Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday run, and more kitchen fun

After Saturday's 11 miler, I took a nice easy 5 miler Sunday morning.

A gorgeous day to start. It was blissfully cool with temps in the low 60's and relatively low humidity. Quite a change from most of this week. There was some wind, but it wasn't quite as wild as it got later in the day. Good running weather, though. Were it not for the fact that my insoles were still kind of waterlogged from yesterday's run in the rain, it would have been perfect! :)

I saw five bunnies for a perfect 1.0 BPM (three were babies, so cute!). The meadow along the edge of the pond was teeming with sedge wrens, goldfinches, and eastern kingbirds. The wooded thickets were filled with cardinals and gray catbirds. What a nice morning to be outside.

The rest of the day was spent in the kitchen. You might recall me gushing about the "Urban Italian" cookbook by Andrew Carmellini a few months ago. Today I made another recipe from the book (well, kind of); I cooked up his lamb ragu.

Lamb ragu over fusilli; Urban Italian style!

The recipe in the book called for the use of canned cherry tomatoes if you can get them, but to just use regular tomatoes if you can't. I have never seen canned cherry tomatoes. I did have a pint of cherry tomatoes, as well as some leftover baby heirloom tomatoes from yesterday's pizza, so I made my own sauce out of them. The tomatoes were halved, tossed with garlic, olive oil, fresh basil and thyme, salt and pepper, and roasted in a hot oven for 15 minutes. I passed the tomatoes through a sieve and made a deliciously sweet roasted cherry tomato sauce. (Basically what I am saying is that I used this as a labor intensive substitute for canned cherry tomatoes!)

The rest of the recipe was a lot like a classic ragu; meat (lamb, and I also threw in a little pancetta and pork), carrots, celery, onion, garlic, fennel bulb (my addition), crushed red pepper, tomato paste, red wine, stock, my cherry tomato sauce, and assorted fresh herbs.

Carmellini makes a really clever addition that I never would have thought of in an Italian ragu. He adds scant amounts of ground coriander and cumin (both ingredients I use when I make chili). The coriander has a wonderful perfume. And the cumin (..."only enough to enhance the meat, not enough to really taste," says the author) added an earthy warmth to the overall dish and works exceptionally well with the lamb.

This recipe was fantastic. So rich and flavorful. And I would definitely go through the trouble of making the roasted cherry tomato sauce again. Viva Italia!

Until next time,

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