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Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

Recipe: chateau potatoes

Today happens to be National Puppy Day, which is great because I love puppies – especially when I don’t have to train them! Neva continues to require training, but she’s much more of a big dog than the little munchkin she once was. Her puppiness still bubbles forth when she meets new dogs and people, because she’s young and because she can’t help herself. For the most part, though, she has turned into a pretty good pup (PGP). Looking back at her early pictures, I am amazed at what a chunky little chunkster she was!

the day after we brought her home (8 weeks old)

We missed another storm while wrapping things up in Crested Butte. The weather can be tricksy like that. Back home in Nederland, they’re getting more powder days than non-powder days. Here in Crested Butte, we got shafted once again with nary a 2-inch delivery of snow overnight while 6 miles away (as the crow flies), Lake Irwin is reporting 2 FEET of blower powder. I shall stop complaining. We have had VERY good powder days this year and will no doubt sample a few more before the season ends. I’ll just repeat that over and over again… *twitch*

the joy of powder

Last week (on a non-powder day), Jeremy and I got a lesson from our friend on firearms. He actually came over the day before with charts, graphs, diagrams, and his unloaded pistols to explain how everything works. The following morning, we went to the shooting range for some hands-on practice. I am not a gun person. The only gun I’ve ever fired was a plastic squirt gun. Guns scare the hell out of me and always have, but I thought it was high time I at least educated myself on what these were about. It was a very good learning experience and we are fortunate to have had a knowledgeable, thorough, safety-minded teacher. And you know what? I’m still not a gun person, but now my fear of guns is rooted in fact rather than the unknown. However, I did enjoy the target practice, as did Jeremy. After we got home, we began thinking about trying winter biathlon: a combination of skate skiing (woohoo!) AND marksmanship with a low-powered rifle. That and archery. It’s always good to learn how to do things.

at the range

While some of you will be celebrating Easter this Sunday, we will be celebrating Neva’s first birthday! I have yet to figure out a menu for the pup pup, but I’m pretty sure it will involve beef. Since we don’t do Easter in this house, our Sunday dinner will probably be some form of cleaning out the freezer. Oh, but if you are looking for a nice side dish for holidays, Sundays, or special dinners, I want to share this lovely potato recipe with you.

baby yukon gold potatoes, italian (flat-leaf) parsley, butter, salt, pepper

When I made chateaubriand, the recipe included a mini recipe for chateau potatoes. I had never heard of chateau potatoes, but they sounded good and looked easy enough. Good and easy – always a great combination. Emeril tournĂ©s his potatoes (it’s a seven-sided football cut with truncated ends), but I find that to be annoying and wasteful in a home kitchen (well, in MY home kitchen). I have used both baby potatoes and regular (adult?) potatoes with great results. The baby potatoes can be a pain to peel because of the greater surface area of potato skin to potato volume and the difficulty in manipulating such a small object, but they look fantastic when served. Regular potatoes work just fine as long as you cut them into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

peeling the itty bitty potatoes

all peeled

**Jump for more butter**


Monday, March 14th, 2016

Recipe: chorizo sliders

Spring has sprung. It is sprang. It skis like spring. It feels like spring. For all intents and purposes, it is spring. Last week, we went into the backcountry on the Front Range for a little ole ski tour. The snow started out okay, but as the daytime temperatures rose above freezing, the snow began to stick to our climbing skins in giant 6 inch thick clumps. Then it turned to mashed potatoes by the time we skied out and we were like, “Let’s go to Crested Butte.”

cruising the meadow before the descent

a rosy sunrise on james peak

Well, it’s spring in Crested Butte, too! It’s snowing right now, but the sun keeps poking through sucker holes in the cloud deck and it is warm. Now is the time to embrace whatever nature throws at us, be it powder (please, throw A LOT OF POWDER) or corn snow or mashed potatoes. Jeremy and I are already discussing our plans for Neva adventures this spring and summer – by ski, by bike, or by foot. We are all about human- and doggy-powered activities.

crested butte has pretty sunrises, too

skinning uphill at crested butte mountain resort before the lifts open

neva loves the snow

It’s nice getting out on the Crested Butte food scene after a long hiatus (read: Neva). There are new and old restaurants that we’ve been interested in checking out for a while. Last month we dropped by a taqueria, Bonez, for happy hour. All of the food was excellent (I’ll write that up soon), but the thing that blew us away were the chorizo sliders. Each one was a package of spicy, tangy, sweet, creamy, crunchy, buttery. Delicious and totally doable at home! I’ve already posted recipes for two of the components: sweet potato rolls and fennel slaw. You could buy brioche buns instead of the sweet potato rolls, and I’m guessing fancier grocers or delis may carry fennel slaw. The rest is simply: chorizo patties, garlic aioli, and tomato jam. For the tomato jam, I used a shortcut based on the recipe the server gave me.

pico de gallo, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar

place it all in a saucepan

boil it down to a jam

easy tomato jam: tangy, sweet, and a little spicy

**Jump for more butter**

march ahead

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

Recipe: sweet potato rolls

Daylight Saving doesn’t really bother me the way it bothers some folks. I have never paid much attention to it except when we get that extra hour in the fall. I kinda like that extra hour. But certain people get really bent out of shape over the revisited darkness in the mornings. I’ll let you in on a little secret… both Jeremy and I are really looking forward to setting our clocks ahead this Sunday. You know why?

because of this girl

Neva still wakes up at 5:30 every morning. EVERY. MORNING. Lately, we’ve been leaving her crate door open and she sleeps through the night without a problem. I sleep on the right side of the bed, and because of my lymphedema in my left arm, I sleep on my right side. Like clockwork, Neva shoves her nose into my face at 5:31 am (presumably she takes a minute to get out of the crate, stretch her front half, stretch her back half, rub her left side against the bed, then rub her right side against the bed, and shake off). It scared the hell out of me the first time, but now it’s just really sweet except for the puke-thirty in the morning feeling when your REM sleep has been interrupted. I’ll feed her a couple of treats so her empty tummy doesn’t revolt, and then she jumps up onto the bed to snuggle between Jeremy and me… for all of ten seconds. Then she jumps down off the bed and trots around the room and jumps back on until Jeremy wakes up, dresses, and takes her out to potty. We are hoping after Sunday, that Neva will wake up at 6:30! Right!? I mean, it’s got to work for at least a few days, yes?

Meanwhile, we are patiently waiting for the big snows that have yet to deliver this month. They said March would be snowy, but we’ve only gotten dribs and drabs interspersed with loads of warm weather. February was four whole weeks of freakish mother-loving sunshine. I feel as if I wouldn’t know what to do if we DID get a big dump powder day. Actually, I would totally know what to do – I’d SEND IT.

local benefits: ski the powder then go to work

It’s clear that winter skiing is fast becoming a faded memory. The sun is getting higher in the sky each day and the snowpack is feeling it. When we pack up for a backcountry ski, we dig around for lightweight gloves instead of super warm gauntlets. And during my weekly menu planning, I’m thinking more and more about summer barbecues, summer fruits, and well – summer foraging. But let’s talk about barbecue. I’ve always been a fan of barbecue and the assortment of sides that come with it: baked beans, coleslaw, macaroni salad, potato salad, cornbread, rolls, mac and cheese, the list goes on. Last year I was getting barbecue at a roadside stand when I saw “sweet roll” as a side option. When I asked what it was the guy said, “It’s a sweet potato roll.” I couldn’t figure out if he meant it was a potato roll that was sweet or if it was a roll made with sweet potato or what. I bit, and it was – nice. So I set out to make some myself, because homemade is almost guaranteed to be better.

sweet potato, flour, yeast, water, butter, salt, honey, eggs, warm water

peel and cut the sweet potato into chunks, then boil

mash the sweet potato and let cool

**Jump for more butter**