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**

fido snacks

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

Recipe: chicken sweet potato dog treats

Before we brought Neva home, I made a batch of pumpkin peanut butter dog treats and cut them into little squares for her to eat and train on. I guess I was still in Kaweah-mode because the first time I handed a treat to Neva, she mouthed it for ten minutes then eventually spat it out because she couldn’t bite into it. In fact, she was so little and silly, she’d munch on a puppy kibble for a good ten seconds which translated into long dinner times. I was sad because Kaweah loved those treats so much and Neva didn’t seem to care for them at all. Little did I know that she was just too baby to eat them. Eventually, after her big girl teeth came in, she went after them with gusto. It’s been nice to feed her homemade treats because it’s more economical and doesn’t contain additives or artificial junk.

waiting patiently for her release word

I thought Neva could use some variety in her snacks and began to research diffent flavors and recipes. Because she is a labrador retriever, I don’t have to worry about her being picky. She’ll eat anything. I do want to make the recipes simple and keep the ingredients wholesome – organic when possible. The first variation I tried was chicken and sweet potato. These came out a little denser than I wanted, so my second batch had shredded cheddar cheese added to the dough. The cheese has a nice effect of creating rough layers sort of the way butter does in pastry dough. So even though the cheese isn’t in any of the photos, I do recommend adding it to the dough for a better texture that is less likely to break your dog’s teeth. And of course, she loves the flavor. Here is a video I posted on Instagram of her latest trick using one of these treats.

all you need: baked sweet potato, an egg, whole wheat flour, cooked chicken (not pictured: shredded cheddar cheese)

peel the sweet potatoes

mash them up

**Jump for more butter**


Sunday, November 15th, 2015

Recipe: lobster miso ramen

As last week wound down, we took advantage of our proximity to decent trails and got Neva out on the snow again. Even if the snow isn’t ideal, it’s good for her to get regular training and exercise on and in the snow. Eventually, we’d like to get her on some of the dog-friendly nordic trails in Crested Butte this season. On Friday, she had doggy day care so I could run errands on the flats. While in line at a store, I witnessed an argument break out among three people in the next line over. Each party behaved badly. Each party escalated the conflict. Eventually there was a gesture, profanities, a shove, a retaliatory shove. These three adults – well into their 60s and all of them strangers to one another – were no better than squabbling children. As soon as the shoving began, I stepped forward and broke it up. “What the hell is wrong with people?” I asked Jeremy as we drove up the canyon.

a fine day for a ski with the pup

someone needed a bath after a good day at doggy daycare

After giving Neva a bath outside, we found ourselves asking that question again the moment we turned on our public radio station and heard the news headlines. My social networks had exploded with expressions of grief, horror, anger, fear, blame, hope, sympathy, self-righteousness, ignorance… I closed my laptop and exhaled my frustrations, “What is WRONG with people?!” In the morning, we opted to remove ourselves to the high country where we could scout out the snow conditions. Neva stayed home to rest as she was still exhausted from her daycare exertions. It didn’t matter that the snow was thin and covered in rocks in places. It didn’t matter that there was windslab on some slopes and that it was warm enough for the snow to stick to and clump on our skis. I just wanted to get outside and sort through my feelings, my thoughts. Jeremy is the only person I can count on to speak rationally, thoughtfully, and sensibly most of the time. We both benefited from the exercise, getting outside and having the backcountry to ourselves, and being able to share our thoughts quietly with one another.

putting away the climbing skins

a slabby, sticky, sloppy snowpack

We spent the rest of the weekend working and giving wide berth to frothing-at-the-mouth Facebook comment fights. It was a good time for comfort food. A couple of years ago, I had received a lobster ramen recipe from the PR machine of a local chef. Lobster ramen sounds divine, right? I mean, there is lobster – and then there is ramen. Boom! But after reading through the recipe, it wasn’t what I was craving. I think my Asianness demanded more Asian-y flavors, and this recipe was not only heavy on European interpretation, but it was also ridiculously involved. So I sat on the idea of lobster ramen until I found something more in tune with my tastes. Lobster miso ramen delivers on the flavors, textures, and it can be quite simple and quick to make.

toasted nori, white beech mushrooms, cooked ramen, green onions, hondashi granules, white miso paste, butter, lobster

You can probably find most of the ingredients at a typical grocery store that has a well-stocked Asian food aisle. For dashi (bonito fish soup stock), I use hondashi instant granules because they store so easily in my refrigerator. That’s something you probably need to get from an Asian grocer. As for the ramen, I had some leftover dried ramen to move from my pantry since my search for fresh ramen noodles at the Asian grocery store came up empty. I also read that curly ramen is better for miso broths because the miso tends to cling to those crooks in the noodles.

simmer the dashi and add the mushrooms and cooked lobster meat

**Jump for more butter**