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archive for fruit

like apples and monkeys

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Recipe: apple cinnamon caramel monkey bread

After 48 hours of a funtastic trip (more on that in a later post), I am back in the saddle – or rather, I am sitting in front of my computer. Neva is curled up in her doggy bed, exhausted from 48 hours of non-stop playtime with several other puppies (dog camp). She wanted to go straight to bed the moment we brought her home, but she had enough of a stink on her that we insisted on giving her a bath. Since the sun was already down and the winds were blowing, we put her in the tub for a rub-a-dub-dub. Neva jumped out of the tub, twice. But after a few minutes under the warm water, she resigned herself to her fate, quietly whining as streams of dirty brown water swirled at her feet and on down toward the drain. Now she’s a fluffy fuzzball, all clean and cuddly and cute.


neva feels a treat is the least she deserves after the indignity of her bath



This recipe is a longish one, so it’s best to dive into it now. A (complimentary) box of beautiful Piñata apples from Stemilt Growers arrived on my doorstep a couple of weeks ago. The last time they sent me a shipment of fruit (pears), we ate them straight up because they were so sweet and juicy. This time, I actually held out and saved some of the apples for baking. Piñatas are excellent for snacking as they deliver a nice balance of tang and sweetness, but they are also great for baking. You can easily substitute Granny Smith or Fuji apples for this monkey bread – anything with a little tartness to it.

Let’s start with the filling. The recipe I followed called for three apples. My Piñata apples were on the large side, so I suspect I had a lot more apple than the recipe anticipated. The good news is that the end result is great despite the extra wrangling of apple pieces in the dough. Make your apple filling first. It will need time to cool after you sauté it because it gets added to the bread dough.


apples, sugar, butter, cinnamon, lemon (juice)

peel, core, and dice the apples

toss the apples, cinnamon, sugar, and lemon juice together

add the apples to melted butter in a sauté pan

when the liquid has simmered away, let the apples cool



**Jump for more butter**

glad i did that

Monday, January 18th, 2016

Recipe: confetti kale salad

Now that was a good long weekend over here in Butterland! Jeremy and I hosted a dinner party for friends we’ve been meaning to introduce to one another for some time, which was great fun. Then we hunkered down to get some work done AND watch the second SpongeBob SquarePants movie (because SpongeBob is awesome) while the winds blew every last snowflake into Kansas. Thankfully, the mountains keep their snow better than our neighborhood does, which meant a surprise powder day at our local ski hill and a lovely ski tour with Neva and friends into the backcountry. To top it all off, Jeremy installed a new microwave to replace the old, broken, very, very sad old one (to be recycled).


dinner with friends



It wasn’t clear that we were going to ski at first. Old Me would have automatically ruled out skiing on a windy (miserable) weekend (crowded), but Present Me shouted, “7 inches overnight and it is still snowing!” The thing about mountain weather is that you don’t really know what it is doing elsewhere until you are there – at elsewhere. Based on the howling winds overnight, we assumed the snow that fell had already been windswept and wind-slabbed. I could tell Jeremy wanted to pull the covers over his head and sleep, so I offered that we go up to the mountain, check out the snow, and if it sucked, return home. One of the perks of being a local, right? But we didn’t go home. Not until we skied our fill of the lovely, deep powder. At the summit, it was a full on wind storm strong enough to carry tiny balls of ice through the air to pelt you in the face. However, in the lee of the mountain and in the glades, it was pure bliss hitting powder, run after run.

ski the pow until it’s gone

jeremy gets his turns in the snow-plastered glades



This morning, Jeremy, Erin, Banjo, Neva, and I set out for a ski tour. It was a task just putting our boots on as the winds carried our shoes across the parking lot until we chased them down. We consider 23°F to be warm, but 50 mph gusts can really suck the heat right out of you. Once we wrangled our gear and the pups and began to climb into the shelter of the trees, everything was fine. Breezy, but not offensive. It was wonderful. What I’ve learned from living in the mountains for over a decade is that it’s usually more fun outside than it would seem from behind your windows. Of course, there are times when the suckage is real and it’s truly in your best interest to turn back and be safe. In general though, I’m almost always glad I got out there.

my pack in the high country



It’s the same with food. How can you discover a new favorite salad if you don’t leave your comfort zone? Every time we drove from Nederland to Crested Butte last summer, we had to make several stops along the way to let Neva empty her little puppy bladder. One of our favorite stops was the Whole Foods in Frisco (just outside of Breckenridge) because we could get a non-greasy lunch and there was a grassy field for Neva to do her puppy business. Jeremy likes to get one of the same two things every time – the cioppino or the chicken caesar. Then one day the store was out of both. He was walking the pup in the rain and I was filling a to-go box with my own salad, so I doubled up on the salad and presented it to him in the car, “This is what you’re eating for lunch.” And he loved it. It’s currently my favorite kale salad (and I like a lot of kale salads), but I’ve taken to making it at home because the Whole Foods salad bar is crazy expensive.

kale, red cabbage, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried apple pieces, almond slivers, garlic, salt, dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, pepper



Even though kale has gained a reputation as a superfood of late, I’ve had an ongoing love affair with it for over forty years. My mom would sauté it and I would pretend to be a manatee while I stuffed it into my mouth. I stopped pretending to be a manatee when I went to college, but I still stuffed my face with kale. The one thing I won’t do is put it in smoothies because I hate smoothies. I actually like the texture and taste of my fruits and vegetables. That’s part of the reason I love this salad. It has lots of crunch from the cabbage, nuts, and seeds. The dried fruits lend a pleasant chewiness and sweetness to each bite, and the vinaigrette is tart, but smooth. All of this against the backdrop of slightly bitter, tender, earthy kale.

strip the leafy part of the kale from the rib

shred the kale

sliced red cabbage

toasted seeds



**Jump for more butter**

dreams of wild things

Sunday, January 10th, 2016

Recipe: huckleberry bread pudding

When it is full-on winter outside, people’s brains go into overdrive dreaming of warm, tropical places and summertime. My feed is filled with pictures of bare feet on beaches, palm trees, swimming pools in sunny locales. It’s not something I can honestly relate to, but I understand that this is what my friends desire. Jeremy and I? We love to frolick in snow. It is what we talk about with longing during the throes of summer – how much we miss gliding over and through the snow, or feeling the delicate kiss of blower powder on our faces.


me dropping into the powder

jeremy catches a little air



From what I can tell, Neva loves winter even more than summer. She spent all of 8+ miles running her face through the snow on Saturday’s ski tour. It’s as if those bazillion little snowflakes give her an extra jolt of energy. Jeremy noted that she calmed down a tad after the first 6 miles, but even as we got back to the car, she was alert and ready for more action. Of course, once home, she passed out for a long and happy nap in the sun. Such is the life of a happy pup.

neva sports a snowbeard

that rare moment when neva and banjo are simultaneously sitting still



More than a month had passed since my last ski tour with Erin, so we took the opportunity to catch up with one another on the climb. We discussed “Making a Murderer”, family visits, and new locations to scout for porcini, chanterelles, and huckleberries this summer. I told her that I had dreamt of chanterelles one night over the holidays, and then of foraging huckleberries the following night. She smiled and nodded as our skis silently sliced through the soft white fluff underfoot.

My obsession with huckleberries is only slightly diminished in their off season. For the other eleven months of the year, I think of different ways to incorporate those nomalicious berries into various recipes (and where else in Colorado I should look for huckleberry patches). Those of you without access to fresh or frozen huckleberries can easily substitute blueberries, raspeberries, or blackberries in this croissant bread pudding. Any kind of juicy berry should do. But let us be clear… wild Maine blueberries – as delicious as they are – are not huckleberries. I’ve had both and hands down, hucks win.


croissants, cream, sugar, eggs, huckleberries, butter, vanilla extract, milk, lemon (zest)

butter your ramekins

slice the croissants into bite-size pieces



**Jump for more butter**