Meet Briana Rockler, El Paso County's family and consumer sciences agent for the Colorado State University Extension Office, 17 N. Spruce St., who was hired in March. It's been seven years since the county has filled this position, which includes teaching consumers food preservation classes such as canning, fermentation, drying and freezing.

Without a local expert like Rockler, you could go to Pueblo County's Extension Office or check out the classes offered at Buckley's Homestead Supply on Colorado Avenue. Other services Rockler will handle include checking pressure gauges on pressure canners.

Rockler has a degree in biology from Colorado State University and a masters in public health from Kansas State University. She became involved with the Extension Service at the state level in Kansas during graduate school. After graduation she stayed with the Kansas State Extension as a program coordinator.

She is taking reservation for the Cottage Food Safety Training noon to 3 p.m. June 11. Cost is $30 per person to learn how to safely handle and operate a food business from your home kitchen. Details: 520-7690, elpasoco.colostate.edu.

Every vote counts

The Dining and Hospitality Services Department management at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs has entered the Blended Burger Project by the James Bread Foundation. The project is a movement that strives to make burgers better by blending ground meat with chopped mushrooms to make a delicious patty that's healthier and more sustainable for the planet.

"We already offered a protein flip burger as part of our Food Next Door program, so it was a natural for our culinary team to be interested in the Beard program," said Mark Hayes, director of Dining and Hospitality Services for the university. "We are offering the Sweet Home Colorado Burger in Clyde's. It's made with local, antibiotic-free ground beef mixed with Hazel Dell organic mushrooms, Pueblo green chilies, Haystack Mountain buttercup jack cheese and some other special ingredients."

Online voting is at jamesbeard.org/blendedburgerproject/vote and will continue though July 31. The five chefs with the most votes will win a trip to the historic James Beard House in New York City, where they will cook their Blended Burgers at the welcome reception for the JBF Food Conference on Oct. 17-18. You can vote once a day.

If you'd like to try the burger, visit Clyde's, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway (first floor of the University Center). Summer hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The Sweet Home Colorado Burger costs $10.

Margarita happenings

The Margarita at PineCreek, 7350 Pine Creek Road, has opened the Sunset Patio Lounge, 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Happy hour is 4 to 5:30 p.m. featuring drink specials and small bites. Live music starts at around 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays. The Dinner and a Movie Series kicks off on June 10 and continues Fridays through the summer. The movies start at dusk. Details: 598-8667, margaritaatpinecreek.com.

Cheese shop

The Cheese Shop at Cherokee's, 351 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, is where you can find artisanal Colorado jams, jellies, charcuterie and local cheeses. Details: 685-3508, squareup.com/store/cherokeesofmanitou.

'KVOR Table Talk'

Guests on the "KVOR Table Talk" radio show at 1 p.m. Saturday:

- Mark LeFebvre, executive chef at Cerberus Brewing Co., 702 W. Colorado Ave., is joined by Josh Adamski, the brewer, to talk about the near completion of the seven-barrel brewhouse in a former veterinarian hospital. LeFebvre, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., has 15 years of culinary experience in fine dining establishments. He will tell us about the menu he is creating for the brewery. Visit facebook.com/cerberusbrewingco.

- Melissa DeWitt, marketing director for Jimmy John's Sandwiches, talks about menu updates and special events happening this summer at the eatery. Visit jimmyjohns.com.

- Neal Schuerer and Aaron Winter, with Pikes Peak Range Riders Foundation, talk about the Western Street Breakfast at Pikes Peak Avenue and Tejon Street, 5:30 to 9 a.m. June 15. The breakfast is prepared by Fort Carson volunteers and benefits local military and their families and other charities. Cost is $5 per person for pancakes, eggs, coffee, juice and milk. Children under 5 eat free. Details: 299-1917, cswesternstreet breakfast.com.

- Briana Rockler, El Paso County family and consumer science extension agent for Colorado State University Extension Office, talks about the program she is re-establishing and the food preservation classes being offered. Details: 520-7689, elpasoco.colostate.edu.

-

Send tips about restaurant openings, closings and specials to teresa.farney@gazette.com, 636-0271, Twitter: @tffoodie or Facebook Teresa Farney.

Food editor

Food writer for features life section and columnist for Go! Entertainment - Table Talk column

Load comments