Notes From Swan's Nest

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Waking to the Wonders of Nature

I awoke to the sight of geese on our front lawn at Swan’s Nest this morning. Ten beautiful creatures walked along the grass, foraging for whatever geese like for breakfast, ever-watchful for signs of danger or items of interest. I didn’t hear the geese arrive, but as I stood at the window watching them, one of the birds began to honk, filling the early- morning quiet with its call. Soon they settled down again and continued looking for food before flying away 30 minutes later.

Although Randy and I see geese fly past our home during the summer on their way to and from a nearby pond, it’s not until autumn’s approach that they seem to visit our front lawn each year. Does this mean an early fall at Swan’s Nest? Certainly, we’ve experienced much more rain during the past two weeks than usual, and cooler mornings, but I’m reluctant in early-August to give a moment’s thought to autumn and the long winter that soon follows.

On the contrary, I’m totally focused on farmers markets, garden flowers, and fresh farm-to-table meals we’re enjoying this summer. Randy and I celebrate each summer day over meals of savory, grilled Colorado-raised lamb chops from a family farm, tender sautéed chicken with vegetables, Rocky Mountain trout, sweet Olathe corn-on-the-cob slathered with butter and a sprinkle of salt, juicy seedless watermelon and Rocky Ford cantaloupe, fresh plump blueberries, fresh-from-the-vine Palisade tomatoes and the sweetest, juiciest peaches I’ve every tasted, tender salad greens, and farm-made goat cheese.

In my book, these meals are culinary wonders of nature. Randy and I look forward to sitting down to dinner each evening at the circa 1800’s chopping block table he carefully sanded and refinished, and then installed in the bay window of Swan’s Nest’s new kitchen so we can gaze at the mountain peaks as we dine. Our taste buds fairly dance in anticipation of the flavors awaiting us. In tribute to the freshness of each ingredient, I allow their natural flavors to shine as much as possible – not masking them with sauces and breaded coatings. Rather, I pair star ingredients with fresh herbs, garlic, seasonings, or a spritz of fresh citrus juice.

Next week, I’m participating in the Snowmass Culinary & Arts Festival in Snowmass, Colorado. During the Palate of Pairings on Saturday August 14, I’ll be showcasing sustainable Colorado foods while serving hundreds of guests Grilled Moroccan Lamb Kabobs, served with tzatziki – a cool, yogurt-based sauce enhanced with fresh garlic, finely-chopped cucumber, fresh mint, and a squeeze of lemon juice; paired with Carmel Road Pinot Noir. Earlier in the day, I’ll be presenting a tablescapes seminar called “The Art of Presentation”, and in the early afternoon will participate in a chef panel on New American Cuisine. It will be a fun-filled weekend of culinary discoveries and a juried art show, set against the breathtaking background of majestic mountains in Snowmass, Colorado. There’s still time to register and join me for all the fun, so please consider this your personal invitation! www.snowmassculinaryandarts.com

-Christy