Friday, January 29, 2010

Free Time Friday

I went to bed last night with high hopes that the sleet would come early enough that we'd either be told to stay home from work or get a two hour delay. Alas, no such luck. However, I did opt to go in later and ride with Jason. This meant I got my workout done early, but not so early that I was still asleep. I decided to do Step Blast and Abs from Step Jump and Pump. It was a funny, sweaty workout.

Jason and I work across the street from one another and our offices are only about 7 blocks from our house. So riding in together made sense, plus I trust him driving on the ice more than me! When I got to the office there were only two others there. The whole building was pretty much empty as most employees just stay home and use personal time rather than brave the ice. The sleet was coming down, but it wasn't terribly slick at that point. Only five brave souls in my immediate area ended up showing up. By noon it was coming down and coating the streets completely. The big boss gave the thumbs up to get the heck out of dodge by 12:30. Talk about a Friday treat! Workout already done, leaving early, free time for a change. Here are a few pictures to show how it looked outside. This is not snow, only sleet.
So, what's a gal to do with some actual free time? While really wanted to just sit on the couch and be completely lazy, it's just no in my nature. I did need to make some dog treats for an order. So that was easy enough. I also started the cashew cream for a recipe I plan to make tomorrow from Tal Ronnen's book The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat Oh, made some more White Cheeseless Queso. Whittled down the laundry pile. Oh, and I did decide to go ahead and do my weight workout that I would normally have done on Saturday. I have a baby shower at 11 am then mom and sis coming up right after. I didn't want to feel rushed, and since I had the time this afternoon, I just got it done. I was a good workout and I was able to go up in weights per the rotation suggestion. Felt good. Today was the last workout for Week 4 of the Total-Body Training rotation. I did 3 sets of 15 reps of the following as supersets:

SS #1
Triceps - Weighted Dips
Calves - Dumbbell Calf Raises

SS #2
Chest - Decline Dumbbell Press
Back - Double arm rows

SS #3
Quads - Step Ups (12" step)
Shoulders - Front Raises

I did add 2 sets of 6 reps of preacher curls (I will win this battle) and 2 sets of 12 reps alternating plie squats.

Jason and I had time on our hands this evening and we both wanted to try a new recipe out. I have a few blogging buddies who swear by Kabocha Squash (Alyson & Allie). I finally got my hands on one at the Asian market last weekend and have been trying to figure out just how to use this beauty. I found plenty of soup recipes, lots for roasting, but this one in particular caught my eye. The original recipe is by Sunset and is Roasted Fish with Kabocha Coulis. Seeing as how I'm vegetarian, the fish part wasn't going to work. However, it's a very versatile recipe and proteins can be easily changed out. So, here is my take on the original.

Quorn Cutlets with Kabocha Coulis
About 1 tsp olive oil
Seas salt and pepper to taste
6  oz fresh shiitake or portobello mushrooms (I used tried dried shiitakes)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup frozen shelled soybeans
Kabocha coulis (see below)

Wipe off mushrooms; trim off and discard stems for shiitakes (tough stem ends only for portobollos). Cut mushrooms into 1/2-inch chunks.

Note: If using dried mushrooms, skip the first part of next step and simply add to broth to reconstitute and add the garlic to broth as well.
In a non-stick skillet, over medium-high heat, stir mushrooms and garlic in 1 teaspoon oil until mushrooms are limp, about 5 minutes. Add broth, tomato sauce, and soybeans; simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until soybeans are tender to bite, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cook Quorn according to package.

Mound 1/4 of the soybean mixture in the center of each of dinner plate and top with a Quorn cutlet, and spoon Kabocha coulis equally around soybean mixture.

Kabocha Coulis
1/2 lb  Kabocha or butternut squash
1/2 white onion, chopped
1/2 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 teaspoon  ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 1/2 to 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
Sea salt and pepper to taste 

Rinse squash and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds (save to toast); with a small, sharp knife, pare peel and discard. Cut squash into 1-inch chunks; you should have about 2 cups.

In a 3- to 4-quart nonstick pan over medium-high heat, stir onion and ginger in olive oil until onion is very limp, 8 to 10 minutes. Add cumin and curry powder; stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1 1/2 cups broth and the squash; bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer until squash is tender when pierced, 18 to 20 minutes.

In a blender or food processor, holding down lid with a towel, puree squash mixture, in batches, until smooth. Add more broth if too thick. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Updated Note: I completely forgot to review this dish. It was super tasty. Full of a variety of textures and flavors. The tangy tomato sauce was offset by the velvety, slightly sweet coulis. The chewiness of the mushrooms paired well with the bite from the edamame and again the smooth coulis. This was a winner.