“When the sun is shining I can do anything; no mountain is too high, no trouble too difficult to overcome.”  Wilma Rudolph

Realizing there are some mountains too high for me and some troubles beyond my control, the sun is still shining so…


Grilled Marinated Portobello Mushrooms

Mushroom season. It’s a thing. Having grown up in Iowa I know April showers translate to fungi foragers being on the prowl. Every serious forager has his secret place so don’t expect to tag along for the hunt. The more I learned about mushrooms, the more I resolved to never eat a mushroom I picked. Only in grocery stores or farmers markets in fungi I trust.

Using a pre-made pie crust and pulling together dinner leftovers, including several marinated portobello slices, I baked Dorie Greenspan’s Asparagus-Lemon Quiche. It took me about 20 minutes . The mushrooms bring additional flavor to many kinds of quiches .

Surprisingly I never met a portobello mushroom until I ordered the widely-acclaimed veggie sandwich called a “Shroom Burger” at Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack in Las Vegas. It’s a breaded and deep-fried cheese-stuffed portobello mushroom patty (or, 2, if preferred) in a brioche bun and topped with lettuce, tomato and the chain’s special sauce.

Starting with a box of Imagine Creamy Portobello Mushroom Soup,I sautéed onions and garlic, chopped up a leftover baked potato and marinated mushrooms and mixed together.

While Shake Shack’s burger was a bit too, too for me, I loved the meaty, earthy taste of the portobello. Last week I found some beautiful portobellos in the market so mushrooms were on my menu. I wasn’t disappointed by my tasty efforts. (Recipes are below.)

Well, it was worth a try. My hummingbirds were not impressed with this Hairy Woodpecker.


One of the joys of my adult life has been spending my summers in Aspen.  While the cultural options are enormous, it’s the recreational opportunities that Michael first introduced to me in 1988 when we moved here. After he died, which incidentally was ten years ago this month, nothing was more healing than getting back to Aspen and into the mountains. And so it continues…..

Summer began when one of my Forest Conservancy sisters transformed from forest ranger to mother-of-the-bride. We all dusted off our high heels, ordered new friends-of-the-mother-of-the-bride dresses and celebrated this lady’s joy.
Tomorrow, Ladies, it’s back on the trail!
This week we began our third year of sharing fresh vegetables from Two Roots Farm with our community’s seniors.
If it’s Thursday, I’ll be hanging out under the tent with Judy (L), and Shana (R) ,at the Pitkin County Senior Services center in Aspen.

MY SUMMER JOB – As the season begins, I thought you’d like a glimpse of my “office,” where I work and what I do.

My first patrol of the season was the Difficult Creek Trail. Checking back on my report to the Forest Conservancy/USFS, I encountered 13 day hikers, 4 dogs-on-leash and 2 off-leash, fallen logs on trail, larkspur and serviceberry in full bloom, ambitious beaver activity, 4 moose (thus, the leash requirement) and 1 Trumpeter Swan!!! The reports get more complicated as the trails get busier.
Although this photo was taken last Saturday and not on my patrol, this is one of the moose I saw at Difficult Creek. In this photo he has a buddy who is “relaxing” behind him and not pictured. There are a number of moose in the area, here, there and everywhere. With a fence between us, I took this photo quickly, and with a zoom.
For my next patrol I hiked up Cooper Creek Trail to the Lindley Hut which is located at the foot of Star Peak in the Ashcroft Valley. You think you’re at the top of the world until you look around and realize you aren’t.
Someone used to live here. My last and most gorgeous patrol of the week, busy with hikers and bikers, was in the Hunter Creek Valley. Although there are some preserved structures  dating to the 1890s, many are in disrepair. Besides keeping people and wildlife safe, we are always on the lookout for smoke/fires. 

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Fontina on Toast

Adapted from recipe developers Fatima Khawaja, Saveur magazine and Laura Rege @Kitchn

Marinate the mushrooms for 30 minutes.

NOTE: I used the additional portobellos for a quiche, portobello burger, cream of mushroom soup and a main course. Laura Rege suggests adding cucumber yogurt sauce, chimichurri pesto or your favorite toppings to a burger or portobello slices for added flavor  

Yield: 2 toasts



2 Tbsp. olive oil

3 tbsp. balsamic or sherry vinegar

1-2 cloves garlic, chopped


4 tbsp. salted butter, softened, divided

2 medium garlic clove, finely chopped (2 tsp.)

1 shallot, finely chopped (3 Tbsp.)

3 tbsp. finely chopped chives

Freshly ground black pepper

3-4 Portobellos (1½ cups lightly packed is needed for the toasts)

2 thick country bread slices

2 oz. thinly sliced Fontina cheese (no substitute allowed!)

Flaky sea salt, to taste

After toasting the bread on both sides, lay thin slices of Fontina cheese on the toast and turn off the heat. Cover with tinfoil and let the cheese melt 60-90 seconds before piling on the mushroom mixture.


  1. Finely chop 1 garlic clove and place in a 9×13-inch baking dish. Add 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar and 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.  Whisk to combine. 
  2. Wash, dry and remove the stems from 3-4 portobello mushrooms. Add to the baking dish and marinate at room temperature until almost all of the marinade is absorbed (at least 10 and up to 30 minutes), flipping halfway through.
  3. Place the mushrooms side by side, on the grill or in the grill pan. Cover and grill until tender and lightly charred, 4 to 5 minutes per side. 4.
  4. While grilling the mushrooms, melt the butter in a small skillet set over medium heat. When the foam subsides, add the garlic and shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3–4 minutes. Add the chives and cook for another minute. Season with freshly ground black pepper and remove from the heat.
  5. Transfer the grilled portobellos to a cutting board and coarsely chop the mushrooms. Add them to the butter mixture and toss to coat.
  6. Drizzle a little olive oil over both sides of the bread slices, then grill, turning once, until there are grill marks on both sides, about 4 minutes. Turn off the heat. Top the slices evenly with thin fontina slices, cover (tinfoil works well) and heat until the cheese is melted, 60-90 seconds more. 
  7. Transfer the toasts to a serving plate, top with the buttered morels. Sprinkle with the flaky salt and serve hot. These toasts are very rich and filling. 
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