Monday, December 15, 2008

Ice, Ice, Baby

It officially looks like winter. Saturday morning clouds over Rice Lake.

An interesting weekend, weather-wise.

Saturday morning was blissfully mild, around 30 degrees with some cloud cover. It was extremely comfortable for running, and I did 11 miles.

Really, Saturday was a gorgeous day in December. I was treated to a small sliver of a sunrise, saw a pair of eagles, and also a red-tailed hawk. All of the chickadees and cardinals were very active at various spots along the trail, no doubt appreciating the mild weather.

The sun trying very hard to peek through on Saturday morning

Sunday was really interesting, however; low 30's and...freezing rain! Ick. For the most part, the trails were just wet. However, the areas that were slushy (or, on roads that the city didn't bother to plow since our last snow for whatever reason) became somewhat icy and I needed to watch my footing. I did 7 miles in that stuff, and it was cold.

It is very strange, but running on a crisp 0 degree day is greatly preferable to running in low 30's and rain. Being cold is fine. Being cold and wet absolutely sucks. Brrr, that is chilly!

And speaking of chilly, the temperature dropped rapidly on Sunday. Northern Minnesota had blizzard conditions, and we only got perhaps an inch of snow in my neighborhood. The temperature on Monday morning was -7 degrees on my drive to work. That is actual air temperature, by the way. Couple that with a strong NW wind and the wind chill is in the -30 below zero range. Again, I keep telling myself it is not even officially winter yet! :)

My cooking highlight from the weekend was a roasted venison loin with rosemary and mustard, along with a side dish of gratin Dauphinoise.

My brother had given me a beautiful venison loin (perhaps a pound or so). I coated it with fresh rosemary, whole grain mustard, and a little bit of garlic, seared it, and finished it in the oven. I made a pan sauce with red wine, butter, and some extra mustard. I like rare meat, and I kept the it quite rare because I did not want to overcook and destroy this beautiful cut of meat (hell, it was so clean and perfect you could have made carpaccio out of it!). Delicious, marvelously tender, and a true carnivore's treat.

A delicious venison loin with gratin Dauphinoise

The side dish was gratin Dauphinoise, a classic French scalloped potato dish. This is beautiful in its simplicity; sliced Yukon gold potatoes, garlic, cream, milk, Gruyère cheese, salt, pepper, and a scant grating of nutmeg; that is it. Baked for about an hour in the oven, the Gruyère cheese on top becomes a gorgeous dark brown color, and the layered potatoes become creamy and soft. Awesome, and almost better the next day as a cold snack, even! :)

Oh, the company bowling outing from Friday? This just in: I am not good at bowling.

My first frame consisted of two gutter balls. I soon discovered that I was not following through, so I managed to dial it in a little better. I bowled a 135 by my third game.

However, there were some ringers in the group.

Note: always beware of the people who bring their own bowling ball. These guys are almost always good. There were people around me putting up some pretty good scores, as well as some guys who could actually put a wicked spin of the ball. I heard the high score was a 205 posted by our intern who is this tiny little high school kid!

Clearly, I was out of my league. However, I felt comfortable in the fact that if a spontaneous half marathon broke out at my company party, I would be able to hold my own. :)

Until next time,

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