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archive for May 2013

the early bird always sticks it to the night owl

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

Recipe: baked egg rolls

I love staying up past midnight. It always seems I get a second wind around 10:00 pm and then I’ll grudgingly go to bed around 1:00 am out of guilt. I get under the covers and close my eyes, and then the hamsters in my brain will run a hundred miles an hour until I finally nod off. Thing is, I love waking up early too. In winter, early is a relative term, but I can always be sure to wake with the sun or a good snowfall report. This is problematic as we march toward the summer solstice. Unlike my “younger” years, I find my body, mind, and general mood are much improved with a decent (6-8 hours) amount of sleep. I’m shifting my bedtime earlier, especially because mornings are becoming the best time to do anything outside before it gets too hot!

snow is melting, trails are flooding

budding pasques (a month later than last year)

blooming pasque flowers

It is that lovely time of season when we will look at one another and ask, “Hike, mountain bike, trail run, or ski?” Actually, if skiing is involved then it’s going to be a hike-ski or a bike-ski because the approaches are no longer covered in snow. It’s all good. And I know the snow will be back. Meanwhile, I’ve been craving terrible (but delicious) foods like egg rolls of the fried variety. When it comes to fried foods, my downfall is the crunchy. I LOVE THE CRUNCHY. And while I can and do occasionally fry things at home, my preference is to avoid frying for two reasons: 1) it isn’t that good for you and 2) I hate cleaning up the mess. So the other day when I was contemplating making vegetable egg rolls, but dreading the whole idea of frying, I decided to bake them instead.

spring roll wrappers

sesame oil, soy sauce, shaoxing cooking sherry, cabbage, carrots, garlic, ginger, bamboo shoots, sprouts, shiitakes, green onions


**Jump for more butter**


Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Recipe: sparkling watermelon agua fresca

There has been all manner of blerg going on for the past few days (really, the past couple of months). We’ve been troopers, getting through one thing after another. It’s mentally and physically taxing such that I have resorted to filtering out the negativity more than usual. I don’t want to spend my energy on that. Interestingly, this activity has revealed who the positive people are in my circles. Of course, I don’t mean sunshine and lollipops “happy happy! joy joy!” people (they make me want to hurl). I like folks who are realists, yet still spread good vibes and kindness with a side of snark or sass. These folks are the ones who consistently bring a smile to my face or teach me to be more thoughtful. So thanks, friends, for keeping it real. Here are some things that have been great so far this week:

finding the time to step out and catch sunset

we installed new blinds to keep the house cooler this summer (yes!!!)

sushi with my sweetheart

a mustard blooming in the yard

We’ve swapped out the flannel sheets in favor of cooler cotton sheets. The windows remain open overnight because temperatures are no longer dipping below freezing. And there is no snow in the forecast (*sob*). From now until the first snowfall of the ski season, it’s all about staying cool for me. While water tends to be my beverage of choice, I occasionally indulge in iced tea (although the caffeine makes me bonkers), an Arnold Palmer, or some fruity juicy thing like an agua fresca. In this case, we’re making a sparkling watermelon agua fresca.

watermelon, limes, sugar, seltzer water

combine water and sugar to make a simple syrup

juice the limes

**Jump for more butter**

the sunburn of my discontent

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Recipe: maple balsamic vinaigrette

There’s nothing like a sunburn to remind me of the necessity for sunblock, long-sleeved shirts, and a good hat in the sunny months. I guess that is a misnomer since it’s almost always sunny in Colorado – I mean the summer months. Except anytime the mercury rises above 60°F, I call that summer. Last Friday the weather forecast was originally for an overcast morning. I thought that sounded ideal because I had a shoot in the morning and a foraging date with Wendy in the afternoon. Instead, deep blue skies dotted with puffy white clouds greeted me as I drove into Boulder. Both of my appointments were outside and I even thought to bring my hats (a broad-rimmed sunhat and my favorite Patagonia duckbill cap), yet I didn’t put them on because the air temperature was comfortably cool.

meet tara, she’s really tall

Now that my hair is short, it won’t tie back into a nice ponytail. That’s okay though, because short hair affords greater air flow over my scalp – the advection transporting heat away and cooling me off. But I really dislike having hair in my face, so I have taken to haphazardly tying my hair into two Pebbles-style ponytails that emerge from my head asymmetrically. It works. The part resembles the trace of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and now it is emblazoned on my head as a red, sunburned Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Lesson learned (again).

blue mustard or musk mustard (chorispora tenella)

hello asparagus!

cottonwood catkins

Just last week, I took some pie over to my neighbors’ parents (who are visiting) and when they returned the plate to Jeremy, Grandpa quipped that we had seen all four seasons in the past day. It’s true. We are transitioning from weekly winter snow storms (man, those were awesome) to afternoon thunderstorms, sunshine, hummingbirds zooming around like the little adrenaline junkies they are, and overnight temperatures that won’t drop below freezing. And that means more salads. I like to mix a batch of dressing to keep on hand throughout the week. Homemade dressings are so simple and infinitely superior to store-bought dressings. They are absolutely worth the little bit of effort to make them.

this time: maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, shallot, dijon mustard (not pictured: salt, pepper)

I first tasted this dressing on a delightful green salad during my trip to Verhampshire in March. Sharon was sweet enough to request the recipe from the Chesterfield Inn for me, but then life got busy and I shelved it (okay, I archived it in gmail). But look, I’ve dug it up because when you eat a lot of salads, it helps to have several great dressings from which to choose.


pouring balsamic vinegar into the blender with the mustard and shallots

don’t forget your pure maple syrup

**Jump for more butter**