Culinary Colorado & Coconut Crawfish Soup
October 15th, 2005

Food. We were spoiled (in so many ways) on our trip, where to begin? Perhaps with our objectives, or in other words, our cravings for down-to-earth, hearty food as well as looking forward to our joint cooking sessions with Stephanie and David. Two weeks felt barely enough to fit in all the dishes and courses we had in mind, including Italian, Mexican cuisine, all the way to a full fledged Bavarian breakfast with the obligatory white sausage (Weisswürschtl) with sweet mustard. As a funny side note, we found the Weisswürschtl we got at Wimberger’s Old World Bakery and Delicatessen in Colorado Springs at least equally good, if not a tad better than the ones we have in Munich (home of the Weisswürschtl) – it may border to “betraying one’s country”, but still how funny is that?

Bavarian Breakfast

The first two days already gave us a good feel of what was to come and the magnitude of the “trouble” we got ourselves into: a yummy Donna Hay dish cooked by S on our arrival night, the next day a visit to the small but wonderful local farmers market (you were offered to try anything you wanted, with the best peaches one could imagine!), later breakfast at a little French bakery followed by a real tail gate party in the afternoon at the USAFA stadium in Colorado Springs with friends and family of S&D. Jake, D’s dad even got his birthday cake there…

Jake's Birthday Cake

Jake invited us over for his 75th birthday and besides the fun time we all had, especially with our mixed German and English conversations – J owns an impressive German vocabulary due to his background! – we so much enjoyed the excellent food the very attentive catering service provided: they served the best beef I’ve ever had – I kid you not! It was on the medium-rare side, tender and juicy beyond belief; but as much as I tried, the cook wouldn’t want to reveal his secret: “Sear it first and then cook it at really low temperature” wasn’t as precise as I would have liked his answer to be ;)

Breakfast Table at the Gable House

The breakfast table at The Gable House has been so nicely decorated by Heather, who runs this charming bed & breakfast hotel, and again we were spoiled with granola cereal, fresh and still warm muffins and yummy omelet/egg variations…..

Crab Apple

An apple a day keeps the doctor away…our first time tasting a sour crab apple (cherry size). I could easily imagine to make a real good tartish jam of it, raw, I’m sure it could give you a belly ache. Sour, sour, sour.

Burger at Ken & Sue's

As it’s virtually impossible to find an even half way decent burger in Germany, we of course had to fully seize the opportunity while traveling abroad. A worthy representative we found at Ken & Sue’s (636 Main Avenue, Durango) another yummy, leaner buffalo burger we had at Handlebars (Silverton). Although the ones we had over at Jim’s house (very dear friends of Stephanie, who kindly invited us over for dinner) were so much better, we missed to take proper evidence, ie. photos. We just had such a good time at the dinner table with Jim, Claudia, Jenny & Danny (not to forget little Lauren) that we must have completely forgotten about it and perhaps it also had to do with Jim’s fantastic Margaritas! – especially the one without the mix :)

Tamales

What a treat! An all true Mexican night at Steph’s parents house, wonderfully prepared by Rita (S’s mom) who introduced us to tamales (which, so we were told can be pretty time consuming to prepare – based on the perfect outcome I’d say worth every second!), made yummy stuffed green chiles, peach cobblers with self-picked peaches. Soooo good. One of those dinners, you would want to “reset” yourself and start all over again with the appetizer…

Cramer Craving Popcorn

Isn’t Cramer cute? The first popcorn loving parakeet I’ve met – he’s just not allowed to go to the movies…yet.

Dinner at Blue Star

To celebrate O’s birthday we made reservations with the Blue Star in Colorado Springs (1645 S. Tejon) – excellent wines, appetizers and entrees really made this a special night! Another night that ended without dessert – there was simply no room left! We didn’t even bother to try…unfortunately.

Raspberry Pancakes

After our Bavarian breakfast, on yet another sunny morning, S made some super yummy and fluffy raspberry pancakes. And guess what? A little arm twisting can do wonder – I now know the secret to them, too :)

Molten Chocolate Cake

Death by chocolate – S’s cute looking molten chocolate cakes were serious business. It was a man’s job to finish these, literally…

Super Spider Roll

Certainly among the best sushi we had in a very long time, Sushi AI (4655 Centennial Blvd., Colo. Springs) made some repetitive business with us. Especially the Unagi and the Super Spider Roll (the monster above) made us go there again.

Other great experiences included Dippin Dots (miniature ice cream beads), which we had at the USAFA game, a BBQ at D’s parents place with home made Margaritas and coyotes crying in the background. A culinary surf and turf experience at the ChopHouse in Boulder (921 Walnut St). Belgium Waffles with fresh fruit, and – very essential – pecan caramel/whipped cream at the Alps Canyon Boulder Inn – uh, to die for. A fantastic Chili Blanco at Emily’s and Joel’s house, that made us eat bowl after bowl (thanks for the recipe Emily!) and our in-between visits to Panera (a chain – but really good for bread & soups!). And just before we had to leave for the airport, we indulged ourselves a last time at NORTH (190 Clayton Layne, Denver) in fig goat cheese pizza, strozzapreti with pine nut and fresh mushrooms. Oh what a grand time…..

Shuga's, Colorado Springs

At Shuga’s (702 Cascade, Colo. Springs) we had to have their much raved about coconut shrimp soup, which inspired us to make our own once back in Munich….

Based on Shuga’s super soup experience, here’s Oliver’s version of the spicy coconut shrimp soup (which, giving all credits to O, turned out really really good and authentic):

Slice and dice the shallots, red chili, ginger, garlic, and lemon grass and the green onions. Add shallots, garlic, ginger, lemon grass and half of the chopped chili in a large pot and sauté until the shallots become glassy. Add coriander and curcuma to the mix and let sauté for another minute.

Add the chicken or fish stock to the pot, the coconut milk and the lime juice (with the lime zest). Let simmer and infuse for at least 20 minutes. Then strain the mix through a fine sieve.

Now add the crawfish (or shrimp), green onions and season with fish sauce (use carefully, very salty), cheyenne pepper and the rest of the chopped chili. Let simmer for another 3-4 minutes. Just before serving, sprinkle some black sesame seeds over soup.

Coconut Crawfish Soup

Coconut Crawfish Soup

Recipe source: own creation (inspired by Shuga's, but really all amounts I chose by guess and by gosh)

Required time: prep. 15 min., cooking 20-30 min., serves 2-3

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Ingredients:

2 shallots

1.5 red chili, finely chopped (or to taste)

5cm ginger

1 lg clove of garlic

1 tbsp coriander (powder)

0.5 tbsp curcuma (powder)

juice of half a lime

1 zested lime

2 stalks of lemon gras

500ml chicken stock (or fish stock)

400ml coconut milk

4-5 stalks green onions

season with fish sauce (start with 2 tbsp) & cheyenne pepper

200g crawfish

For decoration: black sesame seeds

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