fried brussels sprouts with fish sauce vinaigrette baked huckleberry doughnuts matsutake soup slow-roasted tomatoes


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i spoke too soon

Sunday, September 9th, 2018

Recipe: baked huckleberry doughnuts

Remember when I was rejoicing over the cooler weather last week? I went shopping for all manner of ingredients to make soups and stews only to learn that this week is going to be hot as hell (again). Well, I made my soups and stews anyway, because I’m stubborn like that. I put some in the freezer as a favor to Future Me, but it’s nice to eat with a spoon again! Even with highs hitting the lower 80s (don’t laugh – we’re at 8500 feet above sea level!), the days are shorter which means the house has more time to radiate its heat away at night. This is good. I’m ready for the autumnal equinox!


the leaf litter gets prettier by the day



Amazingly, the wildfire smoke has kept away for over a week. This means more time outside for the pups to hike and for us to verify that we need not expend any more energy mushroom hunting. And we saw my folks off this weekend as they left for Virginia. I feel as if the winding down of summer’s hectic demands means I can focus a little more. I’m reining in our eating habits, putting regular exercise back on the schedule, and setting training goals for Yuki so we can all be ready come ski season.

pausing off trail

neva waits patiently as jeremy investigates a potential mushroom

dinner out with mom and dad before they flew home



While taking inventory of the chest freezer, I was delighted to see I had collected a good many huckleberries this summer. It’s enough to get me through next summer just in case it turns out to be a bad year. I often seek out recipes that don’t require a lot of huckleberries, but still deliver the essence of the huckleberry. Huckleberry cheesecake ice cream is a great example of such a recipe. Another is baked huckleberry doughnuts. I think we can all agree that baked doughnuts are not the same as fried doughnuts. Baked doughnuts are more like cake in doughnut form with glazes or sprinkles or dustings. It’s all good in my book.

huckleberries, eggs, vanilla extract, flour, sugar, vegetable oils, baking soda, salt, buttermilk

mix the dry ingredients

mix the wet ingredients

stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients



If you are lucky enough to make these doughnuts with fresh huckleberries, you can fold the berries into the batter straight away. If you are using frozen huckleberries, I would recommend tossing the frozen berries with some flour so that they all get coated, then folding those into the batter. The flour helps to prevent the juice from bleeding too much as you fold in the fruit. If you don’t care about potentially turning the batter purple, then go for it. Same applies for blueberries if you choose to substitute them for the huckleberries.

fold in the berries

fill the greased and floured doughnut pans

baked and possibly overfilled, but i rarely miss the hole in a doughnut

cool on a rack



**Jump for more butter**

we got this

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

Recipe: sour cherry pie

Slowly, but surely, Yuki and Neva have sorted out who is the boss (Yuki is the boss) in the four weeks since we brought our puppy home. Don’t worry, Neva has never wanted to be the boss of anyone and she seems to enjoy having someone in charge. It’s most evident on the field after Neva has chased the tennis ball a bazillion times and is ready for a big drink of water. We pour the water and Yuki, who only gave chase 2.5 times and isn’t all that thirsty, saunters over and sticks her little face into the water dish, pushing Neva’s face out. Neva will sit back, panting like crazy, patiently waiting for her little sister to finish before she even considers getting near the water dish. But more than that, Yuki and Neva have become pals. I’ve caught them hanging out together with greater frequency and sometimes in the mornings, they both hop up onto the bed with us and it feels… peaceful. It feels right.


band album cover?

chilling out after an evening fetch/chase session



This past week the girls went out for several hikes and Yuki practiced overcoming her fear of strangers and other dogs. When Yuki is uncertain, she backs up and growls or even barks. But instead of letting her cower and be antisocial, we ask the approaching hikers if it is okay for Yuki to say hi to their dogs or to them. Once she sees that these people and/or pups are friendly and not so scary, she perks right up. She’s building her confidence, which is great. We also got Yuki out on the standup paddleboard to see how comfortable she felt on the water. Yuki is a little champ with lots of hidden talents.

we think yuki is growing taller

somehow walking these two is easier than walking just neva

sitting nicely on the paddleboard

yuki is so calm that jeremy could actually paddle while standing



We are now just over a month into summer and it is starting to taste like true summer with all of the berries, peaches, tomatoes, corn, zucchini, melons, and cherries in the markets. It’s a good time for fruit pies. Now I love me a good pie, but for the longest time I didn’t make pies because I couldn’t get the pie crust right. A few years ago, my friend gave me a big bag of frozen pitted sour cherries. She said, “Make a pie or something!” I kept those cherries in the freezer until last year when I finally found a great pie crust recipe that is consistent, easy, flaky, and delicious. It’s great because I haven’t managed to screw it up yet!

butter, salt, water, sugar, flour

scatter the butter over some of the flour, sugar, and salt

sprinkle the rest of the flour over the dough

drizzle cold water over the dough mixture

fold the water into the dough

wrap and refrigerate the two disks of dough



**Jump for more butter**

very awesome

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

Recipe: huckleberry crème brûlée

In the 12 days since Yuki joined our pack we’ve procured an extra baby gate, an extra dog crate, an extra dog bed, a Nylabone chew toy, another Nylabone chew toy (because… Neva), a puppy harness, and other things that make pups and humans happy. In some ways, Yuki transports us back to the puppy training days and in many ways she is like no puppy we have ever encountered. Yuki is a little dream girl. I’m openly glad that the few people who inquired about her flaked out, because she’s our girl now and we are so in love with her.

Of course, any dog in our household undergoes Butter Boot Camp so they are ready to hit the high country, swim in alpine lakes, and have fun in the snow! We’ve been hiking Yuki to build up her miles and strengthen her paw pads so we can take her on longer, more exciting hikes. This morning, she had her first ever swim! And we found some snow for her to romp on. Such progress. You can follow daily updates on my personal Instagram account.


this little one is gonna get used to a camera/phone

the pups resting in shade

we hike in the mornings while it is still cool out

my hike with banjo (and erin) on yuki’s and neva’s rest day

yuki, neva, and jeremy enjoying the wildflowers

splashing and playing in the water



On the days we don’t hike, we walk (it’s still a hike – everything around here is trails) the girls to the soccer field and let Neva fetch while Yuki gets training. It’s great because Neva is so focused on her tennis ball that she ignores Yuki, and Yuki is so focused on either me or Jeremy that she mostly ignores Neva with the occasional chase. Over the weekend we had some folks over for dinner and both pups behaved better than we could have dreamed! We are easing Yuki into crate training because we don’t want to traumatize her, but we also need her to be safe when we aren’t home. As of now she is handling 1-2 hour stints without much issue and we will gradually work up to longer periods. We leave the door open when we are home and she likes to wander in there for naps or to ask for food. Feeding her in the crate makes it a happy association and also keeps food-obsessed Neva from trying to eat puppy kibble. I think Yuki will get the hang of it quickly like she has everything else. I imagine she’ll transition to sweet sweet freedom in the house sooner than Neva did.

these two are getting along just fine



The pups are playing tug as I type and I have one eye on the computer monitor and one eye on them as they weave a little path of destruction around the great room. Managing puppy and everything else (i.e. life) is quite the exercise. Jeremy and I trade off who gets to leave the house for extended periods of time and who gets to work (actually work) during the active hours. When they both fall asleep, we get a few hours of quiet and concentration.

When my pal, Erin, and I went for a hike recently, we checked in on several huckleberry locations. The plants were heavy with lots of berries in the green pea stage. We used to get super excited about the green peas, anticipating a good huckleberry crop. We didn’t realize that not all green peas become purple huckleberries for various reasons (drought being one of them). Now we know better. Life in the mountains is tough. The diminutive mountain huckleberry endures much hardship to eventually ripen into the very best berry on the planet. They are precious. You only need a few spoonfuls of the purple berries to elevate something like crème brûlée into a dreamier version of itself.


eggs, cream, sugar, sugar, vanilla bean, huckleberries

heat the cream

scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod

steep the vanilla seeds and the pod in the hot cream



**Jump for more butter**