ginger shrub dark and stormy cocktail roasted cauliflower and garlic mash chocolate peanut butter chip pizookie sichuan pork wontons


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archive for chocolate

sweet things in the year of the goat

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Recipe: chocolate peanut butter chip pizookie

Happy Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Tsai! It’s the year of the goat, or sheep, or ram! I’m not really sure which one it’s supposed to be, but you get the gist. The house is clean (more or less), the symbol for luck is upside down on the front door, and I made several traditional foods on New Year’s Eve to ensure luck, health, happiness, and all the good stuff. Some of the recipes require quite a bit of time to prepare – there is no rushing through them. As I sliced and minced countless ingredients and plucked the ends off the soybean sprouts, it gave me time to contemplate the previous year, loved ones who are still with us and the loved ones who have gone. The new year is a joyful time, but it is also a time of remembrance and perhaps a little heartache.


round whole fruits are good luck (and hong bao have cash!)

the character for “luck” upside down at the front door (luck arrives)

lucky ten ingredient vegetables



You’d think a Chinese recipe would be appropriate for today, but practically speaking, if you’re trying to celebrate the lunar new year, you should have cooked everything yesterday (new year’s eve) because you’re not supposed to use sharp objects (knives) today. Another superstition, don’t you know. There’s no need for knives in this recipe AND it’s something sweet – which is good because you want to eat something sweet on Chinese New Year’s Day so sweet things come out of your mouth all year.

So I have to share this guilty pleasure with you, because it’s ridiculous stuff. Years ago, my good friends Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple posted about pizookies: a deep dish cookie topped with ice cream. They were crazy about pizookies and have several recipes from which to choose. Over the winter holidays, I had some extra cookie dough and asked Jeremy if he wanted a pizookie. “A what?!” he asked. I had already popped it into the oven and just told him he wanted one. I was right.


peanut butter chips, flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, cocoa powder, butter, salt, vanilla, baking soda

cream the butter and sugars

beat in the eggs and vanilla



**Jump for more butter**

you get chocolate pudding

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Recipe: chocolate pudding

It’s nice to be back in Crested Butte, even if only for a long weekend. The air here stays nice and chilly. Even on a bluebird day, we’re still below freezing and overnight temperatures dip to double digits below zero (°F). That helps to preserve the lovely snow for days on end. It’s winter done right. We tele the mountain in the morning and skate the trails in the afternoon. When it’s a powder day (more, please!) the mountain is where it’s at. On the non-powder days, we make use of the fantastic 55-km network of nordic trails that connect our neighborhood, town, Mount Crested Butte, and the beautiful Slate River Valley. Nothing takes the edge off a hard workout like solitude and beautiful scenery.


one of the many things to love about crested butte

skiing up the snowy valley

mount crested butte and the slate river



Jeremy and I basically packed our laptops and our skis for Crested Butte: to work and to play for a few days. Oh, I also brought chocolate pudding. It all started when I purchased a container of Trader Joe’s Belgian chocolate pudding for Jeremy last month during the holiday cookie baking frenzy. The cookies were off-limits until the distribution had been completed, so the pudding was intended to satisfy any sweet cravings he might have gotten during his finals-grading marathon. It wasn’t until I was flipping through my latest issue of Fine Cooking that I found a simple recipe to make my own dark chocolate pudding.

you’ll need: cream, milk, sugar, eggs, cocoa powder, salt, cornstarch, vanilla



Having made chocolate pudding before, the one step that turns a simple recipe into a not-so-simple recipe is chopping chocolate. I don’t like chopping chocolate. It makes a mess because our air is so dry and the electrostatic charge sends tiny shards of chocolate clinging to all possible surfaces (think iron filings in the Wooly Willy toy). But this recipe doesn’t require the chopping of chocolate – woohoo! It’s based on cocoa powder, so make sure you get a good quality cocoa powder.

sift the cocoa, cornstarch, and salt together to avoid lumps

whisk the cream in completely

stir in the yolks (it will be thick, be patient)



**Jump for more butter**

midnight in the garden of good and chocolate

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Recipe: midnight chocolate shortbread cookies

I gave myself last week off from the blog and the computer. My hope is that you didn’t notice because you were offline spending time with loved ones and/or doing the things that you enjoy doing! We aren’t much for holiday traditions other than New Year’s Chinese dumplings and the soup full of yummy ingredients that represent health, wealth, good fortune, opportunity, and all that good stuff. I guess for us, the “tradition” is to ski. And ski. And ski.


jeremy seeks out a secret stash of powder on the mountain

christmas day nordic ski

enjoying the powder, bumps, and views from the mountain

jeremy skate skiing in 2°f



We’ve made a point of skiing every day since we got to Crested Butte – because why wouldn’t you? The snow has been fantastic and this town offers great downhill terrain and incredible nordic trails. It’s also a great way to fend off holiday weight creep and to see some of the local wildlife. Several ermine sightings have fascinated us on the mountain (you should see these little dudes run in powder), in our backyard, and on the nordic trails. We even witnessed one ermine carrying a little furry brown vole (presumably dead) across a big snowy expanse. Cute as they are (and they are DAMN cute!), don’t be fooled – these guys are skilled and ferocious hunters. I’ve also been getting my puppy fix, greeting all of the sweet mountain dogs in the neighborhood, around town, and on the trails.

curious little ermine checking us out

christmas parties are best with gentle, giant mountain dogs



All of the holiday cookies are now gone. Once the deliveries were made, Jeremy was allowed to dig into the leftovers. I added a new recipe to the rotation this year – a shortbread. I know I tend to bake a lot of shortbreads for gifts, but the reason is because they don’t get squirrely at high altitude and they keep longer. There have been times (in the early years) Jeremy has left a gift bag of cookies on a staff member’s desk only to find out they were out of town for a week or two. So I thought it was time to try a new shortbread cookie – a chocolatey cookie.

chocolate chips, vanilla, butter, salt, onyx cocoa powder, powdered sugar, flour

cream the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder

add a pinch of sea salt

vanilla



**Jump for more butter**