Colorado cooking

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Our family has just returned home from a trip to Colorado for vacation. We enjoyed the spectacular scenery and the breathtaking surprise views around every corner.

We also enjoyed some great food while there. We ate fresh trout nearly every evening -- prepared many ways -- and also enjoyed great Colorado beef.

While on the trip I picked up a cookbook from the Alpine Visitor's Center on the top of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. The book is a collection of recipes from Colorado's favorite cookbooks from all over the state. There are some fabulous recipes in this book.

I hope you enjoy the few I chose for you today.

Grilled Trout Fillets with Tomato Butter

Trout fillets

Lemon pepper

Melted butter

For the best flavor, soak several handfuls of mesquite wood chips in water. Prepare a moderately hot charcoal fire. When the coals are covered with white ash, remove the chips from the water and spread over the coals. Start cooking the fish immediately.

Place one-inch thick fillets, brushed with mixture of lemon pepper and butter, on the grill. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes on each side, basting often, until fish flakes. Serve immediately with tomato butter.

Tomato Butter

1/4 pound unsalted butter

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon sugar

Cream all ingredients together in a food processor until light and fluffy. Chill, and serve with trout fillets.

Marinated Beef Strips

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon crushed peppercorns

2 pounds sirloin steak

Mix all above marinade ingredients together and put in a gallon size plastic zip-top bag. Slice steak in 1/2-inch-thick strips and put in marinade; seal. Allow 2 hours or more in marinade. Lay heavy-duty aluminum foil on grill and place meat strips on foil. Grill on low, turning as needed. An alternate method of cooking is to cut 1-inch cubes and thread on skewers with garden vegetables such as onions, bell peppers, tomatoes or squash. This recipe can also be used as for beef fajita meat.

Taste of the Rockies Casserole

1 pound ground beef

1 tablespoon oil

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 large onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chilies

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole tomatoes

1 (15 1/2-ounce) can kidney beans or pinto beans

3/4 cup raw rice

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can beef bouillon

1/4 cup ripe olives, sliced

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Brown meat in oil. Add chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper, onion and bell pepper. Cook 3 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice, breaking up; then add the beans and rice. Turn into a greased 2-quart baking dish. Pour beef broth over meat and rice mixture and bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Sprinkle olives and cheese on top and bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted. Serves 6 to 8.

Elk Piccata

2 pounds elk steak, cut 1/2-inch thick, trim all fat

Salt, pepper and flour

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 ounces brandy

4 tablespoons minced parsley

Lemon slices

Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper, pound lightly on both sides. Dust lightly in flour. Heat butter and oil, and brown meat on both sides. Remove meat from skillet. Add mushrooms and garlic to pan and cook 1 minute. Return meat to pan. Add wine and lemon juice. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until meat is tender. Warm brandy; pour over meat and flame. Remove meat and keep warm on platter. Spoon sauce over meat. Garnish with parsley and lemon slices. Serves 4.

Porter House Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

From the Porter House Bed and Breakfast in Windsor, Colo.

1 cup butter or 2 sticks, softened

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 cups old fashioned or quick oats

1 1/2 cups dried cranberries

1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped walnut or paean pieces

Beat together the butter and brown sugar. Add eggs and mix until combined together. Stir in the flour, baking soda, and oatmeal. Add the cranberries, chips and nuts. Use a cookie scoop for evenly-sized cookies, or drop by rounded tablespoons onto lightly greased baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand for about 2 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 7 to 8 dozen cookies.

Have a great week, and until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at news@semissourian.com or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by Southeast Missourian staff.

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