roasted porcini with gremolata gluten-free chocolate chip cookies venison with morel sauce herb and floral pasta


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archive for August 2009

slippery slope

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Recipe: chopped greek salad

I’m feeling so much better now! Thank you for all of your kind wishes. I have to say, when I have a cold the foods that comfort and heal me most are: 1) Mom’s congee made with homemade broth, chicken, ginger, and green onions 2) Mom’s ginger-brown sugar tea and 3) Mom’s sweet fermented rice soup (jou nian – I call it boozy sweet rice). I always forget about these goto “feel better when sick” foods until I talk to my mom. So there I was, croaky voice sitting on the couch telling my mom that I’m slowly improving when she rattled off the foods I should be eating. I think just hearing her say it in Chinese made me feel that much more improved. When I was little, the only thing that made me feel better was having my mom or Grandma (boy, I was *spoiled*) pick me up and hold me. I was notorious for standing with my outstretched arms and saying, “bao bao?”

I haven’t taken a photo in a week, which feels like a lifetime to me! Trust me – that’s my one week this year without photos because from here on out it is going to be busy. *straps on helmet, tightens laces*

The recipe today is one I made before our trip to southwestern Colorado. I was in a salad state of mind because the heat makes me want to eat things like a cold giant hunk of watermelon or a bowl of grapes or ten popsicles for dinner. After I had made the chopped shrimp waldorf salad my eyes wandered to the previous page in my Fine Cooking issue… chopped Greek salad. Can do. Can do.

Salads in summer make me happy because they usually involve chopping (I love my knives and I love to use them) and minimal cooking if any. In this case, the croutons require a bit of stove and oven time. I highly recommend making your own croutons if you’ve never tried. I can think of very few foods in this world that are better store-bought than made (properly) at home.

[Crouton tangent] We made tons of homemade croutons when I was in Chile for field work as a graduate student. The bread we bought was barely passable right from the store – forget about 5 days out in the bleeping desert! All we needed was oil, garlic, salt, and stale bread cubes. Those were both good and bad times for me (particularly the time when I said, “I’m sure that ham is still good – give it here.”) The one person who really made my entire field season tolerable was my “field assistant”, friend, and fellow grad student, Greg. I put field assistant in quotes because HE taught ME about geomorphology and we worked really well together in the field. Greg saved me from going batshit as we dealt with all manner of interesting obstacles like land mines, equipment issues, logistics, rethinking the science, 8.0 earthquakes, navigating over roadless terrain in thick fog on top of a cliff that plunged 3000 feet to the ocean, and so much more.


at salar del huasco, chile



**Jump for more butter**

cold in summer

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Recipe: lemon ice cream

I have a cold. *hack* In summer. Pisser.

A food blogger pal once mentioned in a post that she was under the weather. Someone had written she didn’t want to hear about bloggers being sick, and can we get on with the recipe already? It happened a while ago but it’s been stuck in my mind lately, I think because sudafed does that to me – the stuck-in-the-mind part. What is wrong with people? If I made that remark to someone’s face, I’d expect them to haul off and bust me across the chops (and deservedly so). Thankfully, the majority of my readers are nothing like that. You guys rawk! It’s a relief for me that I can do a little (or a lottle) spilling of guts here from time to time and you roll with me. People get sick, people die, pets get hurt, bad things happen to good people – that’s all part of life and that’s why it’s important to be here for one another. Food bloggers are not automatons who exist for the sole purpose of cranking out recipes for the masses. We are people with lives and personalities (don’t you know it!). So thanks for letting me be human in all my flawed glory, and thank you for being human yourselves. It makes ours a richer community.

Speaking of community, I have tossed my hat into the ring to give an Ignite Boulder presentation! Trust me, I didn’t make this decision in a congested haze. I got jazzed about giving a talk ever since I attended Ignite Boulder 5 in July. In case you’ve been hiding out in your broom closet, you can find out what an Ignite presentation is and if you are anywhere near Boulder, you should plan on attending Ignite Boulder 6 on September 16th. Get your ticket(s) before they sell out! And if you’re so inclined, you can also vote for talks through August 26th or better yet – submit a topic to present! Not local or can’t make it? No worries, the good coordinators of this fine event will have a live stream for you to laugh and shout along with the hundreds (dare we hope for a thousand?) attendees. Good times!

If you will recall, my last post featured a luscious and summery blueberry peach crisp which I served with lemon ice cream. That was homemade lemon ice cream and the recipe came from my good friend, Helen who swore to me that this was the best lemon ice cream ever. Five out of five Coloradoans agree. This is creamy citrus heaven.


pucker up



**Jump for more butter**

make the most of it

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Recipe: blueberry peach crisp

There are times I dream of the day when I can have a shunt put into my head so I can be “plugged in” 24/7, not unlike that awful Keanu Reeves movie (Johnny Mnemonic). I refer to the concept of plugging in and not the bad acting despite Keanu’s strapping physique. Strapping :) Heeee! Where was I? Oh yes… I sometimes forget how utterly glorious it is to just unplug.


backpacking in the san juans at 12,500 feet



The plan was to kill two birds with one stone, but I ended up wounding one and missing the other completely. We backpacked into the San Juans to shoot the Perseids (meteor shower) only to be socked with weather. I love weather. If you’ve read more than two posts on use real butter you know that my idea of a rockin’ good Friday night is to shoot a lightning storm. Yes, I am that much of a dork. Still, that threatening system kept us off the high passes we were to cross over the next couple of days. I love a lightning storm, but I am not so keen on standing under one at 13,000 feet. Instead, we returned to our puppy who was staying at Camp Grandparents in southern Colorado where I could shoot the storms from a safe distance away.

there is good lightning to be had from the deck



We spent the weekend cooking, baking, quilting, Wii bowling (and boxing – omg, I haven’t laughed that hard in ages), and eating at the compound. I call it The Compound because it’s like a giant vacation retreat in the mountains. The Hatch green chile crop is early this year and they were roasting them in town. My ILs picked up a couple of bags one day and for dinner we had green chiles fried in blue cornmeal, chile rellenos, shredded beef tacos with green chiles, and green chile blue corn muffins. Better than any restaurant, that’s for sure. There are no pictures from that meal because I was too busy eating it.

roasting the beautiful lovelies

from the front porch



Did I mention my MIL can outquilt just about anyone? She’s like… she’s like Billy the Kid of the quilting world. We have a little ritual where I teach her pastry recipes and she teaches me nifty quilting techniques when we visit with each other. Well – we only quilt at their place because MIL has a gorgeous and dedicated sewing room, which isn’t a room but more like a cottage. Call it Quilting Central at The Compound. As an early birthday gift, she took me to the quilt store in town and bought me some beautiful fabrics. Neat quilt shop. They also sell pet food, fishing tackle, and heavy artillery enough guns and ammo to arm a small country. It’s important to be able to get all of your shopping done in one place. I started two quilts, two baby quilts for kids who are probably driving already. By the time I finish those two quilts, my friends will have collectively popped out another 8 babies and I will have 26 babies to make gifts for. Maybe some of you should cool it for a while. Just sayin’.

the quilting room



Kaweah had a wonderful time playing with Bumpy and Buffle(head), the ILs’ pups. In fact, I think she sort of hates us now for taking her away from Camp Grandparents where there is bear poop to roll in, an endless supply of toys to shred, plenty of dog butts to sniff, round-the-clock wrestling, and more deck square footage than our entire house. Sorry pup, you’ll have to settle for Paradise B. Despite getting stormed out of our trip early, we picked up an extra day at The Compound and for the most part remained unplugged. It was pleasant, but we were happy to come home to our own bed last night.

**Jump for more butter**