california hand roll (temaki) hot smoked salmon and asparagus pasta kaweah huckleberry jam


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diversions

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Recipe: california hand roll (temaki)

Despite being the summer high season in Crested Butte, our time here has been pleasantly quiet and peaceful. Colorado mountain towns have long winters and short summers, but boy are those summers exploding with color, activity, beauty at every turn – both in the backcountry and in town proper.


the town of crested butte is simply charming



Our neighborhood is filled with the sounds of people greeting one another in the street while walking or heading out for a bike ride, children laughing and playing, and the jingle of dog tags as pups get their walkies in the fresh mountain air. Several of our wonderful neighbors have told us how sorry they were to hear of Kaweah’s passing. This is – as many mountain communities are – a dog-loving community.

our dear next-door neighbor even sent flowers



Jeremy and I took a few days to visit his folks in Pagosa Springs – a lovely mountain town in the-middle-of-nowhere, southwest Colorado. We got up early one morning for a trail run before everyone else had risen and greeted the sunrise as we paced through scrub oak and sticky mud from the previous day’s thunderstorms. Afterward, we sat on the porch with his parents watching throngs of hummingbirds spar over the hummingbird feeders. The Rufous hummingbirds are especially territorial and aggressive which made the bird watching all the more entertaining. It’s really quite spectacular.

sunrise on the trail

a lone rufous monitors the bird feeder from a nearby branch

then thwarts the attempts of an aggressor

and shows the other guy what’s what



We returned to Crested Butte in time to meet my friend Irvin and his partner who were road tripping through Utah and Colorado this summer. We spent 48 hours giving them a quick sampling of Crested Butte: checking out Mount Crested Butte, dining in Mountaineer Square, coffee and pastries at Camp 4, hiking to a great 360° view in the high country, pizza at Secret Stash, mountain biking, dinner at our place, browsing the farmers market.

a.j. and irvin on our hike

irvin grabs a slice of “the woodward” pizza at secret stash



Our multi-day non-stop schedule kept us rather busy and preoccupied such that we weren’t dwelling too much on the little black dog that was missing from our lives. Of course, we miss her terribly. But when people tell us they are sorry, I thank them and point out that Kaweah lived a very good and happy dog life. On our drive from Pagosa Springs to Crested Butte, I was finally able to verbalize how I felt about my time with Kaweah. She was a gift to us, both literally and figuratively. It was our responsibility to provide the absolute best life to her that we could and we took that task to heart. We were with her to the very end so that she was never alone, afraid, or unloved. Only now do I understand just how much of a gift she really was and will always be until my dying day. This is me finding closure.

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I know that some people consider sushi a summer food because of the raw aspect, but I maintain a year-round love affair with sushi. I crave it after skiing just as much as I crave it after (and during) summer backpacking, and we’re fortunate that Boulder has a lot of decent sushi on offer and Crested Butte has one sushi bar (they used to have two, but my favorite one closed its doors last year). We also make sushi at home. One of my favorites is the California roll – something I never order in restaurants, but often make in my own kitchen. It is a good gateway sushi roll because the crab is cooked. When we prepare California rolls at home, we tend to go for the hand rolls or temaki because they’re quick and easy to make and consume.

wasabi powder, sesame seeds, sriracha, nori (seaweed), sushi rice, masago (capelin roe), cucumber, avocado, mayonnaise, king crab legs

slice the cucumber into strips

stir wasabi powder into mayonnaise to make…

wasabi mayonnaise



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discoveries and rediscoveries

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Recipe: galbi korean bbq short ribs

There’s something comforting in traveling a familiar trail where you know the curves, hills, rocks, trees, and stream crossings by heart. When, even in winter, you know that this very spot where the path bends will be covered with flowers in three months’ time. You know this because you’ve seen it year after year. And then there are the new trails. When you see a new trail leading off into the woods, and your eyes light up with curiosity and excitement. It calls to you. I always want to know where that trail leads. How many times have you said, “I’ll just hike up to the top of that ridge for a look” only to continue on to the next ridge and the next?


crimson columbine and violets

gothic mountain

winding through the wildflowers



On rare occasion, we’ll hike a new trail only to learn that we don’t ever need to hike that trail again (poorly marked, unmaintained, too hot, too buggy, too dangerous, too crowded). But most of the time, it’s a delightful discovery. I am especially fond of shady hikes with good breezes, nice views, and lots of huckleberry plants growing on the hillslopes. We found one of those today. I’ll be sure to revisit that one often – particularly when the hucks start to bear their precious berries.

It’s that way with recipes too when you revisit an old one that you loved but had forgotten about. I made galbi – Korean barbecue short ribs – for my parents a couple of weeks ago. When I went to dig up my recipe from the archives, I noticed the post was nearly seven years old. That was back in the day when our local Whole Foods had no clue what flanken-style ribs were. These days, they do know, but we now have a couple of Asian grocers within striking distance that also provide flanken-style beef short ribs. The Asianification of Colorado – slow, but happening. So let’s do this properly.


flanken-style short ribs, kiwis, fresh ginger, pepper, water, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, yellow onion, sugar, garlic (hidden behind the beef ribs)

soak the ribs in water



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a weekend of celebrations

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Recipe: pan-seared sichuan shrimp with glass noodles

You know it was a good weekend when you make food for three separate parties. I’m essentially partied out. But they were all wonderful, excellent, very good celebrations. The most important was Kaweah’s half birthday – her 15.5 birthday to be exact. Jeremy and I are still in awe that she is not only here with us, but generally in good spirits and always happy to eat. While we don’t normally celebrate her half birthdays, we felt it was appropriate to celebrate this one. I seared a few meatballs (ground beef, milk, bread, salt), fried a couple of bacon strips, and procured a proper filet mignon. Kaweah gets ALL of the good stuff.


kaweah loves birthdays and half birthdays



Kaweah gets so excited when we set a plate of goodies in front of her. She looks from the meatball to the filet to the bacon, to me, to Jeremy, then back to the meatball – over and over. All the while, she is trying to be a good girl, waiting for her release word… except she’s almost completely deaf. Instead of letting her eat off the plate, we hand-fed her (and I sliced that steak) so she wouldn’t choke on anything. I dare say she had a really really good time!

jeremy blows out the candles while kaweah stares at the meatballs

the tip of her tongue is sticking out in anticipation

chomp!



The rest of the weekend, we attended our friends’ birthday party and then prepped for and hosted a dinner party for my parents for Father’s Day. I know that I’m very lucky to have my parents here with me – even luckier that I can cook a special meal for them that they enjoy. But now that the weekend is over, I need to get back to simpler fare! I love the prep and great flavors of this shrimp and glass noodles dish.

shrimp, snow peas, vegetable oil, sichuan peppercorns, white pepper, salt, ginger, green onions, chili oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, glass noodles

grind the peppercorns

grate the ginger and slice the green onions



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