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Fall in Colorado | Simple Pasta Salad

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   Fall in Colorado. What's there to say? It's absolutely heaven on earth. Seeing the aspen leaves turn shades of gold and covering the mountainside is one of the most surreal and beautiful things on the planet. Simply brilliant. Growing up in south Georgia where seasons consist of hot and less hot with a few cold snaps thrown in during the winter months, we grew accustom to fall and spring being short lived and always fading too quickly. In an attempt to soak up as much as we can of this natural beauty, Kate whipped up this simple pasta salad, I grabbed one of my favorite fall ales and my camera. We went out into the mountains to take in an afternoon of serenity and mind-blowing beauty, enjoying every moment of this beautiful gift from mother nature. 

Simple Pasta Salad

Prep: 20min. / Cook: 10-15min. / Serves: 4

  • 2+cups dry Fusilli pasta- cooked until tender
  • 8 onces Kalamata olives- pitted and diced
  • 1 yellow or red bell pepper- cut in half, seeds and membrane removed, diced
  • 6+ onces artichoke hearts- diced
  • 4-6 ounces feta cheese- crumbled
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup white vinegar
  • 1 lemon- seeds removed and juiced
  • 2+ Tablespoons fresh oregano- stems removed and minced
  • 1/4-1/2 cup flat leaf parsley- stems removed and finely chopped
  • 2+ Tablespoons fresh rosemary- stems removed and minced
  • 2+ Tablespoons fresh thyme- stems removed and minced
  • 1 garlic clove- minced
  • 1+ Tablespoon honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Boil pasta about 10 minutes, until it is soft and tender; then, drain water from pasta. Mix in yellow and red bell peppers, olives, artichoke hearts and feta cheese. In a separate boil, combine extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, honey, rosemary, thyme, flat leaf parsley, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper; mix ingredients well. Finally, pour herbed dressing over pasta and toss together until all ingredients are well combined. Serve and enjoy!

*Prairie Ale Belgian Style Ale

Southern Green Beans

   In June, I was home visiting and talked with Dostie about photographing her snapping green beans. Her response was, "Oh, you don't want pictures of these wrinkled old hands".  We sat in her kitchen as I ask her about cooking tidbits while she, at 90 years old, snapped beans for lunch. Green beans were on the table for nearly every meal at her house that I can remember, and they were always judged while snapped, 'these beans look good' or a few choice words if they weren't up to par. Once the beans were cooked to perfection, they were always served in a pewter bowl typically on top of a Williamsburg trivet. Dostie always cooked them with a couple of slices of thick bacon, and I can hear her say, "You might as well not even bother with the beans if you don't have bacon," in her drawn out Southern drawl. One week after we shared this archetypal bowl of green beans, she passed away. 

Dostie would have been 91 years old this past week and to celebrate, Aunt Mary came to visit me in Denver. We enjoyed antiquing, mountaineering, eating out and sampled any exquisite chocolate shop we could find to commemorate Dostie's birthday. Of course, we prepared one thing at home to eat, a big bowl of green beans with a couple of the thickest slices of bacon we could find. Dostie, what will we do without you. 

Southern Green Beans

Prep: 10min / Cook: 30-45min / Serves: 4-6

  • 1 pound fresh green beans- washed, ends removed (snapped)
  • 2 thick slices bacon
  • 1/4+ tsp. black pepper- JR Watkins
  • 1/4+tsp. salt- Redmond Real Salt

Once green beans are snapped, place them into a pot and cover the beans with water. Add bacon, salt and pepper to the beans and bring them to a boil over high heat. Once the water that contains the beans boils, lower the temperature to medium and cook covered until the water is almost all cooked out and the beans are tender. Serve and enjoy!