Dateline: Sunday: One of the best Triathlons in the country takes place this time every year, and just so happens to run (literally) right past the Hollenberg Hacienda. It's a chance for us to spend time outside in the St. Pete sunshine, cheer on the racers, and enjoy some bagels, coffee, the occasional mimosa or two with friends and neighbors in our yard. For years, I've had the itch to train to be on the other side of the fence (again, literally -- my house has a white picket fence around it), and compete. Well, my body hasn't been able to cash the checks my heart and/or head care to write (see also: 2 degenerative discs; double inguinal hernia) recently, as it did a decade or so ago, when I ran the NYC Marathon twice. But, my discovery of yoga and one hernia surgery later has me thinking swim/bike/run again, albeit not on the other side of my fence.
Instead, on the suggestion from a good buddy of mine, Rob Dickinson (calling him out by name so he'll feel guiltier if he dropped out), we've tentatively decided to train for an August "sprint" triathlon -- 1/4 mile swim, 10 mile bike, 3.1 mile run -- at nearby Ft. DeSoto Park.
There, I said it. I remember once in an interview with Emmitt Smith, he told me he was taught to always write down his dreams, because it was only then that they became goals. Didn't turn out too bad for him.
May the force be with me...
The other big interesting thing in my life as HOD: I happened upon an opportunity to put some of my recipe-mongering to good use, and dovetail it with my TV career. Turns out a smart lady named Bernie Day has created an online reality series, "Home Cooking Star," celebrating just that, home cooks. No formal training allowed! Think "American Idol" (you go, Danny Gokey!)meets "Top Chef" (Fabio was my man!). LOVE IT! As it turns out, instead of using this blog to solicit voters to support my entry and become the inaugural Home Cooking Star, as I originally thought, I may be the face of the show! Discussions are taking place; nothing more just yet. But regardless, I applaud Ms. Day for recognizing the increasing viability for internet and TV to meld into one. More and more, the on-camera work I am contracted to do is steering toward three letters (WWW) than two (TV).... Stay tuned, and you can check it out more at www.homecookingstar.com ...
Season one focuses on the best BBQ recipes, but still, an ample segue ...
TEMPT 'EM WITH TEXTURE
I like meals with varied flavor profiles, but also complimentary textures. This pasta dish uses a couple of basics along with a couple of pleasant surprises, the outcome being sweet, salty, and sensational. Thanks to Real Simple for this one...
- Cook 1 box Rigatoni (texture!) while toasting 1/4c pine nuts (texture! toasty!) until golden brown (I always use my toaster oven, not a conventional one).
- Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a saucepan. Saute 4 (sliced/chopped) garlic cloves until golden.
- Add 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes (sweet!), 1/3c golden raisins (sweet!), 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper. Simmer until slightly thickened (approx. 10 minutes).
- Stir in 2 tbsp. capers (salty!).
- Toss pasta with tomato mixture and stir in pine nuts.
Once again (like a previous pasta dish I've listed) -- no sauce, but still sweet and flavorful.
Now here's one more that's one the more traditional side, but definitely one the kids should especially love...
BAKED SPAGHETTI PIE
- Cook 1/2 lb. spaghetti. Preheat oven to 350.
- Mix 2 beaten eggs, 1 (15 oz.) container ricotta (I always use part skim), & 3/4 c grated parmesan cheese.
- Add pasta to mixture and pour into a greased 9" pie plate.
- Top with 1 c marinara sauce. Layer on 3/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese & 2 extra tbsp. parmesan (Editor's note: I always prefer MORE cheese than any recipe ever calls for; that's always factored in to what you'll read here)
- Bake for 25 minutes; let stand for 10 more, for easier serving.
Before I go, a shout out to my Internet Nanie: she tried my Tilapia recipe I posted, and she and Papa Harry loved it... woo hoo! A first for the HOD blog!