Home on the Range

It may not be possible to improve upon nature, but Evan Treadwell, Executive Chef of Tabernash’s Devil’s Thumb Ranch & Spa, comes close. A thread of sustainability weaves throughout Treadwell’s innovative dishes, all of which bear the hallmarks of his near-35-year career building a repertoire of finely-honed skills, carefully-cultivated professional relationships, and a refined sensibility working with local, sustainable sources.  

“I was impressed with and intrigued by what Devil’s Thumb owners Bob and Suzanne Fanch were doing, as well as what they envisioned for this incredible property,” Treadwell says. Devil’s Thumb’s ranking as one of Travel + Leisure magazine’s Top Eco-Friendly Resorts worldwide and the property’s long list of environmentally-responsible practices dovetailed nicely with Treadwell’s own earth-conscious philosophy. And since Treadwell came on board in June of 2011, the ranch has supported his initiatives, such as a recent venture to raise its own purebred Wagyu cattle—the first phase of the resort’s comprehensive pasture-to-plate program.

Taking advantage of the region’s vast array of microbreweries, Treadwell has dreamed up innovative food pairings with local and regional beers and now hosts beer-paired dinners at the ranch. “It’s a creative process of identifying what I’m tasting in the beer and what works to both complement and counter those nuances to elevate the dish.”

Beer is actually more versatile than wine in food pairing, Chef Treadwell attests. “The fat or butter richness in a dish can stand up to the hoppiness of the brew,” he explains. “Salmon is a fatty fish, and smoking it adds a toastiness which pairs with the carmelly aspect of the beer, while toasty, citrusy flavors complement the wheatiness of the brew.”  

Treadwell, a native Californian and firm believer in sustainability as a core value, has transcended the farm-to-table movement to become his own force in the industry. “The essence of California cuisine was just an attempt to do something fresh and simple,” he says. “The key is sourcing and understanding what’s in your local and regional environment. Once you have that matrix, you can go almost anywhere and achieve the highest quality possible.”


Slow-Braised Pork Shoulder with Spicy Greens and Andouille Grits
Beer Pairing:  G’Knight Imperial Red IPA
Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont, Colorado

4 Servings

1 pint water
1 cup salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
4 bay leaves
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, sliced julienne
1 orange, halved
1 lemon, halved
8 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 quart (4 cups) Oskar Blues G’knight
   Imperial Red IPA (chilled)
2 1/2 pounds pork roast from shoulder
4 Andouille Grit Cakes (recipe follows)
Braised Greens (recipe follows)

Make the brine: In a large pot, add the water, salt, peppercorns, sugar, bay leaves, sage, orange, lemon, garlic clove. Bring to a boil; stir and remove from heat; cool until room temperature. Add the cold beer and chill.

Place the pork shoulder in a deep container that will hold the brine and the pork (approximately a 4-quart container).

Pour brine over the pork; add more beer if needed to cover completely and place a plate over the pork to submerge it so it is completely covered with brine.

Brine for at least four hours or overnight. Remove the pork from brine onto a large plate and let cure for four more hours in the refrigerator uncovered.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a sheet pan or casserole dish with aluminum foil and place roasting rack on top. Place pork in the center of the rack and cook for 2-3 hours until tender. Pour drippings into measuring cup to reserve and let the roast cool.

In a small saucepan, heat the reserved drippings over medium heat with a little water to make a sauce, allowing to gently boil down until it coats the back of a spoon. Season to taste. Add up to 1 pint chicken stock if sauce becomes too thick.

To serve, carefully slice the pork shoulder into 6-ounce steaks. Warm a large nonstick pan to medium heat and sear each side of the pork steaks for 2-3 minutes until heated through and tender, being careful not to let the steak fall apart when transferring to a serving plate.

Place a warmed grit cake in the center of the plate, top with some braised greens and place a pork steak on top of the greens. Top with a few tablespoons of sauce.

Andouille Grit Cakes
1/4 cup quick-cooking grits
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup Andouille sausage, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup fontina cheese, grated
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs, mixed with 1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil

In a saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and whisk in grits and butter; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, just until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in sausage and cheese and cook three minutes more. Pour grits into a buttered pie pan, no more than a 1/2-inch thick. Set aside to cool, then firm up in
refrigerator for 1 hour.

Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out 4 cakes. Dredge grit cakes in eggs and dip into bread crumbs. Heat oil to medium heat in a skillet, add grit cakes and pan fry, turning until browned on both sides and warmed through.

Braised Greens
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound fresh spinach, stems removed,
   roughly chopped
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 pinch red chili flakes

Heat a 12-inch skillet to high heat. Add oil; let heat for 5 seconds, then add spinach and stir with a large wooden spoon for 30 more seconds. Add white wine and stir for 1 minute more until leaves are wilted. Finish with butter, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Keep warm in a small casserole dish until ready to plate.

Smoked Salmon Salad with Citrus, Hazelnuts and Fennel
Beer Pairing: HooDoo Kölsch Style Ale
Uinta Brewing Company, Salt Lake City, Utah

Four servings

1 salmon filet, approximately 1 pound

1 quart of water
8 ounces salt
5 ounces brown sugar

12 ounces mixed baby greens
3 ounces toasted hazelnuts, peeled and
   crushed into large pieces
1 fennel bulb, cleaned and shaved thin
8 ounces Lemon Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
5 ounces Mustard Crème Fraiche (recipe follows)

Make the brine: Pour water into a large saucepan; add salt and sugar and heat over medium to high heat until dissolved. Set aside to cool, then chill in the refrigerator. While the brine is chilling, prepare the salmon.

Check the salmon flesh for any bones and remove them; cut the salmon filet into four 3-to-4-ounce pieces (or ask your butcher to do this for you).

Layer the salmon in the chilled brine and ensure that the pieces are completely immersed. Brine in the refrigerator for one hour.

Remove the salmon from the brine, rinse under cold water and place to dry on a roasting rack; place rack with salmon in the refrigerator for four hours.

Smoke the salmon: Using a smoker, start a low fire in the smoke box and add some pre-soaked wood chips. Place the salmon in smoker. Gently bring the temperature up to 175 degrees F over a period of about 30 minutes and then smoke for another 20 minutes. Remove salmon from smoker and serve warm.

Make the salad: Place mixed greens in a medium bowl and add in toasted hazelnuts and shaved fennel; toss lightly with Lemon Vinaigrette.

To serve, use a small (6-inch) salad plate. Place approximately 1 cup of salad in the middle of the plate. Add the smoked salmon piece on salad and top with a dollop of Mustard Crème Fraiche.

Lemon Vinaigrette
1 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon sugar

In a small stainless steel bowl, whisk ingredients together until fully incorporated. Chill in refrigerator. Bring back to room temp to serve.

Mustard Crème Fraiche
4 tablespoons crème fraiche
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

In a small stainless steel bowl, mix crème fraiche and mustard until fully incorporated; do not overmix. Reserve in a 1-cup container until ready to serve.

Malted Barley Tortes
Beer Pairing: Ten FIDY Imperial Stout
Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont, Colorado
Pastry Chef: Benjie Puga

12 Servings

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate cook-and-serve
   pudding mix (unprepared)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons dark malted barley extract (may
    be purchased at a homebrew supply store)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 7 tablespoons buttermilk
1/4 cup whole milk    

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and sugar twelve 3-by-2-inch ramekins.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, pudding mix and salt; set aside. In a separate large mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer for about one minute. Add dry ingredients and continue to mix for two minutes on lowest speed. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl to ensure that all ingredients are incorporated. Add malted barley extract, vanilla extract, buttermilk and milk and mix for three minutes on lowest speed.

Pour mixture into the ramekins about three-quarters full and bake for 13 to 17 minutes or until the top and sides are golden brown (tortes will start to pull away from ramekins).

Allow tortes to cool for 10-15 minutes; invert tortes onto individual serving platters and top with chocolate ganache, chocolate tuile and either whipped cream or vanilla-bean ice cream and serve.


Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache
12 servings

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped or morsels
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl and set aside. Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Pour cream over chocolate and let stand until chocolate has softened, about 5 minutes. Add butter and stir until smooth. Let cool slightly.  

To serve/plate, spread a generous tablespoonful onto a salad-size plate and top with cake, garnish with chocolate tuile (recipe follows).

Chocolate Tuile
24 garnish pieces

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup flour
3 tablespoon cocoa powder
4 egg whites

Sift flour with cocoa, and set aside. In bowl of an electric standing mixer (with paddle attachment) beat butter and sugar on medium, until well combined, about two minutes. Beat in egg whites, one at a time for four minutes after each addition. Add the flour and cocoa mixture, and mix until just combined.

Using a spatula, spread a thin layer of batter onto a silicone baking mat (or 9 x 15 cookie sheet with parchment paper laid on top) and shape into desired form as you place them on the mat/cookie sheet.  NOTE:  the Tuile needs to be baked as you want them to come out as it will break into little pieces if you wait and try to cut it after baking).

Bake at 300 degrees F for about 4 minutes, remove from oven and let stand until firm.  Use as garnish for cake.

Categories: Recipes