sautéed morels and scrambled eggs blood orange sorbet futomaki lentil beet salad


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homebody

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

Recipe: futomaki

Last week we went on a vacation. Of sorts. We brought Neva and Yuki along with us to Steamboat Springs for a ski trip. Sadly, most of what we previously loved about Steamboat were absent: 1) fresh powder and 2) our favorite sushi bar in town (Yama has closed indefinitely). We did ski the mountain and took the pups skijoring on dog-friendly trails at a couple of the Nordic centers near town. Yuki’s endurance continues to improve and Neva is really becoming a well-behaved pup on the trails as long as she can run her brains out.


jeremy with neva and yuki at haymaker nordic center

this is what yuki does when she doesn’t want to go



Steamboat is great and all, but after our third day we were over it. A big winter storm was about to blast its way through the state (big winter storm = powder) and we were slated to check out and drive home in the thick of it. Instead, we left a day early before the storm and drove home – not east to Nederland – but south to Crested Butte. It was the right decision. We arrived just as the snow began to fall, and proceeded to ski amazing powder, celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary, and meet our friend’s new puppy, Moke (Moe-kee).

the road south

the snow piles up in crested butte

jeremy drops into a foot of fresh powder and free refills

enjoying our anniversary dinner

yuki playing with her new pal, moke



On our drive from Steamboat Springs to Crested Butte, we stopped at the Whole Foods in Frisco to grab salads for lunch and ran into my friend who lives in Breckenridge. We chatted and at some point in the conversation I apologized that we hadn’t seen one another in a while. He dismissed it with a wave, “Oh, you don’t have to explain it. You know me,” he chuckled, “I’m a homebody.” Back on the road, I mentioned to Jeremy that I didn’t think of Graham as a homebody – he spends a good deal of time outside running, biking, hiking, skiing. Jeremy was silent for a moment, then, “Most people think of homebodies as people who stay indoors, but I think Graham meant he doesn’t want to be away from home. Sort of like what we’re doing now by going to Crested Butte.”

It’s true. I am becoming more of a Graham homebody every day. Jeremy has always been one. This might also explain why I try to replicate my favorite restaurant dishes at home, to avoid the headache of driving into town and interacting with people. The futomaki sushi roll has eluded me for over a decade because I didn’t know that the sweet pink powdery ingredient, which is dried shredded sweetened cod, was called sakura denbu. Once I learned the proper name, I couldn’t find it anywhere. Last year, I ventured into Denver’s Pacific Mercantile Company on a little Japanese grocery safari with my pal, Ellen, and there it was in the refrigerated section. It was the final piece to my futomaki puzzle!


some of the less common ingredients for a home cook: unagi (grilled eel), sakura denbu, makizushi no moto (seasoned gourd strips with mushrooms)



I had always assumed there was a set recipe for making futomaki because most of the sushi bars I frequented made it the same way. It turns out you can make futomaki with whatever ingredients float your boat, so please feel free to customize! The version I make here follows the recipe from Just One Cookbook because this is how I like it AND I could either purchase or make the ingredients myself. I can easily find the unagi (grilled eel) and seasoned gourd and mushrooms at most Asian grocers, but I have only ever seen the sakura denbu in a Japanese grocery store. You can also purchase the tamago (egg omelette) at an Asian grocery store, but I find making tamagoyaki at home to be far tastier.

fillings: spinach, cucumber, tamago, unagi, kanpyo (gourd strips), mushrooms, sakura denbu



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true winter

Monday, January 28th, 2019

Recipe: dynamo shrimp

We have had a snowy couple of weeks around here. You know what I think of when I see the snow in my yard, in the surrounding mountains, and pretty much all over town? Well yes, I think of skiing, but I also think of mushrooms and berries come summer. It’s all about water in the American West. And snowpack. I can’t stress the importance of a healthy snowpack. Snowpack is everything in the mountains.


sunny morning in crested butte after a storm

a few inches of super fluffy snow in nederland

neva loves window benches



The pups have gotten out to ski a number of times. In Crested Butte it is mostly uphill skiing on the mountain or skijoring on the Nordic trails. In Nederland we take them backcountry touring which is far more dependent on weather conditions. You have to catch recently fallen snow before the winds reshape it into a series of giant drifts and bare ground.

ski touring with yuki and neva

yuki’s way of telling me she’s cold (she warmed up when we skied down)



When I’m not skiing or working, I’m slowly chipping away at the long term task of tidying up the house. This activity wasn’t inspired by Marie Kondo – I have neither read her book nor watched her show. I simply like things to be organized. That included baking pies to finish off a few leftover fillings from the depths of the chest freezer: Palisade peach and sour cherry, and a handful of tired apples from the refrigerator.

pre-baked apple huckleberry pie (6-inch)

baked and stained with huckleberry juice



A reader recently emailed asking for recommendations and mentioned that they couldn’t wait to see what Chinese New Year recipe I would blog this year. Um, I hadn’t planned to share one and suddenly I wondered if I should try to shoot a recipe in time for the New Year (February 5th). But I only wondered for a second because the realist in me dope slapped myself and said, “You don’t have time to be shooting a recipe for free when you have a client shoot that pays ACTUAL MONEY.” So no, there is no Chinese New Year recipe. I’m not sure today’s recipe even counts as Chinese.

You can find Dynamo Shrimp on the appetizer menu at Lil’s in Crested Butte. It’s delicious and we’ve ordered it several times over the years. My friend replicated the recipe and shared it with me last year. When I began researching the recipe, I discovered that it is a variation of Dynamite Shrimp from PF Chang’s – a restaurant I’ve only set foot in once, by accident. It seems more Americanized Japanese than Americanized Chinese. It’s Asian-y.


shrimp, cornstarch, potato starch, panko crumbs, salt, pepper, eggs

the sauce: soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, sriracha, mayonnaise, lime, garlic, green onions, sesame seeds (these are white seeds, but i used black sesame in the photos)



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mushroom madness

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Recipe: shroomaki (japanese mushroom roll)

Our cooler weather turned to unsettled weather which turned to glorious cold and snowy weather this past week. While the snow will move on after Sunday and give way to sunshine for a week or more, I’m pretty spanking happy about getting this early dose of winter right now. I baked breads, we got Yuki out for her first romp in the snow, we are running the heat, and ALL of the warm blankies are out for people and canines alike. The transition is always a touch startling as we adjust our internal thermostat to sub-freezing temperatures outside, but we find exercising outside in the cold is the best and most fun way to get your body geared up for winter!


first came the rains and the sunrise rainbows

dusting off my sourdough starter and baking some bread

and cranberry walnut sourdough bâtards

my all-weather pups in the high country

my beloved pack

officemates chilling out while i work



The kitchen has seen more use in the past couple of weeks than it did most of the summer. So far I’ve made chili, posole, pasta bakes, several batches of cookies, breads, and plenty of sushi. The wonderful nature of sushi is that it’s a no-brainer meal for summer, but it is also perfect for cold weather with its accompanying tempura and miso soup and agedashi tofu and warm seasoned sushi rice. As I rummaged through my chest freezer recently, I grabbed a bag of frozen sliced matsutake and decided to season them Japanese-style. And then a vision of mushroom sushi goodness came to me. I knew what I had to do. If you aren’t a mushroom lover, you must now look away and return for the next post. If you even remotely like mushrooms, this roll is for you.

3 kinds of mushrooms: shiitake (left), beech (top), and matsutake (right)



A dedicated mushroom sushi roll sounded like a great idea. Each type of mushroom is prepared a different way. I decided on matsutake mushrooms simmered in a soy sauce base, shiitake mushrooms simply sautéed, and tempura-fried beech mushrooms. What’s great about mushrooms is that you can substitute other varieties if you don’t have, let’s say, matsutake on hand. Shiitake would be great in place of matsutake and you could sauté oyster mushrooms instead of shiitake, and tempura fry enoki or maitake in place of beech. Flexibility is good. Options are good. I will say, if you CAN use matsutake, please do. They have this certain special cinnamon-pine spiciness that is so complementary with the soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. It’s magical. And if you are looking to make this gluten-free, replace the soy sauce with tamari.

water, mirin, hondashi granules, sugar, soy sauce, sliced matsutake

put everything in a small saucepan

bring to a boil, then simmer until liquid is gone

super flavorful mushroom slices



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