Friday, June 5, 2015

Gazpacho-Style Pasta

It's been a glorious (almost) summer week. I've been embracing my summer jive. Lots of bike rides, reading, and writing. Amongst some cooking and cleaning. I've been choosing slow and restful over harried and hurried. I decided to not make bread on Thursday, but to read and write and rest instead. On my screened in porch. It's lovely. The light breezes. The birds chirping. The sunshine.

We got some news this week that bummed me out. Our triathlon group that we've trained with the past two summers is disbanding. Such a bummer!

While we've only trained with them for 2 summers, the group has actually been going for close to 20 years. The hosts decided it was time for them to move on to other things, and to free up their Friday evenings. I am very disappointed. The group was so very encouraging. Everything I know about triathlons I learned from them.

How to pedal (pull up, not push down. It's loads faster! Who knew?). How to draft properly. How to transition. The advantages of wet suits.

The thing is, I was the SLOW man on the totem pole. I could hold my own in the swim, and my runs were pretty good too. But, the cycling? Everyone was way faster than me. Way faster. Yet, someone always stuck with me. They encouraged me, and gave me tips, and pushed me (not literally). Which was a sacrifice for them. I recognize that. And appreciate it.

The group was so friendly. There was a potluck after the training. We'd eat, and laugh, and compare stories of life and training. It was great. There were elite athletes in our group. The ones who consistently win the events in our area. Yet, I never felt like they treated me as a less than. They welcomed us with open arms. 

Well, seasons, you know?! We are still going to do tri practice a couple Friday nights a month. We are just going to do them a bit closer to home. There is a park near here where we can get in some open water swims, plus they have a great network of trails where we can run and bike. 

Hey, we might even get our own group started!

Different line of thought, but same subject...I bought a wet suit on Saturday. I wasn't going to. Until Mr. Hippie started beating me in the swims. Because of how buoyant the wet suit made him. Yeah. Not okay with him kicking my butt at the one thing I am actually better than him. Seriously. In the pool I can swim a mile consistently 4-5 minutes faster than him. That is a margin. When he has his wet suit on, that margin disappears. Well, I'm making it reappear. I'm not competitive....Snort...

I'm really not. At least, I mostly compete against myself, trying to do better and better. And I compete against my pace and my age group in races. I'm not competing against the 4 minute mile people. We are not in the same category. We'll never be in the same category. But, I do try to beat as many 9-9:30 people as I can. And as many 35-39 women as I can. And as much of the total field as I can.

But, I'm fairly realistic about my goals.

Anyway, I should stop rambling and share my recipe for the week.

It's pasta.

This is another colorful one. Look at the yellow from the peppers! The red from the tomatoes! The purple from the onions! The green from the cucumbers and parsley. 

Isn't is pretty!

The pasta element makes it good runner fuel. The vegetables make it healthy runner fuel. Our family of 6 ate it as a main dish, and had leftovers for 3 of us for lunch the next day. So it makes a lot. It would also be perfect with burgers or grilled chicken, or just about anything else you'd eat in the summer.

It's a fast dinner too. It takes less than 30 minutes to whip together. Basically, in the time you boil water and cook the pasta, you can have your chopping done. And then dinner is done.

Gazpacho-style Pasta
Prep time: 20 minutes, Cook time: 25 minutes, Total time: 25 minutes
16 ounces small shell pasta (feel free to use GF, or WW)
1 seedless cucumber, not peeled, cut 1/4” cubes
1 medium yellow pepper, cut into 1/4” pieces
1 small red onion cut into 1/4” pieces
1 jalapeƱo pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1-1/2 pounds (5 medium) tomatoes, cut into 1/4” pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 small bunch parsley, tough ends trimmed, and roughy chopped.

-Cook pasta according to package directions.
-Chop all vegetables and place in a large serving bowl.
-Toss vegetables with oil, vinegar and salt.
-Drain pasta. Run under cold water to cool. Drain well. Toss with vegetables.

Enjoy the recipe! Enjoy your weekend!