The Bars: An Epic Tale

By: Stephen Pierce May 22

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As we are all very well aware, bike racing is not an inexpensive habit. Between registration fees, license renewals, endless food, gas money, and of course the equipment arms race, there never seems to be an end in sight to the myriad expense. We shell out for items and experiences that come with a story, a history; consumables that speak of the knowledge and passion from which they’re borne. Personally, I put an incredible amount of value in the craft, the how-to, the process. The human heart at the core of the industry.

It’s with that admiration of craft & process in mind that I took up an interest early in this young season in making my own race food. It began simply enough during an early morning recovery ride with my coach/friend Josh. Between us were expressed loose ruminations of what a good, simple bar would consist of. Later that week, we both set to experimenting, and have since ended up each making a healthy handful of flavors. Those that I’ve brought to the table have been apricot/chia, strawberry/coconut, mango/peach, banana/walnut/currant, and the one that I’m going to share here, pear/ginger.

All you really need, in terms of kitchen appliances & supplies, are a food processor, a blender, some parchment or wax paper, and aluminum foil.

The ingredients are just as simple:

1.5 c dates, dried & pitted
1 c dried pear
1 c dried ginger, Australian style
1.5 c raw cashew

You may have a hard time finding dried pear at your local grocer. Thankfully, though, there are a number of online retailers that can supply you with a wide variety. I went for unsulfured, sugar-free Bartlett pears. As for the dried ginger, I struck out on finding any that was completely sugar-free. What you want is Australian-style ginger, which is readily available at Whole Foods and most natural food shops. The difference between Australian & conventional is that the Aussie iteration has more of a true ginger flavor & is much thicker, in comparison with the thin, candied stuff that you’ll find to be more common.

Of course, if you have a dehydrator, you’ll have a much greater degree of control in the whole process.

The procedure is ridiculously simple:

-Put all the ingredients into a food processor. If you should feel so inclined (read: if your processor is on the crappier end of the spectrum), you could pre-dice some of the bigger fruit bits.

-Run the processor until you seem to have a pretty good blend. You’re looking for all of the components to be roughly the same size, I.E. no giant bits of ginger.

-Scoop roughly 1/2c handfuls of the mix out of the processor, forming into bars onto a piece of parchment paper.

-Throw a handful of cashews and/or almonds (I went for AND) into your blender & run until it’s a fine powder.

-Coat the bars in powder on every side. This is to keep them from being too overly sticky; you won’t want them sticking to your tin foil & getting a mouthful of metal mid-race.

-Wrap each bar in tin foil. Maybe you’ll find a better way to do this than I have, and not struggle to get them open when you need to.

So that’s that, pretty simple stuff.


Low-Fat Penne a La Vodka

By: Evan Cooper Nov 25

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Try as we may, none of us can completely and truly lie to ourselves. Every time our sweet tooth beckons (and I’m as guilty of this as anyone), we can’t help but think what that white chocolate and macadamia nut cookie or that slice of pecan pie is going to do to our spandex-enrobed waistline. Like it or not, the credo “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” rings true with all of us, at least to some degree.

Of course, with the fall we’ve been having, it’s been easy to justify that extra slice of pizza with more sun-bathed rides than any of us could hope for in November. But as every seasoned New Englander knows, these things were not made to last. With daylight hours already fleeting and the temperature finally dipping to near-normal levels, we would all do well to brace ourselves for what lies ahead. I won’t break out the “w” word, but I think you get where I’m going with this.

Just because we can’t ride as much, though, doesn’t necessarily mean we can’t indulge. Life is hard enough when icy roads deprive me of my beloved, long off-season rides. Being told I need to stick to salad if I want to make race-weight by April is just more than I can handle. That’s like telling me I can’t have my cake or eat it either, and that’s just too much for one skinny dude to take. And so, rather than torture myself with trainer rides and steamed broccoli for days on end, waiting for the weather to break, I turn to the fake-out.

There are countless dishes that, rich in both calories and flavor, can be imitated so closely that you barely notice how much you’ve cut back on the former without sacrificing the later. My favorite happens to be a play on penne alla vodka. Loaded with fruity olive oil and sweet roasted peppers, onion, and tomatoes instead of a hefty dose of heavy cream, this sauce has served to fool my housemates many a time as I brought it to the dinner table, draped over whole-wheat penne or rigatoni. Even you will probably be fooled as you bring dinner to the table, thinking cream sauce all the way there. Not until you dig in will you realize that it is anything but. But at that point, you won’t care. You’ll be too busy indulging.

Penne with Roasted Pepper and Tomato Sauce
Serves 4 (recipe easily doubled)

1 box whole-wheat penne or rigatoni
1 pint cherry tomatoes (or 5 tomatoes, quartered)
1 onion, sliced
4-5 red and yellow bell peppers, sliced
5 cloves garlic, whole
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
3 tbsp olive oil

1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, peppers, garlic, salt, and olive oil. Mix well with a spoon or your hands to combine.
3. Turn out the veggies onto a foil-lined sheet pan and roast for about 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to blister, stirring half way through.
4. When the vegetables have 10 minutes to go, bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once it reaches a boil, add a healthy pinch of salt and the pasta. Cook according to package directions.
5. When the vegetables are done, remove them from the oven and scrape everything, including any drippings, into a blender or food processor. Sprinkle in the black pepper and red pepper flakes.
6. Puree on high until smooth, drizzling in olive oil to get the consistency and flavor you want. Adjust seasoning to taste.
7. Pour the sauce out into a large sauté pan or medium-pot and set over low heat to keep warm.
8. When the pasta is nearly done but still al dente, drain into a colander, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir to coat. If the sauce needs thinning out, add some of the pasta water and stir. Let the pasta finish in the sauce for 2 minutes, then remove to a serving dish.


Lamb Skewers (Kiwi Style)

By: Embrocation Team Oct 31

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Growing up in New Zealand it was not uncommon to eat lamb or mutton several times a week. As such, there are a myriad of ways I know of to prepare lamb for almost any occasion.

With the rugby World Cup victory in mind, here is a very Kiwi and delicious recipe to bring a taste of summer back to the chill of autumn.

For Skewers:
Lamb – cut into 1½-inch cubes
Onion – cut into skewerable chunks
Cherry tomatoes
Red or green bell peppers

Several cloves of garlic – crushed and chopped
1 kiwifruit – mashed
Salt and pepper
Splash of olive oil
Splash of red wine

Chop and skewer the veggies first. Heat up the grill.
Finally, add meat to marinade. Make sure you keep an eye on the clock – it’s very easy to turn the meat into mush. Marinate for 7-10mins – a little more if you have a tough cut like a shank, but anything longer than 15mins will pretty much turn any piece into a paste.
Skewer meat.

Submitted by Linnea Koons Morrison


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