Is there anyone else out there who feels they can’t leave on a trip without first cleaning the house? Because I’m one of those people. In the past, we would clean the house when we had guests coming over or when we left on a trip. Now, because we split our time between Nederland and Crested Butte – I find myself cleaning both houses more than I ever wanted. I just hate coming home to a mess, so this is present me doing future me a favor. But last week after spending the whole weekend in hunter education and then coming home to do laundry, clean house, and pack for Crested Butte – it was a miracle that we were able to leave at all. In fact, I didn’t think we were ever going to get out of our neighborhood because we went back to the house three times for four different things we had forgotten, but remembered just as we headed down the street.
we made it to crested butte and we were greeted by this
found some lovely porcini
still quite early, but a few chanterelle patches were popping up
and lots of amanitas (poisonous, but beautiful) are a good sign
On our latest trail run, I decided to get a little more climbing in and ran the same route as Jeremy – just slower and not as far. My goal was to reach the first basin and turn around, but because Jeremy and I have different ideas of what a stream crossing is, I ran up out of the basin thinking the NEXT basin was my target until I met Jeremy as he was running down. Well, I’m glad I did because I saw a black bear on my climb! We only ever catch glimpses of black bears, mainly because they don’t want any trouble and are quick to avoid people. In addition to the bear sighting, I heard a couple of grouse, ate some wild raspberries and wild strawberries (so good!), and stopped to admire the wildflowers and views.
this is why i trail run
Foraging and trail running are two things we generally try to avoid doing with Neva. On those days, we’ll take her for a fetch session or a bike ride – something high energy and fun, but quick. And then days like today, we’ll take a rest morning and make it all about Neva. She got to fetch and swim at the lake, go for a hike, fetch and swim some more, go paddling – which involves more swim-fetch, and then a few more fetches while Jeremy packed up the paddle boards. You don’t think she’s spoiled, do you?
on our hike
diving off the paddle board to get her ball
Two weeks ago, I had my parents come up to my house to make and shoot a couple of their recipes with me. A week prior, I had tasked them with writing up the recipes and emailing them to me so I could review the recipes and plan the shopping list. As some of you may recall, my parents don’t use “recipes”. Mom is far more obliging than Dad and will give it her best effort when translating a dish into writing. Dad is practically a lost cause because he’ll write down a recipe, all the while declaring that he doesn’t NEED a recipe, and then proceed to change it twenty different ways *while* you are cooking according to said recipe. I know this is payback for my teenage years.
shopping with mom for buddha’s hand melons (chayote)
Today’s recipe is a crunchy, refreshing salad that my mom likes to make in summer. I am totally hooked on it and when the days are hot, I could eat a whole batch in one sitting for dinner. Buddha’s hand melon, also known as chayote, is a vegetable that you can eat raw or cooked. I’ve always seen them in the Asian markets, but never knew what to do with them. Mom’s preparation involves salting the sliced melon, and then tossing it with a sweet and sour dressing. Simple.
buddha’s hand melons, fresh ginger, sugar, salt, vinegar, chili garlic paste (not pictured: sesame oil)
First, you’ll need to peel the outer skin off the melons. You can use a sharp knife or a potato peeler. They can get slippery, so do watch your fingers! Don’t worry about peeling the bottoms as you’ll trim those after you slice the melons in half. The core of the melon is tougher than the meat of the melon, so we slice the melon around the core.
peel the skin
cut away any remaining skin from the ends
begin slicing the melon flesh around the core
discard the core
Once you have all of your slicing done, place the melon in a large bowl and sprinkle the salt over the slices. Toss the slices in the salt to ensure a good distribution, then let it sit for an hour at room temperature. The salt is going to draw liquid from the melon as well as season the melon. Rinse the melon slices under cold water, then drain them in a colander. After you squeeze as much liquid from the melon as you can, taste one of the slices. If it isn’t salty enough, you can adjust the seasoning when you add the dressing.
sprinkle salt over the melon
the melon should shrink in volume
rinse with cold water
squeeze out the excess liquid
Once the melon slices are ready, you can toss them together with the dressing ingredients. And you can vary the amounts or the ingredients to your liking, so be sure to taste and adjust accordingly. The salad tastes fine right after you mix it, but I think it benefits from sitting in the refrigerator for another hour or so to let the flavors meld.
vinegar, julienned ginger, sugar, sesame oil, chili garlic paste, salted melon slices
add the dressing ingredients to the melon
This Buddha’s hand melon salad is a lot like Asian pickled cucumbers, but I find the texture to be crunchier (which I like) and the mild flavor a nice change from the usual salads. Raw ginger lends a bright zip to the vegetable and while the chili garlic paste is optional, I highly recommend it to round out the sweet, sour, and earthy components. I’m putting the salad into heavy rotation at least until the weather cools down. Best of all, when I eat this dish, it feels like I’m eating Mom’s cooking. There’s really nothing better.
serve as a cold side dish or an appetizer
or just eat it all yourself
Chinese Buddha’s Hand Melon (Chayote) Salad
from my mom
3 Buddha’s hand melons (chayote)
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsps white vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp raw ginger, julienned
2 tsps sesame oil
1 tsp Chinese chili garlic paste (optional, but good)
Peel the outer skin off the melons, then carefully slice each melon in half lengthwise along the bottom crease. Trim any remaining skin with a knife. Cut each half into thin petal-shaped slices, cutting around the hard center. Discard the centers. Place all of the slices into a large bowl and sprinkle the salt over the melon. Toss well and let sit for an hour. Fill the bowl with cold water and swish the melon slices around. Pour into a colander and drain off the water. Grab a handful of the slices at a time and squeeze the excess liquid out. Place the squeezed slices in a large bowl. Add the vinegar, sugar, ginger, sesame oil, and if using, the chili garlic paste to the melon. Mix well and refrigerate for an hour before serving. Serves 4 as a side dish.
more goodness from the use real butter archives
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