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what the morning will bring

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Recipe: morning buns

Hey, I didn’t need to wash my car because it RAINED all day Wednesday! What does that say about me when my car is cleaner on a rainy day than a sunny day? Don’t answer that. Even better than the rain, was the snow falling at my house! It was too warm for any of it to stick, but the sentiment was there, and I’m pretty sure those clouds hugging the mountains will clear out eventually to reveal REAL SNOW on the high peaks. This is good. A month later than I prefer, but it’s still good.

As we shifted from cloudless, sunny, warm days to this cloudy, rainy, cold weather, the in-between was rather wonderful. A couple of mornings in a row granted us the right conditions for some impressive light shows, where sun and clouds and rain work together for a greater good. Of course, I was awake and alert well before the first faded rosy glow in the east appeared – because Neva stepped on my stomach at 5 am to snuggle down in the space between the two humans. From then on, it’s fitful sleep for me, so why not just get up and get to work? Thanks to Neva, I found chanterelles this summer and I have caught a lot of great sunrises.

we almost had the whole rainbow in this sunrise

but looking west, there WAS a rainbow (or two)!!

Earlier this week, Jeremy gave a lecture (A Tour of the History of the Universe) at the Chautauqua Community House in Boulder, hosted by the Colorado Chautauqua Association. It was a great talk and the sold out crowd loved it, asking several thoughtful and engaging questions afterward. I mean, who doesn’t love talking about black holes, dark matter, dark energy, the big bang, and where our universe is headed? Jeremy works hard when he has to speak in public, because he’s a bona fide introvert. I know a lot of people who claim to be introverts who aren’t actually introverts. In fact, most of the true introverts I know never say one way or the other because they don’t want to draw attention to themselves and because the extroverts never shut up (I’m an extrovert, by the way).

all eyes on jeremy

As you can imagine, after his talk Jeremy was completely exhausted. He spent the entire day on telecon, teaching class, attending his student’s oral exam, and then giving this lecture well into the night. He didn’t eat beforehand because he didn’t want to puke during the talk, so we had a very late dinner and then it was to bed so we could prepare ourselves for Neva’s early morning wake up leap. But in the morning, I did have some delightful homemade pastries on the counter for him while I rushed out the door, pajamas under my jacket, to shoot sunrise. The day is infinitely better when you start it with pastries. I am particularly fond of the aptly named morning buns.

the dough: sour cream, sugar, salt, egg yolk, orange juice, ice water, yeast, butter, flour

the filling: sugar, cinnamon, orange zest, brown sugar, vanilla

**Jump for more butter**

dinner party fare

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Recipe: bourbon-glazed beef tenderloin

Fall is shaping up to be something good. Except that it’s still sunny and warm. Once the weather turns the corner, I’ll be a truly happy camper. But we are making progress on so many fronts now. Neva is no longer a fountain of drool when she gets in the car (although she makes a few quiet whimpers if we drive for more than 20 minutes). She has also started to curl up at my feet for a nap when I am working on the computer, which is a huge improvement over what she used to do (she used to go under my desk and attack the cardboard recycling). Best of all, we’ve discovered when she makes her little “mmmmm” noises at 5:30 am each day, I can reach over in the dark to open her crate door and she’ll jump up on the bed and cuddle between us for another 30 minutes. That extra 30 minutes makes all the difference to the humans.

With doggy day care once a week, Neva gets lots of playtime and socialization and then the following day is “downtime” for her, a.k.a. a really long nappy loungy day. That’s two days in a row allowing me large blocks of time to get work done, and maybe a trail run, and lunch with friends. I like the dog Neva is becoming. Do I miss the adorable little puppy she was just a few months ago? Yes and no. I miss how cute and itty bitty she was. I don’t miss the feral, high-energy, in-need-of-constant-supervision, sharp-puppy-toothed ball of destruction.

no-stress neva chilling in the back of the car

still a few torch-like aspens on my trail run

i got to have lunch with my friend’s adorable little girl

A few weeks ago when I was in Crested Butte, our good friend and neighbor, Eileen, pulled up next to me while I was walking Neva. We chatted and when she learned Jeremy would be coming out for the weekend before we headed back to Nederland, she said, “How about dinner at my house? We’ll grill steaks.” The last time we had dinner at James’ and Eileen’s house, Jeremy and I took turns running back down the street to check on Neva, who was crying and barking in her crate as she suffered from major FOMO (fear of missing out). This time, months later, she was quiet – alternating between dozing off and chewing quietly on her toys. Good girl.

Dinner was a team effort as I supplied a few appetizers, Eileen took care of the main and sides, and Wendy and Denise brought desserts. And there is always exceptional wine with these good folk. As I loaded my plate and crossed the room, Wyatt, Denise’s giant fur baby, tracked me – or rather the steak – to my seat.

wyatt wants to know if we could maybe share that steak

Wyatt had good reason. That steak was off the hook. James and Eileen often entertain large groups, so they will usually grill at least one hunk of protein to feed the masses. When last they served this steak over the fourth of July, the carving board was picked clean by the time I got back from checking on Neva. Over dinner, Eileen asked for my gougères recipe and I in turn requested the recipe for her steak. It was one of those “oh I just throw together x, y, and z” recipes, which I promptly forgot when Jeremy and I walked home under the sparkling night sky. The next day, Eileen was sweet enough to email me a recipe and I am sharing it with you – because it is TOO GOOD not to share.

One ingredient Eileen mentioned was Montreal steak seasoning, which she said you can find in any grocery store’s spice section. She uses that with salt and pepper as part of the dry rub. I had never heard of it, but I was pretty sure I could make it from scratch. The recipes online vary somewhat, but overall they have many of the same components. I chose the one that uses dill seed because I have a ton of it to use up.

black pepper, paprika, granulated onion, sea salt, dill seed, cayenne, granulated garlic, ground coriander

whisk everything together

now you have montreal steak seasoning

**Jump for more butter**

corn dog diggity

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Recipe: mini beer corn dogs

The weekend, she is here. Almost like clockwork, once foraging huckleberries is over for me, it’s time to move on to canning tomatoes. Over the past few years, I have discovered that the one thing I absolutely must can each summer is tomatoes. I won’t lose sleep if I don’t make peach, fig, or strawberry jam, but diced tomatoes are a must. At first I started with organic heirlooms and red slicers from Cure Organic Farm (a local Boulder farm – so great), but this year I’ve migrated over to the organic San Marzanos and Romas. They have a bumper crop of tomatoes right now and the seconds are $1.50 a pound. I picked up 19 pounds to can last weekend, and then I picked up another 25 pounds to can Thursday.

these hardly look like seconds, they’re gorgeous

thinking of all the soups and stews and sauces this winter and spring

enjoying all of the late summer goodies like wild coho salmon

The sun is getting up later each morning, which I like. I like it a lot. It means fewer hours of that giant fiery ball of thermal radiation in the sky. Waking up before sunrise without feeling like puking is a wonderful feeling. And having night for more than a couple of hours before bed is good for greater productivity. The sky has been offering up some beautiful moments of late.

crescent moon setting

looking west as the sun rises in the east

a low rainbow over the mountains

In Neva news, we used the halti collar for several days before i noticed the fur on her muzzle was thinning right where the halti rested. This made me very sad. Jeremy did some research and we decided to try a chest harness (a reader and some friends recommended them). Unlike the halti, the chest harness didn’t seem to bother Neva at all. We put it on her in the living room and she went about her business as usual. We walked her the next morning and she was so good (except with the squirrels – she cries and whines and barks when she sees squirrels). No struggling, no irritation. We were elated.

every morning when i brush my teeth

walking through golden aspens

such a good pup

happy dog

Lately I’ve seen mention of the Broncos in my Facebook feed. The Broncos are football, so that must mean it’s football season… Sportsball. Since we don’t have television, I wouldn’t know about any of the sporting seasons aside from the token sports discussions on NPR and those friends on Facebook who are sports fanatics. Even then, it’s quite easy for me to overlook it all because I’ve always found it far more desirable to play rather than watch. But I know that some people are far more enthusiastic about the football parties and party food than the football. So here’s a great appetizer for those sportsball gatherings if you’re looking for fun and quick recipes: the mini beer corn dog.

cornmeal, honey, sugar, eggs, baking powder, salt, hot dogs, flour, beer, skewers

cut the hot dogs into 2-inch pieces

pierce the mini dogs on the cut side

**Jump for more butter**