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October 13, 2021. Actually, right after the run. Savory, sweet, herbaceous, bright and juicy. Thoroughly satisfying but very light. You’ll be delighted to have these in your mouth any time. Less than 10 minutes of active preparation. Barely 20 minutes of cooking time. Learn to make them in the next 3 minutes.

You really can learn something new every day. After a month of not-too-strenuous training, I learned I could run a 10K race. Not so fast. But not so slow, either. I was a guest of the gracious, fit and fast Runner’s World staff. Who provided lunch after a surprise 5K “shakeout” run the day before my 10K. A lunch that included a mushroom dish that’s so spectacularly flavorful you want to make it at home. Which was pretty easy because my hosts also provided a copy of the Runner’s World Cookbook. Here’s how I made the mushrooms that light up every flavor bud you’ve got.

For two servings to satisfy hungry runners, walkers, cooks and eaters
1 pound of meaty mushrooms like portobello or cremini, cleaned and sliced to bite size
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 orange, juiced
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of chili powder
Salt to taste
Option: 1 teaspoon of fresh cilantro and 1 tablespoon of shredded fresh cheese (like queso blanco or mozzarella) to garnish each serving

Mushrooms on fruity acid
It’s the citric acid and fresh fruit sugars from the lime and orange juice that combine with classic Mexican herbs to give this dish its huge flavor sensation. Flavors that somehow intensify the earthy flavors of the mushrooms. Runner’s World‘s recipe wraps the mushrooms in soft corn tortillas. After 15K of running, I wasn’t prepared to roll my own tortillas, but I was up to a pot of whole grain polenta to accompany the main attraction.

Warm the olive oil, oregano, cumin, chile powder and garlic in a big pan over medium heat. Two minutes and three or four stirs. Then add the mushrooms and onions. Bring the heat up to medium high and give a quick stir once a minute for 5 minutes. Now turn the heat back down and stir in the juices. 5 more minutes until the nearly all the liquid is absorbed or evaporated. Salt to taste. It’s ready to serve.

On a tortilla or polenta. Or with just good organic tortilla chips. Garnish or not. The mushrooms are the stars any Way you take them. Savory, sweet, herbaceous, bright and juicy. Thoroughly satisfying but very light.

Truly wonderful after a nice run or walk. Almost as great while you’re just thinking about one.

Cost-Benefit Analysis
Less than $2.50 per very substantial (8-ounce) serving of these explosively flavorful mushrooms. Wrap them up in a corn tortilla and you’re still under $3.

Cost Comparison
$2.99 for a veggie taco with 4 ounces of veggies at the admirable Chipotle chain.

Let’s Do The Math
15 minutes of brisk walking to burn all 75 calories in your mushroom serving. 75 of those good calories. The ones with the low, low, low Glycemic Load. Add a fresh, whole-grain corn tortilla for another 75 calories and 15 minutes. Add three because one serving of these magic mushrooms will fill them all. Now you’re up to a great 1-hour walk. On the run: just 20 – 30 minutes.

Eat your beets, too
Before you run. Say what? Turns out beets are a rich, healthful and safe source of nitrates. And nitrates have been shown to improve stamina and endurance. But the nitrates used as preservatives in sausages and bacon are associated with some cancers. Runners, take your marks: beets, not bacon.

Really, I do the research for you. But you can read the article whose title says it all: “Whole Beetroot Consumption Acutely Improves Running Performance”. It’s here, in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Just 10 days to the New York Marathon. Beet up. With quick, easy and refreshing Beet Ceviche or Savory Beet Yogurt.

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