July 6th, 2014
Recipe: huckleberry jam
There is never a dull moment in summer. It feels like EVERYTHING happens at the same time! At least it felt that way last week. I suppose that’s to be expected right before a major summer holiday weekend. Or maybe it’s the heat? The heat makes me lose my mind. Luckily, I managed to up my longest distance to a 20.6 mile run on the coolest day of the week. Then I spent a good bit of time prepping food for our Fourth of July barbecue. Originally we had planned to have my parents and several of our friends up for dinner and then fireworks at our local reservoir. But our town, Nederland, has decided to stop doing its annual fireworks display this year, so everyone came over to our place and just ate a ton of food.
our natural version of a fireworks display
Kaweah was not doing well in the days leading up to the party. It worried us enough to think that this week we’d have to take her in for one last visit at the vet’s office. During the party, the loud voices and commotion stressed her out even though she was safely sequestered on another floor. After most guests had left, we brought her up to the main floor and she immediately hid in the office. I went to bed that night trying to prepare myself for the inevitable and crying into the darkness. The next day was dedicated to Kaweah. We didn’t move any furniture around or run the vacuum cleaner. We kept it quiet and calm. She snacked on raw beef and banana pupsicles and received lots of puppy massages and cuddles.
me and my pup
And what do you know? Kaweah was relaxed and happy. She was in good spirits and pretty mobile (as mobile goes for a 15.5 year old lab). Over the next two days her energy and mood were improved. Jeremy and I have been preparing ourselves for the end for so long now that we just don’t assume anything anymore. We take it one day at a time and play it by ear according to Kaweah’s needs. Emotional roller coaster? You bet it is. Kaweah has never been much of a planner, so it seems that this is all par for the course. Each day as it comes. Every day is a gift.
maybe the camera has a treat
Of course, I *am* a planner. I’ve been waiting for July to get here since last August. “Why is that?” you may ask. Because the season is fast upon us…
a porcini with a 77mm lens cap for scale
Yes, porcini season is right around the corner, but it’s not the porcini in the picture that I’m super psyched over. See all those green plants that the mushroom is nestled in? Those are huckleberry plants, and huckleberries are what I’m ALL about.
are the number one single most awesomest bestest berries in this whole wide world. I am obsessed with huckleberries and they are coming into season in my local mountains this month. It takes a lot of time and patience to hand-pick hucks in the wild because the plants are low to the ground and the berries are underneath the leaves. That means your quads, buttocks, and calves will get a GREAT workout. I can pick about 1 cup of hucks in one hour and it takes about 2.5-3 cups of berries to make a pound.
two pounds of hucks from last summer (frozen)
thawing out the berries
**Jump for more butter**
June 30th, 2014
Recipe: mint lime syrup
Most of you know what a heat wimp I am. As we move firmly into summer and our runs increase in distance and duration, I’ve taken to 4 am wake ups to avoid running in direct sunlight as much as possible. In the mountains, we start our runs in 30-40°F temperatures, which tragically climb into the 60s and 70s as the sun rises in the sky. 80s on the really hot days. I know many people think 60s and 70s are positively balmy, but that sun is intensely strong at 10,000 feet when you are sucking air like a Hoover running up a steep trail. But yeah, I am a heat wimp.
Besides sticking my head in the freezer (there is no air conditioning in the mountains), I keep cool by lurking about in the shade (dry heat) and keeping hydrated. I drink water and unsweetened iced tea almost exclusively, but when we entertain, I like to splurge on some kind of fruity infusion beverage. Entertaining season is upon us! While I was flipping through Marisa’s new book Preserving by the Pint, her mint lime syrup caught my eye.
preserving by the pint, marisa’s second book
so many lovely recipes and photographs
Actually, there are a ton of recipes in her book that piqued my interest. It’s full of quick recipes for small batches of pickles, jams, salsas, butters, sauces, etc. So instead of processing 20 pounds of peaches in one never-ending canning session, you have a lovely guide for making a single jar of pickles or two half-pints of strawberry jam in under an hour. Nice.
mint, limes, sugar, water
pluck the mint leaves, juice the limes
pouring water into the sugar to make a simple syrup
**Jump for more butter**
June 25th, 2014
Recipe: galbi korean bbq short ribs
There’s something comforting in traveling a familiar trail where you know the curves, hills, rocks, trees, and stream crossings by heart. When, even in winter, you know that this very spot where the path bends will be covered with flowers in three months’ time. You know this because you’ve seen it year after year. And then there are the new trails. When you see a new trail leading off into the woods, and your eyes light up with curiosity and excitement. It calls to you. I always want to know where that trail leads. How many times have you said, “I’ll just hike up to the top of that ridge for a look” only to continue on to the next ridge and the next?
crimson columbine and violets
winding through the wildflowers
On rare occasion, we’ll hike a new trail only to learn that we don’t ever need to hike that trail again (poorly marked, unmaintained, too hot, too buggy, too dangerous, too crowded). But most of the time, it’s a delightful discovery. I am especially fond of shady hikes with good breezes, nice views, and lots of huckleberry plants growing on the hillslopes. We found one of those today. I’ll be sure to revisit that one often – particularly when the hucks start to bear their precious berries.
It’s that way with recipes too when you revisit an old one that you loved but had forgotten about. I made galbi – Korean barbecue short ribs – for my parents a couple of weeks ago. When I went to dig up my recipe from the archives, I noticed the post was nearly seven years old. That was back in the day when our local Whole Foods had no clue what flanken-style ribs were. These days, they do know, but we now have a couple of Asian grocers within striking distance that also provide flanken-style beef short ribs. The Asianification of Colorado – slow, but happening. So let’s do this properly.
flanken-style short ribs, kiwis, fresh ginger, pepper, water, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, yellow onion, sugar, garlic (hidden behind the beef ribs)
soak the ribs in water
**Jump for more butter**