January 28th, 2015
Recipe: blood orange pâte de fruit
In this final week of January, I’ve watched the snow in my neighborhood practically get up and walk away. Actually, it just melted really, really fast under bright sun and in unseasonably warm 60°F temperatures. For skiers and riders and snow enthusiasts, this is Mother Nature giving us the bird. I did my part though. I got my car washed on Monday and we received a little – just a very little – bit of snow today on the mountain. My hope is for a snowier February because January was a stinker for snowfall. But even without heaps of snow, there are always things to look forward to. For one, Chinese New Year will be February 19th and that means you have to eat ALL OF THE LUCKY FOODS starting on the 18th. I’ll talk more about that next week. And I think some big sports ball event will take place this weekend which will hopefully keep folks off the ski slopes. Then there is Valentine’s Day, which I typically revolt against on principle alone. For a good many years I detested Valentine’s Day for the greed, the guilt, the implications, the sexism, the exclusion. These days, my attitude has shifted. Valentine’s Day, like any other day, is reason to just be nice to people. Be nice. Don’t be a douchebag. Such a good set of rules for life.
One thing that never fails to put a smile on most people’s faces is to hand them a little bag of homemade sweets. I like trying new recipes for desserts, baked goods, and confections. It’s dealing with the aftermath that I dread – like having 63 blood orange pâte de fruits (fruit jellies) on my kitchen counter. Having tasted the first one, I didn’t really need to taste more and certainly not 63 more, which is why I love to bag them up and distribute to friends and family.
sugar, a pat of butter, liquid pectin, blood oranges
juicing the blood oranges
boil one whole orange for 10 seconds
**Jump for more butter**
January 25th, 2015
Recipe: kimchi meatloaf
It was one of those weekends here on the Front Range, much like other winter weekends on the Front Range. For starters, we were treated to stunning sunrises.
fiery sunrise looking east toward boulder
sunlit snowy peaks
And then in true Front Range fashion, we bounced from a high of 11°F this past week to near 60°F tomorrow. You know what that means. Well, maybe you don’t know… but we do. It means wind. That kind of temperature shift around here brings the winds. I checked the forecast Friday night before going to bed and NOAA was predicting gusts up to 33 mph. That’s nothing for the Front Range – a breezy day. By morning, NOAA had “updated” the winds to 50 mph, which is considerably less pleasant for ski touring in the mountains. This happens so often that I have developed trust issues with NOAA. But as I said to Jeremy Saturday morning, “If I let the wind dictate when I go outside to ski, I’d never get to ski.”
putting climbing skins away and getting blasted by a ground blizzard
twila with the mountain we opted not to summit in the distance
The character of our winter winds is antagonistic, but also unpredictable. I know NOAA isn’t trying to intentionally lie to me, it just feels that way because they haven’t been great at predicting the wind around here. I don’t know that anyone is good at it. Living in the mountains, you learn to roll with what comes because moving away from the mountains isn’t an option. Mountain living is just that good. We worked Sunday until there was a lull in the winds in the late afternoon – our cue to grab the skis and drive to a trailhead. The trail starts at the local ski resort where throngs of families from the flats were up for their weekend fix. We left the commotion behind and quickly made our way up the trail. Once over the ridge, the hum of the ski lifts and the screams of happy (or terrified?) children gave way to the soft scratching of skis on snow. Tall conifers closed in around us as we moved deeper into the national forest.
it’s like a sunday stroll, but better
By the time we skied out to the top of the bunny hill, the resort had closed and three lonely cars remained in the parking lot below. There’s something fun about skiing down the bunny hill whether on my teles, my skate skis, or my touring skis. Once at the base, we high-fived, carried our skis to the car, and asked each other, “What do you want for dinner?” It’s always a good idea to have plans for feeding after skiing, otherwise we wind up eating out. This time, I had meatloaf already made – kimchi meatloaf.
ground beef, fish sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, cornstarch, black pepper, kimchi, panko crumbs, milk, onion, egg, garlic, ginger
mince the garlic and chop the kimchi
grate half the onion
grate the ginger
**Jump for more butter**
January 21st, 2015
Recipe: shredded brussels sprouts and kale salad
The Colorado snowpack has been running below average (88%) with a string of sunny days for much of the first three weeks of January. But as my favorite meteorologist-skier, Joel Gratz, has said, if we’re going to get dissed on snowfall, January is a good time for it. That’s because the sun angle in January is quite low (and the days are still pretty short) which means less melt. As we move into February and March, that sun climbs higher in the sky each day and it can take a toll on the snow if Mother Nature doesn’t grace us with some of the fluffy stuff. On our last day in Crested Butte it began to snow in the late afternoon. It was just a little, but enough to feel the flakes falling on my cheeks as we skate skied back to the car. We could see the snow clouds moving in from all directions.
non-skiing activities included hugging on my favorite neighborhood
wookie dog, wyatt
The next morning, we woke early to get on the road back home. Overnight, it had snowed far more than anyone (Joel, NOAA, all of the weather people) had been expecting. It was less in Crested Butte and more as we neared the I-70 corridor. Typical of Colorado weather, the storm gave way to sunshine and blue skies. Icy and snowy roads became snow-packed roads became slushy roads became wet roads became dry roads. We drive past a number of ski resorts on our route from Crested Butte to Nederland and happen to have passes for some of them. Copper Mountain reported 7 inches of powder that morning, so we “justified” stopping for a few runs by saying the freeway could melt out a little more while we sampled the snow.
jeremy thought it was pretty darn good
the view south, looking out of bounds
It’s feeling less like Spring and more like Winter – as it should! The snow came down all day Wednesday here in the Front Range, which puts me back in the mood for hot soups. But winter also makes me crave salads and fruits. I know some folks try to get their vegetables in the form of a smoothie. It seems to be rampant along with January-sudden-onset-exercise. Whatever works, I suppose. Me? I personally dislike smoothies – and I say “dislike” because I don’t want to use the word “hate” even though that is what I mean. I actually enjoy eating vegetables (and fruit) in solid form. The textures and flavors are precisely what I like about eating them. It’s so much easier to get your vegetables and your exercise when it’s something you love, don’t you think?
In the past few months, I’ve become hooked on a shredded Brussels sprouts and kale salad. Last spring, a Whole Foods Market opened in Frisco which is on the road between Nederland and Crested Butte. It used to be that our only quick food options right off the freeway were fast food, so this was a welcome addition to our choices. Jeremy usually gets soup or something hot, but I load up on salad. I make a point of sampling some of the salad bar’s prepared salads. Most of them don’t get sampled a second time, but I kept returning to this one salad because it was so crunchy and refreshing. The salad bar (or anything) at Whole Foods ain’t cheap, so it was only a matter of time before I sought out a recipe to make at home.
kale, brussels sprouts, pecorino, black pepper, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, salt, garlic, shallot, lemon, olive oil, dijon mustard
strip the kale from the ribs
roll the leaves up
chiffonade the kale
**Jump for more butter**