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archive for salad

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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all that snow

Sunday, January 24th, 2016

Recipe: japanese cucumber salad

I kept abreast of the blizzard that hammered the East Coast this weekend through updates from my parents and all of the pictures of friends shoveling their driveways. It’s always a little painful when cities, warm climates, and flat topography get a lot of snow – not just because it causes complete chaos, but because everyone complains about it and most people don’t know what to do with it. I mean… WE know what to do with three feet of snow. But alas, it was all sunshine and blue skies around here. We know what to do with THAT, too!


getting a good workout on skate skis

this one, she loves the snow

got her attention with a treat

neva practices the “gentle” command and takes a small treat from my mouth



With a short trip on my calendar this week, I’m going to go with a quick recipe that is a remake of an old one from 2007. Back in 2007 I hadn’t really gotten into my food blogging groove, so there are some recipes that could use the proper make-shoot-document treatment. Since we made sushi over the weekend, it was a good opportunity to shoot and re-share this bright and tangy Japanese cucumber salad.

simple as: rice vinegar, sugar, sesame seeds, cucumbers



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glad i did that

Monday, January 18th, 2016

Recipe: confetti kale salad

Now that was a good long weekend over here in Butterland! Jeremy and I hosted a dinner party for friends we’ve been meaning to introduce to one another for some time, which was great fun. Then we hunkered down to get some work done AND watch the second SpongeBob SquarePants movie (because SpongeBob is awesome) while the winds blew every last snowflake into Kansas. Thankfully, the mountains keep their snow better than our neighborhood does, which meant a surprise powder day at our local ski hill and a lovely ski tour with Neva and friends into the backcountry. To top it all off, Jeremy installed a new microwave to replace the old, broken, very, very sad old one (to be recycled).


dinner with friends



It wasn’t clear that we were going to ski at first. Old Me would have automatically ruled out skiing on a windy (miserable) weekend (crowded), but Present Me shouted, “7 inches overnight and it is still snowing!” The thing about mountain weather is that you don’t really know what it is doing elsewhere until you are there – at elsewhere. Based on the howling winds overnight, we assumed the snow that fell had already been windswept and wind-slabbed. I could tell Jeremy wanted to pull the covers over his head and sleep, so I offered that we go up to the mountain, check out the snow, and if it sucked, return home. One of the perks of being a local, right? But we didn’t go home. Not until we skied our fill of the lovely, deep powder. At the summit, it was a full on wind storm strong enough to carry tiny balls of ice through the air to pelt you in the face. However, in the lee of the mountain and in the glades, it was pure bliss hitting powder, run after run.

ski the pow until it’s gone

jeremy gets his turns in the snow-plastered glades



This morning, Jeremy, Erin, Banjo, Neva, and I set out for a ski tour. It was a task just putting our boots on as the winds carried our shoes across the parking lot until we chased them down. We consider 23°F to be warm, but 50 mph gusts can really suck the heat right out of you. Once we wrangled our gear and the pups and began to climb into the shelter of the trees, everything was fine. Breezy, but not offensive. It was wonderful. What I’ve learned from living in the mountains for over a decade is that it’s usually more fun outside than it would seem from behind your windows. Of course, there are times when the suckage is real and it’s truly in your best interest to turn back and be safe. In general though, I’m almost always glad I got out there.

my pack in the high country



It’s the same with food. How can you discover a new favorite salad if you don’t leave your comfort zone? Every time we drove from Nederland to Crested Butte last summer, we had to make several stops along the way to let Neva empty her little puppy bladder. One of our favorite stops was the Whole Foods in Frisco (just outside of Breckenridge) because we could get a non-greasy lunch and there was a grassy field for Neva to do her puppy business. Jeremy likes to get one of the same two things every time – the cioppino or the chicken caesar. Then one day the store was out of both. He was walking the pup in the rain and I was filling a to-go box with my own salad, so I doubled up on the salad and presented it to him in the car, “This is what you’re eating for lunch.” And he loved it. It’s currently my favorite kale salad (and I like a lot of kale salads), but I’ve taken to making it at home because the Whole Foods salad bar is crazy expensive.

kale, red cabbage, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried apple pieces, almond slivers, garlic, salt, dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, pepper



Even though kale has gained a reputation as a superfood of late, I’ve had an ongoing love affair with it for over forty years. My mom would sauté it and I would pretend to be a manatee while I stuffed it into my mouth. I stopped pretending to be a manatee when I went to college, but I still stuffed my face with kale. The one thing I won’t do is put it in smoothies because I hate smoothies. I actually like the texture and taste of my fruits and vegetables. That’s part of the reason I love this salad. It has lots of crunch from the cabbage, nuts, and seeds. The dried fruits lend a pleasant chewiness and sweetness to each bite, and the vinaigrette is tart, but smooth. All of this against the backdrop of slightly bitter, tender, earthy kale.

strip the leafy part of the kale from the rib

shred the kale

sliced red cabbage

toasted seeds



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