Keep it simple. Keep it local. Chef Dava Parr, owner of Fresh & Wyld Farmhouse Inn and Gardens in Paonia, Colorado, lives and cooks by these words. During the past decade, Parr, a chef in Aspen for many years, began to see a real need in her community for local and organic foods. Her growing passion soon manifested in a farm-to-community produce service, which turned into a cooking school—and finally settled in a charming bed and breakfast plus organic farm in her small Rocky Mountain town.
I was fortunate to visit the farm and speak with Dava in the original homestead building (now a tiny but beautiful two-room home) last June. Many of my favorite cookbooks sat on the shelf, including Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, and With a Measure of Grace by Blake Spalding and Jennifer Castle of Hell’s Backbone Grill in Boulder, Utah. Parr’s food philosophy is simple: “Let people come and have a good meal—something your mom or grandmother would put on the table. When people leave the farm they feel good; they don’t feel sick.” And, like many of her visitors, I left feeling deeply nourished and refreshed. Enjoy these recipes from Parr for a taste of her vision.
Braised Bok Choy with Miso
Serves 6 / A simple, tasty side dish. Ingredient tip: Look for chili-garlic sauce in the Asian foods section of your market; versatile and filled with flavor, it keeps forever in the fridge. View recipe.
Makes 4 cups / Prep tip: Adjust the amount of sweetener to suit the ripeness of your strawberries. View recipe.
Buckwheat Soba with Chard and Shell Peas
Serves 4 / An Asian twist on comfort-food pasta. Ingredient tip: Despite its name, buckwheat contains no gluten; look for it near the regular (wheat-based) soba noodles in the Asian section of your market. Prep tips: Frozen peas are fine; just thaw slightly before using. Be sure to rinse the soba noodles with cool water after cooking so they don’t stick together. View recipe.
Grilled Potatoes with Chevre and Cilantro Vinaigrette
Serves 4-6 / Terrific for a Southwestern-themed brunch. Prep tip: Try to find an applewood-smoked goat cheese (such as Colorado’s Haystack Mountain version) for this dish. Serving tip: The delicious vinaigrette also enhances roasted cauliflower or pork. View recipe.
Best Ever Sautéed Summer Squash
Serves 4 / A kid-friendly way to enjoy this bountiful crop. View recipe.
Curried Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Toasted Coconut
Serves 6 / A wonderful, crowd-pleasing fall side dish, this would be a welcome addition to any holiday meal. View recipe.