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archive for poultry

running hot and cold

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Recipe: chicken tortilla soup

I’m more patient than I was in my youth, but it’s still not my strong suit. By November, we should be getting nice deliveries of snow piling up in the mountains. As it is, we have very little due to unseasonably warm weather. Well, that’s not such a terrible thing because the lack of snow meant I could spend the weekend resting my shoulder and spending time with my favorite guy instead of reinjuring myself on early season obstacles in the snow. Saturday was our 22-year smoochiversary, so we worked all day and then got out for a quick late day hike as the sun sat low in the sky.

22 wonderful years together

ice shards piled up against the shore

neat patterns

colorful sunset

We have arrived at that stage where I inform Jeremy at least once each day, but more like three or four times a day, “I want a puppy.” It’s hard for me to tell if what I’m saying is, “I want a new puppy” or “I miss my baby puppy.” I suppose in my heart, I mean both. Jeremy isn’t ready and we will wait until he is. It just feels a little empty without some fur ball wandering around the house distributing hair and putting nose prints on the glass doors. Patience for winter. Patience for a puppy. Like I said, not my strong suit.

Actually, we are due for some snow in the morning (Monday), which is a start. A late start. Some resorts have postponed their opening days because it’s been too warm to even make snow at night. In anticipation of cooler nights, I’ve been making soup – tortilla soup. Technically, any soup with tortilla strips in it is a tortilla soup. For years I made one with all manner of leftover vegetables, but decided it was high time I looked up a proper recipe. There are so many variations, but this one I settled on is a mega winner – especially if you make your own chicken broth/stock. Of course, if you’re short on time, there is nothing wrong with using store-bought broth and chicken, which makes the recipe super easy and quick.

for the chicken and broth: whole legs, olive oil, salt, and pepper

season the chicken

brown the chicken

cover with water and simmer (or pressure cook, as I did here)

**Jump for more butter**

the wonders never cease

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Recipe: braised chicken with forty cloves of garlic

As a result of hoisting that 500mm telephoto lens around while chasing after or running from bull elk a few weeks ago and then processing client photos for hours on end at the computer, my shoulder and neck have been sources of unrelenting pain. The night of the Orionids meteor shower peak, I half wished to be clouded out so I could try to get a proper night’s rest since the previous morning, I woke up at 3 am to make and pack Jeremy’s breakfast and lunch for his flight to the East Coast. But the skies were clear and dark, and the stars were so sparkly and beautiful. I managed a 2-hour nap and then wandered around the house at 1 am with the red lantern of my headlamp illuminating where my socks were, where my hat was, grabbing the tripod and camera and remote cord to set up on the deck. I checked weather radar and muttered a few choice words under my breath at the neighbor who had left their flood light on.

I tiptoed back inside to grab a sleeping bag and my pillow. I don’t know what it is about the dark that makes me feel like I have to sneak around quietly in my own empty house. Once I settled onto the deck, I listened to my shutter release tick off every 30 seconds. In between actuations, I heard a critter down on the ground, chewing on something. Then I noticed that my neighbor had finally shut their light off. Thank you. It was windless, dark, and silent (except for that animal having a midnight snack). Click-click. I saw a meteor streak across the sky like a dancer. Then a smaller one in my peripheral vision. Was that out of my camera’s field of view? Click-click. In all, I witnessed about 30 shooting stars before the clouds materialized from the east. I could feel the air turn damp against my cheeks as the moisture stretched across more and more of the sky. Pulling my hat down around my head, I looked at the time. 3:34 am.

a fireball on the horizon

Night photography in Nederland isn’t so great because Boulder creates a lot of light pollution to the east, and downtown Ned (if you can call it downtown) has a lot of annoying lights too. But I just love that I can step out onto my deck and lie down, looking up at the sky. That’s so much easier than when we lived in Southern California and had to drive 4 hours to the nearest proper dark skies location in the Mojave Desert. If it’s really really cold, I can duck back into the house for a cup of hot cider or a down jacket. Meteor showers make me feel like a kid – and every kid should experience at least one, if not many, meteor showers. I used to leave my curtains open at night when I was in elementary school, so I could watch the moon cross the sky. My dad would always come into the room before he went to bed to close the curtains. Sometimes I would wait til he left and open them back up. Sometimes I would pipe up and say, “Leave the curtains open, Daddy!” First he would scold me for not being asleep (I had trouble sleeping, I really liked being awake in general), then he would say, “If you keep staring at the moon, you will turn into a lunartic.” Sharing geek jokes with my dad late at night is a treasured childhood memory.

clouds reflecting light from town, orion in the upper left, the pleiades in upper center

My parents are back in Boulder tonight (Wednesday). They landed in Denver on the late side, so I prepared dinner for them and left it in their refrigerator earlier in the day. I made kale salad, tomato soup, and braised chicken with forty cloves of garlic. The chicken was cooked in my new Dutch oven. I’ve always been an All-Clad stainless steel girl, but this Le Creuset round wide (6.75 quarts) pan was calling my name. I can’t believe I resisted getting one for this long and now… I can’t believe I resisted getting one for this long!

they even had my favorite color

braises so beautifully

I’ve never made chicken with forty cloves of garlic before, although I had heard about it for years and always figured I’d make it in a slow cooker. It’s probably awesome in a slow cooker, but I am really loving the braises right now. Rather than dealing with a whole bird, I went for whole legs because we’re 100% fans of dark meat in this house.

olive oil, sauvignon blanc, pepper, chicken broth, parsley, thyme, rosemary, lemon, chicken, garlic, paprika, salt

to peel or not to peel?

**Jump for more butter**

nothing funky about this chicken

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Recipe: chicken teriyaki bowl

YES! TWO FEET of snow graced our mountains by storm’s end (we averaged 16 inches around our house). Jeremy and I were patient, letting the snow settle for 24 hours before diving into it. Our assessment over two days of backcountry skiing is that the bottom of the snowpack was a wet spring base, but the upper 12 inches of fresh snow was good and wintry. Even Kaweah enjoys feeling the snow underfoot when she does her rounds in the yard. We’re all snow lovers in this house.

jeremy breaking trail into 2 feet of fresh

winding up into the high country

beautiful, untouched snow

plus a little sunshine and bluebird

jeremy ripping skins as a squall approaches

Our temperatures are on the upswing now. Piles of snow that adorned our yard Wednesday morning were gone by the close of business. That’s fast melt. The good news is that the high country keeps getting more snow as guerilla snow storms pop up on the Continental Divide. I know people want the roads to campgrounds, access to trailheads, and trails cleared of snow. Me? I go with the flow. As long as there is good snow, I can ski it and it keeps most of the crowds away. And when it all melts out? We hit the trails running, fast packing, backpacking, mountain biking, or hiking. I love the mountains year-round, every single day.

a glorious sunset

Some of my friends look at me with suspicion. Why is it that I prefer schlepping gear up a steep trail to sleep on the ground (with the bears) and not shower for days on end as opposed to staying in some posh hotel and partaking of fine dining and other luxuries? I find if I don’t go outside and get my heart pumping on a regular basis, I get into a funk. This was especially clear to me during my chemo on days when I didn’t have the strength to sit up in bed. If I don’t stay in nice places and eat fine food, I don’t really miss it. And besides, we are not deprived of fine food. We make damn fine food in the House of Butter. Let’s work some chicken magic.

chicken teriyaki: dark soy sauce, soy sauce, mirin, water, sake, honey, brown sugar, chicken thighs

I have a prejudice against many fast foods. It’s not that I haven’t had my share. Sometimes when you’re road tripping through the sticks on a photo shoot, the only options are the lonely burger outposts or the ubiquitous KenTacoHuts. But more and more I’ve come to realize that a homemade version of a burrito or fried chicken or burger can not only be far healthier (you know what ingredients you put in your food), but way way tastier. Walk past any mall food court and you’ll probably encounter a place that serves some sort of teriyaki rice bowl. I have no idea what those taste like, but all of the parts add up in my brain to something good. How hard could it be to make it yourself?

pouring mirin into a ziploc with soy sauce and dark brown sugar

adding water

drop some chicken thighs in

marinate for up to 24 hours

**Jump for more butter**