Harness the bounty of your garden for these September Colorado dinner recipes – The Denver Post

Part of the sweetness of summer is that we have to let it go. But you can view this inevitability as a triumph, not a tragedy. In Colorado, summer is short enough that cantaloupe season almost overlaps with pumpkins and roasted chiles, and cold squalls are often followed by warm, golden afternoons.

The menu below says goodbye to summer with a fanfare, not a dirge.

Peach Whiskey Maple Glaze

This recipe keeps the sugar in to bring out the sweetness of the peaches. Makes 12 ounces, enough to glaze four pork chops and have some left over to eat on cinnamon or dulce de leche ice cream.


  • 2 large or 3 small Colorado peaches
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon decent quality blended Scotch (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (optional)


In a medium-sized saucepan, bring about 3 liters of water to a boil. Wash the peaches and fill a medium bowl with ice. When the water boils, add cold water to the bowl of ice. Submerge the peaches in the boiling water for 2 minutes, then place them in the ice bath for 2 minutes. The skins should rub off (or at least be a lot easier to remove).

Roughly chop the peeled peaches into a small saucepan and remove the pits. Add lemon juice and maple syrup and stir. Simmer slowly over low heat.

Mash the warm mixture with a potato masher or spatula to a chunky consistency. Taste gradually, adding a pinch of salt, then the whiskey if desired. Stir in the paprika flakes if you like. If you like the taste, transfer to a jar and refrigerate for up to a week.

Golden beets are a change from the usual reds, and some people think they’re sweeter. Roasting in a medium oven means you can skip peeling; All you have to do is toss the chopped beets in olive oil and some salt. A streusel of goat cheese takes her down-to-earthness to a new level. (Susan Clotfelter, special for the Denver Post)

Roasted beets with chevre

Don’t worry if you have leftovers of those divine roasted beets. They taste great stolen from the fridge when no one is looking. You can also freeze and microwave them. For 4 to 6 people.


  • 2 to 3 pounds of small golden turnips, 2 to 3 inches in diameter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 ounces chevre cheese


Preheat oven to 350. Scrub the beets well; Trim off tops and bottoms, as well as any scars, cuts or defects in the outer skin. bisect vertically; then cut into wedges, with the largest edge about 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide (about bite-sized). In a large bowl, toss with olive oil and salt.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. (This is optional but speeds up cleanup.) Spread the beets out in a single layer with some airspace around them. fry for 30 minutes; Check for doneness with a fork. Continue roasting until the meat is barely tender. Take out of the oven.

Crumble goat cheese over roasted beets. Serve warm.

The transition to autumn and cooler weather deserves a celebratory dinner.  Start it off with a peach glazed pork chop and roasted golden beets with crumbled chevre.  (Susan Clotfelter, special for the Denver Post)
The transition to autumn and cooler weather deserves a celebratory dinner. Start it off with a peach glazed pork chop and roasted golden beets with crumbled chevre. (Susan Clotfelter, special for the Denver Post)

Grilled Pork Chops with Peach Whiskey Glaze

The secret to salting proteins going into your oven comes from the blog give me an oven, the work of the incredible Ali Martin. The peach glaze, of course, comes from the need to use Colorado’s incredible fruit in every way imaginable. If your grill has good temperature control, you can sear these chops and then gently sear them on your grill, as even a peach whiskey glaze won’t fix an overcooked pork chop. To avoid this tragedy, you need an instant-read meat thermometer, or better yet, a probe thermometer that will alert you when the meat has reached the correct internal temperature.


  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 4 pork chops, preferably bone-in chops and at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons regular salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil with a high smoke point, such as avocado oil


Preheat the oven to 350. Stir the salt into 4 cups of cold water until dissolved. Add the pork chops, making sure they’re submerged. Salt for 15 minutes.

While salting the chops, heat a cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet (or your grill) over medium-high heat. (If the chops are too large to fit in one pan, use two or be prepared to transfer the chops to a large, preheated skillet after searing.) Rinse the chops and dry well off with a paper towel. Brush both sides of each cutlet with olive oil, then sprinkle each cutlet with salt and pepper.

Add the oil to the hot pan and heat until it shimmers and a drop of water sizzles furiously. Carefully place each cutlet in the hot skillet. Fry for about 3 minutes. Gently turn each chop over; Then place the pan in the preheated oven. Cook for 5 minutes or more, until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.

Remove the chops from the oven and place on four plates. Tent loosely with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve warm with peach whiskey glaze.

This recipe works best with young chard leaves, which you harvest when you're cleaning out the garden.  Think of it as really big-leaved spinach;  Remove, chop, and fry the stalks to use on the more tender leaves.  (Susan Clotfelter, special for the Denver Post)
This recipe works best with young chard leaves, which you harvest when you’re cleaning out the garden. Think of it as really big-leaved spinach; Remove, chop, and fry the stalks to use on the more tender leaves. (Susan Clotfelter, special for the Denver Post)

Simple chard salad

If you’re not growing Swiss chard, you should; it is the garden gift that always passes on. This salad uses young, white chard, which is still tender enough to eat raw but has leaves large enough to shred and wilt a bit. For those who have six or seven types of salt in their pantry — and you know who you are — this is a chance to show it off. Served 4


  • 1 bunch of young chard
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt


Wash and dry the chard leaves; Remove the ends of the stems and any damaged leaves. Fold each leaf in half lengthwise and cut out the white stems. Gather the stalks and chop diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces. Roll the leaves and roughly chop, also diagonally, into about 1 ½ inch pieces.

In a small pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the chopped chard stalks until tender and translucent (light browning is okay), about 5 minutes. If you can’t get the young chard tender enough to eat raw, add the leaves to the pan and heat until just wilted.

Portion the chard leaves (or leaves and stalks if you cooked them together) into salad bowls. Top with the cooked stems. Drizzle with the rice vinegar and then the lime juice and toss to coat. Serve with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt and more on the side.

Herb butter

This is one of the easiest ways to keep your herb garden bounty for summer – and if you don’t garden, this is the easiest way to show you know your local spice shop. This herb butter uses a blend of dried herbs de Provence from Colorado’s Savory Spice, but you can also use fresh herbs from your garden, in any concentration or combination you desire.


  • 1/4 pound high quality butter (1 stick), salted or unsalted
  • 1 tablespoon or more dried herbs OR 3 tablespoons fresh herbs
  • Salt to taste


In a medium bowl with space to work, soften the butter but do not let it melt. Chop the herbs if using fresh.

Put the herbs in the softened butter. Knead well with a fork. If you’re in a hurry or want to combine the butter with a little olive oil, you can puree it in a food processor, but incorporating the herbs by hand preserves their structure a bit more, giving the butter flavor explosions.

Add salt and more herbs to taste – and by “to taste” we mean a few good slices of crusty bread or some steamed green haricots to taste the butter on the go. If you can’t stop eating it, it’s done.

Panna cotta with blackberries

You can use any berries for this easy dessert, but dark blackberries or black raspberries bring out the delicate creamy color beautifully, and their sweet yet slightly tart flavor complements the rich, sweet vanilla of this eggless, easy-to-make finale. Try it with espresso or a light dessert wine. (If you’d rather try a dairy-free panna cotta, give it a try This one here from the Healthy Epicurean.) Serves 8 because you want something for a late night snack.


  • 1 envelope of tasteless gelatine
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Frozen or fresh berries or other fruits


Pour 2 tablespoons of cold water into a small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin and stir; let it dissolve for a few minutes (it will set and look like it will never be liquid again). Heat over low heat, stirring, until it becomes liquid again. Remove from stove.

In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream, half and half, and sugar. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until just about boiling; take off the heat.

Add the vanilla to the gelatin and stir; add the combination to the hot cream mixture and stir. Pour the cream into pretty teacups, ramekins or sturdy glasses. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Forming the panna cotta onto a plate is optional, but if you like, run a wet knife around the edges of the ramekins. Hold the ramekin in hot water for about a minute; Top with a dessert plate and then turn over. Gently shake the upside down ramekin to demould.

Top the panna cotta with fresh or thawed frozen berries; eat chilled.

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