red chile (enchilada) sauce huckleberry shrub and huck gin fizz cocktail salmon corn chowder angry edamame


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welcome autumn overlords

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Recipe: huckleberry shrub and huck gin fizz cocktail

I love that autumn in the Colorado Rocky Mountains starts on time according to the calendar. Much of the country is still tapering off from summer. When I was growing up in southern Virginia, I was quite put out by fall’s tardiness. It was supposed to arrive on or around my birthday, and yet it was still hot and miserable riding home on the school bus in late September. It’s like waiting for a guest to arrive who is beyond fashionably late. Or perhaps more appropriately it was me wishing summer would get the hint and leave already. Here in the Rockies, I feel that summer is just the right amount of time. I know this isn’t the popular sentiment regarding summer, but I’m good with that. Fall is even shorter than summer despite having two acts. The first act (in my mind) is the fall colors. It is that wondrous period of two to three – and possibly four – weeks when the aspens transition from green to fiery hues and the mountains strut their stuff on the runway. That’s going on right now and how!


mist and clouds, big mountains, golden aspens, and spots of sunlight

how many aspen leaves, i wonder

sunrise on the autumn equinox

sunrise rainbow over the town of crested butte

quintessential colorado fall



The second act involves tree trunks and branches stripped of leaves, winds, and sometimes rain. It’s a good time for trail running in tights, cooking stews and roasting vegetables, and changing to flannel sheets. And then fall ends when it really starts to snow – which we (all of the snow enthusiasts) hope will be as early as possible. I actually like that second act too, despite its visual dreariness, because it means I can stop obsessing about where the wildflowers are blooming and where the aspens are nearing peak and whether the huckleberries are ripe. But I shall still obsess about huckleberries… I periodically open my chest freezer in the basement and run a loving hand across the several bags of frozen huckleberries from this summer’s bounty. Huckleberries rank fairly high on the happiness scale for me. They are up there with Kaweah, Jeremy, the mountains, skiing, sushi. One of my favorite ways to preserve the fruits of summer is to make a shrub – an acidulated beverage made of three ingredients: fruit, sugar, and vinegar.

my number one all-time favoritest berries in the world

huckleberries, sugar, and champagne vinegar

place the berries in a food processor

pulse the blade a few times to chop them up



**Jump for more butter**

beat the heat

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Recipe: arnold palmer slushie

It got hot again.

This is not unexpected, but I was hoping that we were done with the crazy hot. Erin and I set off for the mountains again in search of our treasures (that would be huckleberries, and you knew that because you know I have a problem an obsession). We spent 13 hours on the trail and in the hucks, picking and chatting and straightening our sore backs and picking and stretching out our cramped legs. Squatting to check for purple berries, I squinted up at the clear blue skies and blazing sun. Our normal afternoon thunderheads did not develop that day – we only got cloud relief around 4 pm and they were puny little clouds at that! Sometimes when I stood up to stretch my old lady muscles, I would spy Banjo, Erin’s pup, sleeping in the shade. It’s okay to envy a dog, right? Colorado mountain dogs have the best life. Banjo never showed any interest in the hucks, whereas Kaweah would have been all up in my business trying to eat them… that or she would have zeroed in on the nearest animal carcass or poop pile in which to roll. Good times.


he’s thinking “you don’t have anything good to eat, do you?”

banjo is an incredibly well-behaved dog



Actually, that day wasn’t so bad in terms of heat. Wednesday was bad, I mean hot (thus bad), because I had a chocolate shoot. I consume a good bit of water on a daily basis, but especially on hot days. It is my beverage of choice. But on special occasions I will spring for an oh-so-refreshing Arnold Palmer, which is half lemonade-half iced tea. The last few times we hosted dinner parties, I made lemonade and iced tea for non-alcoholic beverage choices to offer our guests. And no one wanted iced tea or lemonade! They all opted for the Arnold Palmer. My friend, Luke, taught 3-year old Felix how to make an Arnold Palmer. When Luke took a sip, he said, “Mmmm mmmm mmmm!!!” We made one for Felix in a juice glass and when he tasted it for the first time, he mimicked his father and grinned, “Mmmm mmmm mmmm!!!” Another fan of the AP has been added to our ranks! But for those extra hot days, you need to take it one step further.

lemons. ice, black tea, water, sugar

pour boiling water over the tea leaves

let it steep

boil sugar and water for your simple syrup



**Jump for more butter**

getting along with summer

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Recipe: peach shrub

I’m the one who jumps for joy when I wake to a chilly, overcast, foggy morning in the middle of summer. For me, it’s the different between suffering (you know, the word suffer is just summer with the m’s swapped out for f’s) under the unrelenting sun in the high country and rejoicing in the cool, misty mountain air. Except last Friday I wasn’t sure how that would pan out. I had been battling a stomach bug for a few days, postponing my run until I felt better. I just couldn’t let this last day of cool weather go without getting in a trail run. My goal was to run 15 miles, but I cut it to 11 miles and a 2300 foot climb (up to 11,600 feet) when my stomach started feeling unsettled. Since Jeremy and I don’t run together (he is much faster than I am), we plan our routes to cross paths – so we had a nice date on Niwot Ridge and ran back together.


on niwot ridge

on the other side of niwot ridge with jeremy

tender soy sauce anise pork somen noodles to celebrate kris’ birthday



Consider that stomach bug kicked. Being sick in summer sucks. I count the days of summer for two reasons: 1) I cannot wait for autumn and 2) our summers are so short that each day is precious. An urgency exists to get out and hike or run every possible trail and see all of the flowers and animals before winter moves in for the long haul. And while I am winter’s ace #1 super fan, I do enjoy how the mountains are so stunning, colorful, and teeming with life at every turn in summer.

early morning moosies

heading into the woods

lush banks adorn full streams

parry’s primrose in bloom



Then there are the fruits of summer. And by fruits, I am talking about peaches today. The rest of the country gets its peaches much earlier than we do. In Colorado, we wait for the peach orchards on the Western Slope to ripen and begin delivering their local golden goodness in summer. It spoils you rotten and makes eating peaches at any other time of year sound like a very bad idea. I like eating them fresh, baking with them, jamming, freezing, and I also love making shrubs with these juicy, sweet orbs.

all you need: sugar, peaches, apple cider vinegar

chop the peaches



**Jump for more butter**