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Heating Up The Burners

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Heating Up the Burners

This year’s Battle of the Burners is definitely going to showcase talent and competitive spirit. While Enzio’s is no stranger to – ahem – friendly inter-company competition, its kitchen manager, Colin Papworth, was away when his culinary cohorts dueled with their Hot Corner Concepts sister restaurants (www.austinsamericangrill.com) and won bragging rights. Now Colin wants his own taste of rattling pans and recounting gastronomic glory. When the opportunity to compete with five other local kitchen wizards presented itself, he was in.

I wondered what unique strengths Colin might bring to the occasion, so we took a look at his numerology and astrology. This guy has creativity galore. Nobody will ever accuse Colin of having a small imagination. Easily capable of flipping with one hand while whisking with the other, his entry will most certainly combine layers of interest and flavors. And, he’ll be able to effortlessly adapt and change as the situation demands.

Add to that his experience growing up around his parent’s eatery, and you have the makings for some exceptional cuisine.

Colin’s natural ability to multi-task has produced artistic dinners with wine parings, delicious on the spot accommodation of dietary requests, and a talent for seeing it all in perspective. Culinary skills aren’t the only thing he’s been honing. That competitive spark of his has been dropping into a poetry slam here and there, too.

You know how that goes: creativity in one area amps it up in another.

Want a sample? Drop by Enzio’s to enjoy Colin’s Homegrown Downtown Tasting Tour offering of locally sourced food (maybe you’ll get lucky and hear a poem, too!). Try as many of the mouth-watering offerings as you can, for that matter. With 18 restaurants participating, there’s a lot to taste.

And get your tickets for the Battle of the Burner on September 25. You won’t want to miss it!

Written by Terry Nolan

September 15th, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Connecting to the Past by Kerrie Flanagan

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This is my favorite time of year when the cooler temperatures nudge out the heat and the lush green foliage prepares to dazzle us with red, gold and orange colors. The garden is in full bloom, bursting with ripe vegetables and fruit.

Tomato plants bend from the weight of the plump red vegetable, green jalapenos dangle from tiny plant limbs, onions burst from the ground, ripe raspberries dangle from branches of the bush and cucumber and zucchini vines creep around the garden, hiding their green vegetables under big leaves.
 
As I harvest all the fruits and vegetables of my labor, I feel connected to women before me—my mom, my grandma, her grandma and so on. Preparing my crop for the winter has a different meaning to me then it did to them. For some of them it was a matter of survival, for me it is a way to slow down and enjoy the results of my hard work. It is also a way for me to provide food to my family that I know is void of chemicals and pesticides.

In this fast paced world, it relaxes me to wash and cut tomatoes, onions and jalapenos for salsa or to mix together chopped raspberries, green peppers and jalapenos with sugar to create a sweet and spicy raspberry, jalapeno jelly.

I have learned about the canning process by talking with other women of my mom’s generation. They share tips and insight with me many of it passed down from their mothers. Like only use small jars for jelly and make sure to take the seed out of the tomatoes for spaghetti sauce.

I love filling the warm mason jars with the jelly, salsa or pickles and then submerging them in a boiling water bath. When the time is right, I lift the steaming jars out and line them up on the counter. With great anticipation I wait for the popping sound, signaling to me that the jars are properly sealed and ready to put away.

As I think about it, I know I have it easier than my great-great grandma with my Pampered Chef chopper and my food processor, but in the end result is exactly the same. I have food from my garden that I tended, nurtured and preserved which provides me with food I can feed to my family in the coming months.

———————————
Raspberry Jalapeno Jelly

½  cup chopped Green bell pepper
1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
½ cup chopped Jalapenos (no seeds)
3 cups of sugar
¾ cup cider vinegar
3 ounces pectin

  1. Combine first five ingredients in a large saucepan
  2. Bring to a boil
  3. Boil for one minute
  4. Remove from heat; let cook 5 minutes
  5. Stir in pectin
  6. Strain mixture through a fine strainer to remove pepper chunks
  7. Pour liquid into sterilized jars.
  8. Cover tightly and store in cool place for up to 6 months.
    **Tastes great on crackers with cream cheese.

Kerrie Flanagan is a freelance writer and director of Northern Colorado Writers, a group that supports and encourages writers of all levels and genres. Learn more about NCW at www.NorthernColoradoWriters.com. Visit Kerrie’s blog at www.the-writing-bug.blogspot.com.

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our upcoming Homegrown Fort Collins program, we will be featuring the Homegrown Blog for the next couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

Homegrown Fort Collins celebrates the harvest season and its contribution to community and local culture. The goal is to educate, celebrate, and enjoy food with a focus on local. The old adage, ‘you are what you eat,’ resonates stronger than a parent’s stern warning to their children. The harvest of a community in many ways reflects the essence of the community, and has been at the center of festivals throughout history. Beet Street’s Homegrown Fort Collins will help us take a closer look at what’s around and develop a stronger sense of place and appreciation for our local harvest.

For a full schedule of events, please visit Homegrown Fort Collins!

‘Harvest Vegetable Pizza’ by Jennifer Fochek

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This harvest season marks the first anniversary of my return to Colorado.  After several years’ absence, I longed to feel a connection to my city and the people around me.  One of the first things I did to begin the process of making the place I had chosen to live feel like “home” was to go out to the local farmers’ market.  As a person whose life tends to revolve around food, I could think of no better way to ground myself in a new community, support the local economy, and meet some fantastic people.  Bringing home gorgeous produce was icing on the cake.

To celebrate the arrival of this year’s harvest season, I thought it would be fun to prepare something that incorporated Colorado’s fall bounty.  I settled on a harvest vegetable pizza, something that would be warm and comforting as the days grow shorter and the nights become crisp.  Never one to pass up a good opportunity for a “foodie” field trip, I put my ingredient list together and headed out to 

Berry Patch Farms in Brighton to experience some of the best produce Colorado has to offer.  I wasn’t disappointed!  I walked around their produce barn in gape-mouthed amazement, admiring the incredible colors and unique varieties.  Blue potatoes, yellow carrots, and purple beans are certainly new to me, as are Delicato squash, cipollini onions, and kohlrabi.  Talk about food heaven.

Berry Patch Farm visitors have the opportunity to pick certain fruits and vegetables straight from the fields depending on the season, so I ventured out for raspberries and strawberries.  Once I had a full flat of fruit, I gathered up the ingredients I needed for the harvest vegetable pizza (and everything else I couldn’t resist in the produce barn) and headed home.  After a bit of chopping, roasting, kneading, and baking (see recipes below), I had a perfect fall meal.  The carrots, onions, and squash were delicately sweet, and I loved the hint of smokiness from the charred tips of the vegetables.  For as wonderful as the pizza tasted, the texture was out of this world; the crust was tender, the vegetables were perfectly roasted, and I really enjoyed the mix of creamy ricotta with more traditional mozzarella.  Knowing that all of the delicious produce incorporated into the meal came straight from Colorado fields made the experience even more satisfying.  Happy harvest, everyone!

Harvest Vegetable Pizza (adapted from Martha Stewart) 

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil (for drizzling)
  • Flour (for dusting surface)
  • 1 recipe Basic Pizza Dough (below) or 1 pound store-bought pizza dough (fresh, or thawed if frozen)
  • 8 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 1 recipe Roasted Fall Vegetables (below)
  • 1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, whisked to loosen
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.  Brush a large, rimless baking sheet with oil or line it with parchment.  (A pizza stone can be used instead of a baking sheet, if desired.)

On a lightly floured surface, roll and stretch the dough to fit the baking sheet or pizza stone.  Transfer the dough to the baking sheet or pizza stone.

Sprinkle the dough with half the mozzarella.  Scatter the vegetables on the dough and dollop with ricotta; top with the remaining mozzarella.  Drizzle with olive oil; season with salt and pepper.  Bake until bubbling and golden, 20 – 25 minutes.  Cut to serve.

Roasted Harvest Vegetables (adapted from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
  • ½ pound red new potatoes, well scrubbed and quartered
  • ½ pound medium red onions, peeled, quartered, and layers separated
  • ½ pound carrots, halved lengthwise (if thick) and cut into 1 ½-inch lengths
  • 2 – 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and place vegetables and garlic on the baking sheet.  Toss with oil, 1 teaspoon of coarse salt, and 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper.

Roast until vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, 40 to 50 minutes, tossing them halfway through.  (Vegetables can be roasted up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated.  Drain any accumulated liquid before using.)

Basic Pizza Dough (adapted from Emeril Lagasse)

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup of warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
  • ¼ cup of light-bodied white wine
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of flour

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the water, wine, yeast, honey and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, stirring until combined.  Let stand until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 ½ cups of the flour and the salt, mixing by hand until everything is incorporated and the mixture is smooth.  Continue adding the flour, ¼ cup at a time, working the dough after each addition, until the dough is smooth but still slightly sticky.  You may not need all of the flour.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth but still slightly tacky, 3 to 5 minutes.

Oil the mixing bowl with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat with the oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours.  Punch down the dough before rolling out the crust.

Blog written by Jennifer Fochek, author of Sweet and Saucy, http://sweetandsaucy.wordpress.com

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our upcoming Homegrown Fort Collins program, we will be featuring the Homegrown Blog for the next couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

Homegrown Fort Collins celebrates the harvest season and its contribution to community and local culture. The goal is to educate, celebrate, and enjoy food with a focus on local. The old adage, ‘you are what you eat,’ resonates stronger than a parent’s stern warning to their children. The harvest of a community in many ways reflects the essence of the community, and has been at the center of festivals throughout history. Beet Street’s Homegrown Fort Collins will help us take a closer look at what’s around and develop a stronger sense of place and appreciation for our local harvest.

For a full schedule of events, please visit Homegrown Fort Collins!

‘Using My Backyard Grocery Garden Harvest’ by Vikki Lawrence-Williams

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I love my “backyard grocery” garden! From the radiant plump raspberries to fat green zucchini to juicy ripe sweet tomatoes… eating from such a convenient grocery was unfathomable to me just a couple of years ago.  But I’ve worked hard and learned a lot, while making mistakes and experiencing intense pleasure and joy.  When I harvested my first homegrown blueberry, the burst of sun-warmed juice filled me with gratification.  I couldn’t imagine ever NOT growing at least some of my own food.

We are a family of picky eaters.  Two of us can’t have wheat.  One of us can’t have dairy.  One of us is pre-diabetic.   And one of us will eat almost anything while two of us don’t like cooked veggies (one of these is me… the cook and chief gardener!).  So I dehydrate almost everything we harvest.

Because I dehydrate most of our veggies, I had to come up with ways to use them.  Sometimes I slice the tomatoes, dry them, store them, and later rehydrate them to use on homemade pizza.  Same with bell peppers. 

All-Vegg Powder:
Most of our dried veggies are used to hide nutrients.  I slice thin (or break apart into small pieces), dehydrate for recommended times and sometimes a little longer to get them extra crispy and fragile.  Once dried, I place in baggies and then in a canning jar, label, screw on the lid and ring, and put them on my shelf, waiting for the next batch.  When I have enough of every veggie, I start to powder them.

I use a twist-top blender to grind the veggies.  Each veggie is done separately.  Here’s a rough proportion count:
2 cups dried tomatoes
1 cup dried carrots and cauliflower (each)
½ cup each of dried eggplant, okra, sweet pepper, etc.

When I’ve make a fine powder from a veggie, I place in a quart-size baggie and go on to the next veggie.  I add this to the baggie and continue until done.  Seal the baggie.  Shake to mix well.  Place the baggie in a large mason or other canning jar with a dried bay leaf laying on top of the baggie.  (Most kitchen insects don’t like bay leaves.)  Add the lid and ring. Label.  Place on a shelf.

Consider using: eggplant, okra, tomato, sweet pepper, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, carrots, squash, parsley, pumpkin.  Sometimes I add onions and garlic too!

Clean a small used-but-empty herb or spice-shaker.  Should have a top.  Dry well.  Fill with the all-vegg powder.  Use to sprinkle on foods (either at the stove or on the table).  Use to add nutrients to anything: mashed potatoes, stews, soups, spaghetti or pizza sauce, stir-frys… your imagination is the key!

This is perfect way to eat your vegetables when your garden has a thick blanket of snow or ice, and you are anxiously awaiting Spring to start planting all over again. 

Hot Pepper Powder:
I make a special seasoning with hot peppers! I don’t add these to the All-Vegg Powder because not everyone likes heat in their food, and you can’t hide heat!  So I dry the hot peppers and radishes separately.  For the radishes (let them grow a little too big and they become spicier and hotter), I slice thin, dry, powder, and store in a labeled baby-food jar.  For the hot peppers, I put on gloves (very important!), harvest them, slice them in rings, keeping the seeds and ribs intact, and lay on the dehydrator to dry. Once brittle, I turn them into powder and stored in a different labeled baby-food jar.   (Wash the dehydrator trays and grinder very well to eliminate any residue that might heat-up your next project.) 

Sprinkle a little radish powder on a salad to spice it up!  Add some hot pepper powder (not too much!) to your favorite chili when it’s snowing outside.  Hmmmm yum!

All-Fruit Powder:
The same procedure can be done with fruit.  Once powdered, sprinkle on desserts, cereal, granola, oatmeal, etc.

For more information, please check out my blog at www.survival-cooking.com.  Thank you for reading!  Vikki Lawrence-Williams

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our upcoming Homegrown Fort Collins program, we will be featuring the Homegrown Blog for the next couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

Homegrown Fort Collins celebrates the harvest season and its contribution to community and local culture. The goal is to educate, celebrate, and enjoy food with a focus on local. The old adage, ‘you are what you eat,’ resonates stronger than a parent’s stern warning to their children. The harvest of a community in many ways reflects the essence of the community, and has been at the center of festivals throughout history. Beet Street’s Homegrown Fort Collins will help us take a closer look at what’s around and develop a stronger sense of place and appreciation for our local harvest.

For a full schedule of events, please visit Homegrown Fort Collins!

What is Harvest? by Tiffany Hodson

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What does harvest mean? To the dictionary, it means “the gathering of crops, the season when ripened crops are gathered, or a crop or yield of one growing season” among other things. To me, it means life. It means family, togetherness, freshness, sustenance. It’s my favorite time of the year. I love the colors the harvest season brings, the browns, reds and yellows nature gives, along with the colors of the abundant produce. To me, harvest is a celebration of life, of food and family. We enjoy this last burst of seasonal growth, before winter comes and we all tuck in for the rest of the year.

Harvest has big significance in my family. We are direct descendants of William Bradford, the pilgrim governor who was a leader on the Mayflower, and made peace with the Wampanoag tribe who taught the pilgrims how to raise crops in their new climate. Because of this arrangement, the first Thanksgiving was celebrated with days of feasting with their new tribal friends. According to Pilgrimhall.org, by autumn the pilgrims had “fitted their houses against winter” and had “all things in good plenty” because of their successful farming.

As I remember the pilgrims’ struggle for their first successful harvest, it is interesting to think of how simple it is for us to get beautiful, fresh produce from the grocery store, farmers markets, CSA’s, etc. For me, the harvest season, especially Thanksgiving, is a time for me to appreciate the ease of access to an abundance and variety of fresh and whole food. I have an appreciation for my little garden outside that sometimes does well and sometimes doesn’t. If it’s not doing well, then it is no trouble to run to the store.

Eating fresh, seasonal food is the easiest (and funnest) part! Squash, corn, potatoes, apples, and tons more! It is easy to eat these fresh, delicious foods with minimal cooking and full flavor. Get them locally or from your own garden, and the flavor is amazing!

Simple, local grilled corn is some of the most flavorful I have ever had. Skip the butter and seasonings, and eat it right off the cob. Amazing. Cook up some squash, sauté onions in butter with salt and pepper and puree it all together for a fabulous and fresh soup! Eat an apple. Just eat it! If everyone ate this way every day, we would all get our daily vitamin and mineral requirements, and nobody would need added fiber in their yogurt. Seriously, IBS would be a thing of the past, and I bet we would see a huge decline in diabetes, heart disease, etc.

Go to LocalHarvest.org to find a farmers market or CSA near you. Get involved with your local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) or a nearby community garden and learn how to grow your own produce! Your food can’t get any more local than from your own back yard!

Tender Pork Chops with Herbed Two Squash Pasta

4 Pork Chops
1 medium Spaghetti Squash
2 Tbsp EV Olive Oil
1 medium Zucchini Squash, sliced into coins
1/2 White Onion, small diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Cup Chicken Stock
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tsp Parsley
2 Tsp Rosemary
2 Tsp Thyme
2 Tsp Basil
Shredded Parmesan Cheese to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 f. Cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise down the center and place both halves face down in a roasting pan half way full of water. Place in the oven for about 45 minutes or until a knife poked into the side slides out easily.

In the meantime, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until tender. Salt and Pepper both sides of the pork chops, add the stock to the sautéed onions, nestle in the pork chops and cover the pan with a lid. Turn down the heat to Med Low. Cook the chops low and slow until cooked to your liking. They will stay tender at a low temp.

Once the spaghetti squash is finished baking, pull it out of the oven and let it cool a bit until it is comfortable to touch. Pull out the pork chops onto a plate. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds from the squash and discard them. Using the same spoon or a fork, gently scrape the spaghetti strands out of the squash skin. Turn up the heat on the pan with the sautéed onions to med high or so, and add the spaghetti and zucchini squash. Toss to coat, melting in the butter and adding the herbs, parmesan cheese and salt & pepper. Add the chops back in and you are set to go!

Snuggle close to your sweetheart and eat up! Pack the rest for a lunch your co-workers will be jealous of!

Blog submitted by Tiffany Hodson, http://lifeaftergluten.blogspot.com

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our upcoming Homegrown Fort Collins program, we will be featuring the Homegrown Blog for the next couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

Homegrown Fort Collins celebrates the harvest season and its contribution to community and local culture. The goal is to educate, celebrate, and enjoy food with a focus on local. The old adage, ‘you are what you eat,’ resonates stronger than a parent’s stern warning to their children. The harvest of a community in many ways reflects the essence of the community, and has been at the center of festivals throughout history. Beet Street’s Homegrown Fort Collins will help us take a closer look at what’s around and develop a stronger sense of place and appreciation for our local harvest.

For a full schedule of events, please visit Homegrown Fort Collins!

It all started with baby food by Kristin Mastre

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While busy in the kitchen, the aroma of baking acorn squash filled the house.  Sweet potatoes were boiling on the stove top and the baked peaches that had just been pulled from the oven were cooling on the counter top waiting to be peeled.  The windows were open to let the crisp breeze come through and upbeat music was playing to keep me grooving and singing.  It was autumn, harvest season, and I was up to my elbows in fruit and vegetables making baby food.

My baby (who is now in Preschool) was beginning to eat solids as autumn came around.  We had just moved to Fort Collins and were struggling on a very tight budget.  It was a difficult year, but I found great happiness in those days of making baby food.  We didn’t have much but I felt an ample amount of satisfaction having our home filled with the rewards of our local Farmer’s Market, providing our family with healthy, delicious meals made from scratch and from the heart.  Even now when I open my refrigerator or pantry and see the shelves filled with food, I truly feel fortunate.  Every year since then when I see the signs of autumn at our Farmer’s Market, the memories of nourishing my family come flooding back and that familiar happiness grows within me like the food on the vine.

This year our family is experiencing the riches of harvest season with the abundance of Palisade Peaches taking over our kitchen counters.  Palisade is in the south-west part of Colorado, east of Grand Junction.  Often called the “heart of Colorado’s fruit and wine country”, Palisade is well-known for their amazing peaches that have been growing there since the late 1800’s.  Peaches are a favorite fruit of mine and after being very disappointed with some of the selection at local grocery stores – tough, flavorless and dry, it was refreshing to have juicy, tender, fragrant, meaty peaches, ripe for the eating.  With the peaches being a local food picked ready-to-eat, you can absolutely taste the difference.  We’ve been eating peaches every day and enjoying every last dripping bite.

There’s something about harvest season that brings people in our community together.  I think we all feel very lucky to live in a city where we are surrounded by agriculture, where the concept of “from farm to table” is readily accepted.  With the cornucopia of fruits and vegetables we find, people all around seem to have a stronger connection with one another while talking about the bounty of delicious produce they’ve purchased and discussing different recipes they enjoy.  Recipe swapping is something that many of my friends and I love and it always leads to some lively conversation where our families reap the wholesome rewards.

Experiencing a plenitude of peaches, it’s been fun figuring out how to incorporate them into our daily meals.  We’ve been eating them fresh and raw, baking them, blending them in smoothies and even grilling them.  I’m all for simple dishes that are kid-friendly (especially now that our family has grown to two kids) and recently found a recipe that I’ll use every year that we find ourselves with a bumper of peaches – Peach Caprese Salad.   Simple and classic with a twist, it’s also very healthy and perfect for those who have limited skills in the kitchen.  Using fresh local ingredients makes this mouth watering meal one that friends and family will request for years to come.

During the celebration of harvest season in Fort Collins, I hope we spread the good feelings of camaraderie by sharing some of the ways we enjoy savoring all that we grow in our land of abundance. 

Peach Caprese Salad

Credits:  Serious Eats – Dinner Tonight
-serves 4-

Ingredients
3 ripe peaches, halved, pitted, and sliced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into slices
Olive oil to taste
Balsamic vinegar to taste
Salt
Pepper
Procedure

1. Halve each peach, remove the pit, and slice. Slice the mozzarella and tear the basil leaves.

2. Arrange peaches and mozzarella on a large plate. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar to taste (aim for a 3-to-1 ration of oil to vinegar). Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and basil.

Kristin Mastre is a wife of 10 years, a mother to 2 boys, a personal trainer and the author of feastingfortcollins.com, a local restaurant review blog.

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our upcoming Homegrown Fort Collins program, we will be featuring the Homegrown Blog for the next couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

Homegrown Fort Collins celebrates the harvest season and its contribution to community and local culture. The goal is to educate, celebrate, and enjoy food with a focus on local. The old adage, ‘you are what you eat,’ resonates stronger than a parent’s stern warning to their children. The harvest of a community in many ways reflects the essence of the community, and has been at the center of festivals throughout history. Beet Street’s Homegrown Fort Collins will help us take a closer look at what’s around and develop a stronger sense of place and appreciation for our local harvest.

For a full schedule of events, please visit Homegrown Fort Collins!

Quick and Easy Meal of Delicious Harvest Vegetables

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It’s fall, my favorite time of year. Picking pumpkins, sipping freshly-pressed apple cider, unraveling corn mazes, admiring the alpenglow on the turning leaves, and of course, enjoying the bounty of the harvest.

This year I’m looking forward to joining Beet Street’s Homegrown Fort Collins harvest celebration and tasting the best of what our local Colorado producers have to offer.

Here in the southwest, the aroma of roasting chile peppers is a sure sign of autumn. The distinctive perfume makes my mouth water and reminds me of one of my favorite fall recipes that brings together many local or homegrown veggies in an tasty and satisfying vegetarian meal.

In Native American lore, the three sisters – corn stalks, the beans that wind up them, and the squash growing in the shade underneath – symbolize the symbiotic relationship of siblings, community and togetherness. Many of the ingredients used in this recipe, including the corn, tomatoes, chiles, and beans, were unknown in Europe before the return of Columbus from the new world, making this a truly American dish.

You can easily add meat to this meal by substituting ½-3/4 lb. meat for one of the cans of beans, or just adding it in an extra layer in the bottom of the pot if your cast iron Dutch oven is large enough (this may require an additional 10 minutes of cooking). Double the recipe and add about 8 minutes to your cooking time to feed a family of 4.

Three Sisters Navajo Harvest
Serves 2 

1 cup white rice
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 -ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 yellow squash, cut into large julienne sticks
1 zucchini, cut into large julienne sticks
fresh kernels cut from 2-3 corn cobs, or 1 14-oz can, drained and rinsed
3 to 4 large tomatoes, chopped, or 1 14- oz. can chopped tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, or 2 teaspoons dried
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
salt and pepper, to taste
3-5 roasted chile peppers, peeled, seeded and chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F.
  2. Spray the inside of a cast iron Dutch oven and lid with olive or canola oil.
  3. Rinse the rice in a strainer and put into the pot with 1 cup of water. Swirl gently to settle into an even layer.
  4. Layer the beans, squash, zucchini, corn, and tomatoes into the pot, interspersing sprinkles of sage, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  5. If using fresh corn cobs, shuck the cob, stand on end on a plate and remove the kernels in a smooth, downward motion. Then add the corn to the pot.
  6. Add the chiles.
  7. Cover and bake for about 35 minutes, or until 3 minutes after the aroma of a fully cooked meal escapes the oven.
  8. Serve immediately.

Post by Elizabeth Yarnell, author of Glorious One-Pot Meals: A Revolutionary New Quick and Easy Approach to Dutch Oven Cooking. Her patented cooking technique is perfect for time-challenged cooks. She speaks and gives cooking demonstrations around the country.

 

 

 

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our upcoming Homegrown Fort Collins program, we will be featuring the Homegrown Blog for the next couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

Homegrown Fort Collins celebrates the harvest season and its contribution to community and local culture. The goal is to educate, celebrate, and enjoy food with a focus on local. The old adage, ‘you are what you eat,’ resonates stronger than a parent’s stern warning to their children. The harvest of a community in many ways reflects the essence of the community, and has been at the center of festivals throughout history. Beet Street’s Homegrown Fort Collins will help us take a closer look at what’s around and develop a stronger sense of place and appreciation for our local harvest.

For a full schedule of events, please visit Homegrown Fort Collins!

Harvest by Michele Morris

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I’ve been a gardener for as long as I can remember – not because I thought about it would be good for the environment or my health, not because I was worried about food politics, and wanted to start eating local foods, but merely because I loved seeing the fruits of my labor rewarded in the harvest. That first sweet cherry tomato that I pluck and eat right in the garden, warm and kissed by the sun, is pure inspiration. Every year I am still amazed that I can create, with not all that much effort I must confess, such a bounty of crops in a small square right in my own backyard.

Not everyone is so lucky. Too many kids today don’t have a grasp on where their food comes from – or for that matter what constitutes real food. I fretted as I watched my own kids growing up, more intent on grabbing bagged snacks and eating junk fast food than helping me in the garden or trying a new vegetable. I teach cooking lessons to adults who, sadly, never learned to cook with real food from their own parents. And too many adults and kids don’t understand that there are seasons to food, harvest season being the most rewarding. Thankfully, it seems our communities are waking up to the idea of fresh, local foods, perhaps initially spurred on by books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, but now generating plenty of their own momentum around growing fresh foods and eating locally and seasonally.

When I left corporate America a few years ago to pursue my culinary dreams, I knew that I wanted to find a way to give back to the community, using my cooking skills as a foundation. I began working as a volunteer Chef Educator for Operation Frontline, the part of Share Our Strength that provides nutrition and cooking classes to those with limited financial resources, helping them make healthy and affordable food choices. One of the most important concepts I teach is to look for what’s in season, best illustrated during harvest season. This is the time when food tastes best and costs the least, and personally I love putting some food up for over the winter. I’m lazy about it, and tend to freeze things because it’s easy, but last year I made it through most of the winter without having to buy any canned tomatoes. I also love how everyone shares as they harvest their gardens. I’ll be taking some of my plums to my cooking class tomorrow because there’s no way I can eat the 300 plums ripening on my tree – and I’m tired of the squirrels stealing them! I’ve been donating zucchini for the past month to friends because I’ve already eaten and frozen tons of it. In return, I have a friend who always makes strawberry jam during the season and another who makes green chili to freeze for winter, and they always share with me.

While I clearly understand the beauty and the bounty of the harvest, I really feel it’s critical for kids to experience this, both in the garden and in the kitchen. I got involved with Slow Food’s Seed to Table school gardens program this summer, working with a Denver elementary school to cook with their student gardeners. What a thrill to watch them as they witnessed the actual transformation from seed to plant to harvest to meal. We cooked right in the garden on Monday mornings and ate our meal together under the shade tree. Nobody was more surprised than the kids themselves at some of the things they tried and liked – radish sandwiches, zucchini soup, eggplant dip, and squash pasta. I’m convinced it was because they were intrigued by what they created and felt a connection to the food.

As the harvest season wraps up I have a whirlwind schedule of guest chef appearances at various Youth Farmers’ Markets across the Denver metro area. To see the pride these kids have in what they’ve grown in their school gardens is a beautiful thing. But to hear them ask their parents to buy some of the squash so they can make the squash salad at home that I’m offering as a sample really makes me smile – especially after a parent looks shocked that their kid not only tried it but liked it!

Relish the harvest season in your community – go to a local farm, visit a school garden, buy from a Youth Farmers’ Market, and share the bounty with your friends. I promise you’ll be glad you did.Visit my blog for recipes using Colorado produce:

BBQ Green or Wax Beans

Zucchini Salad with Lemon, Feta and Dill

Garden Vegetable Salsa with Black Beans & Avocado

Quick Zucchini Soup

Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Goat Cheese

Eggplant Marinara Bake 

Farro with Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Mint

Basil Corn and Citrus Pesto Fish

Fried Shoestring Zucchini

Summer Vegetable Orzo

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

This week’s guest blog presented by Michele Morris, Chef and Owner of Cooking with Michele®

www.cookingwithmichele.com

www.cookingwithmichele.blogspot.com

www.traveljournalbymichele.blogspot.com

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Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our upcoming Homegrown Fort Collins program, we will be featuring the Homegrown Blog for the next couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

Homegrown Fort Collins celebrates the harvest season and its contribution to community and local culture. The goal is to educate, celebrate, and enjoy food with a focus on local. The old adage, ‘you are what you eat,’ resonates stronger than a parent’s stern warning to their children. The harvest of a community in many ways reflects the essence of the community, and has been at the center of festivals throughout history. Beet Street’s Homegrown Fort Collins will help us take a closer look at what’s around and develop a stronger sense of place and appreciation for our local harvest.

For a full schedule of events, please visit Homegrown Fort Collins!