Elizabeth Kraft's love of local foods inspires dishes that nourish both the body and spirit.
Kitchen Cred As the events manager at Highland's Garden Café, Elizabeth Kraft handles roughly 300 special events each year. A trained violinist, the 32-year-old Denver native performs in several local orchestras, and learned many of her cooking techniques while creating vegetarian meals at the Shoshoni Yoga Retreat in Rollinsville. Kraft is also the executive vice president of the Denver Independent Network of Restaurants (DINR).
Magnetic Personality Kraft has a unique method for organizing her spices, using magnetic tins clustered along the sides of her kitchen cabinets. "I glued these metal strips to the cabinets, ordered metal tins online, and glued magnetic strips to the backs of them."
Colorado Wines Kraft's dedication to buying local foods extends to wine and spirits, as well as meats and produce. "I'm a huge fan of Stranahan's whiskey, and Balistreri has a cherry wine I really like," she says. "I also buy the Two Rivers Cabernet Sauvignon, and Plum Creek's Riesling." Balistreri Vineyards Colorado Cherry dessert wine, $13, www.balistreriwine.com
Fine China Kraft has a complete service for 12 of this delicate Copeland "Wicker Lane" handpainted china. "I use it all the time," she says. "I love having a set of 12 because it allows me to be gracious and keep plating everything since I have plenty of it.
Vitamin Boost "I add nutritional yeast to lots of soups and sauces, especially for vegetarian recipes," she says. "It adds richness and flavor and B vitamins. Plus it's terrific on popcorn with butter and salt."
Winter Greens Kraft's summer garden includes heirloom tomatoes, asparagus, arugula, beets, zucchini, corn, green beans, and squash—much of which she cans. "I experimented with pickling green beans for the first time this year," she says.
RECIPE: Roasted Beet Salad with Sour Cream Horseradish Dressing
- 3 red beets, greens attached
- 3 golden beets, greens attached
- 24 green beans, trimmed
- 2 heads of garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon horseradish
- 3 tablespoons cream or milk
- ½ teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
Preheat oven to 400°. Trim beet greens, coarsely chop leaves, and reserve. Cut beets in half and rub lightly using 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Wrap beet halves and garlic heads separately in foil. Roast beets for 1 hour; roast garlic for 45 minutes.
Cook beans in boiling salted water until crisp-tender. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add beet greens and sauté until lightly wilted. Sprinkle with salt (to taste).
Mix sour cream, horseradish, cream, and ½ teaspoon salt. Peel beets and cut into wedges. Spoon the sour cream dressing onto bottom of salad plate. Next, arrange the green beans, then beets and roasted garlic cloves. Top with beet greens.