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this little piggy

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Recipe: this little piggy pizza

So many wonderful things happened this past weekend, like almost a foot of new snow on the local ski hill Friday morning. Rest assured, I did get my fresh tracks first thing in the morning. The new snow also meant that we could do a full moon ski rather than a full moon hike that evening. Everything seemed to go in our favor that night: fresh snow, no winds (well, a very light breeze), full coverage on the road, clear skies. Almost unheard of for our area.


banjo waits for erin to put his dog booties on before bounding out to romp in the snow

the full moon emerges above a bank of clouds in the east as we ski west

venus (center left) setting over the majestic indian peaks



We got home from the full moon ski around 10:30 pm and ate dinner at 11:00 pm. I was in bed after midnight and set my alarm for a few hours later as there was that total lunar eclipse to catch. When it’s late and I’m tired, I sometimes question if I want to get up in the middle of the night to shoot the eclipse. I figure, if I can and if the conditions are good (they were excellent), then it’s definitely worth seeing. I don’t think I ever tire of watching these phenomena that relay just how small we really are. Besides, I’ve loved watching the moon ever since I was a little girl. Some things never change. Jeremy even got up with my alarm and brought me hot cider while I stood outside following the eclipse’s progress. We watched her set behind the Continental Divide, still eclipsed, as the eastern horizon began to glow warm with orange and gold.

entering totality (blood moon)

blood moon setting over the mountains



The 6 inches of snow around our house melted in no time flat. Warm weather returned and I’ve notice those fuzzy aspen catkins blowing around on our deck. We moved the deck furniture back outside from its hibernation in the basement and our windows have been open every afternoon to let the mountain air cool the house down. Instead of an afternoon ski tour, we’re trail running the local trails to scout out conditions (mostly melted, still some snow) and visit with our local flora and fauna.

pasque flowers are coming up

this hungry moose was chomping away on young aspen trees



Over the weekend, all of our neighbors’ yards or decks were filled with happy dogs wagging their tails with noses in the air sniffing the aromas wafting from smoking grills. We contributed our fair share of grilled deliciousness to the local atmosphere, too. Although we weren’t grilling giant hunks of meat, our pizzas still paid proper homage to the pig. Vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians, flexitarians – look away! I call the pizza This Little Piggy.

pizza dough, pizza sauce, barbecue sauce, olive oil, salt, pepper, mozzarella, caramelized onions, pancetta, prosciutto, italian sausage, bacon, chorizo

mix the barbecue sauce with the pizza sauce

slice the chorizo thin

chop the bacon



**Jump for more butter**

what sustains us

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Recipe: ham, swiss, and egg brioche sandwich

Returning home to Nederland over the weekend, we discovered that the house and its surrounds had gone ahead and marched straight into spring. Little green grasses and baby dandelion leaves are beginning to sprout up through our walkway gravel. The aspens have fuzzed out with catkins. And a bathmat-sized patch of snow lingers behind our garage in eternal shade, hoping to withstand 60°F air temperatures until it can replenish with another storm. We also received our REI dividend in the mail. You know, they used to issue those at the end of the calendar year, which meant we spent it all on winter gear. Since they’ve shifted the dividends to late March, we now spend the dividend on summer gear – like new Hokas (trail runners) and a steri pen. Jeremy loves his Hokas so much, he recommended I make the switch this season. I guess it’s time to face reality that I’ll be doing less skiing and more trail running as the days get longer.


nice color over gothic mountain (bottom center) and crested butte (right)

still getting out for a ski tour in the indian peaks

warm orange clouds over the divide from our deck (nederland)

venus to the left and a contrail lit pink by the setting sun



We are experiencing a shift in our exercise schedules with the change in seasons. We like to ski first thing in the morning in winter – because you typically catch first tracks or newly groomed nordic trails. Now that it’s warmer, we go later in the day to give the snow time to soften up from its overnight freeze. Even in the high country, the snow gets wet in the afternoons. Then it freezes overnight into a hard crust or icy slick. So first thing in the morning isn’t such a great thing anymore. Come summer, we’ll be starting our hikes and trail runs in the dark to avoid as much sun and heat as possible. But all of these things require fuel.

They say not to skip breakfast and I find this to be especially true when you plan to burn calories for several hours. I just have a lot of trouble eating something sweet for my first meal. The sugar leaves my mouth sour and dry, and I don’t feel it gives me the proper boost for my activity level. A few weeks ago, we stopped by Salto Coffee Works on our way to ski The Jane (Winter Park/Mary Jane), because Jeremy needed some proper caffeine for the drive. I ordered a breakfast sandwich to put something in my empty stomach. It was so good that I insisted Jeremy eat half of it. Since then, I’ve made it a couple of times for a good energy booster before a ski tour or a morning of bump runs.


swiss cheese, black forest ham, brioche buns, eggs, butter, honey dijon mustard

butter the buttery brioche buns

grill them on a skillet until golden



**Jump for more butter**

rehash

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

Recipe: corned beef hash

Several posts back, a reader (Jasmine) asked how I got started skiing. I wish I could say I began as a little toddler, the way these badass little Colorado munchkins do – but I didn’t. I spent my youth on the water, sailing with my dad and my sister. I didn’t begin the love affair with gliding on snow until I was 22 years old when I was visiting Jeremy’s family over the holidays and they took me to the bunny hill at their local mountain.

Jeremy is a phenomenal teacher when it comes to most things. Skiing is not one of those things. He learned to alpine ski as a kid, for crying out loud. The first thing he did was point down the hill and say, “Just head over there.” As soon as I began moving, I realized that he had neglected to tell me how to stop. I proceeded to crash into the ground while making a mental note not to listen to that guy. Despite the terrible first lesson, I really loved skiing. Living in Southern California, we managed to get 5-8 days a year if we were lucky.

Then we moved to Ithaca, New York where we picked up cross country skiing (it’s free and we were graduate students). We continued logging single digit alpine days each year whenever we visited family in New Mexico. Upon our return to Southern California, we would spend a couple of weekends each year skiing at Mammoth Mountain. This was the first time I had seen a person telemark ski. I was riding solo on the lift watching this fellow carve graceful turns down the mountain such that I missed getting off the chair and had to do the “jump off and roll out of the way” move. But it was worth it.

We learned to telemark ski (with proper instruction) during our first winter in Colorado, ten years ago, and I’ve never touched a pair of alpine skis since. Being locals, skiing is no longer limited to vacations or weekends – it’s something we do for regular exercise during our snow months… September through June if we’re lucky! We ski the resorts, the backcountry, the local trails, the nordic centers: telemark, ski touring (skins and scales), classic, and most recently skate skiing. I love skiing. It kept me sane during my chemotherapy in 2008 and it keeps me happy and healthy now. So that’s the love affair in a nutshell!


surprise powder day on the local mountain, friday afternoon

sunny weekend ski tour

the snow was sticky

great views of the indian peaks

65 degrees on the local trails – it was so warm i wore my running skirt instead of ski pants



Right, but enough about skiing (we still have a few more months to talk about skiing). If you are serving corned beef for Saint Patrick’s Day or just because they happen to be on sale EVERYWHERE, you might be fortunate enough to have some left over. I am actually far more excited about leftover corned beef than the corned beef itself. We ate a couple of slices of corned beef with roasted vegetables, but I already had plans for the leftovers which were actually 90% of the brisket. We enjoyed delicious reuben sandwiches with melty swiss cheese and loads of sauerkraut, and then I made corned beef hash – because I’m a savory breakfast kind of girl and this is filled with ALL OF THE GOOD THINGS.

parsley, potatoes, red bell pepper, onion, eggs, salt, butter, corned beef, cream, pepper

chop the corned beef into chunks

pulse them into a coarse chop

dice the potatoes



**Jump for more butter**