Aside

My blog sabbatical is over…

I’m not sure when everything came full circle – I know that, on the way home from our grandparents’ place in southern Colorado, my mother always insisted we stop at roadside farm stands – because “everything“ from those tasted better.  She cracked us up with claims like that.  Now that our taste buds are more fine-tuned, we know that she was right.

We work with Colorado growers – like Full Circle Farms up in Longmont for lots of organic stuff, and with Galicea and with David and Kate Petrocco. 

The Petroccos originally came to a farm near Hanna, Wyoming from Abruzzo, Italy around the turn of the century.  The next generation farmed for the family and then established a new farm north of Denver.  The next generation took over in 1985 and now their children are raising their families and producing lettuces, greens, peppers, squash, and much much more for Colorado families.

With all the warm weather, most things are ahead of schedule – FreshPack has local potatoes, lettuces, radishes and tomatoes this week; we also have organic green onions, parsley, radishes, rhubarb and spinach.

Next time, most unusual ways to put these colorful Colorado foods  to use.

Inspiration Board

Produce du jour from McCrady's via @hseanbrock via @beardfoundation (we think that is the provenance.)

In the Dark (part 2)

A couple of years ago, in a smaller town, we celebrated Earth Hour*  by turning off all the lights, the TV, the electronics — and putting candles in the windows.  I got to know a bunch of neighbors I’d not yet met as we stood around, wine glasses in hand, on a coolish spring evening.  We ended up having several more gatherings as that spring and summer played out.

It’s that time of year again. Our weather is a warm reminder of the season to come, and a reminder that we have to care about the planet we inhabit.  The best celebration I’ve heard of for Earth Hour 2012 is Dinner in the Dark at Le Grand Bistro.  (These people just keep coming up with the best ideas.)

So Saturday evening try switching off all the lights, gather with some friends and neighbors on the porch or patio for an hour and have a nice glass of wine.  By the way, Denver is 39° 45′ N 104° 52′ W — in case you’re looking up.

*or go to the international Earth Hour site

Fever

We are officially suffering from Spring fever.  Anyone who has spent two or more years in Colorado knows they’re going to have their hearts broken if they plant before Mother’s Day.  I believe that our collective resistence to planting too early has induced Mother Nature to extend the warmer-than-average streak. 

“Go ahead,” we say.  “Test us.”  And she does.

So I nearly caved on this bright, warm morning when I found an incredible issue of Country Living online. The ultimate kitchen garden design is feeding the fever.  It has a plan — put together out of ideas from chefs like Alice Waters, Peter Hoffman and Rick Bayless — and it has a list of specific varieties of edibles, seed resources, instructions for scaling it down to the size of your own garden plot, recipes, gardening advice — everything.

This is as local as you can get.  And we love local foods.

To put some “spring” in your step, try this bright, seasonal asparagus frittata with horseradish sour cream – seems like a perfect plan for an Easter weekend brunch.

The idea of fresh green almonds

Fresh “grassy” flavored green almonds are eaten as a snack, used in salads or made into a paste.

Some use the almonds shaved, sliced or whole in soups or salads.

A traditional snack in the Middle East, green almonds have recently caught on with adventurous chefs around the globe.

The fuzzy green almonds change markedly during the springtime harvest: In April, they’re tender enough to eat whole and have a herbaceous taste (like a raw pea pod, but slightly tart and bitter); brined or dipped in salt, they’re addictive. But within a few weeks, the hull and shell toughen, and the seed, which hardens from translucent jelly to a crunchy white nutlet, is the only part eaten.

Springtime in the Rockies

Bless your little Irish heart and every other Irish part.

We all recognize the earliest signs of spring, even here in the high country where spring occurs from May 19 to Memorial Day — with the possibility of at least one fat wet snow in there.  We have years of experience with enticing, warmer-than-usual March days between reruns of winter.  Our snowiest month is usually April.

Our signs of spring, whatever the weather, are college basketball playoffs and St. Patrick’s Day and then the anticipation of Easter and Passover. 

Reminded that college basketball and the snake-banishing St. Patrick are forever entwined in our 21st Century culture, I was steered to a savory hard-Irish-cider dip (along with soda-bread croutons and shamrock-bacon confetti) at 1finecookie.com .  Now that is March Madness.

Almost any raw crunchy vegetable will go down better dipped in aioli. And then Food Republic comes along with a recipe for Redeye Mayonnaise courtesy of the chefs from  momofuku. (It actually calls for coffee and Thai hot sauce – but I tried it and it is wonderful.)  If the hectic basketball schedule begins to wear you down snack-wise, fall back on the very best basics: salsa and chips of some variety.  The Pioneer Woman cookbook has the perfect restaurant-style salsa for your munching pleasure.

Lafujimama has this incredible looking shamrock smoothie for a dose of liquid Irish luck.  And I found a guinness chocolate pudding on closetcooking.com.  That just has to be worth a try…

Good Advice

Never eat more than you can lift. ~ Miss Piggy