Eat This Week: Seasonal delights and a recipe for a four-course meal |

Eat This Week: Seasonal delights and a recipe for a four-course meal

By Kimberly Nicoletti
Special to the Daily

Eat This Week — Mondays in the Vail Daily

As the days stay cold, we can find solace in consciously cultivating a sense of warmth, specifically through sharing food with family and friends. Winter entrees and side dishes usually take a bit more time to prepare and cook than summer foods, which we can often eat freshly picked off a bush, branch or stalk. Once fresh summer produce is no longer locally available, we turn our attention to foods like squashes, which obviously need to be cooked, root vegetables, which are often better cooked, and recipes that take a bit more time and effort. And often, they remind us of home and the love we taste in them.

“This is a nice time because you can focus on those foods that have good memories associated with them,” said Allana Smith, owner of FOODsmith. As a personal chef, Smith finds that the Vail Valley guests she prepares meals for want “something comforting, familiar and associated with coziness. The foods are not as quick and easy to prepare as summer foods are, and they nourish more than just the stomach.”

Smith views late fall and winter as a time to prepare soups and hardier salads and proteins.

“We make a mental shift to using more savory things that need more seasoning because in the summer you tend to just eat stuff as it is, and maybe use some fresh mint, basil or chives, and this time of year, you crave heavier, longer-cooked proteins and vegetables,” she said.

She often turns her attention to ingredients she has either already sourced locally — like canned or frozen Palisade peaches or frozen, pitted tart cherries from Big B’s in Hotchkiss — or things she can still obtain locally, like Tender Belly heritage pork in Denver, salami from Elevation Charcuterie & Artisan Meats in Denver, Colorado lamb or cheeses from a number of Colorado-based companies.

“I strive for ways to incorporate local products into my meals,” she said.

Her husband, Shawn Smith, a pastry chef and owner of Mountain Flour in Eagle, might create a guava sorbet for a lighter dessert, or celebrate the season with cinnamon gelato, pumpkin cake or cheesecake or Dutch apple pie.

Here are recipes from the Smiths for a four-course meal consisting of: salad with roasted butternut squash, apples, homemade seeded granola, James Ranch Belford and late harvest Riesling vinaigrette; roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon and maple gastrique; Tender Belly Berkshire pork tenderloin with garam masala and Colorado tart cherry sauce; and sticky toffee pudding cake with 10th Mountain bourbon gelato.

Pork tenderloin is a great winter protein because it can cook for a while and yield comforting, deep flavors. Dominique Taylor
Special to the Daily

Winter Salad with Roasted Butternut, Apples, Homemade Seeded Granola, James Ranch Belford & Late Harvest Riesling Vinaigrette

6 servings


  • 1 pound “hearty” greens (spinach, kale, chard, shredded cabbage or Brussels sprouts, arugula, endive)
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 “ cubes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • 1 Honey Crisp apple, cored and sliced thinly
  • 6 oz. James Ranch Mature Belford (aged raw milk cheese from Durango, CO, cut small, (or other similar hard cheese)
  • 1 cup seeded granola (recipe follows)
  • Approximately ½ cup Katz Late Harvest Riesling vinegar

Step 1: Toss cubed butternut squash with olive oil, salt & pepper, roast on a baking sheet in 375˚ oven until soft, allow to cool.

Step 2: Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl, serve.

FOODsmith Seeded Granola

  • 1 lb oats
  • 1.5 oz. hemp seeds
  • 1 oz. chia seeds
  • 1.5 oz. ground flax
  • 4 oz. brown sugar
  • 2 oz. sunflower seeds
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 oz. coconut
  • 2 oz. golden raisins
  • 2 oz. dried cherries


Step 1: Combine in large bowl: 8 oz. butter, ½ cup maple syrup. Melt together and add to the dry ingredients.

Step 2: Spread on to 2 baking sheets.

Step 3: Bake at 250˚ until dry, stirring every 15 minutes, but trying to leave big chunks.

Step 4: Add to raisins, coconut and cherries to the granola for the final 15 minutes of baking.

Step 5: Allow to cool, lasts several weeks in airtight container.

FOODsmith Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc Vinaigrette

  • 2 tbsp finely diced shallot
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup Katz Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc vinegar
  • 1 ½ cup grapeseed oil
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Step 1: Combine shallots, salt and pepper with vinegar, whisk in oils.

Step 2: Store refrigerated in airtight container, mix well before dressing salad.

FOODsmith Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Maple Gastrique

  • 1 ½ lbs. fresh Brussels sprouts, trim ends and cut in half lengthwise
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil (can sub bacon fat for any or all of the vegetable oil)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 6 slices of bacon, cut into ½” pieces
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp maple gastrique (recipe follows)

Step 1: Cook bacon pieces over medium heat in a large cast iron pan, or heavy sauté pan until almost crispy, remove from pan and set aside.

Step 2: Add vegetable oil and/or additional bacon fat to same pan, increase heat to medium high.

Step 3: Add trimmed and cut Brussels sprouts to the pan, cook stirring occasionally until most of them have nice golden brown color on them.

Step 4: Add garlic, cook one minute more.

Step 5: Add bacon back in and turn off heat.

Step 6: Stir in 2-3 tbsp maple gastrique.

Step 7: At this point either place entire pan in a 375˚ oven and roast uncovered until tender (approx. 10 -15 minutes) or move to baking sheet to finish roasting in the oven with the pork just before serving, stirring to evenly distribute the gastrique before serving.

FOODsmith Maple Gastrique

  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup maple syrup

Step 1: Combine in a medium saucepot over low heat and reduce to 1/3 cup.

Step 2: Let cool, and store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

FOODsmith Tender Belly Berkshire Pork Tenderloin with Garam Masala & Colorado Tart Cherry Sauce

  • 2-¼ lbs. pork tenderloin (this will be 2-3 tenderloins, depending on size)
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Step 1: Dry exterior of tenderloins with paper towels

Step 2: Season first with generous salt and pepper, then with garam masala.

Step 3: Heat oil in 12” cast iron or heavy sauté pan over medium high heat, until almost smoking, reduce heat to medium.

Step 4: Place tenderloins in pan and sear on all sides, 8-9 minutes.

Step 5: Once nicely browned on all sides, remove from pan and place tenderloins on baking sheet, or in pan that you have your Brussels sprouts in.

Step 6: Roast in 375˚ oven 15 minutes or until thermometer placed in thickest part of the tenderloin reads 135-140˚ (15-20 minutes).

Step 7: Remove from oven and allow to rest 10 minutes, slice and serve.

FOODsmith Colorado Tart Cherry Sauce

  • 2 cups frozen, pitted Big B’s Colorado tart cherries, thaw and strain, reserving juice
  • 2 cups red wine
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup ruby port

Step 1: Bring cherry juice, wine, granulated sugar, ¼ cup vinegar and ruby port to simmer in small saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1 cup about 30 minutes.

Step 2: Stir in remaining tablespoon vinegar and cherries, cover and keep warm, drizzle over pork before serving.

Mountain Flour Sticky Toffee Pudding Cakes

Makes 10 muffin-pan-sized cakes

  • 1 heaping cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ oz. butter
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup sugar plus more for coating muffin pan
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tbsp water
  • 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • Caramel sauce for toffee cakes (recipe follows)
Sticky toffee pudding cakes with 10th Mountain bourbon butterscotch gelato. Dominique Taylor
Special to the Daily

Step 1: Bring dates and water to boil, then process in food processor until pureed but with chunks.

Step 2: Add baking soda, stir and let cool.

Step 3: Preheat oven to 350. Prep muffin pan: Using pan spray, spray muffin pan and then coat with sugar by pouring some sugar into the sprayed muffin pan and turning so sugar sticks to sprayed pan. Pour out the extra sugar, and use it as part of the sugar used in the muffins.

Step 4: Cream butter, sugar and salt in a stand mixer with paddle attachment.

Step 5: Sift together flour and baking powder.

Step 6: Alternate adding eggs, flour mixture and date mixture until just mixed. Do not over-mix. Take bowl off mixer and scrape sides of bowl with a rubber spatula and mix further if needed.

Step 7: Scoop batter into pans and bake until just done, about 13-15 minutes. Once cooled enough to handle, pop cakes out using a butter knife to lift them out if needed. Either serve immediately when hot or make in advance, unmold, keep in airtight container and heat in microwave just before serving.

Step 8: When the cakes are hot and about to be served, poke the tip of the squeeze bottle of sauce into warm cake about a half inch, fill with about 3 tablespoons of sauce, add more sauce over the top and serve with ice cream.

Mountain Flour Caramel Sauce for Toffee Cakes

  • 10 oz sugar
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup (to help prevent crystallization, can substitute with 1 tbsp lemon juice)
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 1 ½ cups cream
  • 2 tbsp butter

Step 1: Mix sugar, corn syrup and water in heavy saucepot; rinse sides of pot so it is free of any sugar granules which will burn. Cook over high heat to caramel of desired color, then turn off heat.

Step 2: While cooking, heat cream and butter to a boil and turn off. Very carefully and slowly add warmed cream and butter mixture into caramel while stirring. Fill a squeeze bottle with sauce.

Bourbon Butterscotch Gelato

  • 6 cups half-and-half
  • 1 lb sugar
  • ½ lb egg yolks (about 12, or 1 cup)
  • To taste: caramel flavor
  • ¼ cup 10th Mountain Division bourbon

Step 1: Bring half-and-half to a boil.

Step 2: Mix sugar and yolks together just before half-and-half comes to a boil.

Step 3: Temper yolks by pouring in about a third of hot liquid into the yolk/sugar mixture, stirring well and pouring back into the hot half-and-half.

Step 4: Cook over medium heat, stirring with a rubber spatula until mixture thickens enough to coat the spatula. Remove from heat, strain and let cool completely.

Step 5: Process in an ice cream/gelato machine.

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