like riding a bike June 15, 2010

WarmPotato2-3

On Sunday, I received an early birthday gift from Mike. Not just any gift…but one that he knew would mean a whole lot to me. I got a new bicycle. A really nice bicycle. As much as it's meaningful in that we'll be able to spend time together outside and I'll be able to commute to the local market without hopping in the car, it's meaningful in an entirely different way: I've never ridden a bicycle before.

I grew up inside drawing, painting and studying. My folks (my dad in particular) never had the patience to teach me how…so it fell to the wayside. I don't blame them for it – I got to be good at lots of other things because of how I was raised. Still, I'm now faced with learning how to ride a bicycle as an-almost thirty-_______ year old person…and I'm going to be perfectly honest: it scares the be-jeezus out of me. The bruises on my legs from our quick feet-on-the-ground "walk but pretend you're riding" session on Sunday are a reminder of how it made me feel more than a bit humiliated, uncoordinated, and – well – old. That having been said, I'm determined to learn how and love it…without killing myself, my relationship or anyone else in the process.

One thing I do know how to do is cook potatoes. I put this together the other night of stuff lying around the loft. You can pop the potatoes in the oven for 30 or so minutes and work on something else in the meantime. Tossing the potatoes in the vinaigrette just as they're out of the oven means that they'll soak up all the delicious dressing – that's why the dish looks naked in the photo. Trust me, it's not. While I added some arugula and capers, feel free to improvise this. Toasted pine nuts, parsley, rough chopped herbs – it's really a blank canvas.

Warm Roasted Fingerling Potato Salad – serves 4 as a side

  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes – white or purple or both – washed, dried and halved
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil – set aside 1 tbsp. for dressing & 2 tbsp. for roasting
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 cup wild baby arugula
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste

- Preheat oven to 375. Place halved potatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tbsp. olive oil. Toss to coat evenly. This should take between 30-40 minutes depending on your oven – it's about 35 in mine. You want the potatoes crisp but not brown/hard outside.

- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, and 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil. Set aside until potatoes are done roasting.

- When they potatoes are done, quickly toss them in the vinaigrette you've made. Toss gently to coat thoroughly. Allow to sit for 3-4 minutes to absorb all the flavors. Throw in capers and then salt & pepper to taste. Right before serving, add your handful (about 1 cup) of arugula and mix thoroughly. This is delicious warm but could also be served at room temperature – just add the arugula before you serve so it doesn't get mushy or wilted.

Comments

Mark Simmons Jun 15, 2010 04:06 pm

RE: the bicycle. Hang in there, it will definitely get easier. And soon you’ll start to wonder how you got around without one.
(He says confidently 12 months after riding regularly. :) )

kamran siddiqi Jun 15, 2010 05:06 pm

Two words: I’m Jealous. That bike is amazing! Was swooning over that a week ago! But what I’m swooning over more is your potato salad- yumm! I have all of the ingredients to make this, but I’m afraid that it will never make it’s way to the table, after it’s been mixed. Great post! :)

Laura Scholz Jun 15, 2010 06:06 pm

It’s so funny that we both talked about biking today! I really was the last kid on the block to learn to ride, and I’m still not comfortable on bikes–hang in there! And those potatoes look divine! Might even tempt me to cook! ;)

tami h. Jun 15, 2010 06:06 pm

My first steps are to take the pedals off and then find some grassy sloping hills and try that approach. My legs are all bruised up from them hitting the pedals. I want to ride so badly that I’m gonna do whatever it takes. Thanks for the words of encouragement. :)
- t*

tami h. Jun 15, 2010 06:06 pm

Kamran-
I even got it in the fancy grey with the beige tires and brown leather seat. It’s a gorgeous bike and I hope it sees some use SOON.
Yes…beware the snacking & sneaking of potatoes while you make this. They disappear quickly.
*hugs*
- t*

tami h. Jun 15, 2010 06:06 pm

laura-
hence me asking you about it on FB…i was in the midst of this post :) i’m determined to make it happen! this recipe is so easy…it SHOULD tempt you to cook :)
- t*

Barbara Harris Jun 15, 2010 06:06 pm

Nice bike Tami. As a child I taught myself to ride alongside a wall so I had something to steady myself against. You will love it once you master it.

Robin (Hippo Flambe) Jun 15, 2010 07:06 pm

I didn’t learn how to ride a bike until I was 12. The next time I tried to ride, I had forgotten how. Consequently I don’t use the phrase, “It’s like riding a bike.” The pedals off, scoot bike method is a great way to learn. My husband and I have a tandem bike as well, helps us to spend time together when biking given the disparity in our skill levels.
-Robin

Lynn Jun 16, 2010 04:06 am

Seems as if there was a lot of falling down in the grass when I was learning to ride a bike. Once you master balance, it is easy. I haven’t ridden one in years though. Great idea to ride it to the farmers’ market.
I am going to make that salad. Yum.

meg Jun 16, 2010 05:06 am

Hi Tamih,
I didn’t learn to ride a bike until my 30th birthday. My sister taught me in a downtown park that day. The most helpful thing: the wise words of the one-eyed bum on the bench who was watching. He told me to think about how I was using my arms, too, not just to focus on the pedals. Suddenly my whole body was working together, and having control over those handle bars, but in a more fluid, less tense way, was incredibly helpful. And then it literally just took a few minutes. Now, three years later, I ride my bike to work a few times a week, even in scary Atlanta traffic!
Good luck!!!

hakeber Jun 16, 2010 06:06 am

Good luck with the bike! I never learned either and I just turned the big 3-0. Even riding a stationary bike seems awkward to me! Maybe one day I’ll learn, but I’m with you, it seems really scary.

tami h. Jun 16, 2010 08:06 am

Thanks for the words of encouragement, Barbara :)

tami h. Jun 16, 2010 08:06 am

Robin-
I’m glad to hear that the no pedals scoot bike method is something to pursue. My legs are all black and blue from being nervous and stopping myself & banging my calves against the pedals. A tandem bike sounds like a lot of fun…but I get the impression that Mike would be mortified at the thought. Your hubby is a trooper :)
- t*

The Teacher Cooks Jun 16, 2010 08:06 am

Tami
When you are in Tampa rent a bike and ride on the beach. Get one that has no hand brakes or gears. The hard part is trying to pedal and learning to balance without using the gadgets on the handlebars. When you fall you hit the sand and it does not hurt as badly. Your potato salad is one that I am going to try. I love potato salad and yours looks incredible. Good luck with your bike!
Wanda

tami h. Jun 16, 2010 08:06 am

Lynn-
It’s the balance that worries me…not so much riding in traffic or hitting anything. I can’t wait to be able to hop on my bike and go to the grocery store, YDFM (the PATH goes between our house and there), and the Decatur Farmers Market.
- t*

tami h. Jun 16, 2010 08:06 am

meg-
thanks for the words of encouragement – i’m gonna remember that advice about the arms!
- t*

tami h. Jun 16, 2010 08:06 am

Wow! You too, eh? The part that scares me isn’t that I am going to fall or anything. Frankly, the thing that scares me is that I’m too old to learn something new. I hope you give it a try someday, too.
- t*

tami h. Jun 16, 2010 08:06 am

wanda-
that’s a great idea. i will be working through the days though…so i’m not sure of how much free time i’ll have. if i can get away and try it, i sure will. :)
- t*

Ha1ku Jun 16, 2010 10:06 am

Wow, you’ve never ridden a bike! I guess that’s just the old man in me expressing himself.
It’s a wonderful gift, as I’m sure you’ve discovered. Have a great time.

Claire Jun 22, 2010 07:06 am

I don’t blame you for being a little freaked of that bike. Riding on the streets is scary! For Father’s Day, I got my dad a tour from Bike Atlanta for a “progressive dinner” around Atlanta on bike. Hmmmm. We’ll see. You’re right, though, purple potatoes; now that’s a sure thing.
Great to meet you last night, Tami!

Traci Jun 29, 2010 11:06 am

Hi – I recently came across your blog and smiled at seeing this post. I actually started a blog approx. a month ago called “Just Like Riding a Bike” :) I had learned to ride when young, but had not been near a bike since I was probably about 12 years old. While on a trip to Europe last year, my husband and I decided to do a bike tour of Munich and I found that I could still ride! I found that biking was actually fun, so was determined that I’d begin riding when we got back. Of course, I wasn’t counting on a few little things like all the hills in Atlanta or the 95+ degree weather in summer, but I’m going to continue one way or another. I still walk up most hills!
Your bike is great!! How is it going so far? I know exactly what you mean with all the bruises from the pedals! I have a huge bruise still from about 2 weeks ago and can’t even blame it on falling off – haha! I was simply trying to walk the bike through a crowd while going out to eat in Decatur and managed to hit my leg. Hopefully you’re having fun and have been riding to the farmer’s markets :)

Sadlebred Jul 4, 2010 03:07 pm

Your bike is just lovely! I hope you have many happy years with it! I highly recommend taking a Confident Cycling class offered by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. http://www.atlantabike.org/classschedule. There is also a “Bike Basics for Women” class coming up in August

purabi naha Jun 6, 2011 05:06 am

Loved your kind of potato salad. Interesting combination of capers, red wine vinegar and dijon mustard with these cute potatoes!