Mother-Son Night at World Cup

World Cup Fever hit hard in my house.

So did the regular fever, which turned out to be strep—but it only derailed our mad spectating skills for one night. More on that in a minute.

No sooner had Sundance ended, than my family was plotting out our strategy to be spectators at the VISA Freestyle International . We decided that the moguls on Thursday would be my mother-son night with Lance—in part to compensate for my all-day birthday ski date with Seth earlier in the week, while Lance was busy being a third grader. Said third-grader wasted no time telling his teacher that he’d be out late Thursday at the World Cup. Thankfully, Park City teachers get it—Lance said Ms. Thompson was really excited for him.

The buildup was immense—so when we got home from karate and I discovered that little brother had a fever, I saw Lance try to mask his disappointment at the prospect of missing out on our evening. Dad, of course, saw no reason for us to change our plans—all Seth needed was one parent in the house to take care of him. Mom and brother? Redundant.

So, we bundled up and off we went. I can safely say there was nothing the kid did not enjoy about the World Cup—from the walk through the parking lot to the chairlift ride with no skis, to the hike up the bottom of Little Stick. Seeing all the kids (and some adults) sliding on their bottoms off the runout on the bottom of Solid Muldoon was a hoot, too. And then…the holy grail:  We were lucky enough to be invited to the VIP Tent, so my soup-loving boy got to enjoy a second dinner of Tomato Basil Soup and unlimited cookies.

And this kid—he may be but a yellow belt in karate, but he’s got a black-belt in events. “Mom, it’s warm in the tent, and we’re bundled up—let’s take our soup outside and eat where it’s cooler,” he said, wisely. “Plus, we won’t miss a minute of competition!”

And, of course, the competition was amazing.

In the process, I think I found the phrase that will make my kids roll their eyes in that “Mom, you’re such a dork, you always say that!” way that teenagers acquire. It is…

“You know, if you were growing up in New York City, you would not get to do this!”

Admittedly, it’s kind of a preemptive strike against the kind of groaning I have anticipated as soon as my kids figure out that my old life as an Entertainment Editor in New York City involved premiere tickets to just about every major studio release, house seats to popular Broadway shows, and concert tickets with backstage access at lots and lots and lots of teenybopper concerts. I once said to Ski Dad that I wondered if, for all the effort we put into moving to Utah and creating a certain kind of life here, if our kids would “reward” us by lusting after city life, as a sort of karmic joke. (I was the originator of that particular bit—growing up in Vermont, I pined, pined I tell you, for life in the big city. Three cities and twelve years later, I was done.)

So, yes, I went ahead and made that statement, aloud, to Lance as we got ready to watch the women’s and men’s moguls’ competition on Thursday night. Shameless.

But something cool happened. Lance got the same look of awe on his face watching the competition as he got when I took him to see American Idol Live on Tour, or the first time he watched Star Wars. He was both completely absorbed in being entertained, and impressed with what it took to make this entertainment happen. And you know what? Even though mom’s job still have the kind of perks that get us into VIP tents, that wasn’t the thing that impressed him about the experience:

“Mom, look how good they are,” he said. “I’m thinking about how hard they all worked to get here. It’s a lot of work, isn’t it, Mom?”

For once, I just shut my mouth and let the experience speak for itself.

Thanks, Lance.

Dinner at The Mariposa

Each mountain range has its summits and among them, there’s always a towering giant that dwarfs the rest of the peaks.  The same is true for great mountain dining. Without a doubt, if Rocky Mountain Dining were like a formidable chain of mountains, The Mariposa at Deer Valley Resort would be its Mt. Everest….

Dining at The Mariposa doesn’t take the courage or skills required for a seasoned mountain expedition though. It’s conveniently located at Silver Lake Lodge, mid-mountain, but the short winding road that leads to its door guarantees both a quick and easy access from the valley below. Inside, a rustic, yet very elegant decor, along with an attentive and expert staff, greets the diners.

Last Friday night, my wife and I made the trip up to this pinnacle of fine dining and both had a wonderful time. Our table was tucked into a quiet corner near the fireplace and still provided us with a full view of the restaurant’s beautiful dining room.

We began by sharing a new appetizer, the Fruits de Mer, which consisted of a selection of ahi, crab, scallop and oysters that all blended beautifully and were the perfect prelude for preparing our taste buds for the delights that would follow.

We then sampled the Burrata salad with fresh basil and cherry heirloom tomatoes, along with some fresh mozzarella and baby arugula, all seasoned with a delightful olive oil and balsamic dressing that was fresh, light and delicately savory.

For the main course, we couldn’t resist the appeal of the Seared Bison Filets that were seasoned with foie gras, cipollini onions, St. André cheese and accompanied by a wonderful gratin as well as a marvelous wine sauce. This beautifully lean meat was fabulously cooked and was nothing short of exquisite. This was the crowning moment of the evening, the very top of this culinary Everest!

For wine, we picked an Alexana Pinot Noir, from Oregon, which we found light, yet bursting with fine tannins, a “finish” that never ceased and that proved perfectly balanced for the menu we had composed.

To prepare us for our descent, we selected the special Deer Valley cheesecake and the flan, accompanied with macarons and amaretto crème anglaise. They both were delectable and completed a wonderful evening that, we felt, took us even higher than Mt. Everest, right up to Cloud Nine!

Reservations can be made by calling 435-645-6632, between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Upping the Ante on Bribes

By now, dear reader, you know that I am never on the mountain without a stash of bribery candy in my pockets. So I’m thrilled to report that Deer Valley has given me some new ammo in this department. Quincy’s–a kids’ self-service frozen yogurt bar, complete with exciting (and classic!) toppings like gummy bears and crushed Oreo cookies, is located in the Next Gen boutique across the hall from the lower level locker room and bag check.  

I had hinted to my kids of its existence on a recent ski day—and as soon as we finished our runs, my kids asked, “Did we earn some frozen yogurt?” They loved choosing their flavors and toppings—Don’t tell our orthodontist, but even Big Guy, who had acquired braces earlier in the week, partook of the sweets. He’s a chocoholic, so the fudge sauce suited him just fine. “Mom, don’t worry,” he assured me, as I broke the news to him that gummy and crunchy toppings were not on his menu. “Fudge sauce definitely counts as a topping in my book.” Yes, Dr. Maxfield, we brushed copiously upon our return home!

The yogurt café sits behind a knee wall within NextGen. Naturally, I took the opportunity to browse for items in my size—petite types get away with shopping in the kids’ store and, yes, in the kids’ sizes, too. I was impressed with the variety of style and price points. Meanwhile, our style-conscious Little Guy took the opportunity to peruse the merchandise from his yogurt-eating perch.

“Look!” he demanded. “Look. At. That. JACKET! It’s super-cool. I want it.”

Ski Dad and I had to admit, it was super-cool. Brown pleather bomber jacket with tons of Top Gun-style patches and a faux-fur lining. I could almost hear Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards shouting, “I feel the need, the need…for…SPEED!” Which could not be more appropriate for the type of “bombing” down the hill that Little Guy had displayed just half an hour earlier. Quickly, he lost interest in his yogurt and demanded that he be allowed to try it on.

As he put the jacket on, he assumed a “tough guy” stance and a grin as big as they get.

Needless to say, Hanukkah came a few days early.

Holiday Wine Tips

If you have been trying to pair wine to go with your holiday parties Clint Strohl, Deer Valley’s Resort Restaurant Operations Manager has some tips!

“Keep it Simple” The holidays are at times stressful, do not let a wine choice become stressful as well.

What you like to drink is just as important as what others say you should or should not be drinking with holiday meals. Do not worry about the perfect food match

Reason to not worry about the perfect food match:  Sweetness and complexity. Holiday meals often involve “Glazed” foods. Think glazed ham. This sweetness will not compliment any dry wine in fact quite the opposite. The sweetness will wash-out all the wine’s attributes. Holiday meals are made up of simple foods, but we tend to serve a lot simple foods together which introduces just too many flavors for any one wine to be complimentary to all foods.

My Holiday Utility Pair: Dry Riesling from Germany and California Pinot Noir. While not perfect this pair will do well enough to provide pleasant drinking with most holiday meals.

Happy Holidays!

 

Eat, Drink and Be Merry!

Jodie Rogers, Deer Valley Executive Chef shared the recipe for Deer Valley’s

Hot (Haute) Chocolate, with an adult beverage twist.

Hot Haute Chocolate

Yields: 50 Ounces, 2 oz. servings.

-10 oz. Dried Milk Powder, Grind in Cuisinart before measuring

-1 lb. Vanilla sugar (To make vanilla sugar grind seeds of 2 vanilla beans with 32 ounces of sugar in Cuisinart)

- ¾ Teaspoon Salt

- ¾ Teaspoon Cinnamon

- 3 pinches of cayenne

- ¼ Teaspoon Espresso Powder (optional)

- Peppermint Schnapps add to taste

[Note: 8 ounces of mix to 2 cups of boiling water. Individual serving is 2 ounces to ½ cup water, use less water if a richer flavor is preferred.

1)      Make Vanilla Sugar. Keep as mise en place.

2)      Combine all ingredients, whisk to combine well

3)      Add espresso powder if desired

4)      Add Peppermint Schnapps to taste

5)      Serve with whipped cream and a candy cane

You can also stop by Deer Valley Grocery ~Café to try a Hot Haute Chocolate.

 

If you are also looking for food for your Christmas, let the Elves do the cooking!

Deer Valley is offering a Christmas take-away menu this year. All orders must be received by Thursday, December 22nd and may be picked up December 24th after noon or Sunday, December 25th by 6:30 p.m.  435-615-2400

Items available on the menu:

WILD MUSHROOM SAUCE ~ wild mushrooms, shallots, red wine, beef stock (32 oz, serves 4-6) ~ $12.00

LEMON THYME SAUCE ~ turkey gravy, fresh thyme, lemon (32 oz, serves 4-6) ~ $12.00

**CRANBERRY CHUTNEY ~ cranberries, mango chutney  (16oz) ~ $10.75 ~ GF

*DEER VALLEY ROASTED GARLIC MASHERS ~ new red potatoes, roasted garlic (serves 4) ~ $12.00 ~ GF

**STEAMED GREEN BEANS ~ sautéed shiitake mushrooms, garlic enhanced olive oil, toasted almond and red chard garnish (serves 4) ~ $12.00 ~ GF

*ROASTED ACORN SQUASH ~ Jack Daniels brown sugar butter, (serves 4) ~ $12.00 (GF by request)

*HOMEMADE STRUAN BREAD, WILD RICE STUFFING granny smith apples, dried cranberries, wild mushrooms, shallots, fresh sage (serves 4) ~ $9.50 add chicken and apple sausage ~ $12.00

*Vegetarian  **Vegan  GF=gluten free

Dessert Recipe For Your Holidays

This holiday season; surprise your guests with delicious Deer Valley Lemon bars. Executive Pastry Chef Letty Flatt, shared her recipe for Deer Valley’s President Bob Wheaton’s favorite sweet treat at the resort.

Lemon Bars
2 cups plus ¼ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup plus 1 ½ cups sugar

8 ounces unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces

½ teaspoon baking powder

4 eggs

4 teaspoons grated lemon zest

½ cup lemon juice

Confectioners’ sugar, to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Mix the first 2 cups of flour with the first ½ cup of sugar. Cut in the butter, mixing until the dough resembles sand. Press evenly into the bottom and a little bit up the sides of a 9 x13-inch baking pan. Bake about 15 minutes until the crust loses its shine and barely begin to show a hint of color.  Cool.

Sift the remaining 1/4 cup of flour with the remaining 2 cups of sugar and the baking powder into a large mixing bowl.  In another bowl, beat together the eggs and lemon zest and juice; then mix into the sugar/flour mixture until the ingredients are homogenous. Pour over the pre-baked crust. Bake until the filling has set and the edges are light golden—about 20 minutes. Cool. Chill. Cut into 2” squares. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Makes about 24 lemon bars.

 

Letty Flatt, Deer Valley Resort

Thanksgiving in the Bakery

Thanksgiving Day? How about Thanksgiving LIFE?

Living in Park City is an exercise in daily gratitude… for my life. That I am raising two boys with a love of the mountains, a love of skiing, alongside a spouse who appreciates it as much as I do is a gift. It’s always touching and amusing to hear the “I’m Thankful For…” moments at our Thanksgiving table, because they may include things like, “fresh powder,” and “new skis,” and “Star Wars Lego sets!” which perfectly offset my emotional mush ball moment of praising the virtues of each of my children—I’m generally overwhelmed with gratitude for their health, their dad’s, my own, and all eight of my children’s grandparents and two great-grandparents. The blessings are plentiful—and it feels like bad luck to count them.

However, it doesn’t escape me that the blessings are many outside my home as well. Like the fact that I get to make friends with likeminded folks—from my ski-buddy-moms to Deer Valley’s celebrated pastry chef, Letty Flatt.

Yesterday, I walked into the buzzing Snow Park Bakery, and found four bakers hard at work. Letty took time out of the pie-making rush to introduce me to her hardworking team–-including a new-to-DV baker, Sung Yup (favorite Thanksgiving tradition: “Playing football with my friends.”) Given that the team had 58 pies on order when I arrived (and 60 when I left, since my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner is ordering the pies), the hands were much-needed.

Letty (favorite Thanksgiving Tradition: “Skiing Snowbird on fresh powder.” Deer Valley, of course, doesn’t open til December. See below for Letty’s DV favorites.) was quick to offer me a ginger snap cookie—made from the gingersnap pie crust she uses for the pumpkin pies. “The recipe is my sister-in-law’s,” she told me. “Gingersnap crust and orange zest in the filling. Look, Dana is rolling out gingersnap crust over there, Sung Yup is working on regular crust—wait, let’s get your order, now.”

What’s amazing to me about Letty, who has worked at Deer Valley since Day One, is that she isn’t frenetic in her demeanor. Everything is organized, matter-of-fact. “I like people, so I like the bakery when there are about five people, each with their own project, each with our own space,” she said, reaching for a bowl of cream that was poised to go into a test wedding cake for a bride and groom. “But some days, we’re so busy we have six or more crammed around the work stations.”

Back to my pie order—she and Debbie who heads up the Snow Park bakery operations, gently guided me to their favorites.

“You should try the Apple-Cheddar pie, it’s something special,” said Debbie.

“No pumpkin?” Letty wondered, as if to say WHY?

“Chocolate silk,” I said. “It will make my eight year-old so happy.”

“He’s the one who likes the chocolate cup at the Seafood Buffet, right?”

Letty’s love for people is evident in her recall of certain people’s dessert preferences.

Nervous my family would revolt at the idea of cheese invading their favorite pie, I ordered a simple apple pie, instead. Still, as a Vermonter, the idea of some cheddar in there was appealing.

Debbie then handed me a wrapped-up bundle of Snow Park Bakery dog treats. “It’s Bark City,” she said. “We bake for the whole family here.”

Needless to say, I was very popular when I arrived home later that night. Letty had sent me off with a care package of Deer Valley cookies. Once all were plied with treats, I floated the idea of the Cheddar Apple Pie. The notion was greeted with a resounding, “Yum!” I made a note to call Debbie the next morning and change my order. And when I did, she didn’t laugh—she sounded, however, utterly pleased.

And, dear reader, I did not leave without getting Letty Flatt’s Deer Valley

Ideal ski day: “I’m with my husband, of course, and there is 8” minimum of fresh powder. We’re on the first chair. We ski Empire, because it has the best snow—it’s the only part of the mountain that gets the Lake Effect snow from Salt Lake City. And we go, go, go until about 11:30And then home.”

Crack of Noon Club: “We have very social ski days, too. We meet friends, but we compete to see who can arrive the latest.”

Favorite food: “The whole wheat crust pizza at Silver Lake—it’s vegetarian, and I love it.”

Favorite DV indulgence: “Mariposa’s desserts. And, I have to say, I tend to always gravitate toward the Seafood Buffet. We have guests who will go there more than once during a vacation, so we make sure to mix up the menus a couple of times a week.”