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archive for April 2011

and there will be cake

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Recipe: sour cream lemon pound cake

[Portal 2 was released Tuesday. If you know what I’m talking about, you’ll understand the cake reference.]

We had a little accident earlier this week. Well, Kaweah had an accident when no one was around. I came home from an appointment to find her limping about, crying in pain, and hanging her head low and to the left. We’re pretty sure she fell down the stairs. I carried her to the car and drove to her vet. Nothing broken, probably a bad sprain. They informed me that Kaweah has terrific range of motion and health for her age. She got a treat and a bottle of pain medication. She’s on the mend, but we’re watching her and… we’ve installed baby gates at both sets of stairs.

it’s for your own good, kaweah

Kaweah was improved enough Tuesday evening that we were okay to leave her at home and meet up with my cousin and her husband for a lovely dinner at Frasca in Boulder.

waiting for my cousin to arrive

my duck egg appetizer

jeremy’s yellowfin tuna appetizer

colorado lamb roasted to perfection

pan-seared sea bream

I hadn’t been to Frasca since last summer (but I’ve been to Pizzeria Locale quite a bit this year) and the interior has changed up due to a remodel. Our server said we could get a tour of the kitchen after our meal. Bobby Stuckey (owner and wine director) graciously took us around the new spaces – new dining area (which used to be the old kitchen), the gorgeous glass polishing room, the kitchen, the offices, and then out the back way into Pizzeria Locale (part of Frasca) and then next door to the Caffe.

i’d love to have a glass polishing room – and i’ll need a glass polisher too

We are spoiled rotten in Boulder with so many fantastic restaurants (especially considering the size of the city). Frasca is most certainly one of our favorites. It’s that special place you go when something big has happened. I already promised my girlfriend that I’m taking her there for dinner to celebrate the completion of her Ph.D. this summer. I’m looking forward to it. And summer is fast on spring’s heels.

boulder is starting to bloom

Spring in Boulder means sunshine, warmer weather, that yellow-green haze of leaves just starting to bud on naked trees, and undergraduates who are a little too excited to don their Daisy Dukes even though it’s only 55°F out. Spring in my mountain town means snow, rain, rainbows, sunshine, more snow… I like that it’s still cool enough around here for me to bake without wilting in the heat.

time for cake: flour, sugar, butter, eggs, lemons, sour cream, salt, baking soda

grease and flour your cake pan

I used to have a great lemon pound cake recipe that I made often when I lived at sea-level. Then I made it a few months after moving to the mountains and it cratered like nobody’s business. I was really sad. The texture of the pound cake wasn’t even close. I tried adjusting ingredients, but it either tanked or was off or both. So I stayed away from making lemon pound cake for a few years.

add eggs one at a time to creamed butter and sugar

grating lemon peel

**Jump for more butter**

if everyone jumped off a cliff…

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

Recipe: baked kale chips

I took a break from Crazytown (in my head) and descended upon Boulder the other day for a much-needed, long-overdue lunch with some of my girlfriends. We waited nearly an hour to get a table at The Kitchen (Friday noon, Pearl Street, gorgeously sunny day in Boulder – what do you expect?). Time flew past, though. We were all doting on Mr. Felix-Cutie-Pie. That’s right. Even the non-baby person (that would be me) couldn’t resist. That kid is snugglicious.

it’s amazing that manisha ever agrees to hand him back to his momma

the fruity cocktail that kitt ordered

Grand plans for getting things done this weekend were only half-realized because the other half was spent with my better half. The good news is that I returned to the kitchen to cook again. And that felt great! I feel better when I eat the food that I make because I know what went into it. I know it’s good and wholesome stuff. One of the recipes I tried this weekend was all Diane’s fault.

the guilty party is on the left

Remember how a bunch of us met for ramen in Los Angeles and then went walking around the Marukai Pacific Market to theoretically walk off lunch (but instead, Diane bought us a dozen giant crispy cream puffs)? As I hugged Allison and Son good-bye in the produce section, Diane came up to me with a bunch of kale and said (at 100 mph), “Mmmm kale. I make baked kale chips. Have you tried them? I love them. LOVE THEM. I can eat them all in one sitting. Just me, by myself. Todd doesn’t get any. They’re so good! You need to make them. So good. Good for you. But not as good as Tim’s Cascade jalapeño potato chips. But almost!” That’s high praise coming from Diane.

exhibit a: kale

Yeah, I had heard about kale chips. First I saw it on Jaden’s blog. Then Shauna raved about them. And you know it’s big when Deb swears by kale chips. Easy, delicious, healthy, crispy (I am, after all, a potato chip fiend) – how could you not want to try them? EVERYBODY is making these chips. And of course, when Todd and Diane posted their kale chips, I knew it was my destiny. That’s because Diane and I have a special bond over salty snacks (specifically, Tim’s Cascade jalapeño potato chips). So I decided to jump off the cliff like everyone else. You should join me.

strip the leaves from the tough stems

pour a little olive oil and toss to coat

**Jump for more butter**

the big stupid smile on my face

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Recipe: favorite chinese fried rice

It’s snowing big heavy flakes tonight! We have seven inches of snow on our deck right now and I’m thinking a little backcountry ski might be in my near future.

[UPDATE: Here’s the view from our deck this morning. The forecast was 2-9 inches and we have 14 (it’s still snowing). I LOVE IT!!]

I’m ready for a little break as it has been non-stop around here since I returned from California. I had to test out some new equipment that arrived while I was away and of course, the guinea pig’s name is Kaweah. Kaweah got a brushing, then a (much-needed) bath, and another brushing. It wasn’t for the photo, it was because she was shedding her winter coat all over the house and because she had her stink on BIG TIME.

now she smells like lavender

A client shoot kept me off the streets and up late at night earlier this week. The first day of the shoot we were staged at Chris Cina’s newly-opened restaurant (Hideaway Steakhouse). I cannot wait to actually EAT there because Chris is the chef and if you’ve ever visited his website (gorgeous food, gorgeous photography) you’d want to eat there too. Not only that, but Chris is one of the nicest people ever. The second day was in the home studio – just me, lots of food, and Kaweah following me around waiting for a peanut or carrot to drop.

how can you not love fruits and vegetables?

And then there were the property viewings… We are not moving anywhere! I hate moving. I hate house hunting. I can barely stay awake to shop for clothes for myself let alone a house. But you see, I have a big incentive to look for a nice place in town because it means my parents will come and hang out in Colorado. Last summer they visited us and scoped out a few properties, then they wined and dined around town and really enjoyed themselves (Dad LOVES The Kitchen – who doesn’t?). That is important to me because I want them to be happy, but I also want them to eventually live here year-round so I can take care of them and be there for them as they age. That’s what Chinese daughters do. That’s what Kris and I would have done together, but now it’s just me. Of course, at my parents’ rate they will be hiking the fourteeners well into their nineties!

these are some nice digs

All of this has conspired against me cooking any of the lovely vegetables I picked up this weekend with grand plans to make some dishes I’ve been craving. It’s been simple food like sautéed English peas, eggs, toast, vegetable soup, grilled green chile & swiss cheese sandwiches. So let’s dig deep into the queue and get a recipe for my favorite Chinese fried rice recipe that I shot in 2008. I know – where the heck has that been hiding? It’s been hiding in my February 2008 cooking photos folder. I document, archive, and save *everything*.

preserved whole mustard green – salty and crunchy

this stuff makes the dish

I’ve been making this fried rice since college and I’ve been eating it all my life. I think this is my mom’s recipe and it’s most certainly one of my comfort foods. It’s also one of Jeremy’s favorites so I like to make a batch for him before I go on travel. As with most Chinese dishes, this one is mostly prep-intensive and quick to cook. They also make great leftovers.

some pork mixed with cornstarch, sesame oil, and soy sauce

diced onion and julienned preserved mustard green

**Jump for more butter**