Summertime baby! In this writer’s humble opinion it is the best time of the year in Steamboat Springs, Colorado! The farmer’s market returned last weekend as did peaches to the grocery store and an abundance of other scrumptious veggies!

In a place where the snow falls a majority of the year its important to take advantage of the fresh produce while we have it. For this month’s blog we decided to let you in on some of our favorite summertime recipes that feature locally grown produce! 

One of my personal favorite summertime ingredients is the peach! Peaches are such a luxury at high elevation but Steamboat Springs proximity to Palisade, Colorado gives us some of the juiciest and most delicious peaches in the nation! I have fallen in love with this protein-packed Spicy Peach And Chickpea Salad. When most BBQ’s are dominated by meats and potato chips, impress your family and friends with something healthy and refreshing. Plus your skin will thank you!

Start off by making the dressing. Combine 1/4 a cup of high quality extra virgin olive oil with 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, 1/4 a teaspoon of  chipotle powder and salt and pepper to taste. Give that a good whisk or shake and set aside. 

Next take a large bowl and add 3 cups of drained and dried chickpeas, 2-3 chopped peaches, 1/2 of a thinly sliced cucumber, 3-4, thinly sliced watermelon radishes,(regular radishes work too but aren’t as pretty) a thinly sliced jalapeño, a chopped avocado and 2 tablespoons of chopped basil. 

Once your dressing has had a chance to integrate all the flavors, give it a final whisk and pour it over all the ingredients! Serve immediately and watch this untraditional salad wow everyone at your summertime event!

Now I try to eat meat in moderation but out here in Steamboat Springs, we have access to tons of ranches and farms that humanly raise and butcher their meat! You can find several different ranches selling a variety of meat at the the farmer’s market downtown but I have to say my favorite animal protein in the summers is the Colorado rack of lamb! What better way to enjoy than with some freshly harvested morel mushrooms!

Morels can be found all around the Steamboat area as they particularly like higher elevations. Summertime forest fires can create a nitrogen rich soil that makes morel production spore, I mean soar! If you don’t have the time to hunt for your own morels check out Mighty River Mushrooms. They find the biggest and most delicious morels and deliver them right to your door! 

 

Our next recipe is Spring Colorado Lamb With Fresh Morel Mushrooms! This is a simple recipe but when you have ingredients like Colorado lamb and fresh morels you want to let the flavors speak for themselves! 

First take your freshly foraged mushrooms and clean them, you will need about a cup of morels. Leave them whole unless very large. While you are chopping, chop up one bunch of local spring onion that can easily be found at the farmer’s market. The fresher the better! Next take your full rack of Colorado lamb. Trim away any fat from a lamb, and cut it into 1 centimeter thick medallions. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Salt the medallions and fry them in 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to sear on each side. (I like them when they are still pink.) Set aside, keeping them warm.

Add two more tablespoons of oil to the pan and fry with the Colorado spring onions for 5 minutes, then add the morels and a stripped sprig of rosemary and fry for a further 10–15 minutes, until the morels are cooked.

Return the lamb medallions to the pan, taste for seasoning, and warm through together with the morels. Serve immediately with your favorite sides! 

Lastly for an unlikely dessert hero we turn to something that grows wildly in the Colorado summers, rhubarb! Rhubarb is a spring vegetable, one of the few that is still truly seasonal. The edible part of this perennial plant is the vibrant pink stalk. Now rhubarb straight off the plant is very tart which explains why it is almost always cooked with sugar to sweeten and break down its fibrous texture. You will be doing this for our dessert recipe, Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt Popsicles! For this recipe we pour a sweetened rhubarb and greek yogurt mixture into popsicle molds to create a healthy treat that will cool down those hot summer nights!

First we will rinse and trim about three stocks of rhubarb, and then cut into 1 inch pieces. Put the rhubarb and 1/2 a cup of sugar, along with 2 tablespoons of water, into a saucepan. Heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Turn down the heat and cook until the rhubarb is completely soft, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally, and add a little more water if the jam is too thick or sticks to the pan.

 

Puree the rhubarb in a food processor until sooth. Refrigerate the puree until it is chilled. You should have at least 1 cup of puree. Mix one and 1/4 cups of greek yogurt with heavy cream, half and half, or milk to thin it a little bit. You want it to be thick but have a creamy consistency. There is no exact mount here, but since you are going to be spooning the yogurt into popsicle molds, you want it a little looser.When the

rhubarb is cooled, it will be thickened as well. Add a little water if you want to loosen it.

Next, beginning with the yogurt, spoon alternate layers of yogurt and rhubarb into each mold until they are filled. Insert a skewer or chopstick down into each mold and stir just a bit to mix the layers and create a marbleized effect. Insert popsicle sticks in each mold, the sticks will stand up by themselves, so no need for a top or foil covering. 

Freeze until firm, about 4 – 5 hours or overnight. To free the pops from the mold, fill your sink with hot water. Immerse the mold up to but not over the top edge, and hold for about 15-20 seconds. If the pops don’t slide out easily, immerse for a few seconds longer. Eat right away or store in plastic baggies in the freezer

Recipes Condensed For Cooking Convenience 

Spicy Peach and Chickpea Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cans chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • 2-3 chopped peaches
  • 1/2 a cucumber thinly sliced
  • 1 watermelon radish cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil

Instructions

  • Combine olive oil, lime juice, maple syrup, chipotle powder, and salt and pepper to a small jar. Shake, and set aside.
  • Next combine chickpeas, peaches, radish, jalapeño, avocado and basil to a large bowl
  • Combine everything together and serve immediately!

Colorado Rack of Lamb with Spring Garlic and Fresh Morel Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • One full rack of Colorado lamb
  • 1 cup of fresh morel mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 bunch of spring onions, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Clean the morels, and leave them whole unless very large. Trim away any fat from the lamb, and cut it into 1 cm thick medallions.
  • Salt the medallions and fry them in half the oil to sear on each side. (I like them when they are still pink.) Set aside, keeping them warm. Add the rest of the oil to the pan and fry the spring onions for 5 minutes, then add the morels and rosemary and fry for a further 10–15 minutes, until the morels are cooked.
  • Return the lamb medallions to the pan, taste for seasoning, and warm through together with the morels. Serve immediately.

Rhubarb Greek Yogurt Popsicles

Equipment

  • a popsicle mold

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces rhubarb about 3 stalks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups Greek yogurt I used full fat
  • milk or half and half or cream to thin the yogurt

Instructions

  • Rinse and trim the rhubarb, and then cut it into 1 inch pieces. Put the fruit and the sugar, along with 2 tablespoons of water, into a saucepan. Heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Turn down the heat and cook until the rhubarb is completely soft, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally, and add a little more water if the jam is too thick or sticks to the pan.
  • Puree the rhubarb in a food processor until sooth. Refrigerate the puree until it is chilled. You should have at least 1 cup of puree.
  • Mix the yogurt with heavy cream, half and half, or milk to thin it. You want it to be thick but have a creamy consistency. There is no exact mount here, but since you are going to be spooning the yogurt into the molds, you want it a little looser.
  • When the rhubarb is cooled, it will be thickened as well. Add a little water if you want to loosen it.
  • Beginning with the yogurt, spoon alternate layers of yogurt and rhubarb into each mold until they are filled. Insert a skewer or chopstick down into each mold and stir just a bit to mix the layers and create a marbleized effect.
  • Insert popsicle sticks in each mold, the sticks will stand up by themselves, so no need for a top or foil covering.
  • Freeze until firm, about 4 – 5 hours or overnight.
  • To un-mold the pops, fill your sink with hot water. Immerse the mold up to but not over the top edge, and hold for about 15-20 seconds. If the pops don’t slide out easily, immerse for a few seconds longer.
  • Eat right away or store in plastic baggies in the freezer.

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