Saturday, November 29, 2014

Root Vegetable Fries

I've been away from CrossFit Edina for five weeks longest absence since I started there in 2009. I started physical therapy last week to start improving my range of motion. For the first four weeks after rotator cuff surgery, I had zero range of motion with my right arm. Now I can raise my hand over head....and even put on a belt by myself!

So I'm headed back to CrossFit on Monday. It will be slow going and I will be concentrating on lower body workouts. The range of motion therapy sessions end December 30th and then I start strength building in January.

Between my daily walks and CrossFit, I typically burn 400 to 800 calories a day. In the last five weeks, none of that happened. My clothes are a little snugger, so it's time to pay the piper. Back to a strict Paleo diet until I get a few extra pounds burned off. I'm a fan of fries, so I'd like to share this Food Network recipe for root vegetable fries.

1 pound carrots, cut into fries
1 pound parsnips, cut into fries
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
2 egg whites, beaten
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 400º.
  2. Toss fries with oil, salt and lemon-pepper. Add the egg whites and toss again. Add the breadcrumbs and toss again.
  3. Spread fries out on two baking sheets and place in oven. After 20 minutes, stir fries. Bake for 15 minutes more, then serve.

Wine pairing: Merlot

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Baked Hasselback Potatoes

In the 1940's, the famous Hasselbacken Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden introduced a new side dish called hasselbackspotatis. It was a new take on the baked potato. In their simplest form, they are just whole potatoes cut in such a way to resemble a fan or accordion when roasted. The outside of the potato becomes a wondrous, crispy brown while the insides remain creamy soft.

The trick to the prep is actually quite simple. You simply set a pair of wooden spoons or chopsticks  on either side of the potato when you cut it. This ensures that your cuts will not go all of the way through, leaving the potato intact. Some recipes call for slightly shaving the bottom before you make the "fan" cuts so that the potato will lay flat. I forego that step by selecting potatoes at the store that are stable on a flat surface.

There are a million ways to finish them off. You can crown them with a half a piece of bacon, like the photo up above. A dollop of sour cream with some chives will work, too. But my favorite finish is a simple blend of extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, rosemary, lemon zest and sea salt.

4 medium russet potatoes, washed
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon rosemary leaves, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish
1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
Sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 450º. Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil or parchment paper.
  2. Place a potato on a work surface with the cut side down. Place wooden spoons or chopsticks on either side of the potato to keep your knife from slicing through. With a sharp knife, cut thin vertical slices from the top until your knife is stopped by the spoons/chopsticks.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, rosemary, lemon zest and garlic. Place the potatoes on the baking sheet and brush them all over with the infused oil.
  4. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove from the oven and brush all over with the olive oil mixture, separating the slices slightly with a knife to get some of the mixture between the slices.
  5. Put potatoes back in oven and bake for another 30 minutes. 
  6. Remove from oven. Sprinkle the potatoes with chopped rosemary and sea salt, then serve.

Wine pairing: Pinot Noir

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Veal Piccata

Three weeks ago I underwent surgery for a rotator cuff tear. I am here to tell you that the cure is worse than the injury. My shoulder hurts all of the time and I have very limited use of my right arm. I wear workout clothes all of the time because I cannot put on a belt. I can't lift anything over 8 ounces with my right arm. But there is light at the end of the tunnel....I start physical therapy this week. They tell me that will wrap up by next March. Be still my heart.

After surgery, they put me on a pain relief regimen of morphine and oxycodone. I am here to tell you that the pills are worse than the surgery pain.  I was in an absolute fog and could not function with those meds in my body. I quit the drugs after two days and just decided to suck up the pain as a small price to pay for having a clear head.

During my recovery, cooking has been a challenge as I basically have to do everything with my left hand. Can't do pasta as I can't lift the pot. Can't use my slow cooker as I can't lift it off the shelf. So I've become expert at one-handed meals. This Williams Sonoma recipe for Veal Piccata is one of my very favorite one-handed meals. All you need is a pan and a spatula and one good hand.

You can easily substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe. But I really like the delicate, nuanced flavor of veal for this dish. Veal makes the dish extra special...this could easily be a special occasion dinner for company. And better yet, it takes less than 10 minutes to make. This recipe serves four and I like to serve it with steamed green beans, which I make in the microwave oven using my left hand.

8 veal scallops, about 1 1/2 lb. total, pounded about 1/4 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or chervil


  1. Cook the veal: Season the veal with salt and pepper. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter. Add half of the veal and cook, turning once, until browned, about 2 minutes total. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter and the remaining veal. Be careful not to overcook. 
  2. Make the sauce: Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the pan and melt over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth and wine and cook, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom, until the sauce is reduced by about one-fourth, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the capers and simmer for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and add the parsley. Return the veal and any juices to the pan and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Divide the veal among individual plates, spoon the sauce over it and serve immediately. 

Wine pairing: A nice California Merlot, poured with your left hand.