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Foodie Thoughts: High-altitude baking can be a tall order

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“Why can’t I bake up here?” Yes, this is a common lament in our mountain community. And there is no easy answer. “Add more liquid!” “Add more flour!” “Reduce the sugar!” I am not a baker myself (perhaps this is why), but I have many friends that bake successfully at our altitude. I’ll do some research on our locals and pass along their tips in my next column. In the meantime, I highly recommend Chef Amy Hoyt, an instructor at the Seasoned Chef Cooking School in Denver (www.seasonedchef.com). She offers an excellent high-altitude baking class in a very entertaining style. You can reach her at 303-377-3222.
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Tulips, daffodils and daisies are showing up at King Soopers, Safeway and Walmart, and it won’t be long before we see our outdoor garden displays reappear, complete with herbs and spices already started and ready to transplant into our deck planting boxes. Oh, those deer and elk!  Garage sales are also sprouting and, as you would guess, I search the kitchenware sections first. Unique platters and serving pieces always lie in wait, and baskets abound. Gently used bakeware and interesting utensils and gadgets can also be discovered. Spring also means lower prices on avocados, now costing less than a dollar each, and strawberries are really affordable now.
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Ladies and gentlemen, I found some cooking classes for you! The Humphrey Memorial Park and Museum on Soda Creek Road will soon offer Flavored Vinegars, Bread Baking, and Fresh Pasta, specifically, “Russian Poppyseed Noodles and Beef Stroganoff.” Yum! These courses are offered Friday and Saturday afternoons and cost between $10 and $15. Visit the website for more information at www. www.hmpm.org, or give Angela Rayne a call at 303-674-5429.
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Have you ever wondered why a restaurant suddenly closes? Why the McDonald’s in North Evergreen seemed to vanish overnight? Why the Overseas Café shut its doors, sadly, only to be replaced by Suzie’s Café a few months later? We can’t always find out — I’ve tried; I appreciate a good scoop like anyone — but the best way to respond to these mini-tragedies (My husband remarked this was “overstating,” but I don’t think so) is to support the new establishments. Suzie’s just opened in March, and it serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week. I especially want it to succeed, selfishly, because it’s close to my home, and what’s better than having somewhere to walk to for breakfast on a Saturday morning? And Suzie’s has an outdoor patio. And you can sneak into It’s New To Me Furniture Consignment afterward …
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Easter and Passover occurred this month, both meaningful celebrations involving special customs and food, the former involving a Last Supper. A very different sort of “last supper” was served on the Titanic. The 100th anniversary of its sinking has inspired a sudden increase in articles regarding the ship’s menus. Have a look at this description! “… The last supper served to first-class passengers on the Titanic was a sumptuous 10-course meal, with oysters, cream of barley, poached salmon with mousseline sauce, filet mignon, chicken Lyonnaise, lamb with mint sauce, a roast duckling with apple sauce, roasted squab and cress, pâté de foie gras, and chocolate and vanilla éclairs on offer. Each course was served with a different wine, and fruits and cheeses were served after the 10th course. Later, coffee and cigars were available to those who wanted them.” (March 27, 2012, Daily Meal; www.thedailymeal.com). There were foodies even then.
Again, if you ever have any foodie-type questions, or just want to talk food, e-mail or call me any time. Pam Montgomery: chefpam47@yahoo.com; 303-547-0917

Evergreen resident Pam Montgomery can be contacted at chefpam47@yahoo.com. Send her your questions, recipes and favorite food stories.