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Orange Crush Brewmosa

The city is awash in orange and abuzz with excitement for Sunday’s big game. Our Denver Broncos, under the experienced leadership of Mr. Manning, are ready to buck the Panthers. I’m admittedly not a huge football fan in general, but the excitement (for many reasons) of Super Bowl 50 doesn’t escape me. It is, truly, a great American tradition – food, friendship, commercials…oh yeah, the football too.

I think about the food but never have to do much, as it’s a longstanding family tradition to partake in our friends’ Super Bowl Pizza. Understand that we’re not talking about delivery or even take and bake. No, this is the real deal. Made from scratch with an assortment of toppings, usually one that is a little more experimental, this is the way pizza was meant to be.

I digress.

With the food taken care of, my thoughts turn to drinks. Now, craft beer is a must-have standby. And just this once, I will forgive the stock of macro brews. After all, it is the big game and you should have something that you can drink, and drink, and drink without actually getting wasted. We are talking hours of partying here, people!

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Enter, The Orange Crush. Brewmosa, Brass Monkey, Orange Radler, Beermosa…by whatever name you call it, it is certainly not a new concept. It is, perhaps, a little under-appreciated. Why do mimosas get all the love? Sure, they are great brunch drinks (my favorite, in fact) but why not swap in a craft brew or a good Belgian white? It might be considered a little lowbrow but probably not here in Denver, the craft beer capitol. I decided to up my game. Beer and orange juice is fine – and easy – but what about adding a dash of orange bitters and a splash of triple sec? Perfection.

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Mile High Skyline Chili

I went on a chili tirade the other day. After tasting a bowl that was more baked beans than chili, I reasoned that ‘real’ chili recipes must come from the American Southwest. Other regions don’t seem to understand that part of the beauty of chili is its simplicity.

My dad is the family chili maker. No one else dares make a pot because his is practically perfect. Digging through my maternal grandmother’s recipe box I realized that, at some point, she had asked for dad’s chili recipe. Now, my grandmother was known for brevity in her recipes – ingredients like butter and sugar were often bracketed with the single direction ‘cream’ next to them. I can’t imagine she expected the “recipe” she received.

Chili a la George

That’s right, my dad’s chili recipe has no amounts, no directions. He, like so many skilled individuals, typically cooks by sense rather than instruction. When pressed, he’ll say something like “Oh, a pound or two of ground beef. About three cans of beans.” But it’s all ‘to taste,’ really. I knew I was getting somewhere with cooking when dad gave me a spoonful and asked if I thought it needed anything. The spices have changed, as I’ve added to his pantry over the years, but the recipe is still the same.

I wouldn’t even try to make my dad’s chili – no one will ever be able to make it like dad. So, instead, I’ve come up with my own recipe. Continue Reading »

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Lemon Ginger Granola

Ok, I know it’s the holidays and I’m supposed to be making and posting about cookies, fudge, candies, and sweets. My excuse is simple: Meyer Lemons.

The aromatic, delicate, distinctive lemon is a ray of sunshine in the bleak winter produce department. Simultaneously sweet and tart, I just knew that ginger and Meyer lemons were destined to come together.

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Garden Veggie Sauce

I get so excited walking into a grocery store this time of year. The produce section is brimming with local vegetables and fruits, teeming with potential. This recipe is perfect for late summer or early autumn’s bounty. Equally good with pasta and spaghetti squash, baked eggs, or even on a spoon (don’t feel guilty, it’s mostly just vegetables!), I have found many ways to use this hearty sauce.

Garden Veggie Pasta Sauce

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Peach Tea Hailstorm

Western folklore describes the Hailstorm as “the earliest known mixed drink in Colorado.” Likely dating to the 1830s when trappers rendezvoused at Bent’s Fort, this refreshing iced drink was the western version of the mint julep but used whiskey instead of brandy or bourbon.

We have been enjoying unseasonably cool weather and what might be described as a very early monsoon season. Oh, and hailstorms. More hail than I can recall seeing in one year.

Palisade, Colorado is famous for its peaches – yes, there’s even a peach festival in August. I’m hoping that the worst of the hail passes them over and spares the peaches, but I imagine that many orchards are looking a bit battered right about now.

I’ve been holding this back for a little while but now seemed an appropriate time for this drink. Hail, whiskey, summer, peaches. Perfection.

Traditionally enjoyed over Independence Day (to break the heat and probably because it’s easy to make for a crowd) whether it’s hot or hailing, cheers!

Palisade Hailstorm

Ingredients:

1/4 cup mint leaves
2 Tbsp. Palisade peach preserves
3 oz. Colorado whiskey
2 oz. iced tea
Hail (or ice!)

Directions: In a shaker, combine mint, peach preserves, whiskey, and ice. Shake vigorously. Shake more! And shake it again. Pour into a wide mouth glass or mason jar. Top with tea.

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Sun Burst Lemon Curd

Happy birthday to me! I’ve never been one to hate birthdays. I believe in celebrating to the fullest extent. I try to have a birthday get together every year – sometimes dinner, occasionally brunch, and often just hanging out at a great local watering hole.

This year, my best friend offered to plan the bash. She picked a great, newish, local craft brewery – which had a wood fired pizza truck hanging out that day. She also made a scrumptious vanilla bean cake – the fragrance was intoxicating (although maybe that was the craft beer talking.) The bash was last weekend and I’m working on my actual birthday. I’ve been thoroughly fêted but still wanted a bit of a treat for my actual birthday.

I love lemony desserts. The bright, acidic flavor plays so nicely with sugary sweetness. Each sweet, tangy bite is like a burst of golden sunshine. Lemon curd is so simple to make and with so many uses (if you can hold off on eating it straight from the jar) that it just had to be my treat.

Sun Burst Lemon Curd
Adapted from Alton Brown’s Lemon Curd

Ingredients:

6 egg yolks
1 c. granulated white sugar
4 lemons, zested
1/2 c. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. St. Germain, divided
1/8 tsp. rose water
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, cut into tablespoons and chilled

Directions: In a medium saucepan, bring 1-2 inches of water to boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, in medium metal bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar. Whisk in lemon zest, juice, 2 Tbsp. St. Germain, and rose water.

When water reaches a boil, reduce heat to low. Place bowl on top (water shouldn’t touch the bowl). Whisk frequently until the mixture thickens, about 20 minutes. Whisking constantly isn’t necessary but whisking frequently will ensure that the eggs cook but don’t scramble!

When mixture has thickened, remove bowl from heat. Quickly stir in one tablespoon of butter until melted. Repeat with all butter. If the mixture gets too cool, you may need to very briefly return to double broiler just to heat slightly.Stir in remaining Tbsp. St. Germain. (Optional) For a smooth curd, use a fine mesh sieve to strain out lemon zest.

Store lemon curd in glass container with a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly onto the lemon curd, to prevent a skin from forming.

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