Simple. Fresh. Local

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." JRR Tolken

Month: April, 2012

Crackers with Goat, Gruyere and Cilantro-lime Dressing

For my birthday my mom roasted two whole goat legs. I’ve been living off the left over meat for the last few days, enjoying it with my eggs in the morning, baked in the cast iron with cheese and bread for lunch, in goat enchiladas and as a quick snack. The legs are currently simmering on the stove in water with carrots, onion, celery, salt and pepper, on their way to becoming a rich stock for future soups. These crackers are a quick snack. My roommate made the cilantro-lime dressing, and it’s good on everything, especially these crackers as it adds a bit of tanginess to the uber-rich goat meat. 

Crackers with Goat, Gruyere and Cilantro-lime Dressing

Crackers, I used Ak Mak
Goat meat, sliced
Cilantro-lime dressing (recipe below)
Cilantro garnish
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Cook, or warm up, the meat in a skillet over high heat. Place the meat on the crackers, spread the cheese out over the meat and then drizzle the dressing on top followed by some pieces of cilantro. Season with salt & pepper.

Wallis’ Cilantro-lime Dressing

1/4 cup olive oil
Juice from 3 whole limes
1 tbsp balsamic, or apple cider vinegar
1 bunch of cilantro
t tsp salt

Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Enjoy on salads, meat, crackers and other snacks.


Backcountry Ski Camping Update

We ended up only camping for one night. It turns out this was a good thing for the first backcountry camping experience. I learned a lot and feel confident about taking longer trips now. First off, backcountry ski camping is hard, really hard. Especially when a lot of snow has melted and you have to continually take your skis off and rock hop in ski boots while carrying a heavy pack and skis. We took the Cascade trail in around Emerald Bay, thinking it would be a quick couple of miles to Azure Lake. We quickly realized, after crossing sketchy rivers and walking through treacherous terrain, that we were in for a bit of an adventure. But we made it to the lake, and of course it was beautiful and worth it. If there was enough snow on the ground for us to skin in the whole way, the trip would have been about 50 times easier.

We ended up camping at Azure Lake that night and didn’t ski much that day. The snow was unstable and a bit scary, so instead we hiked on the granite rocks and played for the afternoon. That night we watched meteor showers light up the sky. We might have been the only people camped out there watching the sky fall into the earth. It was incredible. The next morning we woke up and as we were stretching and waking up we heard the sonic boom of the meteorite that apparently hit the earth in South Lake. It sounded like we were getting bombed and the whole valley shook. That day we did a small hike by Azure and scoped out Dick’s peak and all of the other mountains we want to hike. We met a crew of three men who were probably in their 50’s, doing a tour from Emerald to Echo (our original plan). They said they’ve been camping and hiking back there together since they were in high school. They are my role models. We had an awesome run down the mountain and the snow was a little more stable during the morning.

We hiked out over Maggies, and, for the most part, there was enough snow to skin out. But once we were on the other side skiing down toward Emerald Bay there were definitely bare spots and the snow was also sliding.

Anyway, the point of all this is to remind me where I went and what I brought so I have a list for next time. I took out a bit of clothing before the trip, and it was so warm we could have left behind more. I ended up skiing and hiking in my sports bra and spandex shorts, it was SO hot. I definitely didn’t need my snow pants and we could have even left the tent behind.

So the items on my original list are all essential if you are doing winter back country camping. But we did summer back country ski camping, which meant we barely needed warm clothes. As for food, I brought everything from the original list, except for the yams and cheese. For lunch we had crackers with avocado and salami. We also snacked on oranges, trail mix and macaroons. For dinner we ate the mac n cheese and chili con carne. The next morning we ate oranges and yakisoba, which I wouldn’t get again. My favorite freeze dried meal was definitely the mac n cheese. I’m going to master making all of my own meals for the next trip. For lunch and snacks we had the chocolate hazelnut butter on crackers, which was absolutely delicious. We snacked on beef jerky, trail mix and macaroons. After the trip I had plenty of food left over, so I know I packed the right amount for our original trip. We also drank water straight from the snow melt without purifying it. It was a great way to celebrate the end of the season, and a perfect time to camp because no one was out there.

I was really struggling at this point.

Bear tracks.

Skinning across frozen alpine lakes is awesome.

Backcountry Skiing and Camping Food Guide & Raw Macaroons

I’m trying to put together a comprehensive guide for backcountry skiing and camping. I’ve been looking online at lists, and they are helpful, but I’m not satisfied with their food lists. They gave me some idea of how much to bring, but I wanted a better idea of what to bring. This is my first snow camping and skiing trip. We’re leaving early Friday morning and coming back Sunday. So that means breakfast for Saturday and Sunday, lunch and snacks for all three days and two dinners. Seven meals plus snacks all together.

What I’m learning as I pack is that you have to bring a lot of shit backcountry skiing and camping. And, as this is my first time out there I’m sure I’m forgetting things. So, when I get back I’ll do a post about how it all worked out. I read a post that recommended starting from the feet up, so I’ll attempt to accomplish that here. If you have any suggestions or tips please share.

My situation: 2 people. 3 days, 2 nights. 7 meals. Echo Lake to Emerald Bay. Weather: sunny, mid 70’s – nice backcountry ski camping weather, hopefully there’s still snow to hike on.


Climbing skins
Socks: 3 ski pairs, 1 sleep pair
Long underwear bottoms: 1 pair warm, 1 light, 1 shorts
Long underwear tops: 2 base, 2 layers, 2 t-shirts
Sports bra & regular bra, underwear-3 pairs
Mini camp towel
Snow pants
Down sweater & water proof jacket
Hat, headlamp, shades, neckie
Helmet & goggles
gloves-2 pairs, light and warm
Beacon, probe, shovel

Sleeping bag, pad
First aid kit
Mess kit
Jet Boil & utensils
Toothpaste, toothbrush, tea tree oil
Camel back, water purifier

Food: This is a hard list and one I’m sure I’ll revise on my next trip. I just don’t want to eat freeze-dried oatmeal in the morning because oatmeal has a funny way of making me hungrier. What I’m planning on having is some protein and fat for both meals and plenty of snacks. Breakfast and lunch are interchangeable meals for me. So in the morning I’ll either have some fruit and a bar or an avocado with cheese, meat and crackers. As long as we have plenty of snacks we can eat relatively small meals throughout the day and be fine. I’m hoping these dinners are tasty because that is the meal that keeps you warm and happy when you’re sleeping. Some of the extravagant foods, like the baked yams and avocados will get eaten the first day and night. After that we’ll probably stick to dry foods.
2 Avocados
Raw cheddar cheese
2 Italian Salamis
4 baked yams

Lunch & Snacks:
4 coconut Lara bars
2 chocolate hazelnut butter packs
Raw macaroons (recipe below)
Trail mix: almonds, coconut flakes, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, currants, dried figs, chocolate, salt
2 Espresso Gu
Organic beef jerky
TLC Crackers
Ready to eat wild salmon
3 chocolate bars

Dinner: Yakisoba noodles (Backpacker’s Pantry)
Mac n Cheese (MaryJaneFarms Organic)
Curry in a Hurry (MaryJaneFarms Organic)
Chili con Carne from (MaryJaneFarms Organic)

Other: hot chocolate mix, salt & pepper

 Raw Macaroons

Raw Macaroons:

2 ½ cups coconut flakes
1/3 cup coconut oil, liquefied (place coconut oil jar in hot water)
¾ cup raw cacao
¼ cup maple syrup
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla bean powder

Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly. If the mix is too dry, add more oil or syrup. Make sure you taste the macaroons several times as you mix, make sure they are sweet, but not too sweet. I form mine in balls and dehydrate them for a few hours to make them a little crispy on the outside, but you can bake them at a really low temperature, or just eat them without any of that fuss. They are great fuel, plenty of fat from the coconut oil and antioxidants and other goodies from the chocolate and cinnamon. The salt and maple syrup complexity is delicious combined the coconut and chocolate.

Backcountry Snacks: Raisin Bread Sandwich with Bananas and Honey

I’ve filled almost all of my weekends this winter with backcountry skiing. We’ve hiked Mt. Rose, Rifle Peak, Jake’s, Bliss, Crater Lake, ASI, Tallac and a few other spots. Some just once, some a few times. I think it’s the most meaningful way to experience winter and skiing. You really learn to appreciate your turns when you spend a few hours trekking up a steep mountain to earn them. You also get to know your geography, I’ve learned more about my mountains through backcountry skiing this year than any other year living here. You also really appreciate food after a long hike, and the food you bring on a hike is really important because it’s what keeps you going.

The best breakfast before hiking is a green smoothie and three farm fresh eggs. And I always like having a latte before a hike, it just gets me so excited to charge uphill. On the way up I drink tons of water and like to have some chocolate and fruit. I also usually bring raw macaroons and they seem to be one of the best snacks ever for backcountry skiing. They are a mix of raw cacao, coconut flakes, coconut oil, maple syrup, salt and cinnamon and I dehydrate them for a few hours so they’re a little crispy and richer.

I just wanted to share a really simple, but incredibly satisfying snack I made for our hike up Tallac today. It was a triple decker sandwich with all the right ingredients, flavors and textures.

Raisin Bread Sandwich with Bananas and Honey

3 slices toasted sprouted raisin bread
Sliced bananas
Sea Salt

Toast the bread, spread with butter and honey, add bananas and top with salt and cinnamon. Wrap in tin foil and enjoy on top of a mountain in the sunshine.

Thanks Jillian!

I wanted to thank Jillian Stenzel for her article about this blog, she wrote it for our University webpage and I love it. We had a really nice dinner together, ate Thai food, drank wine and ate this yummy broiled pear and fromage blanc dessert with honey. It’s fun to share this space where I store recipes with more people and I enjoyed sharing a meal with Jilllian.




Back to All News Items

Harris, in her element, cooking up topics for her blog

by Jillian Stenzel

Fervent food lover and journalism student Amy Harris found a way to communicate her passion through the medium she loves most: writing.

“I want people to be more interested in their food,” Harris said, “Eating well is such a treat and it’s not hard to do. I want people to see that food can be a creative and empowering outlet.”

Her natural talent for writing combined with the influence of her agriculturally and environmentally conscious parents helped shape Harris as a writer.

Currently in her final semester at the University, Harris credits the Reynolds School of Journalism for the skills she honed by repetition and the pressure to work under a deadline.

“I’m really impressed by her passion for food and how quickly she can spit out a good story,” said Amanda Burden, Harris’ editor at Edible Reno-Tahoe, a quarterly magazine that explores the regional food culture.

The Reynolds School helped Harris to develop the confidence necessary to involve herself in the community around her.

“I was super shy coming into college, and now I feel really comfortable with, and even enjoy, doing interviews,” Harris said. “The journalism school forces you to be invested in what’s going on around you and gives you exposure to things you normally wouldn’t have. Other majors don’t have that kind of community outreach.”

Harris began a blog a little over three years ago for an environmental studies class. It evolved into a space to archive her gastronomical experiments and, eventually, became a resource for other food lovers.

“I do it for the moms,” Harris jokes while discussing the primary fan base of her blog, “I get kind of embarrassed that I have a food blog but it’s been a valuable resource for recipes I would have otherwise written down somewhere and lost.”

Harris regularly posts recipes and photos of meals she creates using local ingredients from her parents’ ranch or the organic farm in Sierraville where she’s employed.

“I get a lot of feedback from family and friends who are really happy that I’m sharing what I do,” Harris said.

In addition to blogging and working on a farm, Harris shares her zeal for local food as a writer for Edible Reno-Tahoe. The skills and knowledge she developed as journalism/environmental studies major came together perfectly in Harris’ current position.

Two years into publication, Edible Reno-Tahoe features people involved in the local food movement. Harris thinks it was a great place to get her start.

“When I got in touch with Amy, I had her write up a story for me,” Burden said, “Soon after, she expressed an interest in interning so I snatched her up!”

Harris appreciates the opportunity pursue both her love of writing and her passion for food and the environment.

“The coolest part is regaining hope that people are doing good things in your area,” Harris said, “When you talk to people who believe that food is an important where you are, it’s inspiring and refreshing.”

Harris’ paid internship provides an opportunity to write for a cause that is close to her heart.

“Having a paid internship is something I totally recommend to everyone,” Harris said, “You completely value your work differently.”

Harris loves that through journalism she can connect to the food community.

“Most of my writing has been promoting people who get in touch with the food where they are,” Harris said. “That will probably shape what I do. Regardless, writing will always be a part of my life.”

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