Sunday, April 23, 2017

Day 69: New Recipes

Having an award-winning restaurant doesn’t mean you can just relax with your menu offerings. There are always new ideas being suggested either by guests, or food trends, or a popular new ingredient.

As the primary chef, I’ve tried hard to be unique and original. Being known as the “best of” is always fun, but it is especially nice to be “one of a kind” as well.  So when developing our menu items I’ve tried to not copy other places, especially in Estes Park, but to have our own branded items.

We have to admit as well, our menu gets a little too familiar to our staff by the end of the season (especially since we eat it twice a day every day).  We do get a laugh at the concoctions that diners and staff come up with, adding this to that from the Salad Bar or mixing soups or whatever!

Fall seems to be our most experimental season for new recipes.  We’ve had some huge winners, think Banana Butterscotch Muffins, and some long forgotten sincere losers, like Baseball Park Muffin with pickle relish and hot dogs.

You know how things sometimes just stick in your mind, well that pickle relish did, and so be on the lookout for our new 2017 Dill Pickle soup….. working on a name, but so far, family reviews are positive!

Wish I’d kept a diary of our new menu items as they were created! We started with just Beef Stew and Red Chili as our hearty soups, then my sister-in-law, Loretta, gave me the idea for our White Chili recipe. I must admit I hesitated trying it, but when we added it to our menu in 1991, customers greeted it with lots of odd looks and ridiculously silly comments, along with some rave reviews.

Being located in the mountains we often received requests for “wild game” so our Cowboy Buffalo Stew became our answer in 2005. The “wild west trail drive” flavors (simple ingredients you might find along the trail), made this an instant favorite.  Its name has a special double meaning too, as the year we perfected this recipe, several of our cooks were “Cowboys” students from Oklahoma State University.

Then there is our beloved Pumpkin Curry Soup, recipe yet unpublished, which is based on one that Jen sent me. She discovered it during her time stationed in Germany in the US military.  Several years after we added the recipe, as I was telling guests the recipe was originally from Germany, she told me the full story. The recipe wasn’t from one of our favorite little German pubs as I had thought, but she had actually found the idea on the side of a canned product she had purchased in the US Army commissary!  So much for my proud story of its German culinary ties. 

Although the “German” pumpkin one isn’t there, you can find many of our classic recipes in our famed cookbook, Collections of Baldpate

What have been your most favorite Baldpate recipes? Anything you’d like to see us add?

Written by Lois Smith

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