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archive for May 2012

super weekend

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Recipe: butterscotch and milk chocolate puddings

Were any of you able to catch the full moon this past weekend? Since the moon was at perigee (closest approach to Earth) for 2012, it appeared 14% larger and 30% brighter than typical full moons. Everyone was saying it would be a “supermoon”. For us, it certainly was if only for the fact that clouds were building all day, sitting like a giant cap on top of our region. Sheer luck and strategic planning gave us a tiny window from the horizon of the Great Plains to the base of the cloud deck. For all of ten minutes we were able to witness and capture something beautiful.


As the moon disappeared into the clouds, I looked up from the camera and shouted, “I love it here!” We have good skies, clean air, quiet mountain roads, and a topography of mountains, foothills, and canyons that dramatically abuts a flat, expansive plain. The storm eventually committed itself on Sunday and brought a shower of wet, heavy snow upon us. Moisture is welcome now, in any form.

kaweah wanted to check out the snow

It was most definitely a super weekend – super moon, super snow, and I recreated a lovely treat I’ve enjoyed from Pizzeria Locale in Boulder (part of the grand Frasca dominion).

call it super pudding

Last month, I was on assignment to shoot a fun annual event in downtown Boulder – Taste of Pearl. Local restaurants, Colorado wineries, and shops on Pearl Street triple up to create 15 tasting stations for attendees to sample and peruse and mingle. It’s festive and lively. People get friendlier and friendlier as the afternoon progresses, I’m guessing because of the wine! As I was working, I didn’t eat or drink until the end. The fellas at Pizzeria Locale were handing out cute little cups of their butterscotch pudding. If you said “butterscotch pudding” to me in the past, I would have politely declined. After having sampled this butterscotch pudding twice (first time at the restaurant, second time at this shoot), I was SOLD. But you know me… something this good needs to be tested at Butter Headquarters.

vanilla, bourbon, milk, eggs, brown sugar, butter, salt, cornstarch

mix melted butter with the brown sugar and salt

I don’t develop recipes. I just don’t. That kind of activity makes me crazy and cranky. I seek out good recipes from trusted sources and proceed to test them out. After searching my library and looking online, I settled on David Lebovitz’ butterscotch pudding, because he puts BOOZE in his pudding. Whiskey, to be specific. I went to my wine and booze adviser (Jason at Boulder Wine and Spirits – he is the best) and grilled him about whiskeys. What is whiskey? Can I use bourbon instead of whiskey? What the heck is scotch? Jason deserves a batch of cookies just for putting up with me. In the end, I decided to save myself $30 and use the bourbon I already had.

whisk milk and cornstarch

whisk in eggs

stir milk into the brown sugar mixture

**Jump for more butter**

sandwich chronicles: dish gourmet’s reuben

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

For this week’s sandwich pick, I’m still hanging about on East Pearl Street (that is, east of the Pearl Street pedestrian mall). Walk a few blocks east from Cured and you’ll find Dish Gourmet on the south side of the street. It’s a cute little deli (and catering business), bright with natural light, tucked in among the leafy trees this time of year.

dish gourmet

Step inside and you’re greeted with a handful of high tables for patrons to enjoy their orders. There is also patio seating outside which people take advantage of during the glorious weather months in Boulder. A large menu board hangs up high above the counter where you order, listing all of the tempting sandwiches that Dish can handcraft for you. You also have the option for a half sandwich in case you want to have some soup or salad and don’t want to explode. They have breakfast options too, but I haven’t tried those. Gluten-free? You can request any sandwich on their house-baked gluten-free bread. Vegetarian? Plenty of vegetarian sandwiches on offer. And there are many enticing homemade salads and sides in the display case next to the order counter.

it can be difficult to choose

I worked my way around the menu a few times trying sandwiches like the Mapleton (roast beef, white cheddar, vegetables on ciabatta), the Boulder bbq brisket (beef brisket, caramelized onions, white cheddar, coleslaw on ciabatta), the Kenai (house-cured Norwegian salmon, dill cream cheese, vegetables on baguette). My buddy Jason tried the Cuban. In the end, I had to go with their Reuben. Classic, right? It also happens to be one of their most popular sandwiches.

the reuben

To the sandwich: While the other sandwiches I had tried were solid, the Reuben was a step above. The corned beef was meaty and fresh. You know how corned beef can look like it was pressed and sliced and sold in a grocery store deli? This was not that. A generous amount was topped with a slightly sweet coleslaw, French Emmental, and a little Russian dresing. All of this was crammed between two slices of their heavenly pumpernickel. I don’t always go for pumpernickel, but theirs had golden raisins dotting the bread which for some reason knocked my socks clear off when devoured with everything else. Fantastically juicy and substantial as sandwiches go.

All of their sandwiches come with potato chips and a pickle (upon request) or you can substitute the chips with potato salad, pasta salad, or a green salad for an additional $1.25. I’m not a fan of their pickles. I love pickles, but these were brined and not especially vinegary or spicy, and the vinegar is what I love most about any pickle. Despite the lackluster pickle, I think there is a sandwich for everyone here. And if you aren’t a sandwich person (I can’t even imagine) then consider their soups or salads and most definitely have a gander at the sides in the display case.

hours of operation

Where: You can find Dish Gourmet at 1918 Pearl Street (Boulder, Colorado 80302) a few blocks east of the Pearl Street pedestrian mall.

When: Dish is open 9am – 6pm Monday – Friday, 11am – 4pm Saturday. DISH IS CLOSED SUNDAYS.

Contact: Call Dish Gourmet at 720.565.5933. Visit their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter @dishgourmet.

Full Disclosure: My opinions. No comps for the chomps.

Previous sandwich research:

1) The Pinyon’s fried chicken sandwich (sadly, now closed)
2) Cafe Blue’s blackened tuna sandwich
3) Frasca Caffè’s Italiano panini caldi
4) Snarf’s pastrami and Swiss sandwich
5) Cured’s Spicy Frenchman sandwich

gettin’ fresh

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Recipe: vietnamese bun bo xao

Stormy weather. I love it! I like watching the clouds roil overhead as they blot out the sun. Usually, I’m on the lookout for lightning, because it’s one of those elusive, dangerous, exciting, and beautiful things – both to capture with my camera and to witness with my eyes. However, I’m never one to pass up a good show of mammatus clouds. They’re more common down on the Great Plains (Boulder/Denver and parts east) where atmospheric instability is pretty common in summer. Mammata are common up here in the mountains too, but they don’t get a chance to develop as much nor are they as long-lived as they are down on the flats. But we’ve been getting some stormy days and nice displays.

gone in seconds

dissipating mammata and a nice vertical draft over the continental divide

and right over my hizouse!!

Some of you might be aware that I’ve been doing a lot of sandwich research of late. A LOT of sandwich research. Last week I asked some gal pals if they wanted to grab non-sandwich fare for lunch… I had a hankering for Vietnamese food – particularly the rice noodle salad. And so we did and it was great, but… how hard can it be to make this at home? Not that hard at all, it turns out.

bun (bún): rice noodles

I did a little snooping about on the interwebs and found this lovely video (with Aussie accents – bonus!) on how to make Vietnamese bun bo xao (beef noodle stir-fry). When I went to Asian Seafood Market in Boulder, I asked Maria if the rice vermicelli package was the right one to make bun. She grimaced and said, “That too skinny!” and snatched the package from my hand, disappeared down the aisles, and returned with the right kind – a thicker rice noodle. “Use this for bun!” So don’t get the skinniest vermicelli, but rather the noodles that look about 1/16th of an inch in diameter (reference a ruler if you don’t know what I’m talking about because super skinny noodles will kinda suck).

While I was digging around among the bags of herbs in the back of the store, I happened upon what looked like Vietnamese mint. I didn’t know for sure though, because the video was the first I had ever heard of it. I brought it to Maria and asked if this was Vietnamese mint. She smiled and said yes, she likes to use it in salads and soups. She opened the bag and tore a leaf off for me to smell. “You put this with noodles!”

(left to right) basil, mint, vietnamese mint, thai basil

vietnamese mint up close

I know that Pacific Ocean Market (in Broomfield) and H Mart (in Aurora) carry fresh perilla – which is also called sesame leaves or shiso leaves – but I didn’t have the time to drive out that far. I asked Maria if she had shiso leaves. A sharp “no!” was the response. Then I asked if it was okay for me to substitute basil for shiso in the bun bo xao. She squinted her eyes at me and said yes, use basil – why would you use shiso? Great, I was all set.

sliced beef, bean sprouts, herbs, cucumbers, lemongrass, garlic, onion, rice noodles, fish sauce

minced lemongrass, sliced onion, minced garlic, sprouts, sliced cukes, beef (flank steak)

**Jump for more butter**