The Will to Run

When I was in high school, I played lacrosse for two miserable seasons. In my second season, while the team was out on a run and everyone was complaining about shin splints and hot weather, I realized that I just liked running. I immediately joined cross country, and then my love affair with running started. I loved running. I love the moment when you hit “that point” when you feel everything dropping away and the magic starts. Where nothing else matters but you, your feet, and the endless distance you can run.

Then, in 10th grade, in the midst of a run, just before I was about to get to “that” point… something went wrong. My toe caught something, and as I fell I knew I wouldn’t be finishing the run. I just knew. My ankle and knee blew up to the size of melon and turned a hideous shade of purple, green, and blue. After two months of being immobilized, I shredded the bandages holding the immobilizing foam to my leg. I put my running shoes back on, and started to run. My toes would turn angry shades of purple, and my knee would turn red and throb for days… but I would run because I needed it. I needed to burn the angry and resentment and rage I felt for being so hurt and not healing fast enough. I never ran competitively again in high school. And after a few visits to the doctor and repeated “you need surgery” talks, I refused to ever set foot in a sports medicine doctor’s office again.

In college, I simply ran a couple loops around my neighborhood, or would strap on my rollerblades and speed along. Occasionally I would set myself at the bottom of the steepest hill, and sprint to the top. I wasn’t as good or strong, but I ran anyway. I continued to run, even after I started working my 70 hour weeks. I would get home at midnight, and after putting on my reflective vest, I would run in the dark. Just me, the inky night, and my feet. The silence you feel after you get into a run is amplified by the darkness, only to be punctuated by random headlights. Those late night runs got me through hundreds of hours of stress.

Then, I came to law school and continued to run. It was my way of getting to know Baltimore… and when a few people in my property  class said they were running a half marathon, I signed up too. In two months, I trained and managed to out run almost all of the students I ran with. So, I kept going. I ran another… and then another. But I never imagined that I would run a full marathon because I didn’t think my bum ankle or knee could handle it… or that I would have the time or patience. Then a month ago, I ran my fourth half marathon and then a week later ran my personal best time in a 10 mile race. I felt great. I didn’t have any joint pain… so I kept going. I ran and ran and ran when I was on vacation… and when I got home I decided to do the full.

Yesterday, I didn’t have much time to run. I started at 7, and normally it’s too dark to run safely by 8:00pm. So I decided to run a 3 mile pick up run. Basically, 1 mile normal pace, 1/2 mile sprint, 1 mile normal, 1/2 mile sprint, and then jog the rest of it out home. In the last 1/2 mile sprint, I set my sights on a guy in an orange t-shirt. He was tall… and fast. But… I was faster. I was never a fan of sprinting, but there is a moment when you get to your maximum speed, and you feel like you can just fly. Your legs are just cranking out the paces and nothing is stopping you from just taking flight. I love that feeling. I just hate stopping, because then the rest of you catches up and starts clamoring for attention. Your lungs burn, and you can’t seem to stop gasping for air… your heart is beating so hard you can hear it and your feet burn from the friction. But the moment when you feel the ground dropping away, and when everything is still while you race through time… it’s worth it.

Oh! But I didn’t get to the most basic part of running. The food. In running, nutrition is crucial. Because even the smallest changes in diet can screw you up. Just before my 10 mile race, I discovered that I was no longer horribly allergic to apples. So for the entire week before the race, I bolted down two bushels of apples. I didn’t remember apples being so utterly delicious! But then at mile 5, that weeks worth of apples was really biting me in the ass. Because I hadn’t eaten apples in over 10 years and because of the tremendous amount of sugar and fiber… well, you can guess exactly how I felt.

A few days after the race, I landed in Punta Cana (DR). And after eating random resort food and some random street food too (yes, I know… street food?!), I came home to so major gastro-intestinal distress. I’m pretty good at ignoring my body and running, but I was glued to my apartment because I just needed to use the bathroom all of the time (overshare? hahaha). But because I had decided (and committed) to running the full marathon, I was really itching to get back out running. So, I reverted to the time tested (and mommy approved) jook. It’s Korean rice porridge, and it works every single time. It doesn’t matter what ails you, it will make you feel better immediately. So, any time I need to find homeostasis with my body… this is what I eat.

Jook for Whatever Ails You (Kaprise Kitchen style)

  • 1/3 cup of rice (Korean people use glutinous rice, or sweet rice. For this recipe you can use either white or brown, but if you use brown you will need to pre-soak for an hour or two ahead of time)
  • 2 cups of good chicken broth
  • 2 carrots, finely diced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of frozen corn (optional)
  1. In a pot, bring the chicken broth to a simmer
  2. Rinse the rice 3 or 4 times. I use a fine mesh sieve and run the rice under cold water for several minutes, stirring to make sure I rinse all debris away
  3. Add the rice, and simmer covered on low for about 1 hour. Check on the rice every 15 minutes, stirring to make sure the rice does not burn or stick to the bottom of the pot. The rice should eventually begin to break apart to form a thick porridge and the liquid should completely be absorbed.
  4. The rice should be completely mushy… if you need, add more broth.
  5. Add carrot and corn and simmer for 15 more minutes.
  6. Serve! You can add a little bit of soy sauce or salt for more flavor… but I find that when I’m not feeling well, the plain and unadulterated jook is just perfect.


  • Jook is normally made with just rice and water, but I think that the chicken broth makes it more substantial and nutritional
  • I just like pretty colors, so I add vegetables to my jook, but this is not traditional at all. However, if you like eating colorful food (like I do) you can add peas or spinach or any variety of pretty vegetables to this.
  • Jook takes a while to come together – be patient, and let the jook simmer on low for as long as it takes. I normally simmer mine for an hour – but sometimes as long as 2 to make it more delicious
  • You can make jook with left-over rice… but I think this way is yummier


In law school, I think a lot about guilt. We learn and analyze guilt on so many different levels, and think about proving guilt, disproving guilt, and the nature of guilt. Law school has changed the way I think of people, maybe it’s the cynic in me, but I see things in terms of lawsuits, guilt, and how solid my arguments to nail you to the proverbial wall. I judge things based on the gravity of the information I have in my possession… and I research to further analyze whether my judgment is sound. I judge. I judge a lot.

The other day, someone asked me, “What are your guilty pleasures?” And I thought… how could something that is pleasurable be guilty? Is it wrong? Are you doing something morally questionable? Why does something that make you happy a guilty thing?  Because in my mind – pleasure is good. Feeling good is good. So… what is guilty about it? A lot of people talk about food like that… chocolate is their guilty pleasure… or cupcakes. Or ribs. But to me? Food is never guilty or bad or regrettable. I believe in eating all of the wonderful things in the world and enjoying every single bite… and then if you are worried about the calories? You go run it off… I don’t believe in low calorie. I don’t believe in fat-free. I don’t believe in sugar free. I don’t believe in skipping meals. I don’t believe in dieting to lose weight. I believe in loading up on all of the good things in life. Food, exercise, and laughs.

Anyway, a few years back, my sister and I saw some stellar reviews for an arepas bar in NYC. I was working in the Financial District at the time, so my sister collected by father and me from work and we went to the arepas bar. It was delicious. Granted, my dignified father, sister, and I were squished in a little hole in the wall restaurant table nailed against the wall… but the food was delicious. And I was instantly infatuated with the idea of making my own arepas. After doing my research, I bought a bag of masarepa flour and fixings. My family and I ate arepas for months afterward… it was one of those treats we would gather around the table to eat. It was fun. We’d hollow out the pillows of arepas and load them up with cheese, beans, and meat. It was messy, and inevitably the munchkin would stick her head through our arms and try to lick the table. It was so much fun, and so delicious.

So, now that I live alone and in a little apartment, arepas are few and far between. The frying oil permeates my apartment, and I dislike sitting eating what I consider family food by myself. The arepas we ate at the arepas bar were thick, and hollowed out to make room for fillings, but I make mine thin and crisp. It eliminates the hollowing out step, and then I top the arepas with toppings like canapes. I think this would be an amazing appetizer for a dinner party, the crisp little arepas are just phenomenal with melted cheese and beans. I think any topping would be phenomenal. Maybe some pulled pork, or chicken to make them heartier.

Arepas (Kaprise Kitchen Style)

  • 1 cup of masarepa flour (this is different than masa harina!)
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of black beans
  • 1/2 cup of salsa (or homemade pico de gallo)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheese (any kind! I used a pre-shredded mix from the grocery)
  • hot sauce (Tabasco, Cholula, whatever floats your boat)
  • 1/2 -1 cup of canola oil
  1. In a bowl, stir together masarepa and water until the water is absorbed. Cover the mixture for 10 minutes
  2. After the dough has rested a bit, wet your hands and form the dough into 2 tablespoon patties. Flatten them to about 1/4 inch thick. I used about 1 1/2 tablespoons per circle to make smaller and cuter arepas.
  3. Heat 1/2 cup of oil in a skillet
  4. Fry the arepas in the oil until golden, about 4 minutes per side.
  5. Allow the arepas to drain on paper towels, continue to fry the remaining arepas.
  6. Arrange the arepas on a cookie sheet
  7. Top with black beans and cheese
  8. Broil (on high) arepas until the cheese has melted
  9. Top with salsa and serve.
  10. The arepas keep well in the refrigerator (without salsa) for up to 3 days. You can simply reheat in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Crispy Falafel

This morning, I had planned on running at 7:00am and then getting to the library just as it was opening. My plans were shot when I woke up this morning to thunderclaps and my poor little munchkin huddled on the covers shuddering. The poor thing is terrified of thunder and shakes like a little leaf. So I slept in and went for my run at noon when the thunder had passed and my munchkin was no longer trembling.

I normally don’t run when it’s rainy outside or water is on the ground because I don’t want to fall. I’ve broken and sprained more than my fair share of bones and joints, and I know the waiting for everything to knit back up will drive me insane. Everyone wants me to run, because I get crazy without it! Anyway, this was my first training run since April 3 (when I ran the Cherry Blossom 10mi), and as I was hitting mile 6, the rain started again. It was glorious. I used to love running in the rain, because everything seems to wash away and the world just seems cleaner. I loved the smell of the cold rain hitting the hot pavement and the precipitation-disliking people scuttling inside. My run was like that today… no one else except me and my feet.

I felt so good, I registered for another half marathon in 21 days! Because I can use the extra race and motivation to get prepared. I’m running my first WHOLE 26.2 miles in July, and the mileage scares me just a bit. I need every minute I can get to get ready. I just want to finish it, but I also want to have a solid time too!

Anyway, since it is finals, I haven’t really been eating anything but the quickest cheese and black bean wraps. I’m craving good vegetables, so on a study break day, I’ll run over to a good grocery and load up.  I read a while back that chickpeas are good for you, so I made falafel. Because, no matter what it is… it always tastes better crispy!!

Crispy Falafel (Kaprise Kitchen Style)

  • 15 oz of chickpeas, drained (or reconstituted chickpeas, about a cup and a half) and then crushed
  • 1 onion, minced finely
  • 2 carrots, minced finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced finely
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh basil, chiffonade
  •  1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 egg,whisked
  • 2-3 tablespoons of flour
  • 1/4 cup of oil
  1. In a large bowl, crush chickpeas with a fork. I like mine just a bit chunky, so I don’t go crazy. If you like a smoother texture, feel free to use a food processor.
  2. Stir in onion, carrots, garlic, basil and lemon juice.
  3. Stir in egg, and depending on the texture of the mixture, add 2-3 tablespoons of flour.
  4. The batter should resemble a loose cookie dough – firm enough to be shaped into patties, but loose enough to flatten in a pan.
  5. In a pan, heat the oil.
  6. Form the dough into 2 tablespoon patties. Fry gently, about 4-5 minutes per side until firm.
  7. Serve over greens with a bit of tahini.

Note: I think the next time I make this, I’ll add more vegetables. Maybe a bit of kale or spinach to pack more nutrient rich vegetables into the patties. 🙂

Peanut Sesame Noodles

I remember I loved those Chinese takeout noodles that were just sticky with peanut butter. There was something just so good about those noodles…

Since becoming a pseudo adult (I mean really, I just feel like adult sounds so… blah! and I’m not blah!), I’ve been cooking more and more. Plus, now I have healthy neurosis about germs and dirty hands, and then my weird love affair with bleaching things… but besides the point. And, I live in Baltimore. KFC and McDonald’s takes 20 minutes, and it’s already made!! So I cook for myself. A lot of people say that cooking for one is sad… is it? I would rather make my food the way I want it and not have to consider anyone else. (I had a boyfriend who used to liberally salt and pepper anything I made before even taking a single bite… and that pissed me off.)

This recipe is just enough for one serving of noodles, with just a bit of sauce to spare for dipping veggies in or to refrigerate until the next time you need some quick noodles. These noodles take me 20 minutes from when I put the water up to when I’m done eating. Super quick!

Peanut Sesame Noodles (liberally adapted from New York Times, April 2007)

  • 1 serving of noodles (I normally use buckwheat soba noodles, but angel hair, egg noodles, or whatever fits your fancy would be fine too)
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar (I have used white vinegar and it tastes just fine)
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame paste (I used tahini)
  • 1 tablespoon of chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chopped garlic
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • 1 pinch of ginger (if you have fresh ginger, just a quick swipe on a microplane should do it)
  • 1 teaspoon of chili paste (I have the Korea kind – go-chu-jjang. But you can omit this, or substitute red pepper flakes for the spice)
  • Sliced vegetables and a bit of salad (I use cucumber, tomato and a bit of arugula)
  1. Boil a pot of water and add the noodles. In the mean time – make the sauce
  2. In a small, microwave-proof bowl stir all of the ingredients (minus the veggies) together.
  3. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir until smooth
  4. Once the noodles are cooked – drain immediately and toss with 3 tablespoons of the sauce (or you get the amount of sauce you want on the noodles).
  5. Add veggies and eat!

(Note: These noodles do not taste good cold, so you are best making just enough for your meal. Save the sauce in the fridge for next time, just microwave for 30 seconds before tossing with the fresh noodles)

Arugula, Clam, Corn and Tomato Pasta

What a mouthful to say! But even more delicious!

As a kid growing up, I loved snowstorms. There was something beautiful about the quiet silence that descended after the lush blanket of white snow had just wrapped itself around everything. Snow days in particular were wonderful, you’d wake up with the bright sun shining through the window but know that the beautiful white wall of snow was keeping you home with your mom. My mom once told me that she loved snow days as much as we did, because she got to spend a little extra time with us. My mom would make us delicious breakfasts and in the deepest snows would take us on adventures. Once we went sledding down a huge abandoned ski slope, and another time we went to McDonald’s and sat warming our feet on the car heater eating french fries and ice cream. So, it’s no wonder that I have a wonderfully soft spot for snowstorms and snow days.

Today, after 5 inches of slushy snow descended on the city, my classes were canceled. (Yesterday’s too after 1 inch of snow!) I’ve realized that in this part of the country… snow is considered an apocalyptic event. I went to undergrad where classes were canceled once (and that was because nearly FOUR FEET of snow fell in a single night), so I laugh a little whenever I get a snow day and there are mere inches of snow on the ground.

Since there is snow on the ground and people are swarming the grocery stores, I stayed home with my little muchkin and made a pasta of what I had on hand.

Arugula, Clam, Corn and Tomato Pasta (Snowy day pasta!), Kaprise Kitchen Original

  • 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat pasta shells
  • 2 handful of baby arugula
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup of canned clams
  • 1/4 cup of frozen sweet corn
  • 1/2 cup of sliced grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of white wine (preferably dry)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of basil
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 dash of Worchestire sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  1. This makes enough for 2 people
  2. Boil salted water and cook pasta until al dente
  3. In a sauce pan, heat the olive oil and saute the onions until lightly brown
  4. Add the tomatoes and corn, and stir until the moisture has been released from the tomatoes
  5. Add the white wine, basil, nutmeg, red pepper and Worchestire sauce and heat until bubbly
  6. Add the clams and simmer for 2 minutes
  7. Remove the sauce from the heat and quickly stir in the minced garlic
  8. Drain your pasta and divide into two bowls
  9. Top the hot pasta with a handful of arugula and then top with a heart scoop of the sauce

This recipe from start to finish took me less than 15 minutes and I ate the piping hot pasta sitting on my windowsill with some warm tea.

Notes on this recipe

  • Baby spinach, steamed kale or any other green would be great in this pasta – I personally like the peppery taste of the arugula more than the sweeter and milder greens at the market now
  • I added a sprinkle of Parmesan because I do not pepper or salt my food, but feel free to add a sprinkle of salt and pepper to the sauce for some oomph in addition to some cheese
  • I used a very dry Mediterranean house wine for the sauce, but feel free to use a sweeter wine with spinach so the acidity doesn’t over power the greens.



Chicken Soup

A couple days ago, a friend told me she was making chicken soup and invited me over. Much to my dismay, she was pouring a carton of chicken stock into a pot and throwing some random things from her refrigerator into the pot. I do like making everything from scratch, if not for the challenge but to procrastinate just a teensy bit more, but chicken soup is one thing I will never eat out of a box, a can, or otherwise. I cringe at the thought of pre-made soup, and I cringe at restaurant made soup too. I just don’t like the idea of someone else making my soup.

This chicken soup is a little riff on what my mom used to make us as kids. It’s easy, and all you have to do is put it all in the pot and walk away until it’s just beautifully fragrant and delicious. I use chicken legs for this because I dislike using whole chickens, but you need some bones to boil to get that delicious and silky quality to your soup.

Chicken Soup

  • 4 to 6 drumsticks, cleaned and skinned
  • 1 carrot, cleaned and chopped in half
  • 1 stalk of celery, cleaned and chopped in half
  • 1 small shallot, peeled
  • 1 tbl of fresh garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper

finishing touches

  • 1 carrot, sliced into coins
  • 1 stalk of celery, sliced into half moons
  • 2 small red potatoes, diced and rinsed thoroughly
  • sprinkle of fresh parsley
  1. Put all of the main ingredients into a large pot (my Le Creuset and I are inseparable during the winter) and cover with filtered water (use about 1 tsp of salt and pepper)
  2. Simmer on medium to low heat for 1 hour (I normally put this on the stove and then go for a walk, pick up some bread and come home).
  3. Remove the chicken and bones. Discard the bones and shred the chicken meat into a bowl.
  4. Remove the boiled vegetables and discard
  5. Skim any fat off the top of the soup (shouldn’t be much since we took the skin off the meat)
  6. Season to taste – maybe a little extra pepper
  7. At this point, I usually put the entire (cooled) pot into the refrigerator to make sure I get ALL of the fat off the top of the soup. But you can skip this if you can’t wait to have your soup
  8. Bring to a gentle simmer and drop in the potatoes and cooked chicken. Boil for 5 minutes before adding the rest of the vegetables. I like crunchy vegetables, so I let everything percolate for only 2 or 3 minutes more before I serve… but feel free to cook the vegetables to your liking.

Store leftovers in an airtight container. I freeze the stock before I add the finishing vegetables. The soup should keep well in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days and up to 1 month frozen

Easy Tomato Sauce

(Whole wheat pizza with Easy Tomato Sauce, mozzarella and artichokes)

A while back there was a recipe for tomato and butter sauce that everyone was raving about. It was simple – tomatoes, butter and an onion. The result was a velvety sauce with the richness of the butter just shining through. It is a good recipe. It’s easy and all you need to do is stir. As a law student, I like easy recipes that stay delicious through multiple meals and that store easily. So, this recipe was my go to for quite some time. I used it on pasta, pizza, eggs, whole wheat tortillas, you name it.

However, like anyone who spends a lot of time puttering around the kitchen, I believe that there is always room for improvement. So I changed the recipe, but I didn’t want to spend more time stirring or chopping so only added one ingredient and condensed the steps so that I could put this sauce up, study, and when I’m finished reading my sauce is done. I love things like this, the kind you can set up and leave alone while you do your work. It makes me feel like I’m doing more.

This sauce freezes beautifully and pairs well with just about anything. I freeze 1/2 cup portions and toss it with fresh pasta as needed. I noticed that full cup portions are a little too hefty for me, and the 1/2 cup keeps me in check. I might run a lot, but not enough to burn 2,000 calories of tomato and carb.

Easy Tomato Sauce

  • 2 cans of 28oz of whole tomatoes, try to find cans that are lined and BPA free
  • 2 medium sized yellow onions, peeled and halved root to tip
  • 7 tablespoons of salted butter, sliced in 1 tablespoon increments (I have a feeling you could get away with as few as 5 tablespoons of butter and still have a great sauce)
  • 1 1/2 cups of good red wine (I wouldn’t open a good bottle of wine just for this sauce, but if you have a cup or two left over from your last bottle – the kind that is too good to chuck but too aired to save – this is the place to use it right up)
  1. Begin to heat your pot and pour in the tomatoes. (I like using my Le Creuset for this project). With a pair of kitchen shears, cut each of the whole tomatoes into 3 or 4 pieces.  I find that by cutting apart the whole tomatoes you can skip the pureeing and the squishing of the tomatoes during the cooking process.
  2. Add the butter, wine and onion. Stir until the wine is incorporated well.
  3. Cover the pot and lower the heat to just below a simmer.
  4. Set your timer for 2 hours.
  5. Read, do homework, clean your bathroom. Periodically (say every 30 minutes) take a peek and stir your sauce so nothing sticks to the bottom of your pot
  6. After 2 hours has elapsed, stir your sauce thoroughly, mashing any large bits of tomato that haven’t broken down (or leave them if you like more texture).
  7. Remove the onion halves from the sauce. The original recipe tells you to discard this. But as a poor as a church mouse and gaining debt by the minute law student – I make use of every single thing I can. Put the onion in a glass dish and store for later. I served the onion sprinkled with a little balsamic vinegar, heated with slices of buttered, crusty baguette at a wine party. It was delicious.
  8. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. I found that with the delicious addition of red wine that no other seasoning was necessary.