Quinoa is my new favorite comfort food. Sushi was number one. But, due to budget constraints, it will become number two. Most people have a love affair with macaroni and cheese, pies, Hostess Twinkies(remember the uproar when Twinkies would be no more last year). Yet, for me, I'm unique. My new love is actually healthy and ancient. When I eat quinoa, either savory (black bean tossed with a herb vinaigrette) or sweet (brown sugar, honey, coconut flakes, and dried fruit), the quinoa kisses all of the parts of my body that I have neglected. Or beaten to a bloody pulp with hamburgers, fries, and my oh so junky pal - butter popcorn at the movies. My body signs Hallelujah that good stuff is coming down the hatch like a charming lover who lingers after a bottle of Merlot, candles, and soft rock after the second date. Your body yearns for the deliciousness and you give in. But, this time, it is not sinful temptation whispering dreamy promises in your ear. It's bundles of whole grain joy that spring to life when open. It's my happy carbs. My body rejects white carbs like potatoes, pasta, bread, and rice. It swells and puffs like a Cheeto. My 40 something body who longs for the figure of the 20 something high metabolism me who ate nacho cheese Doritos and Oreos while watching Beverly Hills 90210 in college. The girl who use to eat tater tots with lots of ketchup and salt for her lunch entree. Since time travel is not offered yet, I have to let my 40 something body have smart carbs like whole grains, fruits, and veggies. Even wine is a carb that I have to partake less. So, for those of us who are of a certain age, fear not. Quinoa is packed with nutrients and protein to keep you fulll longer. So, be brave. Try something different. Quinoa is available at most grocery stores and trendy restaurants. Who knows? You may have a new comfort food like me that is friendly to the booty spread and so friendly to your health starved body. Posted by Denise at 7:47 PM
Here is a way to support local food and wine business. It starts in Colorado Springs on the Westside on Oct 4th. OLD COLORADO CITY WINE BAR TOUR. Starting Thursday, Oct 4th from 5-8pm and continuing every Thursday for the rest of the year, Old Colorado City is hosting a 6 venue Walking Wine Bar Tour - Around the World in Wine & Food in 2 Blocks. Park and purchase tickets ($48 + tax & tip for 6 wine tastes and 6 food pairings) at Motif, 2342 W. Cucharras and then proceed in any order to the other venues to enjoy the wine & food regions: Motif Westside: California 2South Wine Bar: Washinton/Oregon Upstairs at La Baguette: France Pizzeria Rustica: Italy TAPAteria: Spain Jake & Telly's Greek Taverna: Greece
If you are driving around on a Saturday or cleaning your house with the radio on, tune into Table Talk with Teresa Farney on KVOR 740AM. It airs Saturdays 12-1pm. Teresa is the food editor for the Gazette and she along with KVOR DJ Aaron Seller interview local chefs and restaurant owners, food business owners, and features food events. Go to KVOR.com to listen to the podcasts if you can't listen on Saturdays. Teresa is definitely passionate about food and it comes through in the program.
Finally there is a local foods meetup group created for us Colorado Springs foodies. The organizer is Bonnie from Hungry Chicken Homestead.com and her goal is to support all things local - restaurants, farms, locally produced foods, and food businesses. This is the time to support our local food economy especially those areas impacted by the Waldo Canyon Fire. Visit food businesses in Old Colorado City, Manitou Springs, and near the Mountain Shadows area. Let your dollars show how much your love your community and how a fire will not destroy us. Sunday July 15th, the group is having lunch at Coquette's Bistro and Bakery in Manitou Springs. Gluten free and always delicious, Coquette's offers an array of crepes - savory and sweet as well as goodies from their bakery. After lunch, some of the group will be attending the Pikes Peak Community Swap at the house of my friend and Greenwoman magazine publisher, Sandy Knauf. Sandy lives in Old Colorado City and she is a gardening master, growing flowers and vegetables in her yard and in plots through the Pikes Peak Urban Gardens. She is a favorite local food producer that I like to support as she seeks out restaurants that could use her herbs and veggies. If you are not familar with community swaps, Pikes Peak Community Swap says on their website, that it "is a free community event that meets about once a month to “swap” items. No money is exchanged, just think of it as a DIY potluck party! Bring at least 3-5 items to swap, but they don't all have to be the same thing." People can swap canned foods like jams and jellies, homemade goods like soaps and candles, seeds and potting soil, eggs, fresh produce from your garden, etc. It is a great way to meet new people and build community through swapping. There are many ways to support the Colorado Springs food community. I will feature more in upcoming posts.
With all of the food blogs being created daily, there are alot of us who dream of doing this full time. Or at least, get somewhat paid for our passion for food and words. There is no shame in admiting to having a monetary desire. "Sellout" would never leave my lips if you desire to get paid. Yet, there is reality that we must face like all of those career changers who leave highly paid jobs to attend culinary school. Only to find out that you have to pay your dues as a low paid line cook after graduation. Same for food writing. Insert your favorite food writer's name and his or her lifestyle that you want to covet. They are a league of their own. Especially in a publishing world that is still shrinking as it struggles to get a strong footing in this digital age. Amanda Hesser from FOOD52 and former NY Times food writer and editor doles out advice to those writers who don't want to give up the dream. You may not agree with her. You may possiblly label her as dream crusher or bubble burster. But, as a woman who likes several shots of reality to be paired with my daily dish of life, I appreciate her honesty. Hope you will too. If you want to pursue food writing, I highly suggest reading Dianne Jacobs's blog and book - Will Write for Food. She gives you amazing insight on becoming a food writer. She has been in the trenches. She knows what works and what doesn't.
One of my favorite comfort foods are tacos. And, I go the semi homemade way to make them ala Sandra Lee. A lot of chefs loathe her recipes. But, I love the idea especially for those of us who are busy and don’t have the time to make homemade pasta or pizza dough. God bless the ones who go strictly homemade because it makes the food incredible. Eyes rolling to the back of head incredible. But, there are days when you come home from a long day of work and you want to semi cook. It’s still better than hitting the fast food drive thru. It’s all about the art of doctoring it up, the art and skill of making it flavorful with your own flair. You become the McDreamy or House of the culinary surgery. The average person does know the difference. God forbid if a purist foodie shows up to your party and rats you out. Yet, for Mr. and Mrs. John Doe, it doesn’t matter. They are glad they didn’t have to cook it. What matters that they clean the plates and send them back for seconds. The semi-homemade recipe that gets me rants and raves is my marinara sauce. Friends and family don’t realize that the base is jarred tomato and basil sauce. And a secret ingredient. They find out when I have to confess and offer up the recipe. I think those chefs are jealous of Sandra Lee because she speaks to the heart of the home cook and helps those who need to make tasty meals in a short time. Plus she is a millionaire without paying her dues at culinary school, surviving her turn as a line cook, and building a restaurant as a chef/owner who is known for his or her dynamic creative skills at the art of cooking.
My tacos are easy and quick. I love doing these when I want to come home after a long day and make something quick. Instead of going to Taco Bell and get 88% ground beef in my tacos, I use 100% ground beef with McCormick Original Taco seasoning.
Tacos a la Denise
1 lb of lean ground beef (93 and 7%)
1 packet of McCormick Original Taco seasoning
1 package of Old El Paso Stack and Stand Hard Taco Shells (comedian George Lopez says those of us who buy these are lazy taco eaters)
1 package of shredded lettuce (why cut up lettuce when you can buy pre shredded)
Whole Foods shredded Mild Cheddar cheese (an unique flavor to add instead of Monterrey Jack cheese)
Blake's Ugly Dawg Medium Salsa (
Colorado Grown and Proud) Colorado
Brown the ground beef. Drain the fat. Add the taco seasoning and follow the packet directions. Heat up the taco shells on an aluminum foiled baking sheet for 6 to 7 minutes at 325 degrees. Spoon the ground beef into the shells, then cheese, tomatoes, salsa, and lettuce.
Don’t be afraid to cook semi homemade. Don’t be afraid to fly your doctoring flag. Express yourself!