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


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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**

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**

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



**Jump for more butter**