Early Summer Picnic Salad

From Z Cuisine chef Timothy Payne (serves 4)
Find the ingredients for this seasonal leafy salad at your local farmers’ market.

You’ll Need

1 lime, plus 2 teaspoons zest
1 orange, plus 2 teaspoons zest
2 lemons, plus 2 teaspoons zest
1 tablespoon local agave or honey (try Madhava Natural Sweeteners)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup high-quality olive oil
1 pound baby greens (lettuce, arugula, spinach)
½ cup mix of leafy herbs (try mint, basil, cilantro, parsley)
1 bunch baby heirloom carrots, washed and cut lengthwise
4 baby Chioggia (candy-striped) or golden beets, peeled and cooked
3 baby white turnips, washed and thinly sliced
4 French breakfast or Easter egg radishes, washed and thinly sliced
1 cup fresh local chèvre (try Jumpin’ Good Goat Dairy, Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy, or Broken Shovels Farm)
½ cup crushed nuts (try almonds and walnuts)

Make It

1) For the vinaigrette, juice the lime, orange, and lemons into a mixing bowl. Add the zest of each plus agave, salt, and pepper. Whisk.
2) While whisking, add high-quality olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Whisk until combined. Set aside.
3) Toss the washed (and dried) greens with the herbs and set aside.
4) Place the carrots, cooked beets, turnips, and radishes in a bowl. Add ¼ cup of the vinaigrette and allow the vegetables to marinate for about 15 minutes.
5) Shape the goat cheese into dime-size balls; then roll the balls gently in the crushed nuts and set aside.
6) Add ¼ cup of the vinaigrette to the greens and toss gently.
7) Arrange the greens on a platter. Place the marinated vegetables and goat cheese “truffles” on top. Serve the remaining vinaigrette on the side.

Tony’s Strawberry Cucumber Salad

From Tony’s Market chef Mick Rosacci (serves 6)
Light and fresh, this salad pairs beautifully with anything that comes off the grill.

You’ll Need

1 pound cucumbers, peeled (if desired), halved, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 pound strawberries, cored and sliced into ¼-inch pieces
½ ounce fresh mint leaves, finely slivered
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup high-quality
olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Make it

1) Combine the cucumbers, strawberries, and mint in a large bowl.
2) In a separate bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, powdered sugar, and olive oil, and adjust the dressing to taste.
3) Toss the dressing to taste with the salad ingredients and season with sea salt and pepper.

Broccolini and Frisée Slaw with Korean Red Pepper Dressing

From Vert Kitchen chef-owner Noah Stephens (serves 6)
Everyone knows it’s not a barbecue without coleslaw, but this elegant rendition marries unexpected greens in a light, mildly spicy sauce for a twist on the classic side dish.

You’ll Need

3 cups frisée, cored and roughly chopped
4 cups savoy cabbage, shredded
1 cup baby broccoli, chopped into ¼-inch pieces
½ cup cilantro, parsley, or chives, chopped
¾ cup real mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (Stephens uses Bragg)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Korean chile flakes (gochugaru) or a pinch of red pepper flakes
Four strips bacon, crumbled, if desired

Make It

1) Combine the frisée, cabbage, broccoli, and herbs.
2) In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, kosher salt, and chile flakes until smooth.
3) Toss everything together just before serving.

The Only Knives You Need

Don’t be fooled by all the slots in your knife block. You’ll end up using only two blades 95 percent of the time: an eight-inch chef’s knife and a three- to four-inch paring knife. Chef Mick Rosacci of Tony’s Market suggests buying knives one at a time to fit your hand specifically. “They should be comfortable to hold, balanced, and not too heavy or too light,” he says. Keep knives in good order by getting them professionally sharpened and by using them only on wooden cutting boards. Store them in protective sleeves—or in one of your block’s many slots.

Thousand Island Potato Salad

From chef-owner Noah Stephens at Vert Kitchen (serves six)

You’ll Need

3 pounds small red or Yukon gold potatoes
1 1/3 cups mayonnaise
2/3 cup organic ketchup
¼ cup apple cider vinegar (Stephens uses Bragg)
3 large dill pickles, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
½ cup Italian parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons black pepper

Make It

1) Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover them with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender, about 25 to 35 minutes.
2) Drain the potatoes in a colander; let them rest in the colander with a towel on top for 10 minutes to draw out any moisture.
3) Whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, and vinegar until smooth. Stir in the pickles, red onion, and parsley.
4) Quarter the potatoes while still hot. Put them in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
5) Add the mayo-ketchup-vinegar mixture while the potatoes are still warm, allowing the potatoes to fall apart and smashing slightly while mixing. Let the salad cool in the bowl for 15 minutes and then place it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Grilled Stuffed Colorado Striped Bass

From Marczyk Fine Foods co-founder Pete Marczyk (recipe makes 1 serving)
Pete Marczyk gets this flavorful and slightly fatty fish—a hybrid between striped and white bass—from a small family-owned aquaculture operation in Alamosa. The only real trick to this recipe is the grilling: Bass should be cooked hot and fast so the skin gets nice and crispy and doesn’t stick to the grill.

You’ll Need (per person)

1 whole Colorado striped bass, scaled and gutted (ask your fishmonger to do this)
Neutral oil (such as grapeseed)
Salt and pepper
A few slices onion or chives
3 to 5 lemon slices
A few fennel fronds
Butcher’s twine
High-quality olive oil (Marczyk likes San Damiano from Liguria)

Make It

1) Clean the fish thoroughly inside and out. Then make three to five diagonal cuts on both sides of the fish, each one about a quarter to a third of the width of the bass; this will help keep the fish flat.
2) Lightly oil the fish inside and out with neutral oil; then salt and pepper the inside. Stuff the bass with onion, lemon, and fennel fronds. Tie the fish closed with butcher’s twine. (This can be done up to 8 hours in advance and refrigerated until ready to cook.)
3) Once you’re ready to cook, prepare your fire. (Marczyk likes mesquite or hardwood lump charcoal because it produces the best heat and flavor.) No matter what you use, you want red-hot coals and a hot, lightly oiled grill. If you’re using a gas grill, set it to high.
4) Place the fish directly on the grill and cook, uncovered, until the bass becomes firm to the touch and the flesh is opaque, about 4 to 5 minutes per side.
5) Let the fish rest for 5 minutes before removing the twine, drizzling it liberally with high-quality olive oil, and serving.

Ah, There’s The Rub

Three seasonings from Savory Spice Shop that will perk up any grilled meat.

Red Rocks Hickory Smoke Seasoning

Incorporate smoky flavors into barbecue dishes such as pork ribs, beef, or burgers—minus the usual pitmaster’s equipment (and the hassle)—with this blend of hickory smoke salt and flavoring, paprika, roasted garlic, toasted onion, black pepper, and Greek oregano.

Jamaican Jerk Seasoning

A customer favorite, Savory’s Jamaican Jerk adds spicy, tropical notes to chicken and pork dishes and pairs well with grilled pineapple. Be warned, however: This seasoning features crushed habanero peppers that register 10 times hotter than jalapeños on the Scoville scale. Mouths (and stomachs) of steel can request an extra-hot version.

Coastal California Fennel Pollen Rub

Instead of defaulting to dill for fish, try something with fennel, which imparts a bold, earthy, and licoricelike flavor profile. This sweet, bright rub also incorporates orange peel, coriander, paprika, and aji amarillo chiles and works with grilled vegetables just as well.

Grilled Top Round Steak

From Zapata Ranch restaurant executive chef Mike Rosenberg (serves 4)
Top round is an affordable cut of meat that, with a little care, can be transformed into the delicious—and easy-to-make—star of your plate.

You’ll Need

1 cup soy sauce
1 cup Worcestershire sauce
12 ounces Dr Pepper
2 pounds top round, cut 1- to 1¼-inch thick
Salt and pepper to taste

Make It

1) Mix the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and Dr Pepper together in a small bowl.
2) Place the meat in a glass dish, then coat it with the marinade mix.
3) Cover and refrigerate for 7 to 8 hours.
4) Remove the steak from the fridge 30 minutes before you plan to cook it. Preheat oven to 400°, and turn your grill to medium-high.
5) Once the grill is hot, place the beef in the center of the rack for about 7 minutes. Turn it once and grill for another 7 minutes.
6) Place the steak in a shallow pan and roast it in the oven until its internal temperature hits 135°, typically a few minutes.
7) Let the beef rest on a cutting board for 10 to 12 minutes, then slice on a bias, against the grain; salt and pepper to taste; and serve.

Blueberry-Lemon Icebox Trifle

From Tom’s Home Cookin’ chef-owners Tom Unterwagner and Steve Jankousky (serves 8)
Icebox (read: refrigerator) desserts became popular after WWII when America became acquainted with so many other “convenience” foods, such as fish sticks and frozen dinners. Today, we love them for their simplicity—and the fact that they don’t require turning on the oven during the hot summer months.

You’ll Need

8 ounces cream cheese
12 ounces blueberries
12 graham crackers
1 teaspoon yellow food coloring (optional*)
14 ounces sweetened
condensed milk
8 ounces Cool Whip, thawed
6 ounces frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
8 jam jars

Make It

1) Place the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl to soften.
2) Rinse and dry the blueberries.
3) Place the graham crackers in a plastic bag and smash them into quarter-inch pieces. (If you prefer to smash them into fine granules, you will need more than 12.)
4) Beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer until smooth, then add the other ingredients in the following order, beating the mixture until smooth after the addition of each one: yellow food coloring, sweetened condensed milk, half of the Cool Whip (you’ll use the remaining 4 ounces in the trifle layers), and lemonade concentrate.
5) Add the ingredients to the jam jars in layers: crushed graham crackers, lemon filling, whipped cream, blueberries. Repeat.
6) Screw the tops on the jars. Refrigerate for 4 hours or longer. Serve each person a jar with a spoon.

*If food coloring isn’t your thing, don’t despair. Your layers will look just as pretty (just not as yellow) without this ingredient. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

From Humble Pie Store co-owner Tamara Z. Brink (makes 1 pie)
Strawberry season is officially upon us. Make the most of the summer bounty with this quick and delicious dessert.

You’ll Need

1½ cups strawberries, sliced
1 cup rhubarb, sliced
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch of salt
2 ready-to-bake crusts (call at least a day ahead to order a pair of Humble Pie’s for $12), thawed
flour (for rolling)

Make It

1) Preheat oven to 350°.
2) In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except the piecrusts and flour.
3) Gently pour the fruit mixture into a pie pan lined with one piecrust.
4) On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough from the other crust into a 1/8-inch-thick circle. Cut the dough into ½-inch-wide strips. Arrange the strips over the filling in a lattice pattern. Trim and seal the strips to the edge of the bottom crust; flute the edge.
5) Bake the pie for 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack.

Mixed Berry Pie

From co-owner Tamara Z. Brink at the Humble Pie Store (makes 1 pie)

You’ll Need

1 cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1/3 cup water
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup fresh strawberries, stemmed and halved
¾ cup fresh blackberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 ready-to-bake crusts (call at least a day ahead to order a pair of Humble Pie’s for $12), thawed
2 tablespoons butter
flour (for rolling)

Make It

1) Preheat oven to 400°.
2) In a large saucepan, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, a pinch of salt, water, and, if desired, cinnamon until smooth. Then add blueberries. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Cool slightly.
3) Gently fold the raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and lemon juice into the blueberry mixture.
4) Add filling to pie crust; dot filling with small pieces of butter.
5) On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough from the other crust into a 1/8-inch thick circle. Cut the dough into ½-inch-wide strips. Arrange strips over filling in a lattice pattern. Trim and seal strips to the edge of the bottom crust; flute edge.
6) Bake pie for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° and bake for another 45 to 50 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack.

Western Slope Peach Pie

From co-owner Tamara Z. Brink at the Humble Pie Store (makes 1 pie)

You’ll Need

5 cups local peaches, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ready-to-bake crusts (call at least a day ahead to order a pair of Humble Pie’s for $12), thawed
raw sugar for garnish

Make It

1) Preheat the oven to 350°.
2) Toss the first seven ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
3) Gently pour the mixture into a pie pan lined with one piecrust. Then cover the mixture with the other crust.
4) Crimp the sides of the crusts together, dust the top with raw sugar, and bake the pie at 350° until the top is golden brown (about 45 to 60 minutes). Cool before serving.

No-Fuss Cocktail

Keep summer sips at the ready with this easy-to-make Spring Thyme Lemonade from Missy Ihli at Elway’s Cherry Creek.

You’ll Need

2 cups thyme simple syrup*
4 cups fresh lemon juice
2 cups gin (such as Hendricks)

Make It

Mix all the ingredients in a large pitcher. Pour over ice. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs. (Makes 8 servings.)

*To make the simple syrup
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 bunch fresh thyme (10 to 12 sprigs)

1) In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups of water with the sugar and thyme.
2) Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves.
3) Remove from heat; let the mixture cool to room temperature.
4) Pour the mixture through a fine sieve and discard the thyme.
(Makes 2 cups.)

The 5280 Summer Six Pack

Hot days call for cold beers. Here’s what we’re stocking our fridge with this month.

Odell 5 Barrel Pale Ale

Few brewers can deftly balance a beer like the crew at Odell Brewing Co. in Fort Collins. Those skills are on display in the brewery’s 5 Barrel Pale Ale, which has a bright hop character that is somehow never overpowering.
Pair with: a classic cheeseburger

Ska Modus Hoperandi

Ska Brewing describes this IPA, one of our faves, as “a mix of citrus and pine that will remind you of the time you went on a vision quest with your Native American cousin and woke up in a pine grove full of grapefruit trees.” Yup, it’s something like that.
Pair with: anything smoked or spicy

River North White

Wheat beers, white ales, and hefeweizens play nicely with triple-digit summer days. We dig River North’s no-nonsense take on the classic style: sweet and fruity, with a hint of spice.
Pair with: grilled white fish

Great Divide Hoss Rye Lager

Hoss is something of a hidden gem in the Great Divide lineup, as it’s often overshadowed by wildly popular mainstays such as the Titan IPA and Yeti Imperial Stout. Pleasantly complicated, Hoss has a strong malt character, dark fruit flavors (think: cherry), a little bit of rye, and a smooth finish.
Pair with: barbecue chicken

Black Shirt Brewing American India Red Ale

Don’t let the name confuse you. Black Shirt incorporates “red” into each of its brew’s names. But this American India Red Ale still behaves like an IPA: It boasts a malty backbone and some bitterness from a hefty dose of six different hops, plus a subtle kiss of caramel.
Pair with: carrot cake

Coors Banquet

Sure, it’s not a “craft” beer, but Coors Banquet is quintessential Colorado: light, crisp, and equally at home at the ballpark or in a backyard.
Pair with: another Coors Banquet

Grilling Tips from the Pros

Tony’s Market chef Mick Rosacci and Marczyk Fine Foods co-founder Pete Marczyk help you get your grill on the right way.  


To cover or not to cover?
I am not a coverer unless I’m barbecuing, which is different than grilling. I define barbecue as low-temperature, smoke-infused cooking.

Charcoal or gas?
Charcoal is better than gas in almost all applications in my opinion. It takes some planning and some getting used to, but it rocks once you get the hang—adjust heat through quantity of fuel, and distance from coals.

How do you handle veggies?
Grilling baskets work really well for asparagus and potatoes. Potatoes can be grilled if cut to the optimum thickness of about ¼-inch. Try cutting potatoes the long way rather than across.

How do I grill the best burger?
First, get the right grind. If the meat is pinkly homogenous, find a new butcher; it should be flecked with small bits of fat, not emulsified. Patties should be 5 to7 ounces and formed with squared edges. Cook them hot and fast: Season one side with salt and pepper, and when the burger releases easily, turn it 45 degrees (same side down) for proper grill marks. Flip when ready and repeat. Only cook as many as you can handle on the grill at one time.

What’s one thing people forget to do when grilling?
Let your meat loaf! Tempering meat before cooking yields a much better result. The meat cooks more quickly, and more evenly—both good things. I will temper steaks for up to a couple hours; chicken and fish benefit too, but the time can be shorter. Let your meat loaf again after cooking; a solid rule of thumb is to let meat rest one-fifth to one-third of the time it took to cook (up to 20 minutes).


To cover or not to cover?
When your grill is uncovered the fire burns hotter, is more likely to flare up, and cooks only one side of the food. Use the cover to help adjust and control grill air temperatures, creating circulating heat for slower and more even cooking.

What’s the secret to perfect grilling?
Managing temperatures in both direct and indirect grilling techniques is the secret to consistently grilling tender, juicy and perfectly browned foods.

So what’s the difference between direct and indirect heat?
Direct Heat: Grilling directly over a flame browns and cooks foods on one side using low to high heat.
Indirect Heat: Grilling with the foods to the side of the flame with the lid on allows circulating heat to brown and cook meats more slowly without risk of flare up.
Combination Cooking: A combination of direct and indirect heat is used to brown quickly and cook slowly to the ideal internal temperature. This is the best method for most grilling.

Chef Mick also writes a weekly blog packed with other grilling and cooking tips.