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archive for appetizers

splash and dash

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Recipe: miso peanut butter vegetable dip

We now have a 10 week old puppy who consistently sits to ask for things like food, water, toys, to be let out of her crate, to have a ball tossed, to be let back inside, to be petted. You may wonder why she has to request water – why we don’t have a bowl lying around for her to take drinks as needed… After Neva takes a big drink, she loves to place her paw on the side of the dish and tip the whole thing over. It was funny the first time and not as funny the next 10 times. But she’s a lab and true to her breed, she loves the water. We wanted to get her swimming, but right now our lakes are cold with snow melt and she hasn’t received her leptospirosis vaccinations yet (they start in a couple of weeks). So we’re taking baby steps starting with Kaweah’s old baby pool. Kaweah never cared much for it (she was a hardcore girl – she wanted her frozen mountain lakes), but it’s perfect for Neva at this stage on a hot, sunny day.


jeremy introduces her to ankle-deep water

she warmed up to it when we tossed in her spiky ball

really getting into the fun with a flying leap



Everything was great until Neva fetched the ball, dropped the ball, and promptly squatted to relieve herself in the pool. We are still getting to know Neva’s bladder schedule, which is to say, we still have occasional accidents. But it’s all a big learning curve – which food works best for her digestion, what time of day is best for training, when she needs naps and when she needs play. It’s hard to believe we have only had Neva for two weeks because it feels like months.

running her brains out in a field

tired and plopped down in the middle of the trail



Jeremy and I are trying our best to do right by the puppy’s training as well as live our lives (sleep, eat, get work done). It feels as if we aren’t succeeding at any of it. For the first week, I wore the same clothes for days in a row because I couldn’t see the point of putting something clean on only to get dogged up again. But you can’t let a puppy put the kibosh on everything. Over the weekend, a good childhood friend came into town for a conference – so we had her and two other close mutual childhood friends over for dinner. I even showered and wore clean clothes! I figured, if I could manage to put dinner on the table, then we could declare the night a victory. I missed out on half of the conversations because Jeremy and I tag-teamed supervising the puppy, but it was wonderful to spend time catching up, especially since I hadn’t seen the out-of-town friend in over 20 years.

a toast to reunions



Summer is when entertaining at our house really gets underway. The only folks who visit in winter are the ones who truly love winter and the ones who don’t know any better. Our short mountain summers are green and pleasant, which make for great dinner parties, grilling, and views from the deck. Typically, I like to experiment with different recipes, but lately – because of the puppy vortex and in the interest of my own sanity – I’m sticking with super simple menus. One thing I love to serve when the weather turns warm is crudités with dip, but sometimes I tire of sour cream or mayonnaise dips. A few weeks ago I tried a couple of miso-based dips and really fell in love with this miso peanut butter dip. It’s just the right salty and sweet to go with a variety of fresh vegetables. And it’s easy.

peanut butter, white miso paste, mirin, rice vinegar, sake, honey



**Jump for more butter**

pup prep

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Recipe: gin oysters

“We need to get a puppy collar and a puppy leash,” I informed Jeremy.
“What happened to Kaweah’s old puppy collar?” he asked sifting through the pile of dog towels.
“She ate it.”
“What happened to her old leash?”
“Um, she ate that, too.”

Even though Kaweah was not a large dog as labs go, all of her beds and toys and blankets look huge compared to the little puppy we visited two weeks ago. We don’t want to buy too many puppy-sized things because they won’t be needed after a month or two. So we’ve been re-engineering the crates and beds to create nice and cozy smaller spaces for puppy. I sifted through our basket of Kaweah’s toys this week and pulled out three plush fish – a pink one, a blue one, and a green one. They were otherwise identical in every way including the hole at the top of each of their heads where Kaweah had systematically pulled out the squeakers and chewed them to bits.

“Do you think puppy will be a destructo-dog like Kaweah?” I wondered aloud while sorting the salvageable toys from the heavily loved ones. To be fair, Kaweah only destroyed her toys and left everything else in the house alone. She was a good bad dog. I’m in the process of sewing up the old plushies for puppy’s crate so she can hopefully feel comforted by the smell of Kaweah and the contact with other soft bodies to mimic her littermates. But we still picked up some new puppy-appropriate toys.


for play, for teething, for mental stimulation



It looks as if this cold weather pattern will hold for another week or two. I’m ecstatic! Not just for the skiing, but because we’ll be able to introduce the pup to skis. One might think it’s no big deal, but most of the dogs I know have interesting reactions to skis. Back in the day, Kaweah didn’t realize that they were attached to our feet, and thought it was a really fun game to pounce on the tips as they protruded through the snow. Other dogs think ski poles are totally awesome “sticks” to grab hold of. When the snow is deep, Banjo likes to walk on the back ends of Erin’s skis for extra floatation and to stay close. Thankfully, most dogs figure it out eventually. Of course, puppy won’t be able to travel far at the start, so we got out into the backcountry to get our pre-puppy ski fix.

cloudy, foggy, sunny, snowy – we got it all in one afternoon

jeremy does a quick rip of the skins

getting a few laps in before heading out



But not everything around here is all puppy all the time. Not yet, anyway! Jeremy finally kicked his Man Cold this week. I decided we should celebrate with some appetizers and dinner while watching the season finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I made the appetizers for Jeremy more than for myself, because they were made of a few of his favorite things.

barcat oysters, wasabi tobiko (flying fish roe), a local gin, and lime



**Jump for more butter**

opposite land

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

Recipe: korean barbecue chicken wings

When I left my house early yesterday morning, the predominant color of my neighborhood was white. The snow has steadily deflated and melted, but it’s still there. Within 25 minutes, we were zipping through Boulder’s streets where trees dripped with the confetti of springtime: bright yellow greens, pinks, whites, purples. My head hurt because it was early and because I had gone to bed late. This always happens when I travel – it’s the “wrapping up of things the night before” and the “catching a flight the following morning” head hurting thing.


robin perched in the aspens from the last storm

cute dark-eyed junco on our deck



My noggin did the deep sleep bounce several times during my flight to the East Coast. It woke me with that heart-racing jolt – you know, the one that makes you instinctively touch the corners of your mouth to see if you were drooling in your sleep. Each time I peered out the window to find a sea of clouds stretched out beneath us, like a giant down comforter. I searched for signs of landforms, but the weather prevailed and so did sleep. On my connection to Virginia, our puddle jumper rose above the clouds for a mere three minutes before beginning the descent. Underneath the cloud deck, I marveled at how green the Tidewater area was. Green and flat. Flat such that the only shadows thrown in the setting sun were from the trees and not from the topography of the coastal plain. Dominated by the estuaries that branch into this green and flat land with a million brackish fingers. It’s the opposite of where I make my home. And yet, I was coming home.

mixed weather and sun over the tidewater

dogwood blooms in the backyard



It’s been some time since I have visited Virginia, but we have this short window to travel before The Summer of Puppy commences. Of course, Dad has planned nearly every minute of my stay with activities, meals, and wine. I expressed my doubts that it is humanly possible to consume ALL of the food he has in mind for a long weekend (he just asked me when we’re going to eat soft shell crab). That’s the problem with going back to a place you know – there’s never enough time (or waistband). But you should save some belly room for these Korean barbecue chicken wings I tried from Irvin’s beautiful food blog. They’re baked, which in my opinion is far easier to make and less messy to clean up than frying, and they taste fantastic.

rice vinegar, soy sauce, green onions, garlic, ginger, kiwis, sugar, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, black pepper, chicken wings

chop and mince

ready to make the marinade



**Jump for more butter**