huckleberry brown butter tarts roast lemon chicken with chanterelles plum ketchup peach pie cinnamon rolls

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ready for snow

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Recipe: roast lemon chicken with chanterelles

You can learn so much from your neighbors. At least, I have this past week. While I tried to restrain Neva from jumping on two friends and apologized for the “craziness”, one of them said her dog used to do it too, but ever since she sent her to doggy day care, she is much better behaved. Now that Neva is 6 months old and spayed, we can start giving her a few days a month at a day care more for socialization than anything else. And another friend recommended letting Neva hang out in the car without driving anywhere to get her over the fear of the car. Each day I’d spend 30 minutes with Neva in the back of the car – back hatch wide open – and we’d watch the world go about its business around us. I gave her a treat (either a greenie or part of a scoop dog treat) to make happy associations. The first day I had to lift her into the car as she struggled to run away. She drooled and foamed at the mouth for the first 15 minutes, letting out sad little cries and wails. By the sixth day, she was leaping into the back on her own, asking politely for the goodies, and feeling pretty darn happy.

The real test was driving her someplace. I waited until after 5 days of car therapy had passed. She hopped in on her own and didn’t drool or foam once! She did let out a few quiet whimpers when she realized what was happening, but then we were at the trailhead and she was able to focus on the hike instead. She did great. At 4 am this morning, we drove home to Nederland and Neva (on dramamine) did pretty well for 5 hours over mountain passes and windy roads – no puke, but a little bit of drooling. We’re working on it and at least she is making progress.

happily chewing her greenie in the back of the subaru

Neva and I were both happy to see Jeremy pull into the driveway Friday evening. He offered to take care of Neva so I could spend the weekend shooting the fall colors, but I said no. Strong winds on Friday stripped many of the leaves off the aspens around town, and I felt the time would be better spent getting some exercise and simply enjoying the last of the fall colors together rather than trying to get those money shots. Besides, I was able to grab a few decent snaps.

getting neva back on the trails saturday (plus a happy swim at the end)

a hike to a view on beckwith pass, sunday

jeremy and i got some time on the stand up paddleboards, too

thursday’s sunset before the winds picked up

even though some stands are past peak, it is still pretty gorgeous

There was a dusting of snow on the high peaks (probably above 13,000 feet) Saturday morning, but the sun made quick work of returning the snow to the atmosphere (I’m pretty sure that snow sublimated off the summits). As Jeremy and I hiked with Neva through carpets of fallen aspen leaves, we caught each other up on news of the week, angry letters we want to write to elected officials, and mushrooms. It’s hard for me to hike a trail and not point out where there was a good flush of chanterelles or porcini from the summer, or where there ought to be a good flush of chanterelles or porcini if *I* were one of those mushrooms and had a say about where I were to fruit. Friends of mine in other parts of the world have to deal with foraging chanterelles while golden leaves are falling on the ground, which makes for far more challenging visual conditions. We have it nice here in Colorado – our beautiful yellow chanties come up when most of the vegetation is green (as do our porcini).

well, how beautiful are you, little chanterelle?

frilly and delicate

Now that I’ve had my fix of fall colors (they’re still going and I still enjoy them, but now I don’t feel compelled to photograph them once peak is over) and it has snowed a few times in the high elevations, I am ready for ski season to start. No really, I am. Sooooo, any day now, Nature! In the meantime, I’ll get some trail running in since Neva no longer requires constant supervision and I’ll start roasting things like chicken and oh hey – chanterelles. Roasting is an easy way to make a dinner packed with flavor. Use any (edible) mushroom, but I happened to have fresh chanterelles when I shot this recipe last month. I don’t have fresh chanties now, but I did sauté several pounds of chanterelles in butter for freezing. If you have frozen cooked chanterelles, they will work just fine in this recipe.

chicken, carrots, parsley, thyme, pepper, olive oil, chanterelles, potatoes, onion, lemon, salt, garlic, bacon

mise en place

**Jump for more butter**

an easy one

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Recipe: plum ketchup

This past July, I was interviewed via Skype by Gabriel Soh for The Dinner Special podcast. Despite being in the depths of puppy training sleep deprivation, I am moderately coherent. If you’d like to have a listen, hop on over to the interview, but do come back for the recipe!

I suppose that whole adolescence regression episode was bound to happen when I would be alone with Neva. Things that used to not bother her now bother her. Trying to put her harness on has become quite an ordeal – like bargaining with someone who doesn’t speak your language. It’s come down to manhandling her to put the harness on so we can go outside to do the thing she loves most… which is to go outside. Once outside, Neva acts like she’s never seen a human being, a dog, a cat, a leaf, a car, a bike, ANYTHING before in her life and she flips out like she’s going to die if she doesn’t run up and jump on its head. I found myself wondering if Kaweah had been this difficult as a puppy because my memory of her is dominated by the sweet, gentle, and calm senior dog she was most recently. I’m pretty sure Kaweah made me crazier than Neva makes me – just in different ways. I’m also thinking that it may be the 10 days of heavily reduced activity. Maybe she’s gone off the deep end without her regular exercise? I get that way, too.

she’s probably ready for longer walks

The colors that I can see from the walks around the neighborhood are on their way out, or rather, the leaves are falling. Swaths of gold mantling the hillsides are giving way to the silent gray stands that will last us through May. Most of my photographer pals migrated south to the San Juans earlier this week (but not before I fed some of them peach pie cinnamon rolls!). I’ll not be in on that action this year. It’s just me, Neva, and whatever I can snap when I have a random moment.

a cathedral of gold

fingers of color intermingled with conifers

This week appears to have a common theme in my recipes – fruit at the end of its season. On the same trip to the farm store when I got those peaches and my second batch of tomatoes, I picked up something else on impulse. While waiting for the tomatoes to be loaded into a box and weighed, I walked over to the table that had the peaches. As I picked out four pounds of peaches, I smelled what can only be described as candy. Putting a peach to my nose, I took a whiff, but it wasn’t the peach. Looking around at the baskets of fruit, I flew in low and inhaled, eventually honing in on a basket of tiny golf ball-sized plums. The fellow sorting the tomatoes told me that the plums not only smelled like candy, but tasted like candy, too. I bought 2 pounds. I knew I wanted to make plum ketchup, but I made sure I had extras for snacking on straight up. Once in the car, I rubbed one clean on my shirt and took a bite – which was half of the plum, but could have easily been the whole fruit. It was like no plum I had ever tasted before.

these are bubblegum plums

I emailed the farm to find out what variety of plum I had stuffed into my pie hole and they responded that these are bubblegum plums from the western slope – western Colorado – where our luscious peaches are grown. My intention was to make plum ketchup with the Italian plums that my Costco carries around now, but they had yet to show up. Short on time, I used my bubblegums on the ketchup recipe while popping a couple of the extra plums for a snack. This plum ketchup is much easier than my tomato ketchup recipe. You can use most any variety.

brown sugar, ginger, plums, cayenne pepper, black pepper, onion, garlic, cinnamon stick, salt, cider vinegar

dice the plums

ready to purée and cook

**Jump for more butter**

chowder time

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Recipe: chanterelle bacon corn chowder

I want to thank all of the folks who shared advice on puppy pukiness on car rides. We gave Neva a ginger chew 30 minutes before driving to Crested Butte last weekend and she puked about 20 minutes into the drive. I’ve become an expert at catching her puke in a plastic grocery bag, but sometimes she pulls away at the last minute and so I’ve also developed expertise at cleaning up puppy vomit. Our next step is to try dramamine per our vet’s instructions. On the drive back home, Neva kept it together until we neared Cottonwood Pass (the dirt road up is curvy and bumpy), but that time I caught it all in a bag! Once at the pass, we decided to take her out for a little hike, which made her VERY happy.

life with puppy is not all rainbows, but in crested butte it kinda *is* all rainbows

looking back at the collegiate peaks from cottonwood pass

fuzzy seeds

jeremy walks neva to the view east

Neva is about five and a half months old now and we suspect she’s entering that adolescent stage. She walks nicely on the leash when she feels like it, but when she wants to run around with Snickers (a little chihuahua-doberman mix) or anything else, she pulls like a maniac. So I got out Kaweah’s old Halti collar, also known as the gentle leader. It’s supposed to reduce pulling and render your dog obedient without hurting them, but most dogs I know really dislike it until they get used to the collar. Kaweah would melt when we put it on her. My in-laws’ dog merely sees the Halti in the room and he settles down. Kaweah’s Halti was big on Neva, so she was able to wriggle out of it a few times (Jeremy bought a smaller size after work today). We used to think Neva would surpass Kaweah’s weight and size, but now it’s looking that she will be the same size or smaller than Kaweah. Eventually, it appeared to work and we were able to walk peacefully, until Snickers came by…

at first she struggled

then there was demoralized acceptance

after much pawing and squirming, she managed this

This week marks the end of foraging for me. I’m done with the chanterelles and the huckleberries – or rather, they’re done. It feels good to be able to hike normally again without constantly scanning the ground and stumbling forward tripping over rocks and tree roots. My favorite part is the hunt. I love finding mushrooms and hucks. My next favorite part is the photography. I like shooting the pretty specimens I encounter. Then there is the actual collection which can be backbreaking and/or dirty work. My least favorite part of the whole process is cleaning the mushrooms (sorting hucks can be a lot of work, too). So when the season ends, I’m sad but I’m also glad.

more pretties off the trail

When September rolls around I find myself in the mood for some kind of corn chowder before the wonderfully sweet local corn is done for the year. Seeing as I had some chanterelles, it made sense to have the two ingredients share the stage. And then there’s bacon…

bacon, onion, garlic, chanterelles, chicken stock, pepper, wine, cream, potatoes, lemon, celery, corn, salt, thyme, dill

coarse chop the mushrooms

mise en place

**Jump for more butter**