Happyness in Keystone

I’ve always been a little envious of people who have managed to land what I would consider to be a “glamorous job”. Not that my job is terrible, or that I’ve ever sought out a position of this classification, but the thought of having a hard-to-come-by job sure does sound alluring.

Shockingly, my experiences at a work conference in Keystone, Colorado earlier this week lifted my job out of the “standard” category and closer to “glamorous”, even if just temporarily.

The first day I enjoyed the spa with a 60-minute massage and a long work out in the gym.

The next day I had the pleasure of listening to speaker Chris Gardner, who is played by Will Smith, in the movie The Pursuit of Happyness. It was amazing how poised and impactful Chris was as he shared the story of his struggles and his success. He was hysterical, inspirational and incredibly touching and I felt so grateful to have heard him speak.

Following the speaker, my afternoon activity led me into the kitchen of Keystone Resort where I watched a grilling demonstration by Executive Chef Steven Nguyen. If you’re thinking the work conference I was at sounds very unique, so was I! We were taken on a tour of the commercial kitchen, while learning about the culinary team’s capabilities of creating almost every dish, sauce, bread and pastry from scratch, while serving up to 2,000 people at one time. After the tour we were led into the cooking classroom for the demonstration and tasting of the three dishes that were delectable summer treats. It was so interesting watching the chef prepare the food, while noting useful tips as he moved through the courses.

We started with Grilled Palisade Peaches with Honey Balsamic Glaze and Marscarpone Cheese and Proscuitto. The next course was Cilantro Pesto Grilled Prawns and Grilled Artichoke Hearts with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce. For dessert we had Grilled Pound Cake and Pineapple Sundae with Raspberry Sauce. The second course was my favorite, as I could not get enough of the incredible Roasted Red Pepper Sauce. Below is the recipe for recreating at home. There are a lot of steps but I think it’s really worth it!

Even though the conference wasn’t all glamorous, per say, I could definitely get used to this!

Keystone Resort kitchen

40 and 60 gallon stock pots

Chef demonstrating basil chiffonade

Grilled Peach with Proscuitto and Marscarpone

Cilantro Pesto Grilled Prawns and Grilled Artichoke Hearts with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

What you need for the Pesto:
– 2 cups firmly packed fresh cilantro
– 3 cloves garlic, chopped
– 3 tablespoons pine nuts
– ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
– 1/8 cup fresh lime juice
– ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
– Salt and Pepper to taste

What to do:
– In a food processor, combined cilantro, garlic, pine nuts and lime juice and process until smooth.
– Add oil and process until a smooth paste forms.
– Pour pesto into a bowl and stir in the cheese.
– Season to taste with salt and pepper.
– Set aside until ready to serve.

What you need for the Shrimp:
– 1 lb jumbo shrimp peeled, deveined and tails removed
– ¼ cup fresh lime juice
– ¼ cup olive oil

What to do:
– Place shrimp in a nonreactive bowl and add the lime juice and oil. Toss to coat evenly.
– Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
– Grill the shrimp directly on the heat elements, turning once, until opaque throughout, about 2½ – 3 minutes per side.
– Toss the shrimp with a light coating of the pesto and serve immediately.

What you need for the Artichokes:
– 4 whole artichokes or 4 marinated whole artichoke hearts from your local market
– Olive oil
– Garlic
– Italian seasoning

What to do:
– In a large stock boil the whole artichokes until they slightly under done, about 30 minutes. You do not want artichokes to be too tender or else they will fall apart during grilling.
– Once artichokes have completed cooled, remove all leaves and using a spoon, remove the choke, which is the prickly center.
– Marinate with oil, garlic and Italian seasoning
– Grill artichokes on medium heat, about 5 minutes on each side.
– If you are using store-bought marinated whole artichokes, skip the cooking steps and go right to the grilling step.

What you need for the Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
– 1 cup roasted red peppers
– 1 cup reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
– 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– Salt and Pepper to taste

What to do:
– In a blender combine red peppers, broth, vinegar and oil and process until smooth.
– Transfer mixture to a small saucepan and set over medium heat.
– Partially cover and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
– Season with salt and pepper.
– Once shrimp and artichokes are ready, ladle sauce onto the bottom of a plate and place shrimp and artichokes on top of sauce.

Preparing the Shrimp and Artichokes

Cilantro Pesto Grilled Prawns and Grilled Artichokes with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Grilled Pound Cake

Sundae Bar Spread with Grilled Pound Cake and Grilled Pineapple

My Ice Cream Sundae!

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