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more flowers, please

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

Recipe: wild rose petal ice cream

I want to thank all of the readers who have emailed or messaged me their concerns for our safety over the weekend. We are safe. The wildfire (started by illegal campers on private land who failed to put out their campfire) in Nederland that quickly erupted Saturday afternoon a couple of miles from our home has spread in the other direction. For the time being, our house is okay and our neighborhood has not been evacuated although a large swath of our mountain and canyon communities are under mandatory evacuation. Neva is with us in Crested Butte. Our current plan is to remain here for a few days to minimize the strain on resources in that area and to keep out of the way of fire crews as they work tirelessly to battle the blaze in extremely hot, dry, and windy conditions over rugged terrain.


Dining Out Denver & Boulder included use real butter among 11 Colorado Food Blogs You Should Read.

It’s been 2 years since we let our sweet Kaweah go. I still miss her every day.


My parents came out to visit with us in Crested Butte this past week. The last time they were here, we had just moved in and didn’t have a good handle on the best places to eat or things to do. This time we planned a more suitable itinerary and kept the activities flexible and relaxed. Dad did a little fishing, we took some walks and hikes through the wildflowers, we dined out at some of our favorite Crested Butte restaurants, we dined in so Dad could open some bottles of his favorite wines, we attended a neighborhood party, and everyone played with Neva.

me and my mom on a morning hike

mom and dad at dinner

After the parental units returned to Boulder, we resumed our schedule of hikes, paddles, and runs. All manner of wildflowers are coming up: cinquefoil, sulfur paintbrush, Indian paintbrush, lupine, larkspur, monkshood, giant hyssop, mule ears, aspen daisies, fleabane daisies, oxeye daisies, old man of the mountain, cow parsnip, osha, sticky geranium, blue columbines, prairie smoke, elephant heads, wild roses, blue flax, and spotted coralroot – to name a few of the ones I can identify! We have been finding various mushrooms along the trails, too. I’m not the type of person who feels compelled to eat every single mushroom I encounter, but it’s hard to turn down oyster mushrooms. The handful of aspen oyster mushrooms we foraged were mostly old and wormed out. Still, I brought them home. I was able to fry up two of them for dinner, but I took the old ones and smeared them against our aspens in the yard in the hopes that we’ll see some oyster mushrooms appear next summer. It doesn’t hurt to try!

lupine and indian paintbrush

elephant heads with a scenic backdrop

freshly foraged aspen oyster mushrooms

fried in butter and served with leftover beef tenderloin

neva’s pretty certain she would have liked some steak

Due to inflammation of my right trapezius muscle for the past couple of weeks, I wasn’t able to get out for a trail run until recently. I had assumed that all of the wild roses would have finished by now, but I was mistaken. Much to my delight, I saw and smelled hundreds of blooms for miles. Jeremy asked if I was tempted to go back and forage more rose petals. I said no. If they were mushrooms, maybe, but I was done with rose petal recipes for the season. There was the rose petal jam recipe I shared last week and now I have a rose petal ice cream for you.

fragrant, beautiful, simple wild roses

eggs, sugar, rose petals, milk, cream, lemon, salt, beet juice (not pictured: rose water)

I’ve been on a mission to find a good rose petal ice cream recipe ever since I attended a special 50th wedding anniversary celebration years ago where they served an Italian rose petal gelato. I forgot about it for a few years until I realized there was an abundance of wild roses growing around my house that I could use. Last year I managed to miss the bloom entirely, so I made sure to catch it this year. If you don’t have wild roses available, you can use unsprayed fresh roses. If you aren’t familiar with foraging wild rose petals, have a gander at the rose petal jam post for pointers.

combine most of the rose petals, the sugar, and a pinch of salt in a food processor

pulse into a purée or a really well-blended wet sugary mix

combine a cup of cream, the milk, and the rose sugar in a saucepan

**Jump for more butter**

wild about roses

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

Recipe: wild rose petal jam

Memorial Day may mark the start of the summer season for most parts of the country, but the fourth of July is when the season kicks into high gear in the mountains. So many people come to the high country because it is beautiful and wild and peaceful. Except a lot of the visitors can’t seem to leave their suburban trappings and behaviors in suburbia, turning paradise into a circus of bad manners. Jeremy and I tend to lay low during the holiday crush, because I believe in the minimization of unnecessary stress. So we drove to Crested Butte, passing through the mountain corridor just a couple of hours before it clogged up with holiday weekend travelers. We are currently enjoying the summer rains and the wildflowers as the town prepares for Independence Day festivities on and around the mountain. This is when everything starts growing and showing off.

nothing like hiking through fields of purple lupine

a hall of aspens that seems to go on forever

prairie smoke blossoms

tiny, brightly colored jelly alpine fungi

Last week in Nederland, the wild roses were in full swing, painting our local yards, trails, and hillsides with splashes of pink among the lush bushes. They were so fragrant that we couldn’t help but notice. I had been waiting for them to blossom, but the late spring meant the wild roses growing in front of our house were a few weeks behind schedule. Jeremy and I spent a couple of hours last weekend foraging wild rose petals for a few recipes. You can always use commercial roses as long as they are unsprayed, but wild roses are particularly fragrant and wonderful.

wild roses

There’s no need to pluck the entire flower, just the petals. It’s easiest to do with the flowers that aren’t flat open, but somewhat concave. You merely close your fingers over the top half of the petals as if to close the blossom. Give a gentle tug and most if not all of the petals should release with a light snap. I leave the center of each rose – the reproductive parts – on the stem and make sure to touch each stamen with my thumb in the hopes that I’ll help to pollinate each flower to produce rose hips for wildlife in the fall. If you find a good bundle of wild rose bushes in bloom, it doesn’t take much time to collect a few cups of petals.

i store them in a ziploc bag in the refrigerator

Of course, we humans aren’t the only ones fond of roses. There are plenty of little crawlies who like to hitch a ride on the rose petals back to your place. To reduce the number of new friends, I gently flick the blossom before I pluck it. This usually evicts 80% of the hitchhikers. Back home, I empty the petals into a large mesh colander covered with a splatter guard, and shake the petals over a table until no more little bugs fall out. It takes me about 10 minutes until the bugs run clear, but that’s easier than rinsing the petals with water, which you can do instead of or in addition to the shaking to clean your rose petals.

toss the petals in a colander

While researching wild rose recipes, I came across this simple, yet delightful wild rose petal jam. It’s rather quick to whip up and it makes for a charming homemade gift. Best of all, it’s delicious. The rose flavor is delicate without being overpowering in that way that makes you think you’re eating lotion or soap. It comes out a brilliant pink color which is all natural.

rose petals, pectin, water, lemon juice, sugar

**Jump for more butter**

splish splash

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

Recipe: roasted cherry bourbon swirl ice cream

Despite having grown up fishing, sailing, and spending my spare time playing on the James River, I don’t consider myself a water girl. Clearly, having mountains underfoot and snow underski is my preferred modus operandi. Lately however, I have returned to the water while remaining in the mountains, thanks to our standup paddle boards (SUPs). It’s possible to kayak some white-knuckle rapids in the area, but I’m not looking for new ways to kill myself. SUPing can be as mellow or as insane as you want, provided there is a body of water to serve your purpose. We like flat alpine lakes with fish safaris below and mountain views above. Even a small lake can pose risks, so we ordered Neva a personal flotation device (doggy life preserver) because she doesn’t have enough sense to stop swimming when she’s too tired.

teaching a friend to sup in crested butte

neva test drives her new life jacket

she doesn’t seem to mind it

and when she isn’t on the sup, she’s jumping into the lake to fetch tennis balls

You can watch Neva’s running jump into the lake in slow motion on Instagram (click the link). Another risk is that water doesn’t mix well with most electronics, like my smartphone. The week before, Jeremy and I were paddling around to watch about twenty large carp chilling out among some downed logs. I always keep my phone in a ziploc bag in a waist pack or pocket, but this time… I was paddling forward to get a better shot of the fish and had zipped the phone into the pack without sealing it in the ziploc. Dumb, I know. Especially dumb because the next thing I knew I fell backwards off the board and *SPLOOSH* into the water. 48 hours in a bag of rice and then a day at the repair shop, I have a semi-working phone again. The touch screen is a little wonky which results in unintended actions – like calling random contacts, opening one app when I pressed another, or liking images when I was trying to navigate to my Instagram feed. This past week has been a little vacation away from my phone other than using the camera and I actually like it that way.

enjoying the glorious aspen forests

crimson columbines in bloom

a marmot sunning itself on a snowmobile on the side of the road

our state flower, the blue columbine, is starting its season

We’re taking a break from morels. I can’t tell you how many miles of trail I have scoured in search of morels the past three weeks. It isn’t so much the need to HAVE and EAT morels, because aside from a few big hauls, I have been leaving them in place where I find them. It’s my obsession with documenting where, how, and when they grow that drives me to study maps and satellite images and crawl through the forest at a snail’s pace. I finally drew the line last week because it was interfering with my trail running schedule. Besides, it’s going to be porcini season soon enough – and those are much easier to spot while trail running! Since Monday is the first day of summer and the weather over the southwest is set to BROIL, I decided fruity ice cream was the way to go. Also? There is bourbon, and you really can’t argue with fruity bourbony ice cream. But if you do object to bourbon, it’s easy enough to just leave it out of the recipe.

cherries, bourbon, cream, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla bean, more sugar, salt, lemon (juice)

If you cringe at the thought of roasting anything in the summer heat, then it’s possible to pit the cherries and whir them up in a blender with the sugar and bourbon. Roasting does concentrate flavors and the caramelized sugar adds a nice dimension to the cherry swirl, too. Use a pan that is just big enough to fit all of the cherries in a single layer, because I used a much larger pan and the extra space results in burnt juices. I wound up removing my cherries from the oven early to avoid further burning of said juices.

wash the cherries

sprinkle sugar and bourbon over the cherries


**Jump for more butter**