By Caitlin Switzer
MONTROSE—As temperatures drop and tables sag beneath the harvest season bounty, local foodies look forward to cre- ating tantalizing dishes that showcase some regional favorites.
For Krista Montalvo of Ginger Magnolia Catering, fall vegetables are a source of excitement.
“I love, love, love green chile!” Montal- vo said. “I keep some in my freezer—I like to make it without meat; it can be very
flavorful. I also like to put some in the crock pot with a pork shoulder.”
For green chili, Montalvo uses such tra- ditional ingredients as sauted onions and tomatillos, and occasionally opts for a white bean chili with chicken.
“It depends on the mood I am in,” she said. “I also really like traditional red chili. I just brown ground beef, and add diced tomatoes, kidney beans, organic chili pow- der and salt and pepper, dump some water in and let it go. We eat it plain, and I love to use it on hot dogs.”
Donn Wagner of Simmer (320 Main St.) loves to use dried, fresh chiles like Guajil- los in fall dishes.
“The heat is moderate, and you can go up and down from there,” Wagner said. “There’s no fiery taste like there is with jalapeños or Cajun peppers, it’s more rounded and softer. I’ll be doing butternut squash with Guajillo or Pasilla peppers for rich flavor and richer color.”
Wagner said that his favorite fall soups are made from butternut squash or Pobla- no chiles. Wild mushrooms are another seasonal favorite for many, although dry conditions have made some favorites, such as Chan- terelles, a scarcity this season.
“Crepes are really good for using mush-
rooms,” Montalvo said. “If I have Chante- relles, I keep things real simple—maybe a Chanterelle and Wild Rice crepe, or a Chicken Marsala over a creamy risotto.”
The rarity of the usual fall mushrooms has resulted in some creativity in the kitchen, noted Art Goodtimes, a longtime fungophile who has been involved with the Telluride Mushroom Festival (held this year from Aug. 16-19) for many years.
“It has been an interesting season,” Goodtimes said. “I thought it was going to be hopeless, but we have had non-stop rain in Telluride lately. There are not many Chanterelles, although people have found some on the divide. My buddy brought me some, but it took him five hours and lots of hiking to find them. There have been a few Boletes, although not many, but what we are really seeing are Hawks Wings—in fact, they won the Mushroom Festival cook-off this year.”
Usually that honor goes to a dish made with Chanterelles, Goodtimes noted.
“This was unprecedented,” he said, “and really exciting for people like me—Hawks Wings are delicious! I love them sautéed and put in sour cream or yogurt—it makes the flavor better. Straight up they can be a little strong, but they make an excellent, sumptuous stroganoff.”