MAPLE SYRUP and MUSTARD BRUSSELS SPROUTS by DORIE GREENSPAN, EVERYDAY DORIE
Everyone has a brussels sprouts story. This is mine.
When we moved to Aspen from Des Moines in 1988, we bought a house that wasn’t grand but situated on lovely property abutting Red Butte Mountain and surrounded by 40-some evergreen trees. Along with moving too many belongings, we also packed up our shovels, pitchforks and Iowa gardening skills.
BAY LEAF POUND CAKE with COINTREAU GLAZE by DAVID LEBOVITZ, MY PARIS KITCHEN, PERFECT TREAT for VOLUNTEER WORKERS on ELECTION DAY.
Understatement: Mother Nature looks askance at cocky Iowa farmers who tilled their luscious black soil at 955’ and believe that still works with a 4-month growing season at 9000’ altitude. We immediately planted Burpee’s Big Boy tomatoes, harvesting only one which was rock hard and barely red. Michael, a bit frugal, calculated that Big Boy cost $37.35.
ON ELECTION DAY I COULD BE MOST HELPFUL TO MY FRIEND, DONNA GRAUER, an EAGLE COUNTY PRECINCT COMMITTEE PERSON, by BEING the CHIEF COOK and BOTTLE WASHER as SHE COORDINATED HER DAY’S ACTIVITIES. (No one left hungry.) THE VEGETARIAN SQUASH LENTIL CHILI from the KITCHN WAS DELICIOUS. A LINK TO THE RECIPE IS BELOW.
Eventually we struck a bargain with Colorado’s High Country climate and grew leafy greens and nightshade vegetables. A friend shared her hardy rhubarb roots which yielded a never-ending supply of tangy stalks. My son-in-law loved strawberry/rhubarb pie. Every year I tried to curry favor by hand-delivering one to him in California. However, we were most successful with starchy, tuberous New Potatoes, hosting tater parties every fall.
THIS PAST WEEKEND I MADE A RACK of LAMB, A PERFECT COMPLIMENT TO DORIE’S BRUSSELS SPROUTS.
We rejoiced in our Hits and lamented Misses. One year I spotted brussels sprouts plantings at the local nursery and purchased six. The plants, neither pretty nor luscious, are statuesque. Throughout the summer I lost five but daily monitored the one stalk standing. Its edible buds, mini-cabbages, grew from nubs to walnut-sized nuggets. One evening I decided it was “time,” and excitedly announced to my husband that ‘5 brussels sprouts would be on the menu for tomorrow’s dinner.’
Brussels Sprouts Plant, Cedar Circle Farms
The next morning I walked outside to reap the harvest. The stalk was still standing minus the edible nubs. I cannot over-emphasize my total shock and dismay, taking a double- and triple-take. Apparently a wily deer had been stalking my stalk. He quietly crept into our yard and nibbled the motherlode to extinction!
ON ELECTION DAY WHEN I WAS WORKING IN THE KITCHEN AT DONNA’S, A HERD OF MULE DEER STOPPED BY.
It was spaghetti night at Little Annie’s restaurant. That’s where I licked my wounds, along with a super-sized margarita. I never again planted brussels sprouts.
A LAST SUPPER with FRIENDS BEFORE I CLOSED DOWN MY KITCHEN FOR THE WINTER. THEIR HAIR ORNAMENTS ARE MY NAPKIN RINGS!
Next week I’m very, very excited about traveling to Grand Rapids. You heard right, Grand Rapids. Michigan.
PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY WRAP-UP
EVERY TIME I VISIT A PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY I GET MY PASSPORT BOOKLET STAMPED.
In 1962, the summer I graduated from high school, Herbert Hoover’s Presidential Library opened in nearby West Branch, Iowa. Enjoying an ongoing love affair with history I visited the library before heading to college at Florida State. During that visit I vowed to visit every single Presidential Library administered by the National Archives (there were four).
PRESIDENT FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, HYDE PARK, NEW YORK.
Next Friday, 56 years later, I will realize that goal by visiting President Ford’s (there are now 13). Five years ago I decided ‘if not now, when.’It has been a fantastic journey of learning, made even richer by the friends who encouraged, supported and traveled with me.
Leaving Aspen for the Winter. Next stop: Grand Rapids.
COULD THIS BE A DESCENDANT OF MY BRUSSELS SPROUTS NOSHING- MULE DEER?
This Slab Pie is a peach-perfect choice for the many end-of-summer potlucks you’ll be attending. This easily made Peach Crumble Slab Pie received rave reviews. Be creative and use any fruit combo of the summer’s fresh bounty.
As an amateur photographer, using a point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot which isn’t even manufactured anymore, I have one rule: Never let the picture get in front of the experience.
Happiness is baking Challah with Lieba Mintz at the Jewish Community Center.
That’s why I missed a magnificent opportunity to photograph the illusive Sharp-shinned Hawk during a recent birding field trip. We were studying the astonishing number of Violet-green Swallows feasting on the insects at Hallam Lake when suddenly they all rose up with a terrifying kik-kik-kik call and flew off. That translates to “approaching danger,” and, sure enough, in swooped a hawk.
Someone yelled, “I think it’s a Sharpie.”
Rather than bake off my bread at the Center, I brought mine home to proof in the fridge overnight. In the morning it was ready to bake.
Deb, Jane (the redhead) and I joined 25 other women at the Jewish Center to bake challah.
I won’t even attempt to explain this!
Since 90% of this hawk’s diet is songbirds it had discovered the motherlode. This was a win, however, for the swallows and the Sharpie, coming up short, flew into a bare tree to strategize. I had never seen a good visual of this bird so, for the short minute he was perched before taking off, I took a looong look. Missed the shot, got my eye on the bird.
Food & Friendship – Wendy Weaver made a pie with these gorgeous red currants and gifted me with what was left.
I made cornbread.
It was delicious.
I also opted for experience last summer with the unexpected entrance to the music tent of the Notorious RGB. With intermission just ending, most of the 2,000 people in the tent were returning to their seats for a performance by American opera singer Renée Fleming. I was seated in an aisle seat, heard commotion and turned to see Justice Ginsberg painstakingly making her way down the steps. As her surprise arrival rippled through the crowd, a wave of people began to stand up, clap and appreciate her as she found her seat. I absorbed the experience, missed the good shot.
There’s a fine line between being a visual storyteller while still being capable of re-telling the story. It’s just one of the many minor choices in a lifetime of them for me, for us all.
For me personally this has been a summer of all kinds of choices. The good news is Aspen being an amazing place to live during the summer. That’s also the bad news. It’s impossible to do all the “amazings.”
Melissa closed her office for a week and flew to Aspen to spend some time with her Mom. Pure Joy.
Although practically at my back door in nearby Grand Junction, I had never been to the Colorado National Monument before. It’s an amazing 23,000 acres of canyons, plateaus, massive towers of naturally sculpted monoliths and red rock landscapes.
While I was reading an historic trail sign this Desert Big Horn Sheep wandered near. I don’t recommend being this close to wildlife but my only option was to stand still. He was not threatening and eventually sauntered off when cars began to stop for a look.
“The biggest, trickiest lesson,” explains author Elizabeth Gilbert,“is learning how to say No to things you do want to do – stuff that matters – so that you can successfully do a handful of things that really matter. Our only hope of beating “Overwhelm” may be to limit, radically, what we’re willing to get “Whelmed” by in the first place.”
This summer I’ve tried to take Gilbert’s advice, knocking out the “Over,” settling for just the “Whelm’s.” That’s even why I’ve taken a month-long break from this blog – can we call it a sabbatical? And, no, it’s not an aging thing, why would you even think that?
Recent research has shown that ‘most of us spend nearly 47 percent of our waking hours each day thinking about something other than what we’re doing.’ *
Although I’m thrilled to be blogging again, I’m sad that Summer is waning. So, loyal Readers, I raise this Toast to you: Here’s to relishing joy in the moment, savoring that which is fleeting and focusing on the present experience.
Food & Friendship: My Gant neighbor, Meredith Bell, who lives in Atlanta, brought me a bag of her favorite, mild Shishito Peppers.
…and then we simply tossed with olive oil before heating and blistering them over high heat. Sprinkle with salt. Voila! No utensils needed.
PEACH CRUMBLE SLAB PIE – adapted from New York Times food writer Melissa Clark, the Pillsbury Doughboy and Jane Hutchison (my Mom)
If you want to make a memorable impression with a dazzling dessert for a large summer gathering, bake a slab pie. Enlist help from our available bounty of berries or stone fruit. This dessert, which generously serves 16-18, is the busy baker’s answer to quick, simple and delicious.
First, let’s talk about pie crust. In this recipe I rely on the Doughboy. Here’s why. The stars of this pie are Colorado’s Palisade peaches and the to-die-for crumble. The bottom pie crust (use both pouches in the box) is just the foundation. We need the crust to do its job so the tasty ingredients can shine. Now if you wish to make your own crust, hooray, but I’m making three slab pies next week so ready-made crusts are my friend.
As a time-saver, choose your favorite pre-made pie crust dough. Use both pouches from a box of ready-made pie crust stacked together.
12 ripe large peaches or nectarines or a mix, peeled or not, pitted and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 cup packed light brown sugar
⅓ cup instant tapioca
zest of 3 small or 2 large lemons
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon/ fine sea salt
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups of Quaker oats (quick or old-fashioned)
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 ½ sticks unsalted, COLD butter, cubed
1. Remove pie crusts from pouches. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, unroll and stack crusts one on top of the other and gently roll the two stacked discs to an 11-x-15-inch rectangle, lightly dusting with flour if dough is sticking. Fold dough in half and transfer to a 9-x-13-inch baking dish. Carefully press crust into the bottom of the dish and completely up the edges so its flush with the top (no need to crimp the dough.) Refrigerate while preparing the filling and crumble.
2. Make the filling. In a large bowl, toss together peaches, sugar, tapioca, lemon zest and juice, nutmeg, vanilla and salt. Let stand 20 to 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange one oven rack on the lowest position and a second rack in the center position. Place baking sheet on lowest rack while oven is preheating.
4. Make the crumble topping. Whisk together flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Mix in cold butter with your fingertips until mixture is uniformly moist and comes together in large clumps.
5. Assemble the pie. Remove up to one cup of liquid from the filling if it seems too soupy. (Use it in a smoothie.) Spoon filling into crust and top with crumble.
6. Place pie on pre-heated baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Move baking sheet with pie to the center rack. Continue baking until pie is golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
TIP: This dessert does not need to be refrigerated for a day or so. Just cover loosely with a kitchen towel or wax paper. If not eaten by then (and, I’m betting that won’t happen), cover it with Saran Wrap and place in fridge.
*research project of Matthew A. Killingsworth and Daniel T Gilbert
Food & Friendship: This chard was almost too beautiful to cook. From the Overeynder Community Garden Plot
CHERRY CHOCOLATE PECAN COOKIES by The Skinny Chick
For the previous four winters I’ve emptied my Aspen condo of personal belongings, parking them in my down valley storage unit, and handed my keys to The Gant’s front office personnel. There’s no way to make this easy. Physically, it’s double-duty difficult, packing for a 51/2-month journey while converting my home into rental space. Mentally, it’s always been way outside my comfort zone. I just couldn’t get my head around the process.
ONE BOWL BUTTERMILK BRAN MUFFINS by CAFÉ SUCRE FARINE
Usually I return to Colorado, as I did last week, dreading the re-entry chores awaiting me. But this year, compared to the past, that has seemed less daunting. If I weren’t dieting, I would call it “a piece of cake.” In four years I’ve apparently morphed from hunter-gatherer to true believer, less is more, keep it simple. My mantra is if I take something out, don’t bring something else in.
MADELEINES au SARRASIN by David Lebovitz
Every year it seems my less becomes less, my simple is simpler. It may be, as someone suggested, I’ve stepped so far outside my comfort zone I’ve forgotten how to climb back in. If that translates to lightening my load, I vote yes.
SPRINGTIME in the ROCKIES (no grumbling, we desperately need the moisture).
After a 3-month hiatus from cooking, hanging out in my kitchen says Welcome Home. Since we’re into comfort zones, being inside and out, I’m thinking this blog sorta teeters on the edge. Dear Readers, when did you last do something brand spanking new? Something that nudged you outside the familiar. That’s the true test.
ONE BOWL BUTTERMILK BRAN BREAD
This blog has forced me into a deep dive of unknown recipes, techniques and ingredients. Every week it’s a learning experience with more failures than I will ever admit. In fact I’ve become quite comfortable with failing. Oops!
This week I’ve baked three newbies which I guarantee you bakers will be trying. My new bestie is buckwheat flour, not only healthy but hearty. You’ll see me using it in more recipes this summer. Although I’ve never waded through Proust’sIn Search of Lost Time, I can now bake madeleines. Hooray for me. Thank you, Dorie Greenspan and David Lebovitz.
Each summer I need a tasty, freezable drop cookie recipe for snacks and to share. This chunk of sweetness loaded with two kinds of chocolate, roasted nuts and dried cherries is quick, simple and delicious.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup coarsely chopped white chocolate
1/2 cup coarsely chopped milk chocolate
1 cup dried tart cherries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped, roasted pecans
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
4. Mix in flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix in cherries, white and milk chocolate, and roasted pecans either in the mixer or with a wooden spoon.
5. With a cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop 2 tablespoonfuls of dough and place about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.
6. Bake until just set and golden, about 12-14 minutes.
7. Let cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.
TIP: Store in an airtight container for about 3 days or freeze for up to a month
MADELEINES au SARRASIN(Buckwheat Madeleines) by David Lebovitz, My Paris Kitchen
Besides the madeleines, I also used the leftover batter to make delicious mini-muffins.
David’s take on madeleines using buckwheat flour is genius in a hearty, more healthy manner. It’s less sophisticated and refined than its white flour sister but the guys at The Gant’s front desk loved these “seashells.” In fact James told me, “My mom used to make these every Christmas.”
YIELD: 18 madeleines
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed
2/3 cup buckwheat flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup egg whites (usually about 4 large eggs)
1 tablespoon dark honey
When crepes are made with buckwheat flour, they are called Galettes. We recently ordered this Galette at Breizh Cafe in Paris.
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. As the butter cooks, it will sputter a bit and then it will settle down. Cook the butter until it’s the color of maple syrup and smells toasty. It’s about a 5-minute process. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. (See the How-To below in TIPS.)
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the egg whites and honey. Stir in one-third of the browned butter and gradually add the rest of the butter, including all the dark bits, without scraping the bottom of the pan. Mix until the batter is smooth.
3. In a madeleine mold, brush the indentations with melted butter. Fill the molds three-quarters full with the batter. Bake for 9-10 minutes, until the spring back lightly when you touch them in the center. Because of the color of the buckwheat flour, color is not a good indication of doneness.
4. Remove from oven, wait 30 seconds, then tip out onto cooling rack. Madeleines are best eaten warm, or on the same day they are made. Sprinkle confectioners sugar on the tips if you wish.
TIPS: Here’s a great link to browning butter 101 by Joy the Baker (Love, love, love Joy the Baker). Personally I would take my butter to a deeper brown, a maple syrup color, than Joy suggests.
For most of my adult life I have searched for a tasty bran muffin. I like the idea of a bran muffin and the taste. Unfortunately I’ve never met a bran muffin that isn’t dry. With that first bite, I’m always hopeful. By the third bite, dry, crumbly, no flavor. Chris’ bran muffin passed the dry test. In my opinion the honey-butter glaze is the magic. Before you glaze the warm muffins, why not poke it with three small holes so the glaze will seep through.
Here’s Chris’ link. Besides the recipe, she offers many tips, a must-read.
CooktheBookFridays is a international group virtually cooking through My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz. Join us by clicking here.
Les Invalides, Napoleon’s Tomb (L), Le Tour Eiffel and Rodin’s Le Penseur (R). Hôtel Biron, where A. Rodin lived and now a museum devoted to his work.
Six weeks in Paris. Alone. Studio. 3rd floor walk-up. No elevator.
Admit it, right now you’re thinking, shouldn’t she have done this 40 years ago?
But, here’s the thing.C’est dommage.I didn’t.
I joined others for a wine/cheese tasting at Galeries Lafayette led by Thierry Givone, Wine Tasting in Paris.
Galeries Lafayette is a magnificent department store in downtown Paris.
Now, three weeks into the journey, I am surprised by its so-far-so-good success. This trip was no whim but a dream which finally evolved into a now-or never-moment. I chose “now” with the caveat being a United Airlines return ticket in my backpack.
Paris-Brest, Brasserie Bofinger, 5-7 Rue de la Bastille. Four years ago my French Fridays with Dorie cooking group made the dessert pastry, Paris-Brest. I had no idea what it was or looked like at the time. So at lunch last week, I ordered it. And, ate the whole thing!
It was in February, 2014, that Paris-Brest was our recipe choice one week. This is what I made. I remember it being good enough to share.
For le plat principal, the main course at Bofinger’s, I had Scallops with creamy risotto in thick shellfish sauce.
At this point in my life I’m experiencing Paris through seasoned eyes and with layers of learning as baggage. I’m grateful for each moment here. It was satisfying, for me at least, to capture all together Rodin’s Le Penseur, Les Invalides and Le Tour Eiffel in my lens (photo above). Each of those images which represents three centuries of world history are something special to see.
Friday night I met my friends from Edinburgh, Araminta and Charles Ritchie. for dinner at the home of Susannah and Philippe Saint-Loubert. The Saint-Loubert’s were very gracious to include me.
Susannah is a wonderful cook. She made a variation of Coq Au Vin but it was her sauce that was truly authentic, delicious and red in color as it should be. Charles and Susannah
I understand that the dessert, Génoise roulée, was from a recipe of Araminta’s but baked by Susannah. With or without fruit, perfect.
With the hits, of course, have been misses. On Day 2 it took 45 minutes for me to find a boulongerie that was only three blocks away. I went the wrong way on the metro but turned myself around at the next stop. The graffiti defacing Paris’s beautiful buildings breaks my heart. And it’s obvious the French haven’t received the memo about cigarettes. If secondhand smoke kills you, I’m a dead woman!
Last week I spent a day each at Musée Louvre, d’Orsay and Rodin. At the d’Orsay there is an specific area reserved for students to work and draw.
There are always student groups at the museums. I realized I could understand what the guides were saying to the youngsters. Sometimes I hung out with the kids. No one seemed to mind.
The guides who talk to the kids keep it simple and entertaining.
This little guy resides in this pipe at the Hôtel Biron among Rodin’s art work, rent free. He’s a very cold french sparrow!
Every night I put together the next day’s plan but even so, there’s still uncertainty, a new address to find, a snafu here or there. Whether I’m deciphering a French menu, losing my way or figuring out the Paris metro system, I know it doesn’t matter how slowly I go, eventually I’ll get there. Sharing it with you makes it even better.
On Saturday at Georges Larnicol’s, a chocolatier on my street, they needed to deliver a large chocolate Easter sculpture. The delivery car was smaller than the sculpture.
There was lots and lots and lots of discussion while the girls held the heavy and fragile chocolate sculpture.
Then they tried to load it into the hatchback. Nope. Hopeless. The last I saw of them, they were taking the chocolate sculpture back into the shop.
Cappuccino with a chausson aux pommes and pain au chocolat at Au Petit Versailles, called one of the top ten bakeries in Paris
GOODBYE, COMFORT ZONE…..
Last Saturday morning I stopped by a currency bureau to exchange my US $$$ for Euros. Having been in Paris only 3 days, I prepped for the conversation needed for this transaction. As I stepped to the window, I did my spiel en français, and felt quite pleased with my performance. The young man behind the counter smiled…bigly.
“C’est vrai,” I asked. He nodded his head. He understood.
“I guess you know I’m American, huh?”
The first carousel appeared in France in the second half of the 19th century and quickly became very popular with the Parisians. Today there are at least 20 and one is in my neighborhood. There is also a carousel museum.
Lenôtre has a shop on Rue Saint Antoine. For Easter they are featuring a collection of Les Tortues (turtles). I think this photo of my taking a photo of “Tortue Surfeuse” is fun.
Friday at the Picasso Museum I flipped to English when questioning a guard about an upcoming exhibition. “It’s alright,” he said. “I like to practice my English.”
“Petite fille sautant à la corde”, an assembly of found objects and scraps by Picasso
I’ve shopped so often at Monoprix, the major retail store on my block, clerks already understand my fractured French. For my first Paris meal at Au Bouquet St. Paul’s, I ordered Magret de canard aux figues et miel and, voilà, quack, quack. However, anything revolving around food and drink albeit unpolished, pas de problème. I’ll get there, my friends. Time is on my side.
I pass this gentleman every day. He seems formidable.
THE JOY IS in the JOURNEY, NOT at the JOURNEY’S END
During the past six years I have learned to be comfortable traveling alone. If you make a wrong choice on a solo trip, you fix it without feeling guilty for ruining someone else’s day. In my six years of going solo I’ve never met a problem I couldn’t resolve into a better solution. In my opinion, traveling alone makes you braver. Inspiration kickstarts creativity, expanding your mind. Dealing successfully with the unknown gives you courage. You learn to trust your instinct.
However, as many of you understand like I do, life can turn on a dime. For now, at least, I am privileged and somewhat in a hurry to be able to push boundaries. If not now, when? This 6 weeks in Paris is all about that.
Throughout Paris, if you notice or look carefully, there are small “art” objects stuck to walls of buildings and monuments. Mysterious artists such as Jeff Aerosol, Nemo, Space Invader, Philippe Gerard and Underground Paris create these pieces. John Hamon just posts his photo! It’s fun to be on the lookout for these.
Last Tuesday morning I boarded the Aspen to Chicago flight, beginning a six-week adventure into the Unknown Zone. By Wednesday morning I was unlocking the door to my tiny studio apartment in Le Marais. Unpack. Shop. Explore. Jet lag be damned. My apartment is modest, adequate and within my budget. (Yes, I have one.) It’s safe, quiet and I have already bonded with all 240 square feet.
What is fabulous, of course, is the location, Rue Saint Antoine, a street dating from the 16th century. Directly across from my apartment is the gorgeous 17th century Saint Paul-Saint Louis church, a magnificent blend of French/Italian Baroque architecture. The 170’ July Column of Place de la Bastille, dedicated to the 1830’s Revolution, anchors one end of the area. Christian Vabret’s charming corner bakery/restaurant, Au Petit Versailles du Marais, the other. Since it opens at 7am, who doesn’t need an early morning croissant and cappuccino?
Standing by my building’s doorway I spot boulangeries (5), a fromagerie, dozens of cafes and bistros, chocolatiers (5), Monoprix, grocery stores, fishmongers, flower shops, wine/Foie Gras shops, a bookstore and more. Much more.
It’s been a happy beginning.
Bonne nuit de Paris.
“Boy, those French. They have a different word for everything.” Steve Martin
PANISSE PUFFS FROM MY PARIS KITCHEN BY DAVID LEBOVITZ
Last summer my USFS volunteer colleague, Deb, was on bus duty at the Maroon Bells pick up station. It was July, peak tourist season and we were overwhelmed by the crowds, sometimes welcoming over 1,000 visitors each day. The Bells, a priceless treasure, is the most photographed site in Colorado/Rocky Mountains.
YELLOW-BELLIED MARMOT (WHISTLE-PIG) – Plump and furry, these mammals are crowd-pleasers. Often sunning on large boulders near the road to the Bells, they attract the attention of bus-riding visitors. One male and several females with babies live in each colony.
After work, during our drive home together, we discussed our day. I was concerned about the crowds and the ramifications of that. Deb wasn’t having it. This is what I remember her saying…..
“This morning I talked to a woman who was boarding a crowded bus,” Deb told me. “She was wearing a sari, was from India and very excited about seeing the Bells. I remember feeling badly that the crowds would probably lessen her experience. Later I saw her getting off a bus so I walked over and asked how she liked it.”
Enthralled might be the right description, Deb recalls. She said, “It’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, I will never forget it.”
CHICKEN & TOMATO SALAD with SUMAC & HERBS
That conversation has stuck with me as I often remind myself we all interpret Life through different lens and with varied expectations. That includes those 78 million tourists who visit Colorado each year.* This blog offers me the opportunity to share my Life as I live it….. through every angle, twist and turn. My hope is that my lens can always be rose-colored, my glass half-full and your expectations met.
Mama Cordilleran Flycatcher built her nest on the window ledge of a USFS outhouse. After her babies are born and have fledged, the 5-6″ Cordillerans will fly to their winter habitat in Mexico.
THESE BABY WESTERN WOOD- PEEWEES ARE WAITING FOR MOM TO RETURN WITH FOOD. WWP’S FIND A HORIZONTAL BRANCH AND BUILD CUP-SHAPED NESTS THAT ARE BOUND TOGETHER WITH SPIDER WEBS.
COOK the BOOK FRIDAY – Panisses Soufflées
PANISSE PUFFS – A SUCCESS STORY
Panisse Puffs could be David Lebovitz’s homage to the popover (America) or Yorkshire Pudding (England). My attempts at those classics were duds. Inedible. I feared our high altitude would crater this baking project also. Miraculously the puff gods prevailed, those darlings inflated and were delicious. Blend these together in 15 minutes. (So easy.) Pop in the oven for 35 minutes. Slather, if you wish, with butter, honey or jam. Sublime. For success, just follow the recipe below and my tips.
WHILE I DON’T MIND RISING EARLY, I DO MIND MORNING BIRDING ADVENTURES IN THE MOUNTAINS. IT’S ALWAYS COLD AT DAWN AT 9,500′. FOR THIS ROARING FORK AUDUBON TRIP LED BY MARY HARRIS, WE FIRST CELEBRATED TWO BIRTHDAYS. CARROT CAKE FOR BREAKFAST.
CHICKEN & TOMATO SALAD with SUMAC & HERBS
Last week the New York Times featured a Mediterranean-flavored salad by California chef Sara Kramer. I’m a Yotam Ottolenghi fan. This recipe reminded me of those featured in “Jerusalem”, an award-winning cookbook by Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. So I gathered the ingredients and made lunch for myself and The Gant’s front office staff.
I wasn’t sure the spices in the salad dressing, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cardamon, sumac, along with chile oil, would appeal to the young staff. Although they all seem to have a healthy respect, understanding and appreciation of good food, they insist there isn’t much they won’t eat. This was a test.
I loved the sophisticated flavors mixed into this salad. It was a winner for the younger crowd also. Like many of Ottolenghi’s involved recipes, I’ve suggested tips for simplifying this salad and cutting down on prep time without losing any taste. Click on the link for the recipe.
PIKA – THIS LITTLE GUY’S FAMILY HAS SURVIVED FOR ABOUT 15 MILLION YEARS. A LITTLE RESPECT, PLEASE. THESE BELOVED MAMMALS ARE SMALL, SHORT-EARED, WITH NO VISIBLE TAIL AND DO NOT HIBERNATE. MY FAVORITE. Susan Brisbois Foster photo
“WHAT BIRDS EAT,” A FOREST CONSERVANCY FIELD CLASS TAUGHT BY DAVE LEATHERMAN.
PANISSE PUFFS by David Lebovitz, My Paris Kitchen
⅔ cup chickpea flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo & Fava Flour available at Whole Foods, mail-order or markets that carry his products)
⅓ cup flour (I used Hungarian High-altitude Flour)
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg white
1 TBS salted or unsalted butter, melted
¾ tsp sea salt or Kosher Salt
1/4 freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground cumin
Generous pinch of cayenne pepper
BAKE THESE PUFFS IN THE OVEN FOR 35 MINUTES. DO NOT PEEK.
1.Preheat the oven to 425 degreesF. Put the popover mold in the oven in the middle position. Have a baking sheet ready for it to sit on in case the mixture spills over.
2.Combine all the ingredients in a blender until completely smooth.
3.Take the mold out of the oven and brush the insides well with melted butter. Quickly pour the batter into the molds, put them in the oven. Decrease the temperature to 400 degrees. Bake for 35 minutes or until puffed up and brown. Serve immediately, while warm..
1.Don’t be tempted to open the oven before they’re ready.
2. You may use a standard muffin tin but the puffs won’t rise as high.
3. If you have any puffs leftover, slice them vertically and fry them quickly in a little olive oil until brown on each side. Drain on a paper towel and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (for a sweet treat) or salt (for a snack at cocktail hour.
CHICKEN & TOMATO SALAD with SUMAC & HERBS adapted by the New York Times from Chef Sara Kramer, Kismet, Los Angeles
FOR THIS SALAD, GRILL/COOK A SPATCHCOCKED CHICKEN, CUT A CHICKEN INTO 8 PIECES OR, FOR EASE, BUY A ROTISSERIE CHICKEN AT YOUR MARKET.
1.For a shortcut, stop by the market for a rotisserie chicken.
2. What distinguishes this salad from others is its dressing. Be sure to skim the fat off the chicken juice. I found the shallot or onion power to be unnecessary. I used chili sesame oil. You will make more dressing than is needed so taste frequently as you pour on and toss the mixture.
3. Brush your mold well with melted butter (in addition to what you used in the mixture) or spray as directed. (I used a Pam butter spray.)
4. Serve at room temperature with a rose or, even better, Kramer suggests, a resiling.
*In 2015, nearly 78 million tourists visited Colorado, pumping more than $19 billion into the economy. (State of Colorado statistic)
BIRDERS STEP ASIDE FOR THE COWBOYS FROM T-LAZY-7 RANCH.