braised chicken with forty cloves of garlic roasted broccoli and farro salad with feta sparkling champagne margaritas cranberry hazelnut seed crisps


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sharing the wonderful things

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Recipe: cranberry hazelnut seed crisps

I could have very easily slipped on some yoga pants and settled down to work on the computer that grey, chilly morning last week. Instead, I went about gathering my running vest, water bladder, some fuel bloks, a ziploc for my phone, my dirty girl gaiters, trail runners… I had no idea how far I’d run, if I would get caught in the rain, if it would suck or if it would be great. The run was a little bit of everything. I did get caught in the rain for the last 6 miles and my muscles did get tight in the cold. But I managed a half marathon (a distance I haven’t run in almost 2 months) and I also caught the remainder of our local fall colors, which is both thrilling and beautiful. It was my first trail run with my upgraded iphone, so I took a few detours to test drive the camera.


a lone aspen with red fringe

the grasses are turning lovely shades of red and gold

the browse line marks the extent of where the elk and moose feed on the aspen bark (thanks, twila!)



Is it terrible that my favorite part of trail running is when I’m done with the trail run? Oh, but a close second is when I get into that groove and find a nice pace that feels like I’m not even there. And I like feeling the soreness in my muscles the following day. I could feel the mild pull on my quads as I hustled through the fog the next morning. I was lugging that 500mm lens around trying to position myself to shoot the elk rut in Rocky Mountain National Park once again. This time, Jeremy joined me after I convinced him to forgo 3 hours of sleep. My shooting the elk rut does not require Jeremy’s presence nor his assistance. I just knew that he would absolutely love seeing them so close as he had never witnessed the rut before. Of course, it was an extra bonus that he shot a little video with his phone that captured a bull elk bugling.



In contrast to the sunny morning earlier in the week (when I photographed the rut), this morning was cold and thick with mist and fog. Clouds clung to the mountains and drifted in and out of the valleys like slow-motion waves. If you watched closely, you could see the antlers of a bull elk emerge in the distance. If you watched really closely, you would notice the pack of coyotes trying to sneak past him or the rafter of wild turkeys picking their way into the woods. As we drove around with our windows down to listen for the bugling, Jeremy reached for my icy cold hand and gave it a squeeze. He thanked me for talking him into seeing the elk rut and said it was incredibly special to share the experience.

lone tree in the valley

coyotes on the move

wild turkey foraging

bugling into the fog

beautiful creature

this fellow was yawning, not bugling



It is both exhilarating and a bummer when I am running alone and encounter a giant moose, or see a huge bird of prey take off from a branch just above me, or watch an ermine bring down a chipmunk and carry it away. The mini-safari aspect is pretty awesome, but then I find myself standing there looking around for someone I can yell “Did you see that?!” to. Food blogging is a little less dramatic than that, but it can be just as exciting when you find a recipe that is extra delicious, super easy, or saves you a ton of money. That’s why I still food blog after all these years. I like finding great recipes and sharing them. It just so happens that one of my lovely readers pointed me to this recipe. Have you ever tried raincoast crisps? They are a slightly sweet cracker/crisp made with dried fruits and nuts and seeds. I picked up a packet for a party and quite liked them, but they are stupid expensive.

whole wheat flour, buttermilk, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, baking soda, maple syrup, brown sugar, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, sesame seeds, salt, cranberries, hazelnuts



**Jump for more butter**

the little chill

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Recipe: salmon corn chowder

Life always comes to a head before the fall shoot. There are piles of things to wrap up and it feels like an impossibility that everything in need of getting done before I leave for the shoot will actually get done. But it gets done, somehow. Jeremy is stocked with meals to last him 2-3 weeks and I’ve got my own meals prepped or planned. I finished all of my shoots, cleaned and stored ALL of the huckleberries in the chest freezer, and squared away financial records. The drive to Crested Butte was quick with one stop to shoot some colors for reference. I took mental notes on the state of the aspens for the length of the 200-mile route to send my photog pal the color report. Once here, it was as if I had slammed on the brakes and life came to a halt.


on the way to cottonwood pass

lots of reds and oranges this year

confetti

that lovely kind of afternoon

deep fluffy stands of golden aspen

conifers peeking through the aspen canopy



I like this shift in gears. I spend a lot of time alone with the trees and the trails and the road – thinking about weather, colors, mountains, trees, sky, light. Right now, I’m in scouting mode, but there is a calm that settles over me when I’m scrambling up a slope or gaining a ridge to check out the view’s potential. I’m all in my head, thinking to myself, talking to myself. The colors are building, though still this side of peak colors. Lots of greens juxtaposed with big splashes of vibrant golds, oranges, and reds – the color of fire. It’s been warm and sunny, until this morning when I woke to hear rain tapping away at our metal roof.

from our deck, rainy and misty over the mountain



Overcast and foggy, I’m fine with shooting. Drizzle, that’s tolerable. Steady rain, not so much. The temperature hung at 48°F for much of the day while I worked on the computer. The forecast was for two days of rain, but by afternoon the weather broke and we had blue skies, puffy clouds, and sunshine. I gave it a few hours (to let the trails firm up) and then grabbed my trail runners for a much needed run. You have to grab the opportunity when it comes! This doubled as a trail run and scouting run to see what the leaves are up to.

hello cow

view from the climb

i love running into the aspens



A couple of days of rain is nothing to worry about as the weather should bounce back to Colorado sunshine. The leaves are fine and doing their thing. There may be some snow getting thrown into the mix this coming weekend, which makes things very exciting for both the photographer and the skier in me! But any cool down at the tail end of summer is an excuse to make soup in my book. In my efforts to clean out the refrigerator before hitting the road, I wanted to use up the last few ears of local corn… some sort of corn chowder? Perhaps a salmon corn chowder?

cream, lemon, corn, green onions, celery, white pepper, olive oil, chicken broth, onion, potatoes, dill, salt, coho salmon

removing the pin bones



**Jump for more butter**

before the freeze

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Recipe: grilled brie porcini and caramelized onion sandwich

There is the possibility of a freeze and light snow down on the flats Thursday night. Everyone down there is freaking out at the potential for snow. That’s what they do. They freak out. I’m kind of excited about the snow. You knew that. But I also realize that up high in the mountains where my the huckleberries grow, it’s not only going to snow, but it’s going to be a hard freeze. Those little guys are tough, but everyone has their kryptonite. Ever since I got home this week, I’ve been squeezing hikes in to look for more huckleberries. The season wanes, but the high country still calls regardless of heavy rains, angry winds, and cold numb fingers that pluck at precious purple berries.


sun in the east and rain overhead

hiking into the wall of clouds

visiting with my high country neighbors (marmots)



Cool weather and loads of late summer rains have kept the mountain mushrooms chugging along well past their usual bedtime. I don’t go out of my way to find porcini these days because huckleberries are my priority. As my friend, Jay, said to Erin (regarding our obsession with huckleberries), “You two have a sickness.” But porcini and hucks tend to like some of the same environments and they even hang out together. When I find porcini cozily nestled among the lush huckleberry plants, it fries my brain – because there’s a porcini! But wait, are there huckleberries? But, a porcini! And I have to do a quick mental calculation as to how much time it takes to harvest and clean a porcini and then convert that to potential huckleberry volume. However, if the porcini are particularly perfect or the huckleberries are particularly absent, then I’ll pick the mushroom.

i love that signature color of our rocky mountain porcini



If I pick the mushroom, I have to be absolutely sure that I’m going to do something with it or give it to someone who is going to do something with it and who will also appreciate what they have received. So I did something with a few of the porcini – I made a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s a grilled brie, buttery pan-seared porcini, and caramelized onion sandwich. I think I went momentarily blind when I took a bite of it. Jeremy, who burns a thousand calories just checking his email, ate the rest of the sandwich with a glass of chardonnay and a big honking smile on his face. This is DECADENT comfort food.

fresh porcini, olive oil, butter, brie, bread, onions (not pictured: sea salt)

slice the onions

start sautéing the onions



**Jump for more butter**