Ruminations of a Yogastronomist: One

Living in Manhattan, I would love to be able to eschew Yoga and all those chic lithe ladies toting their mats around town. Instead, I have taken to it. Running elicits strange pains and disconcerting ennui. I get ear infections, distressing lane possessiveness, and really dry hair from swimming. And I am not always good at structuring my time to allow for regular workouts. I’ve come to find that routinely going to Yoga classes with particularly good instructors has helped my strength and flexibility. It has enhanced my mind-body awareness and overall focus and composure. At the risk of sounding cliché, I even manage to have an occasional transformative experience which permeates my perspective ever so slightly.

Shavasana – final relaxation or “corpse” pose - is an opportunity to contemplate the dedication of the day’s practice and rest and rejuvenate the senses. One is supposed to calm the mind and focus on the breath or a mantra. I have yet to figure out how to land a mantra (where do you get one anyway?) and I am preternaturally prone to unfocused thoughts. And because, perhaps most significantly, visits to my gym are often followed by a trip through the secret elevator to the slightly shameful Whole Foods Market, I often find my Shavasana an opportunity to meditate…about what’s for supper.

Serves 2

You’ll need skewers for the kabobs and a broiler safe pan (my favorite is a cast iron skillet) or a grill.

juice and zest of one lemon plus 2 slices of lemon for garnish
(don’t forget to zest BEFORE juicing!)
2 cloves chopped garlic
handful chopped fresh basil (save a few leaves for garnish)
4 tablespoons orange olive oil* and/or olive oil
course sea or kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

1 lb. swordfish cut in 1 inch cubes
sweet yellow or red grape or cherry tomatoes
small cultivated, crimmini, or “baby bella" mushrooms
mixed greens
sliced avocado (optional)
crumbled goat cheese (optional)

Soak bamboo skewers in water to prevent splintering and burning.

Make marinade by whisking together lemon juice, ½ of the zest, and next 5 ingredients. Marinate swordfish for at least an hour in fridge, turning one or twice to coat completely.

Preheat broiler or grill.
Skewer pieces of swordfish alternating with sweet tomatoes and mushrooms.

Place on hot grill or in cast iron skillet (or other broiler safe pan). Spoon marinade over and broil or grill til done, turning once (6-8 minutes).

Serve over mixed greens and top with pan drippings, zest, a drizzle of the orange olive oil, fresh black pepper, slivered basil, slices of lemon, and avocado or goat cheese(if using).

As a alternative, substitute cilantro and lime for the basil and lemon, omit the mushrooms and goat cheese, and serve fish and tomatoes with heated tortillas and avocado for tasty swordfish tacos.

*COOK’S NOTE: I normally steer clear of using obscure ingredients but once in a while I find something that is worth obtaining. I’m loving the orange olive oil these days. It is sublimely smooth and fragrant - simply drizzled over a salad, a crusty grainy bread, fresh mozzarella, or pasta. It isn’t expensive or hard to find – online, in upscale markets, or at Williams Sonoma. It is traditionally made by crushing the fruit with the olives at the time of pressing. However, you can make your own by heating up 1 cup of olive oil (opt for the best quality mild and smooth virgin oil) and pouring it over an orange cut into 4 pieces. Cover the mixture and let it infuse for a few days.

sandie, Sep 19 2006 9:45PM

When I do yoga, I have the same problem. It seems like the relaxation poses don't help me think about the benefits of yoga but instead start a cascade of thoughts about everything else.