weekend round up: cold rain, fast feet, and holiday feasts

Lots of update-worthy happenings from this past weekend. On Saturday, I woke up to some of the coldest, nastiest, rain I’d ever seen. Okay, there may be a bit of hyperbole happening, but for April, it was cold. (I just double-checked Saturday’s weather, and I’m definitely exaggerating – apparently it was in the low 40s, but I swear, it felt colder.) Realistically, it probably felt more miserable because I was signed up for the NYRR 4 Mile race in Central Park at 9am that morning.

Under normal circumstances, I would have taken one look outside my window, thought “Hell, no,” snuggled up with Cop, and gone back to bed. Fortunately, these were not normal circumstances. Since I wasn’t able to pick up my race number ahead of time, my friend Anna had picked it up for me the evening before. Consequently, we had subway rendezvous plans, and I really didn’t want to bail on her. Anna’s super speedy (she just finished Boston in 3:33), so she was coralled a few sections ahead of me. My stuff was in her bag, which meant she couldn’t leave until I finished the race. While I’ve been feeling pretty unmotivated in recent races, all these conditions turned out to be an unlikely perfect storm for a great race. I wanted to get out of the rain as quickly as possible, plus I didn’t want to keep Anna waiting, so I ran my fastest race ever: I set a PR with 8-minute miles. Hooray for external motivators!

Extra bonus: we found an adorable coffee spot on our way to the park, and treated ourselves to post-race goodies before a cold subway ride home.

Bel Ami Cafe, 68th Street and Madison Ave

The only downside to Saturday morning’s race is that a cold, rainy run left me a bit achey, so I opted out of our two Ultimate games later that afternoon. I felt a little guilty, but with an upcoming half marathon this weekend, the idea of slipping around in the mud and possibly twisting/spraining/straining something didn’t seem so appealing.

breast-side down birdies

That evening, Joanna and I were co-hosting our third annual Passover Seder, so I spent the afternoon and early evening doing some dinner prep. Due to hectic schedules, festivities weren’t starting until 9pm, which gave me plenty of time to spice rub and stuff half a dozen Cornish game hens. I used this recipe from Epicurious as the starting point, though I played around with it a bit. I wasn’t in the mood to buy a ton of stuff I didn’t have, so based on my current stock, I went with a different version of haroseth (recipe here, also from Epicurious) and swapped wine for sherry. (Side note: In perusing some food blogs, I found a couple of recommendations to roast poultry breast-side down, which is supposed to prevent the faster-cooking white meat from getting too dry. I figured it couldn’t hurt to try it, and it really did make a huge difference. I’ve been totally converted, and will never cook a Thanksgiving turkey breast side up again.)

Seder Table

The hens were a huge success, and they’re actually really easy to prepare. Based on this, I have a feeling this recipe will make semi-regular appearances in my kitchen. Joanna did the majority of the night’s cooking – another version of haroseth, apple kugel, and her mom’s matzo ball soup. I also tried my hand at home-made macaroons, and while they tasted okay, they were a bit flat and misshapen, hence the lack of visual representation here. With all this food, it turns out 6 stuffed hens were too many for 7 guests, so I’ve been enjoying leftovers all week. (And, of course, Cop has enjoyed some delicious liver-kibble combos.)

Easter brunch

On Sunday, the feasting continued, as Steph was hosting Easter brunch at her place. Brunch is a loose term – due to our late Seder start, I don’t think I made it to bed until about 3am the night before, and I was feeling pretty bad about showing up at Steph’s at 2pm, an hour later than planned. Fortunately, everyone else had late Saturday nights, as well, and I was actually the first one to arrive. Steph and her roommate Hedda went all out with regards to both the menu and the Easter egg hunt, which took place on their awesome roof-top patio. For the next couple of hours, I enjoyed a steady intake of devilled eggs, champagne, and jelly beans. Around 5pm, brunch was officially served: strawberry and goat cheese salad, roasted asparagus, and a ham, egg, and gruyere sandwich served on freshly-baked rosemary biscuits. The food was incredible, the company was irreverent in the best way possible, and a wonderful time was had by all.

For a better sense of the ambiance we enjoyed, I’ll leave you with the following photo. Hedda happens to have a never-ending supply of googly eyes, which dressed up this Jesus candle quite nicely:

He has risen, Hallelujah!

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