Snowmass Culinary and Arts Festival 2011: Chef Hosea Rosenberg’s Smoked Corn Soup recipe + more

I don’t think it’s just in my neck of the woods that Chef Hosea Rosenberg has become well known.  We Boulderites know him as the Executive Chef of Jax Fish House, a hip eatery heralding ‘Best Of’ awards in Boulder and Denver for 15 years running.  Chef Hosea’s larger fame of late stems from his win of Bravo TV’s ‘Top Chef’ in 2009.  Locals proudly claimed him as their own and clamored to eat at his food truck, StrEAT Chefs.  That endeavor ran into some bumps (the food truck issues in Boulder Country warrant a separate full article) and he has his sights on his next ventures.  One of those is a catering company called Bacon, Inc.
His demonstration at the Snowmass Culinary and Arts Festival was about Smoking at Home….as in smoking food.  It’s clear he’ll smoke anything (again, food); avocados, soup, and more.  I was supplied the recipe for one of dishes he prepared, Smoked Corn Soup that I’m sharing below.
This is a bit of a ‘tag team’ post.  My food writing comrade Barbara who writes Creative Culinary, a Denver based food blog, is doing a full blown post about her time with Hosea at the demonstration and a follow on interview that should not be missed (nor should her blog in general).  Please pop over (click here) to read the full scoop on Hosea and her details of the Snowmass Culinary and Arts Festival.  You can also find more recipes on Chef Hosea’s website www.chefhosea.com.
SMOKED CORN SOUP with SMOKED PORK  BELLY and AVOCADO
Recipe Courtesy of Chef Hosea Rosenberg
Serves:  8
Ingredients:
·         8  Large Cobs of Fresh Corn
·         4  Strips Smoked Bacon, chopped small
·         ½  Large Yellow Onion, chopped
·         3  Cloves Garlic
·         ¼  teaspoon Red Chile Powder
·         ¼  teaspoon Cumin
·         ¼  teaspoon Cayenne
·         ¼  teaspoon Smoked Paprika
·         2 cups  Heavy Cream
·         Juice of 1 Lime
·         Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper
·         2 Large, ripe avocados, diced small
·         1 pound Smoked pork belly or thick cut smoked bacon
·         2 Large ancho chiles, seeds and stems removed
·         4 tablespoons Honey
Smoke corn in a hot smoker (or stovetop smoker) at 200 degrees for about one hour.  Cut kernels off of cobs as closely to the core as possible.  Break cobs in half, put in medium sized pot, and cover with cold water.  Bring to boil and simmer for two hours.  Strain “corn stock” and discard cobs.
In a medium sized, heavy bottomed stockpot, cook bacon over low heat until crispy.  Add onion and cook until soft and translucent.  Add garlic and cook for another five minutes.  Add spices and turn heat to medium-high.  Toast spices for about one minute and add smoked corn.  Stir over heat for another two minutes.  Add corn stock and simmer for 30 minutes.  Add cream and simmer another 15 minutes.  Transfer to blender and puree until very smooth (strain if desired).  Season with salt, pepper and lime juice as needed.
Cover ancho chiles with hot water for about 20 minutes, or until very soft.  Place chiles and honey in blender and puree until smooth – adding soaking water a little at a time as needed.
To serve:  Place a large ladle of soup in bowl.  Top with sliced avocado, diced heated pork belly, and a drizzle of ancho honey.
Without question, the focus of my festival attendance was centered on the chefs and their food.  I was unable to participate in some of the events on Saturday (again a reason to pop over to Barbara’s blog for the G2 on what I missed) though a few things warrant mention before I wrap up.

The ‘and Arts’ part of the festival title was skillfully set up to wind through the center of Snowmass Village perched on the top of the world.  From the parking area, one walks through the center of the Village to arrive at the culinary activities.  Scattered along the walkway are the juried artisans who make up the art portion of the festival.  They are multimedia artisans, offering a ‘something for everyone’ display from custom glass work to wine bottles flattened into cheese plates, ceramic grating dishes to paintings and much more.
I was a bit like a heat seeking missile when disembarking the shuttle; nothing could stand between me and the chefs.  However Thursday night on the way to the first demonstration, I passed a booth that was setting up and stopped dead in my tracks.  I did share prior that one close to me once lovingly compared me to a monkey, in that I like shiny things (and he was right).  This particular booth has some of those ‘shiny’ things that command my full attention.
BottleHood from Boulder Colorado recycles varieties of glass beverage containers into a myriad of completely beguiling, edgy items from pint glasses, shot glasses, glass bar style lamps (standing and hanging), vases and even glass ring necklaces with a sea glass aura to them.  My two companions, Barbara from Creative-Culinary and Jim Guttau of Guttau PR (a Denver-based boutique PR firm), were equally entranced, all of us silently wondering how much of their booth we could fit into our luggage.
They are completely environmentally conscious, sharing statistics about landfill refuse glass.  I’m environmentally minded so I really appreciated that focus, but I’m also aesthetically driven so loved the artistry of their products all the more.  They sell at local festivals, Farmer’s Markets and have a website.  Check them out.  It’s so rare someone has a totally original and inspired idea.  They do. www.bottlehood.com
Lastly I could not close this without mention of our accommodations at the Viceroy Hotel in Snowmass Village.  Our accommodations were provided for the event though those who know me know I never write about anything in which I do not personally believe.  I have traveled all over the world and feel this hotel rates with the best internationally.  I would absolutely return to stay at the Viceroy Hotel in a heartbeat for personal travel.



Photo courtesy of the Viceroy Hotel website
The entry to the hotel sets the tone and brought back memories of chic boutique hotels in San Francisco in the 1990’s where I loved to stay, despite this being a substantial property.  The surroundings and the staff attention at every juncture remind you as a guest you matter.  The rooms are impeccably appointed though not in the least pretentious.  When I opened the door to my room and hauled my stuff into the foyer, I immediately loved the clean lines of what I thought was slat paneling lining the entryway walls.  I then opened the subtle door to what I thought was the coat closet to find a stacked Bosch washer and dryer.  I spend most of my waking hours overtly escaping laundry; this was the first time I considered stripping off my clothes to do laundry on the spot.
Photo courtesy of the Viceroy Hotel website
The foyer revealed itself a discrete kitchenette with a full refrigerator, freezer, Viking microwave, Wolf stove top and an espresso maker.  Being one who is gluten free and often having to travel and prepare my own food ‘to be safe’, this revelation brought several stars in my book.  I will not taunt you with the additional room amenities, of which there are many, though will say if you so chose you could shower or bath with several friends comfortably.
By the time I arrived at the hotel I was beyond famished.  I collided with Barbara of Creative-Culinary in the lobby and we beelined for The Nest, the poolside restaurant with accommodations indoors as well.  The waitperson aptly helped me to select an entrée which was gluten free.  It was a fresh, Asian inspired salad and the chef prepared a special dressing which was also gluten free.
Photo taken by Barbara of www.creative-culinary.com
Friday morning I enjoyed breakfast at the 8k restaurant.  Another aspect of the Viceroy jumped out at me immediately which is their commitment to sustainability.  They have practices in all aspects of the hotel to ensure their adherence to this and that follows through to the restaurant.  I was thrilled to find locally sourced farm fresh eggs on the menu.  I selected their version of Huevos Rancheros (with scrambled eggs) which is a stacking of corn tortillas, eggs, black beans, cheese, salsa and more.  It was completely delicious and complimented by an incredible view, extraordinary interior design and service.  The food at the hotel is not inexpensive, (hotel food is never is inexpensive), but I was sated with my breakfast and struggled to begin festival tastings in the mid afternoon.  Coupled with the food integrity, I was a very happy customer.
We enjoyed breakfast at the middle table in front of the window.  Photo courtesy of the Viceroy Hotel website
I had the chance meeting with Hugh Templeman, the Viceroy’s General Manager who stopped by a Thursday night dinner our group was having on the Venga Vengo patio in Snowmass Village.  He’s a down to earth Aussie with absolutely no pretense about him.  The approachability of the management and staff at this hotel make it a perfect combination with the richly layered hotel surroundings.  I found their room rates very reasonable for what the hotel provides and think they would be great in any season.  The hotel also provides complimentary shuttle service on your time schedule to Snowmass Village and I believe can arrange transport to and from the airport.

A personal note of thanks to Patsy Popejoy of Snowmass Tourism Group for assisting in my ever-changing schedule during the festival to ensure I was able to get everything done!

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