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archive for October 2011

miso happy

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Recipe: black cod with miso

Over a year ago, I was contacted by the program director of the Denver Botanic Gardens about giving a lecture and doing a workshop for their Bonfils Series. We met over tacos at Pica’s and I cobbled together a proposal – something to inject a little ethnic culture and cuisine into Denver. I asked my friends Manisha, Todd, and Diane if they wanted to join me and then we worked out a date… October 20-21, 2011. That seemed quite far off, and now look – it’s next week!



If you’re near the Denver area, we’d love to have you come to our lecture: Three Food Blogs, Three Cuisines, Infinite Inspiration on Thursday, October 20, 2011 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. If you want to arrive early (5:30 pm) there will be some great Denver food trucks to grab a nosh! On Friday, October 21, 2011, the four of us will lead a workshop in the kitchen facility where we will share and demonstrate Chinese, Indian, and Vietnamese recipes and cooking techniques. The workshop runs from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm with a short break in the middle for participants to grab lunch. So come join us for great stories, fantastic food, and heaps of laughter. We can’t wait to meet you!

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I see more bare branches than aspen leaves around my neighborhood, thanks to the winds that whipped through here a few days prior. While walking Kaweah on the local trails this evening, I could see the skeletal dried flowers, puffballs, and solitary leaves shivering in the cold. They make a sad rattling noise as the winds race along the ground. They crunch underpaw when Kaweah goes careening off the trail to sniff something. Sunset comes earlier each day and practically sneaks up on us. When we came home from Boulder on Monday, I looked out the window to see some Kelvin-Helmholtz waves over the Continental Divide. These clouds are typically short-lived, but to get them at sunset? SCORE! Jeremy and I love to geek out on beautiful examples of fluid dynamics at work.

indicative of high shear aloft (SCIENCE!!!)



We had no such glorious clouds at sunset today, but that’s okay because I had something glorious going on in the kitchen. On my fall colors recon/40th birthday long weekend, Jeremy and I spent a couple of days in Aspen. One evening, we went to Matsuhisa for dinner because so many had recommended it. I have to say, I was pretty underwhelmed with the sushi and sashimi which was decent, but seriously overpriced. However, the items we ordered from the kitchen were pretty phenomenal like their heirloom tomato salad with cilantro dressing or the black cod with miso. Let’s talk about that black cod with miso. Melt. In. Your. Mouth. I’ve been obsessing over it ever since.

white miso paste, mirin, sake, sugar, black cod fillet



Flipping through some of my own books, I found a miso black cod recipe. But a quick search on the internets led me to the recipe from Matsuhisa on Food and Wine! The anticipation was crushing. I checked my local Whole Foods and asked my buddy Dustin (he’s the head of Seafood) when they’d have some black cod in. We talked about the recipe and he nodded, “That’s good stuff.” I just had to be patient. Upon my return home from my road trip, I picked up some groceries at Whole Foods and saw they had black cod fillets on ice. YES, PLEASE.

pour the mirin and sake into a small saucepan

whisk the sugar in with the miso, mirin, and sake

pour the miso marinade into a baking dish to cool



**Jump for more butter**

while the gettin’ is good

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

Recipe: membrillo (quince paste)

It’s so good to be home after a week of driving around Southwest Colorado and shooting fall colors alone. I don’t mind being alone, but it gets mentally exhausting because I’m all up in my head with myself from before sunrise to well after sundown assessing weather, light, topography, and of course the aspens. After a couple of days traveling backroads I noticed a lot of drivers in their trucks with their dogs. Colorado is a dog-lovin’ state, to be sure. It made me miss Kaweah and it almost made me wish that she were along for my trip. I say almost because Kaweah is a very annoying (read: bad) car companion. She associates car rides with hikes. She loves hikes. She gets so excited she just cries the whole time. Sometimes for several hours on end. Kaweah becomes a giant stress ball so we try to avoid subjecting her to that. I guess in some ways we are trying to avoid subjecting ourselves to it too. There’s something to be said for shooting the fall colors in peace.


in crested butte

off ohio pass road

anthracite range



[See the whole set from Crested Butte on my photo blog.]

When reports posted winter weather advisories for the mountains, I debated if it might be wise for me to wrap up the shoot in Crested Butte and hightail it back home before the storm arrived. Instead, I took that window and drove south to the San Juans and I’m glad I did. Places with big sky, big mountains, big weather, big swaths of pine and aspen – they take my breath away. There were times when the visibility went to pea soup, but the weather is so dynamic that you could count on it changing from hour to hour if not minute to minute.


the scrub was also in full color

from the dallas divide

hillslope

sunset on the sneffels range

rising clouds from fresh snowfall



[You can view the rest of the set here.]

We had five inches of snow on our deck Saturday. A-basin and Loveland have begun their race to make snow with a jump start from the cold snap. And Wolf Creek opened this weekend with 44 inches of snow from the storm! But it’s not winter. The snow has melted (mostly) from our deck and the days ahead will be sunny and warm. That’s autumn for ya. I’m happy to get as much of it as I can including in the edible form. Our local Whole Foods is carrying quince now, and despite the fact that it costs an arm and a leg to buy it here in Colorado, I couldn’t resist. I know of people from various parts of the U.S. who have had quince trees… and never once knew what to do with the fruits. Seriously? That makes for sad pandas everywhere.


related to the apple and pear, but you can’t eat quince raw

cut, cored, cubed



I first tasted quince paste – membrillo – in Argentina over a decade ago. Becky and I were in the field on a GPS campaign and dropped by to visit with a farming family she knew from the previous field season. They were warm and friendly, inviting us in to join them for snacks and a game of World Cup Soccer: Argentina vs. England. Slices of a mild, soft cheese were paired with slices of the deep rose-colored quince paste. Floral, fruity, and sweet bouncing off the creamy, salty cheese. Because I didn’t know a lick of Spanish, I learned to speak the way Argentinians speak. I didn’t say mem-BREE-yo, I said mem-BREE-zho. Lots of je je je sounds. It’s so beautiful. By the way, Argentina won that game which made for a country full of happy people.

slice lemon rind

simmer in a pot with lemon peel, vanilla bean, and water



**Jump for more butter**

spanning three seasons in two weeks

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Recipe: israeli couscous salad

I’m quite present when it comes to the weather. I spend a fair bit of time outside and what goes on overhead has bearing on much of what I do on a daily basis. Right now, I’m in the San Juan Mountains shooting the fall colors (I think this is the most stunning part of the state in autumn – just unbelievable), trying to stay out of the way of this Pacific winter storm that’s barreling through the region, and watching the radar loop. They are predicting up to a foot of snow in the mountains by Friday morning.


snapshot from the road outside of crested butte – rainstorm approaching

such an abundance of colors this year

shades of rust in the brush



The hills are crawling with photogs, enthusiasts, and (leaf) peepers alike – a generally friendly bunch. I was chatting with a delightful couple from Louisiana who have been hitting the Colorado fall colors now for 20 years. We were wondering when that winter storm would arrive when she exclaimed, “And can you believe it was in the 80s last week?!” That jolted me out of my “fall-borderline-winter-why-didn’t-I-bring-my-skis?” mode. Oh yeah, summer…

hard to remember summer with snow in the side-view mirror

this is a dusting, the storm hadn’t even arrived yet



I missed the very last Wednesday Boulder Farmers’ Market of the season because I’m on the road this week. That makes me sad. It means the corn, the tomatoes, the peaches, the greens, are going away. By November, our Saturday market will be done. This summer, I often threw together a quick couscous salad to use up any tomatoes and corn so I could go to the market and load up on even more. Now there is couscous and then there is Israeli couscous. I’ve had Israeli couscous in restaurants before and I love the texture. I finally bought some from the Whole Foods bulk section early in the summer.

israeli couscous before cooking

gather some corn, tomatoes, cucumber, feta, and parsley



**Jump for more butter**