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archive for braising

new things

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

Recipe: braised beluga lentils

I was the featured food blogger on Pratico Goods a few weeks ago. You can read the interview here.

We’re off to a good start with early August rains. Not only are we getting moisture for the mountains, but it does a nice job of cooling down the atmosphere. Early mornings can be pleasantly chilly, which is perfect for trail runs or hikes. Last week I noticed some yellow aspen leaves on the ground. The trees are still a sea of deep summer green, but tiny flickers of gold leaves are beginning to appear in discreet clusters. I know autumn is still weeks out, but I’m excited for the change in seasons.


views like this make the trail run worth it

dew drops on a yellow aspen leaf

happy neva on her hike

a young moose right next to the trail

clouds hanging low over the ten mile range



We’re in Crested Butte at the moment, turning a pile of cardboard boxes into assembled IKEA cabinets. It’s been raining more consistently in Crested Butte such that we’re finding random mushrooms growing in our yard. That’s always a good sign of things to come. On the trail this morning, I found my first serviceberries or saskatoon berries. They aren’t nearly as tasty as huckleberries, but the berries are much larger with a flavor like a cross between an apple and a blueberry – mostly sweet and not tart. Serviceberries have a somewhat mushy, seedy texture. Most weren’t ripe yet, but I can’t wait to try some recipes when they do ripen!

some pretty leccinum were flushing on the trail

serviceberries in various stages of ripeness



It’s always great fun to find something new to forage, but I’m just as stoked to discover a new ingredient. I recently enjoyed Beluga or black lentils at a restaurant and immediately searched for a recipe to prepare them at home. Black lentils are the tiniest of lentils and look like caviar – hence the name Beluga.

celery, carrot, onion, parsley, salt, pepper, olive oil, chicken broth, black lentils, champagne vinegar, butter, thyme

rinse the lentils

dice the vegetables



**Jump for more butter**

i can’t wait

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

Recipe: braised napa cabbage with bean curd sheets

How has the start of your new year been? You can sum ours up in one word – COLD. I mean, we expect it to be cold in January around Colorado, but the first of the year put us in the deep freeze. We actually had to wait until afternoon before we could ski in temperatures above zero.


the nest thermostat reported -32°f outside

frosty branches as the sun rose over the mountain



But don’t cry for us! Cold in Crested Butte is not the same as cold in places like… the Midwest. These frigid temperatures occur when the skies are clear overnight, allowing any heat to radiate straight up toward the stars. That also means the sun is out full and bright in the morning, doing its job of warming us up into the single digits, providing happy rays, and basically making Colorado the awesome winter wonderland that it most definitely is.

we took neva on the nordic trails – she was a happy nutjob

racing the sun as it drops behind whetstone mountain for the day



On the drive home to Nederland, Jeremy and I observed how Neva is improving (i.e. calming down) each day with house guests, ski touring, walks, and general every day behavior. She’s less of a spaz, although she is still very much a spaz. Our hope is if she can learn to stay with us on skis while leashed, she’ll naturally transition to trail running in the summer. “I can’t wait for summer,” I whispered. Jeremy gave me a look – the look that wonders “What have you done with Jen?” Oh sure, I love winter and I will relish every last snowflake this season! But last summer was ALL ABOUT PUPPY and itty bitty hikes. This next summer will be great big hikes, long trail runs, multi-day backpacks, and a very happy Neva.

I also couldn’t wait to get home and stuff my face with vegetables. When we are in Crested Butte, the access to vegetables is somewhat limited compared to our usual array on the Front Range. That is especially true of Asian vegetables. I owe my vegetable addiction to my mom, who not only provided at least two vegetables with every dinner, but she prepared them in the most delicious ways possible. These days, Mom and I exchange vegetable recipes when we cook for one another. I usually introduce her to new western-style salads or preparations, and she is constantly surprising me with what she calls “old” Chinese recipes. How many treasures are locked up in her head? I’m doing my best to have her teach me when she’s here in the summers. She taught me this napa cabbage recipe a few years back. Winter is the perfect time for its warm, comforting flavors.


dried bean curd sheets – found in asian grocery stores

bean curd sheets, ginger, salt, chicken (or vegetable) broth, green onions, napa cabbage



**Jump for more butter**

my kind of pie

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Recipe: cottage pie with beef and carrots

Well wow. Winter arrived this week like a dinner guest who shows up drunk in time for dessert. There was some snow, which I’m grateful for, but we plunged from above freezing to single-digit (that is fahrenheit) temperatures within an hour or two. All hell broke loose as the roads glazed over with black ice. It’s been snowing and below zero at our house for a few days now.


snowy ridges and frigid cold

sushi dinner with my folks before they flew home



My parents made it safely home to Virginia and I think they were relieved to not have to deal with snow and ice. We never got above zero today (Wednesday) at our house, but it should start warming up soon. I’m ready for more snow, I tell ya. It’s time to get the ski pants out. I’ve also been looking for reasons to cook things in the oven now that we have finally entered cold weather season. Can you believe I’ve never made cottage pie before? I wasn’t even sure what it was. But once I read through the recipe, it was clear to me that THIS is my kind of pie – a savory pie with mashie top!

flatiron steaks, white wine, fresh thyme, olive oil, black pepper, onions, dried porcini, salt, celery, carrots, beef broth base, flour, tomato paste

heat the broth and porcini

let the mushrooms steep

chop the porcini (save the liquid)



**Jump for more butter**