neva's first thanksgiving old fashioned doughnuts nederland: crosscut pizzeria and taphouse chicken sweet potato dog treats

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archive for appetizers


Sunday, November 1st, 2015

Recipe: chanterelle puffs

It was our smoochiversary this weekend, November 1. To celebrate, Jeremy installed a new faucet in our kitchen to replace the one that had been leaking progressively worse over the past year. I know that doesn’t sound like much of a celebration, but we are both thrilled about it since the old faucet was clearly designed by a moron.

To be honest, we didn’t have any special plans to mark 23 years together. We went for a hike with Erin and Banjo for the purposes of scoping out the snow conditions (for ski touring later) and to get Neva used to winter on the trails. Then we did laundry, brought the deck furniture in for the season, switched summer jackets and sandals out for winter jackets and boots, and put away old puppy things that Neva has outgrown. While Jeremy sorted through the puppy crate and puppy beds, Neva walked over and curled up on a flower pillow she loved when we first brought her home. She used to take up twenty percent of the area, but now her legs, tail, and head spilled over the edges.

happy colorado dogs

moonset over mount audubon

high winds brought in a huge standing wave cloud sunday morning

here’s the coolest section of the wave cloud

playing tug with neva until she started to drowse off

It had been a couple of months since I had last seen Erin because our schedules have been completely out of sync. When her truck pulled up in front of our house the morning of our hike, Jeremy and I grabbed our gear and headed down the stairs. Neva hesitated at the top of the stairs because she knew a car ride was imminent, but she did not know who was walking up to our door. We coaxed her down, and when she spied Erin and Banjo through the glass of the front door, she lost her mind with joy. After the hike, but before Erin went home, I ran into the house to grab a bag of huckleberries I had foraged, cleaned, and frozen for Erin while she was away on her canoe trip in Alaska. While shuffling the contents of the chest freezer around, I came across my frozen chanterelles from the summer. I’m not such a huge fan of summer, but if there is anything that makes summer an adventure, it is the foraging.

double happiness

I know from Instagram and Facebook that friends of mine in the Pacific Northwest and Scandinavia are still foraging chanterelles, and that people have been able to buy fresh chanterelles at farmers markets. I think you can use fresh or frozen (I froze the rest of my chanterelles after they had been sautéed in butter) for this chanterelle puffs recipe. These are like gougéres, but with chopped mushrooms. If you don’t have chanterelles available, substitute another kind of edible mushroom – it will still be great.

gruyère cheese, flour, chanterelles, eggs, salt, butter, chicken broth

mince the mushrooms

pour the mushrooms into the broth

add the butter and salt

**Jump for more butter**

the overstayed welcome

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

Recipe: vegetarian chinese potstickers (dumplings)

Summer, go home already! It was downright hot this weekend in the mountains – as in shorts and t-shirt hot. I’m worried if the temperatures don’t drop soon, my body won’t be ready for winter. And by ready, I mean I won’t have had a chance to adjust to cold temperatures. It’s like dumping a dog into winter who hasn’t had a chance to grow its winter coat. At least the skies have been pretty, but seriously… get on outta here, Summer.

a nice sunset to kick off the weekend, even if it was an oven

Now that Neva has been spayed, we started shopping around for a good doggy daycare and hotel (boarding). The place we took Kaweah was down in Boulder, which I never felt was ideal because it was a long drive, it’s hotter down in Boulder, and their outdoor area was a parking lot cordoned off by chain link fencing. Of course, Kaweah LOVED it. It was all about the doggies for her. There were some locations in the mountains that boasted large acreage for dogs to roam and have fun, but we knew that wouldn’t work for Kaweah who 1) was an incredible escape artist and 2) ate sticks, rocks, and anything disgusting she could get her mouth on outside. Neva, however, chews sticks up, but summarily spits them out (thank goodness!) and she is far more focused on playing with friends than trying to escape. She had a meet and greet with a local Nederland daycare/boarder to make sure she wouldn’t be aggressive or problematic with the other pups. At first she was nervous because they all seemed to pile onto her at once, but as soon as they wandered off, she chased after the group and engaged them for more play. She passed the test.

On Friday, I dropped Neva off for a full day of playtime and she nearly dragged me through the door. Once she entered the playzone with the other pups, she never even noticed I was leaving. No separation anxiety there! Jeremy and I felt that Neva really needed more doggy socialization in a place where she can be supervised and contained (she is still a flight risk, but perhaps less so than Kaweah was – fingers crossed). The nice thing is the proprietor is also a certified dog trainer who follows positive reinforcement training. At the end of the day, we picked Neva up and she was completely exhausted. Happy and exhausted. She plowed through her dinner then fell asleep for the rest of the night. We were told that she played so much, she might still be tired on Saturday, in case we had plans to hike her. She slept or lounged all of Saturday, which made it possible for us to get a lot of work done around the house and yard. I love puppy playtime!

still tuckered on saturday

feeling like her old self by sunday

Over the summer, my mom experimented with various vegetarian potsticker and dumpling recipes because she had made some for a dear friend’s daughter who is vegetarian. Every time I would drop by my parents’ place in Boulder, Mom would shove a vegetarian dumpling into my mouth. “What do you think?” she’d ask, smiling. Was it better than the last one? Should she add more bean thread noodles? Maybe use some egg? The variations are endless. I told her when she settled on a final version, I’d like to have the recipe so I could share it here on the blog. Summer being as busy as it was, I’m not sure she ever decided which one she liked best (they were all quite good). I decided to give it a try recently and discussed some recipe ideas with Mom over the phone. Both of my parents really get into recipe development, so Mom rattled off several suggestions as I jotted them down in my notebook.

Then she said, “If you really want to improve the flavor, add some chicken broth to the filling.” I paused. “Um, Mom, if you add chicken broth, it’s no longer vegetarian.” Oh, then you can add some dried tiny shrimps – makes it taste so good. I informed her that shrimp is also a deal breaker for vegetarians. It’s not that my parents have a poor understanding of what vegetarian means, but that (I think) Chinese people have a misconception of what “meat” means. I can’t tell you how many times we have been at an authentic dim sum restaurant with a vegetarian and I have asked the server if they had any dishes without meat. “Oh yes!” they’d smile, and plop a few tins of steamed shrimp dumplings or stewed chicken feet onto the table explaining that these were not “meat”.

I did a little research and found myself gravitating toward tofu. I know a lot of people are anti-soy, but it is what it is and I for one love tofu. Marc at No Recipes had a great little post on making vegetarian/vegan ground meat from firm tofu by freezing it, then squeezing it dry and crumbling the tofu. I grew up eating tofu like this except Mom didn’t crumble it, but sliced it. It’s a nice spongy texture that is great in hot spicy soups and stews. Sounded like a good solution.

for the filling: firm tofu, baked tofu, vegetable oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, dried shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, fresh ginger, cornstarch, napa cabbage, green onions

freeze the firm tofu in its liquid, then thaw it completely

squeeze out the liquid and crumble the tofu

**Jump for more butter**

corn dog diggity

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Recipe: mini beer corn dogs

The weekend, she is here. Almost like clockwork, once foraging huckleberries is over for me, it’s time to move on to canning tomatoes. Over the past few years, I have discovered that the one thing I absolutely must can each summer is tomatoes. I won’t lose sleep if I don’t make peach, fig, or strawberry jam, but diced tomatoes are a must. At first I started with organic heirlooms and red slicers from Cure Organic Farm (a local Boulder farm – so great), but this year I’ve migrated over to the organic San Marzanos and Romas. They have a bumper crop of tomatoes right now and the seconds are $1.50 a pound. I picked up 19 pounds to can last weekend, and then I picked up another 25 pounds to can Thursday.

these hardly look like seconds, they’re gorgeous

thinking of all the soups and stews and sauces this winter and spring

enjoying all of the late summer goodies like wild coho salmon

The sun is getting up later each morning, which I like. I like it a lot. It means fewer hours of that giant fiery ball of thermal radiation in the sky. Waking up before sunrise without feeling like puking is a wonderful feeling. And having night for more than a couple of hours before bed is good for greater productivity. The sky has been offering up some beautiful moments of late.

crescent moon setting

looking west as the sun rises in the east

a low rainbow over the mountains

In Neva news, we used the halti collar for several days before i noticed the fur on her muzzle was thinning right where the halti rested. This made me very sad. Jeremy did some research and we decided to try a chest harness (a reader and some friends recommended them). Unlike the halti, the chest harness didn’t seem to bother Neva at all. We put it on her in the living room and she went about her business as usual. We walked her the next morning and she was so good (except with the squirrels – she cries and whines and barks when she sees squirrels). No struggling, no irritation. We were elated.

every morning when i brush my teeth

walking through golden aspens

such a good pup

happy dog

Lately I’ve seen mention of the Broncos in my Facebook feed. The Broncos are football, so that must mean it’s football season… Sportsball. Since we don’t have television, I wouldn’t know about any of the sporting seasons aside from the token sports discussions on NPR and those friends on Facebook who are sports fanatics. Even then, it’s quite easy for me to overlook it all because I’ve always found it far more desirable to play rather than watch. But I know that some people are far more enthusiastic about the football parties and party food than the football. So here’s a great appetizer for those sportsball gatherings if you’re looking for fun and quick recipes: the mini beer corn dog.

cornmeal, honey, sugar, eggs, baking powder, salt, hot dogs, flour, beer, skewers

cut the hot dogs into 2-inch pieces

pierce the mini dogs on the cut side

**Jump for more butter**