Deer Valley Bliss

Deer ValleyI’m two vacation reports behind! so before launching into last month’s trip spent with friends in the Dordogne and Normandy and then my nephew and family in Germany I must first post some great photos and a sensational hamburger recipe from our annual March ski trip to our beloved Deer Valley Resort in Utah. Julie Wilson, directory of food and beverage at the Deer Valley Resorts, told me they were the best burgers she had ever tasted. This was so true I had a second order the lunch before our return flight to NY. along with an equally exemplary “Blue Mojito” containing lime, rum, and blueberries. Recipe for the burgers appears below.

Elliott and I ate lunch and dinner exclusively at the resort restaraunts as there were so many choices and all wonderful: The Royal Street Café right across the street from our hotel, where we ate the most frequently, the romantic haute cuisine Mariposa also in the same location, and the seafood buffet at the Silver Lake Lodge. The one time we went to the nearby town of Park City we revisited Bill White’s Asian fusion restaurant Wahso. The extraordinarily artistic and beautiful décor and exquisitely original food is highly recommended. Highlights at Deer Valley: We always love the seafood buffet. It’s all you can eat and the offerings are staggeringly extensive and delicious—from cold seafood of all varieties to the hot station which serves meat and fish. We adored the seaweed salad served at the sushi station and went back for three helpings. And we tasted and photographed each and every one of pastry chef Debbie Swenerton’s fabulous desserts! My top favorite was the Chocolate Bomb.

At Royal Street Café, don’t miss the award winning crawfish bisque, the Caesar salad with parmesan fricos and Spanish white anchovies, of course the burger which comes with fantastically crisp and delicious garlic-herb-Parmesan Shoestring Fries, the Pulled Pork Sandwich, the Tuna Tartar, the Shrimp and Lobster Margarita with Guacamole. Save room to try every one of head baker Letty Flatt’s desserts. Her ice cream sandwiches made with homemade chocolate chip cookies, or sometimes mini version variations such as with gingersnaps and lemon sorbet and caramel dippings sauce are soul satisfying. Her recipe for the perfect hot fudge dipping sauce is in her delightful book “Chocolate Snowball: and other Fabulous Pastries” and will be appearing in my upcoming book as well. Letty also created a sour cherry sauce with Madeira and a touch of balsamic vinegar that had me cleaning the plate with my finger—even though we were dining at the more formal Mariposa. It was the best cherry sauce ever and though she created it for a dessert, I plan to serve it this summer with roast duck. When I work out the proportions for a smaller amount I will be sure to post the recipe. Also offered at the Mariposa is Letty’s signature dessert—the chocolate snowball. Don’t you love the new addition: The chocolate snowflake adorning the top?! Most delicious of all was the chance to catch up with my treasured friends Julie and Letty.

We usually only get to do this once a year so, of course, there are so many discoveries to share and so very much to say. And skiing with Letty and another pastry chef friend who came in from Salt Lake City for the day was the best skiing of the trip. She knows every trail on the mountain(s). And of course we talked baking on the lift—mostly about the different characteristics of flour! Aside from my one morning with Letty, skiing was a bit iffy this year—with exceptionally warm weather—in the 70’s during the day, and then dropping just enough at night to render the slopes somewhat icy and “corduroy” granular —but I was overjoyed just to be in the beautiful mountain air and to be able to ski so well despite conditions including my back injury in the Fall. Someday we must go in Summer when the mountain flowers are in bloom. But we are always loathe to leave Hope, NJ. between May and October I know that may sound odd but parts of NJ are unexpectedly rural and beautiful and home is home! We live in what is called “black N.J.” which means there are no roads or towns with street lights so the sky is so clear you can see the milky way. Meantime, we’re scheduled for our next Deer Valley ski trip March 2008, St. Patty’s Day week.

Frequent blogger and esteemed recipe tester Zach Townsend recently reported that his brother and sister-in-law, who are landscape architects, have been awarded the contract for the new development of the Silver Lake Lodge area. We’ve exchanged 100s of e-mails but have never met and I’m trying to persuade him to come skiing that week. Hope to see you ALL on the slopes. Wait—over a million bloggers might be a little overwhelming all at once!!!

DEER VALLEY'S CHIPOTLE BURGERS* Yield: 12 Burgers

INGREDIENTS: 12 each 1/2 lb. certified Angus burger patties 1 dozen burger buns, larger buns to accommodate a big burger Sea salt and ¼ cup freshly ground pepper 1/2 cup maple sugar 24 strips bacon 12 slices pepper Jack cheese 2 large red onions, peeled and thinly sliced 4 each medium to large avocados 1 6 oz. can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce 1 bunch green onions 1 bunch fresh cilantro 2 tablespoons fresh chopped garlic 3/4 cup fresh lime juice 1 tablespoon whole butter 2 cups mayonnaise 1 tablespoon granulated sugar 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 bottle (10 oz.-12 oz.), smoky BBQ sauce

RECIPES TO FOLLOW FOR THE FOLLOWING CONDIMENTS; Chipotle Aioli Chipotle BBQ Sauce Guacamole Maple Peppered Bacon Sautéed Red Onions CHIPOTLE AIOLI 2 tablespoons chipotle chilies 1 bunch cilantro, washed, stemmed, chopped 1 bunch green onions, washed, roots trimmed, chopped 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic 2 teaspoons sugar 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard ½ cup fresh lime juice --Puree all together in food processor until smooth then add: 2 cups mayonnaise --Continue processing until well blended. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

CHIPOTLE BBQ SAUCE: 1 bottle smoky BBQ sauce 1 tablespoon chipotle chilies --Process together in food processor into a smooth puree. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

MAPLE PEPPER: 1/2 cup granulated maple sugar 1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper --Mix in bowl with a spoon until well blended. Reserve at room temperature.

GUACAMOLE: -Cut avocados in half, remove pit and scoop flesh out of skin into a mixing bowl. Mash with a whisk and add: 1 teaspoon pureed garlic 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 1/4 teaspoon sea salt ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper --Continue mashing with whisk until smooth with small coarse chunks of avocado. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

PREPARATION AND SERVING: --Place bacon on sheet pan and sprinkle each slice with maple pepper mixture. --Bake at 375°until crispy. Keep warm in low oven, uncovered, until ready to serve. --Sauté sliced red onions in one tablespoon butter until well browned. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Grill ½ lb. burger patties, seasoned with a little salt and pepper, to desired doneness. Melt a slice of pepper Jack cheese on each burger and keep warm while you toast the burger buns

Spread chipotle aioli on the bottom of each toasted bun followed by: Sautéed onions, two strips of maple peppered bacon, burger patty with melted pepper Jack cheese, liberal dose of chipotle BBQ sauce, generous dollop of guacamole, cilantro sprig garnish, optional, top bun spread with chipotle aioli Note: My recipe for my best burger buns will be appearing in the Wed. Washington Post on May 23. If you want to make these large burgers (which I find feed two!) you’ll want to make the buns about 1-1/2 times larger.

*Deer Valley's name and marks are protected by Federal law. If this recipe is to be used for retail sales, the above title must be used. Please call Julie Wilson at 435/645-6665 for written approval.