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hand warmer season

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

Recipe: chanterelle mushroom hand pies

Autumn is the fleetingest of fleeting seasons in the mountains, or so it seems. Sunday felt like real winter as we hiked snowy trails, falling snowflakes caught up in our hair and settling on our hats, gloves, and the tops of our packs. Our last trail run left my calves sore from all the slipping and sliding on ice. Not quite enough snow to ski, but enough to warrant wearing traction devices for running. Shoulder season puts me in a mindset for winter. I can’t wait!


high winds sculpt beautiful clouds

snowy stream crossings



Cold is relative. Two months ago, 40°F felt chilly to me. Now, it feels warm as we enjoy temperatures dipping below freezing. I know in a few months, 40°F will be a veritable heat wave. Jeremy is a little more sensitive to the cold than I am. It’s probably because I have plenty of personal warmth (read: body fat) and he doesn’t. His hands and feet are always cold. He turns on his seat heater in both cars starting in September all the way through June. I saw a box of hand warmers for sale at Costco last week – 40 pair for something like $15. Then I had a mental image of taping an entire suit of hand warmers to Jeremy’s body and chuckled to myself. Moving on to the refrigerated produce section, I got the vegetables I needed and proceeded to leave – until I spotted something magical. It was nearly the equivalent joy of finding a porcini in the mountains – except this was a whole pound of fresh chanterelle mushrooms for $9. I grabbed one. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it, but I knew I was going to do something.

let’s make hand pies!

chanterelles, puff pastry, gruyère, egg, garlic, butter, salt, bacon, thyme, wine, cream, pepper

brush the mushrooms clean



**Jump for more butter**

we are safe

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Recipe: pappardelle with chanterelles

My email has been inundated with inquiries from family, friends, and readers about our situation amidst the devastating flooding in the Colorado Front Range. Jeremy, Kaweah, and I are safe. Our house is fine. Our little mountain town of Nederland is more or less fine with only one viable route out of town – we are near the top where our water catchment area is relatively small. Thank you for your concern. Sadly, several neighboring mountain and canyon communities (Lyons, Jamestown, Salina) have been cut off and badly damaged from heavy flooding, mass wasting, road and ground collapse. All canyon roads in Boulder County are closed due to damage (sections of roads completely washed away) and/or rock slides, and it could be months before some of these roads open again. A normally 25-minute commute to Boulder might wind up becoming a 90-minute commute for a while. On the flats, parts of Boulder and surrounding cities have suffered terrible flooding as a year’s worth of rainfall collected in the mountains in a matter of a days and came funneling down the mountains as a wall of destruction and energy.

People poke fun at and bag on Boulder all the time. I just smile and sit on my hands so I don’t accidentally punch anyone. I suppose it is an easy target with all of its enlightenment, local food movement, yoga, ultra athletes, ultra outdoors people, food allergies, restrictive diets, casual atmosphere, dedication to local businesses, lovely parks, extensive bike paths, public services, love of dogs, Subarus, and countless independent coffee shops. It’s a special kind of place, one that I love dearly. It has a lot of heart and community. Good people live there and make it the great town that it is. Even though the rains have not yet stopped, people are already helping friends and strangers alike clean up flooded homes and neighborhoods.

If you would like to help with a financial or material donation or to volunteer, please visit Help Colorado Now for more information.

Over the past several days, Jeremy and I have been safe, but stuck at home with an occasional walk around our neighborhood. Authorities requested that everyone stay home and let rescue and repair crews work. All parks and trails are closed. We snatched tidbits of news from friends, emergency status pages, and university alerts. Our hearts ached with every flash flood warning and flood surge that raced down the canyons. And we sighed with relief each time a friend checked in on Facebook, Twitter, via text or email. We even caught a few short breaks from the rains on Friday.


that’s my colorado

and a nice sunset to boot



Saturday was Jeremy’s birthday. He turned 40, which is a milestone year because we are a decimal-based society and because he was awarded tenure a few months ago. His present is our second home in Crested Butte, so I didn’t feel compelled to get him anything else. We were going to have friends up to celebrate with a nice meal until those plans washed away with the roads leading up to our place. We didn’t want to risk the safety of any of our friends and decided to cancel. But that didn’t mean Jeremy wasn’t going to get his multi-course dinner party… I split it up into lunch and dinner since there was so much food. It’s all of his favorite dishes, which he gets to enjoy throughout the week.

salumi, charcuterie, cheese, crackers, pickled things, bubbles

pan-seared scallops on frisée, corn, cherry tomatoes with white wine reduction sauce

a bowl of lobster corn chowder

miso black cod with baby bok choy and pickled ginger



I had multiple desserts lined up for our guests, but since it was just us, I stuck with the cake. We settled on one candle per decade so we wouldn’t burn the house down. Jeremy had requested a white Russian cake and I decorated it with little chocolate-covered crisped rice pearls. Placing each of those pearls on a cake is a labor of love.

white russian cake with valrhona crunchy chocolate pearls

four layers soaked in boozy goodness



We had the noodle dish at lunch because the Chinese tradition is to eat uncut noodles on your birthday for long life. There are so many noodle dishes to choose from, but I already knew he loves this one in particular and with good reason! It has chanterelles.

pasta, bacon, chanterelles, parmesan, garlic, butter, salt, parsley, cream, white wine, pepper



**Jump for more butter**

lobstah chowdah

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Recipe: lobster corn chowder

I’m wearing pants. PANTS! We’ve had cool, rainy weather this week in Colorado. Well, the cool isn’t such a reach for this time of year, but the rainy is. My oven and stove have seen more use in the past few days than they have all summer thanks to the cooldown. One of the recipes I tried recently was a knock-my-socks-off gem of a soup. I love it because it is at the intersection of summer and fall. Summer, because of the ingredients and fall, because it warms you from the inside to fight off the chill outside. I’m talking about lobster corn chowder.


two whole lobsters and two tails

cooked (steamed)

extracting the lobster meat, saving the shells, and catching the juices



Because I reside in a landlocked state far far away from Maine, I bought frozen cold water lobsters. My fish monger only had two, and I needed three, so I supplemented with two petite lobster tails (also cold water). These were not cheap, so this is clearly a soup for special occasions or when lobsters grow on trees. I’m smiling at the thought of lobsters growing on trees. The thing I love about this recipe is how you use every part of the lobster – the meat and the shells and the dribbly juices. Makes me feel a little better about the price. Then the other main component is corn, which is dirt cheap right now and sweet as can be.

cream, wine, lobster meat, lemon, corn, celery, leek, bacon, potatoes, parsley, pepper

cut up the lobster meat

slice the green and white parts of the leeks (keep them separate)



**Jump for more butter**