Big news. I'm having a marathon baby.
In ten days I am going to wake up at 5 in the morning, head to Staten Island where I will wait in the cold until my 10:30AM start time, when I will willingly embark on one of the most painful (and awesome) experiences of my life, all the while cursing myself for ever even considering doing such a thing and swearing that I will never EVER put myself through this again. (Really, Jo? You didn't learn the first TWO TIMES.)
Until, of course, it is over approximately four hours later and the endorphins are rushing through my veins like wildfires in Oregon during a drought.
At which point I will have forgotten all aforementioned pain and suffering and will feel so damn PUMPED that I will feel a strong compulsion to sign up for another marathon the next day. (And, given my track record...probably will.)
Seriously. This is happening.
Right now I'm in the nesting phase.
Otherwise known as...the taper.
Which is basically the last two weeks before the race when you stop running/exercising as much in order to give your muscles time to heal and store lots of glycogen. In my experience, tapering feels different for every person, every time.
Sometimes your muscles get all achy from all that rest you're giving them (weird. But...it happens.)
Sometimes you feel completely lethargic and cranky and irritated and like you're PMS-ing for two straight weeks.
And sometimes you feel like you have enough energy to run 5 miles at an 8:25 min/mile pace and just want to bake bread constantlyallthetime. <--That's me. Right now.
(If you thought I was going to say I wanted to vacuum my apartment...well, that's funny. And never.going.to.happen. Sorry mom.)
So when I saw that this week's Mid-East Feast recipe was shawarma wraps...I seized the opportunity to bury my hands in some flatbread dough. It was majorly satisfying.
Especially given how delicious the finished product was. Imagine a doughy, sesame-infused pillow topped with a perfectly spiced tofu/sweet potato mixture...with a side of homemade pickles. Swoon.
(And see what I mean about this pregnancy/marathon thing? Don't fight it.)
Shawarma Spice Mix (adapted from An Edible Mosaic)
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 3/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground fenugreek
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Serves 4, adapted from An Edible Mosaic
- 1 batch Shawarma Spice Mix
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 large cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 block extra firm tofu, pressed and cubed
- 1 large sweet potato (I used a white sweet potato), peeled and cubed
- Prepare the Shawarma Spice Mix.
- Combine the spice mix with the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and salt in a large bowl. Add the tofu and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2-24 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400.
- Toss the sweet potato cubes with the tofu and marinade. Spread the tofu and sweet potato out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.
- Serve on flatbreads with pickles.
Yields 1 liter, adapted from An Edible Mosaic
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 7-10 Persian or Japanese cucumbers, washed and trimmed
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- Water to cover the cucumber
- Combine the 1 cup water, salt and sugar in a small pan. Heat until salt and sugar are completely dissolved.
- In the meantime, cut the cucumbers into spears by cutting them in half lengthwise and then cutting each half into 3 equal pieces. Put 1 clove garlic in the bottom of a 1 liter Mason jar. Add the cucumber spears and the second clove of garlic. Pour the hot water into the jar. Add enough water so that the cucumbers are completely covered. Cover the jar and shake a few times. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Sesame Seed Bread
Makes 6 loaves, adapted from An Edible Mosaic
- 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil, divided
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp warm water
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup warm milk
- 2 tsp black or white sesame seeds (or both!)
- Brush 2 tsp oil on the inside of a large bowl and set aside.
- Mix together the yeast, sugar and warm water in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved.
- Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Stir the yeast mixture into the dry ingredients, then stir in the remaining 2 tbsp oil. Add in the milk mixture and then, using a bread hook attachment, stir until the dough comes together and then "knead" on medium-high speed for 3 minutes. Add more liquid if necessary, by the tsp, if the dough is too dry to come together.
- Transfer the dough to the oiled bowl and roll it gently to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and roll into oval-shaped loaves, about 6 inches by 3 inches.
- Preheat the oven to 400. Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Transfer the loaves to the prepared baking sheets. Lightly brush them with a bit of milk and sprinkle on the sesame seeds. Let them rest until they start to puff up, about 10-15 minutes. Bake the loaves 1 sheet at a time until light golden brown, about 16 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Check out these other blogs to see how their chicken shawarma, pickles and garlic mayo turned out!
Brandy – Nutmeg Nanny
Amanda – Fake Ginger
Jeanette – Jeanette’s Healthy Living
Gina – Running to the Kitchen
Joanne – Eats Well With Others
Heather – Girlichef
Natasha – Five Star Foodie
Megan – What’s Megan Making
Rachel – Baked by Rachel