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archive for July 2012

the season of so much awesome

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Recipe: chinese tea eggs

If I go without enough sleep for several days in a row, I start to get a little stabby. But I have been pretty chipper despite my paltry sleep hours of late, because the days have been filled with The Crush of Awesome. Here’s a visual sampler:

our monsoons have begun!

we had my parents and close family friends up for dinner

enjoying the evening on the deck

dramatic sunset clouds

fireweed and monkshood blooming in the mountains

hiking the rockies

cute little pika taking a peek at us

jeremy on the continental divide (aka “another great morning in paradise”)

a stroll around a local lake

kaweah still loves her walkie

My problem is that no matter what time I go to bed, I almost always wake up with the sun. That’s somewhat problematic considering it is summer. I also suffer from the general problem of being both a night-owl and an early bird which translates into cranky pants. All this to say – it’s gonna be a quick post… on Chinese tea eggs!

gather some eggs, ginger, green onion, soy sauce, star anise, chinese five spice, black tea

hard boil the eggs

Chinese tea eggs or marble eggs have a more delicate flavor than Chinese soy sauce eggs. I love both, but the tea eggs are just so pretty. Crack the shells after hard-boiling the eggs. You can do this by tapping the eggs on a counter or work surface, or by smacking the back of a spoon or the flat of a heavy knife on the shell. Then simmer them in the heady black tea mixture to create the beautiful eggshell pattern.

cover the eggs with cracks

place the eggs, spices, tea, and water in a saucepan

simmer for an hour

**Jump for more butter**

take a break

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Recipe: ginger limeade

I’ll admit it. I’ve been spending a lot of time playing around with canning. That’s what happens when you have a boatload of fruit that is ripe right now. I went to bed dreaming of sterilizing jars and woke up thinking of lid wands. It’s a sickness, I tell you. So over the weekend I had to put an end to the madness and get myself into the backcountry. It’s my cure all, you know. Here are some snappies from my iphone.

rose crown

the keyhole above pawnee pass

from the summit of pawnee peak, jeremy points to another hike we had done

Once we are home, our typical post-hike ritual is to unpack our gear, scrub the sunblock and grime off of ourselves, and dump our stinky, sweaty clothes into the laundry basket. Kaweah likes to sniff down our hiking pants and trail runners because it makes her waggy and happy. I sometimes wonder if she knows where we went as she’s been on nearly every hike with us several times up until the last couple of years. She really loved her hikes, so it’s bittersweet for me to watch her get so excited about something she can’t do anymore.

When everything is put away, we sit down and have ourselves several glasses of water (ice water for me, please). But this time, after the second glass of water, I asked Jeremy if he’d like to have a ginger limeade. I had the ginger limeade at Café Aion in Boulder a couple of times. It was good, but not as gingery as I prefer. Why not make it the way *I* like it at home? There’s no reason not to.

ginger and limes

There was leftover ginger syrup from the candied ginger I made earlier. That is great in cocktails or with seltzer water or added to hot tea (especially if you have a sore throat). It’s more sweet than spicy, so I tried a different ginger syrup recipe that I found on Imbibe Magazine. They don’t peel the ginger in their recipe, but I peeled mine.

chop up the ginger

combine ginger with sugar and water

cook the syrup for an hour then strain

**Jump for more butter**

rainy days and mondays

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Recipe: candied ginger

You could deduce that I am a rain lover simply because I live in a place that receives 300+ days of sunshine a year, but you’d be mistaken. I do love the rain, but I have in fact, always loved the rain. I even loved the rain when I lived in Ithaca, New York (during graduate school, no less) which boasts more days of precipitation annually (161) than Seattle, Washington (150). I truly came to appreciate those rainy days after living in Southern California. Winter or “the rainy season” was far and away my favorite time of year there. Of course, in Colorado, I prefer my precipitation in frozen form. That said, the rain is a lovely, beautiful, wondrous thing in summer. I had the privilege of foraging with two of my favorite ladies – Wendy and Ellen – in the suburbs outside of Denver on a deliciously rainy, cool Monday morning.

picking goosefoot in the rain

cute bumblebees keeping dry under this teasel bloom

ground cherries (not ready)

apricot haul

I don’t go foraging for the forage. Mostly, I like learning about and geeking out on plants with my knowledgeable friend. It’s also heaps of fun slogging through muddy trails, seeing local wildlife (snakes, bunnies, etc.), admiring what can thrive in the neglected corners of suburbia, and putting my pattern-recognition skills to good use. Oh, and of course there is the precious (tom)girl-time and post-foraging lunch at a local Vietnamese restaurant!

And if that wasn’t a perfect start to a Monday, Jeremy and I capped off the evening dining in Boulder at The Kitchen, catching up with two long-time friends from graduate school. Julie and Tyler were both in Jeremy’s department – he is an astronomer and she is a planetary geologist. Julie and I were graduate student “cousins” as we shared two common faculty on our PhD committees (Julie had a minor in geology and I had a minor in planetary). I quite love these two. Anyone who claims that graduate school is the best time of your life should be regarded with deep suspicion. However, I will say of our Cornell years that we carry many special friendships from that time into the present day.

tyler and julie

jeremy’s halibut entrée

a nice finish to a great evening

That’s one of the upsides to sticking close to home this summer – getting to see both local friends and friends from out of town. Another positive? Kaweah is doing great. Aside from general aging, her medical issues have abated and you couldn’t find a happier pup. I think being home and providing her with a normal (i.e. non-travel) routine has helped tremendously. Yet another plus of staying local this summer? More kitchen experiments.

find some nice, tender, young ginger (spring is your best bet)

I don’t know when I developed my taste for ginger. I know it wasn’t until I was an adult because I avoided it as a kid. The flavor grew on me and I began to use it more and more in my cooking. During chemotherapy, ginger chews were a staple. I popped one into my mouth whenever I felt queasy. I kept a bag of them along with saltines by my bedside. Folks had said not to eat your favorite foods during chemo because you’d come to have bad associations with them after treatments ended. But you know what? I just wound up loving ginger even more. It wasn’t just the nausea, but anytime I have a cold or feel under the weather, ginger is that soothing flavor in chicken congee or ginger tea that Mom always made for me. I occasionally grab a bag of candied ginger for snacking – it’s such a pick-me-up candy. Then one day it occurred to me that this must be ridiculously easy to make. Ridiculously.

peeling ginger

slicing thin

boiled in water

**Jump for more butter**