The course went around Central Park, through Times Square and then down the West Side Highway to Battery Park. I had a few rough patches, but felt pretty good at the finish, and no pain to speak of afterward. Yay! Looking forward to doing another one -- Mark may join me for the Staten Island Half Marathon in October.
Interesting piece in the NY Times today about people sneaking sometimes-illegal raw milk (that is, unpasteurized). Some even form "milk clubs" so groups of like-minded folks can get it.
I'm no food-safety expert, but I just don't see the logic behind making any kind of milk illegal. (Um, excuse me, but legal CIGARETTES and illegal milk? Come ON.) I understand that people used to die from bacteria in unpasteurized foods, including milk, but that was decades ago. Nowadays it seems to me that people die from contaminated foods because it's all become so centralized and commercialized, and small farms have given way to massively over-subsidized farm-porations that bear almost no resemblance to hands-in-the-dirt agriculture.
I think we do way too much processing of our foods, and it doesn't seem to make us any safer. When we visit my in-laws in Mexico and go to the market, foods are out in the open, perishables on ice, but none of the shrink-wrapped-and-"sanitized"-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life that we do here, and everyone seems fine.
It's been said a million times before, but the French and Italians eat tons of cheese, meat, pasta, etc., and they're mostly thinner and healthier than we are -- and it ain't because of Atkins or any other crazy diets. They eat fresh, real, whole, un-messed-with foods, in moderate portions, drink lots of water and get off their butts and walk around.
Having said all that, I would love to see a CSI or some other crime show where the police burst in and bust up a clandestine milk club...
This weekend involved a trip up to Scarsdale to visit friends, which is as good as any other excuse I can think of to bake a dessert. Our local produce market had lovely yellow and purple pluots (a tip o' the hat to you, Tiny E, lover of hybrid fruits), so I put them to work in this remarkably easy tart. Which, by the way, is very, um, tart (sorry). The sweet crust helps balance the tartness a bit, but if I make it again I'll be sure to have a nice vanilla ice cream nearby. Also, I thought the crust was a bit too thick and probably would make it thinner if I made it again, but Mark insisted that he liked it that way -- so adjust accordingly depending on your taste. You could easily add some cinnamon or cardamom to the filling, too -- we liked it like this, with just the strong fruit flavor, but if you love spice, sprinkle away.
Pluot Tart (adapted from one on Epicurious)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of 1 lemon
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 lb. pluots or plums, each pitted and cut into 8 wedges
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1. Make crust: Combine flour, sugar, salt and zest in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add yolks and mix with a fork until incorporated and mixture begins to clump. If mixture seems dry, add ice water 1 tablespoonful at a time until it clumps.
2. Turn mixture out onto a work surface and knead with heel of your hand for a few turns to help distribute fat. Gather dough and form into a ball. Pat dough into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch tart pan (with removable bottom). Chill 30 minutes, or until firm.
3. Meanwhile, make filling: Stir together sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Add pluots and lemon juice and toss to coat. Let stand, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes, or until juicy. Preheat oven to 425°F.
4. Arrange pluots, skin sides down, in tart shell, overlapping in a rosette pattern. Pour all juices from bowl over pluots. Place tart on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet.
5. Bake tart in middle of oven 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375°F. Cover tart loosely with foil and bake until pluots are tender and juices are bubbling and slightly thickened, 50 to 60 minutes more. Brush warm juices in tart over pluots. (Juices will continue to thicken as tart cools.) Cool tart completely in pan on a rack. Serve with vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.
Here it is, the breakfast I made last weekend, which was not as good as Mark's (see below). But it wasn't bad. I took a basic crepe recipe but swapped in whole wheat flour and soy milk (ran out of regular). The filling is half low-fat Greek yogurt and half low-fat cottage cheese, mixed with a little honey, and it's all topped off with fresh berries.
On Saturday I made whole wheat crepes with a creamy yogurt filling and fresh berries (more on that later), and then on Sunday Mark kicked my butt with a puffy baked pancake topped with a gorgeous sauteed plum and pecan topping. The juicy, sweet, buttery topping soaked the eggy pancake, and the luscious purple of the plums perfectly complemented the creamy-yellow pancake -- it was a work of art! (So much so that we forgot to take a photo, hence the pic of the plums.)
One point of interest -- we didn't have any milk (I had used it up...), so Mark used plain soy milk, diluted with a bit of water. I wouldn't have known the difference, you couldn't taste it or detect it in the texture. The only thing we would have done differently is add a bit of salt to the pancake batter (I added it to the recipe below). You could also add a spice, like cinnamon or cardamom, but it was delicious the way it was.
You could make this recipe with peaches or nectarines too, or a combination, and instead of granulated sugar you could use dark brown, or honey or maple syrup.
Here's the recipe (Mark adapted it from this one):
Puffy Plum Pancake
Serves 2 (hungry people, or 4 if you're serving other things with it)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup milk
2 1/2 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 lb. plums, cut in wedges
1/4 cup granulated sugar or packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Brush oil along bottom of a 9-inch square metal pan and heat in oven 5 minutes. Meanwhile place eggs, flour, salt, milk and 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in blender and mix until well-blended. Scrape down sides and blend 10 seconds longer. Pour batter into hot pan. Bake 10 minutes without opening oven door, until pancake has puffed up high around edges. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake 10 to 20 minutes longer, until sides are firm and pancake is golden brown.
While pancake bakes, prepare sauteed plums: melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet. Add plums and sugar and stir over medium heat for 4 minutes, or until plums are softened. Stir in pecans until heated through.
Spread plum topping over pancake, cut into pieces and serve (you could dust with confectioners' sugar, for a pretty presentation).