ginger shrub dark and stormy cocktail roasted cauliflower and garlic mash chocolate peanut butter chip pizookie sichuan pork wontons


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stormy and awesome

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Recipe: ginger shrub dark and stormy cocktail

We have entered this lovely stormy pattern of snow, snow, and more snow. Hey – better late than never. Our wonderful neighbor always gets up early after a big snowfall and snow blowers his driveway, our driveway, the common driveway, and the other neighbors’ driveways. Sometimes I’ll take fresh baked cookies over, or maybe a coconut custard tart, or perhaps some cinnamon rolls. I love neighborly neighbors. Before the latest round of storms, we enjoyed a lull of 2 sunny days with no wind. NO WIND. So rare and yet so coveted! I scrambled to get my work done and then grabbed my skis for a solo skin into the mountains before the sun retired for the day.


beautiful, quiet, solitude



The clouds moved in a few days later and the snow has been falling ever since. In winter, we pay attention to the weather not just for the ski potential, but to avoid unnecessary travel when conditions in the canyon are hazardous. I managed to take care of all business in town on Wednesday morning, driving back up the canyon just as the snow and clouds blotted out the sun above, but Jeremy had meetings that went into late afternoon when the storm was fully underway. He planned to take the bus home (usually a safer option during storms), but had to wait a couple of hours at the RTD station while emergency crews cleared an accident that had closed the entire canyon. When he finally got home several hours after he had left his office, I handed him a cocktail – because I knew he needed it. It was a dark and stormy, which seemed appropriate.

But this dark and stormy was made with ginger shrub rather than ginger beer. My friend, Cindi, asked me for a ginger shrub recipe earlier this month because her husband loves the stuff, but didn’t want to keep paying major cash for bottle after bottle. I didn’t have a recipe that I had tried, but shrubs are pretty straightforward to make. I did a quick search, looked over a couple of recipes, and sent along the one that looked best with the caveat that I hadn’t tested it.


ginger, cider vinegar, sugar

slice the ginger

it’s just these three things: ginger, vinegar, sugar



**Jump for more butter**

not mashed potatoes

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Recipe: roasted cauliflower and garlic mash

No mashed potatoes for us this weekend! The mercury fell as did the snow – precious powdery snow. When it gets too hot and the snow turns to slush, some refer to it as mashed potatoes. And while mashies are fine to ski, it’s not the kind of snow that is long-lived as it transforms into ice overnight or eventually puddles of water during the day. At least for now, the snow gods have smiled down upon us and delivered. It was both a snow- AND friend-filled weekend. Our neighbor asked if I would mind spending a little play time with their pup, Dioji (dee-OH-gee), while they were away all day. She is a giant walking carpet of a dog (half Berner and half Great Pyrenees) who loves everyone and just wants to be loved in return – my favorite pup in Nederland.


the best kind of snow: big fluffy flakes as seen from corona chair

dioji hanging out in our living room

and doling out the kisses

visiting with my four-year old pal, felix, before his ski lesson

jeremy contemplates the view before diving into the snow

2°f and completely still

on my solo ski tour

my breath frosted my hair!



We are delighted to return to our lovely, fluffy, Rocky Mountain powder. Mashed potatoes snow can wait until spring, when it’s supposed to be in season. As for the edible kind of mashed potatoes, I’ve been trying to move away from those as well. I personally LOVE mashed potatoes made with plenty of butter and some cream. After a while though, I want to change things up. That, and my pants don’t fit as well. I’ve been alternating between the occasional mashed potatoes and this other mash of roasted cauliflower and roasted garlic this winter. The cauliflower mash is so deliciously creamy without all of the pants-shrinking effects and it goes well with meats, vegetables, or even on its own.

all you need: olive oil, salt, pepper, chicken broth, fresh thyme, garlic, cauliflower

prepped



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sweet things in the year of the goat

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Recipe: chocolate peanut butter chip pizookie

Happy Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Tsai! It’s the year of the goat, or sheep, or ram! I’m not really sure which one it’s supposed to be, but you get the gist. The house is clean (more or less), the symbol for luck is upside down on the front door, and I made several traditional foods on New Year’s Eve to ensure luck, health, happiness, and all the good stuff. Some of the recipes require quite a bit of time to prepare – there is no rushing through them. As I sliced and minced countless ingredients and plucked the ends off the soybean sprouts, it gave me time to contemplate the previous year, loved ones who are still with us and the loved ones who have gone. The new year is a joyful time, but it is also a time of remembrance and perhaps a little heartache.


round whole fruits are good luck (and hong bao have cash!)

the character for “luck” upside down at the front door (luck arrives)

lucky ten ingredient vegetables



You’d think a Chinese recipe would be appropriate for today, but practically speaking, if you’re trying to celebrate the lunar new year, you should have cooked everything yesterday (new year’s eve) because you’re not supposed to use sharp objects (knives) today. Another superstition, don’t you know. There’s no need for knives in this recipe AND it’s something sweet – which is good because you want to eat something sweet on Chinese New Year’s Day so sweet things come out of your mouth all year.

So I have to share this guilty pleasure with you, because it’s ridiculous stuff. Years ago, my good friends Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple posted about pizookies: a deep dish cookie topped with ice cream. They were crazy about pizookies and have several recipes from which to choose. Over the winter holidays, I had some extra cookie dough and asked Jeremy if he wanted a pizookie. “A what?!” he asked. I had already popped it into the oven and just told him he wanted one. I was right.


peanut butter chips, flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, cocoa powder, butter, salt, vanilla, baking soda

cream the butter and sugars

beat in the eggs and vanilla



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