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Entries in Triathlete Magazine (5)

Monday
Aug052013

A Building Year with Tiramisu

Have you heard the phrase, "it's a building year"? This is sometimes applied to sports teams when they are rearranging their players because of trades, training up the rookies, and generally ironing out the kinks.

Recently this phrase was used to describe my current triathlon season. Injuries and health issues have forced me to have a different season that I wanted. Initially, I was not pleased with this description.

But time out for sports (and desserts), people. Isn't every year a building year? Is there a year when you stop and think, AH-HA! This is the one, the icing on the cake, the final layer...and after this...well, after this—what? There will be no improvements? I can just wait for the cool embrace of death?

Sorry to be blunt, but if that's the case, then I certainly hope every year is a building year.

Take for example, this tiramisu recipe. I created it for Triathlete Magazine as a healthy alternative to traditional tiramisu, which aside from being delicious, has very little nutritional value. This one does, however. It's packed with healthy proteins from almond flour, chia seeds and Greek yogurt.

But the best part of this tiramisu is the assembly. Don't be intimidated, it's a process. Layers of solid cake are stacked on top of squishy yogurt filling, unstable strawberries (anti-oxidants and vitamin C!), and rickety, toasted almonds.

Building it requires patience and a very steady hand. As soon as you place that strawberry on top, the whole thing veers to one side all Leaning Tower of Pisa-esque until—EGADS!—it's fallen over and the filling is smooshed all over the place.

This is especially awesome when you are trying to photograph it for a professional magazine. You can imagine the cursing. But don't, there might be children present.

As many times as I built it up, it fell over. I did finally get it to stand, clicked a few photos and then ate the whole thing. 

I can report that this tiramisu is just as good on it's side as standing straight up.

Which brings me back...to me. This year it's felt like every time I stack up another layer, the whole apparatus comes tumbling down. But I think I can say this: Like the tiramisu, I'm just as good lying on my side (my bike several feet away) and cursing (again, don't imagine it) as I am standing up and on a podium (only the podiums in my mind this year...).

And so are you.

So raise a fork to building years, I hope we both continue to have them. And make this recipe for Healthy Tiramisu. You can follow the recipe below, but it would tickle me if you'd go check out the latest edition of Triathlete Magazine, page 88.

INGREDIENTS

For the cake:

4 eggs, separated into 4 egg yolks and 4 egg whites

2 Tbsp lemon zest, packed

1/2 cup sugar, divided 1/4 cup and 1/4 cup

1 1/2 cup almond flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon white or cider vinegar

Pinch of salt

For the filling:

½ cup almond milk

½ cup plain, non-fat greek yogurt

⅓ cup chia seeds

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

 

For the crunchy almond layer:

¾ cup slivered almonds

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons of water

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

pinch of salt

 

Extras:

3 tablespoons instant coffee or espresso powder dissolved in 1/3 cup hot water

¼ cup cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder if you can’t find cacao)

1 pint strawberries, sliced

cacao nibs (optional)

 

METHOD

First, bake the cake. I wanted a flat cake so that I could layer my tiramisu. To achieve this, I baked my cake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, so I could spread the batter thinly.

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line the bottom of a cookie sheet (preferably the kind that has sides) with parchment paper, and spray the paper with non-stick cooking spray, or grease with butter.

2 In a large bowl, stir together with a wooden spoon or whisk the egg yolks, lemon zest, and 1/4 cup sugar until smooth.

3 In a separate bowl, or a food processor, blend the almond flour and baking powder.  Add the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture and beat until just smooth.

4 In a very clean bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer. When bubbles start to form, add a pinch of salt and the teaspoon of vinegar (these ingredients help the egg whites stay firm as you add sugar). As the egg whites begin to increase in volume, sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, a little at a time, as you continue to beat the eggs whites.  Beat until soft peaks form. It’s important to add the sugar a little at a time, as the sugar may cause the egg whites to fall.

5 With a rubber spatula, fold the beaten egg whites into the almond mixture a little at a time.  I started with a small amount of egg whites to loosen up the almond flour mixture, which can become firm. After this, you can add the egg whites in large scoops, folding to incorporate it all.

6 Pour the batter onto the prepared cookie sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. The edges will turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. With a sharp knife, slice the cake into serving-size rectangles, and set aside. You can make the cake ahead and freeze it for up to a week. To do this, assemble the sliced cake into layers, placing a piece of parchment paper between each layer (the paper will help the layers not stick to each other). Wrap the sets of cake with foil and store in the freezer until ready to use.

Make the filling:

1. In a small bowl add the ⅓ cup chia seeds to ½ cup almond milk. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight. You want the chia seeds to expand, creating a pudding-like consistency. (Note: you can keep this in the fridge for up to a week, stirring it into all kinds of things like oatmeal and smoothies, so feel free to make more!).

2. Once the chia seeds have expanded, add the 1 teaspoon almond extract and the tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar to the mixture and stir thoroughly.

3. Add in the ½ cup of greek yogurt, and stir to combine. Set aside (you can store this in the fridge as well).

Prepare the almonds:

1. In a skillet over medium heat, dissolve the brown sugar in the water. Add in the spices and the almonds and allow to simmer gently, stirring constantly.

2. When most of the water has absorbed, spread the almonds onto a piece of parchment paper and allow to cool and dry completely. The almonds will be sticky and they will stick together – this is ok! And tasty, too.

Assembly:

1. Dissolve 3 tablespoons of instant coffee or espresso powder in ⅓ cup hot water.

2. Place one piece of cake on plate. With a pastry brush, brush the top of the cake with the coffee.

3. Place a few clusters of candied almonds on top of the cake.

4. Arrange some sliced strawberries on top of the almonds.

5. Spoon the chia seed/alomond milk/greek yogurt mixture on top of the strawberries and dust the cacao powder (I use a tea strainer loaded with cacao powder for a nice, even dusting).

6. Repeat! Challenge yourself to see how high you can stack them! Top with a few cacao nibs (optional) and a whole strawberry.

Tuesday
May142013

Fall Down and Get Back Up Again. And Again...

I've had a few biking "incidents" lately. These things happen. And luckily, they haven't been too serious. However, they don't really make you feel excited, or happy, or all, "woooo TIGER BLOOD, I'm WINNING!!"

No. They sorta make you feel slow. And slightly stupid. And owchy. And couldn't Johnson & Johnson make the size bandaid that you need (tarp sized, please), instead of 1,298 sizes that won't work??

Just a suggestion.

And here's another suggestion: taxed muscles, whether from training or from a fall need some recovery and repair. Nutritionally speaking, a good way to get that is through protein. This month, I was featured in Triathlete Magazine's June issue with two sneaky protein-rich recipes.

Sneaky? Yes, they're sneaky because they don't contain meat or fancy protein powders. They contain farro. Farro is a grain that is very high in protein (about 6 grams per 1/2 cup of cooked farro). And you can use it to make any number of things, like the Coconut Farro Oatmeal or Fig Cookies with farro crust.

The recipe for the Coconut Farro Oatmeal is below. For the fig cookies, go check out Triathlete Magazine!

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

1 cup farro

2 cups coconut milk (not the condensed stuff, the other kind) plus additional for serving

pinch of salt

1 tablespoon maple syrup

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

2 rounded tablespoons of ground flax seeds

¼ cup dried cranberries

½ cup fresh blueberries

¼ cup slivered almonds

¼ cup shredded coconut (unsweetened preferred, but you can use either)

Instructions:

Measure out the farro, ground flax seeds and coconut milk and pour them into a medium pot. Heat on medium-low on your stovetop adding in the seasonings and sweetener: maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg.

Simmer until tender and liquid is absorbed - about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, preheat your oven (or toaster oven) to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spread the shredded coconut and almond slivers onto the baking sheet. Toast for about 5-8 minutes, keeping a constant watch on the progress as the nuts will toast quite quickly. Feel free to toss halfway through the baking process to ensure an even browning.

Remove from oven and set aside.

Scoop the cooked farro into serving bowls. Top with a little extra coconut milk, fresh blueberries and dried cranberries. Sprinkle with the toasted almond and coconut mixture.

A special note of thanks to all my Full Throttle teammates who have been so nice and supportive as I continually fell off my bicycle in the past week. Thanks for delivering medical supplies, making me dinner, checking in, checking in again, enduring chatter about my sprained groin...the list goes on. You guys are the best.

Monday
Feb042013

January – A Month in Review

It's been a fast and furious month, packed with all kinds of tasty treats. As we roll into February, we'd like to recap the most important John and Elana blog happenings.

First, we featured a seasonal pizza, that's perfect for warming up your winter kitchen: Kale and Roasted Carrot.

I (Elana) started organized triathlon practice once again and consequently became very hungry. So I made mini donuts...

...drank my breakfast in the shower...

...and even contributed a biscotti and rice ball recipe to Triathlete Magazine!

And then I had a nap.

When I woke up, John insisted we create a video prounciation guide for Italian food. We did this (view video here), and then promptly threw back some vino while watching LOST re-runs. I then snapped this photo of John's sociopathic freezer and forced him to drive me from Hoboken to the Upper West Side. This is why he is a good brother.

To balance things out, we began a new column, Farmer Fridays, written by my friend Meg. She runs a fantastic farm in New Jersey, Fresh and Fancy Farms. You should go. But if you can't, check out these two posts about roasted winter vegetables...

and fresh herb tea...

Finally, John and I came full circle and ended with...pizza. Some coal-fired pizza from Arturo's in the West Village, that is. While we made questionable use of the table's garlic powder, we gave Arturo's a Top Gun ranking in our overall system.

Extra points for the bathtub.

Onto February! And remember:

Monday
Jan072013

Training Diary - The Way Off Season

I'm here to tell you the fun is over. Or it's just starting, depending on how you look at it. 

To be honest, it's a little bit of both. 

My 2012 triathlon season came to an end in October. Since then, it's been about more relaxed workouts, sleeping in (5:30 am - woohooo!) and gaining weight....just a bit. I even took some yoga classes. 

But today formal, organized practice begins.

So do 4:30 am wake-up calls, constant hunger, permanent goggle marks, and the ever-present stench of chlorine.

I am...how shall I say this?...EXCITED. 

I'll own that I get a little too excited about this stuff. John has had to feign enthusiasm when I say things like, "I was barreling down this hill at 40 mph and when I stopped I had bugs plastered all over me!!" 

Gross.

But training and racing is about getting comfortable with some uncomfortable and potentially gross things. 

For example, did you know I can pee standing up? Pretty much on command. I have also ridden a bike mostly covered in horse droppings (thank you, Central Park in the rain), had snot rockets blown AT me, and let's not forget the aforementioned bugs. Also, I swam in the Hudson. Twice.

If you can get comfortable with this type of thing, you are part of the way there.

To get the rest of the way there, you need some guidance, determination, and lots of snacks. Trust me on the snacks part. I've been making my own energy snacks for some time now because it's important to me to know what I'm putting in my system. And I think energy gels are icky.

Triathlete Magazine has been kind enough to feature me again in their February 2013 issue, out this month. In this issue, I bring you some Italian-inspired energy snacks: Biker Biscotti and Rice Balls CARB-onara.

Get it? CARB-onara? Are those crickets or does my bike need a tune-up?

Anyway, both of these snacks are healthy, delicious and portable. Meaning you can bring them on your bike, slip them into your workout bag and enjoy them on the go.

From time to time, I will bring you stories and recipes from my triathlete kitchen. I will not bore you with power meter readings or tempo run times. But I WILL tell you if I forget my pants and where I obtained my post-race cheeseburgers. And how to make your own energy bars.

If you'd like to check out more from my Triathlete Kitchen, click here to view the full line-up. Even if you're not swimming in the Hudson, these snacks will keep you well-fueled for whatever you're up to....like that Xbox Connect Dance-off you had planned for next weekend. Yeah, I know who you are.

Here is the recipe for the Rice Balls Carb-onara:


Ingredients:
1 cup short grain (Arborio) brown rice
2 eggs
4 strips thickly sliced bacon
pinch of salt
bread crumbs (optional)
plastic wrap

Instructions:
Cook the rice in a pot on the stovetop according to the instructions on the packaging. Add a pinch of salt to the rice as it cooks.

While the rice is cooking, place the bacon on top of a few paper towels and on a microwave safe plate. The paper towels will absorb much of the bacon grease as it cooks. Microwave the bacon on high for two minutes. Blot the bacon with paper towels if you’d like to remove the grease from the top, and continue cooking at 1-2 minute intervals until the bacon has reached your desired crispiness.

Chop the bacon into tiny pieces – I actually used kitchen shears for this purpose – and place the pieces into a large bowl.

Crack two large eggs in a small bowl and wisk with a fork. Heat a small, lightly oiled skillet (I used cooking spray) on the stovetop over medium heat. Scramble your two eggs, breaking them up into small bits.

Once the rice has finished cooking, add it to the bowl with the bacon, and then add the scrambled eggs. Mix well to evenly distribute all the ingredients.

Assembly:
Scoop a tablespoon of the rice, bacon and egg mixture into a square of plastic wrap. Form the rice mixture into a ball by closing up the plastic wrap and twisting it at the top. The rice is sticky, so it should stay together. You can add a few drops of cold water to your rice if necessary so it holds together better.

At this point, you can either set your finished rice balls aside, or roll them in some breadcrumbs for a finishing touch. Keep in mind that without the breadcrumbs, this recipe is gluten free!

You can keep them twisted inside plastic wrap, drop them into the pockets of your bike jersey or bento box, and take them to go on long rides.
For the Biker Biscotti, please go check out Triathlete Magazine, on newsstands now!

 

 

Friday
Aug312012

Breakfast AND Dessert Pizza

Recently, a very exciting thing happened. I was featured in the October issue of Triathlete Magazine. They featured a recipe of mine for a breakfast pizza with Egg, Ricotta and Pesto. I love this recipe. It's healthy, packed with good things like protein, and you can even make it healthier-still with whole wheat crust and part-skim ricotta cheese (if you like, I'm not gonna twist your arm).

If you'd like to see the recipe, either pick up a copy of the October Triathlete Magazine, or check it out online here. The online version also features a BONUS recipe for Heirloom Tomato, Mango and Mint Pizza. Who doesn't like a bonus?

And speaking of bonuses, here's another: a dessert pizza.

Blackberry, Fontina Cheese and Mint Pizza

 
What I love most about this pizza is the flavor combination of tangy blackberries, sweet honey and the earthy Fontina cheese. It works very well for brunches but is also a fabulous addition to a cheese plate – that has extra Fontina, of course!

Ingredients:
1 cup blackberries, loosely chopped
1/2 cup Fontina Cheese, sliced into thin strips
Honey (as much as you like)
Fresh mint, chopped (as much as you like)

Process:
1. Slice up the blackberries and set aside.
2. Stretch out your pizza dough into a round and top with slices of Fontina cheese.
3. Place the blackberries on top of the cheese.
4. Drizzle with honey.
5. Bake in the oven at 500 degrees for about 10 minutes.
6. When it is finished cooking, remove the pizza from the oven and drizzle with a little bit more honey and sprinkle with mint.

And now for the dough recipes. I used whole wheat dough for each of these. Here's how to do it yourself:

What You Need
1 envelope dried yeast
1 cup warm water
3 cup all purpose flour or bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil

What You Do:
In a large bowl dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of warm water…stir in ½ cup of the flour.  Cover and let stand for about 30 minutes

Then add the other ½ cup of warm water salt and olive oil.  Slowly begin to add the remaining flour.  When all of the flour is incorporated knead the dough until it is smooth.  It may take about 10 minutes….

Then dust the dough lightly all over with flour and place in a bowl – covered with a cloth  to rise for about 1 hour.

When it has doubled in size, punch down the dough and divide into 4 parts.  Form each fourth into a smooth ball and let rise covered on a floured board for 30 minutes.  In the meantime heat the oven to 500 degrees for 30 minutes.

And if you're looking for more recipes from the "Triathlete Kitchen" - check THESE out.