huckleberry mess ginger shrub dark and stormy cocktail roasted cauliflower and garlic mash chocolate peanut butter chip pizookie


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i love a good mess

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

Recipe: huckleberry mess

It was a great weekend for ski touring since there was plenty of new snow that fell AND STAYED IN PLACE. If you live in the Front Range, it feels like you rent snow more than anything else because it falls and then gets blown into the next county to the east within 24 hours. Erin and I took turns breaking trail through the powder so Banjo wouldn’t have to body plow the whole way up. Normally he doesn’t mind body plowing through snow, but it was 2°F and we wanted to keep our furball buddy comfortable and safe.


winter did not forsake us!

banjo was having a blast

on my ski tour with jeremy, sunday



Last week, I had baked a batch of huckleberry meringues to distribute to friends for the Chinese New Year. I saved one out for Jeremy because he is so fond of them. But before he could eat it, I decided to serve it up with some extra goodies. I personally find meringues a little dull. They’re fun to make and beautiful to look at, but when I eat a meringue straight up, it isn’t terribly exciting. Pop a meringue on top of a cloud of whipped cream and fruit, and you’ve transformed “meh” into “wow!”.

wow!



This is nothing new. It’s basically an Eton mess with huckleberries in place of strawberries. Obviously, I don’t have access to fresh huckleberries in March, but I *DO* have heaps of frozen huckleberries squirreled away in my chest freezer. I thought the frozen berries could benefit from a little lemon, sugar, and heat to make a nice sauce. Jeremy was so utterly smitten with this dessert, that he suggested I blog the recipe. I didn’t think that was necessary, but you can see who got his way.

so i made another batch of huckleberry meringues

whipping cream, vanilla extract, almond extract, huckleberries, lemon, meringues, and sugar (divided)



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sweet things in the year of the goat

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Recipe: chocolate peanut butter chip pizookie

Happy Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Tsai! It’s the year of the goat, or sheep, or ram! I’m not really sure which one it’s supposed to be, but you get the gist. The house is clean (more or less), the symbol for luck is upside down on the front door, and I made several traditional foods on New Year’s Eve to ensure luck, health, happiness, and all the good stuff. Some of the recipes require quite a bit of time to prepare – there is no rushing through them. As I sliced and minced countless ingredients and plucked the ends off the soybean sprouts, it gave me time to contemplate the previous year, loved ones who are still with us and the loved ones who have gone. The new year is a joyful time, but it is also a time of remembrance and perhaps a little heartache.


round whole fruits are good luck (and hong bao have cash!)

the character for “luck” upside down at the front door (luck arrives)

lucky ten ingredient vegetables



You’d think a Chinese recipe would be appropriate for today, but practically speaking, if you’re trying to celebrate the lunar new year, you should have cooked everything yesterday (new year’s eve) because you’re not supposed to use sharp objects (knives) today. Another superstition, don’t you know. There’s no need for knives in this recipe AND it’s something sweet – which is good because you want to eat something sweet on Chinese New Year’s Day so sweet things come out of your mouth all year.

So I have to share this guilty pleasure with you, because it’s ridiculous stuff. Years ago, my good friends Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple posted about pizookies: a deep dish cookie topped with ice cream. They were crazy about pizookies and have several recipes from which to choose. Over the winter holidays, I had some extra cookie dough and asked Jeremy if he wanted a pizookie. “A what?!” he asked. I had already popped it into the oven and just told him he wanted one. I was right.


peanut butter chips, flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, cocoa powder, butter, salt, vanilla, baking soda

cream the butter and sugars

beat in the eggs and vanilla



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what’s new

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Recipe: sichuan pork wontons

When the weekend started, I wasn’t sure how things were going to pan out. We always have a plan in place – usually a form of weather-dependent exercise, lofty goals to clean some part of the house, and work. Because it has been so disturbingly warm, my usual ski tour with Erin turned into a snirt (snow/dirt) hike. Making our way up the ice-slicked trail, we agreed that despite the suckage of the snow conditions, it was nice to get outside. Banjo agreed. Before we set off in the morning, he spun about in dizzying white fluffy circles on the mudroom floor, filled with giddy anticipation of the adventure to come. Happy dogs can’t lie.


my weekly date with erin and banjo

such a good boy



The dearth of snowfall this season didn’t deter me and Jeremy from nabbing some new fat skis on super sale recently. We took them into town for binding mounts and new ski prep. Picking the skis up from the mountaineering store, I signed the credit card receipt and smiled at the cashier, “Do your snow dance!” and stepped outside into 65°F and bright sun. The forecast was sunshine and warmth until Sunday, when we would get some snow. We weren’t sure how much. It could go either way.

my new (very fun) skis

the start of something beautiful

15 inches of fresh powder monday morning



But before the snow would come, we took a day – Valentine’s Day – to drive two and a half hours south onto the flats. You know it has to be something important to make us leave the mountains on a weekend. This was very important. We spent 30 minutes meeting several very sweet dogs. If all goes well, we’ll be filling that dog-shaped hole in our hearts with a puppy in early May.

On the return drive home, we passed through Denver where I stopped by the big Asian grocery store (HMart) to get ingredients for our traditional Chinese New Year feast. I try to stick to my grocery list, but as I walked the aisles packed to the hilt with all manner of sauces, vegetables, frozen foods, and pickled things, I started cobbling together our weekly menu as well. We hadn’t had wontons in a while, and there was a Sichuan wonton recipe waiting in the wings. The first step is to make the Sichuan red chile oil.


chiles de árbol, canola oil, soy sauce, salt, sichuan peppercorns, star anise, garlic, cinnamon, black cardamom, cloves, bay leaf, ginger

smashing things: cinnamon, garlic, ginger

combine the oil, garlic, ginger, bay leaf, cloves, anise, cardamom, and cinnamon

heat until the garlic is golden (mine was a little more than golden)



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