Cedar Planked Salmon, Three Ways

Fickle summer weather!  It will be beautiful in the morning; I’ll wake up dreaming of lighting the grill, seasoning meat, pouring a glass of wine and cooking dinner outside while the kids run through the yard and the dog barks at the neighbor’s chickens, only to have the dream shattered mid-afternoon, when storms race in over the mountains and force us inside.  Other days we wake up to a cool, cloudy drizzle and I think, there’s no way I could start the grill in weather like this. Only after I’ve panned a meal inside does the sun come out and the weather becomes perfect for grilling.  The dichotomy of Colorado weather is that it can go from soggy to parched in a matter of hours, thanks to the elevation and the drying mountain winds.  Sometimes we go weeks without even a drop of rain, and everything gets so dry that just the tiniest rogue spark from the grill’s coals could ignite a wildfire.  On these days, all outdoor fires, including those in grills, are banned as a precaution.  All of this poses a problem, because I’m a planner when it comes to cooking, and grilling so often must happen spontaneously.  When the weather happens to be perfect, the stars align and I have all the essential ingredients to create a feast on the grill I have to seize the opportunity.  That is, unless, I have something that works just as well on the grill as it does in the oven.  That’s why I love this salmon.  Each of these recipes can be made in either.  Problem solved. Continue reading “Cedar Planked Salmon, Three Ways”

Crêpes with Strawberries and Cream

Sundays.  I spend the whole day in the kitchen – no time constraints, unhurried, set apart from the pressures of the work week – piecing together whatever we might have been craving in the days prior.  There’s often a pot of pinto beans simmering on the stove for my husband who grew up eating them with every meal.  I make a big batch that he can dip into during the week.  Meat is braising slowly in the oven with tomatoes and red wine, thyme and bacon. Continue reading “Crêpes with Strawberries and Cream”

Maple-Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes

L’opéra d’automne

The lake is changing quickly these days.  Fall has stepped firmly into the spotlight .  I always say, Fall arrives as a whisper.  She is the Prima Donna of a grand opera.  She arrives quietly through the back door and slips into her dressing room with nothing more than the rustle of her petticoats.  In the theatre there’s a whisper of her presence, a rumor, an electricity in the air, and though no one has seen her, she is felt by everyone.  She keeps it that way for a while, perhaps only for her own vain amusement, as Prima Donnas are known to do.   She works on her own time, at her own pace, primping and prepping behind the scenes, and everyone follows suit.  No one dares to question her punctuality as she waits in hushed wings, keeping her presence secret until she, and only she, is ready to step onto the stage.  Her grand entrance is a crescendo of gold and bronze and brilliance and luster as she arranges herself in the centre of everything and all eyes fall upon her.  Though she had been there all along, the audience watches in awe and stunned silence as the music begins to swell.   Continue reading “Maple-Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes”

L’art de l’omelette

The omelette, like a work of art, is something that’s never fully mastered or perfected… but it gives me great satisfaction to try.  Did Monet ever say, “I’ve painted my best garden,” and put away his brushes and easel?  Did Van Gogh ever think, “I’ve perfected the Iris, let’s move on to more important things.”?  Of course not.   Instead, when one painting was completed, he picked up his brush and began again on a new canvas.  Yes, the ingredients were the same – wispy petals, blade-like leaves on unruly stems – but Continue reading “L’art de l’omelette”

Eggs in tomato sauce (Shakshouka)

I come from a family of “food-hoarders.”  You can’t blame them.  For the generation that endured the Great Depression, food stockpiles were a necessity… and the generation after simply learned from their parents.  But I’ve found that when food is hoarded, food is wasted.  So, as to not fall into the same pattern, and to be sure nothing goes to waste, I’ve set a few rules for myself: 1.) do not buy something until it’s actually needed. Continue reading “Eggs in tomato sauce (Shakshouka)”

Yogurt Pancakes

We have our milk delivered from a local dairy – one gallon every Wednesday morning.  It’s just a little touch of nostalgia that makes my kitschy housewife alter-ego so very happy.  I love getting up in the morning, in my robe and slippers, and opening the milk box on the front porch to find that last week’s old, empty jar has been replaced with a new one.   It reminds me of simpler times, of days when the milk delivery was possibly the highlight of the week.  (At least in my case I would have been!)  Maybe you had used the last bit of milk a few days earlier and were craving pudding or pancakes but had to make do with whatever you had until the milkman came around again.  People were certainly more creative in the kitchen back before you could type the words “pancakes without milk” into Google.  “Necessity is the mother of invention,” or so they say. Continue reading “Yogurt Pancakes”

Brown Butter Apple Crêpes

If I threw a dinner party and invited all the seasons as guests, Spring would arrive late, flutter between the other guests like a social butterfly, disappear here and there, then run back out to her car to reapply her make up, leaving just as quickly as she’d come.  Summer would sprawl out on the couch and stretch his long legs across the coffee table with his feet in the air.  He’d very likely spill a glass or two of Rosé on the new rug, then apologize loudly, while dabbing it up with the cuff of his shirt.  Winter, no doubt, would over-stay his welcome, howling with laughter long into the night.  I would refill his mug with hot mulled wine over and over until his cheeks were rosy and he was far too drunk to make it home, so he’d stay even longer in the guest bedroom until morning when I’d serve him a hearty breakfast and send him on his way.   Autumn, however, would arrive Continue reading “Brown Butter Apple Crêpes”