Thursday, May 20, 2010

Summer is just around the corner

It's still "mud season" at the High Mountain Lodge. Winter Park and Fraser are close to being deserted. We left town, too, and spent a week visiting relatives in the south east, but now we're back at the Lodge getting ready for summer guests.

After a very successful ski season, it has been nice to catch our breath and take care of chores we put off when we were busy. We're painting and deep cleaning rooms as well as weeding areas in the gardens that are finally free of snow.

Julie took a class in high-altitude gardening and is full of plans and ideas to grow herbs and more hardy vegetables. Expect spinach on the menu quite a bit this summer at the High Mountain Lodge.

She was sort of shocked when she found out that you can't grow summer squash at our elevation. Zucchini and yellow squash need more heat than we're liable to get any given summer. It feels sort of unnatural to be living in a place where you can't grow squash. I'm reminded of the old joke about why, in small towns, August and September are the only months when people lock their cars while going to church: it's to prevent their neighbors from leaving bags of zucchini in the back seat. That being said, here is a very easy squash recipe for those lucky enough to be able to grow them:
Finely slice roughly equal amounts of zucchini and onion. A mandolin works best, but in a pinch you can use a knife. Each slice should be between 1/8 and 1/4 an inch.
Cover the bottom of a sauté pan with olive oil; add a pat of butter. Sauté until vegetables are tender. Correct seasoning. Plate over pasta or as a side dish and top with generous amounts of grated parmigiano reggiano or Peccorino Romano cheese. The parmesan is more elegant, but the peccorino is more authentic. 
This is a traditional paisano recipe from Rome and the Lazio region of Italy. It's simplicity itself, but is a surprisingly savory dish. Serve it al fresco over pasta as a stand-alone light dish in the evening with a glass of well-chilled prosecco. It doesn't get much better than this.
 The meadows below the lodge are finally starting to green up, but Sheep Mountain to the west still has some snow on its higher slopes. That will be gone soon, and before long, the fields will be eye-poppingly beautiful. There are buds on the aspen trees; when they leaf out, light sifting down through them will be filtered green-gold. That's when we'll know summer is really here.

1 comment:

  1. Don't get your hopes up for an early summer. For the next two nights the snow level in the Washington Cascades is dropping to 3000 feet--meaning all the passes over the mountains could have winter driving conditions.

    Maybe you'll get lucky and it will go north of you.