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life on the front range

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Recipe: kimchi meatloaf

It was one of those weekends here on the Front Range, much like other winter weekends on the Front Range. For starters, we were treated to stunning sunrises.


fiery sunrise looking east toward boulder

sunlit snowy peaks



And then in true Front Range fashion, we bounced from a high of 11°F this past week to near 60°F tomorrow. You know what that means. Well, maybe you don’t know… but we do. It means wind. That kind of temperature shift around here brings the winds. I checked the forecast Friday night before going to bed and NOAA was predicting gusts up to 33 mph. That’s nothing for the Front Range – a breezy day. By morning, NOAA had “updated” the winds to 50 mph, which is considerably less pleasant for ski touring in the mountains. This happens so often that I have developed trust issues with NOAA. But as I said to Jeremy Saturday morning, “If I let the wind dictate when I go outside to ski, I’d never get to ski.”

putting climbing skins away and getting blasted by a ground blizzard

twila with the mountain we opted not to summit in the distance



The character of our winter winds is antagonistic, but also unpredictable. I know NOAA isn’t trying to intentionally lie to me, it just feels that way because they haven’t been great at predicting the wind around here. I don’t know that anyone is good at it. Living in the mountains, you learn to roll with what comes because moving away from the mountains isn’t an option. Mountain living is just that good. We worked Sunday until there was a lull in the winds in the late afternoon – our cue to grab the skis and drive to a trailhead. The trail starts at the local ski resort where throngs of families from the flats were up for their weekend fix. We left the commotion behind and quickly made our way up the trail. Once over the ridge, the hum of the ski lifts and the screams of happy (or terrified?) children gave way to the soft scratching of skis on snow. Tall conifers closed in around us as we moved deeper into the national forest.

it’s like a sunday stroll, but better



By the time we skied out to the top of the bunny hill, the resort had closed and three lonely cars remained in the parking lot below. There’s something fun about skiing down the bunny hill whether on my teles, my skate skis, or my touring skis. Once at the base, we high-fived, carried our skis to the car, and asked each other, “What do you want for dinner?” It’s always a good idea to have plans for feeding after skiing, otherwise we wind up eating out. This time, I had meatloaf already made – kimchi meatloaf.

ground beef, fish sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, cornstarch, black pepper, kimchi, panko crumbs, milk, onion, egg, garlic, ginger

mince the garlic and chop the kimchi

grate half the onion

grate the ginger



**Jump for more butter**

with gravy on top

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

Recipe: buttermilk biscuits and sausage cream gravy

Up until a few days ago, Thanksgiving was nowhere on my radar. There was just so much going on for the past several weeks that I told myself if I could make it to Thanksgiving week in one piece, I’d be golden. It came down to the wire waiting for the final items on my checklist to come via post before we piled into the car. Two out of three isn’t bad considering it was the USPS (I keep my expectations low). Once on the road, the stress began to peel away with each additional mile. There were bighorn sheep sightings on Interstate 70, discussion of time-sensitive deadlines to address before 2015, much needed coffee to fuel the driver (Jeremy), and the question of what to eat for Thanksgiving. We agreed that we would keep Thanksgiving dinner simple: grilled rib eye steak with loads of vegetables. This week is dedicated to catching up on work and… skiing.


picking up our passes from the crested butte nordic center



The snow in Crested Butte is quite nice for shoulder season. Yes, it’s still shoulder season – many of the local businesses are closed until 2 weeks before Christmas. Town slumbers quietly before the mad rush of the holiday ski season, but I like this lull. The big mountain opens Wednesday. In the meantime, we’ve been getting our nordic muscles back in shape on fresh snowfall.

test driving my low light lenses

big snow totals make for early season avy danger

jeremy skis with mount crested butte in the distance

rejoicing in glorious winter (technically autumn, but it is totally winter)



Colorado’s high country changes so dramatically from summer to autumn to winter – green to gold to white. Winter is a bit of a hog as it eats up most of autumn and spring, but I don’t complain because I love it. It’s hard to believe that just last month I was back here in Crested Butte shooting the fall colors.

Over the years I’ve learned that I feel physically and mentally better on the fall shoot if I eat my own food rather than dining out for the duration of the shoot. It’s healthier and more economical. But there are those times after shooting sunrise in the freezing cold when you get a text from fellow photogs relaying their intention to head into town for breakfast, and it sounds like the best idea ever. One of my favorite stops in the little mountain town of Ridgway, Colorado, is Kate’s Place, which serves up quality breakfast and lunch. My friend, Jimmy, always orders the biscuits and gravy. I’d never had it before, but Jimmy always has this blissful smile on his face when he gets biscuits and gravy. This year, I decided to give it a try.

“Good, isn’t it?” Jimmy smiled, nodding at my plate of biscuits and gravy. Yes, it was damn good. Something warm and satisfying to fill my empty and cold tummy – energy enough for my drive back to Crested Butte. It wasn’t more than four weeks later when I began thinking about that breakfast. I blame Jimmy… and Brent – those two are always mooning over biscuits and gravy. Jimmy even texted me a photo of (another) plate of biscuits and gravy from elsewhere on the road. Well, let’s do this.


the biscuits: buttermilk, baking soda, baking powder, salt, flour, butter

whisk the dry ingredients together

toss cubed butter with flour mixture and freeze

cut the butter into the flour



**Jump for more butter**

you’re a good apple

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

Recipe: apple cider caramel apple cinnamon rolls

While in the throes of testing this recipe last Thursday, I realized a partial solar eclipse had been marked on my calendar. Sure enough, it was that day and it was about to start in 20 minutes. Eclipses, be they solar or lunar, are fascinating events. I learned about the science of eclipses in grade school, but only really appreciated watching them as an adult. I toggle between the joy of staring at the sun through solar glasses or watching a pinhole projection on the ground and the view you get from photographing the sun through (baader) solar film and seeing the remarkable details that a telephoto lens can provide. Despite the additional work of shooting an eclipse, the best part is that I can share it. So here ya go.


high clouds moving past the eclipsed sun (shot through solar film)

tail end of the eclipse as the sun sets on the continental divide (shot through solar film)

composite of the solar eclipse (shot through solar film)



For two and a half hours, I ran between my studio and the deck – shooting this recipe, then washing the flour, butter, or sugar off my hands and shooting the eclipse. Luckily, I managed to capture the eclipse, but these cinnamon rolls required another run through because I wasn’t satisfied with the results of the first attempt.

the dough: milk, sugar, egg, salt, butter, flour, yeast

mix the yeast and flour together

combine the salt, sugar, butter, and milk in a pan

heat it to 120-130°f



**Jump for more butter**