Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cooking up trouble

Greetings from the Kenyan Runner’s Kitchen, where the newly discovered flavors of Italy blend with the goodness of Advil.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I postponed my intended inaugural Italian meal, Clam Risotto, and prepared instead Ragu Alla Napoletana – roughly translated: “Pot Roast in Tomato Sauce That Cost $68.53.”

Discovering the bait and switch, deeply disappointed friends challenged me on the sincerity of my impassioned case for eating all the clams we can (the “Clam Cram”) before the BP oil gush overtakes the harvest for the next 500 years.

To be honest, after my clam-soapbox, it was difficult to justify my switch to pot roast, and whip up that same impassioned political frenzy over beef. But it’s entirely possible that a cow could theoretically walk into the Gulf, maybe get sticky, and possibly reduce the herd. It’s a reach, I know. The truth is that I simply couldn’t find all the ingredients I needed for the Clam Risotto this evening, and I had a better chance with the Ragu tonight.

Of course, there was a LOT of ingredient-swapping going on. The recipe calls for “lardo.” I have no idea what “lardo” is. It’s not lard, because lard is called by name later in the recipe. It sounds like something that would cause a Wharton’s head to explode, but then again, eating beef would cause a Wharton’s head to explode. So we won’t tell beloved coaches about tonight, okay? In my own defense, I put great effort into making the Ragu Alla Napoletana as non-artery-clogging as I could. Red wine—even 3/4 of a cup in the recipe—is GOOD for the heart. Right?

Michael arrived home to a fragrant kitchen with pots bubbling and Bev halfway through the bottle of leftover red wine, belting out a Puccini aria. While another husband might have been delighted by this sudden passion for Italian cuisine (or any cuisine at all), Michael was instantly suspicious. Sigh. You think you know a man.

He’s still downstairs, ruminating over what just happened. Dare we tell him that Bev is deeply into the magazine La Cucina Italiana now and there’s no turning back? I think my serving clams tomorrow night might kill him.

Thursday’s run is going to have to be a long one with intervals (slow run with short bursts of fast pace). Gotta burn off some of this lardo. And this time, my darlings, we know EXACTLY what it means …

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