Wednesday, April 3, 2013

March Challenge Wrap Up

It's April now. I'm breathing a sigh of relief that my March Madness Challenge is finished. It's not that I didn't enjoy it. It's just that... well, it took up way more time than I anticipated. Now that it's over, I might actually have time to do other things - or maybe -- insert gasp here -- nothing at all. (My husband is probably rolling his eyes right now, because he knows as well as I do that I'm always doing something)

The Cooking Part

This took up the vast majority of my time. I made some absolutely delicious meals, but I was cooking every day. And not that "oops, I forgot to take something out for dinner and it's time to eat so I better whip something up real quick" kind of cooking. It was the "company is coming over and I want to make something really good" kind. (The last batch of meals is listed at the bottom of this post) I did complete the challenge - and only fell a few recipes short of my 30 in 30 goal.

My overall assessment of the Smitten Kitchen cookbook? It's a great cookbook to have, but not one to cook out of every day. And when you do make a recipe from it, be sure to read it all the way through before starting. For my more in-depth review of it, click here.

Overall, I highly recommend it - for weekend cooking and desserts especially. Favorite savory recipe? The pancetta, white bean and swiss chard pot pies. Time consuming, but totally worth it. Favorite sweet recipe? Probably the raspberry rugelach (though it was pretty darn close between that and the cinnamon squares).

The Running Part

Also successful. Last weekend's long run was 7 miles. So really - I'm completely on pace for a 10 miler in 3 weeks.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure I'll be able to run it. I keep trying to deny it, ignore it or rationalize my way around it, but the truth is, I'm having major knee issues. After every 4 mile+ run, I had to ice my knee for hours and was in significant pain for the next two days. Since I'm ridiculously stubborn (shocker, I know), I still kept to my training schedule and would run despite the pain. Not good, I know. And I'm sure my doctor is going to yell at me for that when I finally make the appointment to see him. Which is probably why I haven't made that appointment yet.

The Writing Part

Epic Fail.

I started off trying to organize my notes before I resumed work on the actual narrative. But because the other components of my month took up so much time, I just didn't have enough free time to work on it. And on the rare occasions I did find myself with an hour of free time at the end of the night, I was too exhausted to do anything but sleep.

With any luck, I can really devote some time and effort to my writing this month.

Final Round of Recipes

1. Leek fritters with garlic and lemon (I made this along side grilled chicken). Surprisingly tasty! The hubby really enjoyed these quite a bit.
2. Butternut squash and caramelized onion galette. This was excellent. My husband doesn't even like butternut squash and he loved it. The flavors were great and the dough (as usual for the cookbook) was awesome.
3. Chocolate raspberry rugelach. Not sure why the author needs to add chocolate to everything, so I skipped out on it. And man, am I happy I did. These things were fantastic! All I can say is that I'm glad I was training for a race while I made these because they were addictively good.
4. Sesame spiced turkey meatballs with smashed chickpea salad. Lauren liked this much better than I did. I thought the flavor was okay but texture of the meatballs was a bit off (they almost had a toughness to them). He wants to try the meatballs with some red sauce, as we both thought the chickpea salad was pretty boring. Not sure I liked them enough for another go, but we'll see.
5. Wild rice gratin with kale, caramelized onions and baby swiss. This was certainly a sleeper recipe. I expected it to be fine for me and a miss for my meat-and-potatoes hubby, but we both loved it. Really good.
6. Blueberry cornmeal butter cake. Lauren enjoyed it quite a bit. Evidently, I don't like the gritty texture of cornmeal. The flavors were good though, and if Lauren would let me, I'd try it with a substitution for the cornmeal.
7. Big breakfast latkes. Unimpressive. It was just hash browns with an egg on top. I was surprised she didn't add any kind of spice or flavor to the potato latkes. They were really boring.
8. Asparagus pizza. I'll spare the ridiculous story of why this didn't come out correctly (completely my fault), but I can't really make a judgment one way or another. Personally, the bite I had seemed a bit unremarkable, but perhaps that's just the user-error talking. (I will say, it wasted quite a bit of asparagus in the preparation though!)

1 comment:

  1. Those recipes are making me hungry at 2 am !!

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