Delicious re-creations: Montrose man’s stories, meals make the palate soar

Larry Sims makes pasta from scratch, which he incorporates into a salmon and broccoli dish he adapted from meal he had at a Grand Junction Italian restaurant.



Larry and Janet Sims of Montrose enjoy a meal of pasta with salmon and broccoli, pear salad and homemade artisan bread. After Larry Sims eats a delicious thing, he works to perfect his own recipe and Janet Sims relishes the results.



Yes, this dessert is as delicious as it looks. Get the recipe and others recreated by Larry Sims with this story at GJSentinel.com.



QUICKREAD

Have you re-created A Delicious Thing You Ate One Time? Contact Rachel Sauer at 256-4263 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Potato and Pear Soup

2 large sweet potatoes

6 ounces orange or pineapple juice

6 ounces water

2 large pears

1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

Dash of salt

1. Peel and cut sweet potatoes and pears into 1-inch cubes.

2. Place sweet potato cubes in sauce pan with juice and water, cover and simmer until fork tender. Add pears to sauce pan and cook until tender. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

3. Pour contents of sauce pan into blender and blend until smooth.

4. Pour into soup bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt, chopped parsley or finely grated Parmesan cheese.

(“For emergencies, I one time used a can of pears and it was just fine,” Sims explained. “My guess is a can of pumpkin or yams also would be just fine, and the two together would be ready in 15 minutes! Good plan when unexpected guests arrive, and you have to stretch four servings into six — just make soup for a starter!”)

Panna Cotta

1 envelope unflavored gelatin (about 1 tablespoon)

2 tablespoons cold water

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

1/3 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1. In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand about one minute to soften. Heat gelatin mixture over low heat until gelatin is dissolved and remove pan from heat.

2. In a large saucepan, bring cream, milk and sugar just to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring. Remove pan from heat and stir in gelatin mixture and vanilla. Divide cream mixture among 12 1/3-cup ramekins and cool to room temperature. Chill ramekins, covered, at least 4 hours or overnight.

3. To serve, dip ramekins, one at a time, into a bowl of hot water for three seconds. Run a thin knife around the edge of each ramekin and invert ramekin onto the center of a small plate.

4. Top with “frutti di bosco” (fruits of the wood), a mixture of sweetened raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, chocolate sauce or caramel (butterscotch) sauce.

(“City Market has a Private Selection ‘triple berry medley’ in the frozen foods that works great for frutti di bosco,” Janet Sims said.)

Apple Bacon Pork Chops

2 thick, boneless pork chops

1 slice bacon, chopped

1 medium onion, peeled, cut pole-to-pole and sliced into “C” shapes

1 large or two small tart apples, peeled and sliced

1 to 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

2 to 3 tablespoons honey

Generous shot of brandy

Seasoned salt

Seasoned pepper

1. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the pork chops and brown them in a skillet. Remove the pork chops and in the same skillet, lightly brown the bacon (if the bacon doesn’t produce enough grease, add the butter or olive oil to the skillet).

2. Add onion and apple to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to become clear and the apple begins to soften. If you didn’t add the butter or oil before, do so now, along with the honey and brandy. Stir well, cover and cook for several minutes.

3. Push the sauce to one side and place a pork chop in its place. Cover the chop with sauce. Repeat for the second chop.

4. Cover the pan and let simmer until the pork chops are barely done.

(“What you want is cooked apples and onions, with some liquid, but not mush,” Larry Sims explained. “Cook time on the apples and onions will depend on the ‘character’ of the apples and onions. Sometimes I have actually added a spoon or two of water if it got too dry. A lot depends on whether you put a lid on the skillet and hold the moisture, or let it boil off.”)

Salmon, Broccoli and Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce

1 small head of broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces

1 4–6-ounce piece of fresh salmon

1 rounded tablespoon butter

1 rounded tablespoon flour

1 cup cream or half-and-half

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt and pepper, lemon pepper to taste

Dash of white or pink wine

Pasta (recipe follows)

1. Place salmon skin side down in a skillet, lightly season with lemon pepper and salt and a dash of wine. Cover and let it simmer at medium-low heat until the salmon will barely flake. Remove the salmon to a plate and wipe the skillet with a paper towel.

2. In the skillet, cook butter and flour just until it starts to smell – don’t brown it. Add the cream and stir until smooth. Add lemon juice and a dash of salt and pepper; stir.

3. Flake the salmon into bite-size pieces, removing any skin or bones, and add to the sauce to re-warm.

4. In a large pot, boil water and add broccoli, cooking for four or five minutes. Add the fresh pasta and boil it for a minute or two.

5. Drain the pasta and broccoli and spoon into two large bowls. Pour salmon and cream sauce over the pasta and, if desired, garnish with chopped Italian parsley or shredded Parmesan cheese.

Pasta

2/3 cup flour

1 egg

1. Pour the flour into a small bowl, crack the egg into it and mix with a fork. When it is one sticky lump, scrape it onto a floured surface and knead, adding flour as needed, until it is the consistency of Play-Doh or clay.

2. Form a ball and cover it with the bowl, letting it rest for 30 minutes.

3. Roll dough thinly on a lightly floured surface — it will swell when cooked — and cut into bite-size shapes.

Pizza Sant’ Angelo

1 thin pizza crust, uncooked

Thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese

1 thinly sliced Roma tomato

Fresh asparagus, cut into one-inch pieces (split in half if they’re large)

Crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

1. Spread a layer of mozzarella so it covers about 50 percent of the crust. Evenly spread the tomato and asparagus. Sprinkle the Gorgonzola to cover about 50 percent of the crust. Bake at 475 degrees, or at the temperature advised on the pizza crust package, until the Gorgonzola starts to brown.

Onion Pepper Dip

1 sweet onion, sliced

1 red jalapeno or Fresno pepper, seeded and sliced

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

Splash of red wine vinegar

Sugar to taste

Dash of salt

1. In a skillet, saute the onion and pepper in the olive oil until soft and the onion just starts to become clear. Add vinegar, sugar and salt, stirring until well-mixed. Cook for a minute or two, then remove from heat.

2. Serve with crackers or Melba toast. Can be eaten warm or cold.

Larry Sims’ Favorite Pizza

1 uncooked pizza crust

3 slices of bacon, diced

1 large onion, peeled, halved and sliced

Pinch of fresh thyme

7 pitted and chopped dates or figs

Crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

1. Lightly brown the bacon in a skillet then remove to a plate, leaving the grease in the skillet. Put the sliced onion in the skillet and cook for 20–30 minutes, stirring regularly, until it is caramelized and brown (but not burned).

2. Sprinkle bacon and onion over the crust, followed by dates. Sprinkle the Gorgonzola lightly over the crust, so about 50 percent of it is covered. Bake at 475 degrees until the Gorgonzola is lightly browned.



Sit down at Larry Sims’ table. The settings will be lovely. There will be a nice wine and a beautiful centerpiece. The company and conversation will be excellent.

And the food ...

From the first bite, and the story that accompanies it, the palate will soar, transported to Hawaii, to Italy, to Switzerland. It might even stay right there in Montrose, and it will be happy.

“We were at a little restaurant in Italy,” he’ll begin, explaining a lovely salad of sliced pears garnished with walnuts, thinly sliced swiss cheese and a tangy, light dressing.

When Sims eats a delicious thing, his inner culinary detective goes to work: What’s in this? How was it prepared? How can I re-create it at home?

He might take a few notes, and once back in his comfortable Montrose kitchen, he’ll go to work experimenting and perfecting. His wife, Janet, will step back and enjoy the results.

After learning how to cook from his mother, Sims returned to his interest in cooking several years ago. Because he and Janet travel so much — they’ve been to Italy 10 times, and he’s currently learning French in anticipation of a trip to France this year — the scope and range of delicious things they’ve eaten is deep and varied.

There was the Pizza Sant’ Angelo at Arancino in Honolulu, Hawaii, the tomato broth soup from a restaurant in Zurich, Switzerland, the pork chop dish from a long-gone Grand Junction restaurant.

He collects cooking implements as travel souvenirs and watches little old Italian ladies make pasta on YouTube.

He learns by experience — “The secret to making white sauce is very cold milk or cream,” he explains, “and you want to dump it in all at once.”

He’s more about method than recipe, and is always willing to share.

So, the meals, always, are delicious.


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Thanks, Rachel!

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