KIDS BAKE MOTHER’S DAY: Apple-Pecan Coffeecake

What is it about making brunch at home that feels extravagant and comfy all at the same time? We’re all over planning changeable, healthy dinner meals complete with menus, shopping lists, and Sunday prep, but morning fare is relegated to nearly the same dish over and over again. Folks literally eat oatmeal for breakfast every single day. Or peanut butter toast. Yogurt and granola. Whatever. But take us to a swank brunch buffet at a fancy hotel and we’re putting soft poached eggs on smoked salmon dill biscuits and snarfing down raspberries in Grand Marnier with dark chocolate waffles as if there were no tomorrow. And then there’s the bottomless mimosa, isn’t there? When we finally decide to put on an at-home morning spread–for Mother’s Day, say?– that takes more thoughtful preparation than slamming down bread in the toaster and manage some actual day-before cooking or baking, it’s amazing how pampered-rich, how homey and cosseted we feel. Kinda like, “Well, isn’t this nice?!” And it is.

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Colorado Springs Omelet

Here in Colorado and perhaps even elsewhere in the U.S., there’s no diner breakfast more famous than the Denver Omelet — except maybe biscuits and gravy. You know how the Denver Omelet goes — lots of browned onions, green peppers, diced ham and some ooey-gooey orange cheese. It should be cooked firm and golden brown unlike the pale and buttery French omelets. And while I’m totally fond of a Denver omelet or a French omelet (mushrooms, please), for that matter, I have for quite a while enjoyed a different sort of southwestern egg breakfast here in my kitchen in Colorado Springs. My tender little elegant omelet is whisked with salsa rather than cream or water. It’s cooked slowly and gently in a covered skillet rather than at breakneck speed with constant whisking in an open pan à la française (like the French). Occasionally I turn the burner off toward the end, but leave the covered pan on it for another minute or two to slowly finish cooking my omelet. Good trick to have up your sleeve for any eggs (and some other things, too) you make to avoid an overcooked fry-up.

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Easy Chicken Enchiladas with Instant Pot Bacon Pintos, Abuelita’s Rice, and Avocado Salad

When it comes to Cinco de Mayo cooking, I’ve got these things going for me:

  1. I lived in way southern Texas (San Antonio) for four years. Hot is my only comment.
  2. Southern Colorado has been our home for most of twenty-two years.
  3. I’ve studied cooking more than a few times at the Santa Fe School of Cooking.
  4. My late dear friend and brother-in-law, Alfred Barrionuevo, was from Mexico and began his professional career as a chef. If you were in the kitchen with him, he was the teacher, and he had extraordinary passion for his cooking. Not only that, his much-loved mother–fondly called “Abelita”–passed on her simplest and best “Mexican” rice recipe to my sister, who then gave it me –nothing written down, you know. My version is in this post.

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Sheet Pan Dinner: Chicken Fajitas (with Tortillas or Salad)

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I think of fajitas as a summer meal.  It’s a hot night on the deck.  There are margaritas along with chips and guac to start.  Icy cold Dos Equis to go with the meal and just made cinnamon ice cream to finish.

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Steak and chicken could both make an appearance and I’d probably even twist Dave’s arm to grill all of the vegetables and heat the tortillas.  What’s a husband for?

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Grilled Cheese Peppers — Sweet or Hot–with Brown Rice and Avocado Salad

IMG_2864While we were in Santa Fe for the opera a couple of weeks ago, we were kindly invited for dinner with nearby family of old friends. While we love eating anywhere in Santa Fe, it’s usually a restaurant. We not only saw Santa Fe in a whole new light by breaking bread in a home, but made new friends who then next day took us for a picnic and hiking in the Santa Fe National Forest (do it, do it, do it).

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