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archive for July 2013

weekday weekends

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Recipe: drunken noodles (pad kee mao)

Given my druthers, I prefer to work through the weekends to free up time during the week. I’m fortunate to (usually) have that luxury of choice because I want to avoid crowds and traffic and people behaving poorly… which happens most often on weekends. Hitting the slopes or the trails during the week is one of the perks of freelancing.

wildflowers are at peak in the local mountains

paintbrush and showy fleabane

my kind of morning

I spent this weekend working with more chocolate. By the end of 11 straight hours on my feet the last day, my brain was complete mush and I just needed to vegetate. Generally, I don’t watch television – it truly is a brain rot box. We have a television for the occasional DVD rental (I’m waiting for GoT season 3) or someone’s PS3 habit, but until now we have never gotten reception nor subscribed to cable or satellite. I really hate the way one gets sucked into television. A lot of it is pure junk, so we tend to select good series after they’ve been out for a few years.

cakes and pastries all damn day

Jeremy loves this kind of date night. It happens about twice a year that I’m too tired to do any work, but not tired enough to fall asleep – this is when I can watch television. We chill out on the couch, eating dinner, watching a show. The only thing missing is a cuddly Kaweah, because she really dislikes the television. She hides out in the office and emerges again when the sound is turned off. So after my week-long shoot was done, I asked Jeremy to get Netflix so we could have a date night at home and watch Sherlock. Hello. Benedict. Cumberbatch. But what made the date night even awesomer were the Thai drunken noodles we had for dinner. I doode it.

oil, fish sauce, oyster sauce, golden mountain soy sauce, soy sauce, baby corn, vinegar, rice noodles, chicken, basil, thai chiles, pink peppercorns, sugar, garlic, basil

i got fresh rice noodle sheets

and sliced them up myself

**Jump for more butter**

cool and sweet

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Recipe: piña colada sorbet

It was not my intention to make readers cry in my last post, but admittedly, I was crying when I wrote it. Of course, we’re all silly people for crying because Kaweah thinks everything is just grand. She kicks in her sleep and makes little howling barks and growls as she chases the squirrels and bunnies through Dreamland. I wake her each morning with a gentle belly rub and watch her eyes open and her nose suddenly activate. When she realizes it’s me, she rolls belly up, kicks her feet in the air with joy, and goes bonkers thrashing about. Kaweah enjoys a frozen pupsicle (bananas and peanut butter) every afternoon and a nice but short evening stroll in the neighborhood where she checks the doggy pee-mail center at the giant boulder. She’s happy and that is what ultimately matters. We should all be so content in our twilight years. Thank you for your love and kind words for our pup.

in the middle of the road, yeah

And that time of year has arrived – porcini season. Since this is only my second year foraging, I am having a blast comparing data with last year’s season: locations, size, weather, timing, dates, temperatures, moisture, elevations, trails, other species. It’s like an Easter egg hunt, but better! If you want to find the porcini, you have to become the porcini… [Please note: porcini have several look alike species that can make you very ill, do not forage porcini unless you are with an expert.]


what a beauty

We endured a bit of a scorcher the last few days, so I was especially thrilled to see heavy rain in the forecast and a drop of nearly 15°F in the daytime high temperature. I think the mushrooms will like it too (remember: be the mushroom). Hot weather is problematic for me right now for a few reasons: 1) I’m in the middle of a chocolate shoot for a client 2) I have to monitor Kaweah to make sure she doesn’t overheat (I put her downstairs on the basement floor to cool down if it gets really bad) and 3) it makes me really really cranky. While purchasing props the other day, I heard “Escape” playing in the craft store. You probably don’t know what that refers to. I didn’t. But you’ll know the song from the line, “If you like piña coladas…” I thought to myself, “I do, I DO like piña coladas!” And I became obsessed with having one.

coconut milk, pineapple, sugar, rum (optional, but good)

Personally, I prefer my piña coladas to be slushy, but I decided to take it a step further and make it into sorbet. It’s so easy to do it’s ridiculous and wonderful all at the same time. You could use canned pineapple, but it’s hard to beat a fresh pineapple that is ripe, naturally sweet, and far more flavorful. Oh, and when you open a can of coconut milk, be sure to stir it up as the fat solids separate and rise from the liquid.

chop the pineapple into chunks

measured out

**Jump for more butter**

this old girl

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

Recipe: salmon cakes

For those of you interested in the good eats around Boulder, I wrote a little article for The Guardian that was published over the weekend in their travel section. Of course, Boulder has WAY more than 10 great restaurants (and bakeries and coffeeshops), so this is really just a sampling of the awesomeness that is the Boulder Food Scene.

It’s been a girls’ weekend here at Butter Headquarters. Jeremy is in Hawai’i for a meeting, a trip I declined to join because even though Kaweah does not require high-maintenance care, she does require specific care and attention for her various medical issues. We took her to the vet a few weeks ago for a check up and her conditions (laryngeal collapse, kidney failure, canine degenerative myelopathy, deafness) continue to decline, but slowly.

those old legs have hiked many mountains

I asked Doc Clements how we would know when it is time, but I couldn’t finish my sentence as I looked at the ground and blinked away my tears. Quality of life, dignity, happiness, he answered. All the while, Kaweah was wagging her brains out because she absolutely loves being at the vet. He raised his eyebrows in a thoughtful manner as he handed Kaweah a treat, “When I first saw her symptoms a few years ago, I would have given her a few months. But it’s been a couple of years and she is doing very well, considering. So she just might surprise us yet.” He smiled and reached down to give her a pat and another treat.

she still keeps her girlish figure

Kaweah is my first dog. I mean MY first dog. I used to wonder when she was ever going to slow down because she was so full of energy and enthusiasm for over a decade. We just got used to her dragging us up and down the mountain for 18 miles and taking running leaps into icy alpine lakes and acting like every single person she met had just promised her a lifetime supply of raw beef. When it did happen, it was gradual and rather pleasant. She stopped pulling at the very end of her leash anytime we hit the trails. Kaweah began to behave herself after 10 minutes instead of 2 hours when guests came over to the house. Her après hike naps grew longer.

and kaweah knows how to stop and smell the roses blanket flowers

It has been bittersweet to witness Kaweah’s body finally succumb to her age. She’s more affectionate now. She can no longer outrun us. She doesn’t bark anymore when the foxes call at dusk because she can’t hear them. In the past year she has started hiding out in dark corners or under tables on occasion. Her walks are down to a quarter of a mile and her hind legs tend to slip and stumble and give out every now and again. But each morning, she’s a bouncy, waggy, happy dog who pounces on her plush toys in anticipation of breakfast. I toggle between being ready for that day when I have to let her go and sobbing at the thought of saying good-bye (like I am right now). I know some people regard aging pets as a burden, but in many ways I feel the same compassion for Kaweah in her old age as I did for my beloved grandmother in her last years. Be kind. Be patient. Be understanding. Be loving. Be caring. Spoil her.

you will always be my baby puppy

Kaweah may or may not have gotten a few chunks of salmon while I was preparing this recipe. It’s getting hard to say no to that furry little face, especially when she tilts it to the side. When my parents came out to visit us in Crested Butte, Dad kept going over the menu for their stay as if these were critical military strategies. He told me he would make salmon cakes, freeze them, and cook them for us the first night. I heard so much about these salmon cakes that I almost didn’t want to eat them… but I did, and I really liked them.

removing the skin from the filet

salmon, onion, eggs, lemon, mayonnaise, salt, flour, bread crumbs, parsley (not pictured: panko)

chop the salmon

everything prepped to make the patties

**Jump for more butter**