kimchi meatloaf shredded brussels sprouts and kale salad chocolate pudding split pea soup


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life on the front range

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Recipe: kimchi meatloaf

It was one of those weekends here on the Front Range, much like other winter weekends on the Front Range. For starters, we were treated to stunning sunrises.


fiery sunrise looking east toward boulder

sunlit snowy peaks



And then in true Front Range fashion, we bounced from a high of 11°F this past week to near 60°F tomorrow. You know what that means. Well, maybe you don’t know… but we do. It means wind. That kind of temperature shift around here brings the winds. I checked the forecast Friday night before going to bed and NOAA was predicting gusts up to 33 mph. That’s nothing for the Front Range – a breezy day. By morning, NOAA had “updated” the winds to 50 mph, which is considerably less pleasant for ski touring in the mountains. This happens so often that I have developed trust issues with NOAA. But as I said to Jeremy Saturday morning, “If I let the wind dictate when I go outside to ski, I’d never get to ski.”

putting climbing skins away and getting blasted by a ground blizzard

twila with the mountain we opted not to summit in the distance



The character of our winter winds is antagonistic, but also unpredictable. I know NOAA isn’t trying to intentionally lie to me, it just feels that way because they haven’t been great at predicting the wind around here. I don’t know that anyone is good at it. Living in the mountains, you learn to roll with what comes because moving away from the mountains isn’t an option. Mountain living is just that good. We worked Sunday until there was a lull in the winds in the late afternoon – our cue to grab the skis and drive to a trailhead. The trail starts at the local ski resort where throngs of families from the flats were up for their weekend fix. We left the commotion behind and quickly made our way up the trail. Once over the ridge, the hum of the ski lifts and the screams of happy (or terrified?) children gave way to the soft scratching of skis on snow. Tall conifers closed in around us as we moved deeper into the national forest.

it’s like a sunday stroll, but better



By the time we skied out to the top of the bunny hill, the resort had closed and three lonely cars remained in the parking lot below. There’s something fun about skiing down the bunny hill whether on my teles, my skate skis, or my touring skis. Once at the base, we high-fived, carried our skis to the car, and asked each other, “What do you want for dinner?” It’s always a good idea to have plans for feeding after skiing, otherwise we wind up eating out. This time, I had meatloaf already made – kimchi meatloaf.

ground beef, fish sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, cornstarch, black pepper, kimchi, panko crumbs, milk, onion, egg, garlic, ginger

mince the garlic and chop the kimchi

grate half the onion

grate the ginger



**Jump for more butter**

do it for love

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Recipe: shredded brussels sprouts and kale salad

The Colorado snowpack has been running below average (88%) with a string of sunny days for much of the first three weeks of January. But as my favorite meteorologist-skier, Joel Gratz, has said, if we’re going to get dissed on snowfall, January is a good time for it. That’s because the sun angle in January is quite low (and the days are still pretty short) which means less melt. As we move into February and March, that sun climbs higher in the sky each day and it can take a toll on the snow if Mother Nature doesn’t grace us with some of the fluffy stuff. On our last day in Crested Butte it began to snow in the late afternoon. It was just a little, but enough to feel the flakes falling on my cheeks as we skate skied back to the car. We could see the snow clouds moving in from all directions.


non-skiing activities included hugging on my favorite neighborhood wookie dog, wyatt



The next morning, we woke early to get on the road back home. Overnight, it had snowed far more than anyone (Joel, NOAA, all of the weather people) had been expecting. It was less in Crested Butte and more as we neared the I-70 corridor. Typical of Colorado weather, the storm gave way to sunshine and blue skies. Icy and snowy roads became snow-packed roads became slushy roads became wet roads became dry roads. We drive past a number of ski resorts on our route from Crested Butte to Nederland and happen to have passes for some of them. Copper Mountain reported 7 inches of powder that morning, so we “justified” stopping for a few runs by saying the freeway could melt out a little more while we sampled the snow.

jeremy thought it was pretty darn good

the view south, looking out of bounds



It’s feeling less like Spring and more like Winter – as it should! The snow came down all day Wednesday here in the Front Range, which puts me back in the mood for hot soups. But winter also makes me crave salads and fruits. I know some folks try to get their vegetables in the form of a smoothie. It seems to be rampant along with January-sudden-onset-exercise. Whatever works, I suppose. Me? I personally dislike smoothies – and I say “dislike” because I don’t want to use the word “hate” even though that is what I mean. I actually enjoy eating vegetables (and fruit) in solid form. The textures and flavors are precisely what I like about eating them. It’s so much easier to get your vegetables and your exercise when it’s something you love, don’t you think?

In the past few months, I’ve become hooked on a shredded Brussels sprouts and kale salad. Last spring, a Whole Foods Market opened in Frisco which is on the road between Nederland and Crested Butte. It used to be that our only quick food options right off the freeway were fast food, so this was a welcome addition to our choices. Jeremy usually gets soup or something hot, but I load up on salad. I make a point of sampling some of the salad bar’s prepared salads. Most of them don’t get sampled a second time, but I kept returning to this one salad because it was so crunchy and refreshing. The salad bar (or anything) at Whole Foods ain’t cheap, so it was only a matter of time before I sought out a recipe to make at home.


kale, brussels sprouts, pecorino, black pepper, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, salt, garlic, shallot, lemon, olive oil, dijon mustard

strip the kale from the ribs

roll the leaves up

chiffonade the kale



**Jump for more butter**

you get chocolate pudding

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Recipe: chocolate pudding

It’s nice to be back in Crested Butte, even if only for a long weekend. The air here stays nice and chilly. Even on a bluebird day, we’re still below freezing and overnight temperatures dip to double digits below zero (°F). That helps to preserve the lovely snow for days on end. It’s winter done right. We tele the mountain in the morning and skate the trails in the afternoon. When it’s a powder day (more, please!) the mountain is where it’s at. On the non-powder days, we make use of the fantastic 55-km network of nordic trails that connect our neighborhood, town, Mount Crested Butte, and the beautiful Slate River Valley. Nothing takes the edge off a hard workout like solitude and beautiful scenery.


one of the many things to love about crested butte

skiing up the snowy valley

mount crested butte and the slate river



Jeremy and I basically packed our laptops and our skis for Crested Butte: to work and to play for a few days. Oh, I also brought chocolate pudding. It all started when I purchased a container of Trader Joe’s Belgian chocolate pudding for Jeremy last month during the holiday cookie baking frenzy. The cookies were off-limits until the distribution had been completed, so the pudding was intended to satisfy any sweet cravings he might have gotten during his finals-grading marathon. It wasn’t until I was flipping through my latest issue of Fine Cooking that I found a simple recipe to make my own dark chocolate pudding.

you’ll need: cream, milk, sugar, eggs, cocoa powder, salt, cornstarch, vanilla



Having made chocolate pudding before, the one step that turns a simple recipe into a not-so-simple recipe is chopping chocolate. I don’t like chopping chocolate. It makes a mess because our air is so dry and the electrostatic charge sends tiny shards of chocolate clinging to all possible surfaces (think iron filings in the Wooly Willy toy). But this recipe doesn’t require the chopping of chocolate – woohoo! It’s based on cocoa powder, so make sure you get a good quality cocoa powder.

sift the cocoa, cornstarch, and salt together to avoid lumps

whisk the cream in completely

stir in the yolks (it will be thick, be patient)



**Jump for more butter**