fried vietnamese spring rolls (cha gio) brie fig apple prosciutto sandwich huckleberry sorbet tamagoyaki (rolled omelette) and chirashi bowl


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it’s a feeling

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Recipe: vietnamese fried spring rolls (cha gio)

All signs point to “Back to School”. Crested Butte seemed to be emptying out this past weekend and our trail run Monday morning was particularly devoid of the usual summer gamut of hikers, runners, and bikers. We are now back home in the Front Range, navigating around freshmen and their parents as they arrive at the university. Folks are wrapping up their summer vacations and the commuter buses will be running at capacity once again. We spied a single aspen that had gone gold amidst a sea of green on our drive from Crested Butte to Nederland. Someone always jumps the gun, but fall is not far off for the mountains where splashes of red and yellow are already dotting the understory like little jewels. Speaking of little jewels, we’re seeing many wild berries ripening in the high country, too!


raspberries

my favorites: huckleberries

wild strawberries



The berries I find in the mountains are precious to me. No one tends to these plants. No one waters them. No one protects them from pests. No one throws blankets over them when there is an overnight freeze. And yet these wild and hardy plants produce the most intensely flavored little fruits. Treasures. When you explore the mountains year-round, you gain an appreciation for the struggles that all mountain life endures – especially when you pop a perfectly sweet and tart sun-warmed berry into your mouth. It is a short-lived berry season. The approach of fall looms large as my mind turns back to the kitchen, where it is starting to feel comfortable enough to cook. Let’s make some Vietnamese spring rolls or cha gio.

ground pork, shrimp, carrot, bean thread (cellophane) noodles, salt, pepper, egg, garlic, shallot, fish sauce, rice paper



While I love fresh Vietnamese spring rolls, I am a huge sucker for crisp fried things. That’s probably part of my motivation to keep active! The first time I had the fried Vietnamese spring rolls, was when our Vietnamese server misunderstood my order for grilled pork bun (rice noodle vermicelli) and brought me the grilled pork and egg roll combo bun instead. SO GOOD! I didn’t know such a thing existed.

chop the cellophane noodles with scissors

the filling: chopped cellophane noodles, minced shallots, shredded carrot, ground pork, chopped shrimp, fish sauce, beaten egg, salt, pepper, minced garlic

place all of the filling ingredients in a bowl

mix it together



**Jump for more butter**

triple pass lollipop unicorn

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

Recipe: brie fig apple prosciutto sandwich

It’s not like anyone needs a reason to come to Crested Butte, Colorado, but this past week was marked on our calendar months ago. It all began when Jeremy ran into our friend in line at a coffee shop last fall. Brad has a remarkable talent for conveying massive amounts of information in a ridiculously short amount of time with boundless enthusiasm. In the three minutes he chatted with Jeremy, Brad convinced him to take up ultra running (and he also discussed about a dozen other topics). The Summer GT (Grand Traverse) was held on Saturday starting in Crested Butte and ending in Aspen – the same 40-mile overland route that the Winter GT Ski Mountaineering race follows, but this time on foot or mountain bike. I asked Brad if he was planning to run the Summer GT, but that crazy man ran the Fat Dog 120 this weekend in British Columbia (120 miles, 29,000 feet of climb).

We’ve both been training since the local trails began melting out in April (although we continued backcountry skiing into late May – yeehaw!). Jeremy was training for the Grand Traverse, and I was just training for the heck of it. A few weeks before the GT, Jeremy developed runner’s knee. He discovered the hard way that running 20 miles on runner’s knee makes for much worse runner’s knee. He rested, iced, got a PT band, and tried to recover. Ultimately, he (correctly) determined that it would be unwise to run the GT this year. Instead, we took a week off from training and have been enjoying our time in wonderful Crested Butte.


i made chocolate mousse for our neighbors’ dinner party

great food, great wines, great friends



We’re not just wining and dining though. Summer is that magnificent ephemeral time in the mountains that should not be passed over if you can help it. The other day we went for a 17-mile hike to explore parts of the high country that were new to us. I call it the triple pass lollipop unicorn hike because it gains three mountain passes and the route in map view looks like a lollipop with a unicorn horn. Plus, the hike is worthy of a title like triple pass lollipop unicorn hike, because it’s full of All The Good Things. The views and terrain were absolutely stunning – even the parts where the trail disappeared. The wildflowers are full-on incredible above 12,000 feet right now.

climbing up out of copper creek valley

pass #1: triangle pass (12,800 ft.) with conundrum basin in the background (leading to aspen)

pass #2: copper pass (12,400 ft.)

alpine wildflowers and the maroon bells in the distance (also leading to aspen)

elephant heads standing out among the blooms

the wider view of the high country

pass #3: east maroon pass (11,800 ft.)

copper lake basin



After hours upon hours of beauty, adventure, and exertion, we arrive at the trailhead and begin the drive home. The start of the hike feels like it was yesterday. In the car, I’ll notice a mixture of dirt, sweat, and sunblock is plastered on my skin. We are thirsty, hungry, tired, dirty. We smell awful, too. Once home, the trail runners get the hose and deck treatment. Our filthy, stinky clothes go straight into the laundry basket by the door to avoid tracking dirt around the house. Then we each drink a biiiiiiiig glass of water (or two) to rehydrate ourselves and our joints. If we are gross beyond what we can tolerate, a shower is in order, otherwise I head straight to the refrigerator to make something to eat. Pretty much anything will taste fantastic after a big hike, but this sandwich is guaranteed to be taste ultra-fantastic.

prosciutto, arugula, ciabatta rolls, brie, fig jam, green apple



**Jump for more butter**

always learning

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Recipe: chinese chive turnovers (he zi)

Ahhhhh, finally finally finally, the much awaited cool down arrived. It was no longer sheer misery to run or hike or even stand outside. To celebrate, I put my trail runners on and headed out early Monday morning. I never take a cool weather day for granted! The wildflowers are still going strong, but they are different flowers from a month ago. Asters, fireweed, harebells, and columbine are all out in force now. I spotted another moose too, this time a female (cow), but she was but a speck in the distance by the time I got my iphone out. On my non-run days, I hike the trails to stretch my legs and check on my huckleberries. I say “my” huckleberries because I feel like we’re all good friends by now. And I’m still naming the porcini I find because there are so very few… well, thus far there have been all of two.


me in a field of noxious weeds (ox-eye daisies?)

the single ripe huckleberry, which i ate

a lone, handsome porcini named claudio



A large storm system has been sitting over us for a couple of days, delivering a lot of rain and much cooler temperatures. That’s both good (we need it) and bad (we don’t need it all at once, please!). So far there hasn’t been any major flooding – whew! I rather love the dreary, rainy days. It takes the edge off of summer for me and makes me feel like cooking again. Last week, I had asked my parents about a Chinese snack my Grandma used to make and they immediately rattled off how to make them. I translated their instructions into recipe form. It’s one thing to know how to make something, it’s something else entirely to communicate how to make it to someone who may or may not know how to cook. They called me the next day and excitedly informed me that when I came to see them later, they would demo how to make the snacks. It was really cute.

team effort

“daddy will show you how to do this right”



These are known as Chinese chive turnovers or jiu cai he zi. Chinese chives (or Chinese leeks) have a wonderfully garlicky flavor to them. They are some of my favorite Chinese greens. You can find them in Asian grocery stores that have well-stocked produce sections. Since my parents didn’t have any on hand, they used Napa cabbage and pork for the filling, but I got the gist of it. The pastry is made from a hot water dough similar to the kind you use for Chinese dumplings. Traditionally, the turnovers are made with Chinese chives, egg, and sometimes pork and sometimes glass noodles (mung bean thread noodles). They don’t have to be turnovers either. My parents demoed the pancake style, which is equally delicious. I’ll show you how to make both.

chinese chives, full of garlicky goodness

chinese chives, salt, ground pork, flour, sesame oil, soy sauce, vegetable oil (for frying)



**Jump for more butter**