49th mom's colorado mountain cooler butter-seared porcini-crusted salmon lemon poppy seed cake


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keeping it cool

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Recipe: mom’s colorado mountain cooler

Every morning at 5:30, I am jolted out of my slumber by the squeak of the moppy bear or the drawn out honk of the blue dragon. Neva usually wakes up around 5:15 or so and quietly – sweetly – chews on her toys in her crate. When she tires of the toys, she’ll start to chew the crate, or she’ll give a little whimper. If we try to ignore the whimper (believe me, we try), she gives a sharp little bark. Time to take the puppy out to potty. I record her potty times each day on my phone. Each day I begin tapping in the date with clumsy fingers and uncorrected vision.

How can it almost be August already? Deja vu. At the end of June I said the same thing about July. And so on and so forth. It’s been this way since the holidays last year, but summer is when we jumped ahead at warp speed grasping at the days speeding past us. There’s just too much going on all at once. The long daylight hours lull you into a false sense of having plenty of time to get it all done, and then night falls and you realize how screwed you are going to be in the sleep department… again.

Despite being someone who cannot wait for winter to return, I must admit that this summer is flying past faster than I would like. It’s the puppy vortex, but it’s also wildflowers and mountains and loved ones and hikes and summer storms and night skies and hummingbirds and huckleberries and rocky streams and – all of it.


nature’s confetti

dramatic light at sunset

neva in the high country

on our way to find some mushrooms

completely wiped out and resting in the shade by the trail

having a fun play session on the snow with banjo



We appear to have transitioned from cool and rainy weather to the scorching hot and dry weather that runs my patience down to zero in 2 seconds flat. It’s a good time to pull out some frosty beverages. On our most recent visit with Jeremy’s parents, my mother-in-law served a refreshing drink that I thought was worth sharing here, for all of the melting people. It’s fruity, frosty, and you have the option of making it boozy, too. I called it Mom’s Colorado Mountain Cooler, but the more descriptive title is a sparkling lemon sorbet melon ball cooler.

sparkling water, cantaloupe, honeydew, rose water, lemon sorbet, mint



You can purchase lemon sorbet or you can make your own. If you make your own, you should start the sorbet well ahead of time (like a day ahead or the morning of). The rosewater is optional. If you aren’t a fan, leave it out. If you like it, add it to your homemade sorbet or add a drop directly into the drink. I prefer none or just a tiny hint of rose. It should be subtle, not overpowering. Ball or cube the melons and freeze them solid for at least an hour before serving.

ball the melons

a little rosewater (this is way too much – a drop is sufficient)

muddle some fresh mint



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stormy and awesome

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Recipe: ginger shrub dark and stormy cocktail

We have entered this lovely stormy pattern of snow, snow, and more snow. Hey – better late than never. Our wonderful neighbor always gets up early after a big snowfall and snow blowers his driveway, our driveway, the common driveway, and the other neighbors’ driveways. Sometimes I’ll take fresh baked cookies over, or maybe a coconut custard tart, or perhaps some cinnamon rolls. I love neighborly neighbors. Before the latest round of storms, we enjoyed a lull of 2 sunny days with no wind. NO WIND. So rare and yet so coveted! I scrambled to get my work done and then grabbed my skis for a solo skin into the mountains before the sun retired for the day.


beautiful, quiet, solitude



The clouds moved in a few days later and the snow has been falling ever since. In winter, we pay attention to the weather not just for the ski potential, but to avoid unnecessary travel when conditions in the canyon are hazardous. I managed to take care of all business in town on Wednesday morning, driving back up the canyon just as the snow and clouds blotted out the sun above, but Jeremy had meetings that went into late afternoon when the storm was fully underway. He planned to take the bus home (usually a safer option during storms), but had to wait a couple of hours at the RTD station while emergency crews cleared an accident that had closed the entire canyon. When he finally got home several hours after he had left his office, I handed him a cocktail – because I knew he needed it. It was a dark and stormy, which seemed appropriate.

But this dark and stormy was made with ginger shrub rather than ginger beer. My friend, Cindi, asked me for a ginger shrub recipe earlier this month because her husband loves the stuff, but didn’t want to keep paying major cash for bottle after bottle. I didn’t have a recipe that I had tried, but shrubs are pretty straightforward to make. I did a quick search, looked over a couple of recipes, and sent along the one that looked best with the caveat that I hadn’t tested it.


ginger, cider vinegar, sugar

slice the ginger

it’s just these three things: ginger, vinegar, sugar



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a little time off

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Recipe: homemade hot cocoa mix

I hope everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving was able to enjoy their holiday! Me? I remained mostly offline for the past several days and loved every minute of it. Instead of expending my energies on cooking Thanksgiving dinner, I kept the food prep simple and opted to ski. Crested Butte happily received nearly 2 feet of snow before opening day on the mountain. It goes without saying that first tracks were accompanied by the sound of hoots and hollers echoing down the slopes of untracked powder. When the powder was no more, we went skate skiing, did a little mouse proofing of the house, squealed at baby puppy malamutes (that was me doing the squealing), and worked on stuff that always gets neglected back home.


fluffy

fresh

amazing snow for november

trees plastered from snowmaking guns



It seems that once Thanksgiving has passed, the calender shifts into high gear. Suddenly everything I never wanted goes on sale in my in-box. Oh, but it IS nice to nab a deal on those climbing skins I’ve been eying for over a year. For the most part, we ignore the frenzied consumerism because we don’t do gifts over the holidays. What I mean is that we only give homemade or local gifts to people like Jeremy’s staff, my oncologist, our vet, the post office. I try to mix it up from year to year with a variety of baked goods, confections, and something like a barbecue spice rub, homemade jam, or a flavored cheese powder for popcorn. This year, I’m including jars of homemade hot cocoa mix.

bittersweet chocolate chips, sugar, powdered milk, salt, dutch-process cocoa powder

chop the chocolate

mix everything together

scoop into air-tight jars



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