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crazy beautiful

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Recipe: mango lassi

Volatile. We go from dark, brooding skies to clear and sunny ones to snow squalls to gentle breezes and run that cycle fifty times over. Spring is volatile around here. The clouds are practically roiling over the Continental Divide in a battle between moisture, thermal expansion, and pressure gradients. The tips of aspen branches have turned fuzzy and glow brilliantly in the sun. They will be a fresh green in a matter of months. I love my snow, but I doubt there are many who don’t feel a little giddy at the approach of spring. We are certainly enjoying it.


snow hangs like bunting on the bridge (iphone)

metal flowers at peak 8 in breckenridge (iphone)

looking out on imperial chair – the highest ski lift in north america (iphone)

aprés ski – start with tempura

…and hamachi sashimi

brushing the dog (kaweah doesn’t enjoy this one bit)



April is a stone’s throw away. We finished our taxes. It feels great to get that out the way. I’m fighting the urge to go into full spring cleaning mode because I basically blow up the house and spend a few days sorting it all out. I think that stresses the hell out of Jeremy, so I’ll try to do that on the sly when he isn’t around to witness the mayhem. Oh, and the other day I saw deep red organic strawberries at the market and bought a pint. Guess what? They’re not ready. I knew better, but late winter/early spring can play tricks on your mind. Sour, cottony, hard strawberries – blegh! The person at Whole Foods who wrote the “juicy and sweet!” sign ought to be kicked in the shins. But the point is that I am ready for fruit other than apples, pears, and citrus (which have done a swell job these many months).

my favorite: the champagne (or ataulfo) mango



The delightful little mango that I love most is the Ataulfo and it is in season now. The flesh is smooth and silky compared to the stringy meat of the more common Tommy Atkins variety (large, greenish-red skin, mild flavor). Ataulfo mangoes are sweeter too. Jeremy doesn’t like mangoes (nor any stone fruit), so I happily buy them all for my own consumption. Most of the time I just peel the skin off with a knife and eat it like an apple. It makes a glorious mess. I also love a mango lassi, but cringe at the price in restaurants because I know how easy it is to make at home. I shot this recipe two years ago, but I still use it and I still love it.

dice them up

into the blender to purée

add yogurt (and water, sugar, and cardamom)



**Jump for more butter**

cool as a cucumber

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Recipe: cucumber spritzer

Did any of you stay up to watch the Perseids meteor shower over the weekend? It’s one of my favorite meteor showers each year because it isn’t freezing cold out, there is usually a good show, and the winds are typically gentle in summer. The first night we had clouds overhead that miraculously cleared out by 1 am, so Jeremy and I slept out on our deck while I had the camera running until astronomical twilight around 5 am. I saw several dozens of meteors streaking across the sky despite dozing off for ten minutes here and ten minutes there (Jeremy pretty much slept through the entire thing). The next night, we put two IKEA poang chairs outside on the deck and wrapped ourselves up in flannel quilts and fleece blankets. I’m less likely to fall asleep if I’m not horizontal, but there were considerably fewer meteors. I was still able to see a couple dozen, although the clouds really moved in by 2 am.


perseid and the milky way

another one

long exposure of my camera taking a 30-minute exposure

the milky way (red glow is my town’s center)

star trails (orange glow is clouds, white blur is milky way)



Ahh, sleep-deprivation in summer. It is de rigueur for our summers because of things like the Perseids meteor shower or more likely waking early to beat the sun or thunderstorms on the mountains. There aren’t that many hikes left in our local area that we haven’t done, but the High Lonesome loop was one of them. There were about 5 of the 16.5 miles we hadn’t done before, so it was time. We typically prefer to do the longer hikes in the fall when it cools down and the grasses of the high country turn brilliant golds, rusts, and reds. Except fall is a ridiculously busy time for me and the hike invariably gets shelved. I’m glad we did this one in summer, because it was just so beautiful.

jeremy at the high point



Hiking is always a great way to work up an appetite. What better excuse to meet up with friends for dinner in town? My pal, Ellen of the famed and addictive Helliemae’s Salt Caramels, and her mister joined me and Jeremy for a lovely evening at Frasca last week. It is hands-down my favorite spendy place in Boulder. The food was fantastic, the service impeccable, and the company – perfect.

chris and ellen get the low down on the menu

primi: lasagna (fried eggplant, smoked mozzarella, tomato passato)



So, I’m a bit of a teetotaler. It’s partly because I’m the designated driver and partly because I can’t hold my liquor for squat. I’m okay with that. I usually order an iced tea for the caffeine boost (remember, sleep-deprived all summer long). While Ellen and Chris were fighting traffic to get to the restaurant, Jeremy and I perused the wine list and happened to glance at the cocktails in the back. And there were non-alcoholic cocktails that were about as fancy as any cocktails! I ordered the cucumber-ish cocktail, because cucumber is the perfect quencher for me on a hot day (and it was a hot day spent foraging). Utterly delightful. And you know I had to make this at home.

cukes, lime, mint, sugar



Funny thing is, that morning I was foraging with my pal, Wendy, and we discussed cucumber simple syrup. So the seed was already planted. I had everything I needed at home. These are easy ingredients to get your hands on and I imagine there are many people getting crushed under the weight of their cucumber harvests. To those people I say, “I am jealous.”

make a simple syrup

shred or chop the cucumber

add the cucumber to the hot syrup and steep



**Jump for more butter**

chillin’ my way

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Recipe: strawberry vodka

Our oppressive heat of the last several weeks seems to be abating so that Kaweah can resume her jolly evening walks without overheating. While we adjust to summer temperatures, it’s much harder on the pup. So 80°F might be tolerable for us, but it will have her gasping for air on the baby trails.


kaweah was so very happy to be out after a rain

trail markers in our town



This cooling trend was just in time for the Fourth of July holiday too. It was lovely getting our legs outside and back on the trails. The wildflowers are going nuts in the high country too. For our holiday, we went for an early morning local hike.

big views

little critters (can you spot the pika?)

final ascent

token summit shot on mount audubon (haze is smoke from wildfires in wyoming)

wonderful blue columbines (colorado state flower)

blessed rains on the descent



Fireworks were cancelled in our mountain town for obvious reasons (two words: Colorado wildfires). If you’re hankering for sparklies, you can see fireworks photos from 2011 and 2010. Instead of scoping out a location from which to shoot the fireworks like previous July 4ths, I got to chill out at home and make a simple, but elegant dinner.

pan-seared scallops on fresh vegetables



My beverage of choice is water. I love it. But when I want to offer something special to friends, it’s usually fruity and usually homemade. In summer, the quintessential beverage is lemonade. I like to play with fancy lemonade like lavender lemonade or in this case, a strawberry lemonade. Except this is an adult strawberry lemonade made with homemade strawberry vodka.

get yer hands on some proper strawberries

red to the core



**Jump for more butter**