Simple Pleasures: Cline Ranch State Wildlife Area in Como, CO

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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.)

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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.

 

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Canadian Bacon, Provolone and Mushroom Panini

Panini Time!
A previous panini

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)

Ingredients

  • 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)

Cooking Instructions

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.

Canadian Bacon, Provolone and Mushroom Paninis
Assembling the ingredients makes everything go faster
Panini with Mushrooms and Basil
Start with the mushrooms and basil; we left the mushrooms off of a couple paninis because one of our party is not in love with them
Panini with Canadian Bacon
Arrange the provolone and then the Canadian bacon atop the mushrooms and basil
Paninis in Presses
About ten minutes in the panini press results in a wonderful sandwich

Paninis Done

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.

Ham and Sharp Cheddar Panini on Jalapeño Cheese Bread
Hearty Ham and Sharp Cheddar Panini on Jalapeño-Cheese Bread

Happy paninis!

 

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook