel when I needed to do so.

Now, despite my parents' relationship, which was not a great model, I've been lucky enough to find and fall in love with E, my soulmate, and we've actually managed to create for ourselves a truly amazing relationship.

If there's one thing I've learned from this experience, a healthy monogamous relationship takes a ton of work. Sacrifice. Understanding. Biting your tongue (something, despite the name of this blog, that I don't do often enough).

And, most importantly, in my opinion, it requires that both people have a ridiculous amount of respect for themselves and each other. Both people have to be serious in their commitment to help meet each other's needs. And, both people have to trust that the other person is serious about being there for them. Which means that each person must be able to respectfully ask for what they believe they deserve while having faith that the other person loves them enough that they will find a way to make it work.

Tonight, I realized I have Dad to thank for my ability to trust that E will still love me when I stand up for myself. This is one of the main reasons why I feel completely and totally happy in my relationship.

What a gift.

(Oh, and of course, now that I'm not 19, I realize what an asshole move it was to give an ultimatum and the silent treatment until my exact request was met. I like to think I'm a teensy bit more flexible these days.)

May 7, 2007

All is well in the house of summer

How do I know? Because I came home and it was too hot to serve warm food. Plus, the date we'd picked for our first barbeque was taken by friends who are throwing their own barbeque. And it's hot. Did I mention I didn't want warm comfort food tonight?

So, 2 days after what may be the fastest half marathon course within one-day's driving distance, I took my still recovering and not yet back in the swing of workouts butt home with 2 huge binders from work. I needed a break. But of course, I hadn't done any fresh produce shopping since we were out of town this weekend. Instead of giving up, I considered whether I could compose a cold pasta salad from random bits of preserved foods that were looking lonely (each already opened and waiting to be fully consumed) in the fridge and pantry. And I did. It was fabulous.


As in, this dinner is an advertisement for why you should buy good capers, good olives, good sun-dried tomatoes, good get my drift. Just buy good preserved foodstuffs anytime you encounter them. Someday, when you want a home-cooked meal and you feel like you have no food, they'll find a way into your menu. And you will be happy.

    Random cold pasta salad

-1 box pasta (I used Barilla Gemelli)
-1/8 red onion, cut into quarters
-1 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
-1/2 bottle of capers, including the vinegar (approx 1/8-1/4 cup?)
-10 spanish olives
-10 pepperoncini, stems removed

1. Bring the water to a boil. Add pasta. Boil and stir while making sauce.
2. Make sauce: pulse cuisinart with onions and pepperoncini 'til well diced. Add the remaining ingredients and turn on for 30 seconds at a time until well chopped.
3. When pasta is al dente, drain. Submerge pasta in cold water. Drain again.
4. Mix sauce with cold pasta.
5. Serve with black pepper and red pepper flakes as garnish.


May 3, 2007

See, I'm not crazy

Ever since I started running half marathons, and particularly since I started thinking marathons were reasonable, I've had a ton of conversations with people who tell me I'm insane.

No doubt, they are right.

But not because I run.

If you listen to the Harvard Anthropology Department's take on human running, I'm just doing what my ancestors evolved to do. I'm almost entirely hairless. I sweat a lot. I'm a big mouth breather when I run. I'm like the poster-child for this hilarious picture. Except slower.

Also, yes, in case you were wondering, before I started running on a regular basis, I thought people who ran were insane. I also thought running couldn't possibly be good for you, all that repetitive loading... I have since changed my position. I feel like my body is in a better state of physical balance at this point in my life than at any other point in my athletic life. This is not to say I'm a better athlete than when I was 20. But I'm more balanced. I hurt less. And, historically speaking, the data shows that I've been less likely to get injured running than I ever was as a gymnast, diver, or soccer player.

(In fairness, I should add, however, that I don't know if I would feel as balanced if I didn't mix yoga with the running.)
I heart Verizon

This morning, I walked into my local Verizon store with a broken phone at 9:15. I walked out at 9:30 with a reprogrammed, refurbished, much newer than the one I turned in phone.

For free, because I was still in the warranty period.

Combine that with possibly the best day at work as a lawyer thus far, and well, I'm not feeling the least bit grumpy.

I love everybody.

May 2, 2007

Wah, Wah, Wah...

If you don't like whiners, stop reading.

I dropped my phone on the way to dinner with lucky_girl tonight. Dinner rocked. Finding out, on my way home that the emails I had been feeling buzz did not mean that my phone was fully functional, however, did not rock. Turns out, now my phone is fucked. I can get and send emails for work. Probably text messages. It can dial other numbers and make them ring. It may even be able to receive calls. But audio? Yeah, fugghedaboudit...

Also, after dinner, I found a ticket on my windshield. Actually, I would have missed it, but lucky_girl pointed it out. 10 AM to 10 PM meters? What the fuck? Are you kidding me? Guess my park at 7 pm and leave at 10 PM celebration about finding a free meter was a bit premature/ridiculous.

In other news, work is busy but overwhelming. At some point, when I have the time to look back and view this whole experience with hindsight, I'm almost certain I'll be very pleased with my career choices at the moment. But living them? It's sort of like my phone right now. I feel like I can get the assignments and can send responses if I'm willing to put my ass on the line in text, but, if I want to reach out to another human being, you know, to have a conversation, to feel it out for sanity... that's often not so feasible. The microphone and speaker are broken, see. From the fall...

Stupid gravity.