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archive for September 2013

ice and snow and fond memories

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Recipe: chinese shaved ice dessert (bao bing)

The Crazy Rain stopped earlier this week and now we seem to be back to our late summer pattern of cooler nights, warm days, and afternoon showers. This ping-pong cycling of temperatures has me donning pants, long-sleeve tops, and fuzzy socks in the mornings and shorts by noon. At night, we tuck Kaweah into her doggy bed with her doggy quilt to ward the cold away from her old bones. I thought we were well on our way to fall, but a trip to Boulder (the long way) dragged me through temperatures in the 80s. It’s never too chilly for me to enjoy a frozen dessert, but late summer is a great time for everyone to indulge in a nice cold treat.


i got this on amazon for $25 this summer (glass bowl not included)



When we had the rare snow day in southern Virginia, Kris and I would stay at home and watch cartoons, slide down the stairs riding in our sleeping bags, jump from untold heights pretending to be superheroes (Green Lantern – I was always Green Lantern), and go play in the snow. To warm up, Kris would always make tea. But we were kids and the tea was bitter, so we added (too much) sugar. The tea was also too hot, so Kris would scoop up some fresh clean snow in a mug and then pour the hot sweet tea over it. I started my love affair with tea slushies at an early age.

the ice disk

shaved ice



The paucity of snow days didn’t deter us from our slushie fix. My parents had an old school manual crank shaved ice machine. Now that I think of it, it was dangerous as hell – but that’s what the 70s were all about! We’d freeze the ice disk and then take turns grinding the ice into soft fluffy flakes, then douse it with artificially flavored and colored syrups. Again – the 70s.

water and brown sugar

dissolve over high heat

brown sugar syrup



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we are safe

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Recipe: pappardelle with chanterelles

My email has been inundated with inquiries from family, friends, and readers about our situation amidst the devastating flooding in the Colorado Front Range. Jeremy, Kaweah, and I are safe. Our house is fine. Our little mountain town of Nederland is more or less fine with only one viable route out of town – we are near the top where our water catchment area is relatively small. Thank you for your concern. Sadly, several neighboring mountain and canyon communities (Lyons, Jamestown, Salina) have been cut off and badly damaged from heavy flooding, mass wasting, road and ground collapse. All canyon roads in Boulder County are closed due to damage (sections of roads completely washed away) and/or rock slides, and it could be months before some of these roads open again. A normally 25-minute commute to Boulder might wind up becoming a 90-minute commute for a while. On the flats, parts of Boulder and surrounding cities have suffered terrible flooding as a year’s worth of rainfall collected in the mountains in a matter of a days and came funneling down the mountains as a wall of destruction and energy.

People poke fun at and bag on Boulder all the time. I just smile and sit on my hands so I don’t accidentally punch anyone. I suppose it is an easy target with all of its enlightenment, local food movement, yoga, ultra athletes, ultra outdoors people, food allergies, restrictive diets, casual atmosphere, dedication to local businesses, lovely parks, extensive bike paths, public services, love of dogs, Subarus, and countless independent coffee shops. It’s a special kind of place, one that I love dearly. It has a lot of heart and community. Good people live there and make it the great town that it is. Even though the rains have not yet stopped, people are already helping friends and strangers alike clean up flooded homes and neighborhoods.

If you would like to help with a financial or material donation or to volunteer, please visit Help Colorado Now for more information.

Over the past several days, Jeremy and I have been safe, but stuck at home with an occasional walk around our neighborhood. Authorities requested that everyone stay home and let rescue and repair crews work. All parks and trails are closed. We snatched tidbits of news from friends, emergency status pages, and university alerts. Our hearts ached with every flash flood warning and flood surge that raced down the canyons. And we sighed with relief each time a friend checked in on Facebook, Twitter, via text or email. We even caught a few short breaks from the rains on Friday.


that’s my colorado

and a nice sunset to boot



Saturday was Jeremy’s birthday. He turned 40, which is a milestone year because we are a decimal-based society and because he was awarded tenure a few months ago. His present is our second home in Crested Butte, so I didn’t feel compelled to get him anything else. We were going to have friends up to celebrate with a nice meal until those plans washed away with the roads leading up to our place. We didn’t want to risk the safety of any of our friends and decided to cancel. But that didn’t mean Jeremy wasn’t going to get his multi-course dinner party… I split it up into lunch and dinner since there was so much food. It’s all of his favorite dishes, which he gets to enjoy throughout the week.

salumi, charcuterie, cheese, crackers, pickled things, bubbles

pan-seared scallops on frisée, corn, cherry tomatoes with white wine reduction sauce

a bowl of lobster corn chowder

miso black cod with baby bok choy and pickled ginger



I had multiple desserts lined up for our guests, but since it was just us, I stuck with the cake. We settled on one candle per decade so we wouldn’t burn the house down. Jeremy had requested a white Russian cake and I decorated it with little chocolate-covered crisped rice pearls. Placing each of those pearls on a cake is a labor of love.

white russian cake with valrhona crunchy chocolate pearls

four layers soaked in boozy goodness



We had the noodle dish at lunch because the Chinese tradition is to eat uncut noodles on your birthday for long life. There are so many noodle dishes to choose from, but I already knew he loves this one in particular and with good reason! It has chanterelles.

pasta, bacon, chanterelles, parmesan, garlic, butter, salt, parsley, cream, white wine, pepper



**Jump for more butter**

lobstah chowdah

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Recipe: lobster corn chowder

I’m wearing pants. PANTS! We’ve had cool, rainy weather this week in Colorado. Well, the cool isn’t such a reach for this time of year, but the rainy is. My oven and stove have seen more use in the past few days than they have all summer thanks to the cooldown. One of the recipes I tried recently was a knock-my-socks-off gem of a soup. I love it because it is at the intersection of summer and fall. Summer, because of the ingredients and fall, because it warms you from the inside to fight off the chill outside. I’m talking about lobster corn chowder.


two whole lobsters and two tails

cooked (steamed)

extracting the lobster meat, saving the shells, and catching the juices



Because I reside in a landlocked state far far away from Maine, I bought frozen cold water lobsters. My fish monger only had two, and I needed three, so I supplemented with two petite lobster tails (also cold water). These were not cheap, so this is clearly a soup for special occasions or when lobsters grow on trees. I’m smiling at the thought of lobsters growing on trees. The thing I love about this recipe is how you use every part of the lobster – the meat and the shells and the dribbly juices. Makes me feel a little better about the price. Then the other main component is corn, which is dirt cheap right now and sweet as can be.

cream, wine, lobster meat, lemon, corn, celery, leek, bacon, potatoes, parsley, pepper

cut up the lobster meat

slice the green and white parts of the leeks (keep them separate)



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