Archive for November 2010

Cranberry Iron Chef Recipes

November 23rd, 2010 — 5:51pm

I wasn’t kidding when I said I made three dishes for last week’s Iron Chef Cranberry Dinner. I couldn’t pick just one…or two. So I made an appetizer, side dish, and dessert. All with cranberries. As promised, following are pictures and recipes (hyper linked) for each. I’d make each one of these recipes again without hesitation. If you’re interested in recipes from any of the other dishes I mentioned yesterday, just let me know and I’ll see what I can round up.

Cranberry, Crab Meat and Cream Cheese Appetizers


Cranberry Cous Cous Salad


Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake


Comment » | Iron Chef Dinners, Kristin's Kitchen

Pumpkin Pancakes

November 23rd, 2010 — 5:06pm

pumpkinIt is with infinite sadness that I celebrate the fleeting pumpkin season and prepare to move on to a new lineup of seasonably appropriate ingredients. But not so fast… before I break out the gingerbread, peppermint, and eggnog, I want to share one final pumpkin recipe. This is my new favorite. Pumpkin Pancakes. The best I’ve ever tasted. Fluffy, slightly-sweet, and with a touch of ginger. Like pumpkin pie…but better. This recipe is destined to be a classic. And perfect for the upcoming holiday weekend. Raise your coffee cup high. Until next year, pumpkin. Enjoy!

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons vinegar

1. Mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt; stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.
2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Comment » | Kristin's Kitchen

Iron Chef Dinner: Cranberry

November 22nd, 2010 — 7:34pm

irondinnerLast night Lauren and Brodie hosted the November Iron Chef dinner. The theme ingredient was cranberry. It was an impressive spread—almost like an early Thanksgiving feast. I thought I’d have trouble finding cranberry recipes outside of the dessert category, but I actually found an overwhelming number of options. My biggest problem was trying to pick just one (or three). I think our most creative dish was Ryan and Jill’s Cranberry-Crab Rangoon. But everything was delicious. Following is a list of contributed items/dishes:

Wollersheim Cranberry Blush Wine
Door County Cranberry Wine
Cranberry, Crab Meat, and Cream Cheese Appetizers
Spinach Salad with Cranberries, Cucumbers, Red Onions, & Sunflower Seeds
Cranberry Cous Cous Salad
Cranberry Sangria Dressing
Grilled Turkey with Cranberry Relish
Cranberry-Crab Rangoon
Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake
Cranberry Coffeecake

I’ll share pictures and recipes of the dishes I contributed in a future post…

1 comment » | Iron Chef Dinners

Car Free by Tatsuro Kiuchi

November 18th, 2010 — 12:12pm

tis-tatsuro-kiuchi-mediumI love this print by Japanese artist Tatsuro Kiuchi. Its title is Car-Free/A Proud Pedestrian’s Rambling Musings. My brother sent me a link to the print a while back. I love the clever subject, composition, and muted colors. But more than anything, it reminds me of a particular stretch of road on the Greek Lake loop that I frequently bike during the summer months.

Seems like the perfect holiday gift for a cyclist. I think I might pick up a copy for myself—I always appreciate my own thoughtfulness.

Comment » | Crafts & Design

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

November 18th, 2010 — 11:58am

phpbsm3a5pmPumpkin Turkey Chili is one of two dishes I brought to last month’s Iron Chef Dinner (pumpkin edition). I brought a crock-pot full and it proved to be a popular item, as my crock-pot was quickly wiped clean. Now pumpkin isn’t an ingredient typically associated with chili—I have to admit, at first I was skeptical (I found the recipe on But this is some tasty chili with a unique twist. I’ve already made a second batch.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 dash salt
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and saute the onion, green bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, and garlic until tender. Stir in the turkey, and cook until evenly brown. Drain, and mix in tomatoes and pumpkin. Season with chili powder, pepper, and salt. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes. Serve topped with Cheddar cheese and sour cream.

3 comments » | Kristin's Kitchen

Girl Talk’s Latest Release

November 17th, 2010 — 11:54am

allday_frontcoverMonday’s release of Girl Talk‘s latest album, ‘All Day’ has been all the rage on social media sites this week. I was surprised and thrilled to hear about the new album, and even more excited to learn about its release as a free download!

Greg Gillis is the mastermind behind Girl Talk. He’s a DJ who specializes in mashup-style remixes and digital sampling. Gillis takes excerpts from dozens of popular songs and mixes them to create a new track. A single track from Girl Talk might include samples from artists as diverse as Beyonce, Queen, Beastie Boys, Phil Collins, The Police, The Cure, Paula Cole, Wu-Tang Clang, 50 Cent, Outcast, Vanilla Ice, and Jackson 5. As a result of Gillis’ talented and unique re-mixing skills, these divergent tracks come together as seamless and mesmerizing music that just makes you want to get up and move your body.

And that I do. Girl Talk’s last album, “Feed the Animals,” is among my favorites. It’s great dance music, and I especially love listening to it during intense running and spinning workouts. Nothing gets my legs moving quite like some Girl Talk.

Madisonians will be pleased to know that Girl Talk is actually coming to Madison in early March. I’m hoping I can convince some friends to join me for what is surely to be the ultimate dance party.

You can download the new album for free here. I’ve listened to about half the tracks so far. And I can tell you they’re great. If you’re looking for great dance party music or upbeat workout tunes, this is your mix.

6 comments » | Books, Film, and Music

The Making of a Great Run

November 16th, 2010 — 1:07pm

text-messageLast night via text messaging…

Brodie to me: Running in the AM?
Me to Krista: Run tomorrow?
Krista to me: Yes!
Me to Brodie: Yep, meeting Krista. Leave my place at 5:45, or you can meet us at Machinery Row at 6.
Me to Krista: Cool! Brodie may join us.
Brodie to me: Sweet!
Krista to me: Awesome. See you at 6!

1 comment » | Racing and Training

Madison’s Newest Restaurants

November 12th, 2010 — 7:45am

phpvewwvepmSeveral exciting new restaurants have opened in Madison over the past few months—L’Etoile, Graze, 43 North, Nostrano, and the Underground Kitchen, just to name a few. I’ve been lucky enough to get to L’Etoile, Nostrano, and the Underground Kitchen so far. They’re similar in their focus on local and seasonal ingredients. But each have a distinct flavor and vibe. Here’s my take.

I had dinner at L’Etoile in August with my parents. L’Etoile certainly isn’t new to Madison—in fact, it’s been a Madison fixture since 1976. The French restaurant has racked up countless accolades, including being listed among Gourmet Magazine’s “America’s Top 50 Restaurants.” For the past five years, current owners Chef Tory Miller and sister Traci have continued to raise the bar. Their most ambitious move yet was relocating the restaurant to a new space in the US Bank building, and launching the accompanying gastropub, Graze.

Every visit to L’Etoile requires a special occasion. Ours was to celebrate my birthday. I was excited to experience the new L’Etoile just weeks after its relocation. The space is visually stunning—floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the capitol, a large and central bar, and an elevated dining area placing one table of diners on a pedestal—a stage of sorts. Sadly, our dining experience didn’t begin as impressively. Although our menus included personalized text welcoming my family, the gesture was somewhat muted by the misspelling of our last name. And then there was a cork debacle, with our server proceeding to pour and offer my dad a glass of wine littered with shards of cork. But things improved greatly from there. The menu featured the best of late summer’s bounty. We opted for the four-course tasting menu. Each course was perfectly executed. I can’t remember the specifics of what I ate that night, but the flavors and creativity were mind-blowing. I’d gladly celebrate any special occasion over dinner at L’Etoile.

I had dinner at Nostrano more recently. A friend of mine took me there to celebrate my new job. She insisted that I do it up right—wine, dessert, the whole deal. And so I did. Nostrano is a homegrown Italian restaurant recently opened by Tim and Elizabeth Dahl in a downtown corner building previously occupied by Peppino’s. All of the reviews I’d read about Nostrano raved about its desserts. Apparently both Dahls most recently served as pastry chefs at two of Chicago’s trendiest eateries. And you know how much I love my desserts.

The space is clean and minimalistic, with a flair for reclaimed pieces such as the ceiling tile shelves and wine bottle chandelier near the bar. Definitely an improvement from Peppino’s outdated wallpaper and overgrown window plants. I found the seasonal menu to be somewhat intimidating. There were just a handful of starters and entrees to chose from with names I could barely decipher. Perhaps this is where my foodie ignorance comes to light. But luckily our server was gracious and patient, and provided detailed descriptions of each item. We ordered the Delicata Squash Cannelloni and the Braised Beef Shortribs. For dessert, I picked the Crema, which featured milk chocolate cream, pumpkin sponge, olive oil gelato, and sherry. The meal and service were fantastic. You would never have guessed the restaurant opened its doors so recently and that it’s the owners’ first.

And finally, I dined at the Underground Kitchen with my brother and his girlfriend when they were in town a few weeks ago from San Francisco. The restaurant opened on a Tuesday and we had dinner there that Thursday. Perhaps opening jitters can be attributed to the fact that our hostess misfired and spilled her entire pitcher of water on me and our table (and then looked up frantically, whispering, I’m going to be in trouble). Although it didn’t make for the greatest first impression, luckily it wasn’t the impression we left with.

The Underground Kitchen, which opened in the space formerly occupied by Cafe Montmartre, is a spin-off of the highly regarded Underground Food Collective, a local force of culinary mavericks who promote creative and sustainable foods. Similar to Nostrano, the restaurant decor is minimalistic—white walls, maple floors, and small mason jars with tea candles on every table. The only signage is a small neon red light in the front window that simply reads “kitchen.” Much of the seating is communal with old, rickety church basement chairs rounding out the minimalist effect. The restaurant definitely reminded me of some of the trendier places I’ve dined at in Chicago.

Much like Nostrano, there are only a handful of seasonal items on the menu at a time (mostly small plates), and the menu changes constantly. We ordered the sourdough bread basket with sea salt butter, the meat board, and ricotta gnocci. The food was really good. I was impressed with the variety of the meat board. I also really enjoyed the sea salt butter that accompanied the fresh bread. My brother was obsessed with the gnocchi. And he and his girlfriend agreed that a similiar dining experince in San Francisco would easily be three or four times the price.

Comment » | Madtown Lovin', Restaurant Reviews

Race Across the Sky 2010

November 11th, 2010 — 8:40am

I saw the film Race Across the Sky 2010 with my friends Lauren and Brodie on Tuesday night at Point Cinema in Madison. It was an encore showing of the live event at the Paramount Theater in Denver on November 4. The film is about the Leadville 100 mountain bike race – the legendary one-day cycling event that takes place in the Colorado Rockies. The film features the sport’s most elite athletes and many others whose only hope is to finish – detailing their personal stories, struggles, and triumphs. A panel of key participants, including this year’s champions Levi Leipheimer and Rebecca Rusch, was featured both before and after the film.

It was definitely an inspiring film that got me revved up and ready to race again. Although the film focuses on the mountain bike race, the series of Leadville events actually began with the Leadville Trail 100 ultramarathon in 1983. It wasn’t until 1994 that the mountain bike race was added. My brother talks about Leadville 100 as one of the toughest in the ultramarathon circuit. Seeing the film made me want to run the race. But the Leadville ultramarathon tales place in August – certainly not ideal timing if I hope to make it to the starting line of Ironman Hawaii next October. So not this year. But maybe someday.

But I want to run 100. This, I know. My plan is to enter the lottery for next year’s Western States 100. The race takes place in June in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California (you may remember that I crewed for my brother at this year’s race). Applications for the lottery are available beginning this Saturday. I qualified to enter the lottery with my time from the Ice Age 50 in May. I think it’s unlikely I’ll get in from the lottery this year (it took my brother several attempts), but I’m going to try. And if it doesn’t work out this time, I’ll keep trying. I have a dream.

4 comments » | Racing and Training

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

November 9th, 2010 — 7:24am

phpgzww0ipmOver the weekend I attended a chili party at my friends Beth and Adam’s house. I wanted to bring a dessert, and since I’m still on a bit of a pumpkin kick, I decided to whip up Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream-Cheese Filling.

The recipe I used is from Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, authors of the cookbook Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. The process seems slightly daunting at first glace, but it was actually relatively easy. And well worth the effort. The resulting whoopie pies were impressive in every way. The mix of spices give the cake-like cookies great flavor intensity. And the cream-cheese filling is rich and creamy. They were a big hit at the party. I’m excited to explore other varieties of whoopie pies – chocolate, red velvet…the possibilities are endless.

For the pumpkin whoopie cookies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cloves
2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the cream-cheese filling:
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.
3. Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Transfer to oven and bake until cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cookie comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pan.
4. Make the filling: Sift confectioner’ sugar into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, beat just until smooth. (Filling can be made up to a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate; let stand at room temperature to soften before using.)
5. Assemble the whoopie pies: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Transfer filling to a disposable pastry bag and snip the end. When cookies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of filling on the flat side of half of the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edge of the cookies. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate cookies at least 30 minutes before serving and up to 3 days.

1 comment » | Kristin's Kitchen, Recipes from the Cookbook "Baked: New Frontiers in Baking"

Back to top