chanterelle ravioli with sage brown butter bourbon-glazed doughnut muffin doughnuts braised beluga lentils huckleberry vodka infusion & huckleberry moscow mule


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archive for fruit

i look to august

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Recipe: huckleberry vodka infusion & huckleberry moscow mule

I’m writing on the last day of July, a month that has been drier than normal. We’ve received 1.3 inches of rainfall in my neighborhood this month compared to the average July rainfall of 2.25 inches. That may not seem like a lot, but I assure you the difference is noticeable in the mountains. The good news is that we just had a few hours of steady rain this afternoon (it delivered .16 inches to our July total). My hope is that August will usher in more precipitation from the sky.

August has always been a special month for me because it is the birthday month of my mom and my sister. Tomorrow, August 1, Kris would have turned 50. That hits me deep in my gut for so many reasons. But I’ll keep those reasons to myself and celebrate that I was fortunate enough to have had a sister and best friend for over three decades. She remains an important part of who I am today, kept safe behind my breastbone where she tugs at my emotions just like she did when we fought or when she left for college or when she called crying because her cat had died of old age or every time we laughed so hard at our stupid inside jokes that we had trouble breathing.


always in my heart



This past week we got out on a new(ish) trail as well as some familiar trails and I took careful note of what was and wasn’t happening on the ground. Wildflowers are good, but not exceptional. The mushroom flush is late. Parts of the mountain forests are so dry that it sounds (and feels) like I’m stepping on a bed of potato chips when I hike through.

hiking neva while jeremy runs ahead

jeremy had run up to the pass, the saddle between the two peaks in the distance

hiking under an early morning sun

hello, leccinum!

pink wintergreen in bloom



Over the weekend we hosted a dinner party that felt just right. It’s taken me forever to accept that inviting a lot of people for one dinner is far less enjoyable for me than working in small batches and pacing myself throughout the year. It was the perfect size with a group that clicked well together. Everyone was super nice and funny and fun and relaxed – and that makes all of the effort of hosting worth it to us. Amazingly enough, instead of acting like a complete maniac the entire evening, Neva calmed down within a half hour of everyone arriving and she was actually a pretty good pup most of the night. Then the following night, my parents treated us to a delicious homemade Chinese feast at their place in Boulder. I think this means I’m due for a big trail run!

our dinner party

mom and dad made some of my favorite homestyle chinese dishes



I know I’m going to sound like a nut when I say this, but I’m glad July is over because it means we are headed for good things in August. Regardless of the state of the mushrooms, I have my eyes set on trail running longer routes, exploring new trails, backpacking, and huckleberry season. Oh yes, I have been monitoring the huckleberries since the snow melted. After last year’s dismal season, Erin and I are hoping that this year will be fruitful, so to speak. I’m seeing lots of green peas, a few ghosts (dried and white dead ones), and some turning rose or a handful of early guys going snurple.

early morning dew on an unripe huckleberry

green peas, ghosts, purples, and snurples!



In honor of huckleberry season and huckleberries in general – which are always on my mind throughout the year – I’m sharing yet another huckleberry recipe. I made a test batch of huckleberry infused vodka two years ago and have been making more ever since. We serve it at parties or sometimes I find Jeremy adding it to a cocktail. It requires two ingredients and some patience.

huckleberries and vodka



The huckleberries can be fresh or frozen. Since fresh berries are hard to come by, I have always used my frozen huckleberries for this vodka. And I opt for large bottles of cheap vodka because I really enjoy walking up to the cashier at the liquor store looking like a lush, even though I don’t really drink alcohol. It’s great! Chop or crush the berries to break the skins. I use my food processor and give it a quick whir. You don’t need to purée the berries, you merely need to perform a coarse chop. Combine the huckleberries and vodka in a glass jar, give it a shake, then store it in a cool, dark, dry place for 2 to 3 weeks. Shake it every few days or so. Simple!

place the berries in a food processor

coarse chop

pour the vodka over the berries



**Jump for more butter**

racing the sun

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

Recipe: hamachi yellowtail crudo

We’ve lived in the mountains of Colorado for eleven years now. When we first arrived, a week of truly hot weather was about all one could expect of the summer months. Over the years, those temperatures are trending hotter and sticking around longer in summer. I should note that we are particularly observant of hot weather because WE HATE IT. So it was with great joy that we welcomed the return of the monsoon last week. That stupid high pressure cell that was sitting on top of us (and fanning the flames of that wildfire) shifted east so that moisture from the Gulf of Mexico (south of us) could deliver the goods in the form of rain and thunderstorms.


composite lightning strikes

lightning at sunset

rainbows, the marriage of sun and rain



Oddly, after a few good soaking rains, the clouds have been building up and then fizzling out. We can see rain over neighboring canyons and ridges, but there seems to be a giant sucker hole (blue hole in a sky of clouds) over our neighborhood at any given time. We don’t have air conditioning at our house, so we work hard to cool it at night and keep it as cool as possible during the sun’s march across the sky. Just today, Jeremy and I discussed the logistics of getting an evaporative cooler installed before next summer. It is most efficient in arid climates and it’s much cheaper to run than air conditioning.

For now, we are sucking it up and continuing with our summer schedule of trail runs, hikes, and paddles. The higher you climb, the cooler it is – at least if the atmosphere is adiabatic, which it kind of is (Jeremy says to disregard water vapor). The high country is beautiful right now. Lush, green carpets splattered with colorful wildflowers and lingering snowfields paint these rocky mountains above the dark mantles of conifer forests. We are running farther and climbing higher, racing against the season and racing ourselves. Actually, that’s only half true. Jeremy is racing against himself. I’m not racing anyone. I’m noodling along and stopping to look for mushrooms or checking on the progress of the huckleberries, snapping selfies and photos along the way, shouting hello to Mr. Rabbit so I don’t go startling Ms. Moose. This is why we run separately. But it’s nice when our two routes overlap and we can say hi.


after a steep climb, i wait for jeremy to arrive from the other side of the ridge

off days are meant for hikes with neva

jeremy refuels on the trail during his 17-miler

hiking with erin and banjo

paintbrush come in so many beautiful colors

lunch with a view at king lake



We still have two months of summer remaining, and yet it’s already impossible to do all the things we had hoped to accomplish before the next season moves in. I suppose you could say that just leaves more for next summer. Something I did manage to check off my list was making hamachi (yellowtail) crudo with finger lime pearls. I’ve been waiting until I could order some from Shanley Farms when the season started at the end of June and I finally got some!

radishes, orange oil, togarashi, vegetable oil, orange, flake sea salt, finger limes, hamachi (not pictured: ponzu sauce)



I first heard of finger limes when a friend in Australia asked if I had seen them here in the States. I hadn’t. These were originally discovered growing wild in Australia and have since slowly made their way to the U.S. To open the finger lime, I scored the rind around the middle and broke it open. Rolling the end of one half between my finger tips, the little pearls tumble out of their tight-packed quarters. It’s incredible, really. Each little pearl bursts with the tart juice of a lime when bitten. I figured these would be great with hamachi crudo because I wanted the acidity of the lime without the raw fish cooking on contact as it would with lime juice. Obviously, finger limes aren’t everywhere available (yet), so if you don’t have any, then just use a regular squeeze of lime juice just before serving.

score the rind around the middle and break the finger lime open

roll one end between your fingertips and watch the caviar fall out

completely empty!

pink pearls (sometimes they are other colors like green or yellow)



**Jump for more butter**

more flowers, please

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

Recipe: wild rose petal ice cream

I want to thank all of the readers who have emailed or messaged me their concerns for our safety over the weekend. We are safe. The wildfire (started by illegal campers on private land who failed to put out their campfire) in Nederland that quickly erupted Saturday afternoon a couple of miles from our home has spread in the other direction. For the time being, our house is okay and our neighborhood has not been evacuated although a large swath of our mountain and canyon communities are under mandatory evacuation. Neva is with us in Crested Butte. Our current plan is to remain here for a few days to minimize the strain on resources in that area and to keep out of the way of fire crews as they work tirelessly to battle the blaze in extremely hot, dry, and windy conditions over rugged terrain.


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Dining Out Denver & Boulder included use real butter among 11 Colorado Food Blogs You Should Read.

It’s been 2 years since we let our sweet Kaweah go. I still miss her every day.


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My parents came out to visit with us in Crested Butte this past week. The last time they were here, we had just moved in and didn’t have a good handle on the best places to eat or things to do. This time we planned a more suitable itinerary and kept the activities flexible and relaxed. Dad did a little fishing, we took some walks and hikes through the wildflowers, we dined out at some of our favorite Crested Butte restaurants, we dined in so Dad could open some bottles of his favorite wines, we attended a neighborhood party, and everyone played with Neva.

me and my mom on a morning hike

mom and dad at dinner



After the parental units returned to Boulder, we resumed our schedule of hikes, paddles, and runs. All manner of wildflowers are coming up: cinquefoil, sulfur paintbrush, Indian paintbrush, lupine, larkspur, monkshood, giant hyssop, mule ears, aspen daisies, fleabane daisies, oxeye daisies, old man of the mountain, cow parsnip, osha, sticky geranium, blue columbines, prairie smoke, elephant heads, wild roses, blue flax, and spotted coralroot – to name a few of the ones I can identify! We have been finding various mushrooms along the trails, too. I’m not the type of person who feels compelled to eat every single mushroom I encounter, but it’s hard to turn down oyster mushrooms. The handful of aspen oyster mushrooms we foraged were mostly old and wormed out. Still, I brought them home. I was able to fry up two of them for dinner, but I took the old ones and smeared them against our aspens in the yard in the hopes that we’ll see some oyster mushrooms appear next summer. It doesn’t hurt to try!

lupine and indian paintbrush

elephant heads with a scenic backdrop

freshly foraged aspen oyster mushrooms

fried in butter and served with leftover beef tenderloin

neva’s pretty certain she would have liked some steak



Due to inflammation of my right trapezius muscle for the past couple of weeks, I wasn’t able to get out for a trail run until recently. I had assumed that all of the wild roses would have finished by now, but I was mistaken. Much to my delight, I saw and smelled hundreds of blooms for miles. Jeremy asked if I was tempted to go back and forage more rose petals. I said no. If they were mushrooms, maybe, but I was done with rose petal recipes for the season. There was the rose petal jam recipe I shared last week and now I have a rose petal ice cream for you.

fragrant, beautiful, simple wild roses

eggs, sugar, rose petals, milk, cream, lemon, salt, beet juice (not pictured: rose water)



I’ve been on a mission to find a good rose petal ice cream recipe ever since I attended a special 50th wedding anniversary celebration years ago where they served an Italian rose petal gelato. I forgot about it for a few years until I realized there was an abundance of wild roses growing around my house that I could use. Last year I managed to miss the bloom entirely, so I made sure to catch it this year. If you don’t have wild roses available, you can use unsprayed fresh roses. If you aren’t familiar with foraging wild rose petals, have a gander at the rose petal jam post for pointers.

combine most of the rose petals, the sugar, and a pinch of salt in a food processor

pulse into a purée or a really well-blended wet sugary mix

combine a cup of cream, the milk, and the rose sugar in a saucepan



**Jump for more butter**