huckleberry pie meatless meatballs roasted porcini with gremolata gluten-free chocolate chip cookies


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archive for December 2011

back in action

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Recipe: chinese barbecue char siu pork

H’okay! I can now stand and sit for longer than 15 minutes at a time without breaking into a cold sweat and THAT my friends, is a GREAT feeling. I’ve been watching the snow falling outside our house all week long and I just keep telling myself that it’s laying down a good base for the rest of the season. Not being able to stand or sit for long also means I’m now well behind in just about EVERYTHING I had planned this month. However, being forced to stay inside means that I actually read the user’s manual when this arrived in the mail.


nikon 1 v1

just a little bigger than the iphone



We’re still getting to know each other, but it’s a nice addition to my Nikon family. I think I’ll call it Baby Bear. I’m kidding – I don’t name my cameras. This one will get a lot of miles in the backcountry and on the slopes this winter and spring (and hopefully summer too). I can’t get over how small it is and how well it performs so far…

test shot on the v1

test shot on the d3x

snowy boulder (v1)



Before my back went to hell in a handbasket, I had tested out a recipe that is a childhood favorite of mine. It’s Chinese and it’s pork, so yeah – that makes complete sense. Char siu pork or Chinese barbecue pork was this special treat you could get at the good Chinese restaurants back in the day. They would serve it sliced with the cold appetizer plate or more commonly we’d have it in the barbecue pork steamed buns at dim sum. My sister and I used to fight over these, we loved them so much. She usually won.

five spice, white pepper, garlic, honey, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, shaoxing wine, oil, pork

heat honey, hoisin, soy sauce, shaoxing wine, spices, and sesame oil together



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i just flipped that

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Recipe: albรณndigas soup

With the arrival of each new month, I have a little routine of running through the house flipping all of our calendars. We have several calendars just like we have several clocks, because I’m all time-conscious. I could have sworn it was just yesterday that I flipped to November. Is this what happens when you get old?! December is going to be a good month, because I say so. We already have an inch of highly-anticipated snow on the deck as I type. I am hoping December will make up for what November was lacking in blessed frozen precipitation. And then I have my schedule of handmade gifts for those people that have been very good to us like Kaweah’s Camp Crazy, our Subaru service team, the local post office (yes, even the ornery employee), Jeremy’s administrative staff, our vets, and my oncologist (the best one in the whole wide world). It just so happens that we’ll have new toys of our own to break in this month.


(left to right) my waxless touring skis, my teles, jeremy’s teles



While I’m ridiculously excited to have all of this new gear, I’m also grateful that we only upgrade our skis every four to five years because we’re having bread and water for the next 12 months. Actually, it’s been 13 years since we upgraded our waxless touring skis and let me just say, technology can be a beautiful thing when you wait a decade.

So earlier this week I was sitting at my desk one morning, typing emails in a horrible posture when Jeremy said, “Come look at these birds in the yard!” I jumped up from my seat and *twang*. My back has been recovering rather quickly. Although it feels slow as hell to me, I recognize that going from being unable to stand to being able to ride my bike in 48 hours is definite improvement. This has happened before in the past, so I know what works. Ice is my friend. Say it with me, everyone. I ice my back a couple of times a day, lying with my back on the floor, legs bent at 90 degrees and calves resting on a chair. I lay a quilt and pillow on the floor, then go to the freezer to get my ice pack. And without fail, upon my return there is a little occupy movement going on. Every. Single. Time.


hey, thanks for setting this up for me!



I make her move, but only enough for me to lie down next to her. Kaweah loves it when people get on the floor because she thinks they’re going to play. We had to establish that there was no playing going on while I iced my back. She settles for resting her head on my stomach and cuddling, periodically raising her head and sniffing around to check for treats (I know, she’s crazy – she is food obsessed 24/7). She’s become incredibly sweet in her old age.

We are having a lot of soups and stews in this house and it is without a doubt very absolutely awesome amazing. I load them with vegetables, they serve us for several meals, and the cooking warms the house with wonderful savory aromas. I had a batch of navy bean soup on the stove this evening as the sun dropped below the Continental Divide. There were nice clouds that I expected to light up on the bellies, but they were duds – gray, lifeless. I stood at the windows tapping my foot on the ground and scrunched my mouth to one side. Back to the soup… But you know, there is a reward for patience. Most of the time, it is a fizzle, but I kept checking every 20 minutes and after nearly an hour past local sunset, I started to see a yellow glow. This was a good sign. I took my photo equipment out onto the deck. I set up my gear while watching pale yellows become golds which touched off oranges, pinks, and reds that painted these textured cloudscapes. Kaweah ambled about the deck checking the grill for any overlooked goodies. The clouds were not high, they hugged the horizon but stretched from east to west (as far as I could see). Even though most people think they need a wide angle lens to capture something big, I find I use my telephoto zoom as much as my wides if not more so.


seven image pano stitch

like fire

eerie patterns to the south

sunset rainbow of colors



You can find the entire set on my photoblog.

Now back to the soups. I’ve had this one in a couple of Mexican restaurants when I lived in Southern California. It was a simple meatball soup, albรณndigas soup. Usually the broth was thin and there were swirls of cabbage, carrot, and onion floating about with a grain of rice here and there alongside three small meatballs. I found it comforting despite how plain it was and how cheaply it was made. I didn’t know it was cheaply made, I just thought they were all this way. At some point my mother-in-law gifted me this terrific New Mexican cookbook – The Border Cookbook, which I didn’t really cook from until my in-laws moved from New Mexico to Colorado and my supply of good New Mexican fare was cut off. When we moved to Colorado, I began to tag recipes until the book looked like it was growing a thick lawn of bright pink post-it tabs out the top. I had albรณndigas soup marked forever and I finally made it this week.


soup base: carrots, zucchini, onion, cumin, oregano, rice, salt, garlic, chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, tomatoes

everything is chopped, shredded, ground, or minced

adding broth, tomatoes, carrots, chiles to the sautรฉed onions, garlic, and spices



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