Monday, October 30, 2006


Looking for some help with the big feed on Nov. 23? Let executive chef Mark Monette of the Flagstaff House Restaurant in Boulder do the heavy work for you. He'll do the shopping and prep for a four-star Thanksgiving feast, then have it shipped overnight so you can have it ready to pop in the oven.
Orders must be placed by Nov.16, online at, or by calling the restaurant at 1-303-442-4640. Cost for the gourmet dinner for four is $188, plus overnight shipping and handling charges. All orders will be shipped fresh and by overnight delivery on Monday Nov. 20 to arrive beforeThanksgiving.

Here is Monette's Thanksgiving Dinner for Four—From Soup to Nuts

· Colorado-grown organic roasted butternut squash soup, gently seasoned with winter spices. Just heat and serve.
· Fresh organic free range turkey with Monette’s personally prepared seasoning pack, ready to roast. Allow about 2 ½ - 3 hours roasting time.
· To accentuate the turkey’s juices, Monette has included his specialty port wine sauce, which is an all natural veal reduction sauce that contains no additives or preservatives. Before shipping, this signature sauce goes through a 36-hour reduction process at the restaurant to give the sauce its beautiful sheen, flavor and texture. Just simmer and serve.
· A creamy gratin of thin-sliced Yukon Gold and sweet potatoes, layered and blended with nutmeg, tarragon and cream. Allow about 45 minutes warming time.
· Especially for the holiday, the Monette family is sharing its traditional dressing made from brioche bread and seasoned with sage, rosemary and thyme. Allow 45 minutes warming time.
· In place of traditional cranberry sauce, Monette’s dinner includes a unique tomato jelly made from a family recipe of fresh tomatoes, sugar, white wine vinegar, and cinnamon and clove-infused lemon rind. Ready to serve.
· The Flagstaff House’s dinner rolls complement the meal. Ready to heat and serve.
· Pumpkin Chai Cheesecake with macadamia nut crust.

Here are several more sample recipes from the Colorado Dietetic Association's new cookbook, "The Best of Simply Colorado," that there wasn't enough space for in the Nov. 8th food section. The book costs $19.95 and is available in major book stores or online at or

Appetizers, Snacks, & Beverages
Smoked Salmon Pate
Fancy enough for a special occasion—easy enough for anytime!
¼ c. chopped pecans
1 14 oz. can salmon, drained
1 8 oz. tub light cream cheese
2 T. grated onion
1 T. lemon juice
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. liquid smoke
¼ c. finely chopped fresh parsley
Spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast at 350 for 5 minutes or until light brown and fragrant. Let stand until cool. Mash the salmon in a bowl. Add the cream cheese, onion, lemon juice, horseradish, salt and liquid smoke; mix well. Chill, covered for 15 minutes.
Shape the salmon mixture into a ball. Roll in the parsley. Sprinkle the pecans over the top of the ball and press lightly. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until serving time. Serve with crackers.
Yield: 12 servings
Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 30 minutes
Nutrition Analysis Per Serving: calories 108, protein 9g, carbohydrate 2g, fat 6g (saturated fat 3g), cholesterol 22mg, fiber <1g, sodium 300mg

Boulder Black Bean Soup
This is the perfect supper after an awesome day of skiing!
2 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
½ tsp. dried thyme leaves
½ tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
3 c. canned black beans, rinsed and drained
3 c. low-sodium chicken broth
2 tomatoes, chopped
½ c. onion, chopped (optional)
½ c. shredded, reduced-fat Monterey Jack Cheese (optional)
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until tender (about 5 minutes). Stir in oregano, thyme, cumin, and pepper; cook one minute longer. Place half the beans in a blender and puree until smooth, adding chicken broth as needed to make a smooth puree. Add puree, remaining whole beans and broth to saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; then simmer uncovered for 20 – 30 minutes. Serve garnished with tomatoes, onion and shredded cheese.
Yield: 8 servings
Serving Size: 1 cup
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 – 35 minutes
Nutrition Analysis Per Serving: calories 94, protein 6g, carbohydrate 18g, fat 2g (saturated fat < 1g), cholesterol 0mg, fiber 6g, sodium 225 mg
Quick Taco Salad
Keep these ingredients on hand to make a light Mexican dinner during the busy holiday season.
1 15 oz. can beans with tomatoes, peppers and Mexican spices
6 c. shredded lettuce
½ c. (2 oz.) shredded, reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
1 small avocado, peeled and sliced
1 large tomato, chopped
4 oz. baked tortilla chips
Place beans in a saucepan and heat thoroughly. On a serving plate, layer lettuce, beans, cheese, avocado and tomato. Arrange tortilla chips around edge; serve with your favorite prepared salsa.
Yield: 4 servings
Serving Size: ¼ of recipe
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Nutrition Analysis Per Serving: calories 375, protein 14g, carbohydrate 53g, fat 17g (saturated fat 3g), cholesterol 10mg, fiber 12g, sodium 706mgSweet Potatoes with Tart Cherries
This delicious sweet potato dish was adapted from a recipe served at Washington Park Grille in Denver.
½ c. dried sour cherries
1 c. hot water
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
2 pears, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
3 T. honey
1 T. olive oil
¾ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
salt and black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place cherries in a small bowl. Pour enough hot water over the cherries to cover. Let stand for 2 minutes; drain. Combine the cherries, sweet potatoes, pears and apples in a large bowl and mix well. Spoon cherry mixture into a 9 x 13 x 2-inch pan. Combine the honey, olive oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a microwave-safe bowl and mix well. Microwave on medium for 30 seconds and stir. Pour over the sweet potato mixture, stirring to coat. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender.
Yield: 8 servings
Serving Size: ½ cup
Preparation Time: 20 – 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 – 40 minutes
Nutrition Analysis Per Serving: calories 161, protein 2g, carbohydrate 37g, fat 2g (saturated fat <1g), cholesterol 0mg, fiber 3g, sodium 6mg
Orange-Cranberry Scones
Perfect to serve for holiday brunch.
1½ c. flour
⅔ c. rolled oats
¼ c. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
grated zest of 1 orange
3 T. butter or margarine
½ c. low fat buttermilk
3 oz. dried cranberries
2 T. orange juice
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and zest in a bowl and mix well. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until crumbly. Combine the buttermilk, cranberries and orange juice in a bowl and mix well. Stir into the flour mixture with a fork. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface 8 – 10 times. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball and pat the balls into ½-inch thick circles. Cut each circle into 6 wedges. Arrange the wedges 1-inch apart on a baking sheet. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until light brown.
Yield: 12 servings
Serving Size: 1 scone
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 12 – 15 minutes
Nutrition Analysis Per Serving: calories 139, protein 3g, carbohydrate 24g, fat 3g (saturated fat 2g), cholesterol 8mg, fiber 2g, sodium 231 mg
Pecan Wild Rice
A delicious side-dish for holiday meals.
⅓ c. chopped pecans
1 T. olive oil
1½ c. long grain and wild rice mix, uncooked
⅓ c. chopped onion
2½ c. chicken broth
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. thyme
¼ c. chopped fresh parsley
Spread the pecans in a round glass baking dish. Toast at 350 degrees for 5 minutes or until fragrant and light brown. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the rice and onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the broth, salt, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 – 25 minutes or until the rice is tender. Stir in the pecans and parsley.
Yield: 4 servings
Serving Size: ½ cup
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes
Nutrition Analysis Per Serving: calories 380, protein 9g, carbohydrate 59g, fat 11g (saturated fat 1g), cholesterol 0mg, fiber 2g, sodium 636mg
Salmon with Tarragon Sauce
So elegant, they’ll think you’ve been cooking all day.
4 (6 oz. each) salmon steaks
cooking spray
½ c. dry white wine
1½ tsp. dried tarragon, divided
1 c. plain nonfat or low fat yogurt
3 T. Dijon mustard
lemon slices
fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse salmon; pat dry. Place salmon in baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pour wine over fish; sprinkle with ½ teaspoon dried tarragon. Bake fish for 10 – 15 minutes or until salmon flakes easily when tested with a fork. Meanwhile, in medium saucepan, slowly warm yogurt, mustard and 1 teaspoon tarragon, stirring occasionally. Divide sauce among 4 heated plates. Place salmon on top of sauce and garnish with lemon slices and fresh parsley.
Yield: 4 servings
Serving Size: 6 ounces
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 – 15 minutes
Nutrition Analysis Per Serving: calories 300, protein 39g, carbohydrate 8g, fat 11g (saturated fat 2g), cholesterol 95mg, fiber <1g, sodium 380mg
Game Hens in Orange Sauce
Ginger and cinnamon add a subtle spice and fragrant aroma to this special occasion dish.
2 each Cornish hens, cut in half
½ tsp. salt
3 T. canola oil
3 T. flour
¼ tsp. cinnamon
⅛ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. salt
1½ c. orange juice
¼ c. water, if needed
¼ c. almonds, sliced
⅓ c. raisins
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove skin from Cornish hen halves; rinse and pat dry. Season hen halves with ½ teaspoon salt and place in shallow baking dish. Cover loosely with foil and place in preheated oven; roast for 30 minutes. While hens are cooking, heat oil in a saucepan; combine flour, cinnamon, ginger and ¼ teaspoon salt; add to heated oil to make a smooth paste. Cook 1 – 2 minutes, or until slightly browned. Slowly whisk in orange juice; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in almonds and raisins.
At the end of 30 minutes, remove foil from hens. Spoon half of sauce over hens and roast uncovered for an additional 25 – 30 minutes or until hens reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Keep remaining sauce warm until service; add ¼ cup water, if needed, to keep sauce from sticking to pan. Remove hens from baking dish and place on serving platter. Spoon remaining sauce over hens and serve.
Yield: 4 servings
Serving Size: ½ of hen and sauce
Preparation Time: 15 – 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 55 – 65 minutes
Nutrition Analysis Per Serving: calories 365, protein 27g, carbohydrate 25g, fat 18g (saturated 2g), cholesterol 109mg, fiber 2g, sodium 520mg
Jalapeño Honey Pork Tenderloin
An easy entrée that’s bursting with flavor.
⅓ c. honey
3 T. low-sodium soy sauce
1 T. sesame oil
2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and finely chopped
1 T. grated fresh ginger root
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 12 oz. pork tenderloins
Combine the honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, chiles, ginger root and red pepper flakes in a 1-gallon sealable plastic bag. Add the pork and seal tightly. Shake to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 8 hours, turning occasionally; drain. Grill the pork over medium-hot coals until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest portion of the pork registers 145 degrees. Remove the pork to a cutting board and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Cut diagonally into ¼-inch slices; serve.
Tip: If you do not have access to a grill, or prefer to cook indoors, place the pork on a rack in a roasting pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 145 degrees.
Yield: 6 servings
Serving Size: 6 ounces
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Marinating Time: 8 hours
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Nutrition Analysis Per Serving: calories 228, protein 25g, carbohydrate 17g, fat 6g (saturated fat 2g), cholesterol 67mg, fiber <1g, sodium 302 mg
Cranberry-Glazed Tempeh
A delectable vegetarian entrée for the holidays.
2 8 oz. pkgs. wild rice tempeh
1 15 oz. can whole cranberry sauce
½ c. water
2 T. maple syrup
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. dry sherry
1 T. grated fresh ginger root or 1 tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. nutmeg
cayenne pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut each block of tempeh into 4 triangles. Steam the tempeh in a steamer basket for 10 minutes. Arrange in a single layer in a baking dish. Combine the cranberry sauce, water, maple syrup, soy sauce, sherry, ginger root, allspice, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and cayenne pepper in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds for a smoother sauce. Pour over the tempeh. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes.
Yield: 4 servings
Serving Size: 4 ounces (2 triangles)
Preparation Time: 15 – 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 – 55 minutes
Nutrition Analysis Per Serving: calories 409, protein 22g, carbohydrate 66g, fat 9g (saturated fat 1g), cholesterol 0mg, fiber 8g, sodium 505mg

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My lettuce crop in the tabletop AeroGarden is flourishing. It's been producing for about two weeks. Now, don't get me wrong -- it's not a huge harvest. But it yields enough tender, delicious leaves to make two small side salads.
My daughter, who is a chef at the Broadmoor, tipped me off that the Cheyenne Gourmet, a culinary store at the hotel, is selling the AeroGarden, too. They're currently growing a crop of tomatoes and have grown the salad greens, too. So if you're interested in getting one but not interested in waiting to get it via mail, you can get one at The Broadmoor store for $195. The store also carries some of the seed kits, too.
When I got mine, the literature that came with it promised strawberry seed kits in the future. I'm hoping they get them soon. I'd love to try that next and be picking fresh strawberries in February.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

We love newspapers, but the printed page has one major limitation: space. Wednesday's Food section had so little of it, we had to slice and dice our listing of foodie events till little was left. But in the online world, space is virtually unlimited, so we're taking advantage of that today by publishing the entire "What's Cooking" calendar for the week.

Cook Street School of Fine Cooking: 1937 Market St., Denver. Registration: 1-303-308-9300 or
-- “Wine Label Lingo,” 6-9 p.m. Thursday Oct. 19, $49.
-- “Classic Techniques: Italian,” 6-9:30 p.m. Tuesday Oct. 24 and Wednesday Oct. 25.
Cooking School of the Rockies: 637 S. Broadway, Suite H, Boulder. Registration: 1-303-494-7988, 1-877-249-0305 or
-- “Caribbean Flavors,” 5:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday Oct. 21 and Sunday Oct. 22, $190.
-- “Basic Cooking Techniques,” 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 19, $595.
Creative Cakes candy classes: 2925 Galley Road Classes, 7-9 p.m., $14. Registration required: 597-4667.
-- Peanut butter cups, turtles, hard candy suckers and more, Tuesday Oct. 24.

International Wine Guild: Metropolitan State College, Auraria Campus, Plaza Building, Auraria Parkway, Denver. All classes are 6:30-9:30 p.m., unless otherwise noted. Wine classes include six to 10 wines, light food and a presentation. Wine-and-food-pairing classes include a two-course meal and six wines. Registration: 1-303-296-3966 or
-- “Components II,” Thursday Oct. 19, $50.
-- “Intro to Saké,” Friday Oct. 20, $50.
-- “Components I, II and III in a Day,” Saturday Oct. 21, $127.50.
-- “Rare Wine: Clark-Claudon Vertical,” Saturday Oct. 21, $75.
-- “Intro to Spain and Portugal,” Tuesday Oct. 24, $50.
-- “German Wine and Food Pairing,” Wednesday Oct. 25, $60.

Nutritional Bread Baking Supplies: 7455 Winding Oaks Drive. Registration: Phyllis Stanley, 528-7098 or
-- “Wholegrain 101,” 10-11:30 a.m. Friday Oct. 20, free.

Paragon Culinary School: 3125 Sinton Road.Registration required: 578-5740.
-- “Tapas! Food and Wine of Spain with Chef Jason Miller,” 2 p.m. Sunday Oct. 22, $65.
Paravicini’s Italian Bistro: 2802 W. Colorado Ave. Registration required: 471-8200.
-- Noon Saturday Oct. 21, $25 per person.

The Passionate Palette: 9623 E. County Line Road, Englewood. Registration required: 1-303-754-0005 or
-- “LASTing Impression — Desserts,” 6:30 p.m. Thursday Oct. 19, $55.
-- “Pizza Fusion,” 11 a.m. Saturday Oct. 21, $55.

The Seasoned Chef: 999 Jasmine St., Suite 100, Denver. Registration: 1-303-377-3222 or
-- “French Home Cooking” hands-on workshop, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Thursday Oct. 19, $60.
-- “Culinary Techniques Series: Cooking 101,” 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesday Oct. 24 and Wednesday Oct. 25, $125.

Wild Oats Natural Marketplace: 3180 New Center Point. Reservations required: 622-1099.
-- “Kids Wild About Cooking,” 10 a.m.-noon Saturday Oct. 21, $5 per person.
-- “Gluten-Free Baking,” 3-4 p.m. Saturday Oct. 21, $5 per person.

Williams-Sonoma: 1885 Briargate Parkway. Call for costs. Reservations required: 593-0261.
-- “Braising,” 10-11 a.m. Saturday Oct. 21, free.
-- “Quick and Easy Thanksgiving Dinner,” 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday Oct. 24 and 10 a.m.-noon Wednesday Oct. 25.

OCT. 18
Wine tasting: 5:30-8 p.m., The Ranch Steakhouse and Market, 575 W. Garden of the Gods Road. Proceeds benefit Southern Colorado AIDS Project. $25 includes hors d’oeuvres, wine, entertainment. Reservations required: 473-9463.
OCT. 19
Scotch tasting: 5:45 p.m., The Blue Star, 1645 S. Tejon St. Cost is $15 per person; 632-1086 or
OCT. 20-21
Colorado Springs 2006 Oktoberfest: 6-10:30 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Saturday, Phil Long Expo Center, 1515 Auto Mall Loop. Free admission; 867-6635.
OCT. 21
-- “Wines of Argentina” wine tasting: 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., Powers Liquor Mart, 5847 Palmer Park Blvd., free. Advance registration required: 596-4700.
-- “Holiday Wines” wine tasting: 4 p.m., Antonio’s Ristorante, 301 Garden of the Gods Road. Cost is $35 per person. Reservations required: 531-7177.
-- Arthritis Foundation’s 14th annual “Jewels of the Vine” wine tasting — “A Visit to the Roaring Twenties”: 6:30-9:30 p.m., Antlers Hilton hotel, 4 S. Cascade Ave. More than 200 wines, vodka martinis and hors d’oeuvres, live and silent auctions, music. Tickets are $55 in advance/$60 at the door;, event code: jewelsvine or 520-5711.
-- Wine dinner — “France”: 7 p.m., The Warehouse Restaurant, 25 W. Cimarron St. Five-course dinner, five wines. Cost is $50 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations required: 475-8880.
OCT. 23
-- “Ghoulish” wine dinner: 6 p.m., The Blue Star, 1645 S. Tejon St. Cost is $60 plus tax and gratuity. Registration: 632-1086 or
-- “Back to Basics — A Blind Tasting”: 6-8:30 p.m., Gertrude’s Restaurant, 2625 W. Colorado Ave. Four-course dinner with eight wines. Guest speaker will be wine expert Darby Gould. $49 per person. Reservations required: 471-0887.
OCT. 24
Classic scotch tasting: 6:30 p.m., The Melting Pot, 30-A Pikes Peak Ave. $45 per person, tax and gratuity included. Part of proceeds benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Reservations required: 385-0300.

OCT. 25
-- 14th annual March of Dime Signature Chefs benefit event: 6-9:30 p.m., Cheyenne Mountain Conference Resort, Colorado Ballroom, 3225 Broadmoor Valley Road. Silent and live auction and food prepared by almost two dozen area chefs. Tickets are $100 per person, $1,500 for corporate table. Reservations: Ann Giambalvo, 439-2564 or Shannon Brinias, 649-8789.
-- First annual “People’s Choice” chef dinner: 7 p.m., Black Bear Restaurant, 10375 Ute Pass Ave., Green Mountain Falls. $59 for food only. Hosted by Paragon Culinary School. Reservations required: 684-9648.

CONTACT US: Please send information at least two weeks before you would like the item to run. Mail to P.O. Box 1779, Colorado Springs 80901; fax to 636-0202; or e-mail to attachments).
Looking for some new ways to prepare pumpkin? Look no further. Here, from Carolyn Clark of Yahoo Buzz, are 30 Ways to Eat a Pumpkin --- Top Searched Pumpkin Recipes. Click on any of these and you'll be linked to even more recipes.
Pumpkin Recipes
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Cookies
Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin Soup
Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Pumpkin Muffins
Pumpkin Roll Recipe
Pumpkin Cake
Canned Pumpkin Recipes
Pumpkin Pancakes
Pumpkin Bars Recipe
Pumpkin Jam
Pumpkin Dip
Pumpkin Spice Cake
Pumpkin Butter Recipe
Pumpkin Spice Coffee
Pumpkin Ice Cream
Pumpkin Brownies
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll
Pumpkin Dump Cake
Pumpkin Ale
Pumpkin Desserts
Pumpkin Cupcakes
Pumpkin Crème Brulee
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pumpkin Ravioli Recipe
Pumpkin Fudge
Pumpkin Beer

Thursday, October 12, 2006

There must be a reason the word "roll" appears in Rollie Wesen's name: He just seems to roll from kitchen to kitchen. Just yesterday, I had a post on this blog telling you he was at Via Italian Trattoria & Bar in Denver. Scratch that.

No sooner than I could say whisk, he will be leaving there by the end of the month, less than six months after taking the job. That update from his wife, Claudine Pepin. "It's amicable," she said. "We needed to move on and it's fine."

As a refresher, Wesen came to Colorado Springs from Portland, Ore., to be executive chef at the Summit at The Broadmoor. There was much hullabaloo surrounding his arrival because he is the son-in-law of celebrity chef Jacques Pepin. He never really got much of a chance to heat up a saute pan before it was announced he was leaving that position. The Broadmoor press release explained that "he wanted to move back east to be nearer family." However, when I talked to Wesen he said, "No, I love Colorado and want to stay here. We (he and The Broadmoor) have creative differences."

Then, he landed that job in Denver, again with a lot of media buzz about his famous in-law.

I'm not sure what's really going on: whether he's not living up to expectations, or getting too restless and can't stay in one place. Whatever the reason, he's building a reputation of job hopping. I think he should try to downplay his connection to Jacques Pepin, take a chef job without divulging the identity of his father-in-law, then do good work and build his own cooking reputation.

"We just want to get a job," said Claudine, "in a hotel, maybe."

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Name a food, any food, and there's probably a month set aside to celebrate it. October has its fair share of such designations - including (in a coincidence of unfortunate timing) National Spinach Lovers Month. If you want to celebrate it but are still nervous about eating fresh bagged spinach, grab a bunch of fresh Colorado spinach or a box of frozen spinach. Or there are plenty of other ways eat up a month's worth of starring foods or support some worthy culinary organizations. Here's a list of other October celebrations to whet your appetite.

It's ...
Cook Book Month
Gourmet Adventures Month
Hunger Awareness Month
National Apple Month
National Applejack Month
National Caramel Month
National Chili Month
National Cookie Month
National Country Ham Month
National Dessert Month
National Health Care Food Service Month
National Pasta Month
National Pickled Peppers Month
National Pizza Festival Month
National Popcorn Poppin' Month
National Pork Month National Pretzel Month
National Seafood Month
Vegetarian Awareness Month

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Remember John Broening? He was the excellent chef at the acclaimed downtown Colorado Springs restaurant Primitivo, which fell on hard times and went out of business several years ago. Broening was snapped up by a Denver group that opened Brassiere Rogue to rave reviews from restaurant critics in the Mile High city. But in less than a year that place folded, too. Broening then went to work at a bakery and sandwich shop called Udi's, and it turned out to be kismet: He met Udi's pastry chef, Yasmin Lozada-Hissom, and the two have hooked up to open Duo, a restaurant at 2413 W. 32nd Ave. in Denver. They also write about their food and travel adventures and offer recipes at their web site Check it out.

Another chef with brief ties to Colorado Springs, Rollie Wesen, is also wowing diners in Denver. Wesen, the son-in-law of famed chef Jacques Pepin, created a hubbub when he moved here to become chef at the Broadmoor's Summit restaurant. Less than a month before the opening, however, he was shown the door. His job search took him to Denver where he's opened Via Italian Trattoria & Bar - which is in the former location for brassiere rouge - 1801 Wynkoop Street. He's getting a lot of positive Denver press about his food. Check out the menu at

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

It's been said that cleanliness is next to godliness. When it comes to chefs teaching public classes, they should make that their motto. However, I think when they get in front of an audience, they get too busy to pay attention to their sanitation habits.
I've been to a couple of cooking classes where there were some pretty shocking examples of not living the godly life.

Tasting: It's the core of being a great chef. The food has to be tasted and tasted and tasted. Please, chefs -- use plastic spoons and toss them after each taste. Plastic spoons are cheap. Double dipping is gross. And, yes, I did watch a chef at a class use his tasting spoon over and over.
Plastic gloves: Are a good thing, but they must be changed between tasks. Again, I watched a chef French ribs of rack of lamb, then wipe his gloved hands on a cup towel and turn around to "stir" a pan of roasted peaches without changing gloves! That's gross, too. It wasn't like the chef only had one pair of gloves. He had brought a box of them to the class.
Cross contamination: Don't use the cutting board for fresh food that has been used to cut raw meat. No it's not good enough to wipe the board off after smearing blood all over it. It has to be sanitized with bleach, rinsed and dried before using it again to cut up fresh veggies.