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.
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.”
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.
COOK the BOOK FRIDAY – Panisses Soufflées
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.
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.
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
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
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)