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you get chocolate pudding

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Recipe: chocolate pudding

It’s nice to be back in Crested Butte, even if only for a long weekend. The air here stays nice and chilly. Even on a bluebird day, we’re still below freezing and overnight temperatures dip to double digits below zero (°F). That helps to preserve the lovely snow for days on end. It’s winter done right. We tele the mountain in the morning and skate the trails in the afternoon. When it’s a powder day (more, please!) the mountain is where it’s at. On the non-powder days, we make use of the fantastic 55-km network of nordic trails that connect our neighborhood, town, Mount Crested Butte, and the beautiful Slate River Valley. Nothing takes the edge off a hard workout like solitude and beautiful scenery.


one of the many things to love about crested butte

skiing up the snowy valley

mount crested butte and the slate river



Jeremy and I basically packed our laptops and our skis for Crested Butte: to work and to play for a few days. Oh, I also brought chocolate pudding. It all started when I purchased a container of Trader Joe’s Belgian chocolate pudding for Jeremy last month during the holiday cookie baking frenzy. The cookies were off-limits until the distribution had been completed, so the pudding was intended to satisfy any sweet cravings he might have gotten during his finals-grading marathon. It wasn’t until I was flipping through my latest issue of Fine Cooking that I found a simple recipe to make my own dark chocolate pudding.

you’ll need: cream, milk, sugar, eggs, cocoa powder, salt, cornstarch, vanilla



Having made chocolate pudding before, the one step that turns a simple recipe into a not-so-simple recipe is chopping chocolate. I don’t like chopping chocolate. It makes a mess because our air is so dry and the electrostatic charge sends tiny shards of chocolate clinging to all possible surfaces (think iron filings in the Wooly Willy toy). But this recipe doesn’t require the chopping of chocolate – woohoo! It’s based on cocoa powder, so make sure you get a good quality cocoa powder.

sift the cocoa, cornstarch, and salt together to avoid lumps

whisk the cream in completely

stir in the yolks (it will be thick, be patient)



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january is on the move

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Recipe: blood orange marmalade

Jeremy often comments on the amount of daylight we get in December – or rather the lack of daylight. Every evening when the low sun slipped behind the mountains, he noted the time with an Eeyore-esque sadness in his voice. The only reason I had any awareness of the short days was because I received this daily reminder from Jeremy. It doesn’t get to me. But I will say that January offers something refreshing. It’s not just that we’re on an upswing from the daytime minimum, but it feels like the world is in motion again. These days, the world is moving a little faster… on skate skis. I think of skate skiing as the third in our triumvirate of free-heel skiing (telemark and classic nordic being the other two) and the winter sibling of trail running. It’s probably the most challenging skiing technique I’ve learned to date. Twila warned me of this when I inquired about it over the summer, so I didn’t have unrealistic expectations going into skating.


a morning of skate practice

beautiful sunlit fog



While I’m spending a good bit of time clambering up that (steep) learning curve for skate skiing, it’s important to mix it up with some turns on the mountain or a ski tour into the high country. Getting outside every day obliterates that disconnect that so many feel in winter from being holed up indoors. And with each snowstorm or bout of sunny weather, I have this intimate feel for January in the mountains. It’s lovely and invigorating. There are no winter blues over here.

it’s extra nice when i get puppy time

jeremy, erin, and banjo under falling snow

banjo wants us to go!!!



Another thing I look forward to in January is the arrival of blood oranges. Citrus is delightful in winter – but blood oranges are just so beautiful and fun. In my opinion, they don’t really have a superior flavor to other varieties like satsuma mandarins or Cara Cara, but they make beautiful gifts. I’ve been waiting months to get my hands on some blood oranges so I could make marmalade. Sure, I could have used other oranges earlier in the season, but blood oranges have that lovely reddish jewel hue that is hard to resist.

gorgeous color – amiright?

blood oranges, sugar, and powdered pectin (optional)

give the oranges a little soapy scrub a dub dub



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midnight in the garden of good and chocolate

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Recipe: midnight chocolate shortbread cookies

I gave myself last week off from the blog and the computer. My hope is that you didn’t notice because you were offline spending time with loved ones and/or doing the things that you enjoy doing! We aren’t much for holiday traditions other than New Year’s Chinese dumplings and the soup full of yummy ingredients that represent health, wealth, good fortune, opportunity, and all that good stuff. I guess for us, the “tradition” is to ski. And ski. And ski.


jeremy seeks out a secret stash of powder on the mountain

christmas day nordic ski

enjoying the powder, bumps, and views from the mountain

jeremy skate skiing in 2°f



We’ve made a point of skiing every day since we got to Crested Butte – because why wouldn’t you? The snow has been fantastic and this town offers great downhill terrain and incredible nordic trails. It’s also a great way to fend off holiday weight creep and to see some of the local wildlife. Several ermine sightings have fascinated us on the mountain (you should see these little dudes run in powder), in our backyard, and on the nordic trails. We even witnessed one ermine carrying a little furry brown vole (presumably dead) across a big snowy expanse. Cute as they are (and they are DAMN cute!), don’t be fooled – these guys are skilled and ferocious hunters. I’ve also been getting my puppy fix, greeting all of the sweet mountain dogs in the neighborhood, around town, and on the trails.

curious little ermine checking us out

christmas parties are best with gentle, giant mountain dogs



All of the holiday cookies are now gone. Once the deliveries were made, Jeremy was allowed to dig into the leftovers. I added a new recipe to the rotation this year – a shortbread. I know I tend to bake a lot of shortbreads for gifts, but the reason is because they don’t get squirrely at high altitude and they keep longer. There have been times (in the early years) Jeremy has left a gift bag of cookies on a staff member’s desk only to find out they were out of town for a week or two. So I thought it was time to try a new shortbread cookie – a chocolatey cookie.

chocolate chips, vanilla, butter, salt, onyx cocoa powder, powdered sugar, flour

cream the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder

add a pinch of sea salt

vanilla



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