chanterelle ravioli with sage brown butter bourbon-glazed doughnut muffin doughnuts braised beluga lentils huckleberry vodka infusion & huckleberry moscow mule


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Monday, June 27th, 2016

Recipe: sashimi salad

It is nonstop head-spinning fun over here at Butter Headquarters. I got my phone fixed after it took a prolonged underwater tour of the lake, but I haven’t had much time to get back to the social media channels because real life is in high gear! It was nice to retrieve my photos though – the ones that were the whole reason the phone and I went swimming together.


see the carp?



Before we came home to Nederland, we took Neva out on the lake once more to practice climbing out of the water onto the stand up paddle board (SUP). It’s quite easy with her new life preserver because it has a nice low-profile handle on the top. Actually, it’s ridiculously easy as long as her tennis ball is on board. Neva is a lithe and lean 43 pounds now. Float her in the water with a life vest and I can practically lift her onto the board with two fingers. We had her diving off and climbing back on several times so she could get used to it. While Jeremy was inflating the board (we have inflatable SUPs) Neva’s friend, Bella, came bounding down the hill to play with her. Bella lives in Crested Butte and she is an adorable, chunky 2 year old black lab who happens to belong to a friend of mine. Neither Bella nor Neva care to be dominant or the boss of anyone, they just want to run and swim and play and be best pals. One day I’ll get a picture of the two together, but Bella and Neva are rather impatient for me to throw the ball.

up out of the water

and she gets her orange (must be orange!) tennis ball



We returned to the Front Range at the height of a heat wave the day before my parents arrived in Boulder for the summer. I got their condo ready with dinner, groceries, flowers, and my mom’s plants (the ones that suffer my care for 10 months of the year). Even though I just saw them in April, I took note of their health as I picked them up at the bus station. My parents are in remarkably good health for their ages, and yet I can’t help but observe that they are slowing down. It’s gradual. Very gradual. They are still machines when it comes to social engagements – they love a good party – so I threw a party over the weekend for my folks and a bunch of my friends.

dim sum with mom and dad



Party prep is a logistically involved endeavor for us in the high country because we have neither easy access to good groceries nor air conditioning to battle the heat of summer. I try to keep all oven use limited to nighttime. While waiting for meringues to bake, I set a large measuring cup of chocolate ice cream custard base out on the deck (well, on the grill shelf) to cool at 1 am. It was covered in plastic to avoid floaty or flying things from jumping in. Since our deck is on the second floor with no ground access, we’ve always set hot liquids out on the deck. In three short hours, Neva would be waking Jeremy up to go out to potty (what is it with this dog?), so I asked Jeremy to transfer the chocolate custard from the deck to the refrigerator when he took her out.

I mumbled into my pillow at 4 am asking if he remembered the chocolate custard. “Well, something happened.” I imagined he had dropped it. I imagined Neva licking it up. I asked, “WHAT HAPPENED?” Something about a hole and how much was there to start? I said four cups. Now there were two. “WHAT?” There were some footprints. “FOOTPRINTS?” I’m blinking into the darkness calculating how much cream, milk, and eggs I had on hand to start a new batch. I didn’t have enough eggs. “Not footprints, PAW prints,” he said. Bear? Squirrel? Someone who can climb a tree or a wood post. “Chocolatey paw prints. Too small to be a bear, maybe a squirrel or a raccoon.” In the breaking light of dawn, I looked at the chocolatey paw prints and Jeremy came out onto the deck with our book of animal paw prints. Raccoon. Apparently, our furry friend climbed onto our deck, found this cup of heaven sitting on the grill shelf, poked a hole in the middle of the plastic wrap and then shoved its schnoz into said hole and had the dessert of a lifetime. TWO CUPS! I envisioned a raccoon with a terrible tummy ache or worse somewhere in the forested foothills. Chocolate can be toxic for a lot of animals, not just dogs. It made me sad for the raccoon and anxious for my ice cream making schedule.


i guess the raccoon started the party early

i also made strawberry daifuku mochi

the most beautiful bouquet of flowers from kitt’s garden

and glowsticks – don’t be jealous



Great fun was had by all and we’ve been noshing leftover party food for the last few days. It’s nice to not cook when the sun turns your house into an easy bake oven. In summer, sushi and sashimi get more frequent rotation on our menu. But sometimes, even the thought of cooking rice can be too much to bear. It’s simple enough to swap out the rice for lettuce and have yourself a sashimi salad. There is absolutely no active heat transfer involved! Of course, passive heat transfer is always occurring – you can’t beat entropy, kids. The nice thing about salads is that the guidelines are quite loose. Choose the vegetables you like most. Omit the lettuce if you want. Pile on more carrot and cucumbers! It’s all up to you.

vegetables: mixed baby greens, shiso leaves, carrot, cucumber, red cabbage, daikon sprouts

for the dressings: neutral flavor vegetable oil, soy sauce, mirin, salt, sugar, lemon juice, sesame seeds



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sprang

Monday, March 14th, 2016

Recipe: chorizo sliders

Spring has sprung. It is sprang. It skis like spring. It feels like spring. For all intents and purposes, it is spring. Last week, we went into the backcountry on the Front Range for a little ole ski tour. The snow started out okay, but as the daytime temperatures rose above freezing, the snow began to stick to our climbing skins in giant 6 inch thick clumps. Then it turned to mashed potatoes by the time we skied out and we were like, “Let’s go to Crested Butte.”


cruising the meadow before the descent

a rosy sunrise on james peak



Well, it’s spring in Crested Butte, too! It’s snowing right now, but the sun keeps poking through sucker holes in the cloud deck and it is warm. Now is the time to embrace whatever nature throws at us, be it powder (please, throw A LOT OF POWDER) or corn snow or mashed potatoes. Jeremy and I are already discussing our plans for Neva adventures this spring and summer – by ski, by bike, or by foot. We are all about human- and doggy-powered activities.

crested butte has pretty sunrises, too

skinning uphill at crested butte mountain resort before the lifts open

neva loves the snow



It’s nice getting out on the Crested Butte food scene after a long hiatus (read: Neva). There are new and old restaurants that we’ve been interested in checking out for a while. Last month we dropped by a taqueria, Bonez, for happy hour. All of the food was excellent (I’ll write that up soon), but the thing that blew us away were the chorizo sliders. Each one was a package of spicy, tangy, sweet, creamy, crunchy, buttery. Delicious and totally doable at home! I’ve already posted recipes for two of the components: sweet potato rolls and fennel slaw. You could buy brioche buns instead of the sweet potato rolls, and I’m guessing fancier grocers or delis may carry fennel slaw. The rest is simply: chorizo patties, garlic aioli, and tomato jam. For the tomato jam, I used a shortcut based on the recipe the server gave me.

pico de gallo, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar

place it all in a saucepan

boil it down to a jam

easy tomato jam: tangy, sweet, and a little spicy



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pick a season

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

Recipe: fennel slaw

If only Colorado could pick a season and stick with it, I’d feel a little less discombobulated as to how to get my daily exercise. For most of the winter, it has toggled between true winter and pseudo spring. We’ll get a nice dump of snow and then Mother Nature cranks up the heat and everyone is wearing shorts for the next week or two. For some, this is merely an issue of donning a jacket versus donning sandals. And you might think that translates into skiing one day and hiking the next. But it doesn’t quite work that way. Yes, we ski the snow when it’s fresh. But if more snow doesn’t come along and our daytime high temperatures are flirting in the 60s, it doesn’t take long to render trails icy slicks, slushy messes, snirt (snow and dirt), or any miserable combination of the three. That’s hard to ski, but it’s also a pain to trail run. While I would like to have winter in winter, I’d be okay with “spring” in winter if it would just stay that way, you know? Okay, I’ll shut up about that… for now. We still know where to go to get our ski fixes.


backcountry ski with my little companion

skating the nordic center trails where the snow keeps well in shade



Jeremy and I spent the weekend working, staying away from the crowds on the slopes and the trails. When we weren’t working, we took Neva to the soccer field to chase tennis balls in the diminishing snow. We also started training Neva to return to the front door on her own after she does her business in the yard. She’s always on leash outside, because she will probably run off after a scent and because she doesn’t understand the dangers that cars can present (other than when she’s IN a car). Right now, Jeremy will take her out on leash and when she’s done doing her thing in the yard, he’ll unleash her and tell her to find me at the front door where I wait with a treat. She caught on quickly, so that’s progress.

i think she thinks these are for her



My appetite follows my cooking which follows the weather. This warmer weather of late has me craving more fruits, salads, and grilled things rather than my typical February fare of stews, soups, and wonderful foods that emerge from the oven. The nice thing about this fennel slaw we’ve been enjoying is that it feels summery while incorporating crunchy winter vegetables.

fennel, cabbage, red onion, lemon, carrot, red wine vinegar, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, fennel seeds, anise seeds



I’ve never been a fan of black licorice, but I do enjoy anise and fennel. These were tastes that I acquired as an adult as I sampled and learned about them over the years. The first step to making the slaw is toasting the anise and fennel seeds. I just popped mine onto a skillet over medium heat and stirred them around until they became fragrant and golden. Let the seeds cool before giving them a quick zip in a spice grinder. Add the spices to the rest of the dressing ingredients and mix it all together. I started with the original recipe’s one-third cup of mayonnaise, and the dressing was just too runny and watery for my purposes, so I doubled it to two-thirds of a cup. This also helps to cut the sharpness of the vinegar. I think you can go anywhere from a half cup to a whole cup of mayonnaise depending on your preferences.

toast the spices

place the toasted seeds in a spice grinder

mix the dressing



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