Welcome to Mise en Place, a journey of culinary delight where anything can happen. Based on the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s list of food by month, KRCC takes a look at farmers, chefs, and fodder, all with a Centennial State bent.

Each month, the state’s agriculture department highlights a commodity and provides a recipe using that product. We take it a step further.

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Spinach is sprouting this spring throughout many parts of Colorado. KRCC’s Ellen Mahoney visited the Aspen Grille, a student-run restaurant at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, and met with Chef Tony Beckman. He prepared a hearty spinach salad topped with walnuts, cranberries, pears and gorgonzola cheese. Ellen also traveled to Wellington to Grant Family Farms during a nice spring rain…translation? Downpour. She stepped indoors to talk with Josh Palmer who is director of the farm’s Community Supported Agriculture program.

Disclaimer: Grant Family Farms is an underwriter with KRCC.

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Candied Walnut and Gorgonzola Spinach Salad
Chef Tony Beckman, Aspen Grille, Colorado State University

4 cups spinach
1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese
1/4 cup diced pears
1/4 cup candied walnuts
1 tablespoon dried cranberries

Nut dressing (2 cups)

1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Rise spinach in colander and shake to remove excess water. Place spinach in large bowl and stir in nut dressing. Place spinach in serving bowl and top with walnuts, cranberries, pears and cheese. To make nut dressing, place walnuts in food processor and puree. Pour nut puree into large mixing bowl and add and olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly.

Recipe from the Colorado Department of Agriculture

Spinach and Sundried Tomato Quiche
Chef Jason K. Morse, C.E.C., Valley Country Club, Aurora, Colo.

1 10″ Pie Shell
1 Package Raw Spinach, rough chopped
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Cup Sundried Tomatoes, rehydrated in hot water
1/2 Cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, grated
1 Medium Shallot, minced
1 Clove Garlic, chopped
1 Tsp. Herbs de Provence, dried
1/2 Cup Whole Milk
10 Eggs

Par bake pie shell until lightly golden, remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature. Mix all the ingredients except eggs and milk then place in the cooled pie shell. Combine the eggs and milk and mix well. Pour the egg mixture over the ingredients. Bake at 325 degrees on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes, then rotate and bake for additional 12 minutes, or until fully cooked.


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