california hand roll (temaki) hot smoked salmon and asparagus pasta kaweah huckleberry jam

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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**

chin up

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Recipe: ginger peanut asian slaw

Jeremy has been on travel for the last 8 days and so it has been me and Kaweah. It’s been tough – tougher than usual. Jeremy checks in each morning and evening to see how she’s doing, but this hasn’t been a great week for her. As I was loading the washer with her dirty towels and dog bed covers, the tears spilled down my face and I wondered if this would be the last time I washed her doggy things. [The answer is no, because the following morning at 5 am, she unwittingly dropped a few turds on a freshly laundered towel in her sleep... yay.] She made it to May, but I’m not sure she’ll make it past May.

The first of May is the anniversary of my sister’s death. 2014 marks a decade. My brain has been grappling with that measure of time. Ten years. All of the things that happened in the last ten years happened without Kris and that gives me a sick feeling in my gut. I started blogging in 2004 as a way to cope with my heartache, as an attempt to unravel the emotions all wound up inside my chest. She still enters my thoughts daily and on rare occasion, she’ll appear in a dream. For that brief waking moment, it’s like Kris never left.


radiant, like kris

Because of this anniversary and because I know each day that passes brings us closer to saying good-bye to Kaweah, my feelings have been tender of late. That, and my appetite has diminished somewhat… or maybe I’m just tired from all of the 5 am poop surprises. I figure it’s partly because cooking for one is a lot less exciting than cooking for two. That will surely change when Jeremy gets home this week, but one of the recipes I’ve been enjoying this week is a cabbage slaw with an Asian twist. My inspiration came from a particularly busy day a few weeks ago when I picked up a prepared salad at Trader Joe’s – the Asian slaw salad.

for the dressing: sesame oil, chili oil, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, creamy peanut butter, honey

It was so much better than I expected it to be. Being the huge fan of cabbage that I am, I set about making my own version at home. TJ’s skimps on some of the good stuff like cilantro, celery, and carrot, so I made sure to bump the quantities. And instead of the crispy fried wonton strips in their salad, I used a healthier crunchy substitute: jicama.

grate the ginger and garlic

add rice vinegar

pour some chili oil (more if you like)

whisk it all together

**Jump for more butter**