huckleberry brioche pan-seared pork chops spicy tuna inari baked strawberry doughnuts


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the berry essence of spring

April 3rd, 2016

Recipe: baked strawberry doughnuts

I’m ready for it. Ready for spring. The ski resorts are closing one by one in Colorado as the season winds down. I’m okay with that, because spring means spring skiing in the backcountry. It means climbing glazed ice in the mornings when the temperatures still dip below freezing. It means you have to unzip the vents in your ski pants and strip down to short sleeves because the air is warm and the sun beats down on you as you make your way up the mountains. Talk about earning your turns. But by mid-morning, the snow beneath your skis is heavy with water and feels soft when you glide over it. And there aren’t those horrible winter winds. It’s a great way to gear up for summer trail running, hiking, and backpacking.


neva playing in fresh snow late last week

i nabbed last tracks on a local trail the day before it closed for elk calving season



Jeremy and I are preparing for summer, too. We’ve been updating our summer running and hiking socks (I am a huge fan of Bridgedale socks) as well as some footwear and fuels for endurance training. We are especially excited about taking Neva trail running now that she is a year old. She has been pretty good on our ski tours this winter and we hope that translates well to trail runs. But there is still plenty of snow in the high country with more in the forecast through the end of the month, so we shall ski until we can’t ski. Neva seems fine with that.

neva dug a hole to china looking for her tennis ball

ah, the insanity…



Another reason spring is on my brain is strawberries. You can find strawberries all year in grocery stores, but the winter berries that ship in from the southern hemisphere are flavorless at best. It isn’t until spring when the berries start to look, smell, and taste like actual strawberries. I bought a few pounds of organic strawberries last week to see if they were any good. They weren’t the best, but they weren’t bad! I know in a month or so they will be much better and then I’ll set to work making strawberry jam and strawberry vodka and strawberry syrup for summer entertaining. But for now, these baked strawberry doughnuts are the bombdiggity even if the strawberries aren’t at their peak.

you’ll need to butter your doughnut pans

and flour them



I bought doughnut pans for baking doughnuts a few years ago and liked the results well enough. The doughnuts don’t come out like their fried counterparts, but they are still quite good and take a smaller bite out of your caloric allowance. Plus, there is the added bonus of easier cleanup. Cleaning up after deep-frying is a pain. I didn’t feel enough excitement about the baked doughnuts to make them very often – partly because I stored the pans in a hard to reach cabinet and partly because I could get a really good cake doughnut on the road between Crested Butte and Nederland (Daylight Donuts makes great doughnuts). And then I found a recipe for strawberry doughnuts made with real strawberries.

flour, vegetable oil, salt, baking soda, eggs, butter (for the pans), strawberries, sugar, vanilla, buttermilk

stir the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together

combine the eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla

it might look curdled, but that’s okay



**Jump for more butter**

happy birthday, neva

March 27th, 2016

Recipe: doggy birthday cake

This weekend, we celebrated Neva’s first birthday! Can you believe it? She’s now one year old. Such a big girl compared to that silly little puppy pup she once was. Neva has learned so much since we brought her into our home. She still has a lot more to learn, but we’re so proud of how far she’s come.


the little munchkin seeing snow for the first time



Neva has had a lot of time on snow in the ten months we’ve had her, and every single time she acts like it is the very best thing ever. How could I not love this girl? I guess this is why I love dogs in general – they have this undying genuine enthusiasm for living. Jeremy and I decided that we’d take Neva on a nice backcountry ski for her special day. She got lots of snacks on the way up and tons of running on the way down.

neva wagged the whole way up

waiting patiently for more treats

skiing out with a view east toward the flats (great plains)

sufficiently tuckered out that she had fallen asleep on the ski boots



After all of that exercise, we made sure Neva replenished those calories lost and then some. She partook of some raw beef (her favorite) and sampled a couple of strawberries (she likes those) and she had cake. Yes! She had birthday cake! I had done some quick research a few days earlier to make a nice dog-friendly cake for our puppity pup. It is mildly sweet (from applesauce and banana) and tastes like a bland, fluffy quick bread to us humans, but Neva LOVES it! Of course, Neva is a lab, so she loves pretty much anything. The recipe is simple and quick. The best part is that it is pretty well-behaved even at my elevation. Winner.

cream cheese, baking powder, egg, peanut butter, whole wheat flour, coconut oil, applesauce, banana



**Jump for more butter**

hot potato

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**