sous vide poached eggs chia seed drink roasted broccoli happy merry to you


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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**

the sprint marathon

Sunday, December 10th, 2017

Recipe: roasted potatoes

It’s coming down to the wire over here. I have three days to finish (well, start) my holiday baking. You might think that I should have a lot of extra time since there’s very very very little snow to ski in these parts, but there were these flannel rag quilts I was sewing… nine flannel rag quilts. That took a big chunk of the last two weeks. I should clarify that while I haven’t begun my holiday baking, I have most of my holiday candymaking completed. Variety is the spice of life and all that good stuff.

Life is a bit of a frenzy right now, but I did take a few hours off recently to see a rare visitor to Colorado. Deb, of Smitten Kitchen (my favorite food blog), came through Boulder last week on her book tour. While I couldn’t make the actual event, we were able to finally meet in person over some noshes before her book signing.


such a lovely woman

flannel rag quilts in progress

candied orange peels and chocolate caramels



Despite being up to my armpits in chocolate, butter, sugar, cream, and flour, my mind has actually been puzzling over our upcoming holiday menu. Typically we ski our brains out on Christmas morning and I’m too wiped out to prepare anything more than a simple (but delicious) meal. Looking at the short-term forecast, our brains may very well remain securely in our heads due to the lack of snow. Even so, I still don’t want to spend a ton of time cooking. I know Jeremy would be delighted with a sous vide steak, some potatoes, and lots of greens. We have a new favorite way to enjoy roasted potatoes, too.

yukon gold potatoes, duck fat, baking soda, salt, garlic, parsley, black pepper



It’s unclear to me how I found Kenji’s recipe or who turned me on to it (it may have been Kenji’s Instagram), but when I see the words “Best Roast Potatoes” coming from a trusted source, the logical next step is to try it out. I’ve made the potatoes a couple of times now – the first time with olive oil and the second time with duck fat. The olive oil version was good, but holy moly the duck fat version is the stuff of dreams. Kenji’s technique basically parboils potatoes in an alkaline environment to create a roughed starchy exterior, tosses them with fat, and roasts the potatoes to yield crisp outer crusts with fluffy interiors.

quartering peeled potatoes

adding salt, baking soda, and potatoes to the hot water



**Jump for more butter**

cheeseboarding

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

Recipe: build your own cheeseboard

My parents did a lot of entertaining when I was growing up. It was something I was vaguely aware of as a little kid. Kris and I would belly flop onto my parents’ bed and watch television until we heard the adults move to the dining room for dinner. At that point, Kris would nudge me and say, “Come on, let’s go downstairs.” We’d sneak into the kitchen unseen by the guests (but always seen by Dad, who would flash us one of his goofy smiles as we tiptoed down the stairs) and nosh on whatever was left of the appetizers: smoked oysters, cheese, crackers, olives, caviar. Party food.

Mom and Dad still entertain to this day, so I found it amusing when Dad texted me last year asking what goes on a cheeseboard. He wanted ideas since I had plated a few during various dinner parties they had attended. I grabbed some photos from my archives as well as a handful off of Pinterest to give him some inspiration. When I threw Dad’s belated birthday party at our place last weekend, I made sure to kick it off with a nice cheeseboard because I know my Dad loves a cheeseboard packed with ALL of the goodies.

The holidays are upon us and that means party season is in full swing. Cheeseboards are a lovely way to get a dinner party started or to act as the workhorse for a cocktail party or to keep family and friends occupied as you rush to cook Thanksgiving dinner. If you are looking for ideas to spark your own cheeseboard artistry, I list and show some of my favorites here. There is enormous flexibility in cheeseboards, including not having any cheese!


neva wants to become an olympic cheeseboarder [note: grapes are toxic for dogs]



Let’s start with the actual board. The board can be a plate (porcelain, glass, etc.), slate, wood, whatever you like! Plates are the easiest to clean – especially if you serve things that are oily or messy directly on the board. And slate is great for writing the names of cheeses with chalk. I am partial to wood boards because of the beautiful natural colors and grain, which is why I have a lot of them. Some are gifts from my friend, Jamie, who is an incredibly talented woodworking artist. Occasionally, I use my largest Boos cutting blocks (24×18-inch walnut and 20×15-inch maple) because they give me the greatest surface area.

If you do have something oily like hot smoked salmon, and you don’t want the oils to soak into your nice wood boards (because let’s face it, once the board is out, it doesn’t get cleaned up until after the last guest leaves), you can slap a small plate underneath it to keep the fishy smells out of the wood. And remember, cheeseboards don’t have to be these gigantic cornucopias that can feed the whole neighborhood. Small cheeseboards for two are romantic. Medium cheeseboards for a cozy gathering of close friends work very well without being overwhelming. So don’t go crazy, but… you can go a little crazy.


you can serve on plates or slate

wood boards: an array of shapes, sizes, and designs



The fun part of cheeseboarding is picking out what to serve on your cheeseboard. It’s whatever you want it to be. I personally like the cheeseboards that don’t have much if any cheese because I don’t dig on eating cheese straight up. But I know the majority of my guests love cheese, so there is always at least one soft, one semi-soft, and one hard cheese. I also have friends who have Celiac disease, so I can either omit all gluten items (mostly crackers and breads) or plate those separately to avoid contamination of the gluten-free items.

Another nice thing about cheeseboards is that they can be as labor intensive as you like – or not! Just about everything can be purchased, but sometimes it’s nice to add your own personal touch. I always make my own crostini and I usually make those prohibitively expensive fruit, nut, and seed crisps unless I am slammed for time. Grissini happen to be quite easy to make at home, too.

I find fruit and fruity things pair well with various cheeses or act as a nice palate cleanser between nibbles. I don’t make my own fruit, but I do make my own fig and brandy jam every summer to serve with brie throughout the year. I have made membrillo, a delectable quince paste in the past to pair with manchego, but it requires a lot of work at my elevation, so I have resorted to purchasing it now that more stores carry it. In late summer, I love it when I can find good fresh figs. Lots of folks like figs with blue cheese and honey, but I tend eat them straight or with a little slice of prosciutto. Another crowd pleaser is baked brie with fresh cranberry sauce or fig jam or tomato jam. Goat cheese and jam is also a hit.


cheeses: aged cheddar, smoked gouda, brie, boursin, manchego

some gluten options: croccantini, brioche toasts, grissini, crostini, fruit and nut crisps, sliced baguette

fruity things: pomegranate, fig brandy jam, grapes, apple, membrillo



**Jump for more butter**