Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Eat Like A Champion . . .

Tom:  What are you doing man?

Carlos:  I'm trying on my new bike bib.  Do you think it makes me look fat?

Tom:  You weigh like 110 pounds soaking wet, dude -- nothing makes you look fat --

Carlos:  But I like totally cheated on my training diet this week.  On Wednesday, I was supposed to have 150 grams of chicken, but when I put the steamed breast on my food scale, it came in at 165.7 grams.  There's no way I can pull off this bib now!

Tom:  Dude, I think you're losing it.  You really need to try to be more like the Bikeist and relax a little.

Carlos:  The what-ist?

Tom:  The BIKE-IST, man!  How many times do I have to tell you?  The guy with the blog.  He doesn't worry about crap like bibs and weighing food down to the gram.  He just rides.

Carlos:  Oh, that stupid blog guy -- hate him.  What does he know about fueling anyway, man?  It's an exact science.  If I didn't follow my regimen, there's no way I'd have a top 200 Strava time up Torrey Pines.

Tom:  Well, you do kind of have a point there.


Poor Tom and Carlos.  So unenlightened.  If they could only learn to let go, they might actually start to enjoy riding - and life a little.

So, in honor of everyone's favorite Über-Freds, I bring you the first in a recurring series of segments of the Bikeist's "How to Eat Like a Champion."

Today's recipe is something I like to call "Breakfast Pizza."  Being a transplant from New York, I am very serious about my pizza.  I simply will not consume chain pizza or any of the stuff passed off as pizza at most of the local places in town.  So, even though I live on Coronado, when Friday Night - Pizza Night comes around, it's across the bridge to either Bronx Pizza

-Or- Luigi's on Golden Hill:  

Both are as close as you'll get to authentic New York pizza in our pizza-wasteland, and we have to alternate in the Bikeist household due to passionate debates about the sauce recipes and crust consistency of each.  We also always wind up with more pizza than we can consume because of the endless topping battles that ensue once we determine which place I'll be driving to (Yes, yes, the Bikeist occasionally has to actually drive -- believe me, I'd get the pizzas by bike, but they'd be pretty cold by the time I crossed town and took them home on the ferry).  Since compromise is impossible, we always wind up with two pies with some variation of plain cheese, white, pesto, and/or sausage.  This pizza surplus is what led to my ingenious invention of "Breakfast Pizza."

Now, the absolute simplest version of breakfast pizza is the recipe I employed through my entire childhood on Saturday mornings.  Before tromping off to the "play-room" to watch Scooby-Doo, Looney Tunes, and Land of the Lost, I would delve into the fridge to recover left-over pizza to help fuel my Saturday morning entertainment binge (Yes, Friday Night - Pizza Night has its origins in my idyllic New York childhood).  This "recipe" consisted of placing the pizza on a plate and eating it cold in front of the TV.  Delicious!  Few things better in this world than cold Saturday morning pizza!

Well, after moving on to adulthood, I'm still not one to turn up my nose at at cold pizza.  However, my breakfast tastes have become, somewhat, more sophisticated.  As my loyal readers know, Saturday mornings for the Bikeist mean heading out at 7 am with the Crown City Cyclists, joining them down the Strand, then branching off in IB to circle the Bay and head up (at least) to UCSD and back to San Diego.  These 60-80 mile rides require some serious fuel.  My favorite weekend breakfast are my Bikeist Huevos Rancheros:  three heated corn tortillas, two over-easy eggs, fresh Chilean salsa, sour cream and cotija or cheddar cheese.  One fateful Saturday, though, I went to the fridge and, to my initial horror, found that we were out of tortillas (for probably the first time this decade).   What to do?  Well, staring me down on the middle shelf was a left-over Bronx Pizza box:

Did, I just grab a slice and wolf it down cold, as I had on so many other Saturdays?  Believe me, I was this close!  But, there was a kernel in the back corner of my brain that I had retained from the Food Channel (or was it Bon Appetit?).  I had either watched or read about an innovative method for "refreshing" left-over pizza.  Rather than drying it out in the oven, or vulcanizing it in the nuker, this method involves bringing the slice back to life in a cast iron skillet.  Why cast-iron you ask?  Because that's what all serious Food Network watching hack chefs must have in their kitchens to appear serious about cooking.  The magic of cast-iron has something to do with "seasoning" the skillet - which I'm pretty sure means never -ever- cleaning it -- even if your long-suffering wife begs, cajoles, and threatens you.

So, with that lead-in, let's walk through the steps in my creative process that morning:

Step 1:  Place cast iron skillet on burner and turn heat up half way between low and medium.  No need to add any sort of cooking oil or non-stick spray -- that's what the "seasoning" is for --

Step 2:  Place left-over Bronx Pizza slice into skillet:

To my delight, I soon saw the crust begin to soften as the cheese became melty again.  (Later attempts have revealed that the use of a lid can accelerate the cheese re-melting process).  It was at this point that my instincts kicked in.  Hovering over the stove as I re-heated something in the skillet triggered my craving for the eggs I usually consumed with tortillas.  I looked down at the slice of white pizza and thought "Why not?".  Before I knew it, I was on to:

Step 3:  Grab a no-stick pan and fry two eggs over-easy:

Step 4:  Remove "refreshed" pizza from skillet (ooh, it smells so good!) and carefully arrange the two eggs on top of the cheese (huevos rancheros style) like so:

Step 4:  Add your hot sauce of choice (in my case Siracha or Tapatio) -- see picture above.

Step 5:  Quickly brew a double-shot of Lavazza Espresso.

Step 6:  Carefully cut the pizza and eggs together so as to maximize yolk coverage and a bite of crust, cheese and egg with every forkful -- washing it down with fresh espresso:

I know what you're thinking!  "Awesome!"  Right?  I know!

Ok, Ok.  I'll admit, it doesn't make the prettiest sight.  However, I can hardly describe the deliciousness.  We all like eggs on toast, right?  Well, just think of the pizza as gourmet toast, and you're  half way there.  Who could ever expect such genius to spring from a tortilla-less morning?  You never know loyal readers, you never know . . .

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