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

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archive for November 2011

is this a rerun?

Monday, November 7th, 2011

No, it’s not a rerun… it’s just my weekend.

sunrise on the way to the airport

Less than a week after I had returned from California, I was headed right back to the Golden State. It wasn’t a business trip, it was purely for fun and I had Jeremy as my traveling companion. The priorities were: wine country, San Francisco, great food, seeing good friends (we’d have to stay a year to see everyone!), some rest and relaxation for Jeremy, and something important I needed to do.

mexican taqueria in bezerkeley with my buddy figs (cindy)

caffeine and cupcakes in healdsburg


cannelés at the healdsburg downtown bakery

Having visited both the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, I like the Sonoma side. It is less foofie and the landscape is less manicured, which I prefer. I also loathe the traffic in Napa Valley. This is definitely my favorite time to visit wine country, because the leaves are turning and the weather is cool enough for me to feel comfortable instead of overheated (and angry). My friends always get a chuckle when I say hot weather makes me cranky, but for anyone who loves cool weather – you totally know where I’m coming from. It was delightfully cool and sunny – perfect weather for wine tasting and raiding all of the bakeries we could find.

maples were turning red

i can’t resist the red leaves…

a red-tailed hawk at the farmer’s market (sonoma wildlife rescue center)

i try to stretch fall out as much as possible

fiery reds

and some plump grapes on the vines that had yet to be harvested

**Jump for more butter**

it comes as no surprise

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Recipe: chinese sweet red bean rice balls

a great start to any day

If you’ve been reading this blog for longer than six months, you can probably deduce that it snows here in Colorado. Ever heard of Vail? Breckenridge? Beaver Creek? Right on. For some reason, every stinking time it snows, a local will invariably tweet, “I can’t believe it’s snowing again!” Dear Incredulous Persons of Colorado, it’s going to do that (you know, the snowing thing). That’s why I live here. And we did get a lovely 7 inches of snow on our deck overnight. On days when there is fresh snow and NO wind, you’d best get out there into the wild blue awesome pronto because it just doesn’t get better than that.

it was snowing and sunny at the same time

jeremy looks toward mount audubon

time to peel off the skins and head down

from 10,600+ feet

But it *did* get better. We have a good friend visiting from out of town on business. When Aaron’s work was done, we joined him in the afternoon to do a little exploring around downtown Boulder. We grabbed some nibbles at happy hour, then visited Boxcar Coffee to kill a little time before moving on to The Pinyon for an excellent dinner. I finally tried the Pnyn Burger and now I have a crush on it. Kaweah was overjoyed when she discovered we had brought home yet another house guest.

serving up cowboy coffee

jeremy’s latte

the pinyon makes a damn fine burger

Our weather created a little excitement for Aaron seeing as he lives in mono-seasonal Southern California (okay, okay – they really do have TWO seasons). We’re hitting 11°F overnight and all of our trees are blanketed in white as if they had forgotten to take off their Halloween costumes. My food cravings are strongly coupled with the weather. As you can imagine, all I can think of are stews and soups. But not all of them are savory. My favorite traditional Chinese dessert is a boiled pillow of mochi dough filled with sweet red bean paste.

sweet rice flour, red bean paste, brown sugar, ginger

i actually prefer this glutinous rice flour

Grandma knew it was my favorite and she made these sweet rice balls from time to time when I was a little kid. I’d come home from pre-school or kindergarten, change into my play clothes, and then sit on the counter next to her while she worked the dough into these bite-sized pastries. I’d sneak a little sweet red bean paste. Sometimes we were silent while she worked and I watched. Other times we talked about silly things that were important to a 4-year old. Then I’d forget about the sweet rice balls after: lunch, our walk around the neighborhood together, my nap, Kris coming home from elementary school, and dinner with the whole family. I’d forget until Grandma brought out these steaming bowls of sweet soup with soft white rice balls floating in them. I preferred the red bean paste filling. Kris liked the black sesame paste filling. Grandma made both.

mix the flour and water together

the dough should be silky and not sticky

**Jump for more butter**