This weekend was a greatly anticipated trip to Denver to see my son and daughter-in-law, their new place in the city (and their two dogs, a beagle and chihuahua mix, and cat, of course!) Coming from my garden in rural Colorado and with the cherries, apricots and peaches literally bouncing off the trees right now gave me a HEAVY cooler to hoist up to the nice second story condo they had picked out.
We went out for a late dinner my first night in town. From tiny Paonia, Colorado to downtown Denver is always a fun culture shock! We headed to Wynkoop’s Brewery about 9 o’clock.
I decided to try a local Denver wine on tap from the Infinite Monkey Theorum winery: Monkeyshine White. See my dinner below, it’s first night on the menu – the Summer Tamale Plate. Both wine and dinner were delicious. My family had the bangers and mash, and buttermilk fried chicken, and also just loved them.
Our first feast prepared together for the Moving In celebration looked like this. We toasted with a local Paonia sour cherry and apple hard cider from North Fork Cellars out of Delicious Orchards. Loved the cherry essence! Then we ate local (from my garden and Paonia) and from the Front Range. We roasted a Boulder Natural chicken, rubbed with salt, pepper, thyme, basil, rosemary, stone ground mustard, with a few bay leaves and garlic cloves tucked inside. Made a fantastic roast potato, red pepper and onion salad with chopped Irish “Dubliner” cheese, fresh basil with a few splashes of balsamic vinegar and olive oil to go with it, and tender beets with their greens, steamed and tossed with plenty of butter, fresh oregano, salt and pepper…
Dessert came a little later after that feed! But ohhh, my was it wonderful. My son had told me about a great little market called Pete’s, with LOTS of local Denver foods, including this outrageous Amaretto gelato from Spuntino’s. I prepared a local Paonia sour cherry and honey compote we spooned hot off the stove onto the gelato. The combination is excellent!! And even better remembering picking the cherries in the cool morning breeze with friends, pitting them by hand…
Saturday we drove to the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, saw incredible sculptures,
watched “Around the World in Eighty Plates” chef Jenna Johansen at work making caramel sauce and mussels for her meal demo,
went swimming back at the condo, got caught in the rain on the way to the Colorado Cider Company,
tasted their 6 glass sampler and were smitten (well, two out of three of us) with the Pome Mel – an apple honey cider infused with lavendar and rosemary! Wow! The Glider Cider was tops with us all. Then –whew! We came back to the new place and put together a fantastic meal – fresh spring rolls, spicy peanut sauce and broccoli from my garden…
We filled the spring rolls with sauteed cabbage, carrots and sesame seeds seasoned with a few drops of sesame oil, dried chilies and garlic, along with fresh cucumber, avocado, shredded leftover chicken, and red leaf lettuce from the garden. The peanut sauce was studded with fresh ginger and garlic, chilies, chopped fresh basil, a bit of tamari and fish sauces, splash of vinegar and of course peanut butter.
Making spring rolls is a fun task taking turns with loved ones, dipping the thin hard rice “paper” in warm water for a few seconds, laying flat then layering the filling ingredients, carefully rolling like burritoes and sealing. The sauce was a perfect dip for the spring rolls and steamed broccoli. What a great visit, and especially, cooking, tasting, laughing and enjoying excellent food with family…with love, lots of love – the most important ingredient!