Tribute to Aspen

March 11, 2010

I would not dream of trying to recreate 99 percent of the fabulous food we consumed in Aspen. Those culinary memories should stay as memories, and I would never be able to make anything half as delicious. But a few simple pleasures were worth a try……

Cloud Nine Salad

Inspiration from Cloud Nine Bistro and Madaket Market version

You will need:
Bowl full of greens
1/4 jar sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 red onion, sliced thin
2 cups mushrooms (baby bellas or shitake), sauteed
1 cucumber, cut into half moons
1/4 cup Roquefort cheese
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup vinegar (tarragon or red wine)

Prepare the veggies
Sauté the mushrooms

Mix the dressing by combining the Roquefort cheese, mayo and vinegar.
* Portions for the dressing are completely up to personal preference. You may even want to add some olive oil.
Toss the greens with veggies and dressing

Now for a little Aspen comfort food…

Ajax Cheesy Polenta and Shaved Brussels Sprouts

Inspiration from Aspen and Madaket Market version

Back at home in Georgia, we paired the cheesy/sauteed shaved Brussels sprouts with bone-in ribeye instead of stripped bass.

Cheesy Polenta

Boil 4 cups of water
Whisk in 1 cup of yellow corn grits
Stir constantly for a few minutes and until thick
Turn down the temp to a simmer
Cook uncovered, stirring often for 45 minutes to an hour
Add water if the polenta gets too dry
Dollop in 1/4-1/2 stick butter
Stir in a handful of Parmesan
Feel free to add salt, pepper and milk/cream

Shaved and Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

You will need:
1 pound Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
12 medium shallots, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Slice Brussels sprouts using a Cuisinart slicing attachment

Heat butter and olive oil in a large saute pan
Add shallots and garlic
Saute until shallots are translucent, 3 minutes-ish
Add shaved Brussels sprouts and increase heat to medium high
Saute for about 8 minutes or until tender
Stir in 1/2 pine nuts and lemon juice
Season with S&P
Toast remaining pine nuts in a dry saute pan over low heat
Transfer sprouts to a serving bowl and top with remaining pine nuts

Serve Brussels sprouts over the polenta as a side or topping to fish, steak or chicken.

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