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archive for July 2010

lurking in the freezer

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Recipe: blue cornmeal-crusted green chiles

On the way into the house the other day, Jeremy and I paused to admire a salsify puffball in our yard. It’s a weed. People always call them giant dandelions, but they are salsify. I like the weeds that grow in my yard. Sometimes I think people worry so much about things they want, things they don’t have, that they overlook those wonderful, simple gifts that are right under their noses.

a gift

My freezer is no different. In the heat of summer, that door opens and closes – a parade of liquids marching in and frozen treats marching out. Every time I have to make room for a new batch of frozens, I engage in the nontrivial task of rearranging the contents of the freezer. Sometimes I’ll delve into the depths of the freezer and unearth (read: rediscover) amazing finds. Delightful little gems… This week?

roasted hatch green chiles

topped, skinned, deseeded

I covet these green chiles. Each October the state of New Mexico goes gangbusters with the chile harvest. Yeah yeah, I’ve seen peppers roasting at farmer’s markets in California and in Colorado, but with the exception of Pagosa Springs, they were roasting Anaheims and Poblanos, NOT Hatch green chiles, and there is a difference. My aunt lives near Santa Fe and scores me several bags each year. I usually break into one bag immediately and then squirrel the rest away. It isn’t until summer when I realize that October is not that far off and I’d better make some headway into these green chiles so I can make room for MORE come autumn.

dredge in blue cornmeal

pan fry

**Jump for more butter**

on display

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Recipe: honeydew granita

In summer I hear the constant zoom of hummingbirds all around the house. The “yard” is dotted with wildflower colors that we can take absolutely no credit for. After the sun has set and our second wave of pink clouds has faded to the west, shouts and laughter of the neighborhood kids continue to ride the trickle of cool night air climbing in through our open windows. On a few summer nights each year, a mysterious fleshy pod lies in wait for nightfall. Over the course of a few hours, this almost alien bud opens 6-8 inches across and releases a beautiful fragrance. By early morning, the Queen of the Night (aka night-blooming cereus or Epiphyllum oxypetalum) blossom will close and wilt. It is a One Night Only! kind of deal.

My grandmother gave me the cuttings to start this plant when we moved into this, our first house and I’ve been enjoying the flowers since 2007. Each year, the plant produces more buds. So far this summer, we have five (it’s still a youngish plant, so five is pretty good). One is opening in our great room right now as I type. It is considered good luck when a blossom opens, but more than that – it is extraordinary. I’ve documented the blooms before, but it’s something else to experience it in person. The timing worked out such that we made a little party of it Friday night.

i guess it was a sizable party

at 1:30am (the bud is just one day behind)

flowers that jason and heather’s kids picked for me (so sweet)

Compared to the last two blossoms from the previous week, this one sure took its time opening up. Maybe it was shy with all of those people around? After a dessert of chocolate espresso pecan pie, lime cheesecake with blackberry sauce, a lovely apricot frangipane tart that Marianne brought, coffee and tea – we piled back inside for some Wii Sports smackdown! As most of my friends know, I like to serve multiple desserts. Sometimes I’ll forget one. When I opened the freezer to grab some ice I realized I hadn’t broken out the granita.

honeydew, to be exact

cut into chunks

The timing was perfect though. We passed tiny glasses stuffed with light green crystals of fruity granita around – just enough to refresh without making anyone feel too heavy. I love granitas in summer. Nichole asked if the recipe was on my blog and I replied, “I’m going to blog it soon.” Erin’s eyes sparkled as she smiled at me – how many times has she heard me say that at dinner?

juice a lime

a little tartness to bring out the sweet

**Jump for more butter**

are you insane?!

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Recipe: chinese sweet red bean soup

Before I forget, several of you had asked for a picture of the Thai tea I had purchased when I made Thai tea ice cream. Twist my arm! I went back to the store and bought a second bag just for you guys… ahem. Hee hee. But seriously, I get it because I can’t read Chinese (or Korean or Japanese or Vietnamese or Thai or…). The picture is always helpful. I’ll add this to the other post too, but here it is for those of you who were wondering. I’m sure there are other brands that are equally good.

oh darn, another bag of wonderful thai tea

It’s getting a little toasty around here which means it is downright hot in Boulder and the surrounding flats. I’ve been avoiding the stove and oven for a good month now, but had to break down today in my quest to clean out my freezer. More on that (a little) later. Just three days ago we had cold, wind, rain and overnight we dipped quite close to freezing. I kinda loved it. I kinda had a craving for soup. Now, in the heat of late afternoon, I can’t think of anything other than a cold glass of ice water. Come evening, because of our (blessed) low humidity, our temperatures drop into the low 50s, sometimes 40s. It’s delicious and my brain lulls back into cool weather mode and thoughts turn to soup. I know – soup? In this heat?!

red beans

Make that red adzuki beans. I’m talking about a sweet soup. Most westerners are pretty underwhelmed by Chinese desserts. They don’t tend to be very sweet, but I rather like that. However, the marriage of Asian flavors with western style desserts is like the ultimate in awesome for me. When I dine in authentic Chinese restaurants in the Bay Area or Southern California, our complimentary dessert is almost always a hot bowl of some kind of sweet soup. Taro root, corn and carrot, red bean, green bean, black sesame, peanut… soup.

soaking in water

you’ll want to add some tapioca pearls too

**Jump for more butter**