Monday, January 17, 2011

A look back at Food

OK... I found all these photos of great food I've either dined on or made. I felt I should share some of these delicious photos. Let's start by theme. My most favorite to photograph would have to be Sushi. I eat sushi 3 or 4 times a week on average. Sometimes it can reach every day of the week. Richmond offers quite a variety:

Best "grocery store" sushi: Fresh Market
#1 RVA Sushi : Umi (and their sister restaurant, Ichiban!)
#2 Best RVA Sushi (owned by the same man): Osaka, Sushi-O, Wild Ginger
#3 Best RVA Sushi: Mai Sushi

I could go on and on about other great sushi in Richmond, but there's the top of the line.

The next food genre on my list follows closely behind sushi and resembles it quite a bit... Seafood! It's lean, healthy, filled with omega 3's... Who d
oesn't like seafood (unless your allergic I guess)? Some of the best seafood I've had was made right home... For example, on Christmas Eve, we enjoyed amazing oysters, cooked on pewter oyster trays with toppings like spinach, garlic, butter, hot sauce, and old bay. OH SO GOOD. I could eat at least a dozen of these alone.

What's next... Oh, the obvious. Italian. Because I'm Italian! Well, specifically Sicilian... And boy does my family know good Italian food. I'd say our family meatball recipe beats out any other meatball in town. I also make amazing fried eggplant, except I use panko crumbs, and coat my sliced eggplant with egg whites to hold the panko crumbs together, followed by fresh mozzarella medallions, garlic and red pepper flake. I pretty much put red pepper flake on everything I eat - from eggs to eggplant!
And lets not forget Pizza. I try to steer clear of generic pizza, but a gourmet pizza from Stuzzi or Sette? Sure! Homemade pizza with toppings like spinach, artichoke, prosciutto, roasted red peppers and turkey pepperoni? Sure! Typically I make homemade pizzas using Flat Out Light wraps. First, you toast them with a little spray olive oil Pam, then layer on the pizza sauce, toppings and cheese! They can be lots of fun to make and super healthy too if you choose the right ingredients. I've made pesto pizza using Knorr's pesto seasoning mix with water (bring to boil so it mixes up to a creamy paste), and adding zucchini, spinach, artichokes and mushrooms with low fat thinly shredded mozzarella. Viola! The pest is a whole 60 calories, and the flat out is 90. Who knew?
And let's not forget Italian Wedding Soup. Brio makes a great Italian Wedding Soup, plus there's a little heart made out of parmesan cheese.... Fantastic presentation if I don't say so myself!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Bond, James Bond

James Bond's got nothing on us! Just kidding...

So ever since I was 12, I've been obsessed with James Bond. I've seen every movie even Her Majesty's Secret Service with George Lazenby, which wasn't technically part of the Ian Flemming series. If you ask me who my favorite Bond is, I still have a tough time deciding but will always go with Sean Connery (followed by Daniel, Pierce and Timothy... never liked Roger). And as you can imagine, everyone who knows me knows that I'm a Bond fanatic. So it was no surprise to anyone at work that I would be the happiest employee in the world when they made our annual company holiday party theme Casino Royale. I work in HR for Mondial Assistance, one of the largest travel insurance and assistance services companies in the world. We speak over 40 languages and have offices all over the globe. I absolutely LOVE the international flare and culture and couldn't be happier. John and I decided to dress the part for the holiday party. We had dinner at Tobacco Company with a large group of my HR team. I enjoyed an arugula and chevre salad to start, and a to-die-for medium rare gorgonzola crusted 8oz filet for dinner. YUM... The party was a hit. We played black jack and listened to our company band perform. Overall, an excellent 007-worthy evening.

Today, John and I went on a quick bike ride to try out my new bike. What we didn't anticipate is how cold we got so quickly. I had on several cold compression and fleece layers too! It was so frigid we only made it one quick loop to Pony Pasture and back (along Riverside Drive). Oh well. At least we got to enjoy a hot bowl of my chili afterwards.... Double YUM! Since I haven't talked about food in a while, I'll share my chili recipe. It's the EASIEST recipe and impossible to ruin:
  • 1 packet of Sauer's Hot Chili Seasoning
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of great northern beans
  • 1 can of dark red kidney beans
  • 1 can of petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 30 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 lb of 96% lean ground beef thawed
Toss all ingredients in crock pot (mix well), and let sit for 4-6 hours. Service with a dollop of sour cream, finely shredded 2% sharp cheddar cheese, and of course Chalula hot sauce. You can cook in a pot on the stove too but I prefer crock pot. Viola! The best damn chili you'll ever have, especially during these next few days of 30-degree RVA weather. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Let the Triathlon Training Begin

HURRAY! I just bought my first road bike! Isn't it fierce?

It's a 2010 Fuji Newest 3.0 from Performance Bikes here in Richmond. I'm so excited, I can hardly wait to ride it. I finally have a decent road bike to train and race for this season's triathlon races. I plan to participate in at least 3 triathlons this year (if I can afford to sign up for them), and I'd love to do this duathlon too. Regardless, I am super excited to just enjoy rides on my new bike. I'm picking it up this Friday along with my bike rack and 2-year service warranty.

If anyone has any suggestions of routes to try, let me know. Or if you want to go for a ride, let me know! I could always learn a few new tricks.