Marla Meridith’s High Alpine Cuisine, Cooking Demo + Booksigning, 12/18

Marla Meridith’s High Alpine Cuisine, Cooking Demo + Booksigning, 12/18

Part of the “Authors Uncovered” series at Telluride’s five-star Wilkinson Public Library, on Tuesday, December 18, 6 p.m., food and lifestyle blogger Marla Meridith of signs her debut cookbook, “High Alpine Cuisine.” A cooking demo is also planned in order for Marla to be able to share something yummy with her audience. Hosted by the Library and Telluride’s Between the Covers bookstore.

Scroll down for a teaser from the book: three mouthwatering recipes from “High Alpine Cuisine,” Marla’s version of soul food – with altitude.

Food for thought: the dopamine system becomes active in people when they look at someone they love – or at a favorite food. In our brains, at least, food is connected to love and an abiding sense of well-being.

Food and lifestyle blogger-photographer Marla Meredith understands (and underlines through her work) the importance of that link.

She also shares a certain connective tissue with the Heidis and Marias of the world. And with peripatetic souls like Pico Iyer, who believes home is where the soul is and back-of-the-beyond is always top of mind.

Tying the disparate threads together – food, love, and a love of travel, fashion and the mountains – into one chic package, just shy of seven years ago, Marla followed her bliss and moved her family to Telluride, recently named by Forbes and Condé Nast Traveler as the alpha among all the ski resorts in North America,

“Most of our family vacations were spent here in Telluride. When not in Telli, I would pine for the high pistes, cool air and spectacular views. The mountains were calling to me no matter where I was. In 2012, we moved here full time, which was long overdue and greatly celebrated. Telluride is like a dream come true, an outdoor wonderland for kids, adults and pets. And do we have pets in the mountains: here they outnumber their humans two to one!,” writes Marla in the introduction to “High Alpine Cuisine,” continuing…

“With the move I also changed my blog name to my name, It made more sense for me to have a space where I could share all kinds of lifestyle posts….However, the main focus on my blog is still my creative, family-friendly recipes, but with all the other fun stuff, too!”

Soon after settling in Telluride, insistent shpilkes compelled Marla to travel to other high mountains of the world, her idea of heaven – or at least as close as a mortal body can get – climbing (or skinning or hiking) up, then making her way back down, her basket filled to the brim with big dreams satisfied – and recipes.

Lots of recipes, which, over a six-month period, Marla turned into a cookbook aptly named “High Alpine Cuisine” (Page Street Publishing).

“High country food is honest, bold and completely delicious. It’s meant to tempt the palate and nourish the soul no matter what the season. There’s a starkness in the mountains, an isolating quality that is softened with utterly tempting homemade meals. Mountain food is not fancy, but it’s completely seductive in its own way…,” adds Marla, expounding further about what inspired her to create “High Alpine Cuisine”:

“I love the simplicity of mountain cuisine, the challenge of limited resources at altitude and the need for (mostly) high-calorie cooking. Since we live and play hard in the outdoors, we need good calories to sustain our energy and fitness. My cookbook is inspired by my favorite mountain escapes around the world. Recipes and ingredients are from the high alpine regions of the USA, Europe and Canada. Because I keep the ingredients and cookware simple and easy for the home chef, the book is for chefs of all levels, really anyone with a passion for alpine cuisine. But ‘High Alpine Cuisine’ is not a high altitude cookbook; no adjustments will be needed for altitude. I wanted the recipes to be user-friendly for the girl living in the Big Apple who also loves to vacation in Telluride or Aspen. Friendly for the guy living in Kansas who loves skiing the Canadian Rockies. I want all my readers to be able to revisit their favorite mountain escapes through food. And since we eat with our eyes first, each of the 75 recipes is accompanied by a full photo presentation. There are also beautiful images of places I have visited to inspire others to dream and travel as I have.”

Picture this. You have just come in from a day of skiing powder and now, Chardonnay in hand, you are chillaxing. Along with the wine you are drinking in the stunning views of Switzerland’s majestic Matterhorn and about to tuck into a classic raclette served, as the dish should be, accompanied by cornichons, pickled onion, sliced bresaola or chipped beef and boiled potatoes.

Classic raclette from Marla Meridith’s “High Alpine Cuisine.”


Simply perfect.

How about this scenario? It’s the end of summer – which, in Telluride at least, rhymes with mushroom season. You avoided the gaggles of foragers and ventured out on your own into the high country to your secret cache. Score! Apricot-scented chanterelles, robust porcini and meaty milk caps abound, essential ingredients for the world-class wild mushroom ragout you picture yourself preparing and enjoying.

“High Alpine Cuisine,” mushroom polenta.

Crave something sweet? How about fried apple rings, an Austrian favorite that takes just minutes to prepare?

“High Alpine Cuisine” Apfelsplaten

Juices turned on? The above are just three of the 75+ recipes in “High Alpine Cuisine,” which range from hearty breakfast treats – a personal favorite is Marla’s Wild Chanterelle Scrambled Eggs with Goat Cheese and Fresh Herbs (pg. 18) – to “Freshies” including the aforementioned Wild Mushroom Ragout with Creamy Parmesan Polenta (see below); Savory Fare like another personal favorite, Elk Spaghetti Bolognese (pg. 73) and Raclette (see below); to apres ski go-to’s like Powder Day Flatbread with Prosciutto and Arugula (pg. 95). “High Alpine Cuisine” ends with indulgent desserts, including the Apfelsplaten, and libations.

“High Alpine Cuisine” serves up hearty and flavorful food adventures from an adventurous woman known for her, umm, elevated tastes and stunning photography. Using ingredients easily sourced at most local markets and time-tested techniques, Marla Meridith’s recipes simply work.

There’s nothing extraneous in this cookbook.

And no nonsense. 

Just like the author.

With her “High Alpine Cuisine,” Marla Meridith has succeeded in capturing a way of life.

And it’s a perfect Xmas gift to yourself or those you love that will keep on giving throughout this year and the years to come.

Have cast iron skillet (and a fondu pot), will travel.

Sample recipes from Marla Meridith’s “High Alpine Cuisine”:

Wild Mushroom Ragout with Creamy Parmesan Polenta

There is a very special time in the mountains each year near the end of the
summer. It’s the annual mushroom harvest. This is when foragers hunt to find the
most edible fungi. The haul can vary vastly as it all depends on mother nature’s
plans. Some years unleash thousands of pounds of chanterelles and assorted
varieties. Other years, finding a handful is a big deal. Walking through town you
hear the quiet buzz about where the wild mushroom stashes are. This, after all, is
top-secret information for those on the hunt. Wild ’shrooms are so important to
folks in Telluride that we even have a summer festival dedicated to them.

Serves 4

Wild mushroom ragout
¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb (450 g) mixed wild mushrooms, cleaned and cut into bite-size pieces (varieties can include
chanterelles, porcini, milkcaps, etc.)
½ cup (120 ml) dry white wine
2 tbsp (28 g) unsalted butter
2 tbsp (17 g) capers
2 cups (475 ml) low-sodium vegetable broth
1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
⅓ cup (80 ml) heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup (6 g) fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped, plus more for serving

Parmesan polenta

4 cups (950 ml) low-sodium vegetable stock
2 tsp (6 g) minced garlic (2 cloves)
1 cup (160 g) coarse yellow cornmeal
1 cup (100 g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream
2 tbsp (28 g) unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste

To make the ragout, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a 12-inch
(30-cm) heavy-bottomed or cast-iron skillet until it’s hot and shimmering. Add the onion and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, until soft and fragrant. Mix in the mushrooms. Sauté the
mushrooms about 5 to 7 minutes so they soften and their juices evaporate, stirring
often. Remove from the heat, add the white wine and stir to combine. Return to the
heat and cook for 3 minutes to let the wine evaporate. Mix in the butter, capers,
broth and rosemary, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the sauce is reduced by
half. Stir in the cream. Heat another minute or so. Season with salt and pepper to
taste. Remove from the heat to add fresh garnishes.

To make the polenta, place the veggie stock in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and
cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, bringing the stock to a boil. Reduce the
heat to medium-low, slowly pour in the cornmeal, whisking to make sure it doesn’t
get lumpy. Using a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, continue to stir the polenta.
Scrape up any bits that start to collect on the bottom of the pan. Cook for about
10 minutes, stirring constantly. The polenta will be thick and creamy when done.
Remove from the heat and mix in the Parmesan, cream and butter. Season with salt
and pepper to taste.

Serve while hot. Place the mushroom ragout over the polenta. Sprinkle with fresh
parsley and Parmesan cheese.

Raclette (Melted Cheese)

My very first experience with raclette was in Switzerland overlooking the
majestic Matterhorn. I had been skiing all day and was ravenous. This classic dish
immediately became a favorite. In French, racler means “to scrape.” Traditionally,
a wheel of cheese is heated and then the melted part is scraped off. Whenever
I smell raclette in a chalet I order it (yes, it has a very distinguishable smell!).
Serve simply with cornichons, pickled onions, sliced Bündnerfleisch and boiled
potatoes. I love to sip on white wine with it too—it washes it down nicely. There
are special raclette machines and grills, but it’s not necessary. I always use my
handy cast-iron skillet!

Serves 8

8 small or medium potatoes, or 16 fingerlings
Thinly sliced Bündnerfleisch, bresaola or chipped beef
1 jar pickled cornichons
1 jar pickled onions
1½ lb (675 g) raclette cheese
Freshly ground pepper
Sweet paprika

Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes in well-salted water. Test if they are done with a
knife. Drain the potatoes. On each plate, place a few potatoes, some Bündnerfleisch,
a few cornichons and some pickled onions.

Remove the rind from the raclette cheese and with an adjustable wire cheese slicer,
trim to ¼-inch (6-mm) slices.

Oil a 12-inch (30-cm) cast-iron skillet or a flat-top griddle. Heat over medium heat;
when a splash of water sizzles, place a few cheese slices into the hot skillet. Melt
the cheese and carefully scrape it onto the plates with a spatula. Sprinkle some
pepper and paprika over the top and serve immediately.

Apfelsplaten (Fried Apple Rings)

These fried apple rings are an Austrian favorite. They only take minutes to prepare
and are delicious for a not-too-sweet dessert, breakfast or brunch. Be sure to use
firm apples such as Granny Smith in this recipe so they hold their shape and don’t
become mushy.

Serves 2–4

2 large eggs
6 tbsp (90 ml) whole milk
2 tsp (10 ml) granulated sugar
⅛ tsp salt
⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ cup (93 g) all-purpose flour
Peanut oil or any neutral-tasting oil for frying (you can also use ghee for a more buttery flavor)
2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced into rings
Powdered sugar and cinnamon for dusting

Whisk together the eggs, milk, granulated sugar, salt and cinnamon. Stir in the flour
until you have a thick yet smooth batter.

Place a layer of paper towels on a sheet pan. Have it handy next to your skillet.

Heat a thin layer of oil over medium-low heat in a 10-inch (25-cm) cast-iron skillet
(or a large frying pan.)

Dip the apple rings in the batter one at a time, letting the excess batter run off. Fry
the rings for about 2 minutes each side until golden brown. Cover the skillet while
they cook so the apples soften. Remove with a pair of tongs.

Plate the Apfelsplaten and top with a dusting of powdered sugar and more
cinnamon if you like.

More about Marla Meridith:

Marla, by Abie Livesay.

Marla Meridith is a self-taught home cook, travel/food blogger and cookbook author with close to one million followers (Pinterest – 652,860K, Facebook – 139K, Instagram – 35.9K, Twitter – 29.5K).

With a creative background, she launched her debut blog, in 2009. The focus was on the kind of meals she prepared for her own two kids. After the move to Telluride in 2012, Marla changed the name of her blog to to share not just the most delicious recipes, but also chic mountain escapes and cool fashion trends with her readers. Marla is snow-obsessed and always on the quest to find the finest powder turns no matter how far away she has to roam.

Marla lives in Telluride with her two great kids and two overly ambitious hound dogs.

For more on Marla Meridith, go here.

1 Comment
  • local yocal
    Posted at 12:03h, 11 December

    “Most of our family vacations were spent here in Telluride. When not in Telli, ”

    “Telli” – that about sums up what the place has become. Good grief.