huckleberry brown butter tarts roast lemon chicken with chanterelles plum ketchup peach pie cinnamon rolls

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season shift

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Recipe: huckleberry brown butter tarts

Shouldn’t we have had a good old snow storm by now? Nederland has received some rain, some morning frost, and snow in the high peaks, but the aspens in our front yard are still mostly green. What the whut? Because the weather continues to coast through Indian Summer, I keep putting off things like trimming back the yard or waxing my skis. Thankfully, the nights are cooler – almost chilly. It won’t be long before we make the switch to flannel sheets. Unfortunately, Neva’s internal puppy clock has not shifted with the sun and she still wakes up around 5:30 am which is a dark, lonely, and groggy time of day for humans.

i love the mix of reds, oranges, yellows, and greens against the blue colorado sky


fresh snow

the bed hog

Neva’s routine used to be: wake up, whimper in her crate, go out to potty, eat breakfast, go crazy. Now as an older pup, she wakes up, chews her toy in her crate until someone wakes up (usually me), goes out to potty, eats breakfast, and then hops on the bed for an after-breakfast nap. It makes for a more coherent existence, not to mention she’s a real snuggle bunny – that is until she wants you to wake up and puts her paw on your face. But we are liking the earlier starts to our days as long as we aren’t up too late working the night before.

After four months with Neva, she’s getting the hang of being a Colorado dog which includes eating wild raspberries, wild strawberries, and mountain huckleberries. Neva, like Kaweah, picks up all manner of things off the trails in her mouth. Unlike Kaweah, she spits them out rather than eating them. So when I gave her a huckleberry to eat for the first time, she was uncertain of what to do. I squished it so she’d taste the juices right away and she was eager for another. Sometimes she’d sniff them out and eat them off the huckleberry plants (which is why I leave her at home when I’m harvesting hucks). And because huckleberries have an incredible smell (sometimes I open a ziploc bag of hucks, stick my nose in and inhale deeply), Neva comes running when I make anything with huckleberries – like these huckleberry brown butter tarts.

start with the dough: butter, sugar, flour, lemon juice, salt, ice water

pulse the flour, salt, sugar, and butter together (to the little peas stage)

add the lemon and ice water

pulse until it just comes together

divvy the dough in half and refrigerate

**Jump for more butter**

six months

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

Recipe: peach pie cinnamon rolls

Little Neva turned six months old today (the 27th) in Crested Butte. Despite what the vet instructed – no walks for 10-14 days – we’ve begun taking her on short easy walks after 5 days. She’s recovering well and quite active INSIDE the house, so we figured mellow activity would be good for her, especially since our neighborhood in Crested Butte has so many nice paths. We expected her to be completely stir-crazy and in turn, make US crazy, but she has been a really good pup this past week. Just three more days and I’ll be able to take her swimming. To celebrate her 6 months on this planet, we gave her a Scoop Dog (peanut butter, maple, bacon frozen yogurt pupsicle) from the local ice cream shop, Third Bowl.

the life of a colorado dog is rough

AND there was a total lunar eclipse of the supermoon this evening! We walked down the road from our house and stood upon a hilltop to watch (and shoot) the moon in eclipse as it rose above the mountains in the east. Pretty spectacular stuff. And I’m glad I was here in Crested Butte, because the radar showed clouds over Nederland. As the moon rose higher, we headed back to the house since we would be able to watch the rest of the ascent from our deck. When the moon entered totality we heard several neighborhoods erupt in howls across the valley – both people and their dogs. How does one NOT love Crested Butte?! Minutes later, a big cloud (like, the ONLY one in the entire sky!) sat directly in the path of the moon and blotted it out. “Damn,” I muttered and Neva wagged her tail in the darkness at the howlers calling across the night air. She seemed happy enough when I let her back into the warmth of the house.

partial lunar eclipse supermoon rising

there’s the navel (tycho crater)!

blood moon before the cloud broke up the party

We had a lovely weekend here in Crested Butte. Jeremy and I drove out in tandem because he had to get back to Boulder to teach this week, but I’m staying put with Neva girl because 1) she can recuperate more easily in Crested Butte 2) we can spare her the back and forth in the car 3) I’m prepping the house for winter and 4) I have to get my fall colors fix. The colors are pretty good. Not as good as last year, but exhilarating where they are vibrant and healthy. A fungal disease seems to have creamed some of the stands, which is unfortunate. Still, I just love being here during the peak colors. Once they’re done, I’m 100% ready for winter.

jeremy hoofs it up with my camera gear into the aspens

a beautiful pine grosbeak chilling in a cathedral of golden light

gothic mountain behind the flanks of crested butte

jeremy stand-up paddleboards on lake irwin

I’m gonna have to hit you today with yet another roll recipe because it’s the end of peach season, and if you can get your hands on some fresh peaches, YOU NEED TO MAKE THESE. Peach pie cinnamon rolls. You will not regret it (I hope). I love cinnamon rolls as much as, or more than, the next guy, but add peaches and I’m going to start throwing elbows. The last time I acquired my 25 pounds of San Marzano tomatoes for canning from the farm store, I snatched up some beautiful organic Colorado peaches as well. I didn’t know what I was going to do with them, but I’d figure something out. That’s how I roll with fruit: pick some up and if I can’t make anything with it, I eat the fruit. Either way, I win!

the dough: milk, sugar, vanilla, yeast, eggs, salt, butter, flour

sprinkle yeast over warm milk

add sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs, and salt

stir in the flour

knead the dough by hook or hand

let the dough rise

**Jump for more butter**

advances in modern science

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Recipe: chicken fried steak biscuits with chanterelle gravy

We dropped Neva off at the vet’s Monday morning for her spaying appointment, leaving my mobile as the contact number. I got a call a few hours later reporting that her surgery went well and that we’d be able to pick her up that afternoon when the drugs wore off. When we walked into the office to get her, she was chilling out behind the front desk with Aspen, a gorgeous, giant white wolf-like dog who weighs about 100 pounds. Actually, I recall that Aspen is 1/4 wolf, but he is all sweetheart, playing ever so gently with Neva. They were super tight buddies.

Neva seemed practically normal, but Jeremy didn’t want her jumping and possibly tearing her stitches. So he put all manner of items on the couch to deter her from trying. I watched as Neva walked up to the plastic bins on the couch, stepped to the side, and nimbly jumped over the armrest, then curled up in her favorite corner of the couch. Oh little pup… We marveled at her incision, which was nary an inch long. Back in the day, Kaweah’s incision was supposed to be 4 inches long, but was more like 5 inches (we’re guessing because it was at the Vet School) and took forever to heal. But Neva is on a fast road to recovery and we’ll be hitting the trails again in no time.

rest and recovery is so boring for a puppy

pretty autumn sunsets

looking forward to seeing some fall colors like this (from september 2014 in crested butte)

Summer just can’t seem to let go over here. It gets downright hot in the afternoons, so I still give Neva a large ice cube around 3 o’clock to play with, roll on, and eventually eat. Thankfully it is getting chillier overnight, so we can cool the house enough to be comfortable. I like the crisp cold in the mornings. Not cold enough to be punishing like in winter, but cold enough to not mind letting Neva up on the bed to cuddle for another ten minutes before she starts licking my hair.

Seeing as the weekend is coming up, I need to share this recipe for fans of the savory weekend breakfast – chicken fried steak biscuits with chanterelle cream gravy. Feel free to use other mushrooms if you can’t get chanterelles or don’t want to get too spendy. However, if you CAN get chanterelles, please do. They transform the basic cream gravy into the realm of transcendence.

biscuits, chanterelles, flour, black pepper, eggs, salt, cayenne, butter, more salt, more flour, steak, milk, buttermilk

chop the mushrooms into a small dice

tenderize the steak

**Jump for more butter**