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Rocky Mountain Recipes

A few treats from chef Katie Mitzel's stunning new cookbook



Photos courtesy Rocky Mountain Cooking

Embrace backcountry living at home with these delicious recipes inspired by life in the Rocky Mountains, from celebrated backcountry chef Katie Mitzel, bestselling author of The Skoki Cookbook. In her new cookbook, Rocky Mountain Cooking, Mitzel shares recipes to bring Canada's backcountry home. 


Top photo by Noel Rogers; Bottom photo by Shallon Cunningham

Katie Mitzel has spent the last twenty years as a chef in remote backcountry lodges, joyfully feeding hungry travelers who have journeyed hundreds of miles to have their own backcountry adventures. Whether you're wilderness hiking, off-piste skiing, or simply relaxing, the backcountry offers total immersion in the stunning mountains, coupled with the allure of completely unplugging from daily life. 

Alongside stunning photos of the Rocky Mountains and personal stories of exploration and memories, the book also includes cooking tips and tricks, like how to bake at altitude.

Take a peek at a few recipes from the cookbook below. 

SEASONAL LAMB WITH MINT RELISH

Photo by Shallon Cunningham

Lamb offers a flavor experience like no other, and this amazing marinade not only enhances the natural taste but also creates a fall-off-the-bone tenderness. *Note: You have to prep this the night before you plan to eat it. Serves 4-5

LAMB:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp smooth Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (yellow or black)
1 medium shallot, chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tbsp dried mint
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
8-10 (each 3 oz) lamb chops
MINT RELISH:
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup roughly chopped mint leaves
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1-inch piece ginger, peeled
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp white miso paste
2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. To prepare the lamb, in a mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, wine, soy sauce, and Dijon. Whisk in the fennel, caraway, and mustard seeds, followed by the shallot, fresh and dried mint, and rosemary. Add the garlic and sugar and whisk to combine. Transfer to a plastic resealable bag.

2. Trim any excess fat off the lamb chops and place them in the marinade, turning them over a few times to coat well. Refrigerate overnight.

3. The next day, remove the marinated lamb from the fridge at least 1 hour before you plan to cook it.

4. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

5. To make the mint relish, place the parsley, mint, cilantro, and chives in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the vinegar and sugar and pulse to blend. Grate the ginger right into the sauce and then add the garlic, miso, oregano, red pepper flakes, a pinch or two of salt, and pepper to taste. Pulse a few times to combine, drizzling in the olive oil as you do so. Continue to pulse just until you have a chunky and wonderfully textured sauce. It should be almost pourable but not runny. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and set aside. You can also prepare this relish ahead of time and keep it in the fridge.

6. Remove the lamb chops from the marinade, one at a time, allowing any excess liquid to drip off. Place them on the prepared baking sheet. Cook in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes. For medium-rare, the internal temperature should read about 130°F. It is best to remove the chops when just shy of this temperature, because they will continue cooking after you remove them.

7. Plate the lamb and serve with a dollop of mint relish.

8. If you have any leftover relish, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 week. You will need to remove it from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before using, to allow the oil to come back up to room temperature after solidifying. Just give it a gentle stir before using.

ARTISAN CABIN BREAD

This is a no-knead, no-fuss bread. It's also a terrific jumping-off bread for the beginner baker. The steps are simple and the bread delivers on both taste and structure. *Note: You need to start this recipe the night before you plan to bake it. Makes 1 loaf.

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 cups tap-hot water
1 egg, beaten + 1 tsp water, for egg wash

1. In a mixing bowl, stir the flour, salt, and yeast with a wooden spoon. Pour in the hot water, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well between additions with the wooden spoon. The dough should be shaggy in both appearance and texture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and turn the dough over to make sure there is no dry flour left in the bowl. It is important not to work this dough too much, or it will not turn out light and fluffy. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a draft-free spot to rise overnight. It will double in size.

2. The next day, 30 minutes before you plan to bake the bread, place a baking stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F. If you don’t have a baking stone, you can use an inverted baking tray.

3. Meanwhile, lightly flour your hands and manipulate the dough into a semi-structured ball, reincorporating any stuck dough strands from the bottom and the sides of the bowl. Turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. It should be double its original size and a little bubbly.

4. Using your hands, shape it into a ball and form a seam on one side. This should take about 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Remove the baking stone from the oven and dust the surface with flour. Gently place the dough ball in the center with the seam side down. Brush the top of the loaf with the egg wash. Using a lame or very sharp knife, score the loaf about 1/4 inch deep a few times on a slight angle to give the accumulated air bubbles somewhere to go.

6. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40 minutes, or until the loaf is a golden color, the internal temperature is 190°F, and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap the bottom of the pan. Remove from the pan and let cool on a wire rack.

LEMONY LAVENDER BUTTERMILK CAKE

This is a no-fuss, big-taste cake. It also makes an unbelievable companion in a meadow of wildflowers while you’re doing a watercolor painting. The lemonbuttermilk drizzle and gorgeous lavender will reflect the colors around you and inspire you to paint some more. Serves 12-14.

CAKE:
2 teaspoons organic lavender buds
2 cups + 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup salted butter, softened
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
LEMON DRIZZLE:
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/4 cups icing sugar
TOPPING:
1 tablespoon cane sugar
1 teaspoon organic lavender buds
1 lemon, zested into long strips
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Lavender sprigs

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease every nook and cranny of a 9-inch springform pan.

2. If you have never worked with lavender, don’t worry. I’ve learned that essential oils infuse better if you blend them with sugar, so blend the lavender buds with 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a coffee mill or grinder.

3. To make the cake, in a mixing bowl, mix together the ground lavender-sugar blend, flour, baking powder, and salt.

4. Using a handheld or stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the remaining 2 cups of sugar and beat until pale and fluffy. With the mixer running, add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the lemon zest and vanilla and mix. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on medium speed for a couple of minutes, just to combine. Add the buttermilk in one addition, beating until mixed in. Add the rest of the flour mixture. Mix for 1 full minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl as required.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake on the center rack of the oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the cake is pulling slightly away from the sides of the pan and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

6. Let the cake cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before releasing from the pan.

7. To make the lemon drizzle, in a medium bowl, use a fork to whisk the buttermilk and lemon juice with the icing sugar. Place the cooled cake on a serving plate and pour the lemon drizzle overtop the cake, letting it travel down the sides.

8. To make the topping, grind the cane sugar and lavender buds in a coffee mill or grinder. Transfer to a small bowl and mix with the strips of lemon and lemon juice. Toss everything around a bit with your hand and place the lemon strips on top of the cake or on individually cut pieces. Add a few lavender sprigs for a delightful finish.

Excerpted from Rocky Mountain Cooking by Katie Mitzel. Copyright © 2019 Katie Mitzel. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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