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archive for July 11th, 2012

rainy days and mondays

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Recipe: candied ginger

You could deduce that I am a rain lover simply because I live in a place that receives 300+ days of sunshine a year, but you’d be mistaken. I do love the rain, but I have in fact, always loved the rain. I even loved the rain when I lived in Ithaca, New York (during graduate school, no less) which boasts more days of precipitation annually (161) than Seattle, Washington (150). I truly came to appreciate those rainy days after living in Southern California. Winter or “the rainy season” was far and away my favorite time of year there. Of course, in Colorado, I prefer my precipitation in frozen form. That said, the rain is a lovely, beautiful, wondrous thing in summer. I had the privilege of foraging with two of my favorite ladies – Wendy and Ellen – in the suburbs outside of Denver on a deliciously rainy, cool Monday morning.


picking goosefoot in the rain

cute bumblebees keeping dry under this teasel bloom

ground cherries (not ready)

apricot haul



I don’t go foraging for the forage. Mostly, I like learning about and geeking out on plants with my knowledgeable friend. It’s also heaps of fun slogging through muddy trails, seeing local wildlife (snakes, bunnies, etc.), admiring what can thrive in the neglected corners of suburbia, and putting my pattern-recognition skills to good use. Oh, and of course there is the precious (tom)girl-time and post-foraging lunch at a local Vietnamese restaurant!

And if that wasn’t a perfect start to a Monday, Jeremy and I capped off the evening dining in Boulder at The Kitchen, catching up with two long-time friends from graduate school. Julie and Tyler were both in Jeremy’s department – he is an astronomer and she is a planetary geologist. Julie and I were graduate student “cousins” as we shared two common faculty on our PhD committees (Julie had a minor in geology and I had a minor in planetary). I quite love these two. Anyone who claims that graduate school is the best time of your life should be regarded with deep suspicion. However, I will say of our Cornell years that we carry many special friendships from that time into the present day.


tyler and julie

jeremy’s halibut entrĂ©e

a nice finish to a great evening



That’s one of the upsides to sticking close to home this summer – getting to see both local friends and friends from out of town. Another positive? Kaweah is doing great. Aside from general aging, her medical issues have abated and you couldn’t find a happier pup. I think being home and providing her with a normal (i.e. non-travel) routine has helped tremendously. Yet another plus of staying local this summer? More kitchen experiments.

find some nice, tender, young ginger (spring is your best bet)



I don’t know when I developed my taste for ginger. I know it wasn’t until I was an adult because I avoided it as a kid. The flavor grew on me and I began to use it more and more in my cooking. During chemotherapy, ginger chews were a staple. I popped one into my mouth whenever I felt queasy. I kept a bag of them along with saltines by my bedside. Folks had said not to eat your favorite foods during chemo because you’d come to have bad associations with them after treatments ended. But you know what? I just wound up loving ginger even more. It wasn’t just the nausea, but anytime I have a cold or feel under the weather, ginger is that soothing flavor in chicken congee or ginger tea that Mom always made for me. I occasionally grab a bag of candied ginger for snacking – it’s such a pick-me-up candy. Then one day it occurred to me that this must be ridiculously easy to make. Ridiculously.

peeling ginger

slicing thin

boiled in water



**Jump for more butter**