Monday, February 22, 2010

Norwegian sporting influence, and weekend cooking

The Vancouver Olympics have been fantastic to watch. On Sunday, I caught men's 15k biathlon - a peculiar sport that, in part, traces its roots back to an 1800's military training exercise for Norwegian soldiers and involves a curious mix of cross country skiing and gunplay. (Speaking as a person of Norse ancestry, you are right to be wary of things devised by the Norwegians - after all, we are the ones who gave you lutefisk!) The winner covered the 15k in 35:35 while stopping four times to shoot out five small targets at 50 meters. And he had zero misses. Wow!

I am not a skier, and I joked to some of my friends that I wondered if there was any sort of running/marksmanship equivalent. After some quick research, it turns out there is! There are variants to the sport, some involving archery, and another called a "primitive biathlon" involving...snowshoes and muzzleloaders?!? Good grief. But they actually do have summer biathlons where a cross country run takes place instead of the skiing.

As a runner, and a person who finished 2nd in the marksmanship portion of his MN Department of Natural Resources firearms safety training class back in the 5th grade (I lost to a girl), this sounds like fun to me. There are a couple of problems, though. One, there aren't many of these summer biathlons around here in the US (most appear to be out east, and they are few and far between). And two, I have nowhere to train for such an event. Running around my neighborhood with a biathlon rifle strapped to my back would certainly raise eyebrows and potentially land me an appearance on "COPS" as the perpetrator du jour getting tasered by the local PD.

In any case, I love the idea that this sport exists. It is still no Snøkåathlaan, but then again, what is?

As Sunday was a day off from running, in addition to watching sports, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. Here is the rundown:

-I baked cookies. I found a recipe at the Running Foodie's blog for "Peanut Butter Volt Cookies" - peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, peanuts, and coffee, which sounded incredibly interesting. And they were! A delicious, chewy cookie, and the flavors worked very well together. The only deviation from the recipe was the use of dark chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate chips, because that is how I roll. I brought a bunch of them to the office today to share with my coworkers and they were gone before lunchtime. A new cookie for my repertoire. Great stuff!

Peanut butter cookies with a blast of caffeine!



-I found a really nice chuck roast at the meat market, so I made a beef stew with Zinfandel. I love stew this time of year! Herbage included fresh rosemary, thyme, and parsley, along with a few bay leaves and some dried herbes de Provence. There were lots of carrots, onions, mushrooms, and garlic, with a rich braising liquid consisting of Zinfandel, beef stock, and tomato paste. Served with pureed root vegetables (rutabaga, turnip, Yukon gold potato, and carrots), I had myself a mighty fine Sunday dinner.

Stew is good food



-I also broke out the spice grinder and made my own homemade curry powder. But I will save those details for when I actually use it in a dish! :)

Until next time,

Jean
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