Meet Eagle County’s Colorful Cook
VAIL CO, Colorado
Her food philosophy is simple: eat colorfully. Eagle resident Tracy Miller calls herself the “colorful cook.”
“My mission is to inspire people to eat fruits and vegetables with every meal,” Miller said.
An Eagle resident, Miller has lived in Eagle County for more than 15 years and has been a radio DJ on numerous stations. Currently she’s a TV8 on-air personality and the in-house chef.
“I love her food because it’s healthy, delicious and easy enough so I can make it, and believe me, I’m not a pro in the kitchen,” said her co-host and co-worker Tricia Swenson.
She does a Colorful Cook segment on Saturday’s Good Morning Vail show, which she hosts.
“I’m trying to bring out my inner Rachel Ray,” Miller joked.
During Monday morning’s segment of Good Morning Vail, Miller made a Cuban sandwich, which Swenson got a chance to sample the layered sandwich.
“Yes, I loved it. I loved the fact that she’s able to get the pork really thin,” Swenson said. “And I loved the black bean spread versus something that’s maybe more traditional and fattening. The orange zest gives it a little taste of the Carribean.”
In summer of 2010 Miller entered an online Cooking Light contest on a whim. She submitted a three-minute video that showed her making her catfish tacos with red cabbage slaw. She did a cooking segment on TV8 to help garner more votes from the public and eventually was chosen among the top 8 contestants, but didn’t win.
“That catapulted me into thinking ‘I could do something with this,'” she said. “Tricia invited me on air to make (the tacos) and that’s how my TV8 cooking career started as well.”
Miller also teaches cooking classes at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards and is the newest food columnist for the Vail Daily. Her column, Colorful Cooking, will be featured a few times a month in the Wednesday High Life food section.
Along with the recipe for her Cuban, she shared a recipe for a fall salad that’s packed with nutrient rich ingredients like cinnamon, walnuts, apples and squash.
“Cinnamon is on the elite super food list and is being studied for its health benefits for people with type II diabetes,” she says. “Not only does it elicit a comforting aroma, but it has long been used in traditional medicine. One serving of walnuts (seven whole nuts) has 2.5 grams of ALA, the plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acid. Apples contain pectin, a soluble fiber that helps reduce cholesterol.”
Butternut squash is full of vitamins A, C, E, folate and potassium. Miller is admits it’s not the easiest vegetable to hack in half, but she has a foolproof method.
“When my grandmother cooked squash, she would smack it on the driveway to cut it open, I have a less aggressive method,” she said. “First, wash the squash and put the whole thing in the microwave for three minutes, this helps loosen the skin. Remove the squash and slice a straight line horizontally along the bottom to give it a stable base. Stand the squash up. Using a sharp knife, cut off all the skin slicing top to bottom. Cut the peeled squash in half vertically and scoop out all seeds. Then, slice it into thin strips, cut into bite-sized pieces.”
High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or email@example.com.
1 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tea walnut oil
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1 1/2 cups cubed Gala apple
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 large endive heads
3 Tablespoons walnut oil
2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3 teaspoon finely diced shallot
3 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 375-degrees. Mix 1 teaspoon sugar with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and set aside. Peel squash, remove seeds and dice into 1-inch cubes. Place squash in bowl and toss with 2 teaspoons walnut oil and cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Put squash on a parchment lined baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes or until tender. When finished cooking, allow to cool. While squash is cooking, heat a non stick skillet over med-low heat and add whole walnuts to dry pan to toast. Walnuts will take about 10 minutes to toast; flip over once during cooking. When finished, chop walnuts into small pieces. To make the vinaigrette, mix all ingredients together and stir to combine.
Wash and chop apples to 1-inch size, and mix squash, apples, walnuts, cranberries, blue cheese and vinaigrette. Separate endive leaves, wash and dry. Stuff salad in endive leaves and enjoy!