Cline Ranch State Wildlife Area is located on Highway 285 in South Park, a few miles north of Como. It features three miles of upper Tarryall Creek for fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing.
We visited during our trip to Little House in the Rockies over the weekend, and fell in love.
We spent more than an hour in 12 degree (Fahrenheit) weather exploring the frozen tundra, which is dotted with vibrant native grasses even in the dead of winter, and taking in the awesome majesty of Tarryall Creek. The video below is 17 seconds of pure wonder, the sights and sounds of an indomitable creek that flows beneath the frozen surface. (Hover over the video for the Play button.)
For more of the Little House in the Rockies / Colorado series, click here.
And you can learn more about the Cline Ranch State Wildlife Area here.
We love to make paninis when we visit Little House in the Rockies in Central Colorado. There’s something about eating a hearty sandwich by the fire while looking out the window at a snowy forest – it’s comforting food in an even more comforting setting.
The latest is a throw-together panini that turned out great! Canadian bacon, provolone, mushrooms and fresh basil on ciabatta buns rocks! Here are some loose instructions; this is a recipe that is wonderful in its inexactness. If you don’t have a panini press (or two), just make this sandwich like a grilled cheese, turning it to cook each side.
Canadian Bacon, Provolone and Mushroom Panini (Makes 6)
6 ciabatta buns
12 Canadian bacon slices
6 slices provolone cheese
2/3 cup of sliced mushrooms
approximately 1/4 cup Italian dressing
1/2 bunch of fresh basil, roughly chopped or torn
freshly ground pepper
small amount of olive oil in a bowl (to brush on the buns)
Dijon mustard and dill pickles (optional, for serving)
Toss the mushrooms in a small bowl with just enough Italian dressing to coat them. Open the ciabatta buns and lay them out on a cutting board, then arrange mushrooms on the bottom half of each bun. Top with a generous amount of the torn basil, then with freshly ground pepper. Next, add the provolone, one slice for each sandwich, folding the slices so that they don’t hang over the sides of the buns. Follow with two slices of Canadian bacon for each sandwich, then add the bun tops. Turn the paninis over and brush lightly with olive oil on the bottom.
Heat the panini press to medium and add the sandwiches, olive oil side down, then brush the tops with more olive oil. Close the press carefully, press down, and cook until the inside of the paninis are done and the ciabatta buns are nicely toasted. Serve with Dijon mustard or other condiments, as desired.
Note: these panini presses are Sunbeam, and while they’re fine for a little cabin in the Rockies, we prefer the one we have at home. It gets a workout every Wednesday when the Grill-Meister makes dinner, AKA Sandwich Wednesday. Read all about it in the posts below, which also provide a couple of recipes and panini cookbook recommendations.
Weeknight wickedness: a hasty – and yet tasty – Benedict for one.
The Grill-Meister wanted leftover Jambalaya last night (I’m all jazzed about Jazz Fest and having been binge-cooking New Orleans food in anticipation), but after having it for two dinners and three lunches AND giving some to a coworker with Louisiana roots, I was ready for a change.
So I made myself a quick Southwest Eggs Benedict for One, with a pico de gallo hollandaise.
The fourth post in a series about the New Orleans Jazz Festival covering food (restaurants and recipes), fun, music and travel tips.
In the run-up to our Jazz Fest trip in early May, we are building anticipation by looking back at past good times in New Orleans. So many wonderful experiences! Magical and memorable performances by musicians: famous, less famous and not-famous-but-fabulous. Festival food so good that it inspires poetry. World-class restaurants run by award-winning chefs that serve dishes so beautiful and tasty you think you might be dreaming (like Dorothy in the Emerald City). I can’t wait to get back!
On the topic of great restaurant meals, I’d like to start this post with a confession: I have a “food crush” on New Orleans chef Susan Spicer.
Spicer’s career journey is the one I would have chosen if I’d known earlier I’d be in love with food all my life, and if I had more talent, and if I was from New Orleans, and if I wasn’t truly in love with my own career in knowledge management…well, you get the idea. Who is Susan Spicer, you ask? Said Chris Waddington of the New Orleans Times-Picayune in a 2015 profile:
Susan Spicer’s Bayona qualifies as a New Orleans culinary landmark. That happens when a restaurant lasts 25 years in the same French Quarter location, when the chef piles up critical kudos, launches new talents, expands on local traditions and pens a well-regarded cookbook.
He’s right, and then some! She has a James Beard award! She has been a guest actor on the HBO Show Treme, and is the basis for one of the characters! I first learned of Spicer’s restaurant, Bayona, while scanning travel guide books during the one-hour flight from the Bayou City (Houston) to the Crescent City. (This was before TripAdvisor was a thing.) My friend Nancy and I were on a girls’ trek to Jazz Fest, our first time to make this particular trip together. We dog-eared restaurants that piqued our interest and vowed to hit as many as we could in our 3 big days in the Big Easy. Bayona was high on the list – it “had me” at Cream of Garlic soup (see recipe at the end of this post). The Frommer’s review included this single-word sentence (about lamb topped with goat cheese): “Heaven.”
Bayona was beyond perfection when we visited for lunch. Nestled in a 200-year old Creole cottage in the French Quarter, it is a quiet retreat from the throbbing pulse of New Orleans. Seated on the patio amidst huge tropical plants protected by surrounding 18th-century brick walls, you are aware from the first moment that you are in for something special.
Wine glasses are crystal, as it should be
Just as lovely in my amateur photos
And then, there’s the food. I could try to describe it, but…words fail me. Truly. The dish below was so good that I had it again the next year when the Grill-Meister and I made the Jazz Fest trek, our first time in the Crescent City together.
When I dragged the (very willing) Grill-Meister to Bayona in 2012, we asked about Susan Spicer’s cookbook, Crescent City Cooking. They sell copies at the restaurant. I made my “food crush” confession to our (excellent) waiter and we enthusiastically told him to add a cookbook to our bill. A few minutes later, out came Susan with the cookbook! She was incredibly gracious and autographed my copy. The cookbook is wonderful, and my food-love and admiration for her continues.
Like the rest of New Orleans, Bayona doesn’t take itself too seriously (except for the food). The staff is warm, welcoming, fun, and perhaps a bit quirky. The interior decor is bright and colorful.
After Nancy and I did the first recon, and then went back the next year, the Grill-Meister was my Bayona date. He had the Cream of Garlic Soup during his first Bayona experience. Oh. My. Gosh! The recipe was published on the internet, so I have repeated it here, courtesy of the Times-Picayune:
Makes 8 servings
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups peeled and sliced onions
2 cups peeled but not chopped garlic cloves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
7 cups chicken stock
1 bouquet garni (parsley stems, thyme sprigs and bay leaf)
3 cups stale bread, torn into 1⁄2-inch pieces
1 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
Salt and pepper
Heat the butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until they turn a deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Add the thyme, 6 cups of the chicken stock, and the bouquet garni and bring to a boil. Stir in the bread cubes and let simmer for 10 minutes, until the bread is soft. Remove the soup from the heat and cool for 10 minutes.