Dill egg salad, tofu, carrot cake bread good post-run recipes

My husband and I signed up to run a half marathon this spring, so we’re training hard. This consists of short runs during the week and a longer run at the weekend. Every week we add a mile to the long run. This whole half marathon thing sounds serious. It sounds like something fancy runners do, the ones who set fixed times for their runs and don’t eat ice cream during training season. For us, running is about finishing the last mile and that’s as much dedication as we can muster. But we appreciate the rewards of running, like the cute treat a pup gets for good behavior. We sit up and beg for the cookies.

The rewards of training and running are many, if you count them. There is the satisfaction of achieving a goal and the sense of overall health. That’s the blah-blah-blah of rewards, the boring stuff. The real reward — the reason why Paul and I run 8 (or 9 or 10) miles on a cold wintry Sunday morning — is because of the cookies, the tasty little morsels that dogs (and humans) do things for. There is the deep, restful sleep we will sleep that night. (For all the people approaching or past middle age: you know. A good night’s sleep is not underestimated and we will do almost anything to have one.)

And there’s a free pass on a long day. Do you want to take a nap? Or lazing around and reading and not doing any household chores? You deserve it. And the best cookie, the most satisfying reward after a long and cold workout, is food. Craving reigns here, and the craving must be satisfied.

We tend towards salty things, high protein and easy to make foods. There is simply no energy left for finicky foods. We love sweets here too, and having a bread, cake-like thing hanging politely in the kitchen waiting for someone to cut a piece off the end is also part of our workout plan. Here’s a recap of the food we recently ate after running a distance, stumbling home, and having a well-deserved feast.
I like having food ready after a run. Like the days when we had young kids around, Paul and I will probably be in a bad mood and someone might even shed a tear if there’s no food after long runs. In addition, the food should be high in protein (such as eggs) or indulgent. There are some foods like that here, to stand at the counter or fridge and cram it in (refueling is a nicer way of putting it).
We eat a lot of eggs. From the oh-so-humble hard-boiled egg – that workhorse of a nutritional ideal – to fluffy weekend eggs in the morning with herbs and cheese and a lot of care taken to make them taste and look good, eggs are here to stay with us. Since we started working out, I’ve kept a bowl of hard-boiled eggs in the refrigerator. Post a running snack? Finished. The recipe here is for those times when you’ve eaten so many regular hard-boiled eggs that it’s time for a change. This salad is for anyone who likes salt, comes in the form of pickles, with both salt and crunch. A dash of Dijon and a generous sprinkling of dill add depth and spiciness. This salad is delicious with crackers, on lettuce, in lunchboxes and certainly eaten standing at the counter, with a spoon, after a run.
Tofu is also a good post-workout meal. It’s another protein-packed food that’s easy to cook and is like a blank canvas: good for lots of flavors and any color of vegetable you want to throw on it. This is where slices of tofu are squeezed (always squeeze your tofu. Squeezing out the water will make it crispy and prevent it from falling apart). After an easy roast in the oven alongside a few friendly chunks of broccoli, the whole thing is drizzled with chilli garlic oil. Chili oil is now a popular condiment and there is no one right way to make it. It’s also easy to make and pairs well with other foods like noodles and—you guessed it—eggs. Here I’ve simplified the process to use everyday crushed red chiles (although you can certainly use any whole or crushed chiles you have), and loaded it up with garlic, sesame seeds, and peanuts for crunch. Use a neutral oil with a high smoke point, such as canola or safflower. If you like it spicy, add a few rounded tablespoons of chiles. With one spoon you get a milder tasting condiment in which the garlic, peanuts and sesame stand out.
Now, on to the sweet part: I baked a carrot loaf so we would have some sugary carbs to eat both before and after a long run. Here’s the deal with this cake-disguised-as-bread recipe: It’s not as sweet as cake, but it’s sweet enough to be a rewarding, tasty little bite that you can enjoy no matter what you’re having done to deserve it. The laundry folded? Eat a slice of carrot bread. Walked 8 miles? Carrot bread! The crumb of this bread is tender and soft, but can withstand a layer of butter. I just wash and grate the carrots in the food processor, no peeling necessary. The topping is made from crushed gingersnaps, pressed into the batter. You could leave it out and still have a happy piece of cake, er, bread.
On April 15, Paul and I will be at the start line at the Heldeberg to Hudson Half Marathon, warmed up, fueled and ready to run (or walk or limp) all 21.1 miles and cross the finish line. Then we’ll celebrate. At the end of the day, we will have earned every bite and reward, every cookie. After the race there’s pasta and cheese and glasses of wine and all the cake we can eat.

Egg Salad With Pickles And Dill

For 3 persons
6 eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
1 small shallot, peeled and finely chopped
½ cup dill pickles, chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
1 heaped teaspoon of dried dill
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Good quality mayonnaise
Crackers or chips, to serve

  • Cut each egg in half and add to a large bowl. Use a potato masher to mash coarsely. Stir in shallot, pickles, mustard, vinegar, dill, salt and pepper. Add the mayonnaise, spoon by spoon, until it is just right for your taste. Add more salt or pepper if necessary.
  • Serve with crackers or potato chips.
  • Store covered and refrigerated for up to three days.

Crispy Tofu and Broccoli Leaf Pan with Chili Peanut Oil

Serves 2
1 14-ounce block of extra-firm tofu
1 medium yellow onion
1 crown broccoli, cleaned and cut into florets
Kosher salt
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons safflower oil or other neutral oil
1-2 tablespoons of ground red pepper
¼ cup unsalted peanuts, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
Lime, to serve
Jasmine rice, to serve

  • Cut the tofu into six equal slices and each slice in half to make 12 2-by-3-inch pieces. Place the pieces on a baking tray, cover with another baking tray and place a few books (or something heavy) on top to press and drain the tofu. Let it drain for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Chop the onion, halve and cut into ¼ cm thick slices. Cut each broccoli florets in half. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
  • In a small skillet, heat ¼ cup oil over low heat. Add the crushed chillies and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add the peanuts, garlic, and sesame seeds and stir, cooking until golden brown, 2 minutes. Remove from heat and scrape into a small bowl. Season with ½ teaspoon of salt. This can also be made ahead of time and kept refrigerated.
  • Add the pressed tofu to the bowl with the broccoli and onion and toss with 2 tablespoons of the oil (and add a little more if needed to coat evenly and lightly). Season with a few pinches of kosher salt. Spread on the prepared baking sheet and roast on the bottom rack of the oven for 10 minutes. Carefully turn the tofu over and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • To serve, scoop rice into a bowl, garnish with the tofu and broccoli, squeeze over a wedge of lime and drizzle with the chilli peanut oil.
  • Note: Leftover oil can be kept for two weeks in a tightly closed glass jar.

Spiced Carrot Bread With Gingersnap Crumble

Makes one loaf
1 ½ cups of flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon of cloves
¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
½ cup mild olive oil
2 eggs
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon
½ cup yogurt or applesauce
1 ½ cups grated carrots
For the topping: ¼ cup crumbled gingersnap cookies

  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a standard sized loaf tin.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking powder, salt and spices. In another bowl, mix the olive oil, eggs, sugars, bourbon, yogurt or applesauce, and carrots. Stir until well combined, then mix the two batters. Scrape it into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.
  • Sprinkle the cookies evenly over the top and gently press them down. Bake for 1 hour, or until the top is just spongy. Do not bake too long.
  • Remove from oven and let cool.