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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Recipe Wednesday: Lemony cream cheese cookies

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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.

"Right around now is the time I start getting major spring fever, especially on a day like today when it literally feels like spring," says Ariss. But spring is still a month away (29 days, if you're counting) -- and Colorado's growing season won't peak until summer, which is why Ariss consoles her spring fever by turning to baking. "About all that you can get that's local in our stores right now is carrots, potatoes and greens, and the promise of local fruit still seems painfully far away, so to cure the spring fever, I bake," she says, adding that "nothing wakes up your senses from the cold of winter like some freshly grated lemon zest," a key ingredient in today's cookie recipe, which she shares on the next page.

"I love the depth of flavor the zest adds to the cookies, which get an extra punch of citrus-y goodness from the addition of lemon extract, and I also love baking with our Sierra Nevada cream cheese, which is fluffier and lighter than the stuff you find wrapped in foil but still has the rich, creamy taste you'd expect from a cream cheese," explains Ariss. The result? "Pretty cookies that bake up light, tender and cake-y."

See also: Recipe Wednesday: Gnocchi with tomato sauce and porcini mushrooms

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Recipe Wednesday: Gnocchi with tomato sauce and porcini mushrooms

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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.

"So these two Italians sat down to dinner...and start talking tomato sauce -- at least that's something that we like to imagine a lot of Italian families talking about," says Ariss. "Tomato sauce, after all, is all-important and something that every pasta-loving Italian cook has in their repertoire," plus, adds Ariss, "so many all-important things are discussed amidst heaping piles of spaghetti with tomato sauce."

Enter Nicola Peduzzi, matriarch of the Peduzzi family, who owns and runs Rustichella D'Abruzzo, and Rolando Beramendi, the founder of Manicaretti Italian food importers. "Destined to be a match made in heaven, Rolando fell in love with the purposeful simplicity of Nicola's cooking, and what started as a way for their family to utilize their own stone-ground wholewheat flour to make rustic, wholewheat pasta evolved into a thriving business dedicated to sourcing the best Italian ingredients, often from their own family farm, to make the best artisanal Italian sauces and pastas, Ariss explains. "Their tomato sauce is uncomplicated, well balanced and crazy-delicious." And it's the inspiration for today's recipe: gnocchi with tomato-porcini sauce.

"We bought the tomato sauce in bulk and got a great deal on it, and we're very excited to pass that deal along to our customers by offering these delicious sauces at a great price," says Ariss, adding while the tomato sauce "tastes wonderful on its own, add a little butter, cream, and foraged porcini mushrooms -- we get ours from Hunt & Gather -- and you've got something really special and delicious."

See also: Recipe Wednesday: bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin with candy cap mushrooms

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In the kitchen with Comida chef Martin Campos: tequila-cured salmon ceviche tostada

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Martin Campos

In this week's Chef and Tell interview, Martin Campos, exec chef of Comida at the Source, admits that while he was a picky eater as a kid, a seafood feast in Oregon -- his first food epiphany -- paved the way for a future in cooking. The chef is still obsessed with seafood and fish, including salmon ceviche, the recipe of which he shares on the following page. "The size of the salmon you have will dictate how long it takes to cure, but count on twelve hours of curing for every pound of salmon, and write down the date and time that you started the curing process so you can be as accurate as possible," advises Campos.

See also: Martin Campos, exec chef of Comida at the Source: "Nothing is wrong with a nice round plate"


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Recipe Wednesday: bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin with candy cap mushrooms

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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.

"Our produce guru at Marczyk's, Roger Burleigh, has been carefully curating an intriguing mix of items from a great local purveyor called Hunt & Gather, and the candy cap mushrooms are our latest addition, not to mention my favorite new ingredient in our stores right now," says Ariss.

And the name, she insists, is no joke: "These mushrooms, which are foraged in the Pacific Northwest and immediately dried to preserve and intensity their mildly earthy and candy-like flavor, are actually sweet," she says, adding that the mushrooms "release a fragrance that's so much like maple syrup." In fact, claims Ariss, your kitchen will smell like pancakes for days. "It's actually awesome, and if they weren't so delicious, I might consider using them as potpourri."

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


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

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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.

"Now that we're a week into the new year," says Ariss, "most of us are at least thinking about forming healthier eating habits, which means different things to different people, but almost all of us can find some common ground with one simple and timeless rule: Eat your vegetables!"

See also: Cooking with Pete and Barb Marczyk: homemade limoncello

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Cooking with Pete and Barb Marczyk: homemade limoncello

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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's 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.

"Since we're just about at the height of citrus season, I think limoncello makes a really great seasonal gift at Christmastime," says Ariss, adding while the rest of us are braving the brats at the mall, she's using her culinary prowess to offer homemade tidings of joy to her friends and family. "Homemade gifts are the best, because you'll not only save time, but you can also save a load of money. And it's so much more personal and fun," she points out.

See also: Cooking with Pete and Barb Marczyk: foragers risotto

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