It’s off to the mountains this week in our continuing tour. Denver, the current host of the Democratic National Convention, is also the capital. The name of the state means “ruddy” or “colored red” in Spanish, which probably has something to do with the first Spanish explorers visiting there in the 1500s. Colorado was claimed by Spain but became part of the US in that great land deal, the Louisiana Purchase, so we now benefit from excellent skiing, omelets, stegosaurus remains and the pinto bean capital of the world.
With the Olympics now over, it is interesting to note that Denver is the only city to turn down hosting an Olympics. In 1976, the winter games were slated to be held there but the citizens of Denver voted to just say No and the games were relocated.
My grandpa would have appreciated the wild west history of Colorado; Doc Holliday ended his days from tuberculosis there and Kit Carson established the first military post.
So with a pedigree like that, I can hardly offer up the Denver Omelet as a taste of the Centennial State. Though Colorado produces the most lamb in the US and is famous for its beef and buffalo, I thought I’d bring the pumpkin to the table. Why the pumpkin? Well, a landmark restaurant in Denver named The Fort convinced me of the long long history of this veggie in Colorado history.
It seems that the pumpkin has been making appearances in Colorado since 400 CE, which is considerably longer than the state itself has been around. It was a tried and true food of the pioneers and was used in bartering for buffalo hides. If that isn’t bona fides enough for you, fall is coming and we can always use another good pumpkin recipe, right? So, check out these Pumpkin Walnut muffins made at The Fort Restaurant in Denver:
“5 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups dry powdered milk
4 tablespoons baking powder
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
4 large eggs (size does make a difference!)
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups water
2 20-ounce cans pumpkin (not pie filling)
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease 3-inch muffin tins or line with paper.
Mix all the ingredients together. The batter should be easily scoopable. If it is too thick, add a little more water. Fill the tins three-quarters full and bake for 40-45 minutes. Let the muffins cool before removing from the pan.
Because they are so moist, these reheat beautifully.”