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Kelly Liken’s Truffled Snow Pea Salad with Parmesan

August 26th, 2009 by Jean Gleason

By 6:00am last Saturday we were en route to the Edwards’ Farmers Market, where we sell our freshly ground organic  spices from a booth.  I much prefer driving in Saturday’s spectacular morning light to fighting the Friday evening traffic. As we left the foothills, a thunderstorm loomed to the north.  The sky above Boulder was black, as if the day had not yet begun there. To the south, the sun was brilliant, casting a golden glow on the rock peaks as we ascended into the Rockies.

We have had more rain this year than any other year I’ve lived in Colorado. The traditional grays and browns of the mountains have been replaced with lush green mosses and purple and yellow wildflowers. The wide open Colorado blue sky is now blanketed in clouds. The morning sun highlights the moisture in the air, and creates colors and shadows that amaze and astound me. Last week, we saw a sunrise rainbow,  … a first for me, no rain present, just big fat moist clouds.

The road to Edwards crosses the continental divide at Loveland Pass and then continues on over Vail Pass. Sunlight dances upon the water spilling from the rocks high above the road. We stopped in Georgetown for coffee. The air was crisp, a hint of fall, with the feeling that winter is not too far away.  I pulled my heavy fleece from the trunk, excited by this omen of seasonal change. As we cross Vail Pass, the temperature dropped to 38°.

When we arrived in Edwards, the mayhem was underway. As usual, Clarks Orchards was already set up.  “Fresh corn, picked yesterday.”  “Peaches, $8 for a large bag.” He is an early bird, and always gets his worm.  It was 8:30.  The market doesn’t open till 9:30.  Still, a line had formed at his trailer. The rest of the vendors were setting up;  popping tents and hauling their produce and fresh baked goods across the parking lot. They come from all over Colorado, some from the Western slope, others, like us, from Denver.

On Saturday, my tent was between a new honey vendor, and a chef demonstration tent. The Chef (Kelly) and owner of my favorite restaurant in Vail, Kelly Liken’s, prepared the following tantalizing salad. I had a taste of it at mid day, and craved more for the rest of the market. It was so good, I marched right down to the Morales Farms booth and bought snap peas so that I could make the salad when I got home.

I tried to julienne the peas in the food processor with a julienne blade. All it did was create a mess. Do it the old fashioned way, with a sharp knife.  Though it seams like a daunting task, it only took a few minutes.  (It took me longer to clean the food processor). The sweetness of the peas, the saltiness of the parmesan, and the earthiness of the truffle oil join together to create a symphony of flavors in your mouth. The julienne cut highlights the crisp texture of the peas almost creating  the sensation of eating an apple. I wish snow peas were is season all year round because I just love this salad.

Truffled Snow Pea Salad
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Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4-6

  • 1 lb snow peas, julienned (sliced lengthwise)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Champagne vinegar
  • 7 Tablespoons extra virgen 0live 0il
  • 1 teaspoon truffle oil (or substitute 1 teaspoon black truffle sea salt)

  1. Combine mustard, shallots and vinegar in a mixing bowl with a whisk
  2. Drizzle in olive and truffle oils while whisking
  3. In a second bowl, combine cheese, parsley and peas.
  4. Toss the peas lightly with the dressing and season with salt and pepper.


Peach Salsa

August 10th, 2009 by Jean Gleason

During peach season, I eat 2-3 peaches a day. I buy them by the case at the farmer’s market from a stand that brings them direct from Palisades. This salsa is excellent with fish and chicken, though sometime for lunch, I just eat it by the spoonful. Adjust the heat by increasing or decreasing the amount of jalapeno. Have a peachy day!

Peach Salsa
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Recipe type: Sauce
Serves: 12

  • 6 peaches, peeled and diced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, peeled and diced
  • ½ red onion peeled and diced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and diced
  • 1 lime juiced
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Mix all the ingredients together
  2. serve as an appetizer with corn or pita chips, or as a side with grilled chicken or fish

Curried Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup

July 30th, 2009 by Jean Gleason

I usually make this in the fall and winter, but the past few days have been so cold, I broke out the soup pot and made a double batch of Curried Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup. The roasted sweet potato slightly sweetens the bite of the curry and the two flavors meld together to create a complex and tasty soup.

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  1. roast sweet potato in a 425° oven for 30 minutes. Do this while you make the rest of the soup.
  2. saute onion, in olive oil and butter over medium heat for 4 minutes
  3. add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes
  4. add curry powder and lentils and cook for a few more minutes
  5. add water and chicken stock and bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes
  6. remove skin from sweet potato, then add the potato to the soup
  7. puree everything together
  8. return to pan and season with salt and pepper
  9. ladle into bowls and garnish with a light dusting of paprika


Grilling Exhibition at the 8100 Mountainside Grill

July 24th, 2009 by Jean Gleason

The early evening breeze tempers the heat from the afternoon sun. The light shifts from bright to golden, and the mountainside glows greener than I ever remember—a reward for enduring all those days of pounding rain.

This spectacular mountain-scape serves as a backdrop for Pascal and Reese, our chefs for the evening – here to share their grilling secrets. Everything Pascal says is charming. His French accent and animated style entertain the eclectic group gathered on the patio.  Reese, the notable Chef de Cuisine, plays a perfect straight man to Pascal’s humor. Reese raises an eyebrow to one of Pascal’s comments and the guests respond with a giggle.

While we listen raptly to Pascal describe how to repair a “broken” Bernaise sauce, a local wine distributor circles among us pouring tasting glasses of excellent pairings for the trout and halibut that Reese is preparing.  [I failed to get the names of the wines, but I will update you as soon as I find out what they were]. As the glasses are filled and refilled we become more animated, begin chatting with one another and asking about seasonings and grilling techniques.

I am here to present our freshly ground organic spices and to learn how Pascal and Reese use them to create their marvelous meals. We have a small gift of spices for each of the guests and they respond enthusiastically; pleased to know they can order them on line;  amazed at the vibrancy of their flavors and aromas.

In one short class, we grilled halibut and prepared trout en papillote, Bernaise sauce, beurre blanc sauce, gribiche sauce, and my favorite, watermelon salsa. What a charming and educational evening.

Good news, there are more classes to come. Pascal and Reese are hosting three more grilling nights throughout the summer. So, if you are in Beaver Creek on July 25th, August 8th, or August 22nd, stop by the 8100 Mountainside Bar and Grill in the Park Hyatt and enjoy the fruits of Pascal’s and Reese’s labor. The demonstration starts at 4:30. Be sure to come early to grab a seat under an umbrella near the grill. Sample their delectable morsels and sip expertly chosen wine pairings, while picking up great culinary tips in an idyllic setting.

Watermelon Salsa

July 24th, 2009 by Jean Gleason

Last weekend, I attended a grilling demonstration at the 8100 Mountainside Bar and Grill in the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek, CO.  Pascal and Reese, the Executive Chef and Chef de Cuisine for the restaurant, prepared this salsa to serve with salmon. It would also be an excellent complement to chicken. Watermelon is one of my favorite fruits… and this is now my favorite salsa.

They will be holding 3 more grilling exhibitions throughout the summer (July 25th, August 8th, and August 15th). If you are in the Vail Valley, stop by the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek and sample some delectable morsels with expertly chosen pairings while picking up great culinary tips in an idyllic setting. The demonstration starts at 4:30 on the patio.

Watermelon Salsa
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Recipe type: Sauce
Serves: 6-8

  • ½ of a small watermelon cubed
  • 1 diced red onion
  • 1 diced bell pepper
  • 1 diced jalapeno
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • ¼ cup champagne vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Combine all ingredients together.