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UPDATED!! Culinary Corner week of July 18-23

My office for two weeks.

Hello! What a week, coming back from vacation is enough to make me want a vacation. Thank you all for the warm welcome back. It was difficult being away, but margaritas and sandy beaches made up for my loneliness somewhat over the last two weeks, and I managed to make it back.

Here are some brief updates

Menu change; we have decided to have a Seafood Buffet this Saturday. Sorry for the confusion, the fault is mine. I communicated to Bob and his team well after they had distributed menus. The Buffet Menu for this Saturday is listed below. As always, takeout during a buffet is Always Available menus only.

The bees are doing ok. Two of the hives are struggling, it looks like for whatever reason the queen has left in both hives, and we have what is called a Laying Worker. This is when for whatever reason a hive replaces a queen with a worker. the worker bee can lay eggs, but only Drones which are the male bees. Drones are really only good for one thing, and working is not it. You see the problem here, so I called our bee supplier and purchased two queens. The queens come in small boxes, with a small hole at the end. I plugged the hole with a marshmallow. When you first put a new queen in a colony, the hive sees her as an invader and tries to attack her. As they are swarming all over the cage in their righteous indignation, the new queen is furiously producing pheromones. The pheromones begin to calm the bees, and eventually they come to accept her as their new ruler. Kind of like an alien mind control story, isn't it? Bees are weird sometimes. Anyway, the time it takes for the bees to eat the marshmallow blocking the hole is usually enough time for her to establish control. It looks like the remaining hives have produced about twenty pounds of honey so far, I will harvest in about a month, right before our Farmer's market.

The gardens are doing well, the herb garden in particular, thanks to resident help. It looks like the small tree behind the herb garden has gotten much bigger and some of the herbs are getting too much shade. I will ask the maintenance department if it is possible to trim it.

The vegetable garden has a rabbit problem, but is doing alright despite this. The hops I planted did not survive however. I will plant more this fall and see if overwintering improves their survival.

We brewed beer on Friday, a Colorado Cherry Ale, that as of this morning was fermenting merrily. Several interested residents stayed for the brewing process, special thanks to Mr. Chamberlain for staying all the way through to cleanup!

This coming Tuesday July 26th is the Sip and Savor event. I have picked out two of my favorite white wines-Riesling and Gewürztraminer to compare Old World and New World flavors of each. Should be fun, please come attend, I promise we will have a good time and I will make something yummy at the end to fill you up before you leave.

Angie has some great special events planned, check her calendar out, Angie is the best.

The Soup of the week is Tomato Soup with Grilled Vegetables. This is a traditional tomato soup up to a point, then we grill zucchini, yellow squash, onions and other summer vegetables, chop them up and add to the finished soup with garden thyme and basil.

The appetizer is warm Pistachio Crusted Goat's Cheese. We take Laura Chenel Goat cheese (my favorite non-Colorado goat cheese), roll it in crushed pistachios and bread crumbs, then briefly griddle it in olive oil before placing it on a bed of baby arugula with toast points. Yum. This would be absolutely great with a Sauvignon Blanc, or even a California Chardonnay.

The cheese is Cotija. This is a Mexican cheese named for the town in which it is produced. Cotijas is crumbly and slightly salty, a bit like feta or farmers' cheese. We are serving this with warm, freshly-made tortillas. Our new Sous Chef David Meraz has the dubious honor of teaching us all how to make this wonderful treat and we will be serving this with some lightly-pickled sweet peppers.

At dinner, we are making a Scallop Puttanesca, to serve over spaghetti with garlic bread. Puttanesca sauce has tomatoes, peppers, anchovies, capers, olives, lots of garlic and red wine. Much as the name implies, this dish will be savory, pungent, salty, a bit spicy and a little boozy.

Our Country-Fried Steak is of course made from beef tenderloin as we like to be classy even with down-home cooking. We are serving this with Corn on the Cob, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes and Creamy Gravy. The corn is still from Florida I believe, no word on Colorado corn yet, but I am expecting it in the next two to three weeks.

We have Grilled Cornish Game Hens this week. Apricots are nice this month, and we are making a chutney from them to go with this, sautéed fava beans and a pilaf of quinoa and herbs from our garden. If you have never had fava beans, think of lima beans but better, much better.

As a vegetarian special this week we are doing something a little different: an Open- Faced Brioche topped with a hummus made from white beans and roasted garlic. This is further topped with avocado, pickled red onions, and radish sprouts. The whole thing is drizzled with a really nice French olive oil I have and served with house chips.

The week's pasta is Spinach Spaghetti tossed with olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, shaved Parmesan and toasted pine nuts. This will get a generous topping of our own garden basil and oregano as well.

Dinner specials: look for Pork Osso Bucco, Poached Salmon, Chicken Tacos, Lobster Rolls, Corned Beef, and Beef Tenderloin.

Lunch specials: look for Crab Cake Sandwich, BLT, Shrimp Quesadilla, Pot Pie, Carved Ham and don't forget to ask about the daily special created by the cook of the day. This special is a way to allow the cooks some creativity, and let them highlight their own skills.

As always, I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow at 10 am for the Culinary Corner in the Dad Clark Bar. Please join us, it's a lot of fun and you get free pastries.

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1 Comment

We are always happy to have you back. Vacation gives a good opportunity to come back with new ideas and new menus !

Talking about the veggie garden I have to confess I watered it twice as you were away. It was during the last weekend … due to the wind and the heat, everything was dying dry. Amazingly it was back to life a few hours later. Nature is great !


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