Cooking buddies share food finds
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Kristbjorg Johnson, owner of Sweet Viking, offered samples of her candied pepper products at July’s Slow Food Nations event in Denver.

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Like birds of a feather, food geeks tend to stick together. And what else would they do with their shared time but coo about their latest finds? Here are some of my latest discoveries, courtesy of foodie friends.

Avid gardener Sandy Lamb recently gave me a bunch of home-grown, ruby-red rhubarb stalks after I’d complained of not being able to find fresh ones when I needed them. While part of this story is how happy I was to now have a nice supply of them for my freezer, the other part is that she delivered them to me in a reusable mesh bag that I’d never seen.

“I buy them (the bags) at Sprouts,” she said. “You can find them in the produce area under the veggie bins.”

And that’s where I spotted them. They come three to a package for $2.49. They’re machine washable and perfect for storing fresh fruits and veggies instead of using the plastic bags offered at the grocery store. I love them, and I like that I’m helping to keep more plastic from landfills.

My next discovery came from Mari Younkin, a retired personal chef and go-to friend for culinary advice: Trader Joe’s lemon and black pepper pappardelle pasta. There’s a plain choice too, but the lemon and pepper notes are ideal for rich, chunky Bolognese sauce. The thick-sliced, rough-textured egg noodles hold the sauce perfectly. For less than $3, an 8-ounce package serves two generously or four smaller servings.

At July’s Slow Food Nations event in Denver, I tasted a couple of condiments that you really should give a shot: Sweet Viking candied peppers and Deliciousness jams and preserves. Both are Colorado-based businesses using Colorado produce.

At Sweet Viking, Kristbjorg Johnson has created three candied pepper products: relish, pepper blend and sliced jalapeños. They are each a combination of flavors that might seem to contradict one another. But, as she writes on her website, they “actually play nice and make the spiciest little slice of heaven you’ve ever had.”

And it’s true. They are a little spicy and a little sweet. Perfection. Cost is $10 each or $25 for a three-pack. Visit

I’ve raved about Deliciousness jams and preserves before, made by Maura Gramzinski, founder of RedCamper. My last purchase was of her Colorado Bourbon Cherry preserves, filled with big fat, boozy-flavored fruits — so good on a cheese platter — and I’ve been hoarding my jar of it. Good thing.

“I didn’t make it this year,” she told me at the Denver event. “It’s too much labor, and our orders are getting so big I didn’t have time to make it.”

But Gramzinski still produces another favorite of mine (and others): Absinthe Orange Deliciousness, a finalist for the Good Food Foundation’s 2017 Good Food Award. Visit to see a complete list of her homemade preserves.

Contact the writer: 636-0271.

contact the writer: 636-0271.

Food editor

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

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