Archive for the 'Recipes' Category

Grapes and Sausage

17 April 2019 at 8:06 pm
by Jonah

My boss taught me this recipe, and it is so good.


1 lb Italian sausage

1 big bunch red seedless grapes

Balsamic vinegar.

Take a Dutch oven. Put one pound of good Italian sausage in it. My favorite is sausage from our local meat market Andy’s, but in a pinch I have also used Boulder Sausage. I have used both sweet and Italian sausage, and both are good. Loose sausage is best, but you can also take links and squeeze the sausage out of them. Destem and dump in a big bunch of red seedless grapes. Dump in enough balsamic vinegar to come halfway up the grapes that are resting on the bottom. Cover and put on a grill on moderate heat until the sausage is cooked all the way and the balsamic vinegar has cooked into a sludge, usually about an hour. Smash the sausage with a wooden spoon or spatula. Serve with fresh bread.

If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can also use a pot and put it in the oven. You can also cook this on a burner on the stove, but you have to be careful that it doesn’t stick.

This is a great dish for the summer because you can cook it outside and not heat up your house. You can also use the grill to cook other things while it’s off in a corner cooking away.

Operation Barbacoa

1 January 2018 at 3:02 pm
by Jonah

Operation barbacoa: two blisters and two bags of charcoal (to melt through the frost layer) and many hours later

Berck is exultant about his hole.  The leg of lamb is thawing in the laundry room and a stack of maguey leaves is waiting in the garage.  Berck has fashioned wire handles for the pot from Mexico.

We have test-fit the grate on the pot. We have firewood stock-piled next to the hole. We have a plywood cover and tarp ready for the hole. There are garbanzo beans soaking in water upstairs.

Tomorrow morning, we have to get up super early to make a fire.

Step one, giant fire in a giant hole early in the morning.

Roasting maguey.  On shelf support brackets, the Mexican way.

Lamb, wrapped in maguey, in the hole…

Now we spend the next 8 hours wondering if there is enough heat in there…

The moment of truth.

No go.  The meat is still raw.

Next day 2nd try.

Need more wood.  Doesn’t everyone do fire mitigation cutting down dead aspens on Christmas morning?

We have cooked meat! Second attempt much more like success. Wonderful rare roasted lamb, delicious chicken. Doesn’t taste anything like barbacoa, but still quite good.

Potatoes and beans did not cook.  Rice turned into mush.  But we have a hole ready for our next attempt!

Chicken tortellini soup

10 November 2017 at 7:53 am
by Jonah

My friend T once served me some delicious chicken tortellini soup.  I got the recipe from her and modified it heavily.  Here’s my version.  It is so good.  Even Mikey likes it.


Chicken tortellini soup

1 lb chicken breasts cubed

1 lb sliced sausage (I like to use Andouille)

3 quarts of chicken broth

2 cans cream of chicken soup

1 cup vermouth

24 oz fresh or frozen tortellini

2 cups sliced carrots

2 bunches chopped green onions

4 teaspoons basil

1 teaspoon oregano

1 small head garlic minced

1 package fresh spinach

2 cups shredded white Cheddar

1 cup cream

pepper to taste

seasoned salt to taste (about 1 tablespoon)


Sauté the carrots in a little bit of olive oil. Add garlic and sausage.

Bring to a boil everything except the tortellini, spinach, and Cheddar.  Add the tortellini, the spinach and Cheddar, bring back to a boil, and simmer  10 minutes or until tortellini is done.  Add cream and serve with more grated Cheddar on top.

Fortunately, it’s soup and it doesn’t really matter what you do.

Biscuits in Divide

24 June 2017 at 4:46 pm
by Berck

Jonah used to make excellent biscuits, but then we moved to Divide. The difference in altitude (6,000ft to 9,000ft) was enough to turn her biscuits into greasy blobs suitable for packing to your next arctic exhibition. So I fired her from biscuit making and decided to try it myself.

There are a lot of myths about baking at altitude. Rules of thumb that say “add/subtract ingredient X per thousand feet of altitude” are generally terrible advice. Corrections that work at 6,000 feet may need to be completely reversed by 8,000 feet. In Colorado Springs, we mostly got by without changing much, but our house is at 9,200ft now, and that changes everything.

The most important information I’ve found is in a book that someone (she can’t remember who) bought for Jonah: Pie in the Sky by Susan Purdy. She actually has recipes for 10,000ft, all of which she worked out in Breckinridge, so they actually work. Looking at the altitude tables for each recipe in this book illustrate just how different things are at each altitude.

When it comes to biscuits, she had the most important piece of information: buttermilk biscuits are just not going to work at 10,000ft. The reaction is too quick, releases too much pressure, and eventually results in collapsed biscuits. She says that she had an incredibly hard time finally producing biscuits for this altitude.

So, I took that information, and her otherwise boring biscuit recipe and combined it with techniques from Peter Reinhart as well as a few tricks of my own to produce the first biscuits I’m actually happy with in Divide.

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup vodka
1 stick frozen butter
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder [EDIT: 1 TB is sufficient]
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour (though half pastry flour would be better if I could ever find it)

Grate the frozen butter into the flour, add the rest of the ingredients. Roll/fold the dough at least 4 times then cut into biscuits. Bake on a stone at 425F.

Fruit Pizza

15 May 2012 at 7:38 pm
by Jonah

We had a graduation party for Berck on Saturday.  I made a fruit pizza!

I made for 4th of July two years ago.

I had a request for the recipe, so I thought I’d put it here.  Fruit pizza is really simple…just a sheet of sugar cookie dough, frosting, and fruit.  Here are the recipes I use for the cookie dough and frosting.


Old Fashioned Tea Cakes

This is my favorite sugar cookie recipe, and it comes from Sue Robinson.


1 cup butter

1 3/4 cup sugar

3 cups self-rising flour

2 teaspoons vanilla


If you don’t have self-rising flour, like I never do, just use

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Gradually stir in flour.  Dump the whole thing on a big cookie sheet and spread evenly.  Bake at 350 for at least 20 minutes.  It will probably take longer. It will start browning on the edges.


I like to use cream cheese frosting, and it’s super easy to make.

  • 4 ounces butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (actually more)

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Add more powdered sugar until it’s the consistency you want.


Spread the frosting on top of the cookie.  Then decorate with fruit!  My favorites to use are blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries (sliced), and cherries and grapes (cut in half).  Also good are kiwi, and I had good success with mango on my last one.  I hear mandarin oranges work well too.  Pretty much any fruit will do.  If you use apples or bananas, fruit that brown when cut, dip the cut fruit in lemon or pineapple juice to keep them from browning.