Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Grilling is for Girls: REAL SIMPLE Ginger-Scallion Salmon Burgers with Miso Yogurt

Welcome back to Adventures in Grilling!
This weekend, we had some med school friends treat us to some pickings from their (local, organic) garden!  The haul included some green onions, so of course I knew this was the week for the salmon burger recipe.
I bought most of the ingredients at Trader Joe's, but went to a local hippie grocery store for the salmon...I find that the fish at Trader Joe's isn't always the best.
Thankfully I read the recipe ahead of time: these burgers require 30 minutes of chill time in the fridge before grilling.
I ignored the first step of the recipe for prepping the carrot slaw.  I went straight to step 2: prepping the burgers.  We're on a money saving kick, so I went with 3/4 lb. of salmon instead of 1 and 1/4 lb.  I kept the rest of the ingredients the same except for the breadcrumbs, of which I used a little less.
It took me about 20 minutes all told to prep the burgers, but I had to skin and de-bone my salmon, which probably added a fair chunk of time.

After I put the salmon patties in the fridge and set the timer for 30 minutes, I went back to step 1: the slaw.  Usually I don't like slaws, but this one was very different and fun.

The carrot slaw took me about fifteen minutes to prepare.  I put this in the fridge with the patties and used some of the remaining time to do some of the dishes from prepping the patties and slaw.
When there were about 5 minutes left on the timer, I went down to the garage to get the grill!
After the grill heated up (Jared helped me start it again), it was time to add the salmon burgers.  Mine were a little smaller since I'd done less salmon, so I went with about 4 minutes per side instead of 5.
 Chilling these in the fridge made them hold together really well.  As the burgers were finishing, I toasted the buns for a minute or so on the grill.

Then I put it all together!  I decided not to do miso since we usually avoid soy.  Just the Greek yogurt was delicious on these!

Jared ended up eating three of the burgers!  All that studying makes him hungry.

I paired my burger with a pinot grigio.  It was so good with the spicy carrot slaw!

Seriously, if you haven't tried one of these burger recipes yet, you are missing out.  Every burger we eat ends up being my new favorite!

I think next week might be time for the lamb burger.  And who knows?  Maybe I'll even start the grill myself.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fight Gone Bad + Wendler's Plug

It seems like it's been a while since I've tackled a benchmark WOD. 
This summer I focused a lot on power lifting, injury prevention/rehab, and just enjoying CrossFit without feeling like I needed to "perform" during every class.
It was fun to see how "taking it easy" has actually helped me get better: this weekend I nailed my first Fight Gone Bad RX at CrossFit 503!
I struggled the most on the wall balls (per usual) but I did them to the hanging 10' target which I think is a better challenge for me than doing them against the wall...especially since it is really easy to tell if you made it or not. 
My best movement was definitely the #55 push press.  I told myself to hold on to the bar and do one long set each round and then take a break for the remainder of the minute.  I did have to set it down during the 3rd round, but the first two were unbroken.  This is a better strategy for me since once the bar is on the ground, it's REALLY hard to motivate myself to pick it up.
I finished Fight Gone Bad with an RX score of 197.  I wish I had pushed harder on the wall balls - just one more rep each round would have put me at 200.  Next time!
I am also continuing with my Wendler's cycles.  Currently I am starting week 3 of the cycle.  Next week is deload week and the week after I get to retest!  I squeezed in Week 2 of my back squat since I missed it last week.  At the end of last cycle I PR'ed (192.7 lbs) and am hoping to break #200 by the end of September.  My week 2 back squat lifts yesterday:
Wendler's has been such a huge help in making me stronger and better at CrossFit.  It's also showed me how much I truly love power lifting.  I am considering competing in the next year, particularly if I can get my presses up.  Currently my back squat is my best lift, putting me into a fairly high class for my weight and age, but my bench and my overhead need some more work.
Well, that's my workout update!  I get to do an "athlete testing" workshop tonight so I am using that as today's workout so I can get some chores done as well as some work on the novel now that my forensics books are in from the library.
Have a great day!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Murder Monday: Death Comes To Pemberley (Review)

I recently finished my first P. D. James novel, which is incidentally a sequel to Pride and Prejudice.  A number of friends asked me to let them know how it was, and so I shall:
A basic look at the plot finds Darcy and Elizabeth (several years after their marriage) at home with Jane, Bingley, and a few other house guest on the eve of Lady Anne's ball.  To their surprise, a carriage pulls up in the midst of the storm and Lydia falls out shouting that Wickham has been murdered.
I found this story to be exceptionally true to the characters in the well-loved classic.  Perhaps more impressive was James' ability to further explore out-workings of previous themes and consequences of former doings.
Language and sexuality were extremely mild.  A limited use of "Good God" or "Damn" here and there, and of course the euphemistic references to Wickham and his previous misdeeds.
Violence was a bit more intense, due to the nature of the murder itself, but the death wounds were not described in terribly gross detail.
Some twists in the story will bring about a few deliciously familiar faces.
As a mystery: the plot built steady and then increasing excitement until concluding with an interesting and clear solution to the events which had befallen the inhabitants at Pemberley.
As a novel: this sang.  The mystery itself took (for me) a backseat at times to the glorious character development and atmosphere.
I would highly recommend "Death Comes to Pemberley" for any lover of Jane Austen or mystery buff.  The beautiful prose makes this book ideal reading for the fall with a cup of tea and a roaring fire.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bungalow Tour Part Two: The Creepy Basement

Hi, friends!
Now that you've seen our attic, let's visit the opposite extreme of our house...the basement.
To get to the basement, you actually have to go outside, so we'll start from the kitchen and go out the back door...
Down the steps...
Out to the street...
And in through the garage. 
Take a right and watch your head...
And in we go.  This is where we keep all the really cool stuff, like our grill, tennis gear, Christmas decorations, and car wash supplies.
(We've entered from the east side of the basement.)  If you continue across past the grill to the west side, you'll see our two lovely additional rooms.  The north room, where we keep cardboard boxes:
And the south room, where I keep telling my brothers they will be staying during their visit tonight:
Pretty sweet, right?  It has a light switch and everything!
Well, that's it for the creepy basement.  Oh, except I forgot to take "before" photos.  Jared and I spent a while sweeping out all the spiders and leaves and dirt when we moved in, which apparently no one had done since the Bungalow was built in the 1940s.  The floor may look gross, but it is shades lighter than it used to be when we arrived!
Thanks for visiting...I have to head back to the house and get ready for my brothers, who arrive this afternoon.  We have a lot of important things planned, like a trip to Voodoo Doughnuts and maybe another Powell's excursion.
Have a good day!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Grilling is for Girls: REAL SIMPLE Cheddar Turkey Burgers with Mashed Avocado

Jared showed me how to operate the grill, and I learned a few valuable lessons.  One of them was not to buy pre-made patties, since for many of these recipes, you have to mix in other ingredients and reshape the patties yourself.  The other was to make the burgers earlier in the week so you don't have to freeze the meat and then thaw it (last week's spiced burgers REALLY did not want to combine).
Last week's meal dripping through the grill grate
I asked Jared before grocery shopping which burger he wanted next, and he voted for the Cheddar Turkey Burger with Mashed Avocado.
The recipe calls for a ripe avocado, but since I only went grocery shopping on Monday, by Tuesday morning the avocado was still hard.  I had no apple or paper bag to try that speed ripening trick (or is it a banana?) so I just rotated the avocado around the house and onto the porch so that it was in the sun all day, which really helped!
In the evening, when it was time for dinner, I decided to prep the mashed avocado before worrying about the grill. 
Last time it took me too long to prep the food for the grill and so I wasted a lot of energy (literally) by letting it sit out there empty but hot.
I was afraid the sun hadn't helped enough, but the ripeness was actually perfect: it kept the "mashed avocado" from turning into guacamole. 
I got the grill out, but couldn't get it to light.  Apparently the propane tank was starting to run low.  Jared used a match to get things started for me.  While the grill heated up, I combined the ground turkey with shredded sharp cheddar and "grated" onion (I bought pre-shredded cheese to save time and just cut the onion into tiny pieces).
When I went out to flip the burgers, I brought the wheat buns so I could grill them at the very end, and found that the grill had died down.  Jared got it going with another match.
I went back in to start cleaning up while I waited for the final side of the burgers to cook, but when I came back, the grill had died down again.
I ended up finishing the burgers on a pan and toasting the buns instead of grilling them:
It worked out well - the burgers were really moist with great flavor. We topped them with thinly sliced onion and the mashed avocado. 

Jared had two, which means I get the last one for lunch today!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bungalow Tour Part One: The Attic

Hello and welcome to our humble abode! 
Let's start on the top story...our roasty-in-the-afternoon but still-filled-with-potential attic.
The entrance to the attic is through our room:
The stairs are a little steep, but very sturdy.
West window:
North window:
Eventually I want to recover the walls, get some bookshelves and comfy seating, and turn this into our library!
Well, hope you enjoyed the mini-tour!  More to come in the ensuing weeks.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Places to Eat in Portland: LARDO and RubyJewel Scoops

This weekend we had family in town for Jared's white coat ceremony.  My baby brother is a voracious reader who insisted that his visit include a trip to Powell's City of Books. 
(Of the five people who visited us this week, every single one brought at least one book with them.  And almost all of them spent time reading during their visit.)
We spent a good while toodling around Powell's.  I hung out with my mom in the travel section, and then she followed me to the mystery shelves.  We found Max near the Civil War section, while Jared was busy giving himself the creeps with Jack the Ripper.  My dad was upstairs in the Pearl Room looking at art books.
Buying books makes me hungry, so instead of driving home to make dinner, we decided to look for food en route to the car.  We walked past LARDO, which Jared yelped for us.  It had good reviews, so we decided to check it out.
For you Paleo types, they will make any sandwich into a salad for you.  The bread's awesome here, but it's always nice to have options.
Jared ordered the Double Burger, and I got the PBLT (Pork Belly Lettuce and heirloom Tomato). 
We also got an order of Dirty Fries to share with my family:
The fries were perfectly done, with pepperoncini slices and bits of pork.
Max got the Sausage, Egg, and Cheese...messy, but good.
The service and atmosphere were both great, and the food was delicious! 
While eating outside, we looked across the street and saw ice cream...which of course we needed after a serious lunch like that.
RubyJewel Scoops has several delicious flavors available: some traditional, like Double Chocolate, and some a little different, like Roasted Beet with Mascarpone.  We tried the beet and it was surprisingly good.
I ended up with Blueberry Marzipan, which was sweet without being overpowering.  The blueberry flavor really came through and the texture was creamy.
My favorite flavor was probably Jared's Brown Butter Bourbon Pecan, but all of us were really impressed with our scoops.  They offered kids' sizes, which I liked (mine above is a kid's scoop).  Their "single scoop" is actually two kid-sized scoops!
If you are in Portland near Burnside and Powell's, be sure you check out LARDO and RubyJewel!