korean jajangmyeon (black bean noodles) caulilini with bagna cauda fig bread pudding elk chorizo chile rellenos


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archive for seafood

true winter

Monday, January 28th, 2019

Recipe: dynamo shrimp

We have had a snowy couple of weeks around here. You know what I think of when I see the snow in my yard, in the surrounding mountains, and pretty much all over town? Well yes, I think of skiing, but I also think of mushrooms and berries come summer. It’s all about water in the American West. And snowpack. I can’t stress the importance of a healthy snowpack. Snowpack is everything in the mountains.


sunny morning in crested butte after a storm

a few inches of super fluffy snow in nederland

neva loves window benches



The pups have gotten out to ski a number of times. In Crested Butte it is mostly uphill skiing on the mountain or skijoring on the Nordic trails. In Nederland we take them backcountry touring which is far more dependent on weather conditions. You have to catch recently fallen snow before the winds reshape it into a series of giant drifts and bare ground.

ski touring with yuki and neva

yuki’s way of telling me she’s cold (she warmed up when we skied down)



When I’m not skiing or working, I’m slowly chipping away at the long term task of tidying up the house. This activity wasn’t inspired by Marie Kondo – I have neither read her book nor watched her show. I simply like things to be organized. That included baking pies to finish off a few leftover fillings from the depths of the chest freezer: Palisade peach and sour cherry, and a handful of tired apples from the refrigerator.

pre-baked apple huckleberry pie (6-inch)

baked and stained with huckleberry juice



A reader recently emailed asking for recommendations and mentioned that they couldn’t wait to see what Chinese New Year recipe I would blog this year. Um, I hadn’t planned to share one and suddenly I wondered if I should try to shoot a recipe in time for the New Year (February 5th). But I only wondered for a second because the realist in me dope slapped myself and said, “You don’t have time to be shooting a recipe for free when you have a client shoot that pays ACTUAL MONEY.” So no, there is no Chinese New Year recipe. I’m not sure today’s recipe even counts as Chinese.

You can find Dynamo Shrimp on the appetizer menu at Lil’s in Crested Butte. It’s delicious and we’ve ordered it several times over the years. My friend replicated the recipe and shared it with me last year. When I began researching the recipe, I discovered that it is a variation of Dynamite Shrimp from PF Chang’s – a restaurant I’ve only set foot in once, by accident. It seems more Americanized Japanese than Americanized Chinese. It’s Asian-y.


shrimp, cornstarch, potato starch, panko crumbs, salt, pepper, eggs

the sauce: soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, sriracha, mayonnaise, lime, garlic, green onions, sesame seeds (these are white seeds, but i used black sesame in the photos)



**Jump for more butter**

mushroom madness

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Recipe: shroomaki (japanese mushroom roll)

Our cooler weather turned to unsettled weather which turned to glorious cold and snowy weather this past week. While the snow will move on after Sunday and give way to sunshine for a week or more, I’m pretty spanking happy about getting this early dose of winter right now. I baked breads, we got Yuki out for her first romp in the snow, we are running the heat, and ALL of the warm blankies are out for people and canines alike. The transition is always a touch startling as we adjust our internal thermostat to sub-freezing temperatures outside, but we find exercising outside in the cold is the best and most fun way to get your body geared up for winter!


first came the rains and the sunrise rainbows

dusting off my sourdough starter and baking some bread

and cranberry walnut sourdough bâtards

my all-weather pups in the high country

my beloved pack

officemates chilling out while i work



The kitchen has seen more use in the past couple of weeks than it did most of the summer. So far I’ve made chili, posole, pasta bakes, several batches of cookies, breads, and plenty of sushi. The wonderful nature of sushi is that it’s a no-brainer meal for summer, but it is also perfect for cold weather with its accompanying tempura and miso soup and agedashi tofu and warm seasoned sushi rice. As I rummaged through my chest freezer recently, I grabbed a bag of frozen sliced matsutake and decided to season them Japanese-style. And then a vision of mushroom sushi goodness came to me. I knew what I had to do. If you aren’t a mushroom lover, you must now look away and return for the next post. If you even remotely like mushrooms, this roll is for you.

3 kinds of mushrooms: shiitake (left), beech (top), and matsutake (right)



A dedicated mushroom sushi roll sounded like a great idea. Each type of mushroom is prepared a different way. I decided on matsutake mushrooms simmered in a soy sauce base, shiitake mushrooms simply sautéed, and tempura-fried beech mushrooms. What’s great about mushrooms is that you can substitute other varieties if you don’t have, let’s say, matsutake on hand. Shiitake would be great in place of matsutake and you could sauté oyster mushrooms instead of shiitake, and tempura fry enoki or maitake in place of beech. Flexibility is good. Options are good. I will say, if you CAN use matsutake, please do. They have this certain special cinnamon-pine spiciness that is so complementary with the soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. It’s magical. And if you are looking to make this gluten-free, replace the soy sauce with tamari.

water, mirin, hondashi granules, sugar, soy sauce, sliced matsutake

put everything in a small saucepan

bring to a boil, then simmer until liquid is gone

super flavorful mushroom slices



**Jump for more butter**

september, i feel ya!

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

Recipe: matsutake soup

Ah, September! If ever there was a month I love most, it is September. When I was a kid, September was special to me because it was my birthday month and it meant a new school year, which I really looked forward to. I outgrew the birthday thing at the age of 16 and thankfully the school year didn’t matter so much once I was done with coursework in graduate school. But September remains my favorite month because it represents a sigh of relief. Summer, with her nonstop crush of things to do and the incessant heat that makes me borderline homicidal and the long days that limit a good night’s rest to 6 hours at best – it is finally over, at least here in the mountains. Normally I would be planning for the fall shoot, but there is a puppy to train and some projects I’m working on. I am okay with not trying to cram every possible thing into my schedule and running myself ragged in the process. This might be called “getting older”, but I like to think of it as deliberate sanity.


these two napping in the sun after their morning hike

the colors are starting a tad earlier than usual



We were in Crested Butte over the holiday weekend and everything was going just fine until Yuki got a little territorial and aggressive with Neva one evening. It made me sad because Neva, while completely crazy, is the sweetest dog who doesn’t consider herself the boss of anyone. We suspect Yuki, at 7 months, is testing the boundaries of her “authority” in her adolescence. After keeping a close eye on the two pups for a couple of days, they seem to be back to their normal goofy selves. The following morning, Yuki was cuddling with Neva on their favorite perch by the window. We continue observing their interactions to make sure this doesn’t evolve into a real problem. The dynamics of two dogs is certainly different from the dynamic of one dog!

as if nothing had happened

pretty views on the drive home

sitting for a treat – yuki feels this is the best way to get both treats



A year ago I was finding more matsutake than I had energy to deal with. Matsutake, that prized mushroom of Japan, translates into pine mushroom and fetches top dollar in circles that recognize its value. The brown matsutake is found in Asia. The white matsutake is found in parts of North America – including Colorado. This year, I have yet to see signs of the subterranean gems in the usual places. But even if I did find some, I’m not sure I would be gathering too many as there are bagfuls of them in my freezer from the crazy flush of 2017 (what a season, folks, I mean REALLY). With cooler evenings, I have begun to contemplate making soups and stews of all kinds. But the days remain warm, so I’m partial to soups that are not too heavy. Last September, I tried a lovely and simple matsutake clear soup that allows the pine mushroom’s unique flavor to shine among a handful of ingredients.

bonito flakes, dried kelp, green onions, water, salt, matsutake, tofu, soy sauce, sake, mirin



The kelp and bonito flakes are used to make dashi. If you don’t want to make dashi from scratch, you can find Hondashi brand granules (instant dashi – just add hot water) at most Asian grocery stores or well-stocked Asian sections in supermarkets. If you are making the dashi from scratch, wipe the kelp with a wet paper towel without removing the white residue – it contributes to the umami of the broth. Start soaking the dried kelp in water 3 hours before you’re ready to make the soup.

wipe the dried kelp with a wet paper towel

soak the kelp in water for 3 hours



**Jump for more butter**