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archive for June 2011

i sweat when the heat is on

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Recipe: curry laksa

The heat is on. I believe they are going to be flirting with triple digits down on the flats (in Denver) soon. But it’s a dry heat. Whatever that means.

Actually, I know full well what it means. It means the difference between feeling hot and cranky (dry heat) and feeling homicidal (humid heat). There are places I have avoided visiting because everyone has warned me about the heat and humidity. Diane once told me that I should visit Vietnam. “Sounds great!” I said, “when are the cool months?” There was a long pause and Diane informed me that there aren’t any “cool” months, just hot and really hot months.


I am drawn to Southeast Asian food with its exotic ingredients, tropical influence, and spice. I love it. What intrigues me is how so many hot climate cuisines have so many spicy dishes. Sweat will pour from my brow when I indulge in a bowl of spicy noodles in winter. Imagine having a bowl of hot and spicy something or other in summer. That’s just Crazytown!

fish sauce, pepper, shallots, garlic, lemon grass, galangal, curry, turmeric, chiles

let’s get our spicy on

But you know what? It’s addictive. Spicy is addictive. Yes, even in summer. I’ll turn down a bowl of perfectly tender beef stew while we’re in the throes of summer, but I will crave curry laksa like nobody’s business. We used to enjoy a bowl of this spicy broth filled with noodles, shrimp, vegetables, and tofu puffs when we lived in Southern California and frequented wonderful ethnic restaurants. Which is why I had to learn to make my own now that we live in a bit of an Asian food vacuum. To quell the beast, you know. I am a noodle girl. In the past I would make laksa the cheater way. I would buy a jar of some spicy curry, add chicken broth, other ingredients, and call it good.

i like to add sprouts, tofu puffs, egg noodles, rice vermicelli, and shrimp

the spice paste in all its glory

**Jump for more butter**

the dude abides

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Recipe: white russian cake

Summer is meant for…

getting together with friends

and trying out new restaurants in town

scoping new blooms on the trail

admiring cumulonimbus at sunset

Summer isn’t necessarily meant for baking, at least not if you are me and become rather cranky when temperatures rise above 75°F. But that’s what I did over the weekend against my better judgment. It all started when Jeremy and I were cruising through Whole Foods a few months ago and a woman at the cake counter asked if we would like to sample some cake. Well… hell yes!

let’s make cake

and pour it into the pans

sliced layers

It was a slice of a Kim and Jake’s cake. Kim and Jake’s is a bakery in Boulder that specializes in adult cakes. I don’t mean anatomically correct adult cakes, I mean boozy cakes like Daiquiri, Strawberry Margarita, Dark and Stormy, or in this instance… White Russian. It wasn’t bad. I thought it could have used more booze, but I’m sure Whole Foods isn’t in the business of distributing cake strong enough to require a liquor license. I wondered what the heck is in a White Russian. I’m only familiar with the drink because of The Big Lebowski, a movie that is dearly loved in this house. So a White Russian contains vodka, coffee liqueur, and light cream.

heavy cream for the whipped frosting

kahlua and vodka to soak the cake

**Jump for more butter**

these are the salad days

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Recipe: jicama pepita garbanzo salad

As I mentioned in my last post, Jeremy and I went skiing on the summer solstice. On fresh snow! Just a few inches of fresh snow in the backcountry and it all went to mashed potatoes by mid-morning, but it was totally the best first day of summer I’ve ever had. The winds were all crazytown and stormy clouds sat on the divide all morning, however we enjoyed intermittent blue skies overhead.

jeremy moves up the valley wall

the fun part

skiing out is fast

Everything (I mean the snow) is melting in earnest now and it’s unclear if we’ll get another fabulous backcountry ski day like that for the rest of the summer. But it’s not so bad to be without snow for just a little while. I kinda look forward to hiking trails in comfy trail runners instead of my tele boots and carrying a small pack instead of a pair of skis on my back. I’m also anticipating our thunderstorm cycle 1) to wash away the pine pollen and hence my allergies and 2) because lightning is fascinating. Clouds make for interesting sunsets sometimes too.

lighting the belly

there were even some jesus rays

We like being outside year-round, but in summer it is mandatory to get out and take advantage of the fact that the winds aren’t blowing snow and rocks around at 65 mph. All of that outsiding plus a few hours of sleep leaves little time in the day for cooking. To be honest though, on the really hot days I just want to drink ice water, eat watermelon, and stick my head in the freezer. On the not as insanely hot days, I find myself craving salads and other things that don’t involve convective, conductive, or radiative transfer.

simple is good

lettuce consumption is up in this house

In the last few years I’ve begun to mix my own salad dressings from scratch. It’s really quite simple and requires only a little more effort than twisting open a bottle of store-bought dressing. The difference in flavor and quality is light years apart. Most of the time I like a simple balsamic vinaigrette, but lately I’ve been on a different vinaigrette kick. It works with so many of the salads I make.

olive oil, vinegar, dijon mustard, thyme, shallots, salt, pepper, a pinch of sugar

combine the dressing ingredients except for the oil

whisk the oil in

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