meatless meatballs roasted porcini with gremolata gluten-free chocolate chip cookies venison with morel sauce


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home from nz

Our trip to New Zealand was great! It’s good to be home, but for the first time, I sort of wish I could have stayed longer (or indefinitely). I am happy to see the pup again. We did get quite a bit of rain (and snow), but we also had a lot of fun tramping for miles on end in the mud (and rain), kayaking, eating fish and chips, and visiting Puzzling World in Wanaka (sounds like Chanukah). Back at work nothing has really changed. Makes me wonder if I should have just stayed on the South Island to open up a pumpkin pie and rice crispy treats shack. We met up with Laura at Mt. Cook NP (in the rain, no less)! We had a great time hiking (in the rain!) and then having a 4+ hour dinner at the Old Mountaineers Cafe because it was warm, dry and we wanted to dry out our clothes before going back to the tents in the freezing cold. Yes folks, it is nearly summer there, but it was colder than it is now in Los Angeles. Go figure – ha ha! Her hair is bright purple and I love it. We shared stories about crazy women and their weddings, talked about food (it’s a love of ours), and discussed general feelings about school and work and what to do with our lives.

I think I ate a lot of fish and chips. It was an obsession. Considering how much calorie debt we were in on our hiking days, I think it was okay to eat the seriously fried deliciousness. We didn’t stay at the Glenorchy Hotel, but we ate there twice (fish and chips, and some soup and a kiwi burger) and played chess during our meals. Jeremy’s pretty good, but I love catching him off guard and taking the rook, or the queen – I guess I should have tried doing that with the king… I don’t really know all of the rules, but he says I’m an unpredictable player which makes things interesting. He won all of the games, but some of them were REALLY close… Back to the food, our US dollar didn’t go as far as last time. We did purchase a lot of juice because I love the stuff (passionfruit, mandarin, apple, something juicy blend…) and chit chats, cheds (cheddar crackers), and starburst fruit gummies.

I did manage a cold at the start of the trip, just like the last time we came to NZ! But we were smarter about nipping it in the bud and by day 4 it was gone (or maybe it was the fact that the trail on day 4 was in such horrendous condition that I didn’t have time to think about being sick, only on if we would get back to the car alive). Because of the cold, we had an impromptu stay at the Earnslaw Motel in Glenorchy which is by far my favorite Motel (best bathrooms, really). Oh, but I should shut up about NZ and get on to sifting through my gazillion photos (800 or so?). The beauty of digital… Now that I can see them in real size, I probably should have made use of the tripod we toted across the Pacific but never took out to use. Most of the shots were taken 1) in the rain 2) in low light 3) on high aperture 4) handheld 5) after hiking or better yet – backpacking on crazy stuff. I guess this is the hint that I should never become a winter biathlete (you know, where they ski and then shoot a target – for goodness sake, could you imagine?).

I did throw a few teasers up for folks asking about photos. Here’s one for giggles:




See that? It’s a waterfall. It’s fed by snow melt and RAIN. Oh, did I mention that it RAINED a lot while we were there? But the rain makes for some lovely waterfalls and cascades coming down the muddy, rocky, rooty trails that climb unnaturally steeply up to highland bogs. No really, I LOVED New Zealand, but there is a certain amount of pain and suffering involved with the tramps that makes it so special. Sort of like ice cream for the lactose intolerant – soooooo good, but sooooo bad. There were times when I wondered if I would go hypothermic, but luckily for us, NZ provided a shelter at Lake Mackenzie tent site or else I would have lost it. You do feel infinitely drier when it stops raining on you, even if you are soaked to the bone and your boots are miniature traveling pools of rain. Makes for good photos when you can stop shivering in late spring snow storms. I really loved it. I’m ready to move there.

Hmmm, Elisabeth gave me 5 pieces of Linzertorte today and now I only have 1 left. I better save this last piece for Mr. Darling.

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