Recipes for the Demented

Before you start reading, know these things: 1) I am not a nutritionist, exercise physiologist, or “clever person.” 2) I sometimes eat or drink things that are parts of larger fads, without necessarily embracing the fad. For example, I love kombucha, but don’t believe it cures cancer or opens chakras. 3) What works for me won’t work for you, unless it does, in which case, cool! 4) My biggest challenges, nutritionally, seem to be hydrating enough and getting in enough calories, so most of the stuff I’m talking about here is aimed at solving one of those two problems.

Herewith, the recipes….

The Hobo’s Red Eye – After a long, early morning run I come home and drink coffee and then ride the caffeine/endorphin train until it runs out of steam. This is as close to actually getting high as I come.

When, invariably, the afternoon turns into a groggy slog through waist-deep mud, I make the Hobo’s Red Eye.

Take some cold leftover coffee. Not very much. About a double espresso shot’s worth. Add a teaspoon of instant espresso, about another shot’s worth of boiling water and a splash of cream. Sugar if that’s your thing. You’re awake now!

The Chewy Smoothie – There are times when I just can’t even with solid food, but I need calories, and so the simplest way is with a smoothie. Ugh, it’s a terrible word…smoothie.

Anyway, I try to avoid the fruity, sugar-bomb drinks you can buy at the mall or anywhere else good ideas go to become caloric and nutritional nightmares. Here’s a clue. Anytime someone puts syrup into something you’re drinking, you should not drink it.

The Chewy Smoothie has, as its base, a banana and a handful of unroasted, unsalted cashews. To that I add, a handful of frozen chopped spinach and a scoop of chocolate protein powder. I throw in some frozen cherries. This thing is still plenty sweet without resorting to goo. I add almond or cashew milk to make it whirl in the blender, thickness to preference.

The result is toothy, chewy, substantial and satisfying. And there’s a free serving of greens in there, so you win.

Dry Lunch – At lunchtime I’m ripe for bad decisions. I have a hard time getting calories in after a morning run/ride/adventure, so by mid-day a hunger-based mania descends. At times like this, I start with Dry Lunch.

To make a good dry lunch, you have to lay in some dry supplies. Mine usually consists of one dried protein (salmon jerky, vegan pepper jerky), one or two handfuls of nuts (almonds, cashews), and then a dried fruit (figs, mango).

The key to successful dry lunch is to eat it and then wait twenty minutes before you eat anything else. Give it time to hit your system. Then you can move onto a next course, maybe even…

Seoul Surprise – If I could only eat one cuisine the rest of my life, I’d choose Korean. Clean, satisfying, sweet, spicy, savory. It’s all there. What I’m about to describe is not a Korean dish that I have ever seen, and I apologize to my Korean friends in advance for even mentioning them in the same post as the Seoul Surprise.

Take a can of sardines in spring water. Drain the water. Dump ’em in a bowl. Shovel kimchi on top until you think maybe that’s too much kimchi. Add a splash of soy sauce. Make this over rice if you have rice, but otherwise get ready for a freight train of umami pain.

The Seoul Surprise is packed with flavor obviously, but it’s also healthy and curiously satisfying.

The Elixir of Life – I feel better if I’m well hydrated. I won’t speak to the proper amount of liquid to consume. I’m not a doctor or nutritionist. All I’m saying is that I feel best when I’ve put away the Elixir of Life, at a minimum.

The jumping off point for the creation of the Elixir was the discovery that I just couldn’t drink as much plain water as I felt I needed to. I craved flavor and nuance, without wanting to resort to electrolyte drinks, seltzers or pure juices.

The Elixir gets made in a one liter Nalgene flask. Drop a ginger tea bag in. These come in all sort of variations, ginger/lemon, ginger/green, spicy ginger/ginger probiotic. I’ve used them all. Next add five shakes of turmeric and five shakes of cayenne, and then fill with water. Shake.

The Elixir will get stronger and spicier as you go. Watch that last gulp. It burns.

I also want to say that I consume turmeric and cayenne because I like them. They don’t appear in the Elixir because they have some mystical herbal powers that will turn you into a superhuman. I like the depth of the turmeric and the burn of the cayenne and ginger together. If there’s some citrus in there too, great.

A lot of days I drink two of them.

If you read these recipes and thought, “Whoa, that’s nuts!” or “Gross!” congratulations. You’re a normal person. But I tend to think the people who do the things we like to do (wink, wink, we’re the same, you and me) are a little demented, willing to brave the high seas of flavor, and eager to put away as much caffeine, protein and liquid as our systems will tolerate.

E voila! I’m a food blogger.