I just returned from a fabu Research & Revivification adventure with girlfriends in Breckenridge Co. It was wildflower season (Columbine to your left folks) and I felt truly zen working my glutes and calves where “the hills are alive”…but I also expected, as always, to bring back culinary inspiration and a new twist on something I found. My girlfriends and I went to the grocery store and compromised on food for the condo, but I said I would be eating out more than they as I had to explore the local fare to excite my palate and continue to inspire my peeps. Just. Didn’t. Happen.
I can disappointingly (and somehow at the same time gladly) say that the mountains, valleys, and kitchens in and around Breckenridge Co have nothing on our chefs and kitchens in the Ohio River Valley. We’re all doing brussels sprouts one hundred different ways… and I myself have culinarily explored elk and bison etc. in as much depth as I saw on their menus. Full disclaimer – Bear, not so much. Even their trout is no more wondrous than what is prepared here. So, I was a little down.
On our last night, we went back to Denver for the flight home the next day. We ate at a recommended local restaurant that was fine, but that’s all. I remarked, over Linguini con Vongole (yes, nothing more exciting than that on their menu) at my frustration and joked that the best thing I had during the whole trip was J’s family pie crust. You see, on our FIRST day in Breckenridge we visited with family. J kept telling us how special they were but…you know…they’re her FAMILY. 85 year old Aunt Ann and 85 year old Uncle Frank greeted us from their 3rd floor deck as we pulled up into their paradise. I won’t bore you with the fantastic details of our visit/their house/their land, but I WILL tell you that their knowledge of the flora and fauna of their region is OUTSTANDING, and they took us on a hike that will remain in my memory forever. Switzerland’s wildflowers have NOTHING on Colorado’s! It was on this hike that I had the best food of my trip (with the exception of Aunt Ann and Uncle Frank’s table). From Waxberry to Wild Parsley to Wild Roses, I traipsed behind Uncle Frank and let him identify and urge me to “taste!”. My most delectable bite was Wild Lettuce. It popped in my mouth and released cool fresh water.
When we returned from our hike, K and I left J to her family for the afternoon and went and did our own thing, promising to return for dinner. When we did, the octogenarians had put out a spread of fresh veggies, lasagna (J’s mother’s recipe) and a rhubarb & strawberry crisp that they pulled from the YARD that afternoon while we were gone. I don’t even LIKE dessert but the tart, fresh fruit and the sweet, crisp crust bowled me over. NOTHING but 2 fruits, a sprinkle of sugar, and the crust recipe I’m so generously giving you here and it was some of the best food I’ve ever put in my mouth. Perhaps because it was made with such reverence, appreciation and love for their land and the bounty it bestows if you just honor it. Look how happy we were!!
A Note From Chef Lori
Labor Day and Rozzi’s famous fireworks are just around the corner…we’d love to party with you! Whether it’s a picnic or pre “show” appetizers, book now – I only have two hands! 🙂
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