neva's first thanksgiving old fashioned doughnuts nederland: crosscut pizzeria and taphouse chicken sweet potato dog treats

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not old fashioned

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Recipe: old fashioned doughnuts

We piled ourselves, the dog, and eight pairs of skis into the car over the weekend and made our way south and west to Crested Butte. I patted myself on the back too soon for catching Neva’s puke episode in a strategically placed plastic bag, because when we stopped for gas in Buena Vista, she threw up again – down the back of the driver’s seat and on her doggy bed. Then when we opened the door to get her out of the car, she projectile vomited all over the door and on Jeremy’s shoes and pants. But we did eventually get to Crested Butte and we were all very happy for it. We gave Neva lots of treats and snuggles and warm blankets for her to curl up in, and I googled how to clean vomit from car upholstery.

this was the best moment of the drive: spotting bighorn sheep

Here in Crested Butte, Jeremy and I just want to hole up with our pup so we can ski and work in peace for the week. As usual, we have no grand plans for a Thanksgiving-style feast. We like to keep things simple and low-stress in general, but especially over the holidays. The only thing that will make an appearance from a typical Thanksgiving menu will be mashed potatoes. We’re grilling steaks because 1) they taste better and 2) they are quick and easy. And I plan to roast lots of vegetables because honestly, that green bean casserole (I don’t care HOW fresh you make it) is disgusting. The argument “This is how we’ve always done it,” doesn’t sit well with me. That line has gotten humans into a lot of trouble through the years… including overeating at Thanksgiving.

we try our best to do the opposite of stuffing ourselves at thanksgiving

a steady climb into the beautiful high country

neva loves her exercise as much as we do (probably more!)

I try to approach life from a more pragmatic perspective. Traditions that I used to blindly follow now come under heavy scrutiny. Does it cause anyone harm? Is it a source of unnecessary stress? Is it a stupid waste of money or time? Is it just plain stupid? The only part of this holiday that I do really like is the reminder to give thanks and to remember (i.e. help) those who are less fortunate. If you don’t know what you are thankful for, perhaps take some quiet moments – step away from your phone, no really – and mull that one over. It’s important and it’s good for you.

a peaceful frozen alpine lake rests under a mesmerizing cloud pattern

What might not be so good for you are these old fashioned doughnuts. But they’re awfully tasty and no one said you had to eat all of them. Just have one… or two… or… Old fashioned doughnuts rank right up there with French crullers for me. I read several recipes and was surprised to find the doughnuts were so easy to make! Except for me, they weren’t easy at all. My first attempt was a bit of a disaster and I spent several days troubleshooting and researching, which led me to this 1940 research paper on deep-fat frying at altitude. Turns out if you live at or near sea level, you’re golden. Follow the recipe as is. If you live at elevation – let’s say above 5,000 feet – you might want to make a few adjustments which I list in parentheses in the recipe below. The photos in this post are from the first batch, but the final photos are of the second batch.

sour cream, sugar, shortening, cake flour, egg yolks, salt, baking powder, nutmeg

whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg together

**Jump for more butter**


Sunday, November 1st, 2015

Recipe: chanterelle puffs

It was our smoochiversary this weekend, November 1. To celebrate, Jeremy installed a new faucet in our kitchen to replace the one that had been leaking progressively worse over the past year. I know that doesn’t sound like much of a celebration, but we are both thrilled about it since the old faucet was clearly designed by a moron.

To be honest, we didn’t have any special plans to mark 23 years together. We went for a hike with Erin and Banjo for the purposes of scoping out the snow conditions (for ski touring later) and to get Neva used to winter on the trails. Then we did laundry, brought the deck furniture in for the season, switched summer jackets and sandals out for winter jackets and boots, and put away old puppy things that Neva has outgrown. While Jeremy sorted through the puppy crate and puppy beds, Neva walked over and curled up on a flower pillow she loved when we first brought her home. She used to take up twenty percent of the area, but now her legs, tail, and head spilled over the edges.

happy colorado dogs

moonset over mount audubon

high winds brought in a huge standing wave cloud sunday morning

here’s the coolest section of the wave cloud

playing tug with neva until she started to drowse off

It had been a couple of months since I had last seen Erin because our schedules have been completely out of sync. When her truck pulled up in front of our house the morning of our hike, Jeremy and I grabbed our gear and headed down the stairs. Neva hesitated at the top of the stairs because she knew a car ride was imminent, but she did not know who was walking up to our door. We coaxed her down, and when she spied Erin and Banjo through the glass of the front door, she lost her mind with joy. After the hike, but before Erin went home, I ran into the house to grab a bag of huckleberries I had foraged, cleaned, and frozen for Erin while she was away on her canoe trip in Alaska. While shuffling the contents of the chest freezer around, I came across my frozen chanterelles from the summer. I’m not such a huge fan of summer, but if there is anything that makes summer an adventure, it is the foraging.

double happiness

I know from Instagram and Facebook that friends of mine in the Pacific Northwest and Scandinavia are still foraging chanterelles, and that people have been able to buy fresh chanterelles at farmers markets. I think you can use fresh or frozen (I froze the rest of my chanterelles after they had been sautéed in butter) for this chanterelle puffs recipe. These are like gougéres, but with chopped mushrooms. If you don’t have chanterelles available, substitute another kind of edible mushroom – it will still be great.

gruyère cheese, flour, chanterelles, eggs, salt, butter, chicken broth

mince the mushrooms

pour the mushrooms into the broth

add the butter and salt

**Jump for more butter**

them apples

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Recipe: fried apple pies

It was bound to happen sooner or later, but honestly, I was hoping it would get here later rather than sooner. The winds have arrived. The other day we got a nice quick inch of snow and then we watched the winds carry those beautiful little flakes horizontally to the east. Snow and Blow. That’s what we call it here in Nederland. Even so, it makes for interesting cloud formations above which turn into pretty visuals for a few brief minutes at sunrise or sunset.


That window of comfortable weather and mild breezes may be coming to a close. I say this because Neva has really been enjoying her deck time while I’m working. I enjoy it too, since I’m not constantly telling her to get her nose out of the compost bucket in the kitchen. From our deck, Neva can watch three sets of dogs in three different yards/decks, and it’s just all so fascinating for her little puppy self. But when it’s really blowing or the snow is pelting her in the face, I’ll insist that she come inside. On the chilly days, she’ll curl up at my feet in her dog bed or invite herself (oops!) onto the couch. But given her druthers, she’d be outside romping through the snow. Her doggy day care person is on vacation for a couple of weeks, so Neva is now getting playtime with Dioji, our favorite neighbors’ pup. So far, so good. Dioji has the patience of a saint.

what a goofball

all four off the floor!

Autumn has been around for over a month now and we’re supposed to fall back an hour this coming weekend. I used to feel indifferent about the time change, but I must confess that I am really looking forward to it this year. Being woken up a few hours before sunrise each morning by a fully energized puppy is a little weird, because you didn’t get quite enough sleep, but you could conceivably get out of bed and get a jump start on the morning. Instead, it’s usually some drowsy disrupted half-sleep that we settle for which satisfies neither the sleep deprivation nor the hopes for greater productivity. I realized last week that I hadn’t touched any apples or pumpkins so far this season, although I have been happily stuffing my face with persimmons and pomegranates. And that got me thinking about pies. So I made pumpkin pie. And then I made these apple pies. Little apple pies. Little fried apple pies. Heaven help us.

apples, ice water, shortening, flour, cinnamon, sugar, salt

cut the shortening into the flour and salt

toss with ice water a tablespoon at a time

wrap up the dough and chill

**Jump for more butter**