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just around the corner

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Recipe: machaca (mexican shredded beef)

It feels like spring. It was so hot while I was shooting Wednesday afternoon, that I opened the deck door to let some cool air in. COOL air, not cold air. The mercury read 45°F on our deck with nary a cloud in the sky, the wind abating for a day. It felt really nice. I called to Jeremy in the office and asked him to help me carry Kaweah out to the deck. Kaweah spends a good deal of time in her doggy bed because she gets so tuckered out from standing or walking these days.

Her legs are getting to the point where sometimes she doesn’t have the strength to crawl into her bed on her own and we’ll find her with the front half in the bed and the back half hanging out on the rug or the back legs in some tangled spaghetti-like mess. She always greets us with an expression, “Oh hey, how’s it going?” We rearrange her legs into a comfortable position several times a day (and night). She can’t really feel pain when her legs are splayed or twisted in odd directions, we just don’t want her to cut off circulation and do further damage to them.

Because it can be quite an ordeal for her to get out of bed and move elsewhere (like out of the sun or into the office), sometimes we pick the bed up with Kaweah in it. The first time we did that a few weeks ago, she was all, “Whoa… what the what?” But now she’s used to it and she rather likes it. Kaweah takes the opportunity to look around (it’s a new and exciting vantage for her) and almost has an air of “Bring me thither!” We set her down on the deck in the sun with a good view of the neighborhood. She was comfortable and distracted by all of the activity around her: dogs, birds, cars, neighbors. As long as she’s happy.

my mom’s orchid (in my “care”) is blooming

Of course, we all know that this warm spell is temporary. Colorado gets her best storms in March and I welcome our powder overlords! Yet spring and even summer have beckoned to me in flashes: spring backcountry skiing, foraging, travel, backpacking, and my summer rituals of jamming, canning, and roasting green chiles to freeze for winter. I always hoard green chiles in August because I fear running out mid-winter. The Hatch Chile Store in Hatch, New Mexico recently shipped me some of their frozen roasted green chiles to try. Normally product offers go straight to my spam folder, because I hate shills and I respect my readership. But I have blogged several green chile recipes in the past and the real deal can be hard to source. I thought it was a good opportunity to find a green chile shipper that I could recommend to others since so many have asked.

5 pounds of medium heat big jims

I requested medium heat whole green chiles. They offer mild, medium, hot, extra-hot, whole, diced, frozen, and fresh (seasonal). The chiles are farmed in Hatch, harvested, shipped fresh or roasted, peeled, diced or left whole, and shipped frozen. Having roasted and peeled my own chiles as well as purchased many pounds of roasted chiles in New Mexico and in southern Colorado, these are by far the most beautiful and best quality specimens I have ever enjoyed. Big Jims (the variety I received) are large, meaty, sweet, and perfect for chile rellenos. After our fix of chile rellenos, I saved two chiles for another recipe I’ve been meaning to try: machaca.

chiles, garlic, lime, tomatoes, salt, onion, bouillon, beef chuck, pepper, oil

season the beef with salt and pepper

sear the beef on all sides

**Jump for more butter**

where your heart is

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Recipe: corn pudding

I was ever so slightly worried that upon our return from Crested Butte, I would be just a little less in love with our home (butter headquarters). I mean, after we were done getting the new place set up and rearranging furniture and learning how to operate and maintain various parts of the house (radiant floor heating FOR THE WIN!!!), we went walking, hiking, mountain biking – it was spectacular.

one of several amazing views

magical sunsets

and more magical sunsets

As I sat on the deck with Jeremy discussing the important items we needed to address this week, I swung my feet back and forth while looking up at the sky and mountains. “Oh man,” I mooned. Jeremy got a worried look on his face and asked what was wrong. “I just… I really love it here – our home. And I love the new place! I love Colorado so much!” I declared. He smiled and exhaled a sigh of relief. You can’t help but wonder if your mind and heart will always drift to the other place – to Crested Butte. It’s a paradise of paradises. But that didn’t happen and I know why… because my heart is always wherever Jeremy and Kaweah are.

happy faces

A couple of weeks ago, I had a hankering for barbecue. And when I say barbecue, that’s not just the chicken, or the ribs, or the brisket… it’s all of the fixins that go along with it. With all of the corn coming into the markets, I had a craving for corn pudding.

made with fresh corn

slice the kernels off carefully (use a sharp knife)

This lovely recipe comes from my trusty copy of The Border Cookbook and it happens to be gluten-free without trying to be gluten-free. I love when that happens even though I eat the hell out of gluten.

roasted green chiles, green onions, eggs, cornmeal, cheddar, corn, goat cheese, butter, buttermilk, salt, sugar, cinnamon, and baking soda

place 2 cups of the fresh corn in a food processor

make a coarse corn purée

**Jump for more butter**


Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Recipe: stuffed sopaipillas

It’s a brilliant sun that has been shining down on Colorado this week, each day warmer than the one before. Whenever Jeremy is on travel, I use the alone time to get as much work done as possible so that we might ski or just spend time together when he gets back. If I were truly alone, I might work from sunrise to the wee hours of the night with nary a pause, but I am not alone. Kaweah requires more attention in her old age. Not that she demands it, just that we want to be sure she is happy and comfortable. One of us will check on her frequently throughout the day and sometimes lie on the floor next to her, rub her belly, or just nuzzle her face. Anything to hear the thump of that wagging tail.

she likes the sun on her coat and her feet in the snow

Kaweah’s walks take more time and cover less distance. I have to stop myself when I start to feel impatient. Lately, I have been setting aside extra time for Kaweah. It’s not a walk anymore, but Kaweah-time. Time for sniffing every tree trunk, every dead leaf, every invisible thing in the snow. Time to walk slowly through powdery drifts, sometimes requiring a quick rescue. Her back paws knuckle under as she grows tired, but her nose is in the air drinking in all the news the wind can deliver. Old age is slowing her down. So far it hasn’t stopped her.

checking out the lake

happy to be outside

The other day we went to a little lake where the snow lingered and the sun shone bright. Instead of menacing winds, there was a gentle breeze and birds chirped in the woods. I unleashed Kaweah (because she’s too slow to outrun me now!) and watched as she went about sniffing what was what, her meandering tracks having absolutely no agenda other than to be a happy black dog on a lovely bluebird day. I knelt down and called her to me. I had to call again, loudly because she’s deaf – or she was ignoring me… or both. It doesn’t matter. She strolled lazily toward my outstretched hands and rolled her head into them like she always does, her tail doing big circular wags. I gently wrapped my arms around her neck and shoulders and placed my cheek against her warm, black fur. My little girl. Circular wag, circular wag.

time to go home

A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting with my friend Trent, who runs Pica’s in Boulder. I’m always telling Trent what I think he should carry on the menu. “How about a GIANT salsa bar? A GIANT SALSA BAR!!” This time I didn’t mention the salsa bar, but I did sing the praises for sopaipillas. I’ve had bad ones (here in Colorado) and I’ve had amazing ones (in all of New Mexico), but the best are the ones that come straight from your own kitchen. He had never had one before. WHUT?! The next evening, Trent was running a pop-up in my neighborhood, so I made fresh sopaipillas and brought them to his family. Thumbs up all around. They ate them with honey, but another fabulous way to enjoy the sopaipilla is to stuff it with heavenly goodness.

beef, cumin, chile powder, lime, oil, salt, pepper

dice the beef

mix the seasonings

**Jump for more butter**