california hand roll (temaki) hot smoked salmon and asparagus pasta kaweah huckleberry jam

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discoveries and rediscoveries

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Recipe: galbi korean bbq short ribs

There’s something comforting in traveling a familiar trail where you know the curves, hills, rocks, trees, and stream crossings by heart. When, even in winter, you know that this very spot where the path bends will be covered with flowers in three months’ time. You know this because you’ve seen it year after year. And then there are the new trails. When you see a new trail leading off into the woods, and your eyes light up with curiosity and excitement. It calls to you. I always want to know where that trail leads. How many times have you said, “I’ll just hike up to the top of that ridge for a look” only to continue on to the next ridge and the next?

crimson columbine and violets

gothic mountain

winding through the wildflowers

On rare occasion, we’ll hike a new trail only to learn that we don’t ever need to hike that trail again (poorly marked, unmaintained, too hot, too buggy, too dangerous, too crowded). But most of the time, it’s a delightful discovery. I am especially fond of shady hikes with good breezes, nice views, and lots of huckleberry plants growing on the hillslopes. We found one of those today. I’ll be sure to revisit that one often – particularly when the hucks start to bear their precious berries.

It’s that way with recipes too when you revisit an old one that you loved but had forgotten about. I made galbi – Korean barbecue short ribs – for my parents a couple of weeks ago. When I went to dig up my recipe from the archives, I noticed the post was nearly seven years old. That was back in the day when our local Whole Foods had no clue what flanken-style ribs were. These days, they do know, but we now have a couple of Asian grocers within striking distance that also provide flanken-style beef short ribs. The Asianification of Colorado – slow, but happening. So let’s do this properly.

flanken-style short ribs, kiwis, fresh ginger, pepper, water, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, yellow onion, sugar, garlic (hidden behind the beef ribs)

soak the ribs in water

**Jump for more butter**

bust out the chops

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Recipe: grilled pork chops

I managed to run my first ever half-marathon distance this week… well, it was 14.2 miles. That still counts! Jeremy and I have somehow convinced ourselves that ultra trail running is worth trying this summer. We’ve been training. Snowline is hovering around 10,000 feet, so running trails that climb high and go far has been limited – but it’s melting. I’ve always been impatient for the intermediate stage where the snow is degrading too quickly to ski, but is still an obstacle to running or biking. Meanwhile, I’ve been doing my best to clean out the freezer and refrigerator in order to make space for summer’s bounty.

used up all my old frozen bananas for chocolate chip banana bread

My parents flew in to Colorado this week. I usually stock their place with a few groceries (including a loaf of that chocolate chip banana bread), fresh flowers, and other things they might need before they arrive. Even though they are getting older and slowing down, they aren’t really slowing down. Dad always wants to know what The Plan is, so it’s my job to do the research and make The Plan.

mom and dad at the denver botanic gardens

Jeremy and I took my folks to the Denver Botanic Gardens to see the Chihuly exhibit that officially opens June 14th, but had most of the installations up this week before the opening. It’s such a gorgeous time of year to visit because it isn’t too hot (as Denver goes) and so many beautiful flowers were in bloom with happy bees, dragonflies, and birds zipping about. The Chihuly exhibit will be at DBG through November 2014 and it is definitely worth a trip if you are in the area.

Of course, this weekend is Father’s Day, so we’re having Mom and Dad up for a nice dinner. I’m preparing a menu of All Things Dad Loves. But Dad pointed out that he really wanted to see his “little girl”, and he did not mean me. He meant Kaweah. She’s going to be utterly thrilled to visit with him.

Today’s recipe is all about summer, grilling, and celebrating dads and fathers and papas and babas and all of the good folk who step up to be a father to someone. It’s simple and easy, and isn’t that all we want in June when we should be spending our time playing outside and rejoicing in summer’s arrival?

pork chops, water, cider vinegar, kosher salt, brown sugar, juniper berries, black pepper, red pepper flakes, thyme

combine the dry ingredients

add the water and vinegar

stir to dissolve the sugar and salt

**Jump for more butter**

life and how to live it

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Recipe: chinese-style honey hoisin barbecue ribs

Jeremy and I sat at the rocky edge of a familiar alpine lake last summer. These special places that we visit regularly hold memories that are awakened when we arrive. It’s like greeting an old friend. I stood up on a boulder in the breeze as my eyes scanned the beautiful surrounds. After a while Jeremy asked what was on my mind.

“I don’t think Kaweah will ever be able to come up and swim in her favorite lakes again.” My voice broke and I had to whisper the last few words. Kaweah loves being outside. She was a complete nut in the mountains for well over a decade, always straining to walk ahead no matter how tired she was, sniffing marmots and pika on the wind like it was crack cocaine. And then there were those running leaps into half frozen mountain lakes, taking several crazed laps around the water, tear-assing around on shore, soaking wet and chuffing with excitement. She lived for her hikes and swims.

Kaweah spends much of her time indoors now, except for her potty breaks. We make an effort to give her “Kaweah time” either in the yard or on the deck where she can sniff the latest news in the neighborhood. Her legs are so weak that walks are pretty much out of the question. So the other day, after scoping out the Slate River on one of our trail runs, I sat with Kaweah in the backseat of the car as Jeremy chauffeured us to a trailhead. All of the rivers in Crested Butte are moving fast and full with the spring runoff, but there are always side ponds (mostly beaver ponds) with currents gentle enough for an old girl like Kaweah. Jeremy carried her out into the water.

jeremy lowers kaweah to see if she struggles (i.e. doesn’t like it)

carrying her back for dip #2

jeremy spots kaweah as she paddles around

We weren’t sure if Kaweah would hate it or love it. It’s hard to read her sometimes, but she seemed to enjoy the swimming and the mobility – being free of her feeble hind legs. She took a few laps before getting pretty tired, at which point she swam to shore where Jeremy picked her up and we toweled her off and plied her with lots of loud praise (she’s mostly deaf) and treats. It’s a mere shadow of her glory days, but it seemed to be the highlight of her week.

asserting her independence

swimming solo and looking good

Kaweah was completely tuckered out for the rest of the day and part of the next day. We’re not planning to make it a daily routine. We want to make her happy, not kill her. Luckily for her, we are running the grill a lot more with the warmer weather – and THAT makes her VERY happy. I sometimes think I catch her staring at the grill longingly, or perhaps it’s the rack of ribs cooking inside the grill?

rack of pork ribs, rice vinegar, oyster sauce, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, chinese five spice, onion powder, chili garlic sauce, apple juice

rub the ribs with the chinese five spice and the onion powder

**Jump for more butter**