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


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time to hatch a plan of action

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Recipe: green chile sauce

Spring cleaning never happens as it should in the springtime, because I’m busy skiing. Neglected sections of the house are taken care of in fits and spurts of inspiration or at the breaking point of tolerance. Our microwave handle broke off last winter, so we’ve managed by pushing the door up and out without a handle. The gutters need cleaning. Obsolete electronics, #6 styrofoam pieces, and used cooking oil all await the day they will be driven to Boulder to be responsibly recycled. Oh, but I cleaned my refrigerator and freezer this week. That is like a Christmas horror movie of sorts… finding forgotten gems and then finding the REALLY forgotten gems that have evolved hair and legs and personalities of their own. All this to tell you that I unearthed a jar of matcha green tea powder in the freezer. It’s a lovely shade of green and has a wonderfully nutty herbal aroma. It was buried behind the frozen passion fruit pulp and hunks of frozen Virginia ham. I intended to use this instead of the old, tired, faded matcha that was in the cupboards – the one that I used in the green tea crème brûlée recipe. So, sorry about that.

In other news, Kaweah is back to her quirky self aside from what I call her random hot flashes. I think one of the meds gets her pretty hopped up such that she experiences panting episodes from time to time. She behaves the same way when there is raw beef in the kitchen (or anywhere, really).


kaweah checks out the dinner table to see what’s what



Passing storms are a regular occurrence around here in summer and early fall. With our big sky views, we usually see sunshine and rain simultaneously… and that can mean rainbows. I caught this one a couple of weeks ago in Crested Butte that I forgot to share. I swear I’ve seen more rainbows in Crested Butte than anyplace else.

the sky looked like it was glowing



The end of summer becomes of frenzy of favorites. Our local tomatoes are at their peak and the freestone varieties of Colorado peaches arrive at the farmer’s market. I can’t get enough of the sweet corn ears from Olathe, Colorado. For the past few years, Hatch green chiles have found their way from New Mexico into our markets and of course, our hearts (and mouths). It’s to the point where I am turning down offers from various family members to score me several pounds of roasted New Mexico green chiles because I can pick the fresh ones and roast them myself each August. We love them on burgers, in stews, on pizza, and in sandwiches, and so much more.

my first batch of the season

roasting to char the skins



**Jump for more butter**

weekday weekends

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Recipe: drunken noodles (pad kee mao)

Given my druthers, I prefer to work through the weekends to free up time during the week. I’m fortunate to (usually) have that luxury of choice because I want to avoid crowds and traffic and people behaving poorly… which happens most often on weekends. Hitting the slopes or the trails during the week is one of the perks of freelancing.


wildflowers are at peak in the local mountains

paintbrush and showy fleabane

my kind of morning



I spent this weekend working with more chocolate. By the end of 11 straight hours on my feet the last day, my brain was complete mush and I just needed to vegetate. Generally, I don’t watch television – it truly is a brain rot box. We have a television for the occasional DVD rental (I’m waiting for GoT season 3) or someone’s PS3 habit, but until now we have never gotten reception nor subscribed to cable or satellite. I really hate the way one gets sucked into television. A lot of it is pure junk, so we tend to select good series after they’ve been out for a few years.

cakes and pastries all damn day



Jeremy loves this kind of date night. It happens about twice a year that I’m too tired to do any work, but not tired enough to fall asleep – this is when I can watch television. We chill out on the couch, eating dinner, watching a show. The only thing missing is a cuddly Kaweah, because she really dislikes the television. She hides out in the office and emerges again when the sound is turned off. So after my week-long shoot was done, I asked Jeremy to get Netflix so we could have a date night at home and watch Sherlock. Hello. Benedict. Cumberbatch. But what made the date night even awesomer were the Thai drunken noodles we had for dinner. I doode it.

oil, fish sauce, oyster sauce, golden mountain soy sauce, soy sauce, baby corn, vinegar, rice noodles, chicken, basil, thai chiles, pink peppercorns, sugar, garlic, basil

i got fresh rice noodle sheets

and sliced them up myself



**Jump for more butter**

exploring

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Recipe: chinese dan dan noodles

I hope you all had a great weekend whether it was a Fourth of July long weekend or just a regular weekend. We watched throngs of visitors flock to Crested Butte and happily saw their numbers dwindle as the weekend wound down. I’ve noticed that when people come to the mountains they 1) like to sit in the driveway of their vacation rental (why?!) and 2) burn things. I’m okay with #1 if they’d just quit with the #2. Meanwhile, Jeremy and I have been hosting my parents and exploring more of the area both with them (restaurants) and without them (trails).


and fishing – dad loves fishing

grabbing cocktails in mount crested butte before dinner



The great thing about the mountains is that wildflowers peak at different times depending on things like elevation, slope aspect, amount of sun, moisture (both from the sky and from streams), and their species. Some spots are nearing peak bloom while others are just getting started. Regardless of their state, it is simply invigorating to get out and see it for yourself in some of the finest scenery Colorado has to offer.

mule ears

mint family

mule ears and larkspur

hiking the “oh be joyful” trail



A week before my parents arrived in Colorado, I called to ask them if they had a recipe for dan dan mien or dan dan noodles. I hadn’t ever had the dish before, but several friends raved about the noodles and asked if I had a recipe. I did not. Turns out my parents didn’t have a recipe either, but they definitely had their opinions on how the noodles should be prepared. I went to the interwebs and found what I thought would taste good. Several days after I had photographed and eaten the noodles, my parents inquired about my search and their curiosity was piqued when I said I had tried a recipe.

me: ground pork
dad: no, no ground pork
me: za tsai (preserved mustard green)
dad: (makes a face of disgust and disbelief)
me: peanuts
dad: nobody puts peanuts in dan dan mien!

When Mom told me what she puts in her version of the noodles, Dad interjected and said her recipe was also incorrect. Then they argued over what goes into the noodles. I just want you to know that even though I liked this version of dan dan mien, it is not sanctioned by either of my parents. Their recipe may be forthcoming, if they can ever agree on what goes into the noodles… For now though, you can chew on this.


the sauce: chili oil, black vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, sugar

adding black vinegar to the grated garlic, soy sauce, and sugar

whisk in the chili oil


**Jump for more butter**