Archive for June 2011

Mammoth Lakes Pictures

June 25th, 2011 — 10:45am











What a fantastic vacation. I knew the trip to Mammoth Lakes, California to celebrate my friend Katy’s wedding was going to be a blast, but it exceeded my expectations in every way. Katy and Andrew’s wedding was perfect…so unique, so them. It was amazing to celebrate mountain-side in the place they call home. I especially loved the chairlift ride to the top of the mountain in between the ceremony and reception, Andrew’s heartfelt commentary during the slide show documenting their relationship, and great times on the dance floor. It was also amazing to spend such quality time with my closest friends from high school. As we get older and our time together becomes few and far between, the time we do have together is precious.

And then there was Mammoth Lakes—A sleepy mountain town that impressed me with it’s majestic beauty more and more each day. There was the night we lounged in the hot springs (nature’s hot tub) with glasses of wine while watching the sun set and trying to avoid being hit by a glider pilot who seemed to find great enjoyment in flying over us and coming a little too close for comfort. Or the afternoon we spent picnicking and hiking at Convict Lake, the most picturesque picnic spot I’ve ever experienced. Without a doubt, I’ll take away many great memories from my long weekend in Mammoth Lakes. Thanks for an amazing weekend, Katy and Andrew.

1 comment » | Vacation and Travel

Iron Chef Rhubarb Recipes

June 20th, 2011 — 4:14pm

june-2011-1261I wanted to share the two recipes I contributed to last month’s Iron Chef Rhubarb Dinner. I found both at within a collection of 42 rhubarb recipes. Needless to say, there were many options—but two in particular caught my eye. The first dish I chose was a rhubarb chutney, which I served atop white cheddar cheese and crusty bread. The flavors in the chutney were tangy and complex. The second recipe was for rhubarb galettes, which are sort of like small, self-contained rhubarb pies. The rhubarb and raspberry combination was an interesting twist, and the galette crust was light and flaky. I’ll be adding both options to my recipe collection.

Rhubarb Chutney (makes 1 1/2 cups)

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. finely grated peeled fresh ginger (from one 1-inch piece)
Coarse salt
1/3 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
1/3 cup golden raisins, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sugar
12 oz. rhubarb, trimmed and cut crosswise 1/4 inch thick

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic, ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and add wine and raisins. Return to heat, and bring to a boil; cook for 1 minute. Add sugar, and stir until it dissolves. Stir in half the rhubarb. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; simmer, partially covered, until rhubarb breaks down, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining rhubarb. Raise heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until second batch of rhubarb just begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Let cool completely. Sample the finished chutney, and adjust the flavor. If it’s too tart, add sugar. If it’s too sweet, add a little white-wine vinegar.


Pate Brisee, do not divide
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 1/2 lbs. trimmed rhubarb, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 5 cups)
8 oz. (about 1 1/2 cups) fresh raspberries
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups granulated sugar
Coarse sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Divide dough evenly into 8 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece to a 7-inch round, 1/8 inch thick. Transfer rounds to 2 large parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets, arranging several inches apart. (If rounds become too soft to handle, refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.)

In a large bowl, toss to combine rhubarb, raspberries, cornstarch, and granulated sugar.

Cover each round of dough with a heaping 1/2 cup rhubarb mixture, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold edges over rhubarb filling, leaving an opening in center; gently brush water between folds, and press gently so that folds adhere. Refrigerate or freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush edges of dough with water, and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until crusts are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees, and bake until juices bubble and start to run out from center of each galette, 15 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely before serving.

Comment » | Iron Chef Dinners, Kristin's Kitchen

Full Moon Paddle

June 19th, 2011 — 8:26am

What better way to enjoy the full moon than on a canoe in the middle of Lake Wingra? Last Thursday night I headed to Lake Wingra Boathouse for their “Full Moon Paddle,” apparently their most popular event, which is complete with candle lit docks, an array of desserts, and a cleverly assembled bonfire in the middle of the lake. The moon began to peek through the trees shortly after 9:30 p.m. and we watched in awe as the giant ball of orange rose into the sky. It was definitely a unique and memorable experience.

1 comment » | Madtown Lovin'

Evidence We’re Getting Older

June 16th, 2011 — 12:58pm

katy1This past weekend I was in Mammoth Lakes, California to celebrate my friend Katy’s wedding. I had an incredible time catching up with my closest friends from high school and exploring the great mountain town of Mammoth Lakes. More pictures and stories to come soon, but for now I wanted to share a picture we took over the weekend during which we attempted recreate a photograph from our high school graduation. It’s evidence that we’re getting older…but still having fun. I consider myself so lucky to have such a great group of friends from high school that I remain so close with. I don’t think that’s terribly common. Despite the fact that we’re literally spread out across the country—Chicago, Madison, Mammoth Lakes, Scottsdale, and Seattle—and that long periods of time often pass between our reunions, when we do get together, it’s like we never skipped a beat. These are my girls from way back. So much history. So many memories.


1 comment » | Vacation and Travel

Iron Chef Rhubarb

June 8th, 2011 — 8:55am

Last Friday night Matt and Julie hosted the Iron Chef dinner for the month of June. The ingredient was rhubarb and the resulting dinner was a surprising success. I suppose I feared for the worst—a table brimming only of desserts. But as it turns out, rhubarb has so much more to offer beyond the classic rhubarb crisp. There was quite a diverse spread—a baked ham with rhubarb sauce, rhubarb hummus served with pita bread, rhubarb chutney with sharp cheddar cheese and crusty bread, rhubarb wine, and some exceptional desserts. All in all, iron chef rhubarb was a hit. The flavors were complex, and many of the dishes you would never have guessed contained rhubarb. Even Matt, who admittedly doesn’t like rhubarb, seemed to enjoy the dishes. That in and of itself is iron chef success.

2 comments » | Iron Chef Dinners

Madison Marathon Race Report

June 6th, 2011 — 12:34pm

madisonmarathonDespite having completed last Sunday’s Madison Marathon, I’m not listed in the results as an official finisher. I had forgotten my race chip at home on race morning and and was unable to go back to retrieve it since I had conveniently locked myself out my apartment. Still, I held out hope for a replacement chip, but was told there were none available. Alas, I’m not an official finisher of the marathon. But I assure you, I did actually complete the race.

Things didn’t go smoothly leading up to the race. I was sick as a dog for a week beforehand. I contemplated not racing—it certainly seemed like the smart thing to do. But I was excited to run, and also felt a sense of duty having volunteered months in advance to lead the 3:40 pace group. That sense of responsibility became more evident as I lined up for the start. While holding a 3:40 pace sign, runners crowded around me to introduce themselves and pepper me with questions about the course and my experience as a pacer and marathon runner. I felt completely unworthy. I’d never before paced a marathon. I couldn’t even answer basic questions about the course. The pressure continued to mount as one woman let me know she was relying on me to get her to a Boston qualifying time. Gulp.

But I felt better knowing I had a co-pacer who could lead the charge if all else failed on my end. His name was Brad. Despite the fact that Brad had never run a 3:40 marathon, he seemed confident he could get the job done. We set our Garmins for an 8:23 per minute pace and were off. We also agreed to switch off holding the clunky 3:40 pace sign every mile. I couldn’t even bring myself to turn around and look at the big crowd of runners behind us—I knew it would only make me more nervous. But I could sense the group was large.madisonmarathon2

I really enjoyed being a pacer—conversing with the runners in my group, answering questions, and providing encouragement. I was proud and happy to pass along the knowledge and experience I had gained over several years of marathon running. I felt like I truly knew what it was like to be in their shoes. It was rewarding to return the favor that had so many times been given to me.

The morning was very humid and foggy, but luckily overcast. I felt good for the first half of the race, except I had trouble breathing out of my nose. Thus the frequent snot rockets (watch out!). My nutrition was notably light, but it worked—I alternated between Gatorade and water at each aid station and took down maybe three gels. My stomach was amazingly settled the whole race, which doesn’t happen often.

The big liming factor was my sore legs. They were dead shortly after the half. I’m not sure which was more to blame—eight hours in heels at a wedding the day before, or lingering soreness from the 50 mile train run I had completed two weeks beforehand. Either way, my legs were stiff, sore, and tired. It felt like I was trying to run after having just completed a two hour wall sit.

I could tell everyone around me was tired, too. We were slowing down—what had once been one minute in the bank had quickly eroded to twenty seconds. That’s also when my co-pacer started dropping back. I knew I needed to forge on, and that I was likely going to have to do it alone. If it weren’t for the pace group, I probably would have slowed down drastically. But I was prepared to do anything and everything to get my group to the finish line in three hours and forty minutes.

The rest of the race is a blur. I know I was in pain. I gritted my teeth and watched the pace on my Garmin obsessively. Our once powerful pace group had dwindled down to a handful of runners who were hanging on my a thread. It was motivating to finally see the capitol dome and know we were closing in on the finish.  Light rain began to fall during the last two miles. That’s when I felt my body begin to seize up with cramps (all too familiar from Ironman racing)—I quickly popped two salt tablets, slowed the pace a bit, and hoped I could hold on. Climbing the final hill to the capitol finish was pure torture. But I finished. The clock read 3:41. I was so relieved. A few runners came up afterward to thank me. Which of course meant the world to me. It was such a tough race, but I would volunteer again to be a pacer in a heartbeat.

3 comments » | Racing and Training

Back to top