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archive for March 2013

spring fling

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Recipe: otsu noodles (sesame soba noodles)

Spontaneity is not my best color, but there are times when you just have to get on it and hit the road. Last week was one of those times. We packed up and drove west at the last minute to take care of some business. It was a quick trip (less than 36 hours), but a good one. Traveling around the western half of Colorado always reminds me that there is so much wilderness I want to explore right here in my own state.

heading out at sunrise (iphone)

mount massive from the road (iphone)

kaweah was extra good in the car (iphone)

mount crested butte

jeremy’s boozy cocktail was really a boozy dessert (iphone)

pizza with the best crust at secret stash (iphone)

kaweah lounging in the dog-friendly motel

Travel of any sort makes me realize how much I miss cooking and preparing my own food. Maybe it’s the control freak in me or perhaps I can’t stomach dining out too often (especially freeway food – gah), but I develop cravings for specific things when I’m away from home. By the time I return, I’m ready with a list of groceries and a menu of wholesome, fresh fare. This time, I had otsu on the brain – Japanese soba (buckwheat) noodles loaded with vegetables and tofu with a seasoned sesame sauce. When I purchased the noodles at the local Asian market, I picked up a pack of green tea soba noodles in addition to the traditional soba noodles.

the sauce: rice vinegar, sriracha, tamari, sesame oil, lemon, ginger, sugar, tahini

soba noodles, tofu, sesame seeds, bean sprouts, cucumbers, green onions, eggplant

**Jump for more butter**

crazy beautiful

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Recipe: mango lassi

Volatile. We go from dark, brooding skies to clear and sunny ones to snow squalls to gentle breezes and run that cycle fifty times over. Spring is volatile around here. The clouds are practically roiling over the Continental Divide in a battle between moisture, thermal expansion, and pressure gradients. The tips of aspen branches have turned fuzzy and glow brilliantly in the sun. They will be a fresh green in a matter of months. I love my snow, but I doubt there are many who don’t feel a little giddy at the approach of spring. We are certainly enjoying it.

snow hangs like bunting on the bridge (iphone)

metal flowers at peak 8 in breckenridge (iphone)

looking out on imperial chair – the highest ski lift in north america (iphone)

aprés ski – start with tempura

…and hamachi sashimi

brushing the dog (kaweah doesn’t enjoy this one bit)

April is a stone’s throw away. We finished our taxes. It feels great to get that out the way. I’m fighting the urge to go into full spring cleaning mode because I basically blow up the house and spend a few days sorting it all out. I think that stresses the hell out of Jeremy, so I’ll try to do that on the sly when he isn’t around to witness the mayhem. Oh, and the other day I saw deep red organic strawberries at the market and bought a pint. Guess what? They’re not ready. I knew better, but late winter/early spring can play tricks on your mind. Sour, cottony, hard strawberries – blegh! The person at Whole Foods who wrote the “juicy and sweet!” sign ought to be kicked in the shins. But the point is that I am ready for fruit other than apples, pears, and citrus (which have done a swell job these many months).

my favorite: the champagne (or ataulfo) mango

The delightful little mango that I love most is the Ataulfo and it is in season now. The flesh is smooth and silky compared to the stringy meat of the more common Tommy Atkins variety (large, greenish-red skin, mild flavor). Ataulfo mangoes are sweeter too. Jeremy doesn’t like mangoes (nor any stone fruit), so I happily buy them all for my own consumption. Most of the time I just peel the skin off with a knife and eat it like an apple. It makes a glorious mess. I also love a mango lassi, but cringe at the price in restaurants because I know how easy it is to make at home. I shot this recipe two years ago, but I still use it and I still love it.

dice them up

into the blender to purée

add yogurt (and water, sugar, and cardamom)

**Jump for more butter**


Monday, March 25th, 2013

Recipe: maple miso tofu

Winter went out like a cuddly little kitten last week. The last day of winter was warm, sunny, and so pleasant that I left the deck door open for Kaweah to come and go, which she loves to do. Sometimes she’ll just stand halfway in the house and halfway on the deck. But her old legs can’t stand indefinitely anymore. When I set her foamy bath mats out on the deck, she opted to lounge in the sun and absorb all of the energy falling to Earth.

last day of winter

Of course, it’s now spring break (all of Boulder seems to be on spring break this week) and it snowed all weekend. People have been shaking their fists at Punxsutawney Phil for his prediction of an early spring. When will silly people ever learn? I trust my local meteorologist over a giant rodent to tell me when to expect a powder day. Colorado spring skiing is what’s what.

five days into spring

nothing fazes her

8°f and gorgeous

that’s gonna be closed for a little while longer

But it is spring despite the winterish temperatures. The snow is heavier, stickier, wetter. It takes more effort to push it around than the powdery fluff of winter. And the longer hours of the day feel like you have emerged from a cave. Sunset is around 7pm at our house, which is Kaweah’s dinner time. She used to petition for dinner at 4:30 in the afternoon in winter when it got dark, but now she seems utterly delighted and taken by surprise when we say, “Do you want some dinner?”

dramatic sunset

Ever since I got home from my trip to Vermont and New Hampshire, I’ve been trying to keep my meals on the light side. I have some lovely organic maple syrup (and other maple products) courtesy of Coombs Family Farms, but I just can’t fathom eating THAT MANY waffles and pancakes, no matter how good the syrup is. You know me, I am one for the savory dishes. A maple miso tofu recipe appealed to my desire for lighter meals. The added bonus is how ridiculously straightforward and quick it is to prepare.

you need: maple syrup, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sambal oelek (or any chili paste), white miso, firm tofu

brushing oil on the parchment paper

cut the tofu into 1/2-inch thick slices

**Jump for more butter**