Ah, spring in the mountains! Life at 10,000 feet is lovely at this time of year....not. All the foodie magazines are full of phrases like, "Summer, with its bounty of fresh produce.." or "The farmers markets are bursting with fresh vegetables of every kind..." I'm looking out my window at a mountain covered with snow and bare Aspen trees. Everyone is talking summer, yet I still haven't had spring! The Western Chorus Frogs are chirping in my pond and I have noticed that the blueberries in the grocery store are now coming from California, rather than Chile, so I do believe that warmer weather is coming.
I am blessed to live in this wonderful place. I never (well, rarely) forget to appreciate the majesty of the mountains. I'm always blown away by the sight of a moose in my yard. And really, spring is the only season here that is not fabulous. Summer is gorgeous and never too hot. In the fall, the mountains turn golden as the Aspens get ready to drop their leaves. I love to start baking and cooking stews. I pack away (or drink) all of my Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Grigios in favor of Pinot Noirs and Cabernet Sauvignons. Then comes winter! I realize that if you are reading this from Green Bay or Duluth, you are probably wondering why I put an exclamation point at the end of the last sentence. But, here in the mountains, we love winter - skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snowmobiling. And let's not forget the holidays! Spring, however, has essentially no redeeming qualities; it's cold & wet and cold & wet. So, we pretend; we go out without coats, break out our shorts and sandals and freeze our asses off!
And we keep cooking and drinking wine. I'll dabble in a main-course salad occasionally; my husband will tend the barbecue while shivering in the freezing rain. He cooked some killer burgers the other night. When it comes to burgers, I've got two words for you - Ground Chuck. Please, forget about the 93% lean and the ground turkey. Burgers need fat. Without it, they are bland and crumbly. Unless you eat burgers every day, make the splurge and make up for it tomorrow. By the way, the splurge is only caloric, chuck is cheap. And while we're talking fat, don't be afraid of making your burgers a little bit fat. (My husband refers to mine as meatball-burgers.) You can't get a flat burger to cook medium rare. If you need a flat-burger fix, you can always hit McDonald's later in the week.
With your fat, fatty burger, I suggest you drink an equally large wine. A California Cabernet or Syrah would be perfect. Or try a Spanish Garnacha or a Cotes du Rhone.
Pass the ketchup and keep dreaming of summer!