Sometimes when camping, especially if there’s an early morning hike involved, we’ll settle for a quick working breakfast: a slice of cold Spanish tortilla, a hunk of cheese, or just a handful of Ionah’s granola and a cup of tea and hit the trail. But, there are times when camping has nothing on the books other than to rise, pee, perform ablutions (minimal) chop wood, make fire and cook breakfast over said fire’s coals.
We had brought wood gifts for the fire from the 7,000 foot high desert home of our good friends Frank and Ruth Ann, in Carbondale, Colorado, of seasoned juniper and piñon pine.
Juniper and piñon had been sustaining and warming the Arapaho and Cheyenne people who lived in this part of the world for centuries until the unwelcome arrival of the Europeans and the subsequent land-grab. Continue reading “Camp Breakfast”→
When the heat kicks in ’round these parts, Ionah’s response, lately, has been — along with sipping San Pellegrino water on ice with a splash of coconut vinegar and a lime wedge — to browse the internet for real estate listings in Maine. A beautiful country in the summer. Cheaper than Colorado, but those massive wood piles out back scare the Charlies out of me. My response is to take a leaf from the Greeks, who know their heat, and make a batch of dolmas — stuffed grape leaves. Continue reading “Dolmas”→
Summer’s almost gone, and it’s a sad and beautiful time at the foot of the Rockies, as we say a tearful goodbye to chilled rosé, and a hello again to the charming allure of red wine.
No matter how tempted we are by the fresh crop of cabbages at our local farmers market — just one look sends me into salty fermenting memories of shredding and pounding last year’s kraut — or by the new crop of hard squash, which, as I leer into the bin, finds me rekindling a summer long, lost relationship with my oven; it pleads and cajoles: come back to me baby, turn me on, lay something on my big steel rack — I still, during these last beautiful days of autumn, only have eyes for the love apple: the pomme d’amour, the wild and unkempt luscious heirloom tomato. Continue reading “Gazpacho”→
A surprisingly broad range of skills is required to cook successfully in a professional kitchen. Your most crucial tool is not, as many would assume, your knife: it’s your body. For a start, you need a good set of oiled knees. Then, you need a reliably sharp back: one you don’t have to constantly watch over and hone. You need a set of feet that won’t let you down. You need them to kick walk-in cooler and oven doors closed, because your hands are always busy working overtime, balancing pans of sizzling flesh in hot oil, or filthy from gouging out glops of congealed fat from the corners of a forgotten roasting pan.
You need a pair of arms long enough to grapple a 32 quart stock pot full of steaming liquid and bones. Needless to say, you need your hands, and they better be good, and fingers nimble as a raccoon’s. You got to move with the grace of a dancer and you’ve got to balance a solid head on those exhausted shoulders. Stamina is key. A sarcastic disposition comes in handy. It helps if you are under forty— and it helps if you can cook. Continue reading “Eggplant Rillettes”→
I’m sitting on a crate in a 12′ X 12′ mosquito tent with five guys: a lawyer, a carpenter, an accountant, a property manager and a marijuana grower. If something were to go wrong here, It felt like we had the bases covered.
It’s nine in the morning and drizzling as I finish up a plate of lukewarm pancakes. Fortunately the roof is solid fabric. I wear long under-ware, chest waders, wool shirt, fleece vest, rain jacket, boots and hat. Black coffee warms my hands. I’m beat. I want to stretch my bones out on the gravel. None of this group, to my knowledge, has washed or shaved in 10 days, which makes me grateful for the mesh walls.
We flew down the hill to the market on Saturday without worries or care. Crawling home, we peddled in pain, sweat dripping nose to toe, baskets laden with a week’s worth of eats, shoots, and leaves. For this is a market worth supporting.
Every city needs a central market and now, finally, with the help of our farmer friends in Boulder, we too have one that we can call our own. It’s like a little snippet of Boulder in the big city. It’s happy, it’s trippy and it’s seriously organic. Continue reading “Fattoush by bike.”→
The first time ever, that I exchanged glances with an eggplant — previously known as an aubergine to me — was at a family’s picnic table, across from our table at a campground in the south of France. We were on holiday, my parents and I. I was thirteen. My brother, who at the time was considered too troublesome for company, got dropped off somewhere in a field to learn French, and my sister, deemed to young to come, got dumped into the fray with four feisty female cousins. She never forgave my parents for this, and my brother has yet to utter a phrase of coherent French. But that’s all in the past.