Have you ever wondered what a Pan Am or Parapan Am athlete eats while training to stay in top shape in their quest for a gold medal? Here are a couple of recipes from two competitors taking part in this summer’s Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games; all food items listed are available for purchase at your local Loblaws.
Will Dean, Team Canada: Rowing/2012 Olympian
“I love to cook, which is handy because as a 220 pound endurance athlete, I eat a ridiculous amount of food. One area of food creation that has particularly interested me over the last couple of years is fermentation. For the last few years my partner and I have led workshops under our business Lifeology up and down the West Coast teaching people how to make everything from kombucha to kimchi.”
“I generally make sauerkraut a couple of times of year, more often in the fall when there are plenty of local cabbages on sale. I love sauerkraut’s pleasant sour taste, and enjoy eating it on everything from sandwiches to fried potatoes. While I have seen all manner of health benefits attributed to sauerkraut, I’m more convinced by the countless generations around the world that have considered sauerkraut a crucial part of their diet. We do know that it is loaded with beneficial probiotics and lactic acid, and I will attest that it tastes far superior to the fake vinegar-based stuff you see in grocery stores.”
-Chop cabbage thinly and put into glass jar or ceramic crock. Add sea salt to taste (finished product should taste quite salty!).
-Pound the cabbage until the brine comes up and covers the cabbage entirely.
-Put whole cabbage leaves on top of the cabbage/brine and add something heavy to weigh it down -a glass jar with a book on top to ensure the cabbage is under the brine throughout the whole fermentation process.
-Put a thin towel over the jar/crock so that air can come in and out but no particles can get in. Leave out a minimum of 6 days. Start sampling it at this point. It will continue to ferment for months, so if it reaches a point you like take it out and put it in the fridge. Or let it keep fermenting enjoying its evolving flavour!
-If mold starts to appear on top (because the cabbage has risen above the brine), just scrape it off and compost. The kraut underneath is fine.
-Generally the warmer it is, the more quickly the sauerkraut will ferment. Try to find a cool spot with a consistent temperature for the best results.
Natalie Coughlin, Team USA: Swimming/Three Time Olympic Gold Medalist
“My family and I would eat this traditional Filipino dish at least once a week. (Don’t be deceived by my blue eyes … my Grandma was born and raised in the Philippines). The perfume of soy sauce and vinegar simmering over the stove immediately conjures up memories of sitting around the dinner table with my Mom, Dad and sister. This recipe is based off my Mom and Grandma’s version of Chicken Adobo. Steamed broccoli and rice (I opt for brown rice these days) are the perfect accompaniments to soak up the yummy sauce.”
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp black peppercorns, cracked
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
11/4 cup soy sauce
1 13.5 oz can light coconut milk
2 obs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1-2 Tbsp grapeseed (or other high heat, neutral oil)
Make a bouquet garni with the crushed garlic cloves, cracked black peppercorns and bay leaves. You can use cheesecloth, a coffee filter or a tea strainer. Trim the excess fat off of the chicken thighs and place in a medium saucepan. Nestle the bouquet garni in the chicken. Combine the vinegars, soy sauce and half of the coconut milk and add it to the saucepan. Add just enough water to the mixture to cover. Bring the mixtures to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer until the chicken is nearly cooked through (approx. 12-15 minutes).
At this point you can refrigerate the entire mixture until you are ready to enjoy. Remove the chicken from the soy-vinegar mixture and set aside. Return the soy-vinegar mixture to a simmer and allow it to reduce while you finish the chicken. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels while you heat a large saucepan over high heat. When the pan in screaming hot add some of the oil and sear the chicken until browned. Add the remaining coconut milk to the soy-vinegar mixture just to warm it through. Discard bouquet garni. Serve the chicken over the rice with the extra sauce on the side.
To see some of the world’s top athletes in action this summer go to www.toronto2015.org/tickets