Denver's Jason Ganahl Competing in the American Royal World Series of Barbecue

Categories: What's Cooking?

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Photos courtesy of Jason Ganahl.
Competitive barbecue cook Jason Ganahl is up before dawn, manning the smoker.
With more and more good barbecue joints opening in and around Denver, claims that the Front Range barbecue scene is awful are growing weak. But if you still can't find the ribs, brisket or pulled pork that you long for, making your own is always an option. And if you're good enough, you can turn those hard hours of manning the smoker into awards and national recognition. That's what local competitive pit master Jason Ganahl is doing as he prepares to head to this weekend's American Royal World Series of Barbecue -- the country's largest barbecue competition -- in Kansas City.

See also: Author and Barbecue Judge Adrian Miller Shares His Rib Tips

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Park House Turns Two With Parking Lot Party, New Menu by Jezebel's Scott Durrah

Categories: What's Cooking?

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Park House made an immediate impression when it opened in late 2012 on Colfax Avenue, making our list of the ten best new bars for that year. Now the little craftsman cottage that features live music, including bluegrass music every Wednesday, is marking its second anniversary this weekend with a parking lot party and has rolled out a new menu to help with the celebration.

See also: Jezebel's: Down-home Cooking Offers Real Southern Comfort

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Soulcrafting Unites Food Experts With Craft-Hungry Coloradans

Categories: What's Cooking?

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Soulcrafting
Learn how to create craft cocktails from Soulcrafting.
If you've ever sat over a perfect cup of coffee and slice of pie with the ideal flaky, buttery crust and wondered how much effort it would take to get everything just right on your own, you may have the soul of a craftsman waiting to be unleashed. Enter Soulcrafting, a new company devoted to providing customers with experiences and guidance to fill the little voids in life. (You're on your own for the big void.) If taking a guided tour of coffee varieties complete with demonstrations of how to brew them properly, learning how to make goat cheese from a farmer, or getting cooking lessons from a professional chef in your own kitchen are experiences you've been craving, Soulcrafting has gathered them all in one on-line marketplace.

See also: Local Eat + Drink Freshens Up the Flood-damaged Town of Lyons

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Recipe Wednesday: Molasses barbecue sauce

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Whitney Arris

Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with a spacious kitchen. They often bring some of their market's best ingredients home with them and cook up a feast, and when they're not cooking at home, they're working with the staff at Marczyk to create recipes for the rest of us to enjoy, usually turning to Whitney Ariss, a home cook and the market's marketing project manager and events coordinator, for inspiration.

"It may not be summer just yet, but here at Marczyk Fine Foods, we're full-swing into outdoor cooking season, and that means we're ready to start grilling, smoking and barbecue-saucing everything we can," says Ariss. Now, she adds, "is officially the time to cook and eat al fresco."

To that end, says Ariss, "we wanted to feature a simple, multi-purpose, homemade barbecue sauce, because, well, homemade sauce just can't be beat, plus it's easy to put together." The sugars and spices, she notes, are often higher quality when you purchase the ingredients separately, "and your family and friends will be super impressed, which is always a nice bonus," she adds. Her barbecue sauce, which she tweaked from a Food & Wine magazine recipe, "yields a spicy, sticky and sweet result that's pretty perfect as an all-purpose barbecue sauce but works particularly well with grilled or smoked chicken and ribs," she says.

"We love using Traina sundried tomato ketchup instead of the regular stuff to add an unexpected depth to the flavor of the sauce," notes Ariss, adding that "the beauty of barbecue is that you can make it your own, so douse it with way more hot sauce if you like it spicy, or add a few more cloves of garlic if stinky breath is your thing." Just make sure to make enough for everybody, because Ariss promises that people go grabby for the stuff.

See also: Recipe Wednesday: Ramp and morel omelet


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Recipe Wednesday: Ramp and morel omelet

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Whitney Ariss

Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with a spacious kitchen. They often bring some of their market's best ingredients home with them and cook up a feast, and when they're not cooking at home, they're working with the staff at Marczyk to create recipes for the rest of us to enjoy, usually turning to Whitney Ariss, a home cook and the market's marketing project manager and events coordinator, for inspiration.

Spring ingredients, sadly, are already starting to dwindle, and now is most definitely the time to stock up on things like morels and ramps while you can still find them in the produce section of Denver markets. "Luckily, these two harbingers of spring taste really great together," says Ariss. "Morels, thanks to their delicate, nutty flavor, are allowed to shine against the gentle garlic flavor of cooked ramps," she adds. And to really accentuate the woodsy flavor of the morels, Ariss suggests serving them with "other mild, creamy or starchy things like polenta, pasta or in an omelet," the latter of which makes an elegant breakfast or brunch pleaser. Just keep in mind that morels can be toxic when they're raw, so be sure to cook them before you take a bite.

See also: Recipe Wednesday: Chocolate crackles


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Recipe Wednesday: Challah French toast

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Whitney Ariss

Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with a spacious kitchen. They often bring some of their market's best ingredients home with them and cook up a feast, and when they're not cooking at home, they're working with the staff at Marczyk to create recipes for the rest of us to enjoy, usually turning to Whitney Ariss, a home cook and the market's marketing project manager and events coordinator, for inspiration.

"All of us at Marczyk's are devoting the entire month of May to everybody's favorite in-between meal: brunch," says Ariss. "Between National Cook Brunch for Mom Day, aka Mother's Day, and the spring weather putting us all in the mood to do some day drinking, we thought it seemed appropriate."

And while brunch can be as simple as a plate of fresh eggs and fat slabs of bacon, the crew at Marczyk's is obsessed with challah, and when there's challah, there's French toast. "You can make French toast out of just about any bread you like, but you'll never quite reach French toast euphoria until you try making it with challah," insists Ariss. "We bake our big, fluffy, beautiful loaves at Marczyk's using local, organic flour and fresh eggs, and when it's sliced nice and thick, our challah has the perfect texture for absorbing batter, and the slices cook up light, spongy and toothsome," she adds.

Her recipe, which appeals to adults and kids, also leaves plenty of room for creativity. "You can add other flavor elements to the batter, like cinnamon, grated lemon zest or whiskey if you're feeling sassy," says Ariss. And if your idea of brunch really is bacon and eggs, feel free to crown your toast with both. "I top mine off with a generous drizzle of really good maple syrup, like Slopeside syrup from Vermont, and a little pat of butter, and the result is brunch perfection," she promises. Just add mimosas.

See also: Recipe Wednesday: Chocolate crackles


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Recipe Wednesday: Mizuna, chevre and preserved lemon salad

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Whitney Arris

Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with a spacious kitchen. They often bring some of their market's best ingredients home with them and cook up a feast, and when they're not cooking at home, they're working with the staff at Marczyk to create recipes for the rest of us to enjoy, usually turning to Whitney Ariss, a home cook and the market's marketing project manager and events coordinator, for inspiration.

"One of Pete's favorite mottos is 'keep it simple, make it great,' which also might as well be the motto for this salad recipe," says Ariss. And by simple, she adds, "I don't mean store-bought dressing and a bunch of random pre-cut vegetables you happen to have in the fridge."

Simple, yes. Memorable? No. "For this salad, you want really, really good, fresh greens, and a couple other best quality ingredients, which are key, and at the markets, we have a full line of field-grown bagged salad greens from one of our favorite farms, Oxford Gardens, which is in Niwot," says Ariss. "Since the greens are grown in the biologically active and mineral rich soil, which Oxford works so hard to cultivate, they're absolutely full of flavor and nutrition," she notes.

See also: Recipe Wednesday: Chocolate crackles

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Recipe Wednesday: Chocolate crackles

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Whitney Arris

Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with a spacious kitchen. They often bring some of their market's best ingredients home with them and cook up a feast, and when they're not cooking at home, they're working with the staff at Marczyk to create recipes for the rest of us to enjoy, usually turning to Whitney Ariss, a home cook and the market's marketing project manager and events coordinator, for inspiration.

"Chocolate crackles are one of my all-time favorite cookie recipes, and they're super kid-friendly," says Ariss, who spent the past week baking cookies with her nieces and nephew. "Whenever I get together with the kids, we end up baking, and I like to choose recipes that let them participate and get their hands dirty, and any kind of rolled cookie is perfect for that purpose," she notes.

"I also love these cookies because they taste like brownies, but they're a little more foolproof," she says, adding that the cookies "bake up a little crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy in the center." Hint: Use the Valrhona dark chocolate cocoa powder that Marczyk's stocks for an "ultra-fudgey and bittersweet flavor."

See also: Recipe Wednesday: Chilled nettle soup with pickled fiddleheads

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Recipe Wednesday: Chilled nettle soup with pickled fiddleheads

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Whitney Ariss

Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with a spacious kitchen. They often bring some of their market's best ingredients home with them and cook up a feast, and when they're not cooking at home, they're working with the staff at Marczyk to create recipes for the rest of us to enjoy, usually turning to Whitney Ariss, a home cook and the market's marketing project manager and events coordinator, for inspiration.

At Marczyk's, the first signs of spring -- fiddleheads and nettles -- have arrived in the produce section. "Finally, our eating habits can come out of hibernation," says Ariss, and soon, she adds, "We'll get even more fun stuff like morels, peas and ramps."

And to celebrate these early springtime ingredients, Ariss tracked down this recipe for chilled nettle soup with pickled fiddleheads. "It's the perfect entryway into seasonal eating, because it takes advantage of some really flavorful ingredients that are usually only around for a fleeting period of time in the spring," she says, adding that the soup can be made with just about "any assortment of greens, including watercress, mizuna or even beet greens."

But if you're feeling adventurous, she encourages you to play with nettles. "Their stinging ability is enough to frighten people away," she admits, "but as long as you don't handle thee greens with your bare hands, you'll be just fine." Empty them straight from the bag into a pot of boiling water, she advises, and after five minutes, the sting diminishes. "The flavor is lovely, akin to a combination of spinach and cucumber, and adds a really unique flavor to this delicious and wholesome soup," she says.

See also: Recipe Wednesday: oven-baked bacon-and-kale chips

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Recipe Wednesday: Pickled shrimp

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Whitney Ariss

Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with a spacious kitchen. They often bring some of their market's best ingredients home with them and cook up a feast, and when they're not cooking at home, they're working with the staff at Marczyk to create recipes for the rest of us to enjoy, usually turning to Whitney Ariss, a home cook and the market's marketing project manager and events coordinator, for inspiration.

Fat Tuesday has come and gone, but Mardi Gras season is still in full swing, and for New Orleans-inspired recipes, Ariss turns to John Besh, the Louisiana-born celebrity chef whose restaurants have made New Orleans a celebrated culinary city.

"Pickled shrimp may seem a little strange, but I've totally fallen in love with Besh's recipe." says Ariss. "Not only is it super-easy to make, but I can think of about a million uses for ready-to-eat shrimp, including bloody Mary garnishes, shrimp salad, tacos with cabbage slaw, folded into an omelette, or just eaten straight from the jar standing in front of the open refrigerator door, which is my favorite way to eat them," admits Ariss.

See also: Recipe Wednesday: Lemony cream cheese cookies

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