Friday, June 3, 2011

Tough Mudder May 7, 2011

First Mudd!
     I'd be lying if I said completing Tough Mudder didn't feel like a religious experience. I've never prayed so hard in my life. Most of the time I was actually praying for my life. "Please don't let me die on this mountain. Please God." I didn't realize I was begging out loud and not in my head, until the guy climbing several feet ahead of me turned around and said, "Dude...You're scaring me."

     I've done some pretty crazy things in my life. I've bungeed in New Zealand, jumped from a perfectly good plane and finished a triathlon in pretty good time. But, this was crazy on a-whole-nother level. It was fun, excruciatingly painful at times, but fun. We laughed a lot in spite of the pain.
My best friend/hubby.
I guess the best part was, I got to do all of this with my best friend. He never let me quit. He encouraged me and lied to me when I needed it most. "This is the last climb, really. No more uphills after this one." Thanks honey.

     I learned a lot about myself, my limitations. Really. Trying to pull a guy who outweighs me by at least 80lbs, up a half-pipe ramp, was really dumb. I can admit that now. But this race was different than most. It wasn't about the individual competitor, it was about the camaraderie. It wasn't about who finishes first, but helping each other through the battle, together as one. No man left behind. I witnessed complete strangers stop to give encouragement to someone in need. Sharing a bit of their strength, helping to carry the load. I saw grown men and women breakdown and cry. Whether it was from the pain of complete muscle fatigue or the exhilarating high of being a part of this amazing kinship, only they know.
Team Unaccompanied Minor
For those few hours we were soldiers.

 From the moment we sang the national anthem beneath the great symbol of our amazing country, charged down to the base of the mountain and came face to face with our first obstacle. Tough Mudders have raised over one million dollars for the Wounded Warriors Project . In this time of war, I couldn't be more proud to have had the opportunity be a part of that.  It was a life altering experience and a life lesson I will not soon forget.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ramps/wild leeks. Garlicky in flavour. Grill or saute.

I love Spring! It is truly my favorite season of the year.  I don't even mind the showers. Which in New England are inevitable, although today it's more like freezing rain. I'm not sure if being born in Spring has anything to do with it, but I think it's the anticipation that gets me giddy. When the first flowers begin to emerge, I can barely contain myself. Already, I'm dreaming of my favorite foods; Ramps, morels, fiddleheads and favas. And the dishes I will create with these amazing ingredients. Recipes are literally percolating in my head.

Recipes to come as soon as I can get my hands on the ingredients.

Potato and Ricotta Gnocchi w/ sauteed ramps and fiddleheads, garlic roasted morels and sundried tomatoes

Balsamic glazed Filet of Salmon w/ english pea Risotto

Fava Crostini with shaved fennel and pecorino

Crispy fried Baby Artichoke Chips with Fava puree

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

No more excuses..

     Been away for a month and in that time, I wish I could say I've been writing like my life depends on it. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I'm presently sitting here on my cozy couch, sipping away at a mug of green tea with lemon, watching the snow fall outside my window. Ever have one of those moments when the task before you is so mountainous, you feel frozen in place? That moment when there's so much to be done, you can't even find the courage to begin.  
      When I first began this blog, some of you may remember, I had just signed up for National Novel Writing Month.  The idea is to write 50,000 words of a novel, beginning on November 1st.  It was something I had always wanted to try, but never had the time, or the nerve to do it.  Well, I'm proud to say, I did it!  With a 30 lb. pack on my back in S. E. Asia, I managed to keep up with the grueling schedule of writing nearly 2,000 words a day.   It took two full days of speed writing when I returned home, but I hit 50K at last, one day before the deadline. It was quite an accomplishment for me. I savoured the moment of triumph when I pressed the submit button. So the  question I find myself asking is... now what? Where do I go from here? 
procrastinator |prəˈkrastəˌnāt; prō-|-ˌnātər|
 noun [ intrans. ]
    To delay or postpone actionput off doing something.     One who procrastinates.
    Could this be me? Should there be a picture of my face in the dictionary next to this definition? January has come and gone. Time to renew my resolutions. Time to get back in gear.    February will be better..I hope.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

 We spent the final night of 2010 at our favourite restaurant in downtown Portsmouth.  Cava is owned by our friend John Akar and Executive Chef, Gregg Sessler.   The e11even course tasting menu was a work of genius; beautifully crafted and meticulously executed.  Perfection.  

Maine Crab, pickled mango, hackelback caviar and basil seed

French Kiss Oyster, mint in Sparkling Cava

Semolina Dusted Day Boat Scallop w/ Artichoke and purple mustard

Long Island Duck Breast, blood orange, cress on Goat cheese pillow

Executive Chef Gregg Sessler

our fellow diners @ the chef's table George and Kaitlen

Vanilla milk poached Lobster, cauliflower, vanilla bean and chestnut

Chickpea Fries

Sirloin of Beef, Sunchoke puree, Black Trumpets and celery leaf

Whipped Brie, Huckelberry, Honey Comb and Hazelnut 

Hibiscus Jell-O, Pineapple, Lime, Marscapone

Chef Michael, Executive Chef Gregg Sessler, John Akar

Pistachio Cake, White Chocolate, Meyer Lemon