barbecue rib baked beans double apple bundt cake grilled matsutake pheasant chanterelle pot pie


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archive for May 2017

make it simple

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

Recipe: strawberry butter

It’s been a good week in Crested Butte. We’ve been out on the trails daily, either hiking, running, or foraging. Neva has enjoyed plenty of exercise and play and snacks. I love watching the mountains shed their winter tones to reveal brilliant spring greens and yellows and blues. Spring cleaning is underway, although the actual “cleaning” has yet to happen (it will…). Spring Administration is probably the more appropriate term. That includes mapping out our summer, which makes me simultaneously excited with anticipation and disappointed that it is so brief. At the end of each day when I turn out the lights, I reach over to hold Jeremy’s hand in the dark and give it a squeeze before we fall asleep.


a fast moving storm brought on cotton ball-like mammatus clouds

the aspens are starting to leaf out

neva inspects my sewing project

found a morel on my trail run



Today’s recipe is wonderful and simple, because it’s strawberry season and because I have a ton of dandelions to pull out in the yard. Strawberry butter is best made when you have access to ripe berries. And since butter is the main ingredient, I recommend using a good quality unsalted butter. Make sure the butter and strawberries are room temperature before you start.

butter, strawberries, powdered sugar, a pinch of salt



Hull and wash your strawberries, then pat them dry. I find that any excess water on the berries tends to dilute the flavor of the butter and the berries. Obviously, the more ripe and juicy the berries, the more flavorful the strawberry butter. I dice my berries pretty fine. As long as the berries are ripe, they should mash nicely into the butter. If you aren’t using ripe berries, then a finer chop should make up for their lack of mashability.

minced strawberries

add sugar and salt to the beaten butter



**Jump for more butter**

happy weekend to you

Friday, May 26th, 2017

Recipe: this battle station is fully operational (coffee whiskey amaro cocktail)

Memorial Day weekend is here and that means the whole country is kicking off official SUMMER. Even though I am already starting to miss those powder days of winter, I’ve come to the realization that I don’t actually dislike summer at all. I just can’t stand summer in places where it’s hot and humid… but mostly hot. Mountain summers are magical and we’re starting to see it slowly unfold about now.


neva gets lots of walks to wear down her nails (and work on leash training)

i met an 8-week old golden retriever puppy on my trail run

colorful sunsets



Before I sign off for the weekend, I wanted to share a cocktail for which Jeremy recently fell head over heels. It all started when I was at Costco last year and spied a special on a six-pack of cold brew coffee. Jeremy never drinks ice coffee – he likes his coffee hot. Now, despite not drinking coffee at all, I’ve learned quite a bit about it because Jeremy and some of my friends are total coffee snobs. I’d heard about cold brew coffee and thought I’d get some for Jeremy. Why buy one to try when you can buy six to potentially hate? Oh Costco…

Turned out, Jeremy loved the cold brew coffee despite his misgivings. I started to see articles that served it in sparkling beverages, so we mixed a couple. Jeremy determined that was a waste of good cold brew. But then he began playing around with cocktails. The first one was awful, but the second was quite good.


rye whiskey, amaro, cold brew coffee, bitters, simple syrup, lemon



The Lucky Jack cold brew coffee has instructions on the bottle to pour hard. What the heck does “pour hard” mean? Apparently, it means to invert the bottle completely and let gravity and air displacement work to agitate the coffee and form a nice crema on top. It also makes the cold brew ever so slightly effervescent.

pour hard to activate bubbles

inverting the contents into a measuring cup

crema



**Jump for more butter**

my trip to crazytown

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

Recipe: sous vide carnitas

The end of last week was complete Crazytown. As the trial headed toward closing arguments, a winter storm warning materialized into a Big Ass Storm in the mountains. We were supposed to get 3 to 7 inches of snow overnight, which I thought would be fine for me to get down the canyon to report for jury duty. Instead, we woke to 10 inches of snow, and by the time I left the house, another 4 inches had fallen in two hours and was coming down heavily. I gave myself an extra hour, but it turned out that I probably should have stayed at home. Spring and fall snow storms can be particularly tricky because there is that added component of water due to moderate temperatures.


2 feet of snow in 19 hours



Once I reached the narrows (a narrow and steep section of the canyon, notoriously dangerous when conditions are slick) I passed two trucks that had spun out on their way up. Visibility and traction were poor so that no one was traveling faster than 15 mph. There was nowhere to turn around safely, so I continued. Then I passed another truck that had gotten stuck in the snow. That’s when my Subaru began to slide where the road is canted and there was nothing I could do to stop it. It was a slow, but unnerving lateral movement toward the guard rail which keeps drivers from plunging into the rushing creek below. Subie came to a gentle stop against the two feet of snow between the car and the rail, but I was stuck. The young woman in the stuck truck ran over to help dig me out and after thirty minutes of failed attempts, I was finally able to get unstuck thanks to her pushing the car out. [If that young woman ever reads this, I owe you a bottle of wine, a cake, a fancy home-cooked meal, and my deepest gratitude.] All the while it was nuking snow, cars were slip-sliding everywhere, and I knew it would be impossible to drive home in those conditions. Heading down to Boulder was my safest option as there is no cell reception in the canyon.

I was 20 minutes late getting to court, and I knew I was holding up the trial. I ran through security in tears – a little traumatized, a lot upset – but I made it and we got underway. We lost power a half dozen times in court while the storm wreaked havoc all around. At the end of closing arguments, I found out that I was one of the two alternate jurors and that I could go home. A big part of me felt great relief, but I also felt sad that I wasn’t going to finish this journey with my fellow jurors (it was a terrific group of people), and then I felt annoyance that I drove through that shit show in the canyon to find out that I didn’t have to be in court. By the time I left the courthouse, it was snowing lightly in Boulder and Jeremy texted that the snow had let up at home. Aha! A window in the storm! But the canyon was closed because of a jack-knifed semi in the narrows. So I waited with a handful of others for 30 minutes next to the police car at the closure point until the road was cleared for travel. Despite the additional 12-18 inches of snow that had fallen since I drove down that morning, the roads were in far better shape with plows actively working the canyon. Once I got home, I just wanted to lie still and let Neva lick my ears and hair.


the morning after the storm

jeremy clears the deck while neva is neva



We are now in Crested Butte, de-winterizing the house and cleaning up all of the broken branches and repairing drip system components that were hammered by this winter’s 325 inches of snow. It’s quiet here. That’s shoulder season in a resort town. Folks flock to the desert to mountain bike while the trails slowly thaw out around town. Restaurants are either closed or operating on reduced hours. I like the quiet. I like the quiet.

the view east from monarch pass

glacier lilies starting to bloom

neva being an extra good and sweet girl on her hike



After a stressful day or event like my ride down the canyon, most folks could use a drink. I certainly felt like I could have used a drink – except I don’t drink. But you know what relaxes and soothes me better than a glass of whiskey? Tacos. Specifically, carnitas tacos. Some of us seek comfort in food rather than drink, and I happen to be one of those who prefers savory over sweet comfort food. I always order the carnitas tacos at a taco joint as my litmus test. It’s not that I know anything about how carnitas ought to be, I just know what I like.

pork shoulder, onion, orange, bay leaves, garlic, cinnamon, kosher salt

slice the pork into 2-inch thick slabs

prepped ingredients



Imagine my excitement when I happened upon a reference to sous vide carnitas and followed the link to The Food Lab. You bet I wanted to try it. I wanted to see if sous vide could give me flavorful carnitas that were also tender and moist.

squeeze the orange quarters over the pork

sprinkle with kosher salt

toss it all together



**Jump for more butter**