Table Talk for January 29

January 29 2008, 10:42 PM
Best Bites: Oogie's Gourmet Popcorn Remember in the 1980s when Smartfood's white Cheddar popcorn was all the rage? We devoured it by the handful, only to discover that the fat-laden snack was hardly a smart choice. Fast forward to 2005, when Denver-based Oogie's Gourmet Popcorn officially launched its line of all-natural popcorn with savory flavors such as Caprese, sun-dried tomato and Parmesan, and spicy chipotle and lime. Since discovering the healthy snack (no trans-fat, no sugar, no artificial colors or flavors), our pantry is always stocked with bags of the smoked Gouda flavor. By the handful or by the bag, we simply can't get enough. Bonus: Oogie's popcorns are kosher and gluten-free. Available at Marczyk Fine Foods, Whole Foods, Wild Oats, and Vitamin Cottage. www.oogiesnacks.com Road-trip Restaurant: Jour de Fête Though located in the heart of Aspen, the bustling Jour de Fête feels like a genuine Parisian cafe, thanks to the authenticity of French owner Olivier Mottier. Eaten there or taken to go, breakfast consists of frothy cappuccinos sided by buttery croissants, while lunch is a bounty of soups, prepared salads, quiche, and made-to-order sandwiches. Our favorite of the bunch is the JR, a crusty baguette stacked with prosciutto, European butter, cornichons, lettuce, and tomatoes. Tip: Since it's just a couple blocks from the gondola, this local haunt makes an easy lunch spot for skiers willing to come off the mountain. 710 E. Durant Ave., Aspen, 970-925-5055 Super Recipe: Frasca's Football Food With the Super Bowl on the horizon, shopping lists for chili, nachos, guacamole, and buffalo wings are being drawn up in a hurry. This year, we've decided to go about the party food differently; we're making spicy pork sausage from a recipe courtesy of Frasca's Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson. We came across the dish in The Taste of the NFL ($19.95) a guide to restaurants in each NFL city where top chefs offer up a recipe and chime in about favorite spots to dine in their respective city. Choosing Mackinnon-Patterson for the book seems a bit odd given that Frasca is located in Boulder (which is not home to the Denver Broncos), but at least his preferred eats are in the Mile-High City: Barolo Grill, Potager, Proto's, Table 6, and Z Cuisine. We do, however, commend Mackinnon-Patterson's participation, since he'll travel to Arizona to cook the dish at The Taste of the NFL party, an annual event which raises funds and awareness for hunger relief organizations. www.tasteofthenfl.com/index.htm Spicy Pork Sausage with Mustard and Horseradish (Serves 6–8)
  • 5 pounds of ground pork loin
  • 1 1/2 pounds prosciutto and speck scraps
  • 2 tablespoons crushed black pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons red chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
To make sausage: In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients until well combined and let rest for 24 hours. To cook: Place sausage mix on a 1/2 sheet tray with parchment paper and place in a 275° oven for 20 minutes, or until medium temperature. Alternatively use rinsed natural pork casing or a synthetic one and form into 3-inch links. Serve with Dijon and horseradish.