baked oats green chile chicken enchiladas chow mein bakery-style butter cookies

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archive for August 2013

time to hatch a plan of action

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Recipe: green chile sauce

Spring cleaning never happens as it should in the springtime, because I’m busy skiing. Neglected sections of the house are taken care of in fits and spurts of inspiration or at the breaking point of tolerance. Our microwave handle broke off last winter, so we’ve managed by pushing the door up and out without a handle. The gutters need cleaning. Obsolete electronics, #6 styrofoam pieces, and used cooking oil all await the day they will be driven to Boulder to be responsibly recycled. Oh, but I cleaned my refrigerator and freezer this week. That is like a Christmas horror movie of sorts… finding forgotten gems and then finding the REALLY forgotten gems that have evolved hair and legs and personalities of their own. All this to tell you that I unearthed a jar of matcha green tea powder in the freezer. It’s a lovely shade of green and has a wonderfully nutty herbal aroma. It was buried behind the frozen passion fruit pulp and hunks of frozen Virginia ham. I intended to use this instead of the old, tired, faded matcha that was in the cupboards – the one that I used in the green tea crème brûlée recipe. So, sorry about that.

In other news, Kaweah is back to her quirky self aside from what I call her random hot flashes. I think one of the meds gets her pretty hopped up such that she experiences panting episodes from time to time. She behaves the same way when there is raw beef in the kitchen (or anywhere, really).

kaweah checks out the dinner table to see what’s what

Passing storms are a regular occurrence around here in summer and early fall. With our big sky views, we usually see sunshine and rain simultaneously… and that can mean rainbows. I caught this one a couple of weeks ago in Crested Butte that I forgot to share. I swear I’ve seen more rainbows in Crested Butte than anyplace else.

the sky looked like it was glowing

The end of summer becomes of frenzy of favorites. Our local tomatoes are at their peak and the freestone varieties of Colorado peaches arrive at the farmer’s market. I can’t get enough of the sweet corn ears from Olathe, Colorado. For the past few years, Hatch green chiles have found their way from New Mexico into our markets and of course, our hearts (and mouths). It’s to the point where I am turning down offers from various family members to score me several pounds of roasted New Mexico green chiles because I can pick the fresh ones and roast them myself each August. We love them on burgers, in stews, on pizza, and in sandwiches, and so much more.

my first batch of the season

roasting to char the skins

**Jump for more butter**

things are looking up

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Recipe: green tea crème brûlée

I was feeling quite low Saturday morning. Kaweah’s moderate improvement went down the tubes. She barely moved, cried in pain anytime we tried to help her get up, and looked so depressed. It was completely unlike her, our normally happy little girl. Kaweah has a fairly high threshold for pain and we were both very concerned. Jeremy and I would stroke her belly to comfort her and look at one another wondering if this was it. We called our vet as soon as he got into the office and he added some more pain killers to the regimen of muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory drugs. Within an hour of taking her meds, she was back to her old self – wandering around the house, wagging her tail, holding her head high, happy.

A college friend of mine had mentioned that he has traction socks for his dog on their hardwood floors. So I went to the store and picked up the only similar thing in stock. They’re little rubber booties. I wasn’t sure they would work, but I was willing to try anything.


They don’t bother Kaweah like her old hiking booties did (the ones she wore once, in the house and then never again). I think that’s partly because she has lost a lot of feeling in her hind paws. They do offer her incredible traction on our floors and she’s been walking around like a champ these past two days. Of course, we had to modify the booties – a clip at the tops so as not to cut off circulation in her ankles, and several holes on the tops and bottoms because her feet were getting hot and sweaty.

she’s hasn’t been this mobile in over a year

they’re like a doggie version of crocs

The combination of the non-slip booties and pain meds has turned Kaweah into a younger version of herself. We can’t get over how happy she is padding about the house asking to be let out on the deck, asking to be let back in (and so on and so forth). When she walks, the little rubber booties sound like clown shoes squeaking on the floors. As I look to see where my little clown is, I usually catch her tail wagging high in the air as she squeak-squeak-squeaks around the corner looking for wayward treats.

Kaweah’s recovery was just in time because my parents and my aunt (who is visiting my folks) came up to our house for dinner Saturday evening.

mom and her sister

one of five courses: butter-sautéed chanterelles in cream, white wine, and garlic with bacon on pappardelle

I wanted it to be a special dinner since it was my aunt’s first visit to our house and probably the last time I’ll host my parents this summer before they head home to Virginia. As most of my friends know, I serve multiple desserts to dinner guests. I love variety and I want guests to feel like they have a choice… or a sampler! Knowing that my dad is rather fond of crème brûlée, I went for a slightly Asian version: green tea crème brûlée.

matcha green tea powder, eggs (yolks), pinch of salt, sugar, vanilla, cream

add sugar to the yolks

and the matcha powder

**Jump for more butter**

hold your horses

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Recipe: whole wheat cacao nib sablés

The weather in Crested Butte put on a good show earlier this week, or so I thought. It wasn’t just Crested Butte, because when we got home there were the same dramatic and unstable atmospheric conditions dumping rain and hail in the mountains. It brought a nice cool down and it meant good things for mushrooms in the high country. Even before my return, Wendy and I had already agreed to go foraging the next morning. I dare say it’s nice to have like-minded friends who don’t balk at having to wake up at 5 am to crawl around in the woods and dirt looking for mushrooms. We like hiking in early because we both despise the heat and sun, but I also had a dinner date to make at my parents’ place to celebrate Mom’s birthday.

mammata over mount crested butte

impressive dance of light and clouds on paradise divide

back home: porcini, bitches

fairy fingers

mom was born in the year of the snake – it’s her year!

I try to keep a lid on my commitments so I’m not overextended. It’s tough to control though, especially in summer as social gatherings seem to kick into high gear. When I am overextended, I feel like life becomes frenetic and my fear is that something important will be overlooked. As I rushed around the house after foraging, I noticed that Kaweah hadn’t gotten out of her bed for 30 minutes. I went over and gently tried coaxing her out so I could let her into the yard to potty, but she wouldn’t move. She was awake (these days I always check to see that she is indeed alive – I know that’s morbid, but I try to be realistic here), but she wasn’t moving. Eventually I lifted her up and saw that she was in pain. Most likely she had lost her footing on the hardwood floors when no one was home and took a spill. A call to the vet’s office and I had some muscle relaxers and pain killers for her and an appointment the next morning. I didn’t want to leave her alone, but I also had an obligation to my parents.

Kaweah was much improved after taking her medications. Jeremy and I rushed home after dinner to find her sleeping soundly in her bed. We gently reached out to pet her so as not to startle her (she can’t hear much anymore) and she opened her eyes, wagged her tail, and rolled over to get a belly rub. She is on the mend now. All of those plans I had for the next few days have been cancelled or cut back so I can watch over the pup and make sure she gets the time and attention needed. Life has a way of telling you to slow down when you’re going too fast. I need to be more mindful of that.

this is kaweah when she’s sad

A pleasant and cool morning for baking presented itself, so that’s what I did while keeping an eye on Kaweah. I had a recent client shoot that involved cacao nibs, which jogged my memory of a cookie made with cacao nibs. My friend had raved about them, then I saw the recipe on Orangette three years ago. It was time to finally make these whole wheat sablés with cacao nibs. I sometimes wonder how many things I will never have gotten around to doing before I go. Then I think to myself that I’d rather have a growing list of things I want to do than no list for lack of interest in life.

organic cacao nibs (from whole foods)

all you need: salt, vanilla extract, cacao nibs, sugar, flour, butter

**Jump for more butter**