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Culinary Corner August 15-20

Lots of honey...

Hello! Thank you to all of you who joined us and helped at the Farmer's Market last Friday. I definitely think that this one was the best one yet, and all the credit goes to Angie, Hanna Lora, Bob, and Susan who worked tirelessly to make it look easy. Special thanks to The Facilities staff and housekeeping who got all the heavy lifting done. Much thanks too to all the resident Volunteers, I won't name you as I am afraid of leaving someone out. The Honey harvest this year is a good one, it's very thick and has a definite herbaceous flavor that I attribute to all the Basil and Mint nearby.

Peeling the outer layer of wax off to harvest the honey

I have great news for all of you, Jesus is back from Vacation in Mexico!! You may not have noticed he was gone but trust me, I sure did. Jesus does so much work around here that when he is away it is like losing three people. He deserved the rest and I'm glad he was able to see his family.

The kitchen staff is doing pretty well, we have made a couple of hires in the last few weeks and summer vacations are finally coming to an end so we are almost fully-staffed again. We will be having a couple of big events in the next month or so, as we bring summer to an end and usher in Fall.

The Soup of the week is Ratatouille. In 18th century France, this was a popular and necessary vegetable stew in the region of Provence, as all the summer squash was ripening at the same time, much of which needed to be used up quickly. Our take on this has yellow squash, zucchinis, eggplant, tomatoes and lots and lots of fresh garden herbs.

Farmers' Market Peaches

The Special of the week is sliced Palisade peaches served with whole milk ricotta and of course fresh mint. Now, I know peaches and cottage cheese is a classic summer dish, but if we are serving these beautiful western slope peaches in the perfect height of ripeness, I just couldn't help but upgrade to ricotta. Cottage cheese has its place in the kitchen, but to me it is right up there with Lima beans and Liver. I did stock a couple of pints of cottage cheese for those who prefer it...

St. André Triple-Cream Brie (image courtesy of

The Cheese this week is called St André, it's a triple-cream Brie we are serving with apricot jam and French bread. A country cheesemaker started the St. André Creamery in Villefranche de Rouergue, France (the famed region that gives us Roquefort cheese) back in 1928 to ensure the plentiful flow of fresh milk for his store. More than 40 years later, a soft-ripened, triple-cream cheese named St. Andre made its debut. With a taste described as a blend of the perfect Brie mixed with equal parts of thick, sour cream and whipped sweet cream, this is not one to miss. Its "triple-cream" status means that this beauty has no less than 75% butterfat for every 100 grams of cheese. It's about 50% richer than the average Camembert, and it gets that way by adding more cream to the already rich curds during the cheesemaking process, resulting in a cheese that resembles a beautiful, velvet-coated cheesecake. I recommend this with a nice Rosé. Lora has at least one or two bottles of La Crema stashed, but don't tell her I told you that. If Rosé isn't your thing, there is still some Riesling that would be equally good.

At Dinner, we have Lemon and Herb-Crusted Colorado Trout from the San Luis valley with grilled peach salsa, steamed broccoli and rown rice. Try this with Chardonnay or even Pinot Grigio.

Sous Chef David and some fresh-grilled Colorado Lamb Chops at the Farmers' Market

Don't miss the Marinated, Grilled Flat- Iron Steaks with David's Famous Mole Sauce, roasted asparagus and corn- whipped potatoes. David has been showing off his skills since being promoted to Sous Chef and his Mole is one of the best I have tasted. The name mole comes from the Nahuatl word for sauce – mōlli – and is the generic name for several variations of rich sauces that come in colors like yellow, red, black and even green. Other moles are named for their ingredients and flavors, such as pipián, huaxmole and almendrado. As a rule of thumb, all moles contain some combination of nut, fruit, and chili, but a century ago it was considered an insult to the chef if you could identify the flavors as the the skill in which they are combined is a reflection on him. David won't tell me all the ingredients he uses but I think cashews and Guajillo peppers are involved...

We have Cherry and Balsamic-Glazed, Roasted Chicken this week. The sauce is sweet, sour and delicious as you might imagine, and this one is served with roasted plum tomatoes, and garden rosemary polenta.

As a vegetarian special we have a dish of Roasted Delicata squash, Fennel and Carrots all tossed with garlic and olive oil, then served over quinoa, finished with (of course) fresh herbs from the garden. Delicata squash is one of those overlooked vegetables that I wish we served more. It is considered a "winter squash" because of it's firm flesh but the flavor and appearance is all summer, and the name comes from the delicate skin that is thin enough to be eaten like a zucchini.

As a pasta, we have spaghetti tossed with fresh pesto, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, pine nuts and crispy bacon. Ask your server to shave some fresh Reggiano cheese over this one.

For nightly specials look for Soft Shell Crabs, Carved Lamb Loin, Whiskey Glazed Ribs, Tamarind Shrimp, and Cajun Turkey Breast.

On Saturday we have our Colorado Proud Buffet, featuring locally sources ingredients like corn, peaches, and melon, and with classic Colorado dishes such as Pork Green Chili, Colorado Lamb Stew, and of course it wouldn't be a Colorado buffet without Rocky Mountain Oysters. Better have a beer first...

At Lunch we have Burgers with Bacon Jam, Cider-Roasted Chicken, Beef Short Ribs and Chicken Cordon Bleu. Be sure to ask for the daily verbal special put together by our line cook Hsar, who is also your Breakfast cook.

By the end of August, you will be tired of all the Palisade Peaches, the Rocky Ford Melons, the Olathe Corn we are serving, but in the meantime I intend to take full advantage of the bounty our state has to offer. We will be doing a second harvest of honey, probably around Labor Day if we can so keep enjoying that and as soon as I can get it into jars Mary will have it at the hostess' stand.

straining the honey

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