WHAT MAKES ASPEN TICK?

TIAN of BAKED PROVENÇAL VEGETABLES

If my walls could talk, their words would be sad. Last Saturday a 21-year old man lost his life while climbing nearby Capitol Peak. Among Colorado’s 58 fourteeners, peaks that rise more than 14,000 feet above sea level, Capitol, at 14,130 feet, is acknowledged as the most difficult.

JUST MARRIED and WAITING for the AUGUST SOLAR ECLIPSE

ONE OF OUR FRIENDLY ASPEN LOCALS HELD THE BRIDE’S BOUQUET WHILE SHE PUT ON GLASSES to WATCH THE ECLIPSE.

Devastating as one hiking death can be for our community, six days previously a young Aspen couple met the same fate in the same area on Capitol. That area, called the “Knife Edge” is an 1800’ ridge which includes a razor sharp 100-foot section with abrupt drops on both sides. There is one route, one route only across the “Knife Edge”. The three victims had taken what appeared to be an easier path. It is not.

PEACH CRISP, IOWA STYLE

Earlier this summer, two others died while climbing Capitol Peak. Combining those tragedies with the devastating flooding in Houston and also Nepal, Bangladesh, India and Niger, leaves me thinking of people in need, grieving and dying. Writing about our Cook-the-Book-Fridays recipe choice, a Tian of Baked Provencal Vegetables or a scrumptious Peach Crisp, Iowa Style, seems kinda inappropriate.

TIAN OF BAKED PROVENÇAL VEGETABLES

Like you, I have Texas friends dealing with this tragedy. Every summer my birding buddy, Susan Brisbois Foster, and her husband spend eight weeks in Aspen. Two weeks ago they returned to their home in Rockport which became ground zero for Hurricane Harvey. They evacuated to Laredo. While most of Rockport is devastated, without power or running water, their home is still standing. The last I heard from Susan, they were loading up on critically-needed supplies for first responders and returning home briefly to view the destruction firsthand. Because of the curfew, they have to leave by 7pm.

OUR POLICE DEPARTMENT’S FLEET FITS OUR COMMUNITY, BY DESIGN.

THE HOOD of EACH CAR HAS a DIFFERENT THEME.

MUSIC at the TENT

It’s gratifying to watch generosity and kindness rise up as volunteerism in every worthy form. Our fire station is drop-off central for essential supplies, to be hauled to Houston by transport. A local Valley businessman is already headed south with 4 flat-bottom duck boats, outboard motors and an experienced crew to “stay down there as long as we need to,” he says.

IOWA CHOPS and COLORADO CORN WERE on the MENU WHEN KAREN’S ST. LOUIS FRIENDS of 50 YEARS VISITED. WE WENT TO ASTRONOMY NIGHT at ACES AND THEY HIKED UP TO CRATER LAKE WITH ME at the MAROON BELLS.

Houston has caused me to re-think my community, the effort and safety nets put forth to keep our Valley safe. Have you thought about that at all? Although Aspen has a population of only 6,900 people and the Roaring Fork Valley, 32,200 residents, we are a resort destination with a responsibility to the thousands of visitors who come here every year. What I now realize, even more, is how we rely on the volunteer efforts of those who live here to keep this Valley’s motor running (powered by 100% renewable energy, of course).

OUR SUMMER VISITORS INCLUDED THESE TIBETAN MONKS

Our White River National Forest is the most visited national forest in the nation encompassing 2.3 million acres. It’s an overwhelming responsibility for the understaffed USFS personnel already dealing with dramatic budget cuts. Last summer we wilderness ranger volunteers who monitor our trail system contributed 9,000 service hours, an in-kind donation valued at $233,730.

THE NEW C.B. CAMERON RESCUE CENTER, HOME of MOUNTAIN RESCUE ASPEN. In 1977, a plane crash involving the C. B. Cameron family occurred in the Capitol Creek drainage. Mountain Rescue Aspen performed the rescue of the family, but unfortunately C.B. Cameron did not survive the crash. The Cameron Family recognized Mountain Rescue Aspen to say thank you for actions taken so long ago that were never forgotten. With their help and that of other donors and the Valley community, this new facility was recently dedicated.

Without question, Aspen Mountain Rescue, 50 volunteers with no paid staff and on duty 24/7, is the most valuable asset we have for backcountry search-and-rescues. Our Valley has the utmost respect, almost a reverence, for this organization. These are men and women with day jobs and families who spend countless hours training, preparing and then heading out on dangerous rescue missions. They are our friends and neighbors and often put themselves in harm’s way to pull others out of harm. This year they’ve already answered 47 calls and will likely respond to more than the 66 missions in 2016. For them, it’s been a rough week.

The Aspen Skiing Company has purchased 34 3-bedroom units, 400 square feet, to provide affordable housing for the seasonal workers during the winter ski season. Located at the former KOA Basalt Campground which Skico now owns and is upgrading, the monthly rent will be $450 per person. That’s a bargain, for sure.

While our thoughts will be with Houston and Texas for the many perilous months ahead, just a reminder to remember those who are minding the store in our own backyards. And, aren’t we lucky?

Who doesn’t decorate their bear-proof trash cans? The bears are hungry. In July there were over 70 reports of bears trying to get into homes.

This week’s recipes are delicious and self-explanatory, dishes for you to enjoy during the holiday weekend. Happy Labor Day, Everyone. Be safe.

PEACH CRISP by Liz Berg, That Skinny Chick Can Bake

Serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS:

FILLING:

8-10 fresh ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
A few grates of fresh nutmeg (optional)

TOPPING:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (one stick or 4 ounces) cold butter, cut into cubes

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350º.
2. Mix peaches with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and place into a 9 x 9-inch baking dish or something of similar size and shape.
3.In a medium bowl, mix together topping ingredients using pastry blender or fingers until butter is incorporated. Crumble topping over peaches.
4. Place baking dish on sheet pan. Bake for about 35 minutes OR till topping is golden and filling is bubbling.

Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.

TIAN of BAKED PROVENCAL VEGETABLES by David Leibovitz, My Paris Kitchen

Ready for the Oven

Serves 6 to 8 as a side

INGREDIENTS

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
3 tsp minced fresh thyme
2 Japanese eggplants or 1 globe (12 ounces)
1 zucchini (8 ounces)
2 firm tomatoes (12 ounces)
Sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, Comté or Emmental

DIRECTIONS

Special equipment: a 3-4 quart shallow baking dish

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. And the sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes or until they start to wilt. Add the minced garlic and 1 teaspoon minced thyme, Season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 3 minutes more.
3. Spread the onion mixture in a shallow baking dish.

The Bottom Layer of Onions and Garlic. I also had some Roasted Hatch Chiles from the Farmer’s Market so threw some “heat” into the mix.

4. Trim away the ends of the zucchini and eggplant and cut them into 1/4” slices. Cut out the stems of the tomatoes and slice them thinly also. (If you are comfortable with a mandoline slicer, use it to slice the vegetables.)
5. Arrange the sliced vegetables in a overlapping, circular, concentric pattern, alternating the sliced vegetables and fitting them tightly into the dish.
6. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the vegetables and and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tsp of thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 35-45 minutes.
8. Remove the foil, strew the cheese over the top and bake uncovered for 20 to 25 more minutes until the veggies are completely cooked through.
9. Serve warm or at room temperature the same day you make it. If reheating the leftovers, stick in a 325 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes.

Cook-the-Book-Fridays is an international group cooking its way virtually through David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. To visit our home page or join our group, here’s the link.

Comments

  1. says

    Yesterday, Maddy sent the sisters a video of a climber on the ridge to Capitol Peak. I couldn’t watch more than a few seconds—it was seriously scary. I think my dad attempted this climb, but we surmised he was smart enough to turn around! You rocked your crisp!!! SO good with Colorado peaches. I have some Pennsylvania peaches in the fridge, but my latest purchase was disappointing. So no more crisps for me this year. xo

  2. Ardyth Sohn says

    Always enjoy your blogs but especially this one. It’s been a stressful time for a lot of folks—some caused by Mother Nature, some the companion of nature adventures and others due to political or territorial fighting, but it’s heartening to stay focused on how calamities bring out some of the best we have inside and around us. —– Plus your peach crisp is a wonderful antidote for all of us who need a hug and something wonderful to smell and taste!!!!

  3. says

    Hi Mary. Thank you for another recipe of deep dish on the thoughtful and insightful. I should add grateful. While our hearts are filled for the people of Houston and will be for some time it is also an opportunity to be grateful for our own communities and ways many people within serve them both in jobs and through volunteerism. Sad are the hiking/climbing losses too. Your dishes look lovely too especially when shared in community.

  4. says

    This post of yours is jammed pack with such variety (and of sadness), but life goes on. The Aspen community you live with, are of such a wonderful group of humans, good to know!

    I recently discovered Barbara O’Neil’s writings, read her first book (the Lost Recipe for Happiness) and have another title to enjoy soon. Your picture and info on the living quarters for seasonal workers reminds me of her first book.

    Both your dishes are scrumptious!

  5. says

    Your reflections on volunteerism is so relevant and heartfelt. Thanks for shining the light on it. The peach crisp looks so yummy. You walk me through all the steps with the photos. Meanwhile, I have all the ingredients. It’s just a matter of getting busy and make one — and I will. Happy labor day! Keep up the good work.

  6. Chez Nana says

    So sad, all the happenings going on today. But, it is amazing all the good people that are out there ready, willing and able to help.
    Your Tian looks so good, I can’t wait to do the make-up. I’m not sure how I screwed up this weeks recipe, but the roasted root veggies were good too.

  7. says

    My husband received the latest edition of The New Yorker in the mail today and I love the cover. It depicts a diverse group of people helping a diverse group of people stuck in the flood in Houston. That is what our country is about and I wish more people would remember it.

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