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snow and blow

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Recipe: butternut squash lasagne

When my neighbor asked if I could take care of their dog, Dioji (dee-OH-gee), for a couple of days, I hesitated. My desire is to always say yes to everything. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to temper that gut reaction with pragmatic considerations and to think things through before answering yes, before committing to what I promise to do. Dioji is an easy girl – a giant fur ball, half Bernese Mountain dog, half Great Pyrenees, and one hundred percent lover. Neva is very fond of Dioji and I have to say, of all the dogs that have to put up with Neva’s ridiculous puppy antics, Dioji is the sweetest and most tolerant one. Of course, walking the two of them was quite the adventure because Neva is constantly pulling ahead and Dioji is always stopping abruptly to sniff the latest headlines.

sitting nicely for a treat, but neva thinks dioji might have gotten hers already

As much as I adore Dioji, I think I like having one dog. I hear from plenty of folks that two dogs are great because they keep one another company, but one is just right for me and Jeremy. Neva improves each day in subtle increments rather than the “one step forward, two steps back” of puppyhood. We still witness bouts of puppiness in Neva, and with the colder weather she is becoming more snuggly. Every morning Neva hops up onto the bed and cuddles between us for an hour or so until she feels it is time for what Jeremy calls her “two outputs and one input” – potty time and dinner (breakfast) – at which point she scoots closer to Jeremy and puts both front paws on his face. After she’s done eating, one or both of us will take her out for some exercise – a hike, fetch, or ski. We recently got more snow and a chaser of winds gusting up to 60 mph, but we still went out because Neva needs to learn what winter is like around here. Thankfully, ground blizzards don’t seem to bother her too much when there is a ball to be chased.

i wish all dogs could be this happy

neva in flight!

her coordination is improving

walking home after lots of good playtime

While I pride myself in enduring gale force winds to get my ski on (because it makes the calm days all the more delicious), there are times when the winds and the snow conditions combine to create so much suckage that I will resort to indoor rowing or riding. Those are also good days to tackle something like this butternut squash lasagne with its multiple components. Running the oven keeps the house warm and toasty while the big bad wolf rages outside.

onions, butter, olive oil, milk, goat cheese, flour, salt, thyme, sage, panko crumbs, butternut squash, black pepper, pecorino-romano cheese, no boil lasagne, nutmeg, garlic

start caramelizing the onions

deep brown and sweet

**Jump for more butter**


Sunday, November 1st, 2015

Recipe: chanterelle puffs

It was our smoochiversary this weekend, November 1. To celebrate, Jeremy installed a new faucet in our kitchen to replace the one that had been leaking progressively worse over the past year. I know that doesn’t sound like much of a celebration, but we are both thrilled about it since the old faucet was clearly designed by a moron.

To be honest, we didn’t have any special plans to mark 23 years together. We went for a hike with Erin and Banjo for the purposes of scoping out the snow conditions (for ski touring later) and to get Neva used to winter on the trails. Then we did laundry, brought the deck furniture in for the season, switched summer jackets and sandals out for winter jackets and boots, and put away old puppy things that Neva has outgrown. While Jeremy sorted through the puppy crate and puppy beds, Neva walked over and curled up on a flower pillow she loved when we first brought her home. She used to take up twenty percent of the area, but now her legs, tail, and head spilled over the edges.

happy colorado dogs

moonset over mount audubon

high winds brought in a huge standing wave cloud sunday morning

here’s the coolest section of the wave cloud

playing tug with neva until she started to drowse off

It had been a couple of months since I had last seen Erin because our schedules have been completely out of sync. When her truck pulled up in front of our house the morning of our hike, Jeremy and I grabbed our gear and headed down the stairs. Neva hesitated at the top of the stairs because she knew a car ride was imminent, but she did not know who was walking up to our door. We coaxed her down, and when she spied Erin and Banjo through the glass of the front door, she lost her mind with joy. After the hike, but before Erin went home, I ran into the house to grab a bag of huckleberries I had foraged, cleaned, and frozen for Erin while she was away on her canoe trip in Alaska. While shuffling the contents of the chest freezer around, I came across my frozen chanterelles from the summer. I’m not such a huge fan of summer, but if there is anything that makes summer an adventure, it is the foraging.

double happiness

I know from Instagram and Facebook that friends of mine in the Pacific Northwest and Scandinavia are still foraging chanterelles, and that people have been able to buy fresh chanterelles at farmers markets. I think you can use fresh or frozen (I froze the rest of my chanterelles after they had been sautéed in butter) for this chanterelle puffs recipe. These are like gougéres, but with chopped mushrooms. If you don’t have chanterelles available, substitute another kind of edible mushroom – it will still be great.

gruyère cheese, flour, chanterelles, eggs, salt, butter, chicken broth

mince the mushrooms

pour the mushrooms into the broth

add the butter and salt

**Jump for more butter**

what the morning will bring

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Recipe: morning buns

Hey, I didn’t need to wash my car because it RAINED all day Wednesday! What does that say about me when my car is cleaner on a rainy day than a sunny day? Don’t answer that. Even better than the rain, was the snow falling at my house! It was too warm for any of it to stick, but the sentiment was there, and I’m pretty sure those clouds hugging the mountains will clear out eventually to reveal REAL SNOW on the high peaks. This is good. A month later than I prefer, but it’s still good.

As we shifted from cloudless, sunny, warm days to this cloudy, rainy, cold weather, the in-between was rather wonderful. A couple of mornings in a row granted us the right conditions for some impressive light shows, where sun and clouds and rain work together for a greater good. Of course, I was awake and alert well before the first faded rosy glow in the east appeared – because Neva stepped on my stomach at 5 am to snuggle down in the space between the two humans. From then on, it’s fitful sleep for me, so why not just get up and get to work? Thanks to Neva, I found chanterelles this summer and I have caught a lot of great sunrises.

we almost had the whole rainbow in this sunrise

but looking west, there WAS a rainbow (or two)!!

Earlier this week, Jeremy gave a lecture (A Tour of the History of the Universe) at the Chautauqua Community House in Boulder, hosted by the Colorado Chautauqua Association. It was a great talk and the sold out crowd loved it, asking several thoughtful and engaging questions afterward. I mean, who doesn’t love talking about black holes, dark matter, dark energy, the big bang, and where our universe is headed? Jeremy works hard when he has to speak in public, because he’s a bona fide introvert. I know a lot of people who claim to be introverts who aren’t actually introverts. In fact, most of the true introverts I know never say one way or the other because they don’t want to draw attention to themselves and because the extroverts never shut up (I’m an extrovert, by the way).

all eyes on jeremy

As you can imagine, after his talk Jeremy was completely exhausted. He spent the entire day on telecon, teaching class, attending his student’s oral exam, and then giving this lecture well into the night. He didn’t eat beforehand because he didn’t want to puke during the talk, so we had a very late dinner and then it was to bed so we could prepare ourselves for Neva’s early morning wake up leap. But in the morning, I did have some delightful homemade pastries on the counter for him while I rushed out the door, pajamas under my jacket, to shoot sunrise. The day is infinitely better when you start it with pastries. I am particularly fond of the aptly named morning buns.

the dough: sour cream, sugar, salt, egg yolk, orange juice, ice water, yeast, butter, flour

the filling: sugar, cinnamon, orange zest, brown sugar, vanilla

**Jump for more butter**