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archive for bread

you bet your buns

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Recipe: brioche

Brioche is my absolute favorite bread. It’s not just because of all that buttery, fluffy deliciousness. The first time I tried a brioche was on my very first “date” with Jeremy. I had asked him if he was free and he said he was. He lied. He skipped math recitation. Jeremy never skips class. Never. We went to the bakery in Old Town Pasadena on a Friday afternoon and shared a brioche. It tasted so heavenly. Or maybe my memories are biased because I was really fond of this shy, polite fellow with a sweet smile. Fast forward to now – in Colorado. It’s hard to find good brioche (one could say the same for finding a good fellow). Sure, they sell it here and there, but it tastes like sawdust and crumbles apart before it reaches your mouth. The only way I could find that butter-rich, delicate brioche was to order it in some restaurants or cafés. It’s about time I remedied the problem. All I really want is the perfect hamburger bun.

The ingredient list is short, but the process is on the long side. It’s worth it, people. We swears it on The Precious. So let’s get to work.


eggs, flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter, milk – that’s it!

mix the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast together

add eggs and milk

mix with the paddle until clumpy, then switch to the dough hook



Honestly, I don’t know how people made brioche before stand mixers existed. Maybe they just had enormous arms from all of the kneading. A stand mixer will make this process so much less painful for you, but you can’t walk away from the mixer while it’s running. Mine had a tendency to walk itself around and I’m sure it would have walked itself off the counter only to bash its brains in if I hadn’t held it in place. There is a lot of mixing and scraping and the motor will get hot. When the dough comes together, start adding the softened butter a little at a time. At first it looks like the butter just spins around and around the dough, but eventually it will smear out and become incorporated into the dough. Have patience and wait to add the next pat of butter only after the previous one has disappeared.

scrape down the sides of the bowl and the dough hook

add butter one pat at a time

half of the butter has been mixed in

knead the dough a few times by hand



**Jump for more butter**

this little piggy

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Recipe: this little piggy pizza

So many wonderful things happened this past weekend, like almost a foot of new snow on the local ski hill Friday morning. Rest assured, I did get my fresh tracks first thing in the morning. The new snow also meant that we could do a full moon ski rather than a full moon hike that evening. Everything seemed to go in our favor that night: fresh snow, no winds (well, a very light breeze), full coverage on the road, clear skies. Almost unheard of for our area.


banjo waits for erin to put his dog booties on before bounding out to romp in the snow

the full moon emerges above a bank of clouds in the east as we ski west

venus (center left) setting over the majestic indian peaks



We got home from the full moon ski around 10:30 pm and ate dinner at 11:00 pm. I was in bed after midnight and set my alarm for a few hours later as there was that total lunar eclipse to catch. When it’s late and I’m tired, I sometimes question if I want to get up in the middle of the night to shoot the eclipse. I figure, if I can and if the conditions are good (they were excellent), then it’s definitely worth seeing. I don’t think I ever tire of watching these phenomena that relay just how small we really are. Besides, I’ve loved watching the moon ever since I was a little girl. Some things never change. Jeremy even got up with my alarm and brought me hot cider while I stood outside following the eclipse’s progress. We watched her set behind the Continental Divide, still eclipsed, as the eastern horizon began to glow warm with orange and gold.

entering totality (blood moon)

blood moon setting over the mountains



The 6 inches of snow around our house melted in no time flat. Warm weather returned and I’ve notice those fuzzy aspen catkins blowing around on our deck. We moved the deck furniture back outside from its hibernation in the basement and our windows have been open every afternoon to let the mountain air cool the house down. Instead of an afternoon ski tour, we’re trail running the local trails to scout out conditions (mostly melted, still some snow) and visit with our local flora and fauna.

pasque flowers are coming up

this hungry moose was chomping away on young aspen trees



Over the weekend, all of our neighbors’ yards or decks were filled with happy dogs wagging their tails with noses in the air sniffing the aromas wafting from smoking grills. We contributed our fair share of grilled deliciousness to the local atmosphere, too. Although we weren’t grilling giant hunks of meat, our pizzas still paid proper homage to the pig. Vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians, flexitarians – look away! I call the pizza This Little Piggy.

pizza dough, pizza sauce, barbecue sauce, olive oil, salt, pepper, mozzarella, caramelized onions, pancetta, prosciutto, italian sausage, bacon, chorizo

mix the barbecue sauce with the pizza sauce

slice the chorizo thin

chop the bacon



**Jump for more butter**

what sustains us

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Recipe: ham, swiss, and egg brioche sandwich

Returning home to Nederland over the weekend, we discovered that the house and its surrounds had gone ahead and marched straight into spring. Little green grasses and baby dandelion leaves are beginning to sprout up through our walkway gravel. The aspens have fuzzed out with catkins. And a bathmat-sized patch of snow lingers behind our garage in eternal shade, hoping to withstand 60°F air temperatures until it can replenish with another storm. We also received our REI dividend in the mail. You know, they used to issue those at the end of the calendar year, which meant we spent it all on winter gear. Since they’ve shifted the dividends to late March, we now spend the dividend on summer gear – like new Hokas (trail runners) and a steri pen. Jeremy loves his Hokas so much, he recommended I make the switch this season. I guess it’s time to face reality that I’ll be doing less skiing and more trail running as the days get longer.


nice color over gothic mountain (bottom center) and crested butte (right)

still getting out for a ski tour in the indian peaks

warm orange clouds over the divide from our deck (nederland)

venus to the left and a contrail lit pink by the setting sun



We are experiencing a shift in our exercise schedules with the change in seasons. We like to ski first thing in the morning in winter – because you typically catch first tracks or newly groomed nordic trails. Now that it’s warmer, we go later in the day to give the snow time to soften up from its overnight freeze. Even in the high country, the snow gets wet in the afternoons. Then it freezes overnight into a hard crust or icy slick. So first thing in the morning isn’t such a great thing anymore. Come summer, we’ll be starting our hikes and trail runs in the dark to avoid as much sun and heat as possible. But all of these things require fuel.

They say not to skip breakfast and I find this to be especially true when you plan to burn calories for several hours. I just have a lot of trouble eating something sweet for my first meal. The sugar leaves my mouth sour and dry, and I don’t feel it gives me the proper boost for my activity level. A few weeks ago, we stopped by Salto Coffee Works on our way to ski The Jane (Winter Park/Mary Jane), because Jeremy needed some proper caffeine for the drive. I ordered a breakfast sandwich to put something in my empty stomach. It was so good that I insisted Jeremy eat half of it. Since then, I’ve made it a couple of times for a good energy booster before a ski tour or a morning of bump runs.


swiss cheese, black forest ham, brioche buns, eggs, butter, honey dijon mustard

butter the buttery brioche buns

grill them on a skillet until golden



**Jump for more butter**