COLORADO’S FARMS AND RANCHES are brimming with a rich harvest. A morning's stroll through an outdoor market or a family visit to the farm yields a bounty of quality, locally-grown foods. For Denver cookbook author and food travel guide Michele Morris, her market basket becomes her passport to the cuisines of the world. “Once you know the flavor notes of a region’s cuisine, you can improvise with the very best seasonal produce and meats,” Michele says. A well-stocked spice cabinet is your ticket to the world’s palate. She calls it global improv, and best of all, it’s readily available from local purveyors.
Here, she shares her expertise. Michele Morris’s guide to using global ingredients in recipes:
AFRICA: Cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, marjoram, dill, fresh mint, chiles, potatoes, beets, carrots, lentils, eggplant, tomatoes, green beans, black olives, lemon juice, parsley, almonds.
MIDDLE EAST: Pine nuts, olive oil, eggplant, raisins, parsley, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, mint, tarragon, cinnamon, dill, tahini, sesame seeds, bulgur, couscous, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, radishes, carrots, chickpeas, black olives, garlic, lentils.
INDIA: Cinnamon, coriander, cumin, fennel, cardamom, cloves, chiles, turmeric, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, cilantro, eggplant, ginger, spinach, lentils, chickpeas, green peas, basmati rice, grated coconut, tamarind pulp, cayenne, curry powder, black mustard seeds, mangoes.
CHINA: Mushrooms, ginger root, tamari soy sauce, sesame oil, scallions, rice vinegar, mirin, bok choy, peanut oil, garlic, chiles, chile paste, anise, water chestnuts, sesame seeds, cornstarch, sake, five-spice powder, Hoisin sauce, bean sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, carrots.
THAILAND: Lime juice, tamari soy sauce, chiles, ginger root, garlic, lemongrass, cilantro, coconut milk, curry powder, mushrooms, basil, Laos root, spearmint, cayenne, snow peas, peanut butter, bell peppers, mung beans, snow peas, chili sauce, peanut oil, cucumber.
CARIBBEAN: Pumpkin, winter squash, tomatoes, carrots, cayenne, ginger, cinnamon, curry powder, lime juice, avocados, grated coconut, coconut milk, bananas, rum, chiles, bell peppers, Bermuda onions, mangoes, black-eyed peas, brown rice.
MEXICO: Lime juice, cilantro, chiles, oregano, cumin, avocados, tomatoes, tomatillos, bell peppers, black beans, coriander, annatto seeds.
FRANCE: Rosemary, olive oil, carrots, potatoes, herbs de Provence, capers, garlic, olives, zucchini, tarragon, thyme, green beans, leeks, eggplant, marjoram, balsamic vinegar, wine, basil, Dijon mustard, chard.
ITALY: Capers, olive oil, eggplant, mushrooms, garlic, olives, rosemary, oregano, arborio rice, basil, oregano, plum tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, cannellini beans, zucchini, wine, spinach, broccoli, chard.
WHERE TO FIND THE GOODS: Farmer's markets are everywhere in late summer. You can go straight to the source, too. Many farms and ranches even offer tours so children can see where we get our food. Most deliver as well.
CURE ORGANIC FARM AND MARKET, Boulder for produce, pork, beef, poultry, honey cureorganicfarm.com
OLLIN FARMS, Longmont for produce, flowers, artisanal productsollingfarms.com
SKY PILOT FARM, Longmont for pork, lamb, beef and eggs skypilotfarm.com
BLACK CAT FARM, Boulder for produce, meats and poultry blackcatboulder.com
EWE BET RANCH, Loveland for lamb, wool ewebetranch.com
SAVORY SPICE, Founded in Colorado, Savory Spice Shops are located in Denver and downtown Littleton for spices, specialty ingredients. savoryspiceshop.com
Michele Morris is a professional recipe developer and food photographer who leads food and wine tours in Italy. Visit cookingwithmichele.com
Global improv in the kitchen has replaced global travel in 2020 for arts and culture writer Kimberly Field.
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