Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Moving Gourmet Glee to WordPress

I'm moving on ... to WordPress that is. Check out the new and improved (and heavy on the craft beer) Gourmet Glee blog at www.gourmetglee.wordpress.com. Thanks for all the love, criticism and feedback - I hope you continue to enjoy reading my blog as much as I adore writing it!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Denver Burger Battle

Gourmet burgers are all the crave now. But I've known the best of the best and a recent burger event in Denver brought
me back to my days of the Jucy Lucy. Note the absence of an "i" in Jucy, this means that I'm a Matt's Bar fan over the other dive, 5-8 Club, that also claims to have invented this molten burger. (Best reporting ever to give you insight on the Minneapolis-burger's following: "A Tribe Called Lucy".)

Now, Denver has yet to do the juicy lucy (it's got an "i" when I'm writing about the genre of burger, I decided, so there). But much has to be said for the competitors that warm Colorado evening at the Denver Burger Battle. It was an occasion pitting 10 restaurants against one another vying for the grand prize at this1st annual event: pride and notoriety as the judge's choice.

Of the many grills and flat tops, I favored Deluxe Burger and Steuben's. Neither of which received the judge's nods nor "People's Choice." Both burgers were wet with beef juice, covered in item after item of toppings and came with accompaniments.

Deluxe used buns from a local bakery, 100-percent Angus beef, Port reduction, balsamic onions, aged Stilton and roasted garlic aioli. Steuben's “Green Chili Cheeseburger” with Udi’s Challah Bun, RiverRanch Beef, Don Rickle’s Secret Spice Rub and green chili.

What's cool is that both had fresh, four-wheel kitchens with cool pop-art colors and real food comin' out of them. It's an up-and-coming trend nationwide, food trucks taking to the streets to feed the premier palates of we, the people.

What I loved about these two booths at the Denver
Burger Battle was their offering the burger's trusty companion: french fries. Deluxe's pile of potatoes grabbed me at first sniff...garlic! Yes!
I came back for thirds, and that says a lot in midst of a 2.5 burger consumption and 2.5 beer evening.
Steuben's were of the shoestring variety with truffle oil and herbs. In addition to their fries, the folks riding the retro-looking truck served up their signature Steubie's Snacks: braised pork shoulder, deep-fried, then dredged in powdered sugar. They're pictured in the photo at right. (My husband ganked a napkin full and stuffed them in his cargo shorts (Napoleon Dynamite style) and brought them home for later. No joke!)

You could tell there were some geniuses behind the driver's wheel that evening!

Another impressively innovative part to the night was the plastic plates with a cup holder. Wow, smart-thinking! Now where can I get em for my next BBQ?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Palate Expansion: Wine to Craft Beer

Gary Vaynerchuk (finally) talks craft beer in the latest episode #899 of Wine Library TV. I met Gary at his book reading in Denver last fall. "Crush It! Why Now is the Time to Cash in on your Passion" is just as energetic of a book title as this fast-talking, wine guy. The book shows (not tells) people how to grab a hold of social media to capitalize on their brand.

In this half-hour show (
episode #899), beer aficionado Mike Schneider joins Gary to talk about peoples' migration from wine to beer and how craft beer is fast becoming the new culinary pairing.

Gary is on Twitter at @Garyvee and Wine Library TV is at tv.winelibrary.com.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Make the Drive to Creekside Cellars

I'm sharing a blog entry by D Vine Girl, Amanda, who recently interviewed winemaker Michelle Cleveland of Evergreen's Creekside Cellars.

Nearly every time we entertain out-of-town guests, we take the drive up to Evergreen and stop at Creekside. the wine is innovative, especially for Colorado grapes, and food is truly amazing. I'm a disciple of flourless chocolate tortes and Creekside has a fabulous dessert called Chocolate Pâté. Swirling a nibble of the chocolate in your mouth with a sip of the winery's robusto, tempranillo or cab franc is totally worth the gas money to get up there! I recently tried their gewürztraminer on a hot, sunny afternoon: Sweet, effervescent and refreshing!

The winery also boasts bountiful antipasto plates, served on gorgeous wooden platters. It's a small joint but you're welcome to grab a glass and stand at the pouring counter or sit at a table in the front. You'll see in Amanda's interview that the gold star seating is in the back on a deck overlooking the creek.

Take a trip up to Creekside, and even consider going in the winter!

Click here for D Vine Girl's Video Blog interview at Creekside Cellars

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How to Snag a Shark in your Kitchen

The greatest thing about watching grocery store ads is that I can meld a meal by piecing together food on sale. It's, at times, inspiring. I feel like a cornball saying that, but as a dedicated deal seeker I pay attention to essentials that I can save on.

Recently, Sunflower Farmers Market at 38th & Wolff in Denver advertised thresher shark. I had tasted shark once before and remembered its sharpness and steakiness. Much like a swordfish.
Thresher shark is a hearty, meaty fish that is extremely versatile and can be seasoned to anyone's taste. Great if you want a taste of the wild.
Another item that Sunflower featured in its Wednesday ad was mango. I had never bought a mango, cut into a mango nor craved a mango. All this has changed and since this dinner I've sought out, peeled and blended mangoes to my heart's delight.

To maximize the thresher shark's tenderness, I chose to pair it with coconut-ginger rice and mango salsa. I borrowed the rice recipe from a fellow blogger, Recipe Girl, and combined a mess of sweet and savory ingredients for the mango salsa. Mix in homemade mojitos and great friends and a menu is made!

Thresher Shark
Marinate 1 lbs. in:
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 T. Tequila (or n/a orange juice)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
Place in fridge for about half hour. Watch the time because if you let it sit too long you may end up with ceviche, as the citric acid literally "cooks" the fish.

Have you ever handled a jicama?

It is very similar to a water chestnut in texture. Try it in stir fry, I did with some left-over shark the next night.

Mango Salsa
  • Jalapeno pepper(s), seeded and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups mango, chopped and squared
  • 1/2 cup jicama, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, dried and chopped
  • Juice of 2-3 limes
  • Marinate about a half hour for best results

Tips for salsa:

  • Mangoes have rectangle pits?! What the ...
  • Rounder limes end up juicing better. Roll it around the counter a few times to get the liquid loosened.
  • I reserved a small portion without jalapeno, for those who can't stand the heat.

Grill the shark for about 5 minutes each side.

Muddle the mojitos while cooking and serve.

"Salud y amor y tiempo para disfrutarlo."
Health and love and time to enjoy them.

Monday, July 5, 2010

An Unlikely Bisque

At a recent Wynkoop Brewery beer dinner I had one of the coolest and tastiest soups. The meal was centered around Stone Brewery beers from Escondido, CA, and Stone co-founder Greg Koch was the entertainment. He's a really funny, honest and REAL guy. Kind of a craft beer celebrity of sorts. And his beers are just as awesome.

Our pairings began with Pear & Brie Soup. It was neither overly-creamy nor chunky. Toasted almonds floating in the star anise crème fraiche brought a smokey crunch to the smoothness of the bisque. I'm not very fond of brie and actually expected there to be crumbles of cheese bobbing in the soup. Luckily, the pear and brie are melted , blended and stirred to become a bisque. With only six ingredients and fairly easy prep, this could definitely become a mainstay for holiday dinners or a dish to one-up my foodie friends.

Pear & Brie Soup
From Wynkoop Brewery Denver, CO
  • 2 large Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, sliced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 8 oz. brie cheese, rind cut off, diced
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Pinch ground clove
  • Handful sliced almonds (flat, not slivered)
Combine sliced pears and chicken broth in 2-quart pan. Bring to a simmer and cook until pears are soft (approximately 10-15 minutes). Transfer broth and pears to blender and puree until totally smooth. Return mixture to pan over medium heat, add nutmeg and clove. Add brie a little at a time constantly stirring. The soup should be creamy and smooth. In separate pan, add almonds. No need for oil or butter. Toast almonds by moving around every 20 seconds or so, until light brown. When serving soup, top with almonds.

For this unlikely bisque, Stone paired its Cali-Belgique IPA. This hazy, caramel-colored brew has tropical fruit notes that complemented the soup great. Doesn't hurt (or maybe it will the next day) that it's seven percent alcohol.
"We're not trying to sell anything to you in the world of craft beer, we're trying to please you," Greg said.
The beer's definitely something I recommend to friends just getting their palates whet with craft beer. I'll absolutely pick some up this summer.

Follow the goings-on at Wynkoop by checking out their new website: www.wynkoop.com/happenings.

Cheers (from Dane, Greg and me)!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Passing the Pestle

My biggest foodie fan and an admirable cook left this world on Feb. 21, 2010. He was my best friend, a curious soul and one of my favorite beings on earth.

He would have scolded me for being away so long from my blogging. Living on the opposite side of the globe, this space was a place he could check up on what I was indulging in. He would comment, send me links after reading my posts and encourage me to try something new next time. Most often something daring and scary, but worth it.

That's where I'm headed now. Back in this cooking, writing and sharing it with others—all without him.

With his trusty mortar and pestle providing me confidence
now in my kitchen as a gift from his mother—I feel he's with me at every drop of an herb, swirl of the whisk and sprinkle of salt. (Although he swore I ate more salt than anyone he ever knew.)

Armed with my apron and a hungry husband, I'm returning to find my "Gourmet Glee" in honor of you, my friend. Rest in peace, with hands full of amazing food.