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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

#fueledbyjustin Pre Camp

3.Jan.2017 by Kaitlynn Miller

Mary checking in here with an update from our “Justin Bieber” Pre Camp!!

With US Nationals being held at Solider Hollow in Heber City, UT this year, most of the “sea level” team searched for ways to get some extra early time at altitude before the races. We are very fortunate to have a teammate, Liz Guiney (nick-named lizguine after the long, lean pasta) who lives in Park City. Her mom, Julie, and mom’s boyfriend, Dave, graciously opened their home to us for a pre camp. It was a great opportunity to train on the courses, adjust to the altitude, and get in our holiday social fix. Oh and eat some amazing food!

Dave happens to be a culinary expert and was the personal chef for Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner in early December (no jokes here). So Dave took home all the left over food that Justin (yes, first name basis) didn’t use. It was pretty fun to be eating Bieb’s preferred items. We are fully confident that we now are sponsored by him #fueledbyjustin. Our pancake breakfast would have been nothing without the Bieber Buttermilk, Bieber Vanilla, or Bieber Maple Syrup (Vermonter approved). Snack time was made even greater with Bieber Hot Chips and Bieber Ritz Crackers. Plus, Dave was able to tell us lots of Bieber stories. Next to arrive will be Taylor Swift, so we will probably return for a post camp 🙂

#fueledbyjustin New Year’s Day pancake breakfast, with buttermilk pancakes, berries, smoothies, and good friends. Photo cred: Heather

While in Park City, we had a fun filled, yet very packed social schedule. But don’t worry, we made plenty of time for recovery as well, knowing some of our more important races were right around the corner. Liz’s Dad, RJ, and step Mom, Deann, hosted us for a delicious dinner of burgers, salad, potatoes, and yummy toffee dessert bars. We enjoyed a very relaxed game of ping pong and decided that we should definitely stick to skiing. The next night, we tagged along to an Eve before the Eve party. I feel as if party doesn’t even cut it – gala may be more appropriate. The event was hosted at a beautiful house in Deer Valley, with amenities such as valet parking and a coat check. The attire was anywhere from jeans and blouses, to beautiful gowns, and sparkling bell bottom pants. And the decorations, sheer size, and set up of the house was anything but incredible. We debated between making friends and exploring while there, and went with the exploring option. We enjoyed yummy finger foods (but had our hand sanitizer in our pockets) that seemed to be endless, and took over the chocolate fountain for dessert. The gala made for amazing people watching, and we certainly enjoyed our very spoiled evening. We also made time for shopping at the outlet malls and seeing the new Star Wars movie. Our final social event was a nice dinner prepared by Julie and Dave with Liz’s childhood friend.

Getting all dressed up for the Eve before the Eve party. We almost fit in!! Photo cred: Dave

We are so so grateful to them for hosting us and letting us take over their kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms. These past 5 days have been great preparation for us, and we are looking forward to a few more days of resting, speed practice, and ski/course testing before the races.

A beautiful day to practice some high speed skiing at the White Pine trails! Photo cred: Heather

Walking through the parking garage to access the skiing. We were feeling pretty spoiled to park in an underground garage! And were thinking back to our fast laps in Slovenia with very similar scenery. Photo cred: Heather

Thanks to Skida for our new head gear!! We were getting crafty at Liz’s sewing on our new GRP and SkiErg patches.

Our last day at Liz’s house, we enjoyed an urban ski tour right from her front door!! This was right before the 24hr blizzard hit. Photo cred: Heather

We’ll kick things off Saturday with a 10K skate followed by a Classic Sprint on Sunday, the Mass Start classic races on Tuesday, and finally a Skate Sprint prelim on Thursday. You can check the results here: http://summittiming.com/races/race_results.php

Stay tuned for more!

-Mary

Confessions of a Beginner Biathlete

12.Jan.2016 by Emily Dreissigacker

As you may or may not know, I was named to the US team for IBU cups 4, 5, and 6. We spent this past week in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic for IBU cup 4 before making the long trek to Ridnaun, Italy where IBU cup 5 will kick off on Thursday (For those of you who don’t know, IBU cups are kind of like the minor league of biathlon. A step down from World Cups). This being my first international biathlon experience, as well as my first full season doing biathlon, it has really been a learning experience. I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned so far.

The stadium in Nove Mesto.

The stadium in Nove Mesto.

Carrying a lot of skis at once isn’t just a skill, it’s an art form (and something I am terrible at). The first day of ski testing I made two trips to carry my skis. Then Han taught me “the fan”. I finally got it down with two pairs and was feeling pretty good about myself until I saw a wax tech carrying a fan that had at least five pairs of skis! Impressive!

 

If you wear your athlete bib over you warm up vest you look like a newb. On official training days you have to have your bib showing to shoot. The first day I made the mistake of putting it over my vest. Don’t worry, I was quickly informed by Coach Jean that this made me look like a newb and was able to correct my mistake.

 

If the wind flags are doing different things, look at the one closest to the targets. In our first race there was a pretty good wind during zero. When I came in to shoot prone during the race, the far wind flag was calm while the close wind flag was still blowing. I didn’t take clicks and all my shots were low and to the right. I missed two so it could have been worse but still, lesson learned.

 

Wearing your drink belt in front isn’t dorky, it’s just practical. When you have a rifle on your back it really just makes so much sense to wear your drink belt in front. Plus, everyone’s doing it so you actually look kinda weird NOT doing it.

 

There are a lot of biathlon fans in Europe. The stands at the stadium in Nove Mesto looked like a football stadium. They weren’t quite full for our races but there was a lot of cheering going on. The Hungarian fan club was there and they love the Americans. They would start chanting my name when they saw me. I’m not gonna lie, it made me feel pretty cool.

 

The fancy hairstyles you see watching the women’s World Cups aren’t just for looks. Turns out it’s pretty tricky to find a way to wear long hair so that it won’t get caught in your harness and will also keep your headband or hat from sliding off the top of your head. I’m still working on this one.

 

Orange and Purple aren’t just for Clemson. Adidas took some artistic liberty with “red, white and blue” so this year’s US suits and gear are all purple and orange. I still think orange is my worst color but I do like the purple! And now I have lots of good hunting season clothes.

 

Czech food is everything you’d expect it to be. And by that I mean chicken, potatoes, more chicken, and more potatoes. But if you go to the grocery store you can buy just about one of everything for less than 10$ US.

 

Italian food is everything you’d expect it to be. And more. We went to dinner after our 10 hour drive from Czech. The waiter comes out and says, “For our first course we have homemade ravioli with bacon. Is this ok?” Yep I think that will be ok.

Looking down towards the stadium in Ridnaun.

Looking down towards the stadium in Ridnaun.

Vegetables and beyond in the Craftsbury gardens

14.Aug.2015 by Caitlin Patterson

The gardens at Craftsbury are flourishing! Seeing them every day, working on garden projects with the other GRP women, it’s easy to take the nutritious beauty for granted. So I wanted to share some scenes of growing things and garden work, before the season passes!

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Kait and Heather picking herbs. The leafy green plants are flourishing with all the rain and sun we’ve had – pictured here is kale, dill, radicchio, beets, basil, parsley. Of course the weeds are flourishing too, but we try to stay on top of it as much as possible, and just staged a major weed knockdown yesterday (after this picture was taken…it’s a bit messy here) which helped a bunch!

Trees of kale

Trees of kale

Vibrant rainbow swiss chard

Vibrant rainbow swiss chard

 

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Bumblebees on echinacea flowers near the herb and vegetable gardens. If you’re in the area it’s worth walking by to see the flowers too!

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Heather clipping tomatoes, using the handy features of straps to store some extra clips. We clip the tomato vines up along strings to help support their weight.

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Stunning clusters of fruit

Cherry tomatoes bursting with flavor, such a treat!

Cherry tomatoes bursting with flavor, such a treat!

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Kait and Pam spot a big “sucker” – if we don’t watch out the tomatoes will try to grow into bushes, instead of the way we want them growing vertically. Careful pruning of the suckers prevents this from happening, but they grow quickly and often get away from us.

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One night the skiers decided to stay home and cook our own dinner, partially for the fun of collecting and preparing so many local ingredients – zucchini, kale, tomatoes and more, to go with fantastic hamburgers and homemade buns. Cooking for ourselves one night reminded us how nice it is that we are able to eat amazing meals at the dining hall, cooking for yourself takes serious planning and time, especially in a house of 12+ athletes!

Our house smelled amazing with so much basil

One day several of us skier GRP girls worked on the project of making pesto. First we picked the basil from the COC garden, leaf by leaf, then processed it with walnuts, cheese, oil, and garlic. Our house smelled amazing with so much basil around.

Fresh garlic piled up for processing

Fresh garlic piled up for processing

Liz on the food processor and Heather drying basil leaves

Liz on the food processor and Heather drying basil leaves

Heather, Kait, and Liz checking the pesto... have to make sure it tastes good!

Heather, Kait, and Liz checking the pesto… have to make sure it tastes good!

Heather samples the favorite snack of the day, fresh pesto on a walnut. Great fuel for our strength workout coming up!

Heather samples the favorite snack of the day, fresh pesto on a walnut. Taste = verified to be amazing! Great fuel for our strength workout coming up!

Liz clipping garlic scapes. The COC dining hall made excellent scape pesto when they were in season.

Liz clipping garlic scapes. The COC dining hall made excellent scape pesto when they were in season.

Raspberries and spider webs in the early morning

Raspberries and spider webs in the early morning

Wild black raspberries. It was the best wild berry year I've seen yet in 4 years at Craftsbury!

Parting photo of wild black raspberries. It was the best wild berry year I’ve seen yet in 4 years at Craftsbury!

 

Reflections on a Sourdough Summer

30.Oct.2014 by Caitlin Patterson

Food is an important part of any athlete’s daily routine, and a part that we often overlook sharing much about. There are certainly some pictures we’ve posted of particularly notable edibles on this blog, but in general I don’t believe food has gotten quite its fair share, compared to how much of our daily thoughts and life it occupies.  That’s not to really imply that any of the athletes at Craftsbury take the food for granted – we are extremely lucky to be able to eat at the spectacular Craftsbury dining hall for most of the year. This post, I have to warn you, is going to be all about food, and the process of making one particular kind of it – bread!

While I’ve always considered sourdough bread to be among my favorites – along with crusty European baguettes and German pretzel rolls – I’d never made sourdough myself until this summer. On frequent enough occasions in the last few years, I would make oatmeal whole-wheat sandwich bread, baguettes, and various other types by hand, and I have done some experimentation and made complicated-sounding breads just for the sake of trying something new.  I’m not a bread machine person, or a person who tends to avoid making things that sound complex.  But sourdough… I always stopped before venturing into sourdough… Because even though most of the instructions say “it’s really pretty easy” to create a sourdough starter, and other such reassurances, those statements are usually followed by what seem like long lists of instructions consisting of a different step every day for 4-6 days and then a lot more attention to the sourdough after that.

Note: Before you get too far into this, beware – I am passionate about baking and bread, and cooking explorations in general, and when I’m enthusiastic about something in this way it leads to long descriptions.  Scroll ahead to the pictures or skip to a different blog on our site if you’re impatient, otherwise, carry on reading!

This summer, I suppose you could say that I needed a cooking or baking outlet, preferably one that did not result in a profusion of sugary dessert-snacks to feed my team/housemates and myself. I unquestionably love sweet things (yes, thank you for pointing out Pete H, I have a sweet tooth!), but I’ve gone through a time of giving more thought to nutrition and food choices this year, which leads me to gravitate away from excessive sugars if possible.  Bread was the perfect choice, because the GRP skiers consume a considerable amount of bread for breakfasts and snacks, and bread is a healthy baking result derived from a process that can include creativity and embellishment.  So it was an ideal summer to venture into sourdough bread baking.

Beautiful toasted loaves of cranberry-walnut sourdough!

Beautiful toasted loaves of cranberry-walnut sourdough!


What exactly is sourdough, you might ask?

Well, from the standpoint of the basic grocery-store consumer, sourdough bread is typically a crusty, white bread with a particularly tangy taste.

From the standpoint of the baker, or someone who wants to know what makes this type of bread distinctive, it gets a bit more complex. Sourdough bread is baked from a dough that is made with a sourdough starter. It doesn’t have to be a white bread, sourdough breads cover the spectrum from whole wheat to rye to white to a variety of other grains or mixes.  A sourdough starter is a way of cultivating natural yeast – rather than using store-bought yeast from a jar or packet, the natural yeast contained within the starter leavens the bread, causing it to rise and develop air pockets. This natural or wild yeast can’t be called on at any minute though – while it is in the air around us, it has to be properly cultivated and encouraged in order to be concentrated enough for use in bread.  A starter is typically made from just flour and water, although as I understand it, starters can sometimes contain fruit juice in the early stages. It takes a little while to establish a good population of yeast, but then once the starter is “active” it can be maintained indefinitely for future use, and shared with friends too.

Nice and active starter, see all those big air pockets? From the yeasties!

Nice and active starter, see all those big air pockets? From the yeasties!

A very active starter, and a gamble on container-size, can lead to a mess

A very active starter, and a gamble on container-size, can lead to a mess

Stirring down the starter - a big batch since I'm getting ready to bake something

Stirring down the starter – a big batch since I’m getting ready to bake something

 


Caitlin’s sourdough starter process:

In mid-May of 2014, when I returned to Craftsbury to start the new training year, I knew I would be at the house where I live in Craftsbury with few interruptions until the fall, and it would be a perfect time to start the process of a sourdough starter. On the recommendation of my teammate Emily, who had made sourdough this winter, I looked on the King Arthur Flour website (one of my favorite recipe sources) for guidance about starting sourdough.  Here’s the link to their page about starting sourdough: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2012/04/05/creating-your-own-sourdough-starter-the-path-to-great-bread/

As the experts at King Arthur attest to, creating a sourdough starter is as much art as science – there are many variations and suggestions out there, but there is room for flexibility within a framework of conditions that will enable the growth of the sourdough yeast and bacteria. I started with 1 cup of rye flour and 1/2 a cup of cool water from the tap. After 24 hours, half of the original was discarded, and I added a new 1 cup of King Arthur “Special” bread flour and 1/2 cup of water to what remained, and mixed everything together.  The 3rd day started the twice a day feedings – to add new flour and water is considered “feeding” the starter.  Every 12 hours, I’d check on the starter, which was in our kitchen on a shelf, discard half of it and feed it with a new 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water (always “special” bread flour from here out). This is not a process to undertake if you’re particularly short on time, flour, or capacity to remember to do something every 12 hours – luckily I had plenty of everything, with a busy training schedule which fortunately causes me to return to the house frequently.

The starter is supposed to be highly active and ready for baking within about a week.  Mine was only slightly active – swelling a little between feedings, with a few bubbles – after about 1.5 or 2 weeks, and I started to get kind of nervous, afraid I might have to start over. At that point I chatted with Emily again, who recommended putting it in a warmer spot to see if that helped the activity level – for a truly active starter, you should expect that it will double in volume from one feeding to the next. I found a spot out of the way, on top of our freezer, and started leaving the container there.  Vermont in early summer is moderately warm but not at all hot, and it turned out that was exactly the missing piece – heat! With the starter on the warm freezer top, it became much more active and was soon doubling. Time to bake!

 

A dash of honey

A dash of honey to sweeten the dough

All shapes and sizes, and fillings - several of these have cheese, others cranberries, others are plain

All shapes and sizes, and fillings – several of these have cheese, others cranberries, others are plain

Sometimes several batches at once

Sometimes several batches at once

Cranberry walnut loaves rising

Cranberry walnut loaves rising

Thin crispy crust and nice crumb

Thin crispy crust and nice crumb


To make a true sourdough bread, you need an active starter, flour, water, salt, and nothing else (other than time)! It’s also possible to make a bread with store-bought yeast supplemented with sourdough starter to give it flavor.  And, there are a number of other bread-related items that can be made with sourdough starter, much of it as a way to use the otherwise-discarded starter (what you would throw out when the starter is fed).  So I’ve dabbled in many variations, and quite a few shapes too. Below are suggestions based on what I’ve done, and links to the recipes for trying it yourself:

Sourdough bread: in baguette or loaf form, all white flour or 1/6-1/4 whole wheat. It can be “flavored” – mixed with shredded cheddar cheese, mixed with blue cheese and cranberries, with walnuts and cranberries, swirled/wrapped with cheese inside, swirled with apples and cinnamon sugar, and more. See this recipe: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/extra-tangy-sourdough-bread-recipe (I’ve never used the optional sour-salt – if your sourdough is active it should have plenty of sour flavor as is.) Try out the recipe just plain a few times to get acquainted with it, with only white bread flour because it behaves more predictably, and then make additions as desired! Be warned, this bread does basically take two days – it’s not bad, but does require some serious planning ahead to time all the stages to fit within the other constraints of your day.

Sourdough-yeast hybrid: Try it also with rolled oats and whole wheat flour, cinnamon-cranberry swirl bread, cheese swirl bread, etc.  Recipe: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/rustic-sourdough-bread-recipe  (when using rolled oats, I added 1/2 cup of oats per recipe, and 1/2-1 cup of whole wheat flour, each of those in place of the white flour called for. However I also adjust the moisture by adding more flour or water as I knead the bread, since I know approximately what I’m aiming for after having repeated this process a fair number of times.)

With extra starter: sourdough popovers, sourdough waffles or pancakes, both of which are fantastic and quite easy.  Recipes: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/classic-sourdough-waffles-or-pancakes-recipe

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/sourdough-popovers-recipe

In general just check out all of King Arthur Flour’s sourdough recipes here: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/sourdough/view-all

Oh, and if you’re not quite into all the sourdough complexity, but are inspired to make bread anyway, try this excellent sandwich bread, of course from King Arthur again! This was one of my go-to breads before sourdoughs: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/vermont-whole-wheat-oatmeal-honey-bread-recipe


Ready to roll - cranberry cinnamon bread, spread the dough and filling like this, then roll it into a log and put it in the bread pan to rise!

Ready to roll – cranberry cinnamon swirl bread, spread the dough and filling like this, then roll it into a log and put it in the bread pan to rise!

The swirl bread after baking...

The swirl bread after baking…

Cranberry-cinnamon swirl

Cranberry-cinnamon swirl snack

Waffles!

Waffles!

Summer breakfast, on the relaxed days when we can linger instead of rushing out the door to train

Summer breakfast, on the relaxed days when we can linger instead of rushing out the door to train immediately

I used to think popovers were something to be afraid of, in case they came out flat, but these turn out perfectly every time!

I used to think popovers were something to be afraid of, in case they came out flat, but these turn out perfectly every time!

Throughout the summer I’ve been quite pleased with the flavor and texture of my sourdough breads, and my housemates surely enjoy them too, as the bread has seemed to disappear about as quickly as I can make it.  Particularly if it’s full of melted shreds of Cabot cheddar cheese! I actually really like the opportunity to experiment on flavors and additions, which is facilitated by how quickly each batch gets consumed.  And, a side benefit of making all these batches of bread… hand-kneading… when I was younger my mom always tried to convince me that I should knead more bread to make my arms stronger. They’re stronger this year, which happens to be a good thing for ski racing! Whether from kneading or from an improved strength training program, who knows, maybe some of both!

When I left for fall training camps these past few months, I put my sourdough in a jar with a lid, gave it one last feeding, then popped it straight into the refrigerator. It actually keeps for a while, and just needs to be taken out and fed a few times before it’s nicely active again – I took out the jar 4 days ago, having just returned from Park City (see Liz’s previous post for tales of our training activities there) and it’s definitely active and ready for bread-making by now.  In fact last night I made sourdough popovers to go with dinner, and don’t tell my housemates, or else there could be a stampede, but there may be fresh bread this evening.

Thanks for reading!!

~Caitlin