salted butter chocolate chunk shortbread cookies sous vide hamburgers stir-fried fresh rice noodles with beef sourdough waffles

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archive for dinner

winter, we hardly knew ya

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

Recipe: sous vide hamburgers

Looking at my calendar, I see the first day of Spring is next week and I have two thoughts: 1) Woohoo, SPRING! and 2) Where the hell was winter? Winter visited us for about a week or two in February, but overall I think it dissed us for the season. We didn’t even get our skis tuned, and I was happy about that every time I ran over a rock in the backcountry (which I wasn’t happy about, but hey – I try to be positive). Now, with the sun rising ever higher in the sky, temperature plays into when you ski. That is… assuming there is snow to ski. I sometimes feel like I just want to give this ski season a big ole boot in the ass and shout “good riddance!” But then when I’m out there on the snow, I remember why I love skiing.

neva was soooooo excited to get out into the backcountry

both of them patiently waiting for me to take a photo

jeremy skins up crappy snow (but at least there is snow)

Last week, my dad texted me to ask at what temperature do I sous vide my burgers. Ever since I taught my parents how to text, they text me all the time with photos of their food, pictures of wine bottles, random reports of their activities (“We are shopping at Costco” – of course they are), selfies from their travels, texts that were meant for other people, and Googleable questions that require immediate responses. I thought I had blogged the recipe, but I hadn’t. So I checked my recipe notebook and sent Dad the various temperature ranges and times for different levels of doneness. I got a kissing emoji reply which meant that I had unlocked the Good Chinese Daughter achievement.

I hadn’t thought to sous vide burgers until my friend, Debra, mentioned that she prepares her burgers this way regularly. The first time we tried it, I couldn’t believe how juicy they were. And now we don’t prepare our burgers any other way.

salt, pepper, fish sauce, beef

You’re probably wondering what’s up with the fish sauce. This is a tip I learned from my friends, Todd and Diane: add a dash of fish sauce to your burgers for that extra umami blast. It doesn’t taste fish saucy, it just tastes damn good. Clearly, I pick up lots of excellent beta from my friends. The key is to have friends who know what they’re talking about. If you don’t want to use fish sauce, just add another half teaspoon of salt. And if you do want to use fish sauce, but need your burger to be gluten-free, there are some decent gluten-free fish sauce brands like Red Boat which is recommended by my friend, Shauna a.k.a. Gluten-free Girl (because I asked her specifically).

yes to the fish sauce

**Jump for more butter**

forever a noodle girl

Monday, March 5th, 2018

Recipe: stir-fried fresh rice noodles with beef

I’m always on the lookout for a good Chinese cookbook, and I tend to make tiny mental notes when my cooking friends rave about the same book. Last month, I got an email asking if I wanted a review copy of Chinese Soul Food by Hsiao-Ching Chou. I usually decline book reviews – it’s not worth my time unless it is something I am personally interested in checking out – but recalled a couple of pals had sung its praises.

chinese soul food by hsiao-ching chou

The good news is that the book is full of accessible and delicious home-style Chinese recipes and good information on ingredients, equipment, and techniques that are commonly utilized in Chinese cooking. The bad news (for me) is that I’ve already made and blogged some version of most of the recipes in the book. Happily, I was able to find a handful of recipes that I haven’t blogged before, and settled on a noodle dish. I will choose noodles over rice any day, but this stir-fried noodles with beef uses fresh rice noodles. A delightful compromise.

you can find fresh rice noodles in the refrigerated section of better stocked asian markets

mung bean sprouts, gai lan (chinese broccoli), water, hoisin sauce, kosher salt, cornstarch, flank steak, soy sauce, vegetable oil, fresh rice noodles

In her notes, Chou says if you cannot find gai lan, you can substitute other leafy greens including Chinese broccoli. Gai lan IS Chinese broccoli, so I think that may have been an editorial oversight. It’s true that you can use other leafy greens, but gai lan has great flavor and texture that pairs well with the chewy, delicate rice noodles. I increased the amounts of greens and sprouts and omitted the carrots because they do absolutely nothing for me. When the rice noodles are cold (they are usually refrigerated at my market), they are quite brittle. Allow them to come to room temperature or gently warm them in the microwave so they are pliable and easily separated. If you try to cook the noodles unseparated, you will have a giant blob of rice noodles with an uncooked center.

washed and chopped chinese broccoli, separated noodles, sliced beef, washed sprouts

mix the beef with soy sauce and cornstarch

stir-fry the beef

**Jump for more butter**

another year

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Recipe: roasted broccoli

Welcome to a new year! I hope you had a good winter holiday. While my own pack passed an uneventful end of 2017 and start of 2018, some of the people in our lives suffered unexpected losses, got bad news, or have been dealt some tough circumstances. Let’s face it, Life doesn’t care about arbitrary calendar boundaries. Whether you are or are not the type of person who makes resolutions with the new year (I am not), I think it’s fair to say that the world can always use more compassion and kindness starting any time, but especially starting now. Maybe it means donating to charities that matter to you, or offering to help someone who is struggling, or volunteering your time. Whatever it is you do, I hope you do it with an open heart. And I thank you.

neva wishes you a happy new year

torchlight parade and fireworks on new year’s eve under a nearly full moon (composite)

more pretty fireworks

new year’s eve dinner: potstickers and chinese cellophane noodle soup

Santa Ullr brought a nice dump of snow on Christmas Day, and we’ve been trying to squeeze as much as we can from it because we have returned to the sunny and dry weather which has dominated much of the early season. The lack of snow meant that we hadn’t been logging many ski days until we got to Crested Butte. It also meant our bodies were not as ski-ready as they would normally be by this time on any given winter. We’ve been rotating through telemark skiing the mountain, uphill skiing, and skate skiing. And when the snow gets old and tired, I tell myself that this is still better than living almost anyplace else (except those mountains with more snow right now!).

jeremy is about to dive in on christmas day

early morning colors on our way to the mountain to uphill ski

skating the handful of open trails

There was a full (super) moon on New Year’s Day, so we thought it would be neat to skin (ski uphill) up the mountain to a good location and capture moonrise. When we left the house, the eastern horizon was clear of clouds. Of course, by the time we climbed to the top and unpacked and assembled all of my photo equipment, weather started spilling over the mountains where the moon was supposed to be. That was a bummer, but the mountains were still beautiful and the sunset in the opposite direction did not disappoint and it’s kind of amazing to be able to do this at all, right?

no moonrise, but such pretty alpenglow on the elk mountains

here’s the sunset opposite the clouded out moonrise

meta: my camera pointed at sunset while the groomer works the snow

skiing out by headlamp in the dark

I think my past self might have been super bummed over missing out on moonrise, but my present self didn’t miss a beat and captured the other magic going on around us. When we realized the cloud bank was too thick, Jeremy said he was sorry about that. I told him not to be sorry. I said it was fun to go on an uphill ski at sunset with him even if we had schlepped the gear up for nothing. Am I mellowing with age? Probably. I think more importantly, I have learned to savor the ordinary for being anything but.

That includes broccoli. What are your feelings about broccoli? I mean your true feelings? I grew up eating bright green, crunchy broccoli sautéed Chinese-style with garlic at home. I never understood the ubiquitous sad, boiled florets slapped onto cafeteria trays as the token green in restaurants or in the lunch room. If you wanted to dishonor a vegetable, that was certainly the way to do it. Lately, one of my favorite ways to serve broccoli is by simply roasting it.

broccoli, salt, pepper, olive oil

**Jump for more butter**