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archive for beverage

let this be the cooldown

Sunday, August 19th, 2018

Recipe: huckleberry daiquiri

The weather took a turn this weekend, bringing cooler temperatures, clouds, and even some rain. The smoke is still present and we find that the intensity of the smoky odor doesn’t always correlate with the opacity of the air. But I’ll take a cooldown any way I can get it right now. We get out when we can, although being confined indoors means we are getting more work done.

We celebrated my mom’s birthday last week. At first my Dad had grand plans of going out for dinner at one of Boulder’s many fine dining establishments, but more and more my parents prefer eating with us at home. I think we all enjoy dining out, but when you are a good cook you understand the value of what you are getting at a restaurant versus what you are getting at home. There are plenty of times when dining in wins. Dad executed a fabulous feast including the traditional noodles for long life. I contributed a Colorado Palisade peach (the best peaches!) pie because my mom loves peaches and she doesn’t bake.


birthday girl and lots of special dishes

chinese beef and beef tendon noodle soup in 3-day broth



I’ll be honest with you, this has been a shitty summer as mountain summers go. Our monsoonal rains fizzled before they even got started, the smoke from the fires has kept us from exploring much of the high country (I’m allergic to smoke and suffer from allergy-induced asthma), and it appears that the mushroom season to date has been a mere token at best. We are skipping straight ahead to roasting green chiles, picking apples from friends’ trees, and mentally engaging ourselves with what we hope is the arrival of autumn in the mountains. We spy many random aspen branches flaring their gold colors around the neighborhood and on the trails. Most are still green, but I feel ready for fall, and then… precious winter.

the understory of our local woods is turning

there aren’t many out there, but we find them

time to roast and restock the freezer

apple picking with this sweet little girl and her pup, kumba



Considering our poor snowpack and meager summer rains, Erin and I were astonished that this year’s huckleberry crop was 1) early by a month and 2) phenomenal. This was not the case everywhere, because my secret huckleberry patches outside of Crested Butte had so few berries that I left them all for the local wildlife to eat. Back on the Front Range, I have a huge stash cleaned, sorted, and frozen. There were so many berries that we hardly put a dent in them. I saved a few fresh ones to make some recipes, including a huckleberry daiquiri cocktail.

ice, huckleberries, limes, sugar, water, rum



I had never had an actual daiquiri before. My knowledge of daiquiris came from the daiquiri ice sherbet at Baskin Robbins, which you could argue is no knowledge at all. But whenever I want to try a cocktail recipe, Jeremy always volunteers as tribute. To make it huckleberry, I merely steeped crushed berries in the simple syrup. And while I typically use organic cane sugar that has a brown tint to it, I opted for white granulated sugar to avoid any adulteration of the true huckleberry color. After you strain the berries out, don’t throw them away! These are great on pancakes, waffles, French toast, or ice cream. Huckleberries should never be wasted.

make a simple syrup with water and sugar

mash the huckleberries

add the berries and let steep for 30 minutes

strain the syrup



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frosé, two ways

Sunday, June 10th, 2018

Recipe: frosé, two ways

It’s been too hot to cook. Normally in the mountains, we can cool down nicely in the evenings by opening up the house and running the fan (we don’t have air conditioning). But the heat and the height of pine pollen season have conspired to keep us holed up in the house while thick yellow plant sex covers the world around us. I am very allergic to the pine pollen, but this year it seems to be affecting those who haven’t experienced these allergies before. What we desire is a good rainstorm, because it washes away the pollen and cools everything down, but all we’ve been getting are teases and nary a drop of water from the sky reaching the ground.


storm clouds and virga with a rainbow in the bottom left at sunset

the winds kick up pollen storms in our valley

lovely clouds at sunset, but still no rain



I think we may have hit peak pollen yesterday, which means relief is on its way. Even so, it’s still hot as blazes and I couldn’t bring myself to blog about anything other than this frozen amazingness that I finally tried last week. If you are even remotely aware of food trends, you’ve heard of frosé and you know that it was all the rage two years ago. I’m always late to the food fad game, partly due to skepticism and partly because I just can’t get my act together soon enough to join the party. So for those of you who were completely unaware of the frosé revolution, I’m here to tell you to stock up on rosé this summer.

I’ve tried two variations that we (all of the lucky taste testers) like: classic and fruity. They have nearly identical ingredients, but one incorporates the fruit (fruity) and one merely uses the fruit to flavor the syrup (classic). I made a half batch of each “in case it didn’t taste good.” Silly me! Be sure to use a bold rosé – rosé of Pinot Noir, Merlot, or Malbec. And don’t break the bank on a super spendy bottle because you’re adding all sorts of ingredients and freezing the stuff – go for the cheaper bottles.


classic: strawberries, lemon, water, sugar, rosé

lemon juice, water, sugar, rosé, hulled and chopped strawberries

boil the water and sugar to make simple syrup

steep the strawberries in the syrup



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zip and zing

Sunday, April 29th, 2018

Recipe: fresh ginger beer

I jumped the gun a couple of weeks ago and had my hair cut off, donating the 10-12 inch ponytails to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. My reasoning for keeping it long was for ease of management under my ski helmet, but with a lousy ski season nearing its end and the warming weather, I couldn’t resist!


flowering trees going crazy down on the flats

short hair is super refreshing on sunny trail runs



Despite pledging my allegiance to spring, when it snowed 10 inches this past week we immediately grabbed the skis and headed out for a little backcountry touring. It was very crunchy and knobbly underneath, because the crazy warm days had melted most of the snow which froze the slushy footprints and suncups into icy divots overnight. But the soft fluffy stuff falling from the sky made for fun turns, giggles and whoops echoing through the valley, and a renewed declaration of our love of skiing.

skinning up

skiing out

neva in the moment, in the snow



Whether it’s snowing or sunshining, I’m always up for a refreshing glass of ginger beer. I’ve tasted several brands of store-bought ginger beer over the years, preferring those with a sharper gingery bite and less sugar than their popular cousin, ginger ale. Earlier this year, I was determined to brew my own ginger beer. I tried this authentic alcoholic ginger beer from Food 52 and had to pour the bulk of it down the drain because it tasted so awful. I wondered if perhaps it was the alcohol? The next recipe I tried from Serious Eats only had 2 days of fermentation. Sadly, it didn’t register much higher than my first attempt at ginger beer. Both seemed to have an oddly soapy flavor to the ginger beer. I was so frustrated.

Fast forward a few weeks and Jeremy and I had a lunch date at Oak in Boulder where I sipped on their homemade ginger beer. So fizzy and bright and full of “punch you in the face” ginger flavor. I later emailed the restaurant, relaying my tale of woe and wasted ginger, and asked if they would be willing to give me some tips on making my own ginger beer. These incredibly nice people replied within a few hours and gave me their recipe.


sugar, ginger, lemon, water, topo chico (or any soda water)



Their version isn’t something I can reproduce at home. They combine fresh ginger juice, lemon juice, sugar, and water, and then they carbonate it. My version combines fresh ginger juice, lemon juice, simple syrup, and carbonated water. Why not?

simple syrup: water and sugar



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