Thursday, March 25, 2010

To wake up early

We are on the water again. Twice now actually.

I haven’t decided how I feel about it. On one hand I’m reluctant to lose my morning workout from winter training, not to mention that hour of sleep that we lose due to a practice time of 5:20AM. On the other hand, it’s nice to be back on the water. Really nice.
I like to wake up early and get a jump on the day and early practice forces me to do just that. Although, if you ask me at 4:45AM, when my alarm rudely chimes with no regard for my desire to stay in bed, I would surely disagree. At 4:45AM, as I trudge to the bathroom to brush my teeth, back to my room to put on every layer of clothing in my closet, and sleepily gather my car keys to make the twenty-five minute drive; I would not remember why I like to wake up early. I would not remember the brisk morning air; the smooth, steady clicks of the oarlock; and the rhythm of the slide alternating with the quiet splash of the catch. I would not remember the way the water sounds sliding under the keel between parallel puddles; the way the rudder strings slip through my hands, as they guide the shell away from the dock; or the colors of the sunrise over the river.
No, at 4:45AM the only thing I would be thinking about is the nap that I would like to take after breakfast. Of course, by the time breakfast is over, it would be four hours later; and I would be wide awake contemplating, not how long to nap but instead, what to pack for lunch.
Whole Wheat Farfalle with Spring Vegetables and Quark
During busy weeks I’ve taken to grilling a pound or more of chicken breasts on a Sunday when Colin starts the grill. I can eat it all week and it puts my mind at ease knowing that all I have to do is add a pile of vegetables – lately I like them just lightly steamed. I know that sounds boring but with a few little tweaks I can have a different meal each day. I encourage you to seek out quark, not just for this recipe but in general. I’ve spoken of it before but this is the first time I actually bought it. Let me just say, wow. It’s so beyond delicious and can be eaten a number of different ways. So far, my favorite is spread on top of a few juicy strawberries for an afternoon snack.If you can’t find quark you could substitute ricotta but it won’t have that same creamy, tartness to it. In fact I think a 2% greek yogurt might be a closer replacement. Serves 2.

4oz. Whole Wheat Farfalle
1 cup frozen green peas
1 small zucchini
~15 asparagus spears
2oz. quark
6-8oz. grilled chicken breast (see recipe below)
1/4-1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese or parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking break the tough ends of the asparagus spears and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Place in a steamer pot.
Slice zucchini into half inch thick rounds then cut the rounds into quarters and add to steamer. Add peas and steam, covered until just tender (I just take the edge off and leave them pretty crisp).

Chop chicken breast into 1/2 inch pieces, set aside.

When the pasta is done drain and pour into a large bowl. Mix in quark and romano cheese. Top with vegetables and chicken and serve.

Grilled Chicken Breast
I left out the measurements because you can make as more or as little as you want.
Usually the breasts I buy are about 1/2 each so I slice them in half and end up with 40z. chicken cutlets.

All-natural organic chicken breasts
Balsamic Vinegar
Dijon Mustard
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Prepare propane or charcoal grill.

In medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, and olive oil on a 1:1:1 ratio. Mix enough to generously coat chicken and reserve extra dressing if you have any. I never end up making enough so I just mix up more as I go. Sprinkle chicken with generously with salt and pepper, pour extra dressing over chicken and let marinate a few minutes.

Grill a few minutes in each side until cooked through. Store leftovers in the fridge to be eaten all week.


  1. Your second paragraph just made me long to be on the water. You captured my favorite part of crew flawlessly :)

  2. I agree, the second paragraph was really beautiful writing (hopefully that doesn't sound pretentious or corny) reminds me of why I love swimming early in the mornings during the summer.

    I love the fresh, but tasty combo of pasta, vegetables and chicken - I'm sure the wheat pasta really gives it a nutty bite. Yummmmm.

  3. Thanks guys!

    Sara - I completely agree, I love to swim in the morning when I first get to work (as a lifeguard)


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