Recipe: Carb Loading Done Right

It’s race week for a couple big races in both the road and trail running scene. The Boston Marathon takes place on Monday and the final Golden ticket race for Western States takes place at the Lake Sonoma 50 miler on Saturday. You know what that means: carb loading is in full swing. While I am not running either race, I am a really good friend, and any good friend knows, carb loading is more effective when done together. There are lots of ways to carb load, but I want to share one way to eat my favorite carb: rice cakes.
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Before you go getting all riled up, I’m not talking about the dry cardboard that tries to pass itself off as a snack. I’m talking about the glorious, chewy Korean rice cakes that I first discovered at Mission Chinese in San Francisco. They are calorie dense, gluten free little favor absorbers with a great texture – as long as you don’t overcook them. So below I share one of my two favorite ways to eat them.

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Punisher’s Rice Cake Soup

This recipe is simple and can take many forms. All you need is a broth, some rice cakes, some veggies and some kind of protein. When I lived alone over the summer, I ate the simple version of this a lot because it is fast, easy, and delicious.

Broth

The power of this dish is in the broth. A good broth has deep flavors and is packed with lots of essential nutrients that are great for boosting your immune system right before a big race. I like to make a big batch of the Mineral Broth with beef bones from Run Fast Eat Slow to get the added benefits of all that gelatin, but if the idea of boiling a bunch of vegetables for hours doesn’t appeal to you, my favorite broth to purchase is the Pho broth by Nona Lim. I like to add fresh grated ginger, soy sauce and garlic-chili paste to kick it up a notch

Rice Cakes

I buy them from my local Korean market in bulk. They freeze great. Most of them are just rice and water, but if you are GF, make sure the ingredients list is in English so you can confirm there’s nothing nasty added. My rule of thumb is a handful of rice cakes per person. It doesn’t seem like much, but these are calorie dense little suckers.

Protein

I either use pre-peeled frozen shrimp or make a big batch of Pho meatballs from Well Fed 2 and keep them in the freezer. Tofu would work too.

Greens

I usually have a bunch of hearty greens on hand: spinach, kale and chard are all great options. I also top with fresh scallion and cilantro

Directions

Combine the broth, the protein and the rice cakes and gently boil until the race cakes start to float. They should be tender, but not too squishy. This will take a little longer if your rice cakes and protein are frozen. Turn off the heat and add the leafy greens. Pour into a bowl and top with cilantro and green onions. Enjoy!

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