Grilled Tomatillo Salsa By: Matt

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis tasty, zesty and mouthwatering Tomatillo Salsa will impress your guests.

*This is a K.I.S.S. recipe meaning – Keep It Short & Simple . Restaurant slang for don’t overdue the already flavorful ingredients.

Now, let’s get to it! 

2 lbs. tomatillos *cleaned, remove the paper like husk*

1 each small White onion or 3 shallots

1 ½ bunch cleaned cilantro

tom ingd 2014

½  Bunch cleaned parsley

4-6 Cloves garlic

1-2 jalapeño(s) –Depending on heat Preference

1 ½ tablespoons of fresh lime Juice

1 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon of ground cumin

salt and pepper – To Taste

1. Rough chop the tomatillos and onion, toss the tomatillos and the onions in the 1/4 cup olive oil and add a couple pinches of salt and pepper.
– I like to grill the tomatillos and the onion, ahead of time so they have a little bit of cool down time in the fridge. While gathering up other ingredients.

2.  Let the tomatillos and onions cool for a few. Now add all ingredients except the remaining olive oil to a food processor or blender.
Blend tom salsaWe now want to pulse-blend this *meaning zap it* wait a second,  then zap it again.

3.  Add the remaining olive oil (just a drizzle at a time).

4.  Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper at the end.

Now go get some veggies, blue corn tortilla chips, anything you like, and enjoy!

tocitos

Keep Cooking!

Cauliflower Soup, the most simple yet delicious soup… ever! By: Jenn

Hey everyone, I know Spring is in the air but the following soup recipe is so amazingly delicious, simple and healthy. It truly Hits The Spot! I have made the soup a few times now and messed around adding some ingredients here and there to get the perfect result. Luckily, last night I found it, so of course I must share! I retrieved this recipe online randomly and am going to attach the original draft with my substitutions and additions at the bottom. I did all of the grunt work figuring out how to get the best flavors from this recipe so all that is left is for you to enjoy it! Click the following pics to take you to the original site if you’d like.

cauliflower soup pic

cauliflower soup recipe 2

Below are the changes I made, few in form yet plentiful on flavor!

  • I sweat the onion with 2 cloves of garlic… what I’m Italian, I use it A LOT!
  • Substitute Vegetable broth for water.
  • I used only one container of vegetable broth. So 4 cups as opposed to the 4 1/2 cups they suggest at the latter portion of step #2. For the steaming of the cauliflower I used the suggested amount of water (this saves you $$$ too, just buy one container of veg broth). Go organic if you can!
  • I did not have to work in batches  as suggested. Maybe the loss of that 1/2 cup of water is what did it. Not sure but I accrued the perfect amount for my standard blender.
  • Let’s talk garnish! The picture below is my first trial with this soup months ago. Here I lightly battered some sliced mushrooms in and egg wash and flour and did a super quick fry on them, this was tasty. Last night however, I used fresh grated Parmesan along with the suggested fresh ground pepper and olive oil. That combination with the nutty flavor of the Parm. MADE THE MAGIC!

cauliflower soup

Again, this soup is so healthy and easy. Not to mention it doesn’t cost much to make at all! Serve it up like I do with a small side salad, the amount serves 4 bowls full. I freeze the left overs for the following week, and it tastes just as good.

Now, as my family would say – Mangia! Mangia! – Eat! Eat!

Try out this little treasure of a  soup and let me know your thoughts. Also check out http://www.food52.com for more great recipes, their food photography is also killer!

What’s Black & Blue and Cold All Over?… I am, after the Survival Race

Obstacle courses are scattered all over my Facebook and twitter portals now-a-days. They differ in event type, fund raiser or charity and don’t forget good old fashion sportsmanship and competition. Last year Matt and I decided to compete in the 1st Annual Survival Race, a 5k obstacle course. It was fun and we did well! It was about 40 degrees in 2013 and just plain cold, the ground was hard and no amount of hopping aka dynamic stretching warmed you up. When it was all said and done though we had a blast and were both proud of our performance.

DSC01236So of course the second I found out race registration had begun for this year I immediately signed up! What I like about The Survival Race is that with your entrance fee you receive admission to The Arnold Classic Event at the Convention Center that weekend. You also get a kick ass race shirt, P.S. don’t even try to be cool and act like you don’t LOVE a good race shirt, even if the only people who ever see it is you, your dog and the self checkout attendant at the grocery store. The race also gives you something to train for during the gloomy months succeeding the worn off Christmas cheer. If it wasn’t for the fear of getting my butt handed to me during the obstacle course I may have been totally content creating the ultimate Netflix hibernation list while dwindling down my collection of left over stocking stuffer candy. It doesn’t hurt that both last year and this year Matt and I both had Arnold Schwarzenegger just feet (this year inches) away from us. It’s especially awesome because he bears a pretty similar resemblance to our dad who doesn’t live nearby and we don’t see often. This year Arnold introduced our race wave so we got to high five him as we passed the staring line, no lie, it was COOL!

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I jumped in to video record Arnold via my cell phone right before the race and Matt got a nice close up with him directly behind us. Matt’s showing off his I’ll Be Back, face!

Matt & Arnie

This course was demanding to say the least, the obstacles were tougher than last year, and it was considerably colder. The temperature read 28 degrees for our race time, Arnold was running late and the crowd was substantially larger. But eventually the horn blew and we were off! The best part of the race was the start where we got to run through Columbus Crew Soccer Stadium. It was beyond a moment of awe to have little ole you running through a huge empty stadium (insert Rocky music and roar). When we arrived at the beginning of the actual obstacles there was quite a bit of crowding. You just can’t go any faster than the swarm of people waiting for their chance to crawl through a tube. Lesson learned, next year pick a wave time that doesn’t start with a famous person doling out high fives. Speaking of tubes there were plenty of them, tubes to jump over of all sizes, one obstacle involved a large hurdle neither Matt nor myself could clear. The ego bruise didn’t sting as badly since we didn’t witness any other fellow racers defeat the beast. the hurdle

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Obstacles also consisted of cargo nets, sand bag carrying, rope climbing,  rope swinging, rock wall climbing and let me also mention the ice pond that became an obstacle to slide across, thanks to the collaboration of Mother Nature and the Midwest.

To be honest, I was a bit of a nervous wreck before the race, I was sweaty yet freezing, my heart rapidly thumping, adrenalin was free flowing and every single sensory nerve was heightened like little static-y arm hairs. I have a fear that I will fail or that I will get hurt. I know I will give it my all but will that be enough?

After the race was over and every fearling subsided I really had a chance to realize how amazing of an experience I had. I thought to myself, let me ask others what they did that Saturday March 1st. Many wouldn’t say they conquered an obstacle course in below freezing temperatures and did it well, I can say I did that! The Survival Race was a great event, well managed and all around motivating. If you can bear the temperatures I would highly recommend doing it, you just need some mind over frozen matter. I can’t wait to give it my all again next year. I mean think about it, even if it is just an obstacle course… it’s no longer an obstacle for me.

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For more info on The Survival Race and where it’s held click below!
http://thesurvivalrace.com/

Do you have any obstacle courses you love, please share with us!

The Taste Tester – By: Matt

As a Chef, Taste Testing is huge! But just because these are Taste Tests, doesn’t mean they should go unnoticed in a chef’s diet!  Of course if one of my cooks ask me to try a dish or sauce they’ve conjured up, it’s a simple yes, no questions asked!  Naturally, I taste a countless number of creations every day! From a simple bite of pepper corn saute, a spoonful of fresh Pico de Gallo, to the salty, deliciousness of a buttery-egg yolk Hollandaise sauce (that you know would be delicious on that carb loaded biscuit).  And it begins!! I dip my spoon in…  The first bite, delicious.  I take another to be sure.  Delectable!  I reach in for thirds….  Then suddenly I hear, “DON’T DO IT!”.  My brain has brought my stomach back to reality! I regretfully lay my spoon aside.  But alas! I conquered that hurdle!  I didn’t let myself overdo it!

Glass Holl day

After many observations, it comes down to this, a chubby Chef does a ton of Taste Testing! HAHA! But really, after watching all the Taste Tests my past mentors did in one day, it was almost like they were eating a small to medium sized portion meal!  In my kitchen, there are always those days when the chicken salad or Chef’s soup tastes just right, so you have to keep Taste Testing it.  Well I like to call that Grazing! If you get spotted grazing multiple times a day you’ll likely be called a goat, cow, piggy or pretty much any farm animal name!

The list below contains some of the saute station items found in my kitchen.  It is one out of five stations that would be regularly “checked” by Chefs for quality.  You guessed it, that means lots of Taste Testing!

Taste test clip 1

As a Chef, it is my responsibility to eat!  Plain and simple. But it is also my responsibility to myself to not overdo those Taste Tests and to be mindful of what I’m putting into my body!

By incorporating these food intakes into my diet plan I can keep tabs on how they affect my body. So to all the Chefs out there trying to stay healthy, fit, and live well, think before you repetitively Taste Test that Demi Glace or that succulent Pork Belly!   Save some room for those fresh strawberries! Remember, they may just be Taste Tests but they all add at the end of the day.

Spinning Q & A with Instructor Lisa Paquette – By: Jenn

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Matt and I with Spin Instructor Lisa Paquette

Lisa’s music selection was fun and her vibe was upbeat without being pushy. Check out her class at CSC on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at noon. http://www.columbussportsconnection.com/group_fitness_2.shtml

FFF – The spin class was great, tell us a little about your background with spinning.

Lisa -Glad to know that you enjoyed the class.  Thanks for coming in! I’ve been Spinning for about 14 years now, and I still love it.  I love putting together the music and the road, and getting feedback from my classes about it all.

FFF – What are the benefits of spin class?

Lisa – Spinning is designed as a cardio workout (gets your heart rate up!) to help achieve or maintain full body fitness.  It’s also great as a cross training workout for runners, or just as an indoor alternative for outdoor cyclists.

FFF – As a Spiginner, how can you get the most out of a spinning workout?

Lisa – To get the most out of Spinning class, it’s important to relax and have fun.  Do what you can, but don’t expect to do everything that the Spinning regular on the bike next to you is doing.  It takes a while to get used to the bike, to the format of the class, and to the variety of movements that are included in a class.  Give yourself time to learn and enjoy.

FFF – What are some first-timer mistakes?

Lisa – I’ve seen first-timers that push to try and do everything, and then end up not liking the class (because they think it was too hard), or they end up straining muscles they didn’t realize they were using.  Or, they don’t use any resistance during their ride, and feel out of control.

FFF – Tell us a little about form/posture?

Lisa – The bikes are designed so they can be set up most efficiently for the largest variety of body types.  Your weight should be centered over the main frame of the bike, with the seat at a height so that your knees are slightly bent when your feet are on the pedals, so that you can easily and comfortably reach the handlebars without straining your back or being so close that there’s no room for your knees!  Once on the bike, relax your shoulders, bend your elbows and make the upper body engaged but easy – that’s the only way to be able to breathe!  If you lock your elbows and close out your upper body, it’s really difficult to find the necessary breath.

FFF – We sure got sweaty in there! Any clothing recommendations?

Lisa – If you’re going to stick with Spinning for the long haul, I recommend purchasing cycling shorts (to pad the bottom) and possibly even cycling shoes.  Otherwise, keep it simple.  A t-shirt and shorts are adequate.

FFF – Lastly, how many times per week would you suggest spinning, and what workouts do you think would benefit spiginners on their off days?

Lisa – I would suggest Spinning 2-3 times per week.  More if your schedule (and body) allow.  It’s your cardio… use it as an alternative to running (outdoors or treadmill) or elliptical, and it can be done on the same day or opposing days to strength training.  Just be sure to stay and enjoy the stretch at the end of class!

Thanks Lisa!

Like Lisa on Facebook! www.facebook.com/lisa.paquette1

Are you a Spiginner?

Do you have a favorite spin instructor or gym for spinning, share it!

Spiginner – Entering the realm of spinning – By: Jenn

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Not often, but every once in a while Matt and I share the same day off, and if neither of us have any particular obligations, (also a rarity) we see if we can do something together, workout, go to lunch, etc. Matt has been talking a lot recently about going to the gym after work and biking. So I enthusiastically made a small, yet ambitious plea for a buddy to go to a spinning class with. I have been to a spinning a total of 4 times over the past 6 months and have LOVED it! I thought it would be a gratifying challenge for Matt. Plus it’s always fun to have someone around for workout classes that you can chat with after about how it rocked and share sore muscle stories the next day. They do not offer spinning at my gym, but a gym close by does so the plan was made, meet tomorrow at noon.

Cutting it extra close to start time, we arrive at Columbus Sports Connection for our class. They offer day passes where you can take a class and/or use the facility for $10, a fee I feel is totally fair to get nice and sweaty in a really clean, well organized, professional environment. I really like this gym a lot, and their white glove tested cleanliness makes this facility most likely the next location I will be purchasing a membership from when my current contract runs out. Check it out here: http://www.columbussportsconnection.com/index.shtml

membership

The spinning class takes place in a dark room lit by black lights, it’s cool, but not cold and full of determined faces. Everyones legs are moving in a freestyle form awaiting the instructors arrival. I make sure the bike is at the appropriate height for me from the knowledge instilled during my first spin class, I pass the same info off to Matt and seconds later we are about to begin.

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Lights low, music up and go! The vibe is good, everyone is anticipating the workout. The class ranges in age from young 20’s to late 50’s. Some riders have clip in cycling shoes, some are rocking Nike’s that when the black light hits, the swoosh turns the sweetest neon pinkish/orange EVER… ahem… We start our warm up by getting comfortable and figuring out our resistance via large red knob in the center of the bike, this circle of pain (exaggeration queen) can take you anywhere from a nice bike ride in a freshly black topped driveway to a cringe worthy climb up a sand laden hill. However, with spin class, you get to determine your destiny and make your very own workout. All with help from the instructor of course, who tends to double as a bit of a destination storyteller. Each instructor differs in style, out of 5 classes I have had 4 different instructors, the music varies with each trainer’s personal preference, which is lively and totally motivating. Instructors give a description of what’s coming up, such as climbs, counts and positions. There are 3 positions with spin, and a few specific forms. If you want a diagram as well as the core movements of spin this will help http://www.spinning.com/file/download/tinymce_file_browser/79/Core_Movements.pdf  Don’t feel intimidated, spinning can range from a beginner’s low impact workout to a real heart in your throat ordeal, but the best part about it is you make it what it is.

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The experience  for me was another incredible workout. I thoroughly enjoy the music, lights and copious amounts of sweat that I produce. I frequently wage a battle with myself to try and push  harder than before, while safely experimenting with my fitness strengths and limits. Matt agreed that the workout was intense and we were both sweaty and red faced at classes end. Matt learned a little bit about strap tightening, as he was having some foot pain when doing the standing forms. We spoke with our instructor Lisa after class, who informed him that he probably strapped his shoes in the pedals harnesses too tight, lesson learned the hard way. We hit up the gym since the day pass includes its use, worked on abs for a bit and called it quits soon after. The next day we were both groaning about our sore legs, in a proud way though and Matt is down for another class soon, especially for a great cardio workout in the chilly months. Our spin session lasted about 50 minutes and my polar heart rate monitor http://www.polar.com/us-en/products/improve_fitness/fitness_crosstraining/FT40 clocked my calories burned at 453, not too shabby at all. Matt and I introduced ourselves to our instructor, Lisa Paquette after class and got her professional advice and knowledge regarding spinning. Check out our Q & A with Lisa here: https://fitforafoodie.com/2014/02/26/spinning-q-a-with-instructor-lisa-paquette/

P.S I Love this Shirt! (click on pic to buy)

spin like a beauty

Have you ever been to a spin class?

What did you think?