huckleberry lemonade bacon corn hash with chanterelles huckleberry scones fried polenta and porcini on roasted carrot purée


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archive for sandwiches

let the summer of puppy commence

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Recipe: tuna melt

Oh man. Summer is REAL, people. The furnace blast arrived with a vengeance last week and like the true heat wimps that we are – we retreated to higher elevations and sunrise/sunset activities. Neva is now almost 20 pounds and has been with us for a month. Recalling the first 24 hours with her (and wondering what we had gotten ourselves into), she has come a long way in her training and development – and so have we! Part of her progress is simply growing up and gaining more coordination, strength, and speed. She no longer has to sniff and put every new plant, rock, stick, pine cone, or speck of dirt in her mouth. Neva is learning silly tricks now on top of the important commands. She let’s us know when she needs to go out to potty, she’s really good in her crate, and she is sleeping through the night (HALLELUJAH!). That last one was a serious game changer for the humans.


tossing her toy in the air and (sort of) catching it

moar swimming in icy cold lakes!!

neva gets at least one hike a day

she’s so mellow she sometimes falls asleep like this

running down the stairs with a toy



Neva is becoming a free range puppy, by which I mean, she roams parts of the house while we’re around and we don’t have to chase after her for fear of accidents or drive-by chewings on inappropriate things (like furniture, power cords, the compost bucket). She overcame her fear of the stairs in a matter of days – up was easy, down took a little coaxing. I can trim and file her nails while she sleeps (amazing!). We have her hiking up to 3 miles now and just this morning she did the rockiest, steepest hike yet – all on leash and behaving like a good dog should. Best of all, she likes to lie nearby while we are working and just nap or happily chew her toys. We still have plenty of work to do, but the stage of feeling hopeless was quite short-lived for us. I think Neva is becoming a Good Dog.

thimbleberry blossoms

the rare neva bloom amidst a potpourri of wildflowers

that’s my pack

shooting stars in a sea of summer green



Neva’s hiking progress has been of particular interest to me because I’d like to bring her with us when Erin, Banjo, and I hike and forage huckleberries. All signs point to Neva becoming a strong hiker and I think with some good long hikes together, she’ll learn to be a good companion to Banjo instead of a total pill (she seems to jump on his head less these days – that’s improvement).

As you can imagine, with all of the effort we’re putting into puppy training, I haven’t cooked anything elaborate in a while. In fact, I lost 8 pounds in the first 2 weeks of getting Neva because I was too tired to eat, let alone cook. We’ve been keeping things pretty simple out of necessity – mostly salads and sandwiches with the occasional ghetto pizza bread. One of those sandwiches is a tuna melt, which Jeremy loves and I like to pair with a bowl of tomato soup. I think of the tuna melt as an upgraded version of a tuna fish sandwich. If you really want to get 1970s throwback with it, stuff some jalapeño potato chips into the sandwich before eating (mmmm – so good!).


tuna fish, bread, lemon, mayonnaise, butter, pickles, salt, cheese, celery (not pictured: black pepper)

chop the pickles and celery

ready to roll



**Jump for more butter**

you bet your buns

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Recipe: brioche

Brioche is my absolute favorite bread. It’s not just because of all that buttery, fluffy deliciousness. The first time I tried a brioche was on my very first “date” with Jeremy. I had asked him if he was free and he said he was. He lied. He skipped math recitation. Jeremy never skips class. Never. We went to the bakery in Old Town Pasadena on a Friday afternoon and shared a brioche. It tasted so heavenly. Or maybe my memories are biased because I was really fond of this shy, polite fellow with a sweet smile. Fast forward to now – in Colorado. It’s hard to find good brioche (one could say the same for finding a good fellow). Sure, they sell it here and there, but it tastes like sawdust and crumbles apart before it reaches your mouth. The only way I could find that butter-rich, delicate brioche was to order it in some restaurants or cafés. It’s about time I remedied the problem. All I really want is the perfect hamburger bun.

The ingredient list is short, but the process is on the long side. It’s worth it, people. We swears it on The Precious. So let’s get to work.


eggs, flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter, milk – that’s it!

mix the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast together

add eggs and milk

mix with the paddle until clumpy, then switch to the dough hook



Honestly, I don’t know how people made brioche before stand mixers existed. Maybe they just had enormous arms from all of the kneading. A stand mixer will make this process so much less painful for you, but you can’t walk away from the mixer while it’s running. Mine had a tendency to walk itself around and I’m sure it would have walked itself off the counter only to bash its brains in if I hadn’t held it in place. There is a lot of mixing and scraping and the motor will get hot. When the dough comes together, start adding the softened butter a little at a time. At first it looks like the butter just spins around and around the dough, but eventually it will smear out and become incorporated into the dough. Have patience and wait to add the next pat of butter only after the previous one has disappeared.

scrape down the sides of the bowl and the dough hook

add butter one pat at a time

half of the butter has been mixed in

knead the dough a few times by hand



**Jump for more butter**

what sustains us

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Recipe: ham, swiss, and egg brioche sandwich

Returning home to Nederland over the weekend, we discovered that the house and its surrounds had gone ahead and marched straight into spring. Little green grasses and baby dandelion leaves are beginning to sprout up through our walkway gravel. The aspens have fuzzed out with catkins. And a bathmat-sized patch of snow lingers behind our garage in eternal shade, hoping to withstand 60°F air temperatures until it can replenish with another storm. We also received our REI dividend in the mail. You know, they used to issue those at the end of the calendar year, which meant we spent it all on winter gear. Since they’ve shifted the dividends to late March, we now spend the dividend on summer gear – like new Hokas (trail runners) and a steri pen. Jeremy loves his Hokas so much, he recommended I make the switch this season. I guess it’s time to face reality that I’ll be doing less skiing and more trail running as the days get longer.


nice color over gothic mountain (bottom center) and crested butte (right)

still getting out for a ski tour in the indian peaks

warm orange clouds over the divide from our deck (nederland)

venus to the left and a contrail lit pink by the setting sun



We are experiencing a shift in our exercise schedules with the change in seasons. We like to ski first thing in the morning in winter – because you typically catch first tracks or newly groomed nordic trails. Now that it’s warmer, we go later in the day to give the snow time to soften up from its overnight freeze. Even in the high country, the snow gets wet in the afternoons. Then it freezes overnight into a hard crust or icy slick. So first thing in the morning isn’t such a great thing anymore. Come summer, we’ll be starting our hikes and trail runs in the dark to avoid as much sun and heat as possible. But all of these things require fuel.

They say not to skip breakfast and I find this to be especially true when you plan to burn calories for several hours. I just have a lot of trouble eating something sweet for my first meal. The sugar leaves my mouth sour and dry, and I don’t feel it gives me the proper boost for my activity level. A few weeks ago, we stopped by Salto Coffee Works on our way to ski The Jane (Winter Park/Mary Jane), because Jeremy needed some proper caffeine for the drive. I ordered a breakfast sandwich to put something in my empty stomach. It was so good that I insisted Jeremy eat half of it. Since then, I’ve made it a couple of times for a good energy booster before a ski tour or a morning of bump runs.


swiss cheese, black forest ham, brioche buns, eggs, butter, honey dijon mustard

butter the buttery brioche buns

grill them on a skillet until golden



**Jump for more butter**