baked oats green chile chicken enchiladas chow mein bakery-style butter cookies

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archive for February 2011

winter someplace else

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

I hopped a jet plane west the other evening… As we flew over the Rockies, I peered down at the Earth’s surface and saw the ski runs of my local hill glowing blue in the moonlight. Just east of that was my little town, sparkling in the night. There are few places that could peel me away from Colorado in winter because you all know how much I *love* my Colorado winters. But where I am now is certainly one of them. In the morning, we drove east and succumbed to the temptations of the Central Valley.

carnitas taco and chicken enchilada

chile relleno and tacos: carnitas, carne asada

If you love the cold months (and even if you don’t), you have probably determined that winter is a harsh mistress. Her storms are unpredictable, moody, tricky. Sometimes she gives too little and sometimes she gives too much. It can be a messy business traveling when she would rather you just stay put.

once we arrived that evening, the snow started coming down

We live in the mountains and we live with snow more months of the year than not, but coming here in winter is always magical to me. Coming to Yosemite any time of year takes my breath away, but winter is particularly wonderful because there aren’t nearly the hordes of people crawling the landscape like they do in summer.

and you wake up in wonderland: upper and lower yosemite falls

It has been a while since we’ve encountered a maritime snowpack. It’s called Sierra Cement for a reason. The snow is wet, heavy, and packs down to make structurally coherent snowballs and fortresses in contrast to our Rocky Mountain champagne powder that blows like fairy dust off your gloves and feels like a million butterflies catching you as your skis plunge into several feet of the stuff. But untrammeled snow is lovely no matter its density and it is especially so here in Yosemite.


The weather isn’t doing what I had hoped nor even what the forecast had predicted, but that doesn’t matter so much. What matters is making the most of what you’ve got and appreciating that you’ve got it. Booyah!

jeremy playing around in the snow

wait a sec, how deep is the snow?

yay, yosemite!

boulder: pizzeria locale

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Right before a meeting Friday morning, I got a text from my lovely friend, Denise asking if I wanted to grab lunch at Frasca’s new pizzeria. I already had lunch plans and sadly had to decline. But the following day I was back in town for PodCamp Boulder 3 with my pal, Kathya. When the conference broke for lunch, most of the folks planned to cross the street and grab a bite. Kathya and I are food bloggers – every meal is an opportunity, right? So we high-tailed it in the snow to Pearl Street and managed to get a table for two at a very busy Pizzeria Locale.

pizzeria locale

The restaurant had only been open a week or so when we walked in. Frasca is the parent restaurant of Pizzeria Locale. Frasca is also an absolute gem of a dining establishment in Boulder – their food, wine, and service is phenomenal. I had high expectations for Pizzeria Locale. The tables were packed, the bar was packed, and the bar around the gorgeous pizza oven (the first Stefano Ferrara oven in the state of Colorado) was packed.

the menu

The service is good. It’s not at the level of Frasca which I don’t really expect from a pizzeria anyway, but the hostess, servers, and the general manager (Chris – a stand up fellow) were all attentive, friendly, and warm. The interior has a jovial, modern feel to it and the place is loud because diners are happy and enjoying themselves. As staff walked plates of freshly baked pizzas out to the tables, more than a few sets of eyes followed the plates with longing. I’m guilty of ogling the pizzas too.

hydrate with some still water

Kat and I opted for a table (had better natural light than the pizza bar) and began to scan the menu. Pizzeria Locale offers up a tempting selection of salads, side dishes, pizzas (and calzone), and dessert. They also offer gluten-free dough for their pizza. The lunch special (which Denise had mentioned) was a small arugula salad, a marinara pizza, and a coke for $9. As good as that sounded, we wanted to sample a little more of the menu and opted for two salads and a pizza.

the amalfi: fennel, citrus, dill ($7)

the antica: arugula, parmigiano reggiano, balsamic vinegar ($7)

kat digs into the lovely greens

**Jump for more butter**

little love letters

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Recipe: pistachio crème brûlée

little love letter #1
I remember in the early days when we were backpacking the Olympics of Washington and it started to rain. You thought it would get better. You really believed it would because you grew up in New Mexico where it’s sunny almost every day. After 24 hours of non-stop rain I declared we were packing up and moving on, in the rain. We discovered that a journey can be magical, rain or shine or horizontal snow. And that is how we choose to live our life together to this day. Throughout the years there have been so many great moments along with a few very hard times. I’m glad that you are my eternal traveling companion – then and now, rain or shine, laughter or tears, but always love.

little love letter #2
There is no way for you to ever know how much you broke my heart the day you left. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss you. I often find myself chuckling over something silly that I know you’d appreciate or discovering a little knick knack you had given me: the little moon doggie, the office supply cube, a newspaper clipping. I still have your number in my address book, have all of your letters squirreled away someplace safe, hear your voice in my head. I don’t cry as much anymore, but it still catches me by surprise now and again. I think of the plans we had – to grow old together, to take care of Mom and Dad together, to watch your children grow up, to be best friends and sisters into old age. I still keep you in my heart.

little love letter #3
Can you tell how much I love you even though I don’t know how to say it? Some of my earliest memories include walking with you on a sunny afternoon around the neighborhood. I always felt safe and secure with you near. You were the calming presence. You never yelled, you were never mean, your eyes danced like sparkling stars when you smiled. You held my hand when I walked up the stairs as a toddler. Now, I offer you my arm or my hand when we walk together. I don’t understand everything you say to me and I’m pretty sure you don’t understand everything I say to you in my mangled Mandarin, but it doesn’t matter. Your eyes still dance when you smile and I know what you mean when you squeeze my hand.

littler love letters
Thank you for letting me be me. Thank you for getting who I am. Thank you for being you.

I honestly don’t think Moses said, “Word up, my people…” but I like the way you tell the story.

The way you think and the way you treat others challenge me to think differently, to do better, to be better. I love that about you.

We make a GREAT team. It’s a joy to work with you.

It meant so much to me that you were there when I needed you most, and I didn’t even have to ask.

Your stories make me laugh. Your curiosity helps me learn. Your enthusiasm is infectious.

Watching you raise your children makes me so proud to be your friend.

Of all the random paths we have taken in this world, I’m glad our two random paths have crossed and that you are a part of my life.

If I had a tail, I’d wag it whenever I am with you.

That good heart of yours makes this world a better place.

“I sure do love you.”

dinner: pan-seared, dry-aged beef tenderloin on polenta with chanterelles and port reduction

dessert: pistachio crème brûlée

I am a fan of love. I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day isn’t love, it’s a gimmick. For me, love is a kiss and sweet words each morning. Love is that warm hug in the kitchen just because you’re there. Love is running through the house squeaking the dog toy – chasing one another and laughing hysterically. Love is poring over maps together to plan the next backpacking trip. Love is calling to the other to go outside and admire the moon one fine evening. Love is curling up under the covers and whispering plans to one another for the next day.

And in the House of Butter, love is also about making a great meal to enjoy and share.

easy: eggs, cream, sugar, pistachios

after removing the skins

sugar and pistachios

**Jump for more butter**