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archive for April 2012

the only dashing is of my hopes

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

Recipe: thai shrimp salad

Oh hai! Yours truly popped up on the Scientific American blog last week in a little interview. Thank you, Claire Cusick, for the interview. It was great fun!

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m utterly disgusted with Spring. It’s bad enough that we suffered the driest March on record (i.e. no awesome spring snowstorm tracks), but that April thinks it’s May, short-changing us another month of proper spring storms. Much in the way undergraduates are far too eager to bare all at the slightest sign of Spring, so too the flower blossoms down in Boulder.


lilacs

magnolia

crab apple (?) blossoms



We were supposed to get a big dump this weekend – an upslope event dropping up to a couple of feet on my head. I could hardly contain my excitement. Then Friday, the meteorologists were all “ix nay on the snowfall totals”. We went from expecting 2 feet to maybe getting 3 inches, if we were lucky. I guess we were lucky, because Saturday night the snow really started to come down, right around dinner time.

jeremy grillin’ and chillin’



But it wasn’t meant to be. We planned on a ski tour and wound up hiking instead. Familiar patches of dirt, mud, and forest understory looked like gaping holes in a ratty blanket of snow. I guess this is it. And even though I truly love all of the seasons, I’m a tad miffed at Summer for being such a pushy stupidhead. There, I said it.

snowing on us, but barely any snow underfoot



I can deal with summer, I just don’t want to deal with summer for half of the year. If that were the case, I’d still be living in Southern California with its seasons: hot and hotter. Before this itty bitty storm, we had a string of warm, sunny days. I know most people outside of Colorado think “snow” when they think of Colorado, but that’s only half of the awesome. Colorado gets 300 days of sunshine a year. That’s a lot. That’s why Colorado kicks your state in the ‘nads. Ha ha ha! I’m kidding! Okay, not really. But warm weather makes me crave fruit, slushies, sandwiches, sushi, and salads.

salad: shrimp, red onion, shallots, mint, cilantro, sprouts, lettuce, lemon grass, cucumber, carrots

dressing: lime, garlic, ginger, thai bird chiles, sugar, fish sauce



We recently revamped my office with some new IKEA furniture. [Hellooooo hip organization with cute Swedish names!] During my reorganization, I found an old recipe notebook and began flipping through the pages. Most of the recipes are archived here on use real butter, but this Thai shrimp salad never made it. I had to fix that…

pouring lime juice into the saucepan to make the dressing

chop the vegetables and herbs



**Jump for more butter**

sandwich chronicles: snarf’s

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Now we come to it.

Snarf’s is my favorite sandwich shop in Boulder. In fact, the entire reason I started this sandwich series was because I felt I was making too much of a habit of Snarf’s and thought it in my best interest to branch out. But I still return to Snarf’s time and time again, because I have a sandwich problem – nay, a sandwich addiction.

There are two locations in Boulder to get your Snarf’s fix: downtown Boulder on East Pearl Street and East Boulder on Arapahoe and Conestoga (next door to Ozo Coffee). The shops assault you with brightly painted interiors, eclectic selections of music, and a bunch of hipsters behind the counters building your toasted sandwiches slower than you’d think humanly possible (but they are super nice hipsters). The typical scene at lunch is a line out the door – and that is just to place an order. Popular? Oh yes. It has to be if THAT many people are willing to wait THAT long for a sando.


snarf’s

the colorful menu on the wall



My buddy, Jason, digs on the feta and artichoke sandwich. I highly recommend it. I haven’t tried all of their sandwiches, because I keep coming back to my favorite: the hot pastrami and Swiss. I’m convinced that practically any of their toasted sandwich options will be spectacular because Snarf’s uses amazing bread. In addition to this perfectly crusty-outside-soft-inside bread, every sandwich comes with mayonnaise, mustard, hot peppers (these hot pickled peppers, I love love love), onions (I hold the onions), lettuce, tomato, pickles, seasoning, and oil. Choose Novice (5-inch for $5.50), Snarf’s (7-inch for $7.25), or Pro (12-inch for $10.50) on the regular toasted sandwiches. They only offer Snarf’s or Pro sizes for the specialty sandwiches. You can request fat-free mayonnaise, mushrooms, and sprouts. For $1.50 add your choice of meat, bacon, avocado, portabello, or artichoke. There are sides and salads on the menu too.

snarf’s hot pastrami and swiss



To the sandwich: If I’m alone, I’ll get a Snarf’s size hot pastrami and Swiss. If I’m with Jeremy, we split a Pro. It comes tightly wrapped in paper to hold all of the sandwich goodness together for you to shove into your mouth. Grab several napkins because it’s a juicy experience. It’s the kind of sandwich you can eat with people you don’t even like because no one is talking – they’re all too busy eating their sandwiches. Snarf’s doesn’t skimp on ingredients. There is always a decent helping of pastrami along with the melted cheese, fresh vegetables, pickles, and seasonings. My favorite part of the sandwich has got to be the pickled hot peppers. They sell them in jars at the shop counters and I’ve been tempted to purchase a jar just to deconstruct it and make my own. So so so good. I crave Snarf’s sandwiches. [And for you Thundercats fans, I say “Snarf’s” the way Snarf pronounces his name. Can’t help it.]

I’m realizing from Facebook comments and other discussions that everyone seems to have their own Snarf’s favorite sandwich. I would love to hear what yours is!

Pro tip: After waiting 30+ minutes for a sandwich the first few times, I’ve got both locations’ phone numbers in my smartphone. Call ahead and walk straight to the pick up window, bypassing the 2 dozen patrons waiting in line at lunchtime. Non-lunch times seem to take only 10 minutes.

Where: Snarf’s is at two locations in Boulder: 5340 Arapahoe Avenue (Boulder, Colorado 80303) and 2128 Pearl Street (Boulder, Colorado 80302). There are plenty of locations outside of Boulder too, so check to see if you are lucky enough to have a local Snarf’s of your own!

When: Order any of the fantastic sandwiches from both Snarf’s in Boulder: Monday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm and Sunday from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Contact: Call Snarf’s on Arapahoe at 303.444.3404 or Snarf’s on Pearl at 303.444.7766. Visit their Facebook page or follow Snarf’s (Pearl) on Twitter @SnarfsOnPearl.

Full Disclosure: The opinions expressed here are my own. No comps for the chomps.

Previous sandwich research:

1) The Pinyon’s fried chicken sandwich (sadly, now closed)
2) Cafe Blue’s blackened tuna sandwich
3) Frasca Caffè’s Italiano panini caldi

it’s okay to change your mind

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Recipe: homemade blueberry muffin lärabars

You may recall how I declared in a previous post that cherry pie was my favorite LÄRABAR flavor. I was prompted to try making them myself after picking my jaw up from the floor at Whole Foods when they rang me up for a dozen LÄRABARs. They carry a large assortment of flavors and I wanted to pack some with Jeremy for his meeting in South Africa back in February. It has become a routine to carry portable food with us since our graduate school days of cancelled flights and being stranded in airports when nothing is open.


cashews, dates, dried blueberries, lemon, vanilla bean

process the dried blueberries



One of the new flavors I tried was blueberry muffin. It has a bright and buttery flavor compared to the deep earthiness of the cherry pie LÄRABAR. I flipped the wrapper over and looked at the ingredients. Again – the beauty of the LÄRABAR is the simplicity of its components. I had everything on hand and set about replicating it. You may or may not encounter this, but when I ran the dried blueberries through my food processor, it looked like nothing happened to them. If you pick one up, you’ll see it is full of cuts, but still resembles an intact dried blueberry. No problem.

from the food processor: dried blueberries, cashews, dates

grate some lemon zest

scrape the seeds from half a vanilla bean



**Jump for more butter**