braised chicken with forty cloves of garlic roasted broccoli and farro salad with feta sparkling champagne margaritas cranberry hazelnut seed crisps


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the wonders never cease

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Recipe: braised chicken with forty cloves of garlic

As a result of hoisting that 500mm telephoto lens around while chasing after or running from bull elk a few weeks ago and then processing client photos for hours on end at the computer, my shoulder and neck have been sources of unrelenting pain. The night of the Orionids meteor shower peak, I half wished to be clouded out so I could try to get a proper night’s rest since the previous morning, I woke up at 3 am to make and pack Jeremy’s breakfast and lunch for his flight to the East Coast. But the skies were clear and dark, and the stars were so sparkly and beautiful. I managed a 2-hour nap and then wandered around the house at 1 am with the red lantern of my headlamp illuminating where my socks were, where my hat was, grabbing the tripod and camera and remote cord to set up on the deck. I checked weather radar and muttered a few choice words under my breath at the neighbor who had left their flood light on.

I tiptoed back inside to grab a sleeping bag and my pillow. I don’t know what it is about the dark that makes me feel like I have to sneak around quietly in my own empty house. Once I settled onto the deck, I listened to my shutter release tick off every 30 seconds. In between actuations, I heard a critter down on the ground, chewing on something. Then I noticed that my neighbor had finally shut their light off. Thank you. It was windless, dark, and silent (except for that animal having a midnight snack). Click-click. I saw a meteor streak across the sky like a dancer. Then a smaller one in my peripheral vision. Was that out of my camera’s field of view? Click-click. In all, I witnessed about 30 shooting stars before the clouds materialized from the east. I could feel the air turn damp against my cheeks as the moisture stretched across more and more of the sky. Pulling my hat down around my head, I looked at the time. 3:34 am.


a fireball on the horizon



Night photography in Nederland isn’t so great because Boulder creates a lot of light pollution to the east, and downtown Ned (if you can call it downtown) has a lot of annoying lights too. But I just love that I can step out onto my deck and lie down, looking up at the sky. That’s so much easier than when we lived in Southern California and had to drive 4 hours to the nearest proper dark skies location in the Mojave Desert. If it’s really really cold, I can duck back into the house for a cup of hot cider or a down jacket. Meteor showers make me feel like a kid – and every kid should experience at least one, if not many, meteor showers. I used to leave my curtains open at night when I was in elementary school, so I could watch the moon cross the sky. My dad would always come into the room before he went to bed to close the curtains. Sometimes I would wait til he left and open them back up. Sometimes I would pipe up and say, “Leave the curtains open, Daddy!” First he would scold me for not being asleep (I had trouble sleeping, I really liked being awake in general), then he would say, “If you keep staring at the moon, you will turn into a lunartic.” Sharing geek jokes with my dad late at night is a treasured childhood memory.

clouds reflecting light from town, orion in the upper left, the pleiades in upper center



My parents are back in Boulder tonight (Wednesday). They landed in Denver on the late side, so I prepared dinner for them and left it in their refrigerator earlier in the day. I made kale salad, tomato soup, and braised chicken with forty cloves of garlic. The chicken was cooked in my new Dutch oven. I’ve always been an All-Clad stainless steel girl, but this Le Creuset round wide (6.75 quarts) pan was calling my name. I can’t believe I resisted getting one for this long and now… I can’t believe I resisted getting one for this long!

they even had my favorite color

braises so beautifully



I’ve never made chicken with forty cloves of garlic before, although I had heard about it for years and always figured I’d make it in a slow cooker. It’s probably awesome in a slow cooker, but I am really loving the braises right now. Rather than dealing with a whole bird, I went for whole legs because we’re 100% fans of dark meat in this house.

olive oil, sauvignon blanc, pepper, chicken broth, parsley, thyme, rosemary, lemon, chicken, garlic, paprika, salt

to peel or not to peel?



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that extra sparkle

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Recipe: sparkling champagne margaritas

The sight of snow on the Rocky Mountains represents “normal” in my mind. The months of brilliant snow-covered peaks outnumber those months of naked rock. So when I climbed to the high point of my trail run the other day and caught a glimpse of Glacier Ridge in full white, I couldn’t help but smile and mutter “beautiful” aloud. Sun, blue skies, and warm days have returned (again), but our mountain home gets nice and chilly at night. Our favorite neighbors are home from running their summer camp deep in the Canadian wilderness. This evening I welcomed their walking carpet of a dog back with hugs and ear rubs (she’s a Great Pyrenees-Bernese Mountain Dog mix). The older we get, the more Jeremy and I cherish having good neighbors. We look out for one another, I like to dessert-bomb them, and it’s great when we can get together over a glass of wine or dinner.


kicking off a dinner party in crested butte with eileen’s margaritas



When Jeremy and I hosted a New Mexican food-themed party at our place in Crested Butte last month, it was a team effort. Wendy made Spanish rice, spicy refritos, and brought fresh tortillas. Eileen brought a corn and avocado salad, wine, and champagne margaritas. Neither Jeremy nor I are huge fans of margaritas. I’m just not a drinker and Jeremy thinks they are too caustic. But when Eileen offered Jeremy a champagne margarita, he accepted – because… champagne (actually, it was a lovely sparkling wine). He liked it. A LOT. Eileen told me it was a Rick Bayless recipe and a nice change up from the standard margarita. I took a sip from Jeremy’s glass and had to agree. Very nice. VERY drinkable. Way to class up the old marg!

tequila, cointreau, bubbles, limes, kosher salt, sugar

zest the limes

lime juice, cointreau, tequila, lime zest, sugar



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recharging

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

Recipe: thai fried squid

Sucker holes are those enticing blue spots that occasionally make an appearance through stormy or overcast skies. I learned that terminology from Jeremy a couple of decades ago. Sucker holes. It’s what we’d identify while backpacking or hiking the high country, indicating a thinning of clouds, perhaps even clearing skies. But the reason they are called sucker holes is because they give you hope for better weather. The nomenclature seems particularly apt for nature photographers. Clouds sloshing about in the turbulent atmosphere open and close the windows to the blue skies above. We chase them in the hopes of capturing something magical.


dark stormy mammatocumulus clouds over a rainbow



The storm system that swept over Colorado delivered a nice infusion of snow to our mountains. Many of the ski resorts reported several inches as they began snow-making operations for the season. Forecasts all pointed to sunny and clear weather for about a week after the system passed. That’s good news for people who like that kind of weather, but rather dull news for photographers. I packed up and shipped out, driving back to Crested Butte via back roads.

a nice dump of snow for early october

my version of church

standing under aspens as leaves rain down

freshly fallen leaves on freshly fallen snow at my feet



Fall photography benefits tremendously from flexibility in one’s schedule, because the leaves, the atmosphere, and all of the other ingredients are going to chug along at their own pace. I emailed Jeremy that I was tired and wrapping up for the season. He drove out from Boulder to Crested Butte for the weekend to help me pack up and get our place ready for winter. It just so happened that my friend and mentor, Michael Frye, emailed me from the road that he and Claudia were Colorado-bound to chase some aspens and did I have any aspen reports. I convinced them to swing through Crested Butte and spend a night with us so we could talk fall colors and show them around the area, but also because they are such a delightful and fun couple.

a little color over crested butte at sunset

jeremy was craving secret stash pizza

a much needed trail run with happy cattle to boot

aspens winding down



Jeremy is always bummed to leave Crested Butte, because it is his Very Happy Place. I’m sad to leave, too, but I am quite happy to go home to Nederland. Our favorite neighbors will be returning from their summer season in Canada, there are projects planned with various friends, I look forward to seasonal produce at my favorite markets in Boulder, and I can cook out of my #1 kitchen once more! So while I’m on the road home, you can consider this recipe for Thai fried squid (calamari). It’s my parents’ go-to appetizer when we dine out at the local Vietnamese restaurant in Boulder.

squid tubes and tentacles, egg white, salt, pepper, cornstarch



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