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keep your skis on

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

Recipe: vietnamese grilled beef salad

It got positively balmy last week. I think Colorado was taking that whole Spring thing seriously for a few days, but only for a few days. The walls of snow that line our sidewalks and roads shrunk by feet under the blazing sunshine and warm winds. We got out to noodle about above our house on some of that fine afternoon corn snow for fun. Of course, two days later we were getting turns on the mountain in 14 fresh inches of powder. That’s how Crested Butte rolls.

jeremy navigates spring conditions

aaaaand we’re back to winterlike powder!

Late Friday night, Jeremy and I went back to the mountain to watch the start of The Grand Traverse. It’s an unmarked backcountry ski race that starts at midnight in Crested Butte, climbs 7800 feet, and ends 40 miles across the Elk Mountains in Aspen. Due to that nice 2 foot dump of fresh snow over the mountains, the race coordinators decided the avalanche risk was too high for the 300+ racers (teams of two for safety) and re-routed the course to loop back to Crested Butte – what is known as The Grand Reverse. The Denver Post had a nice article on the race here. I thought it was extremely awesome that the mayors of Crested Butte and Aspen skied as a team. Finish times typically range between 8 and 16 hours.

spotlight on the summit of mount crested butte

racers taking warm up runs

countdown to midnight at the starting line

a blur of headlamps, skis, and colorful gear as they charge up the mountain

That was fun and inspiring to watch! On the drive back to the house, we talked about those beautiful places in the backcountry we’d like to see or revisit. But we only allow ourselves to talk about it, not make plans. And that’s okay. We can’t plan as long as Kaweah is with us. We would not (could not) trust her geriatric care to anyone else at this stage. I don’t doubt that a lot of people might have put her down by now with her severely limited mobility, her accidents, the amount of time it takes to care for her… Sometimes she does well and other times not so well. Jeremy and I agreed that as long as her good days outnumbered the bad days, we’d do what we could to make her happy and keep her safe. This is why I’m fine with hand-waving discussions about places to explore instead of my usual insistence on making concrete plans. But the talk of summer backpacks and trail runs had me craving summery fare like salads and grilled things. Thankfully, this Vietnamese grilled beef salad isn’t limited to summer. You can totally make this now.

for the beef: flank steak, limes, thai bird chile, garlic, brown sugar, fish sauce

minced garlic, sliced chile, lime juice, sugar, fish sauce, beef

mix the garlic, chile, fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice together

**Jump for more butter**

winter’s end

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

Recipe: korean barbecue pork lettuce wraps

Spring is just around the corner. In fact, I can see it from where I stand. The R-word is even in the forecast… RAIN. That kinda kills the snowpack, but then it is supposed to turn to snow. Whatever form of water falls from the sky, we have promised ourselves to enjoy this time – the end of winter. It’s been such a lovely season that we thought it fitting to say farewell to winter from Crested Butte.

mount whetstone

paradise divide and the slate river

blowing snow on mount emmons at sunset

The last time I was about to leave the Front Range for Crested Butte, I had a grocery date with Wendy at the new HMart in Westminster. It’s a Korean/Asian grocery store that is closer to me than its Aurora branch in southeast Denver. We wandered around checking out all of the products on offer, catching up on all manner of gossip and cooking and life stuff. As we passed into the meat department, a little Korean woman was grilling marinated pork samples. We each tried it and smiled at one another. Good stuff. The woman placed her hand on a stack of packaged marinated pork and said, “For sale!” Since I was leaving town soon, I declined. Walking toward the fish tanks, Wendy and I leaned into one another and whispered, “I could totally make that at home!” And so I eventually did.

pork shoulder, black pepper, sesame oil, soy sauce, pear, onion, green onions, garlic, ginger, sugar (not pictured: gochuchang)

chopping the pear

pear, onion, garlic, ginger


**Jump for more butter**

food with friends

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

Recipe: lahmacun (turkish pizza)

I hope those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving had a nice one this past week. I’ll tell you about ours later, but I need to share this recipe with you before it gets buried in my queue of posts! A few weekends ago, my stitch-n-bitch crew got together at Nichole’s house for lunch. It had been quite a while since I had seen some of these ladies. I mean, one of my girlfriends got married since I last saw her, and another got her Ph.D. (actually, I skied with her last spring – but still!). We spent time catching up and everyone offered a dish to share as well as hands to help Nichole with prep. I brought the rolled pistachio baklava as well as a quart of precious huckleberry ice cream.

But the real star of the show was Nichole’s Turkish pizza or lahmacun. I had never had it before and I obsessed over it for days afterward until I begged her for the recipe. The flavors, the fresh ingredients – it’s all wonderful. I did a little research online and cobbled together a compromise between Nichole’s version and another more traditional version to excellent results. I love it when my friends introduce me to new foods.

ground lamb, olive oil, red peppers, onion, garlic, tomato paste, canned tomatoes, parsley, pepper, salt, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, paprika

brown the lamb

drain the fat

You can use lamb or beef, but because we have truly excellent local Colorado lamb, the decision was practically made for me. Some recipes cook the meat before mixing it with the sauce ingredients while others leave the meat raw because it will cook when you bake the pizzas. I opted to brown the lamb and drain off the fat (of which there was a lot). Nichole cooked and simmered her sauce for a few hours and I swear it was phenomenally good straight from the pot. I just didn’t have the time to simmer the sauce and wanted to see if my quicker method would work.

chopped vegetables and diced tomatoes

process to a thick sauce

**Jump for more butter**