Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The appetites

These are the bites that were out while we made ravioli. The hubby's bread, pepperoni, Parmesan cheese, mixed olives, olive salad, and Celery & Citron Conserve. In the December issue of La Cucina Italiana magazine they featured an article about pairing cheeses with compotes, conserves, and condiments. This would replace the usual cheese platter and really focus on one cheese as the star. It's the best article I have read in my year subscription.

Earlier in the month I made the Celery & Citron Conserve along with roasted butternut squash and served it with a peppery Pecorino. It was an amazing combination. The Conserve is bright and lightly bitter. The butternut squash is simply roasted and then mashed with coarse sea salt and olive oil. This adds a touch of creamy sweetness and then the Pecorino with it's firm nutty bite all add up to something really special.

On Saturday I serve the Conserve with Humbolt Fog goat cheese. Again the bright citrus played off well with the tangy creaminess of the goat cheese. This Conserve is one of the best and easiest things I have made and it is simply delicious.

Sedano con Cedro
celery & citron conserve
45 minutes plus cooling
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

2 Lemons
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons water
5 large celery stalks, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
Fine sea salt

Using a vegetable peeer, cut zest from lemons, leaving white pith on fruit. Then, using a sharp paring knife, cut pith from fruit, following the curve of the fruit from top to bottom. Finely chop pith; set pith aside. Cut each section of fruit away from membranes and place in a bowl; set fruit aside.

Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan; heat over medium-high heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Add chopped pith, celery and pinch salt; reduce heat to very low and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened, about 25 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a blender and purée until smooth but still chunky. Transfer conserve to a bowl and let cool.

Roughly chop reserved fruit and stir into conserve.

Conserve keeps, covered and chilled, 1 week.

Now that I have got your attention with food, it's time for my boot camp report.

Boot Camp Report: Day 2
Well, I am happy to report that even with the holiday weekend of feasting I lost 1 pound and a 1/2 inch on the waist. Woohoo. I weighed myself before boot camp and it was the motivation I needed because I was feeling sore and stiff this morning when the alarm went off. Also I went to bed at 9pm last night. This ole body was tuckered out yesterday.

It was even colder at the park this morning. Running was extra hard today because I am mostly sore in my gluteus maximus, hamstrings and hip flexors from yesterday's run. The running does get me warmed up and more. My hope is that at some point I will be running like a gazelle, bounding and leaping with lightness through the park. This is what I visualize as I shuffle and huffle around the track.

Remember that lightness as a child? When you could run and play for hours and hours? Sure you might get out of breath for a moment but then you were springing and bounding back into the action. I want that carefree feeling back in my body instead of this heaviness that comes with adulthood. Now I don't mind slowing down a bit as I age but I always want to be able to do the splits and stand on my head and maybe not bound like a gazelle but have the grace of one when I am eighty or so. This is what I visualize for myself when my mane has grown fully gray.

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