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Features

  • Submitted to the Optic

    Music from Angel Fire will present a free concert entitled “The Rejected Masterpiece,” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 21 in Shuler Theater in Raton.

    The all-too-human professors at the Paris Conservatory made an infamous mistake when they rejected Ravel’s attempt at winning the Prix du Rome with his submission of the first movement of his glorious String Quartet.

  • By Alison Ladman
    For The Associated Press

    Salads can be a great way to pile on the vegetables, not to mention serve as a fine canvas for showing off summer's bounty.

    But sometimes — OK, a lot of times — eating a plate full of greens can be a bit boring. Then there are the toppings. Too often, we are tempted to pile on fatty toppings like cheese, bacon, seeds and nuts, or rich dressings, all in an attempt to amplify the flavor.

  • By Alison Ladman
    For The Associated Press

    Summer makes us long for the grill. But by the end of the season, even our favorite burgers and dogs can feel a bit tired.

  • By Sara Moulton
    For The Associated Press

    There are few foods as simple, delicious and complete as fresh seasonal corn on the cob. When it’s really fresh, I’ll even eat it raw. No boiling, no butter, no salt. It’s perfectly sweet and tender right off the stalk.

  • The Associated Press

    Great taste often comes down to contrast.

    It’s why we pair tender and crunchy textures, sweet and sour flavors, and hot and cold temperatures (think hot fudge sauce over vanilla ice cream). In a way, these contrasts amplify the flavors of the dish, making the food much more than a simple sum of the parts.

    And it’s a technique well suited to healthy eating. Because by playing with contrasts, you are able to coax so much more from otherwise simple ingredients.

  • Submitted to the Optic

  • By J.M. HIRSCH
    AP Food Editor

    It may look and sound like a weed, but lemon grass actually is one of the most important ingredients in Southeast Asian cooking.

    It also happens to have the power to transform the all-American foods you love.

    Lemon grass is a reed-like plant that grows as a thin, firm 2-foot stalk with a small bulb at the base. It varies in color from pale yellow to very light green.

  • By Alison Ladman
    For The Associated Press

    School often starts when kids still have summer on the brain. So these easy-to-make bars have summer in mind, too.

    We aimed for a simple snack with the flavor of s’mores, but with the texture, ease and portability of puffed rice treats.

    We ended up with a layer of marshmallow-rich crushed graham crackers topped with chocolate. To make things interesting, we turned them into peanut butter s’mores bars. But if your kids aren’t peanut butter inclined, just leave it out.

  • The audition for the Missoula Children’s Theatre production of Beauty Lou and the Country Beast will be held at 10 a.m. on Aug. 6 at Ilfeld Auditorium on the New Mexico Highlands University campus.

  • By J.M. HIRSCH
    AP Food Editor

    People have been eating it for thousands of years, yet still no one can tell me why it should be peeled. So I don’t, and neither should you.

    “It” being fresh ginger, the gnarly brown root that lives amongst the grocer’s Asian produce. And the flavor is so much better than dried, you must get to know it.

  • By Alison Ladman
    For The Associated Press

    Whether you dress your potato salad with mayo or belong more in the vinegar camp, the beauty of this picnic staple is that it so wonderfully accommodates just about anything you care to add. And if the flavors are big and bold, all the better.

    So this year we decided to take a basic vinegar potato salad to the next level.

    We added all the trimmings you’d typically expect on an Italian grinder.

  • By Margaret McKinney
    Highlands University

    New Mexico Highlands University cultural anthropology professor Mario Gonzales was honored with the Hispanic Writer Award to attend the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference that started on Sunday and finishes on July, 22.
    Named as one of the top ten writers’ conferences in the country, the event is now in its 14th year.

  • By Alison Ladman
    For The Associated Press

    Pulled pork is a treat often reserved as an occasional indulgence. Which probably is good, since it tends to be made with some of the fattier pieces of pork, which then are smothered with a sugary sauce and piled on a white roll. Trouble is, we love pulled pork and we wanted a version we could feel good about enjoying a little more often.

  • By J.M. Hirsch
    AP Food Editor


    It’s hard to not love an ingredient that loves fat.

    And that’s exactly what sage does — it partners perfectly with foods rich in oils and fats. That’s why it is so common in hearty holiday foods.

  • By Alison Ladman
    For The Associated Press


    Ready for a cool and refreshing soup hot off the grill? It’s got to be gazpacho.
    Gazpacho is the perfect healthy summer food. It’s jammed with all manner of vegetables, including the tomatoes and zucchini that tend to overrun our gardens, and traditionally is served cool to help beat the summer heat.

  • By Michelle Locke
    For The Associated Press

    The parade of retro treats marches on. And this summer it seems the foodie hipster scene has declared shaved ice is the hot “new” old way to stay — and be — cool.

    “We have lines. People are really excited about it,” says David Carrell, one of the operators of the New York City-based People’s Pops, which specializes in shaved ice, along with ice pops, both made with fresh fruits and herbs.