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archive for June 2013

working up that appetite

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Recipe: banh mi

We enjoyed a slight cooldown with sporadic bursts of rain over the weekend in Crested Butte. I’m still a sniveling mess when it comes to hot weather. However, I’m slowly adjusting to the heat and that thick layer of sunblock such that I can be seen in the same place as the sun. And it’s totally amazing.

trail running along the slate river

riding the lupine trail

and always thankful for sunset – particularly the colorful ones

Jeremy and I are still getting our bearings straight on restaurants in town. We have our perennial favorites from the past several years traveling through Crested Butte, but now we’re checking out the other places to see if they’re worth the cash or just another resort town trap. One evening, we went for a stroll after dinner and came upon a cute small batch ice cream store (I’ll write about it later). Jeremy ordered a scoop of ice cream for himself and I grabbed a little scoop for Kaweah.

make that a scoop dog for kaweah

It cost as much as Jeremy’s single scoop of cowboy coffee ice cream, but Kaweah’s scoop dog was a peanut butter, maple, bacon ice cream just for dogs. How awesome, right? We have been giving her short sessions with the scoop dog over the past few days. She’s so enamored with her new treat that she’s taken to pointing at the freezer where we store it.

kaweah’s lick of approval

So far I’ve been cooking relatively simple fare in Crested Butte because our kitchen has the bare minimum of what I consider a working kitchen. The pantry is another issue altogether. Crested Butte may boast some excellent restaurants, but the groceries are another story – especially if you stock an Asian pantry. I have a long list of Asian staples to buy on my next trip to the Asian grocer back home. Before you know it, I’ll be whipping up my old favorites in the new place. Like banh mi – the marriage of wonderful southeast Asian flavors IN A SANDWICH. Be still my heart.

for the pork: pork loin, chili garlic sauce, shallots, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar

minced garlic and sliced shallots

**Jump for more butter**

the acorn and the tree

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Usually when I get home to find the light on the answering machine blinking, I’m filled with dread. Who called? What new phone spam is this? But on occasion, after hitting the PLAY MESSAGES button, I’ll hear:

Hey! You dodo! This is your Baba!

Because terms of endearment shouted are always louder and happier. I also love how Dad identifies himself on the answering machine. He will then proceed to leave a hilarious message in which the Dad side wants to be conversational and yet the Professional side wants to be succinct and to the point. A single voicemail illustrates that internal struggle, but the entertainment value is through the roof.

I will get to see my parents in less than a week and I can already play out what Dad will be like. First, he’ll look at me and half-grin half-laugh as he reaches out to give me a hug. He’s going to suggest we get together and cook a nice meal with a GOOD bottle (or two) of wine. Dad will enthusiastically inquire about Crested Butte and the fishing there. He will ask where Kaweah is and when he can see her. Then he’ll start discussing the plan for lunch.

Dad and I are very different people, and yet we share many personality traits and mannerisms. The obvious ones I’ve known about for decades, but Jeremy will observe similarities that can make me cringe, beam, or both.

me and dad (1994)

You know that old saying that you become your parents? I don’t mind that so much anymore. As I get older, I think I understand where they are coming from a little better. At the same time, I wonder if they ponder the things that are looming larger in my mind as I age – things like mortality, life decisions, loved ones, responsibilities, relationships. Of course they do.

Ever since I was little, I have memories of my Dad giving me a sideways squeeze-hug and shouting (always with the shouting), “You dodo, do you know that Baba loves you?!” And I would answer, “yeeeeeeees” while rolling my eyes and waving him off so I could concentrate on my Saturday morning cartoons. Now when I’m with my parents, I sometimes find myself watching Dad while he’s taking off his trifocals to read a wine label 5 millimeters from his nose and wanting to run up and hug him and yell, “Do you know that I love you?!” I guess it goes both ways.

Dad and I (and when she was alive, Kris) have had a running joke – that we kids are the acorn, and he is the tree. Whenever I do something clever or stupid that my Dad would have also done, he points to me with a big grin on his face and says, “Acorn.”

And I kinda love that.

happy father’s day, daddy – i hope you catch lots of big fish

escape from the heat

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Recipe: rose water lemonade

When it’s hot in the mountains, I tend to get a little nervous. Hot, dry, and windy conditions are what we fear most in the southwestern US. We’ve been keeping an eye on the wildfires along Colorado’s Front Range, but wherever we are the red flag warnings for high fire danger are going up. To avoid the heat, Jeremy and I have been getting out in the mornings and evenings for runs, rides, and hikes around Crested Butte and holing up in the office during midday where it remains comfortably cool (no air conditioning, it’s just an incredibly well-designed house). Every trail or path or dirt road is lined with wildflowers. They are coming along nicely pretty much everywhere.

northern fairy candelabra – i absolutely love these tiny little flowers

prairie smoke

sunset over mount crested butte

lupine on an evening hike

my favorites are the deep purple lupine

western wallflower

As some of you know, I am obsessed with keeping cool in summer (or any time) because I really dislike the heat. That’s why I like the mountains – because it’s cooler. But even the mountains can get those handful of days when the heat feels unbearable. Typically, I’ll cool down by drinking plenty of ice water, but occasionally I love me a fruity and refreshing drink. Last October, Ellen hosted a girls’ weekend down in Colorado Springs and took us to Uchenna for wonderful Ethiopian fare. I sampled the rose water lemonade and it had a remarkable cooling effect on me. My mind has wandered back to that lovely meal several times since, but I’ve been craving the rose water lemonade with the hotter weather.

rose water and lemons

to make rose water lemonade: sugar, rose water, lemons, pinch of salt

My rose water was in the spice section of my local Whole Foods store. If you can’t source rose water where you are, I’m sure you can order it online. I like to start with a simple syrup because it dissolves all of the sugar and mixes the sweetness more evenly in the lemonade. Do this step ahead of time enough so that it can cool to room temperature (or at least lukewarm) when you mix it with the lemon juice. Also, I juiced four large lemons to get a 1 cup yield of juice. That’s just a guideline, it will vary with lemon size, juiciness, and the efficiency of your juicer.

combine sugar and water to make the simple syrup

fresh-squozen lemon juice

**Jump for more butter**