Monday, May 13, 2013

"Walking Salt Lake City" Takes Fitness To The Streets

Last summer I bought a copy of "Walking Salt Lake City" by Lynn Arave and Ray Boren (Wilderness Press, $17.95). The fact that I used to work with both of them at the Deseret News was what first piqued my interest.  

I spent a lot of the winter reading the book's fascinating "back stories" and historical notes about the locations, thinking that once spring hit I might enjoy following some of the routes.  Alas, a torn meniscus sidelined my plans, and my post-surgery knee isn't quite ready to take it to the streets yet.  
But I've familiar with a quite a few of the 32 walks in th ebook, after working in Salt Lake City for ten years. And as a Davis County resident, the Farmington/Lagoon trail loop and Antelope Island walks brought back some family memories. When my kids were young, I would take them for a walk & picnic on the Lagoon trail, as my husband worked the graveyard shift and needed some quiet to sleep.   

 I did write about the book for my Standard-Examiner column this week.  The walking routes stretch from Dimple Dell in Sandy on the south, to Antelope Island on the north. They vary in distance from a quarter-mile around the Temple Quarry in Little Cottonwood Canyon to five miles in the Avenues.Each walk has a map, degree of difficulty, clear route directions, background about the location and points of interest to see along the way.
Walking gives you a chance to soak in all of the little tidbits and architecture that you miss when you drive through a neighborhood, Arave told me.
He once considered walking a second-rate workout. “But I discovered that as you age and injuries may prevent running or hiking, walking is the granddaddy of all exercises — for young or old, it is poetry in motion.”
 Through writing about hikes in the Grand Canyon, Arave became acquainted with outdoor author Greg Witt with Wilderness Press. When the company decided to add Salt Lake City to its series on urban walks, Witt recommended Arave, since he worked in Salt Lake City at the time.
Arave asked Boren, a retired Deseret News editor, to co-author it, “because we work well together, and Ray is a great photographer and lives in Salt Lake City.”
Boren and Arave first brainstormed, scouring the Internet and maps for ideas. They did 90 percent of the walks together, documenting them as they went.
“Parley’s Park and the Peace Gardens were unknown to me previously, and yet gems for walkers,” Arave said. “We both had no idea that the Miller Bird Park, a pocket of nature at 1500 E. 1050 South, existed. Even some locals near that area had never discovered it.”
Boren, a Salt Lake City native who has enjoyed walking its streets, said some of the routes they devised made him look at the locations in a different, more segmented way.
“South Temple and the Avenues will always be among my favorite routes, both for their history and their familiarity to me, for I lived on Salt Lake City’s F Street for more than a dozen years,” Boren said. “I also enjoyed rediscovering the International Peace Gardens at Jordan Park, which I had visited often as a child, and exploring more of the Jordan River Parkway.”
He noted that Antelope Island is more rural than most of the other walks.
“We specifically included it as a way of extending the reach of the book to the lake that gave Salt Lake City its name — and to introduce it to visitors and Utah residents alike,” Boren said.
Arave said the Temple Square “Mormon Mecca” chapter was the hardest to do, “as we could only scratch the surface on the detail we saw on our walk there. Mount Olivet Cemetery was such a fabulous place that we made it a separate walking route, as strange as that sounds.”
The “backstories” make it a fun read, even if you never take a step on any of the routes. For instance, there are details about the Gilgal Gardens, with its sphinx-like bust of Mormon prophet Joseph Smith and scriptures carved into sculptures.
“Ray and I had both learned a lot of history during our long newspaper careers and it came in very handy for this book,” said Arave. “For space reasons, not all our backstories made it into print, though.”
Another publishing limitation is that Boren’s photos are printed in black and white. To enjoy their beauty in color, you can check out the “Walking Salt Lake City” Facebook page.
The book is written for both tourists and locals. “We tried to write the book as if the reader knew nothing of Salt Lake,” said Arave.
Since Arave lives in Davis County, one would hope that his next book would feature more Top of Utah walks. But don’t hold your breath.
“I think the publisher is doing the larger cities first,” said Arave. “Ogden would be down the road a long ways.”

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Allgood Provisions Utah Cherries — It's All Good

Allgood Provisions' Utah Cherries recently were named one of Clean Eating magazine's Clean Choice Award Winners in the snack category.  This is the magazine's second annual awards.
 I was recently forwarded a review sample of these dried organic red tart cherries, which come from a family farm south of Spanish Fork. They have a deep, tart-sweet flavor that makes them good for snacking or tossing into a salad. Cherries and a small amount of organic sunflower oil are the only ingredients. (It must be a pretty small amount, as a 1/4 cup serving contains about a half-gram of fat.  
That 1/4-cup serving also gives you 10 percent of the daily value for vitamin A, 2 percent of calcium, and 2 percent of iron.  

Allgood Provisions sent me a package of their dried blueberries that are bursting with strong berry flavor.  They look like tiny  raisins, and they're sweetened with a bit hint of cane sugar.  Knowing that blueberries are high in antioxidants and vitamins, I was perplexed when I read the Nutrition Facts on the back of the package and saw that a serving contains zero percent of the daily values for vitamins A and C, as well as calcium and iron. 

"Blueberries are high in vitamins, including Vitamin A and potassium," said Jake Boyd, company founder. "Because the FDA calculates nutrient value percentages on serving sizes of 100 grams and does not allow reporting fractional percentages, anything below 0.5 percent is reported as zero. Hence, the serving size of our Wild Blueberries is 30 grams and the Vitamin A is 0.35 percent per serving." 
Allgood Provisions, headquartered in Park City, Utay,  products offer only certified organic products free of harmful pesticides, growth hormones and synthetic fertilizers.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Standard-Examiner Cooking Show at WSU May 9

Presto Zuppa Toscana from my cookbook, "Soup's On!"
This Thursday, May 9, I'm going to be the "warm-up act" for the Relish Cooking Show at Weber State University. The show, sponsored by the Standard-Examiner, actually begins at 7 p.m., but the doors open at 4 p.m. so that people have plenty of time to check out the vendors and find themselves a seat. 

So I'll be cooking Preso Zuppa Toscana and Quick Chicken Tortilla Soup with Avocado from my cookbook, "Soup's On!"  And if you get there in time, you can slurp a soup sample while you shop!

In preparation for the show, I interviewed Relish magazine’s chef and cooking show director Brian Morris. He said that there's been a surge of interest in home cooking, but people often don't learn the basics.

“What we’ve found recently is that there are a lot of folks who really would have so much more fun in the kitchen if they were confident about a few key things,” Morris said.
In the Relish show, he teaches some of those basics — “like perfect roasted chicken, perfect stir-frying, perfect poaching. These are little things that make such a huge difference in so many recipes you do.”
Morris, who was trained at The French Culinary Institute in New York City, travels with Relish magazine’s show almost 12 months out of the year. He can also be found on the Relish Facebook page every Tuesday as the “Chef in Your Pocket.”
There, he answers all sorts of cooking questions, sometimes posting short, impromptu videos.
Morris worked at Le Cirque 2000 and Jacques Torres Chocolates and as a private cooking instructor with a client list that includes Derek Jeter, Ally Sheedy, Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, Clint Black and Lisa Hartman.
“I’ve had a chance to work with a lot of really fun people, and each had a different thing they wanted to figure out,” he said of his celebrity clients. “One of them had never made Thanksgiving dinner for the family, and wanted to be able to do this wonderful dinner for them.
“Another wanted to know how to cook with a limited amount of time throughout the week. Another person wanted to learn about Asian cuisines. But it all went back to learning the basics.”
Morris said the cooking show talks technique in a fun, entertaining way.
“People leave with a lot of tools for their culinary tool belt, but they are also going to have their sides sore from laug

hing, because we have a lot of fun,” he said. “It makes a great date night or a family night.”  
Tickets to the show are $12 if bought in advance at, or $14 at the door.

Thompson Family Pecan Farm in Southern Utah

Thompson Family Pecan Farm in Hurricane, Utah.
A couple of years ago, I saw the sign for the Thompson Family Pecan Farm when my family was vacationing at the Sand Hollow recreation are near Hurricane. 
I was curious, so when I knew I'd be in Southern Utah in March, I called the owner, Tim Thompson, for an interview.  I wrote a column about the farm in this week's Standard-Examiner  --  

Utah isn't well known for raising nuts — at least, not the edible kind. But in pioneer times, the Mormon settlers called the area "Dixie" because of its warm climate. They tried to make a go of typical Southern crops such as cotton, silkworms, grapes and pecans.  I think the cotton fields died out a long time ago, but a few pecans trees are still growing in yards in Washington County. Pecans generally thrive in the Southern states because of the warm temperatures and long growing season.

Pecan trees were originally brought to Washington County by Mormon missionaries who had been to the southern United States, Thompson said. “There are pecan trees in the South that are over 400 years old.” 
Pecan trees at the Thompson's farm in Hurricane, Utah.
“This little corner of Washington County has the right climate for pecans,” he said. “It’s a little too hot in St. George, as the trees are stressed by the heat. But we’re at 3,000-foot elevation here, so it’s not as hot.”
The 206 pecan trees on the five-acre farm were already there when Tim and his wife, Lea, bought it 26 years ago. Each tree produces 50-70 pounds of nuts each year. 
After planting, Thompson said, it takes about 15 years for the trees to reach their full production level, but you get smaller crops in between.
“They take a lot of maintenance,” he added. “They need a specialized fertilizer program, and a micro-nutrient spray program. We have moisture gauges in the ground that tell us how much water to put on. And there’s pruning to do in the winter. There’s always something to do. But, I enjoy working outside.”
Tim Thompson sells his pecans at the farm in Hurricane.
The pecans are harvested in early winter, using a tree shaker to drop the nuts.
“The actual harvest, if you include everything, takes about a month,” Thompson said.
Shelling the pecans involves six machines, he said.
Thompson's six kids all worked on the farm, helping raise watermelon, cantaloupe and tomatoes as well as the pecans.
“The kids are all college-educated now and not interested in farming,” Thompson observed. “They will probably sell the place when I’m dead.”
The nuts are sold at the farm and by telephone or mail order. On the afternoon that I visited the store, several people had stopped in to buy bags of them. The price reflects the amount of effort that goes into raising them. Pecan halves are $8.51 per pound; pieces are $8.42 per pound.
“I don’t advertise, but I always manage to sell out every year,” he said. “We keep them in freezer storage from the time they are shelled, so they’re absolutely more fresh than what you would get in a grocery store. There’s no comparison.”
You can order them by phone, 435-635-4921, or by mail at 2012 S. Flora Tech 79-3, Hurricane, UT 84737.

On a trip to New Orleans, I learned to make pralines, which are a popular local treat. Pralines aren’t too hard to make at home. If they turn too crumbly, use them as an ice cream topping and call it pralines ’n’ cream.
Pecan Pralines
 1 pound light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups coarsely broken pecans
1 cup heavy whipping cream
In a 4-quart heavy saucepan, combine all of the above ingredients. Stir over medium-high heat and bring to a slight rolling boil. Cook until mixture reaches 240 degrees (about 232 degrees for most Utah altitudes) on a candy thermometer.
Remove from heat and allow to cool 5 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, beat vigorously until mixture begins to thicken and the mixture loses its gloss. (The color will change distinctly). Quickly drop by a tablespoon onto sheets of parchment paper that has been lightly sprayed with Pam spray. Allow to set. This should take about 20 minutes or more.
To vary the flavors, add the following to the pot in the beginning of the recipe:
Chocolate pralines: 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Orange: 2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur
Coconut: Omit pecans and add 1 cup shredded coconut.
Peanut butter/chocolate: Omit pecans and use 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup peanut butter
— Chiqui Collier, New Orleans Cooking Experience cooking school

Monday, May 6, 2013

Chipotle's Teacher Appreciation Day Offers BOGO Burritos

 Chipotle is putting teachers at the head of the class this Teacher Appreciation Day with a special “buy-one-get-one-free” promotion. On Tuesday, May 7, 2013, teachers and educators who show a valid school ID identifying them as staff will receive a free burrito, salad, burrito bowl or order of tacos when they purchase another menu item at Chipotle Mexican Grill. This promotion is available from 4:00 p.m. to close in all U.S. Chipotle restaurants.
Chipotle is celebrating teachers and educators and the work they do as part of the National Education Association’s Teacher Appreciation Day. This promotion is only open to teachers and educators who show a valid school ID identifying them as staff. This deal will only be honored for dine in or take out and excludes online orders, fax orders, mobile orders, “Burritos by the Box” and catering.

For more information, please go to any Chipotle restaurant or visit