blood orange pâte de fruit kimchi meatloaf shredded brussels sprouts and kale salad chocolate pudding


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Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Recipe: shredded brussels sprouts and kale salad

The Colorado snowpack has been running below average (88%) with a string of sunny days for much of the first three weeks of January. But as my favorite meteorologist-skier, Joel Gratz, has said, if we’re going to get dissed on snowfall, January is a good time for it. That’s because the sun angle in January is quite low (and the days are still pretty short) which means less melt. As we move into February and March, that sun climbs higher in the sky each day and it can take a toll on the snow if Mother Nature doesn’t grace us with some of the fluffy stuff. On our last day in Crested Butte it began to snow in the late afternoon. It was just a little, but enough to feel the flakes falling on my cheeks as we skate skied back to the car. We could see the snow clouds moving in from all directions.


non-skiing activities included hugging on my favorite neighborhood wookie dog, wyatt



The next morning, we woke early to get on the road back home. Overnight, it had snowed far more than anyone (Joel, NOAA, all of the weather people) had been expecting. It was less in Crested Butte and more as we neared the I-70 corridor. Typical of Colorado weather, the storm gave way to sunshine and blue skies. Icy and snowy roads became snow-packed roads became slushy roads became wet roads became dry roads. We drive past a number of ski resorts on our route from Crested Butte to Nederland and happen to have passes for some of them. Copper Mountain reported 7 inches of powder that morning, so we “justified” stopping for a few runs by saying the freeway could melt out a little more while we sampled the snow.

jeremy thought it was pretty darn good

the view south, looking out of bounds



It’s feeling less like Spring and more like Winter – as it should! The snow came down all day Wednesday here in the Front Range, which puts me back in the mood for hot soups. But winter also makes me crave salads and fruits. I know some folks try to get their vegetables in the form of a smoothie. It seems to be rampant along with January-sudden-onset-exercise. Whatever works, I suppose. Me? I personally dislike smoothies – and I say “dislike” because I don’t want to use the word “hate” even though that is what I mean. I actually enjoy eating vegetables (and fruit) in solid form. The textures and flavors are precisely what I like about eating them. It’s so much easier to get your vegetables and your exercise when it’s something you love, don’t you think?

In the past few months, I’ve become hooked on a shredded Brussels sprouts and kale salad. Last spring, a Whole Foods Market opened in Frisco which is on the road between Nederland and Crested Butte. It used to be that our only quick food options right off the freeway were fast food, so this was a welcome addition to our choices. Jeremy usually gets soup or something hot, but I load up on salad. I make a point of sampling some of the salad bar’s prepared salads. Most of them don’t get sampled a second time, but I kept returning to this one salad because it was so crunchy and refreshing. The salad bar (or anything) at Whole Foods ain’t cheap, so it was only a matter of time before I sought out a recipe to make at home.


kale, brussels sprouts, pecorino, black pepper, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, salt, garlic, shallot, lemon, olive oil, dijon mustard

strip the kale from the ribs

roll the leaves up

chiffonade the kale



**Jump for more butter**

none of that weak sauce

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Recipe: homemade pizza sauce

Windstorms in winter accompany large temperature throws in our area. So when we go from single digits to well above freezing in a day, it’s a good idea to secure any outdoor furniture, grills, trampolines, small children, and pets. The winds were quite nasty earlier in the week, but now that the neighbors’ fences have stopped blowing over and the large tree branches are done snapping, we’re back to our normal dose of winds in the 20-40 mph range. It is what it is. As if to apologize for its bad behavior, the atmosphere made nice with the sun Tuesday evening.


cotton candy sunset



I’ve been in cleaning mode lately. That’s what I do when Jeremy is out of town. I start cleaning out closets or reorganizing shelves at night, which produces heaps of donations and recycling. This activity always makes Jeremy a little nervous because I desperately want to clean his mess of a desk, but I usually get too frustrated when I try to figure out where to start. While returning some canning jars to the canning cabinet in the basement, I took inventory of my tomatoes. Tomatoes are what I use the most in the non-summer months – mostly diced tomatoes. When I first began canning, I incorrectly assumed that I used diced tomatoes and tomato sauce at the same rate. By the following summer, my diced tomatoes were nearly finished and my sauce remained untouched. Why not make pizza sauce? Until last year, I bought a pretty spendy pizza sauce from Whole Foods because it wasn’t loaded with sugar and it tasted the best. But then I began searching for a pizza sauce that I could make from my own tomato sauce. Most of the recipes I researched called for diced tomatoes, which didn’t solve my problem, but this one uses tomato sauce – and it is AWESOME.

black pepper, tomato paste, tomato sauce, garlic, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, parmesan, onion, water, olive oil, salt, oregano, basil

dice the onion and mince the garlic

everything measured and prepped



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stay on target

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Recipe: gougères

For some reason, I had this naive notion in my head that there was plenty of time to get all of the holiday, work, house, and social tasks done before leaving town. I hadn’t counted on losing three of those days to back pain which turned my three remaining days into an all out assault on my to-do list. Do you bakers ever think to yourself in the middle of mixing a batch of cookie dough, “Maybe I’ll just give them three kinds of cookies instead of four…”? Because I think that quite a bit – especially when I reach up to scratch my forehead and wind up leaving a smear of creamed butter and brown sugar where the itch was. Still, I stuck with four types of cookies and tossed in a batch of brittle at the last minute to boot! At some point around midnight, I looked up from the hundreds of cookies on cooling racks covering every known inch of counter space and said, “I hate cookies.” Jeremy, who was in the final stretch of his exam-grading marathon held his hand up, his gaze still fixed upon the exam, muttering, “I’ll commiserate with you in just a moment.”

Truth is, I love giving cookies to people and watching their faces light up with smiles. Cookies are miniature edible gifts. Kids love cookies, adults love cookies, strangers love cookies. Most are hand-delivered although a few get shipped. If I happen to see you in that 48-hour window of time between The End of Baking and when I leave town, you should probably expect cookies. Wednesday was the day to wrap up all business, clean the house (because it sucks to come back home to a dirty house), deliver cookies, pack for Crested Butte, and meet up with people I don’t get to see very often.


ramen lunch at oak with erin

happy hour selfie with my baby cousin!



My aunt, cousins, and cousin-in-law made a detour to Boulder en route to Vail for a happy hour get together. When Mom learned that her younger sister was going to be seeing us in Colorado, she instructed me to gift them a bunch of food stuffs because… well, because Chinese mothers always think you will starve. I tucked four kinds of cookies in the bag, too. My aunt was recovering from the flu and she apologized for not making some cookies to give us. I reassured her that cookies were the last things I wanted to see for a while. The hope is that my immediate future involves three flavors of skiing, savory snacks, and time spent with my guy. Now, if you are knee-deep in party season, I have a nice savory appetizer to share. It’s cheesy, elegant, and has a French name.

gougères: water, white pepper, flour, gruyère, eggs, salt, sugar, butter



Gougères are savory little baked puffs of choux pastry. It’s similar to the puffs in cream puffs, but these are baked with cheese. You can use all sorts of cheeses, but Gruyère is my favorite in gougères. They even rhyme!

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

add the flour all at once

quickly stir the flour into the liquid



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