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


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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**

tough and easy

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Recipe: porcini butter

Today (Wednesday) was my last day of my 6-week skate ski program. While I will miss meeting up with this fine group of women and my awesome instructor, I have to say I’m happy to get my Wednesdays back. That, and I look forward to not being completely wiped out at the end of a long day of skate skiing and drills. I signed up for this program to jump start my introduction to skate skiing. On the registration form, I was asked to mark my ability level, so I checked off “Green: Beginner”, because that’s what I was. Little did I expect to be grouped into the intermediate class. I came into this program with the willingness to work hard, but this level of instruction required even more than I had anticipated.

So I worked. Hard. It wasn’t enough to just show up to class once a week, I needed to practice several times between classes so I could improve and take full advantage of the instruction I received. In the beginning it was crazy frustrating trying to piece together all of the elements of the technique while being completely exhausted from the hills. But I stuck with it as punishing as it felt, and within a couple of weeks I noticed some improvement. I am by no means what I consider a proficient skate skier, but I feel like I can practice and skate toward that goal equipped with the knowledge and understanding that our instructor shared over the last month and a half.


my wonderful skate gals



After a day of skating up and down the hills at Eldora, it’s necessary to come home to an easy menu. I’ll tell you what, though – I think easy menus are perfect just about any time. We gave up going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day over two decades ago, opting for a delicious home-cooked meal in the privacy of our own home. This spared us the headache of having to jostle among crowds of couples with unreasonably high expectations for the evening. When I tried this recipe, my intention was to shoot for “easy”. Only after sitting down to eat our dinner, did I realized how a simple porcini butter could transform a meal into a swoon-worthy experience.

The name, porcini butter, is practically the recipe itself. It requires dried porcini mushrooms and butter – a match made in heaven. If you are using unsalted butter, you can opt to add salt. I personally hold off on adding salt because I like to add it separately. Unlike fresh porcini, dried porcini are mush easier to find in grocery stores if you don’t have your own. They are usually packed in 1 oz. bags or containers. The butter should be at room temperature so you can cream it easily with a fork. Use a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle to turn the porcini into a fine powder. Everything will start to smell of porcini at this point.


you’ll need: salt (optional), butter, dried porcini

cream the butter

place the dried porcini in a spice grinder

grind it into a powder



**Jump for more butter**

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**