fried vietnamese spring rolls (cha gio) brie fig apple prosciutto sandwich huckleberry sorbet tamagoyaki (rolled omelette) and chirashi bowl


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very lucky

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Recipe: mexican grilled corn salad

Rounding hairpin turns, blinded by the rising sun, I squinted at the clock on the dash. I was late. But you can’t step on the gas and hurry because there are all those Honda Civic-sized potholes to dodge as well as wild animals to watch for. I figured if they’re there, great. If they’ve already moved on, so be it. It is what it is, my first morning NOT dedicated to a trail run or a hike, but to photograph moose. I was in luck.


it seems all they ever do is eat

and eat



Our local moose have a feeding pattern in summer that draws the photographers out each morning like flies. They feed in the low meadows and then move on up to higher ground. It varies. Sometimes they will hang out until well after noon and other times they’ll sneak away only to return later. It’s their home. About 100 moose live in the Brainard Lake area alone, plus more in the surrounding mountains. These are my neighbors.

time to move on

way too close for my comfort



I managed to catch the tail end of the show, about 15 minutes’ worth of shooting. No biggie. I just wanted to see and maybe photograph moose and was able to do both. Chatting with a few gentlemen who were also shooting the moose, I learned they traveled a couple of hours just for this. They do it once a week. When they learned I lived nearby and ran/hiked here all the time, one fellow smiled and said with the utmost sincerity, “You are very lucky.” I nodded to confirm this statement – yes, I am VERY lucky. We wished one another well and said good-bye.

On the drive back home, I thought about luck. It would be easy to look at all of the negatives in my life (and I’ve had my share, thank you) and let that set the tone for the rest of my life, but what’s the point in that? Wallowing in self-pity has never been my cup of tea. There are so many more positives from a simple sunrise to helping a stranger to cherishing every hug from my mom to packing a lunch for Jeremy. I’m just grateful to be here, really. Sometimes I think about how much time I have left – I don’t really know how much time I have… it could be another 40 years or it could be a few days. Regardless, time is short. Life is short. There isn’t enough time in another 40 years to do everything I want let alone waste it on bad relationships, jonesing, terrible food, buying “stuff”, being unkind, not being honest, trying to be someone I am not, worrying what others think of me. It’s taken me a few decades to get to the point where I can trim away most of the “bullshit”, but it’s liberating and I think it makes my life feel lucky. It certainly feels GOOD.

The other day I went hiking in the high country with my friend, Erin (another Erin, but both of my Erins are awesome ladies), and her pup, Banjo. How nice to have much-needed doggie time as well as friend time. I love it when you find someone who doesn’t need to talk the talk, because she totally rocks the walk. That’s Erin. We spent the entire day hiking, foraging, and talking under sun, clouds, and pouring rain. When we weren’t chatting it up on the trail, I just sang “Banjooooo” in rhythm with my stride because he’s such a good and sweet boy. It made me think of my little Kaweah and how utterly bad she was on the trail (but cute!).


erin holds a mushroom (a kind i don’t eat)

banjo is such a good pup

and the wildflowers were out in force

clouds move in over the lovely alpine lake



Erin just had a major birthday and I wanted to do something nice. I thought of baking a flourless chocolate cake and packing it up to the high country to surprise her. Or maybe making French macarons to bust out at the lake. But the reality was that my schedule was overly full, so I bought her a Chuao bar (triple nut temptation dark chocolate – Jeremy’s favorite), tied a ribbon on it, wrote a card, and called it good. Jeremy commented that the old me would have stayed up late baking, lost sleep, and been exhausted and not enjoyed my hike. It’s true. The current me has a little more sense (just slightly) than the old me.

The idea of keeping things simple is a good one. That’s why this corn salad is so appealing. It’s like the Mexico City-style roasted corn, but it’s easier to prepare and way less messy to eat. I found the recipe on Kevin’s site, Closet Cooking, which is a great blog full of cheesy, melty, juicy, amazing recipes. Since summer is in full swing, we must partake of the corn.


chipotle powder, salt, garlic, green onions, jalapeƱo, lime, mayonnaise, corn, cotija cheese, cilantro, vegetable oil



**Jump for more butter**

going green

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

Recipe: greek salad

It’s quiet here in Crested Butte, where summer has yet to take hold in the high country. Conventional thinking says Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, but the reality is that it is still mud season in our mountains. Most trails are in the process of drying out while local mountain bikers are chomping at the bit to ride something other than the handful of trails that are “open”. There is no shortage of parking on Elk Avenue, the main drag in town. I’m ambivalent about this time of the year. We want the local businesses to do well, but we also love having the trails to ourselves when the aspens are leafing out in their yellow-green new growth and the early season wildflowers start strutting their stuff.


sunshine, blue skies, spring aspens

glacier lilies in bloom hang like little lanterns

aglow in sunlight



We’re here to de-winterize our place and do the necessary maintenance on things like the yard and the garden. Window screens are going back up and the flannel sheets have been laundered and folded away for the next four months. But we’re not just here for those things. We’ve been trail running, mountain biking, and hiking. In fact, we were tipped off to a gorgeous locals’ trail that climbs into good huckleberry and potentially porcini territory!

jeremy runs through one of several water crossings

me after a trail run: this is what they mean by mud season

crossing the remnants of a spring avalanche

running trails with amazing views

and lots of flowers!



And much to our surprise, Kaweah made it to June. May was stable for our girl, and that’s about all we could ask for. We didn’t think she’d be coming with us to Crested Butte this time, but she made the trip and has absolutely loved lounging about on the soft lawn and smelling the odors on the mountain breezes while we clear out dead flowers from last year. If she lies in the yard for long enough, the birds will land around her, picking up grass cuttings for their nests or kicking the dirt around in search of bugs to eat. It’s been tranquil.

our champion napper



Following one of our trail runs, Jeremy and I made a beeline for The Secret Stash (I wrote about it a while ago) to grab a late lunch. He was all about the pizza, but I was craving a salad in addition to the pizza. In their old (tiny) location, The Stash used to have plated salads and my favorite was the Gringo Greek. Gringo, because it had lettuce. A proper Greek salad doesn’t have lettuce. I love the proper Greek salad too, because it’s full of crunchy, briny, tomatoey ingredients. Making your own at home is so simple, so fresh, and oh so very good.

cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, green pepper, lemon, feta, olive oil, olives, capers, oregano



**Jump for more butter**

heading upstream

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Recipe: grilled salmon cucumber dill salad

It’s important for us to keep one finger on the pulse of our local backcountry. We are always desiring to know the state of the snow, be it the avalanche conditions or the overall quality of the snow. Is the approach clear of snow, patchy snow, full snow, ice, slush, snirt, corn snow, powder. Part of the reason is to know what gear to bring and the other part is to gauge when we should transition from skiing to hiking.


we hoofed it up to lost lake

the continental divide in the distance

willows in bloom



It has been so warm that we figured the snowpack had another couple of weeks before turning into a junk show. We have been trying to get some turns before putting the skis away for the season. Of course, we’re not the only ones interested in the backcountry conditions. My friend, Erin Block, is a highly-regarded angler whose ears and eyes perk up whenever I post photos and issue an alpine lake report from our ski noodlings in the mountains. See, it’s not just ski whores who love on the mountains.

zipping out through the trees

jeremy skirts the shore of left hand reservoir



If anyone was hoping for an early melt, it looks like Nature has other plans. Stormy volatile weather is moving in and we’ve been experiencing lots of thundersnow, graupel, and hail at our house. They are forecasting a foot of snow for Mother’s Day!

nothing like hail on a trail run to keep your pace up



Despite our return to cold weather, my food cravings have barreled ahead into the heart of spring. I noticed king salmon is showing up at the seafood counters as it is the season. King salmon is amazing stuff, but it’s also outrageously expensive here in landlocked Colorado. I opted for the wild coho salmon that was previously frozen and on sale. It suited my purposes perfectly.

spring greens, cucumbers, dill, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon, greek yogurt, red onion, salmon

rub the salmon pieces on both sides in a light coat of olive oil

season both sides with salt and pepper



**Jump for more butter**