baked oats green chile chicken enchiladas chow mein bakery-style butter cookies


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archive for April 2011

i may have a touch of the (spring) fever

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Recipe: steak and mushrooms on polenta

I’m back from California and this time I’m home for a good few weeks which makes me more than just a little giddy. It’s not that I don’t love California – because I love the hell out of California – but this was my fifth trip in just over seven weeks and at some point I start to long for my routine again. The trip was totally worth it though. Have a looksee.


expansive fields of tidy tips

classic combo: lupine and poppies

cherry tree blossoms



It’s spring and that means green grasses and a glorious rainbow of wildflowers in the Golden State. Timing is everything and it’s hard to get that right when you book travel a few months in advance, but we make due. You can find the full sets from day 1 and day 2 on my photo blog. On our third day, the weather forecast was for rain. California poppies don’t open when it rains, so my shooting pal and I drove north up the coast to Big Sur (beyond Big Sur, the road was closed due to a landslide). As our dumb luck would have it – the skies opened up for us!

elephant seals take a group nap

hummingbird checking me out

magical beach



The rest of day 3 along the Central Coast is on the photo blog. We rolled into Big Sur shortly after noon and stopped at Nepenthe on the recommendation of several friends for lunch with a view. Despite the cool temperatures (50s) we opted to sit out on the patio to soak up the sun and gaze out onto the Pacific. After our meal we continued up the coast and dropped by The Big Sur Bakery. We got a browned butter strawberry tart on a whim. Wow… WOW! Finest browned butter tart I’ve ever had. EVER.

dining outside at nepenthe in big sur (with a view!)

salmon appetizer

*amazing* browned butter strawberry tart from big sur bakery



On our last day we drove into Los Angeles and met with Todd and Diane and Allison and Son for ramen at Mottainai, crispy cream puffs at Marukai Market, and ethnic shopping safari. Diane loaded us up with some Vietnamese green mango pickles before we left to catch out flight back to Colorado.

ramen at mottainai: the reward at the end of the trip

diane insisted on a dozen fabulous crispy cream puffs to share



This is the second year in a row I’ve gone to shoot the spring bloom in Southern California. It’s a visual shocker to return home to snowfall, brown and crunchy dead grasses, bare aspens, and dark pine trees. But it’s home and it’s wonderful! I have a hankering for spring-like dishes lately so I figure I should get to posting the dish I made for our anniversary back in March.

simple: polenta and salt

pour in the polenta when the water comes to a boil



The first time I had polenta was in the field in Argentina and despite the project leader’s best efforts, it wasn’t so appetizing. That’s saying a lot because most things you wouldn’t think to eat at home actually taste GOOD in the field. I kept away from polenta for nearly a decade. But eventually I had it prepared properly and well at friends’ houses and restaurants. So I figured I’d give it a try at home… with mushrooms and steak.

luscious chanterelle mushrooms

thick slices



**Jump for more butter**

postcard from the fields

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

To: you
From: me

Hot, dusty, tired, and a little sunburned. Also covered in white, yellow, orange, and purple pollen. Lots of grass stains. It’s a Claritin kind of trip. Totally worth it. Achoo! See you when I get back.

-jen


joshua trees and goldfields

tidy tips among other asters

expanses of yellow

poppies move into an old burn area

cherry tree in blossom


pit stop

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Recipe: chocolate chip peanut butter cookies

Last week on my way to the airport, I read that Breckenridge had received 16 inches of snow the night before. I felt a pang in my heart as we flew over the snowy Rocky Mountains. But you know what? All of that melted away when I arrived in Seattle. I spent two days visiting with beloved friends, dining at great restaurants, seeing the city and its surrounds. Seattle is one of those places I could spend a lifetime and never get enough of it. But wait! There was more… The whole reason for my trip was a gathering of all the Nintendo Ambassadors to celebrate the launch of the Nintendo 3DS. My reaction and the reaction of all the other ambassadors was simply, “WOW!”


rebekah and erini check out the nintendo 3ds for the first time

at nintendo headquarters

lots of game play, lots of photos taken

in 2d mode



We spent the bulk of Friday learning about and experiencing different capabilities of the new Nintendo 3DS at Nintendo headquarters in Redmond, Washington. Nintendo were gracious hosts giving us a tour of their gorgeous building (sorry, no pics allowed) and access to their employees’ store.

rebekah really getting into it!

jean kicks some virtual butt playing streetfighter 2

president and coo of nintendo of america welcomes the group

discussing research on 3d viewing



After a full day at Nintendo headquarters, we spent the evening in downtown Seattle at various restaurants. I happened to wind up at Black Bottle in the private room with my fellow food blog pal Marisa and my local blog chica Aimee and new friend, Jean. A parade of small plates marched onto our tables, one after another. Broccoli fries (a favorite), hanger steak, ceviche, fried olives (another favorite), sausage pizza… It was dark. Really dark. But look at what I managed to capture for you!

caprese salad on a stick

bean and mushroom salad (winner!)

roe vs. egg



I met a lot of wonderful new people on this trip. Sometimes I think my life is pretty full and I couldn’t possibly cram another friend in… but then there are folks like Michelle, Ilina, Doniree, Victoria, M, and others who make you wonder how it is you could go on in life WITHOUT their smiling faces, witty conversation, and sweet hugs. This Nintendo trip was bursting at the seams with all manner of goodness.

the finest company (left to right): ilina, maggie, jean, marisa

chocolate cake with gelato inside

lemon cheesecake with lavender

co-owner paul chats with us about our visit to seattle



And at the end of the day, I had my own little Nintendo 3DS to take home and share with Jeremy. Thanks for an incredible experience, Nintendo. Also a huge thanks to Justine and team for their flawless execution of the entire event! [Full Disclosure: All travel, lodging, meals, and the Nintendo 3DS were provided courtesy of Nintendo.]

So now you know where I was last week and why! I’m leaving again in less than 12 hours and my shooting partner suggested I could bring that little Nintendo 3DS for him to *ahem* check out for safety and such… Right. Since I barely have time to unpack and repack my bags, there isn’t a lot of cooking or baking going on in the House of Butter. Luckily for Present Me, Past Me anticipated this stretch of kitchen inactivity and so we have some cookies today. Grab a glass of milk… It’s okay – I’ll wait here for you.


start with butter and sugars

plop goes the egg



**Jump for more butter**