Monday, January 30, 2012

Inca Runners Camp

A while back on my Twitter account I alluded to the possibility of an epic opportunity falling into my lap. It now appears as though things have fallen into place enough that I can make an official announcement. I have been tapped to be the resident cook, or chef (if you will), for the inaugural Inca Runners Training Camp. My friend and running buddy, Hugo Mendez, is the man in charge of marketing and PR for Inca Runners. Out of the blue he inquired about my interest in creating meals for the runners, at the camp... in the Grand Tetons... and I jumped at the chance. Who wouldn't? For starters, Krissy Moehl and Luke Nelson will be in attendance. Krissy is a two time winner of the UTMB and the youngest female to complete the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning which includes Western States 100, Leadville 100, Vermont 100 and the Wasatch 100. Luke is the reigning U.S. Ski Mountaineering Champion and placed 2nd at Wasatch 100 last year. This dynamic duo will acting as elite coaches at the camp. Not cool enough for you? How about UltrAspire President Bryce Thatcher as a keynote speaker? You know, the guy that founded Ultimate Direction and was the lead designer at Nathan. And he also holds a 25 year old record for the fastest ascent/descent of Grand Teton.

I must admit that I was more than a bit surprised when Hugo popped the question. I've never really thought of myself as a chef or even a kitchen wizard for that matter. I do, however, much like many runners, enjoy good food. Back when I was a kid I often hung out with my mom in the kitchen. Heck, I even recall watching Julia Childs and the Frugal Gourmet on PBS when those were the only cooking shows on TV. As much as I like food I am not fond of spending excessive amounts of time (or effort for that matter) preparing food. So I'm always keen on simple stuff that is fresh and tasty. I'm also a fan of healthy foods, especially following a minor medical scare of my own several years ago. After eating fast food crap for several months (this was during my last stint attempting to climb the corporate ladder) I packed on about 15 lbs, felt like crap and ended up with an ulcer and an inflamed liver. I vowed to never be that guy again. Since then I have made attempts to educate myself to be better at fueling not only myself but my family as well. In the process I am dabbled being vegetarian. While not 100% on that plan I seldom eat red meat and have eliminated most dairy from my diet. I do support buying local (love farmers markets) and supporting local growers. I sell free range, organic eggs fresh from our little farm. And I embrace eating whole foods as much as possible. Anyhow, from time to time I post on FB what I made for dinner and on occasion Hugo and have have discussed food while out on runs. Apparently he liked what he saw and heard. I'm flattered. When he did ask about the camp he also suggested that I post about stuff I make here on the Running Farmer blog. That's a good idea. Maybe once a week or so I will offer up something I created. Hopefully, most will be pretty good. I'm sure some will be not so good as I'm not afraid to try new things. Sometimes it works out and other times not so much. 

This one worked pretty damn good. One night last week the kids wanted pizza. Frozen pizzas are really crap for the most part and it's so easy to make at home I thought why not. The only problem was that it was getting late so there wasn't time to make dough from scratch. I checked the pantry and found some lavash bread. Lavash has it's roots in the Middle East and is made from just 3 ingredients: flour, water and salt. Think flat bread but very flexible, much like a tortilla. What I found in the pantry was a new bag of Joseph's brand lavash made with whole wheat flour, oat bran and flax seeds. Perfect for a thin crust pizza (my preference). A quick look in the fridge revealed a couple of marinara sauces to pick from, turkey pepperoni (the kids love it), some mushrooms, a green pepper, onion and plenty of cheese. For the kids I made a stuffed crust pizza by lining half of the lavash with pepper jack cheese before folding it over on itself. Then I added the turkey pepperoni and some shredded Italian cheese. For the adults, we got sliced veggies (pepper, onion, mushroom and garlic). Super easy to make and cooked up quick. Less than 30 minutes to prep, make and bake both pizzas. 

My plan for the camp is to keep things simple, fresh and as local as possible. I sound like Gordon Ramsey, right? So what do you think? Do you have any menu suggestions for the running camp? Let me know and make sure to check out the Inca Runners link for details on the camp. And as always you can follow me on Twitter @RedDirtRunner.

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