Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Another round of Fiddles, Vittles and Vino

Perfect weather and an unbeatable backdrop drew hundreds for the annual Fiddles, Vittles and Vino fundraiser at the
Rock Ledge Ranch historic site, nestled into the beauty of the surrounding Garden of the Gods Park.

The event is organized by local chefs to support the ranch and features restaurants and wine distributors handing out food and drink under tall trees and giant tents. Ranch Foods Direct grilled complimentary burgers. Many favorite local restauranteurs were also there, including the Margarita at Pine Creek (home to the Saturday Colorado Farm and Art Market) and relative newcomer Pizzeria Rustica (the charming wine and pizza place, "green certified," which provided slices of classic Margherita style pies adorned with thin ribbons of fresh basil and toasty hot from their real brick oven.)

Interrupting the energetic bluegrass musicians to give a warm welcome was Brent Beavers, the event's founder, still well-known and beloved for his Sencha restaurant of years past (sadly, long closed) and characterized by his devotion for all ingredients local and his natural artistry with food. As everyone in the Colorado Springs food world knows, Brent is overseeing a transformation at Giuseppe's Old Depot downtown, a local landmark now under new ownership. While the re-tooling is still underway, Brent is already purchasing all of his ground beef from Ranch Foods Direct with plans to introduce more local items to the menu soon.

Jake Topakas, who was handing out grilled chicken on skewers with a creamy Greek dipping sauce and his signature rice-stuffed grape leaves, reminded us that he now features a "Callicrate Burger" on the menu at Jake & Telly's. (Ask for it by name.) And Brian Fortinberry, owner of Front Range BBQ with two locations in the Springs, shared word that he is expecting another visit from his mom, Mary Boname, the wonderful Southern cook who came out last summer to help prepare a special menu of family favorites (including chicken tetrazini) and to unveil her cookbook, Top of the Range. (Some of the recipes were included last August in our Ranch Foods Direct newsletter, with a story recapping more about their project, pages 2-3.)

Brian assured us he still has cookbooks available for sale and also promised to deliver a few to the Ranch Foods Direct store. To tantalize you with just one more sample recipe from the collection, here's Amy Graham's Peaches and Cream Pie, obviously ideal for this time of year. (Amy is proprietor of Smiley's Cafe323 North Tejon Street, 719-328-9447) 

Peaches and Cream Pie

6 c. sliced ripe but firm peaches

(about 10 small)

2/3 c. granulated sugar

2 T. all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp. ground ginger

1 large egg

1 T. granulated sugar

1/2 c. heavy whipping cream

1/4 tsp. pure vanilla

1 9-inch unbaked double crust


Preheat oven to 350. Place in large

bowl: 5 cups sliced peaches. Mix

together and then gently mix into

peaches: 2/3 c. sugar, 2 T. flour and

1/8 tsp. ginger. In another bowl, beat

together and set aside: 1 large egg, 1

T. sugar, 1/2 c. whipping cream, and

1/4 tsp. vanilla. Gently stir the peach

mixture and spoon into pastry-lined

plate. Pie crust will be full, but there

will be some settling as it cooks.

Pour cream mixture over the peaches.

Top with pie crust. Cut four slits

in top of crust. Fold the bottom edge

over the top edge of the crust and

seal. Flute edges. Sprinkle granulated

sugar over top of crust (just a

pinch.) Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes,

until crust is golden and filling

is bubbly.