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

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archive for January 2010

get on it

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Recipe: stir-fried soybean sprouts

Oh hurray! It’s so good to be back to normal again. Don’t get me wrong, it was delightful to have a mellow visit with my parents, but to finally be well again is something I cherish very very much. Jeremy and I noted on our flight back to Denver that it feels like we’ve been in a twilight zone for the past month with the travel and the illnesses. I missed out on all of my typical holiday baking and I’m sure that means our local post office will start leaving packages in the backroom for months on end ;) Oddly enough, we here in Colorado are experiencing a “heat wave” of sorts. Seems we always have at least one week of warm weather every January. I’d rather have snow, but… I’ll gladly take a sunny day to walk with my guy and my pup in the mountains sans ground blizzards.

positively balmy at 32°f

patterns on the frozen lake

As long-time readers know, I don’t do new year’s resolutions. I resolve to do things ALL THE TIME regardless of calendar date. That doesn’t mean I don’t have new year’s rituals like… The Changing of the Calendars (for some reason, I get very excited about this). The other thing I do is mark Chinese New Year on my new calendars because it always manages to sneak up on me and you need time to prepare those lucky foods and dishes for the celebration. The Chinese follow the lunar calendar which means all manner of headache for a completely westernized girl like myself. There are also those superstitions like not buying salt for the entire month after Chinese New Year (bad luck). Anyway, I marked it. It’s Valentine’s Day this year. I will make sure to have the appropriate goodies for the party which includes one of my favorite vegetables.

the humble soybean sprout

I have been eating soybean sprouts since I was a wee bern. My mom and grandma would always buy a large bag of them from the Asian market and open the bag up in the middle of the kitchen table where we would gather around plucking the tiny ends off the sprouts. It wasn’t until I got to college, bought a bag and began picking the ends when a roommate informed me that she doesn’t bother plucking the ends off. Well, that certainly saves time! I think it’s a Grandma thing, because last week when I was at my parents’ house, I noticed Mom hadn’t picked the stringy ends off either. I don’t clean the ends anymore, except on Chinese New Year’s Eve – otherwise I’d get a little stabby.

these have been plucked

**Jump for more butter**

some pics to tide you over

Friday, January 8th, 2010

My health is nearly back to normal (gosh, these sinus infections take their time to skidaddle) thanks to plenty of rest and probably all of the love and pampering from my parents. Jeremy arrived on Thursday and my parents have really rolled out the red carpet because they are so fond of him. Well, it’s not like I’m chopped liver, but you should have heard my mother bemoaning his short visit earlier this week, “We only have TWO dinners with Jeremy – how can we possibly treat him to all of the restaurants and home meals we have planned?”

lovely sunset from my parents’ deck

When I watch my parents cook, it makes me realize where my love for food and cooking comes from. Acorn. Tree. Anyhow, we’ve had a lovely time hanging out in Williamsburg tasting lots of terrific wines and noshing on the best food. It even snowed a centimeter – how cute! Enjoy some photos and I’ll see you back here when I return to Colorado. Cheers!

dad’s boat

when in williamsburg, you must go to the cheese shop

favorite cheese shop sandwich: roast beef and muenster on french with extra house dressing

we made friends with beauregard, a beautiful african grey parrot

he is most definitely smarter than kaweah

dinner out

a little snowfall quickly melting away

homeward bound

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Recipe: french onion soup

Oh, you are all so very very sweet. Thank you for the kind wishes and new year’s greetings! I hope we ALL have a great 2010 and beyond. I’m definitely much better now from that nasty sinus infection although there is some lingering congestion, kinda like when some guys don’t get the hint and they just keep hanging around… ;) If you attended a technical university, you will most definitely know what I’m talking about. Anyhow, I realize I’ve fallen dreadfully behind on the comments and well – I’m not sure that I’ll be able to get to them this week just yet. See, I’m in Virginia.

the land of krispy kreme donuts

and southern haaaaaaaaam

I’m chilling out with my parents at their place. Their current house is relatively new (same neighborhood). It isn’t the house I grew up in, but I noticed while walking through the rooms that it still feels familiar to me. Even though the building and the furnishings have changed, there is a sense of coming home.

entering the house

the sunroom overlooking the water

My mom and dad were so excited about my visit that they had been calling me for days before my arrival to plan out every single meal (typical foodies, no?). When your head is full of mucus and you feel like crap, it’s hard to imagine wanting to eat anything – and I didn’t. However, the day before I flew out I suddenly found my spare time thoughts racing from one recipe to another. I had been worried that I had lost my cooking mojo, but it was just the blasted flu and sinusitis muddling up my brain. Mom made me Chinese hot pot the night I arrived – the perfect remedy to any cold or flu. Tonight, my dad prepared a “simple” meal of rack of lamb and I offered to slap together some roasted vegetables to go with it.

brussels sprouts and potatoes for roasting

dad slices the rack of lamb

my parents’ idea of a simple meal

I’m trying to pace myself because 1) I know they have a marathon of food lined up and 2) I haven’t regained my appetite completely… although it’s easier to have an appetite when the food in front of you looks and tastes amazing. In any case, I’ll have the camera at the ready to document the culinary proceedings. Jeremy will join us toward the end of the week after his conference is over.

Being back in my hometown reminds me of my earliest cooking years when I joined my neighborhood 4-H group. We learned to cook French onion soup one day at 4-H and it was forever etched in my brain as something so easy a fifth grader could do it. I think that’s a great solution to overcoming fear – learn to do it young. Man, I wish I had learned to ski moguls and glades as a kid…

onions and thyme

sliced bread for croutons

**Jump for more butter**