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100 days

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Recipe: strawberry brown butter tarts

We were at the intersection of ALL THE GOOD THINGS this past weekend. It snowed 2 feet at our house which meant: 1) BIG DUMP SNOW DAY! and 2) hours of shoveling dense spring snow. Jeremy says it combats what our friend calls “professor arms”. But the whole reason for shoveling is so you can get to work or… go backcountry skiing! It’s like a warm up before you exercise some more. Plus, it justifies a little indulgence later on.


like this adorable tart



I logged my 100th day on skis this season over the weekend. Considering the paltry snowfall during our prime ski months, I’d say that’s not too shabby. It wasn’t my main goal to become a triple digit girl, just to keep active and fit through the winter. And to get outside often. It has been good for my body and mind, but most of all it has been excellent for my soul.

shoveling out from 2 feet, but it was worth it

jeremy breaks trail in the high country

an hour before sunset

sunday ski with banjo (and erin)

perfect weather, great snow, excellent friends



What I loved about our weekend storm was how it stayed cool and lightly stormy for several days after the 2 feet fell. That helps to solidify the snowpack so it will stick around longer, ski longer, water the mountains longer. It also makes for cozy evenings with warm blankets and Kevin Spacey. This weather is conducive for baking, too.

While recently digging through old photo archives, I came across a series of wildflower photographs from Big Sur about four years ago. Flowers flowers flowers and then – a strawberry tart. Actually, it was a strawberry brown butter tart from the Big Sur Bakery and it was the most heavenly pastry I had tasted in a long time. I think everyone needs a strawberry brown butter tart in their lives. This one starts with a flaky, buttery crust.


flour, salt, sugar, lemon juice, butter, ice water

place the flour, sugar, salt, and butter in a food processor

pulse until the butter is the size of small peas

combine lemon juice and ice water

add liquid until the dough is just combined

wrap and refrigerate



**Jump for more butter**

semifreddo, but todo rico

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Recipe: strawberry semifreddo

Easter always sneaks up on me because we don’t celebrate it. My heathen ritual is to buy a bag of Whopper mini eggs when they go on sale the following Monday and then promptly forget about it for another year. But I happen to have a lovely dessert that is good enough for spring holidays, weekend projects, special dinners, or basically any time you can get your hands on sweet sweet strawberries. California and Mexico strawberries have been in our stores lately, but I held off until they were the right color and smelled like candy.


here’s what i made



That’s a strawberry semifreddo – creamy, half-frozen, soft, fruity, slightly tangy, like a frozen mousse. I’ve had the recipe for many years, but never made it until yesterday. Back in the day, I took a terrific 10-week pastry skills course in Boulder as my reward for defending my dissertation. It was fast-paced and fun, but there wasn’t enough time to make all of the recipes. We were split into teams of two and each pair tackled a different pastry (or two) each week. At the end of every class, we divvied up our finished masterpieces and took them home. Except I never took the strawberry semifreddo home because it was summer and I had a 45-minute drive back to the house. But it sure looked good. Seeing the strawberries in the market the other day, I realized I wanted to finally make that semifreddo.

grand marnier, sugar, lemon, strawberries

wash, hull, and halve the strawberries

strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, grand marnier

toss it all together and macerate



I adapted the recipe from my class, which was adapted from Sherry Yard’s recipe. Her version has a pâte sucrée base, but I didn’t want to deal with baking anything, so I went with a vanilla cookie crumb base like you might find on a cheesecake. You can use graham cracker crumbs if you like. I thought vanilla cookies (scavenged from vanilla sandwich cookies) would be fun. You can leave the creme filling in, if you like, but I scrape it off. Or you can use lemon cookies or vanilla wafers.

sugar, butter, cookies (nor pictured: salt)

scraping off the vanilla bean creme

pile the cookies into the food processor

cookie crumbs



**Jump for more butter**

what sustains us

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Recipe: ham, swiss, and egg brioche sandwich

Returning home to Nederland over the weekend, we discovered that the house and its surrounds had gone ahead and marched straight into spring. Little green grasses and baby dandelion leaves are beginning to sprout up through our walkway gravel. The aspens have fuzzed out with catkins. And a bathmat-sized patch of snow lingers behind our garage in eternal shade, hoping to withstand 60°F air temperatures until it can replenish with another storm. We also received our REI dividend in the mail. You know, they used to issue those at the end of the calendar year, which meant we spent it all on winter gear. Since they’ve shifted the dividends to late March, we now spend the dividend on summer gear – like new Hokas (trail runners) and a steri pen. Jeremy loves his Hokas so much, he recommended I make the switch this season. I guess it’s time to face reality that I’ll be doing less skiing and more trail running as the days get longer.


nice color over gothic mountain (bottom center) and crested butte (right)

still getting out for a ski tour in the indian peaks

warm orange clouds over the divide from our deck (nederland)

venus to the left and a contrail lit pink by the setting sun



We are experiencing a shift in our exercise schedules with the change in seasons. We like to ski first thing in the morning in winter – because you typically catch first tracks or newly groomed nordic trails. Now that it’s warmer, we go later in the day to give the snow time to soften up from its overnight freeze. Even in the high country, the snow gets wet in the afternoons. Then it freezes overnight into a hard crust or icy slick. So first thing in the morning isn’t such a great thing anymore. Come summer, we’ll be starting our hikes and trail runs in the dark to avoid as much sun and heat as possible. But all of these things require fuel.

They say not to skip breakfast and I find this to be especially true when you plan to burn calories for several hours. I just have a lot of trouble eating something sweet for my first meal. The sugar leaves my mouth sour and dry, and I don’t feel it gives me the proper boost for my activity level. A few weeks ago, we stopped by Salto Coffee Works on our way to ski The Jane (Winter Park/Mary Jane), because Jeremy needed some proper caffeine for the drive. I ordered a breakfast sandwich to put something in my empty stomach. It was so good that I insisted Jeremy eat half of it. Since then, I’ve made it a couple of times for a good energy booster before a ski tour or a morning of bump runs.


swiss cheese, black forest ham, brioche buns, eggs, butter, honey dijon mustard

butter the buttery brioche buns

grill them on a skillet until golden



**Jump for more butter**