Once I got used to the idea of not having internet and electricity, the thing I missed the most during my blissfully off-the-grid time working in Yellowstone National Park last month may seem strange: cooking.

My apologies for not writing a blog post at the regular time on Sunday evening. I simply wore myself out over the weekend doing what I think of as the usual stuff--a three-mile walk to check if spring was springing along the river, plus laundry and other household tasks, and readying the studio for a house guest. Somehow that all took more out of me than usual.

I’m always ridiculously pleased when I invent a new recipe, especially one that’s relatively simple and turns out to be delicious. 

Here are two, one using summer’s ripe peaches, and the other using almonds to make a less-expensive alternative to one of my staple proteins: almond butter.  

It's Wednesday and DIY night on this blog, so here's a recipe!

Weather Report: 22 degrees F, wind howling out of the southeast, no snow yet. Perfect weather for a simple, quick and healthy dinner featuring local winter vegetables and soft cheese. (You can add meat if you want, more on that later.)

Jars of eggnog on the kitchen island, waiting to go to happy homes.... Jars of eggnog on the kitchen island, waiting to go to happy homes....
My living room in the afternoon--imagine me on the couch with Medusa, the multi-headed lamp, turned on for light. My living room--imagine me on the couch after dark with Medusa, the multi-headed lamp, turned on for light.
Deck railings dripping before dawn.... Deck railings dripping before dawn....

I woke this morning in the darkness before dawn and, as I always do, I first checked the view of the constellations—Orion, my favorite, was barely visible, glittering through a veil of high cloud. Next I checked the outside temperature: 49 degrees F, very warm for dawn at this time of year.

After last week's post, The Dangerous Power of Thin, I wanted to share two simple recipes. I may have a tangled relationship with eating, but that does not extend to food and cooking.

I love to cook. I revel in playing with the flavors, colors, and textures of fresh ingredients, in preparing food that's healthy and delicious, and visually appealing.

Ruffled red lettuce, mache, and arugula, all from Renee's Garden Seeds. Summer lettuce blend, mache, and arugula, all from Renee's Garden Seeds.
Fresh-picked and fragrant!

Well, not strawberries and basil together, though that would be interesting.

Paris Market Mesclun, a gorgeous and delicious mix of lettuces, other greens and herbs, from Renee's Garden Seeds

For me, one of summer's real joys is being able to make ultra-fresh meals from whatever needs harvesting in our organic kitchen garden. I love a good tossed salad for lunch for instance, so in summer, I eat a bowl of whatever greens we have in abundance, topped by something juicy and something proteinaceous (usually slivered almonds or some other kind of nuts).

It's summer and thus house-guest season. My Dad's the latest--he's been here since Thursday, mostly to take care of his legal affairs. Still, Richard took Dad out birding on Friday morning, and yesterday we celebrated the "July boys" birthdays--Richard turned 61 yesterday, and Dad's 83rd birthday is later this month, so I organized a picnic lunch and drove us out to Hecla Junction, the only road access to rugged Browns Canyon on the Arkansas River upstream of town.

Sorry for the radio silence. We've had an influx of visiting family--Molly and a bunch of Tweits. So the last few days have been taken up with family business (a three-hour stint with a lawyer updating my dad's affairs), plus cooking and eating, taking walks, birdwatching, seeing art, playing cards and laughing...

Last night we had friends over for dinner for the first time in, well, months. It was a lovely sign that we're recovering some normal in this journey with Richard's brain cancer, or if not normal (whatever that means in these days of nuclear disaster in Japan and bloody revolution in Libya), at least the ordinary pleasures of cooking together.