Adventures in Cooking: Boulder, Colorado

July 31, 2009 at 9:06 am

Since moving to Chicago for school in 2006, I’ve returned to my hometown of Boulder, Colorado every summer to partake in fun activities like seeing the dentist (thanks for the health insurance, Mom)…and visiting my family.

After spending time researching and writing about the joys of eating locally sourced ingredients, it seemed almost criminal not to take advantage of Colorado-produced comestibles. Since I am not a crook, I headed to the Boulder Farmers’ Market on a mission of dinner with my cousin John, who just so happens to be trained as a chef. He also seems to not mind me enough to help out with dinner. Thanks, John.

We thought it best to visit the market and choose what to make based whichever ingredients were begging to be cooked.

Unfortunately, this particular visit to the market was a bit disappointing. Initially we had a notion of potentially making a watermelon gazpacho, but the fruit pickings at the market were amazingly slim, consisting of a few sad strawberries and some peaches. Instead we decided to buy some zucchinis from Red Wagon Organic Farm in Boulder and make a zucchini pasta.

Also purchased was a “grab bag” of mushrooms (shiitake, crimini, oyster and lion’s mane) from Hazel Dell Mushrooms in Fort Collins, a tomato from 2 R’s Farm in Platteville and a head of garlic from Pachamama Farm in Longmont.

Now came the issue that there was no protein to go with this meal. The only option at the farmers’ market seemed to be beef, which I tend to avoid these days. Since The Local Beet is dedicated to a practical approach to local eating, we hopped across the street to Whole Foods and found some scallops and pearl couscous. Not local, but nevertheless delicious.

To accompany such a lovely mostly local meal, we picked up some Boulder-brewed Avery India Pale Ale (my choice) and a bottle of rose that came from France (John’s choice).

We started water boiling for the couscous, peeled the zucchini with a vegetable peeler and chopped the tomato, garlic and mushrooms. The zucchini was sautéed on medium heat with the garlic, a bit of olive oil and butter, some basil and salt and pepper. The tomatoes and mushrooms were also sautéed with a bit of olive oil and butter and added to the couscous.

Before starting on the scallops, we removed the feet (the muscle attaching a scallop to its shell), rinsed and blotted and added salt and pepper. They were pan-seared on high heat with butter and olive oil. (“Scallops are easy to overcook, you can always cook them more,” John advises.) We stopped when they started to brown and let them carry over in the hot pan, plated those suckers and dinner was served.

The verdict? Quite edible. Whew. (Mostly) local meal success!

(Many thanks to my cousin John for his time and expertise, and to my mother and aunt for setting the table. See the entire meal process here.)


One Comment

  1. Hannah Montgomery says:

    Deborah! I came across this column while being a stalker (read: seeing if you were on facebook these days) the other night. Well-done! I hope you’re doing well, would love to read more of your work and be in touch.

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