Thursday, February 6, 2014

Green "Sausage" and California Reflections

Ok, ok... I know in my last post, I promised that I was back. And I planned to be since the only thing on my agenda was to ride my bike! But then I learned that the internet was spotty at best in the house I was staying at in California and it's hard to write a good blog post from a phone. Please forgive me!

A beautiful California sunset to help you find it in your heart to forgive me.
The training trip to California was amazing, and very productive. First, I rode 510 miles over the 8 days that I was there, which is about 40% more than I've ever ridden in one week ever before! Previously, my knees have cried "uncle" after 300 miles in 6 days, so I was really amazed at the end of the week to find that I did this. Even better, this was the first training trip I've ever been on that I didn't come home with an overuse injury as a souvenir. I feel like I'm finally qualified to write a post on injury prevention, so stay tuned! The capstone ride of the trip was a 125 mile ride with 11,000 ft of climbing that was the longest and hardest ride I've ever done. It was hardest quantitatively: I averaged 178w for the trip, thanks to my dedicated MIT teammates pushing the pace. Qualitatively, my first Livestrong century ride, done on a hybrid in 2007, still remains my hardest long ride. In addition to a bunch of pack riding and skills practice, perhaps my biggest takeaways came from the descents. Anyone who has ever ridden with me knows I hate descending and am overly cautious, to the point that I tense up and actually make it less safe for myself. Don't get me wrong: the trip did not make me a great descender, (that would take a miracle) but it did give me lots of opportunities to study, learn, gain general comfort, and practice that will help me in the season to come. (Since returning, I've been visualizing descending properly while on the trainer, since I now have something to base visualizations off of.) While I still find switchbacks extremely daunting, I've more than doubled my experience on switch-backing descents and I am fairly confident that I won't be dropped on every single one in my road races this year. (I'll just get dropped on the really steep/ technical ones...) Perhaps the best part of the trip happened in an orange grove just off of a highway mid-ride. I got some really great news, but for now I will just leave it at that. All will be revealed in time!

View from the top of the our climb at Mt. Palomar.
Ok, today's recipe is perhaps the most simple recipe that I've posted yet. My green "sausage" could also go as a veggie burger, but since I've not posted any of my veggie burger recipes on here, I won't advertise it as that. My veggie burgers are somewhat formulaic, and this recipe bunks that formula. It's only 3 ingredients: Dukkah spice, cornstarch (to help it stick together), and... lima beans! I know, I know. Lima beans don't exactly rush out at you from an assortment of legumes as a good meat substitute. But trust me, it works! Lima beans are nearly a complete protein (they are slightly deficient in the sulfur containing amino acids, methionine and cysteine. Fortunately, the sunflower seeds in the dukkah will counter this deficit), and are a good source of iron, B vitamins, potassium, and fiber. It also can readily be found in the frozen section, which means that you can avoid the salty canned version, without having to wait hours for your dried legumes to cook!

Green "Sausage"

1 12oz bag frozen lima beans, thawed
3T Dukkah spice
1T cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 350F. Food process ingredients until mostly smooth. Shape into patties. (This recipe will make about 4 medium-sized patties.) Cook for 30 minutes, flipping 20 minutes in. Enjoy alone as a breakfast sausage, or add it to a bun with mustard and lettuce and call it a burger!

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