It will be sad not having Carter with us this Christmas but he is always with us in spirit whether it is Christmas or any other day. Quite a few years ago we were at our home in San Miguel de Allende for Christmas, something we tried to do every year, and Carter had left one suitcase at home back in Scottsdale. And that was the one with all the Christmas presents in it!! Boy did we give him a bad time about that. Being the creative guy he was, he drew pictures of all the gifts and then put each picture into a little basket that he had bought in the market. Recently I ran across the pictures he drew for me and Len and I just had to share them with you.
A mini Leatherman. I think the security people at the airport have it now.
I actually had that necklace on the other night.
Along with the pretty scarf.
Carter certainly got my blue eyes right in all the drawings.
I like how Carter has Len holding his toothbrush and razor!
Carter got Len's broad shoulders perfectly (he lifts weights).
Len looks a little frightened to be just in his socks. Nice knees.
Carter captured Len's hair doo perfectly too.
Here are my parents and Carter in the jardin, the main square, one Christmas evening.
And Carter and my husband, Len, checking someone out! We all miss Carter tremendously but his zest for life will always be with us. Merry Christmas everyone and treasure every day, every moment and every memory.
Saturday night we joined our friends, Diana and Mark Peterson and a few of their friends for a special Chef's Dinner.
The Chef's Dinner was at the Edge Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Denver. We were in a private room that overlooked the kitchen. Check out the large grill that can be lowered and raised by turning huge wheel on the left.
I started with a wonderful Foie Gras Peanut Butter and Jelly. The seared foie sat on top of a strawberry brioche with a smear of peanut butter on one side and strawberry on the other.
Another lady had hot house tomatoes with fresh mozzarella, basil and aged balsamic vinegar. I love how the toasted piece of baguette is curved on the end of the dish. Nice presentation.
My next course was three seared scallops with sauteed oyster mushrooms and fried pancetta that sat on top of a lobster curry cream. I really liked the saltiness and texture of the pancetta with the scallops but would have liked a different sauce. Maybe caramelized fennel with a finely chopped anchovy or two, olive oil and sherry.
We were served many side dishes to share. From top bottom right, going clockwise: sauteed forest mushrooms, crispy mac and cheese with a truffle center (sublime and my favorite), the Edge's version of mashed potaotes (English bubble and squeak) and wood grilled vegetables.
For my entree, I had a juicy and rare 18 ounce bone-in USDA prime beef rib eye along with a small lobster tail. A little surf and turf. As good as it was, I took more than half of it home and guess what we are having for dinner tonight? Steak and arugula sandwiches on a rustic Italian bread.
The executive chef, Simon Purvis, came in and introduced himself and told us about his cooking career. Simon first started cooking in the south of England and over the course of 23 years he has had great opportunities cooking for the Four Seasons all over the world. From Berlin, Singapore, Vancouver, Phoenix and now Denver in which he, his wife and two children just love.
Not only were the desserts excellent, the presentation was beautiful. My husband, Len, had the molten carrot cake with baked strips of phyllo, a scoop of cream cheese ice cream and ginger rum sauce.
I did not taste the peanut butter crunch, salt roasted peanuts with chocolate sauce but it certainly looked divine.
And how about this dessert. A Meyer lemon pudding cake with citrus pound cake croutons and lime caramel. It was a great evening and downtown was jumping. We left around 10:00 and the bar area was wall to wall people. Being right across from the performing arts center, their were a lot of people out and the streets were jammed. I was hoping to get a photo of the city and county building with all their lights on but they had already been turned off. Enjoy the holidays. I know I am!
I have made these Chorizo Jalapeno Poppers a few times and they are always a hit. The first time I made them, the recipe called for shrimp instead of chorizo. The shrimp was blah and you really could not tell it was in the recipe. Chorizo is a much better pairing with the other ingredients. It would be a great hors d'oeuvre to make over the holidays. Robin's Chorizo Jalapeno Poppers
20 plus jalapenos 8 oz. cream cheese 8 oz. Gouda, grated 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced 1 chorizo link Wearing gloves, cut jalapenos in half and scrape out the seeds and veins with a grapefruit spoon. Break of the chorizo and saute. Drain on a paper towel. Mix the cheeses, scallions and chorizo together. Fill the the jalapeno cavity with the cheese mixture. Cook in a 350 oven for 20 minutes or until the jalapenos are tender and the cheese is melted and starting to brown.
Note: You can assemble the day before whichis a great time saver. In the summer, I put the jalapenos on a sheet of tin foil and place them on the grill with the cover down. Especially helpful when it is blazing out out and you don't want to heat up the house by turning on the oven. Buen Provecho!
One of my best friends, Suzy, bought this tree shaped advent calendar for her three year old grandson, Jack. Suzy brought it over to my house first and asked, "would you paint this for me, please...." There was no whining or pleading involved, ha ha. It is made out of pine and I first had to paint it white. Trying to figure out what to paint on the front of these little 1 1/2 inch square boxes was a challenge. One, could I execute the little paintings well enough on the not so smooth surface (a lot of ridges) and two, could I come up with 23 different scenes. Once I got started, it was a labor of love even thou it took about three days.
I wonder what was in today's box for Jack?
A funky little Rudolf.
A jolly Santa Claus.
A happy Snowman.
Meet Jack. He was visiting this summer and I had a phone call from Suzy to come over and see Jack. So I jumped on my bike and pedaled on over to Suzy's. She was on the phone most of the hour with a client so Jack and I had the best time. He is quite the little chatterbox. And I hear he is having a ball with his Advent calendar. Merry Christmas Jack!
Over the weekend we went out with our good friends, Judy and Denny (Len on the left and Denny on the right). We had not been to Twelve in a long time and it was a home run!
As the name implies, the menu changes each month (or 12 times a year). Chef, Jeff Osaka, is inspired by local and seasonal products and he creates each monthly menu around that.
Len and I started with a seared foie gras accompanied with a red-beet-chocolate pain perdo (a french toast) and a horseradish creme on the side. The foie gras was sublime and cooked to perfection. It just melted in your mouth and the pain perdo really complimented the foie gras. And yes, the earthiness of the beet and chocolate were a wonderful combination. Our waiter, Justin, brought us both a complimentary glass of Tokay to go with the foie. Perfection. Tokay is a sweet white wine from Hungary's Tokay region. Ranked as one of the best in the world and very similar to a French sauterne.
For my entree, I had the duck confit with brussel sprouts and bacon that had been tossed with a black truffle vinaigrette with a poached egg on top. Yumm. Len had the hanger steak with yukon gold potato puree, crispy sweetbreads and a blue cheese slaw. The hanger steak was perfectly cooked and the sweetbreads were delicious. Our waiter brought a a bowl of additional sweetbreads to the table. I make sweetbreads at home and they had the perfect crunch on the outside. Judy had a healthy serving of the pork belly osso bucco which had a hint of Moroccan flavoring to it. The meat just feel off the bone. Denny said his monk fish was excellent. It did look good but I unfortunately did not get a taste. Len selected a great wine from Napa, a Robert Sinskey POV. A full bodied red that is a combination of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet and Merlot.
Not only was the food outstanding, our waiter, Justin, was very attentive and knowledgeable.
Having both a starter and an entree, none of us had room for dessert but Justin brought us each a shot glass of chocolate Pot de Creme on the house. What a perfect way to end a perfect dinner. We'll be back soon!
TWELVE 2233 Larimer Street Denver #303-293-0287 www.twelverestaurant.com
You know it's Christmas time when I make my Walnut Bourbon Balls. WALNUT BOURBON BALLS Mix: 11 oz. vanilla wafers (finely crushed) 3 tablespoon cocoa 1 cup powdered sugar 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped Add: 3 tablespoons corn syrup 1/2 cup bourbon Mix well. Form into 1" balls. Roll in powdered sugar. Freeze. Makes 50 I usually double the recipe because they seem to disappear !
Thank goodness for the Cuisinart and the spring loaded ball maker. It really makes the whole process go faster. (I use a 1 1/4" diameter ball scooper) Once you have a scoop of the dough, scrape the side of the bowl and release scoop on the counter. I usually do ten at a time.
In the palm of your hand, gently roll into an even ball and roll in powdered sugar.
Meet my Grandmother, Ida Mullen, who was famous for making the Bourbon Balls.
Many years ago... Here I am making cupcakes in my other grandmother's kitchen. Both grandmother's made cooking fun for me. And I am still cooking up a storm. Bon Appetit!
Robin is an interior designer and photographer who lives in Denver, Colorado. She loves to travel, especially to San Miguel de Allende and other parts of Mexico. She is also passionate about cooking and dining well. Robin has been traveling to San Miguel de Allende for over 46 years. A few times a year, she organizes small groups to tour San Miguel de Allende and the surrounding areas of colonial old Mexico such as Oaxaca, Chiapas, Puebla and Mexico City. Known for her attention to detail, these intimate tours provides one a chance to join friends of similar taste and to experience Mexico's exceptional culture, endless shopping, savory cuisine, ideal climate and its amazing colonial architecture.
Robin also has taken small groups to Barcelona, San Sebastian and Bilbao, places in Spain that she has visited often over the last 14 years; noted for its excellent cuisine, beautiful architecture and outstanding museums.