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winners and winners

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Recipe: lentil chicken soup

Thank you to everyone who left a comment on the previous post and took a guess at Yuki’s breeds! We had 177 comments which I’m rounding up to $200 that I will donate to Rezdawg Rescue.

Now for Yuki’s Wisdom Panel results:

25% American Staffordshire Terrier
12.5% Australian Cattle Dog
12.5% Chow Chow
12.5% Rottweiler
37.5% Mixed Breeds in the following groups: Herding, Guard, Companion

Are you surprised? We were totally surprised! Of course, the naming and classification of breeds can be utterly confounding and inconsistent between official organizations in different countries. We accepted Pit bull for American Staffordshire Terrier, but not Staffordshire Bull Terrier as that is listed as a separate breed in the Wisdom Panel listing of tested breeds. Australian Cattle Dog (ACD), Heeler, or Blue Heeler were all considered the ACD.

Only one person named three of the four breeds (American Pit Bull, Chow, and Heeler) and that was Linda, Yuki’s foster mom. It made complete sense because she knows dogs (she fosters SO many pups) and aside from us, Linda has spent the most time with Yuki.

[Another commenter named three of the four breeds, but listed five breeds which gained a statistical advantage over everyone else. I contacted all individuals who guessed more than four breeds to please revise their guess and when this commenter revised theirs, they removed one of the three correct breeds.]

I am absolutely going to give Linda a prize of her choosing, but I am also going to give a SECOND person a prize of their choosing.

Fifteen people correctly guessed two of the four breeds. We numbered them 1-15 according to the order in which they commented on the blog post. I set up a cheeseboard with 15 treats associated with 1 through 15 and let Yuki pick the winner by selecting the corresponding treat (basically the one she went to first).

the set up

the winner

Yuki picked #15 and that is Sona who listed American Staffordshire Terrier and Australian Cattle Dog.

Congratulations to Sona and Linda! I will contact you both shortly. Thank you all so much for your enthusiasm and love for this special little pup. It was thoroughly entertaining reading through all of the entries!

Those of you who follow my Instagram know that Yuki gave us a scare Friday morning when she began vomiting and crying out in terrible pain several times within a few hours. A trip to the vet, some meds, rest, and eventually passing a two-foot long piece of rope toy (whaaaaat?!?!) summed up our weekend. I’m relieved to report that Yuki is back to her happy puppy self and the rope toys have been banished.

It’s hard to believe that I was wearing shorts while walking the dogs this past Sunday evening when a week earlier Jeremy and I were skiing a lovely blanket of fresh snow in our local backcountry. Colorado weather keeps you on your toes.

almost a foot on our grill

i love the early season storms

storm clouds gave way to a colorful close to the day

I try to plan my cooking with the weather. If it’s hot, there are lots of fresh salads, sushi, grilling, sandwiches, and things that don’t produce a good deal of heat. When it’s cold, I happily crank up the oven for roasting, baking, braising, or dedicate hours to simmering soups and stews on the stove. Not only does the heat from the kitchen keep our living space comfortably toasty, but it fills the house with heady aromas that are the equivalent of wrapping yourself in a cozy blanket. Right now, we are bouncing between Indian Summer and early winter. So here is a hearty soup-as-meal for the next (hopefully snowy) cold spell: lentil chicken soup.

chicken, lentils, onion, salt, garlic, tomato paste, celery, carrots, pepper, olive oil

Homemade chicken broth is superior to store-bought chicken broth in flavor, quality, and the fact that you control the sodium. My preference is to make my own if I have the time. If you are short on time, then you can easily use store-bought chicken broth and chicken meat and essentially reduce the time investment by half or more.

If you do make your own broth, you can simmer it for 3-4 hours or use a pressure cooker for an hour plus change. Either way, start that process first. Once the broth is done, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove random particles (there are always random particles). I like to de-fat my chicken broth one of two ways. The first, refrigeration, requires time. Lots of time. Chill the broth until the fat solidifies or at least clumps together on the surface to be scooped or skimmed off. The second method is in the immediate gratification camp and involves pouring the hot or warm broth into a gallon-size ziploc bag, sealing the bag and holding it over a large bowl or stock pot, cutting a slit in the bottom corner and letting the broth drain out as the fat rises to the top. The trick is pinching the outlet corner off right as the fat layer is about to drain, and discarding the bag and fat.

chicken and water in the pressure cooker

homemade de-fatted chicken broth

**Jump for more butter**

winner winner, chicken dinner!

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Recipe: thai red curry with tofu and basil

The hardest part of any giveaway is wrangling our “random number generator” to actually pick a number rather than stare at us expectantly for a dog treat. The next hardest part is finding ten toys that haven’t been completely ripped to pieces. We received a total of 213 comments (one or two were not “entries”, but that’s a real pain for us to shift things around, so they just don’t win if selected and we draw another number). You all shared so many sweet, touching, and hilarious summer memories – some that really tugged at my heart. Thank you for that.

So how did this work? Good question. We selected ten of Kaweah’s toys and assigned each one a number from 0 to 9. We piled the toys in the middle of the room and then got Kaweah all riled up so she’d run and grab a toy (she does this when she’s excited and there appears to be no rhyme or reason to her selection). This happened 15 times and generated five 3-digit numbers.

the random number generator machine

Each number (811, 977, 980, 766, 076) mod 213 resulted in: 172, 125, 128, 127, 76. Congratulations to: jwen, amanda, laura h, linda, and na! I’ll be sending your emails along to the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek so they can contact you about shipping your s’mores packages and give you details for the (awesomely) discounted rate at the Park Hyatt! Thanks to all of you for participating and many thanks to the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek for sponsoring this super fun Colorado giveaway.

Time to get tropical. The weather dictates much of my culinary mood. Typically I’d be cranking on the soups and stews, but with unseasonably warm weather lasting for more than a month (a week, I can hold out – a month, I cannot) I thought a compromise was in order. Something tropical, yet stewy enough to warm our tummies when we dip below freezing at night.

red curry paste, fried tofu, bamboo shoots, baby corn, straw mushrooms, limes, chiles, thai basil, coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar

slicing the fried tofu chunks in half

Southeast Asian food combines so many contrasting flavors that I find myself craving it often. It’s not just the sweet, sour, salty, herbal, creamy, and spicy, but the abundance of fresh and bright flavors that draw me in. This is a simple and satisfying Thai red curry that I like to throw together. [Edit: I buy the red curry paste at my local Asian grocer – Asian Seafood Market in Boulder.] I typically toss in whatever needs to be cleaned out of the refrigerator, but for guests, I’d prepare it as shown in this post. I buy the tofu already fried. They aren’t tofu puffs, but tofu pieces that have been fried and maintain a firm texture.

oil, red curry paste, coconut milk

add the tofu and vegetables

lots of basil

**Jump for more butter**

getting tropical in colorado

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Recipe: arepas with guasacaca

It has been snowing horizontally in my ‘hood for the past couple of days. I rather like the vertical snow more – you know, the kind that falls gently and accumulates so you can ski it? But I’ll take any snow we can get at the moment because we haven’t had our usual Big Dump Snow Day yet and it’s nearly November. Meanwhile, we’ve been taking care of business at home – like choosing who won the Doughnuts cookbook giveaway! Jeremy gathered Kaweah’s ragtag crew of toys, assigning each one a number and randomly distributing them in a line (that is, they are not laid out in numerical order). Then we recorded the number of the first toy she touched. We did this three times.

kaweah picked the number 557

Our number is 557. We had 274 qualifying entrants (I basically accepted entrants up until Kaweah had a number) and 557 MOD 274 is 9. Congratulations Emily Vigue! You’ve won a free copy of Lara Ferroni’s Doughnuts! I’ll send you an email to get your shipping address right away!

In case you’re wondering just how random my selection process is, my resident astrophysicist came up with the method and we had it verified for pure idiotic randomness by my friend and resident economist (also statistician), Erin. Not to mention – it’s Kaweah – does ANYONE know what goes on in that little brain of hers?

well, right now you know what kaweah is thinking

Erin and Ali came up yesterday so Erin could teach us to make arepas. Erin has been wanting to share arepas with us forever and ever. She learned how to make them the proper way in Venezuela. While I don’t particularly enjoy spending time in tropical climates, I am more than willing to partake of the cuisine. I’ve been wanting to try and blog about arepas ever since Erin mentioned them, so it all worked out. And if you see henna tattoos on the hands of our models, yes – they were at the party too!

start with harina pan

Erin told me there are two brands of harina that she is aware of and harina PAN is the one you want to use. You probably won’t find it in your neighborhood grocery store unless you are lucky enough to have a good Latin American market nearby (if so, color me jealous). So burn that image above into your brain because it is soooo worth it to make these delectable little pockets of savory amazingness.

pour the harina pan into a large bowl

add warm water

and some oil (and salt)

mix it together with your hand and let it rest

While you let the harina sit (Erin says ten minutes minimum, but the longer the better), you can make the guasacaca, a Venezuelan avocado salsa. Sounds like huasakaka – no hard G, okay? The ingredients are relatively easy to come by.

onion, jalapeño, parsley, cilantro, garlic, and avocado

blender it

You’ll also need a little salt, some white vinegar or rice wine vinegar, and oil (which you add last – always last). This might have come together easier had we used the food processor or if we hadn’t packed the leafy herbs in first. If you go the blender route and your blender sucks as much as mine does, then please blender the onion, vinegar, and avocado first. That will produce enough liquid to get the rest of the ingredients blendered properly, otherwise you’ll spend a lot of time pushing ingredients down toward the blade over and over and over again (with the blender OFF, of course).

erin finally gets the guasacaca to blend up

brilliant green color

**Jump for more butter**