Basil Asparagus with Lemon

The best part of springtime is the fresh produce that begins to show up in the garden, farmers market, and even the grocery store. The other day, it was brought to my attention that asparagus was growing in the garden. The asparagus was planted two years ago, and this is the first time that it has begun to pop up in harvest worthy quantities.

No matter the vegetable, there is something magical and distinctly wonderful about picking it fresh from the garden. As I was harvesting, I tasted few spears raw, and the sweet flavor and tenderness quickened my pulse. I decided that I would prepare them simply so as not to harm the delicate sweet flavor that they exhibited. Unlike store bought asparagus, they had a ton of nuanced flavor and texture. Be careful not to overcook them. For anyone who has a spare patch of ground to devote to asparagus, I highly recommend growing some. They generally grow well during colder months and come into season in the spring and fall.

1 lb of asparagus spears

2-3 cloves of garlic

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

½ lemon

3-4 leaves of basil

Salt and pepper

To begin, melt the butter and add the olive oil in a large frying pan. Crush the garlic cloves and add to the pan. Keep the pan over medium heat, being careful not to brown the garlic too much. As it browns, garlic can become bitter. After allowing the garlic to infuse into the oil for a minute or two, add the asparagus. Turn up the heat a bit if needed, tossing the asparagus to coat well in the fat.

Cook the asparagus for about five to eight minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus. The fresher it is, the less you will need to cook it as well. At the end of cooking, add the juice half the lemon, salt and pepper to taste, and toss to coat. Transfer the asparagus directly from the pan to a large serving plate. Garnish with a chiffonade (thinly sliced ribbons) of basil. Add more lemon if desired.

Cross-Country Runner to Cross the Ocean

Water Canyon High School’s cross-country running team, and their outstanding captain has garnered attention in its first year of being eligible to participate in the State Cross-Country Meet.

James Jeffs, Captain of both the cross-country and basketball teams at Water Canyon, is a junior in high school. But James’ talents stretch beyond his athleticism. He not only excels at sports, but has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout his high school tenure. James also has a perfect attendance record for the past three academic years.

Because of his outstanding dedication and athleticism, James has been selected as one of 200 students from across the United States to participate in a cross-country tournament in Australia. It is the 21st annual Down Under Sports Cross Country Tournament in the Gold Coast of Australia from June 26 to July 5, 2018.

James has been working to raise $8000 to pay for the travel expenses necessary to compete. He has raised close to three-quarters of his goal and has a deadline of May 1, 2018.

If you would like to support James as he represents our community, state, and country, go to  https://DownUnderSports.com/payment/865E-4221-1399. You can also donate by phone at 435-753-4732. If you would like to mail in a payment, you can obtain a sponsorship letter with the pertinent information by contacting Lisa Jeffs at the UEP office.

Short Creek Community Alliance Takes on Leadership Role in Upcoming Election

Four seats on the Colorado City Town Council will be up for re-election in November of this year along with two positions on the Colorado City Unified School District School Board and three positions on the Fire District Board. The Short Creek Community Alliance (SCCA) is a non-partisan citizens group that seeks to drive voter engagement and education.

Throughout the month of April, SCCA will be holding public meetings at the new building at the North Mohave Campus. During these events, they will be working to acquaint citizens with potential candidates and narrow the field to ensure a competitive general election come November. In addition to that, they will be seeking help from community members to drive up voter registration numbers and help voters understand the political process in Arizona overall.

The first meeting was held on Monday, 2 April. They provided an introduction to what the SCCA is and does. Potential candidates took turns explaining their motivation for running and what they planned to do if elected. Each of the potential candidates expressed love for the community and a desire to bring more economic development and opportunities to town. Potential candidates expressed a desire to preserve the things that make the community a great place to live.

The potential candidates for town council include Freeman Barlow, Joe Timpson, Jerusha Darger, Marion Timpson, Alma Hammon, Jason Black, and Parley Barlow.

SCCA is hosting two more meetings on 16 and 23 April. Toward the end of the month, the community will have the opportunity to vote for their choice of candidate. The meeting essentially fills the role that is traditionally left to political parties.

If you are interested in being a part of the political process, feel free to show up to the meetings at the new Mohave Community College building on 480 S Central Street Colorado City, AZ. SCCA is also active on Facebook. Organizers are hoping for high level of participation, so the will of the people may be translated effectively to local governance.

 

Prescott Brewing’s Petrified Porter

Porter is one of my favorite beer styles. Porter is English in origin and is recognized by its dark color and bold flavor. While it is bold, many variations of the style are very drinkable and smooth. It tends to be very malt forward, but some varieties exhibit stronger hop characteristics. Petrified Porter from Prescott Brewing Company, in Prescott Arizona, is a great example of the style and a great beer overall.

This porter exhibits a color variation that I find appealing. Some porters have a reddish tint to them. Hold it up to a light, or look near the bottom of the glass, and it is easier to see this. I find the color beautiful, and you can see it in this beer. It also pours well, with a nice foamy cap that lingers and sticks to the edge of the glass as you drink it.

The nose is spectacular with tons of coffee and cocoa aromas. There is also a creamy element in the aroma that ends up smelling like milk duds or chocolate malt balls. There are also subtle vegetal notes from the hops along with vanilla and burnt sugar. As I continued to drink it, there was a faint hint of orange that showed up intermittently.

The flavor profile was very consistent with the aroma in terms of flavor and body. The coffee flavor is the most prominent, and rather than cocoa, it tastes more closely to dark chocolate because the bitterness of the hops pairs up with the cocoa component. The bitterness is very well balanced, however. The mouthfeel is slightly thin but that lends to the drinkability of the beer.

The finish is somewhat short but rich. The same coffee and chocolate notes remain along with a pleasant bitterness that quickly fades off. The quick finish leads you back to the glass rather quickly.

Porter’s tend to be paired with rich foods because of their medium to heavy bodied nature. Any braised dish, barbecue, sausage, stew, and chili are good options. Porter is also a fantastic beer to drink with sweet foods and desserts. While the flavors are bold, it is highly drinkable and has a relatively low ABV. It is a wonderful drink on its own as well.

Hildale Approves First Alcohol Sale License

The Hildale City Council has granted its first ever alcohol sales license. Historically, Hildale has been a dry town, being one of only a handful of municipalities across the country that functionally prohibit the sale of alcohol.

The Border Store, a convenience store located along highway 59, was the recipient of the license. In previous City Council meetings, the subject of how to issue a license was unclear, as there had been no process in place to issue a permit of that kind.

The consideration of granting an alcohol sales license was tabled by the council as city officials worked to create an application that would ensure applicants meet all state and local requirements. Hildale officials are also instituting a fee schedule for multiple possible types of liquor licenses.

Hildale City Council has approved a license that would allow The Border Store to sell packaged beer. They will now have to work with the state to ensure that any other requirements are met.

Hildale Caucus Lulls in Midterm Season

The second ever Utah State Caucus for Hildale Precinct 97 was held on 20 March 2018. According to Precinct Chairman Lawrence Barlow, turnout was 51 percent weaker since the 2016 election cycle, with 35 attendees and 28 credentialed voters.

However, turnout was stronger than in other Washington County races, who struggled to get 25-30 percent turnout. Low turnout was experienced across the state with only 35,000 republicans attending this year, according to UtahPolicy.com.

Jimi Kestin, Chairman of the Washington County Utah Republican Party (WCURP), said, “The WCURP is so excited about what is going on in Hildale and the great effort of the Republican Party leaders in their community. Congratulations on continuing to be leaders in enthusiasm, turnout, and embracing the principles of our representative republic and the values contained in the Republican Party platform.”

Washington County now has two county delegates, Jared Nicol and Lawrence Barlow, who also serve as precinct Secretary and Chairman respectively. The Precinct Vice Chairman is Jesse Barlow, also serving as State Delegate. Backup State Delegates are Lawrence Barlow and Jared Nicol. Backup county delegates include Maha Layton, Terrill Musser (Precinct Treasurer), Brigham Holm, and Jesse Barlow.

According to Utah.gov, “Utah’s political process begins every two years in neighborhood caucuses throughout the state where members of each precinct vote for delegates to represent them at county and state party conventions. Delegates then attend the conventions to vote for candidates that will then face each other in the public general election.”

The Washington County caucus will be 14 April 2018 at the Washington County Fairgrounds. The state caucus will be held on 20 April 2018 in Salt Lake City.

Vandals Burn Trailhead Restroom

Vandalism in Water Canyon is on the rise, and recently public structures have felt the effects. A newly built brick restroom and its signage have been removed from the trailhead due to a 4 November 2017 arson.

From arson, to the felling of rocks and trees on the cliffs, to the etching of names and obscenities along the trail, 2017 and 2018 have been an eventful and destructive time for the wilderness area.

According to Kevin Barlow, Hildale Colorado City Fire Chief, “The fire department was notified after-the-fact of a fire in the BLM Water Canyon Trailhead restroom facility on 4 November 2017 at 1:30 PM.” Officials deployed a brush truck to the scene to ensure the fire was extinguished, then turned the investigation over to the Marshal’s office.

Sam Johnson, Acting Marshal, said officials had not found evidence indicating who set the fire. Johnson stated there had been an increase in arson incidents over the past few years, and encouraged residents to keep an eye out for suspicious activity.

According to press release from Keith Rigtrup, St. George Field Office Manager, “This newly constructed restroom facility and trailhead were installed to accommodate the increasing recreational use in the area. Because of this damage, the restroom facility is now unusable and will require substantial repairs. We take this loss seriously as it is a cost to all taxpayers.”

The Bureau of Land management (BLM) is installing a prefabricated restroom facility to replace the brick structure.

There is an active investigation into the arson incident. Arson is a felony charge and poses a substantial risk to the community, representing a loss of resources when the fire department responds. If you have any information regarding the incident or any other vandalism, you can call (800) 227-7286 or contact the Marshal’s office.

Guinness Braised Lamb Shanks

Although St Patrick’s day has passed, and warm weather is fast approaching, there is still time for a comforting braise. Braising is the process of cooking meat, first by searing on high heat to develop color and then finishing by cooking on low heat with liquid. This method is the classic way to take tougher cuts of meat and turn them into something tender and delicious. The technique lends itself particularly well to lower cuts including oxtail, ribs, tongue, and shanks.

Shanks are the portion of the animal nearest the hoof. Lamb shanks are one of my favorite dishes because of the rich flavor and the texture of the meat. To accompany this dish, I did a mixed mash of potatoes, turnips, and peas. If you want to cut the cooking time drastically, I recommend using a pressure cooker. I pressure cooked these shanks for 30 minutes, and they were perfect. As the shanks are resting, you create a rich gravy to dress everything. If using a pressure cooker, start prepping your vegetables first and get the water boiling.

2-3 lbs of lamb shanks

1 cup of Guinness Stout

2 cup of beef stock

1 onion

1 carrot

2 stalks of celery

2-3 Bay leaves

5-6 cloves of garlic

2 Tbsp of vegetable oil

 

2-3 Yukon gold potatoes

2-3 turnips

2 cups of peas

½ cup heavy cream

4 Tbsp butter

2 cloves of garlic

2 Tbsp Flour

2 Tbsp Butter

Using a deep sided frying pan (if not using a pressure cooker use an oven-safe pan with a lid) heat oil over medium heat. Season lamb shanks liberally with salt and pepper. Once the oil has heated, place the lamb shanks in the hot pan and brown evenly on all sides. The more browning you get, the richer the flavor. Remove oil and deglaze the pan with beef stock and Guinness.

Scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan and cook for 5 minutes to burn off the alcohol. Roughly chop the onion, carrot, and celery. Smash the garlic and add to the pressure cooker along with the shanks. Add bay leaves, pour pan liquid over everything, cover and cook for 30 minutes if using a pressure cooker. If using the traditional method, place in a 300-degree oven for 2-3 hours, or until tender.

For the mash, boil water in a medium-sized pot. Dice the potatoes and turnips, add them to the boiling water and cook until fork tender. Near the end of the cooking time add garlic. After the garlic has cooked for about five minutes, add frozen peas and cook for five more minutes on high heat. The frozen peas will crash the temperature of the water. This is good because you don’t want the peas to overcook. Strain the water and mash the vegetables with butter and heavy cream. This is intended to be a rustic mash, so don’t worry about making it smooth.

When the lamb shanks have finished, remove them from the liquid, and set aside to rest under foil. Remove as much fat as possible and transfer the liquid to a pan over medium heat. Mix two tablespoons of room temperature butter with an equal amount of flour. Depending on how much liquid is left, you may want to reduce it a little bit to concentrate the flavors or dilute it. Use your better judgment. Once the sauce has come to a simmer, add half of the butter mixture and whisk until incorporated. Add the other half and whisk some more. Take it off the heat immediately. If it has thickened too much, just add a little beef stock. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, place a generous spoonful or two of mash, creating a well. Artfully prop a lamb shank beside or on top of the mash. Dress with the pan sauce, garnish with parsley, and enjoy with a Guinness.

 

Hiking the Serene Skunk Canyon

Skunk Canyon is a relatively short hike, but is one of the best the area has to offer. While it may prove difficult to reach by vehicle, as it is on the east side of Short Creek with no clear road, it can be reached on foot with relative ease.

To reach the hike, follow Utah Avenue in Hildale until it makes a bend and becomes Canyon Street. There is a dirt road to the right which leads to the creek. Take that road and turn left. There is an access point into the creek bed with prime parking.

After crossing the creek, the trail leads up to a road alongside a canal that heads north. Walk along this trail until you reach a creek bed on the right. There is an old fence without a gate that serves as a trailhead. Follow the creek bed until you see an ATV trail go up the right side of the bank. While you can follow the creek bed all the way up, I found the ATV trail more challenging and enjoyable.

The trail meanders up and across the creek several times. As you proceed, the canyon begins to narrow, and there is much foliage along the creek to give it a secluded feel. It is as if one lands in the middle of a private wilderness, and the canyon is still, seemingly just for you.

The hike terminates beneath an impressive amphitheater feature pictured above. If you feel inclined, scramble up the rocks; there are many large boulders that are fun to climb on. A couple promising routes along the way look as though they lead to the top of the canyon, but explore these routes with caution.

Keep an eye out for wildlife; on one excursion I spotted a herd of Desert Bighorn Sheep up on the cliff. After watching me for a moment, they bolted. There is a small spring that feeds a stream nearly year round, and serves as a secluded spot for wildlife, both benign and dangerous, and huge cottonwood trees offer shade during the summer months.

The trek back offers impressive views of Canaan Mountain. The trail is a unique vantage point that looks directly up Maxwell and Water Canyons. It never ceases to amaze me how much the landscape has to offer. The sheer cliffs always have some new unappreciated feature.

One final note: most of the canyon itself is on BLM property. I assume much of the property on the way in is private. While there are no signs indicating that it is private property, and people frequently travel through, be respectful of the area. Leave only footprints, and take only pictures.

Short Creek Welcomes Edge of the World Brewery

After five years, the dream to start a local brewery has finally come to fruition. The idea came about after Nick Dockstader began brewing beer as a hobby. I joined him in this project after tasting some of his beer. We started brewing in his apartment, utilizing a relatively crude brewing setup but managed to pull off some reasonably good brews. Most homebrewers begin by using malt extracts, employing whole grains to impart color and flavor. After experimenting with various techniques and ingredients, we expressed a desire to up our game, moving away from extract brewing into all grain. Upon hearing our wish to brew seriously, Levi Williams pitched the idea of opening a brewery in the area.

Levi began by investing at least $20,000 in buying a brewing system along with fermenters and kegs. This gave Nick and I the ability to brew all grain batches with the Rolls Royce of homebrewing equipment at the time. We experimented with various recipes, using different grains, hops, yeasts, and herbs out of the garden. We even harvested local juniper berries.

We brewed a couple of large batches for weddings and other events, trying our hand at new recipes and working to perfect our old standbys. After tasting many of our beers, and having us brew a special beer for his wedding, Levi began the push to get us licensed and into a legitimate facility.

There was a long road leading to the spot we find ourselves now. In the beginning, we felt that it would be better if we remained outside of Colorado City. The Utah side of the border didn’t make sense for what we were trying to achieve with our beers, as the strength and distribution requirements are more stringent. We scoped out various properties in the surrounding area and found none that would accommodate our project without building it from the ground up at a substantial cost.

As time went on, Levi focused on pushing through the complicated process of obtaining a license and facility. After traveling to meet with state and local officials, visiting countless microbreweries across the country, paying the licensing fees, and even working with our US congressional office, Levi was finally able to secure the licensing.

Next, Levi focused his sights on securing a facility, dumping money from savings, investments, and more into the project with endless patience from his wife, Shelly. After considering several properties, we eventually settled on the space adjacent to Berry Knoll Bakery, which used to serve as the old post office.

The space required a complete overhaul. Floor drains had to be installed, which required tearing up huge portions of the floor, trenching beneath, and pouring concrete again. The city government remained very accommodating of our project and worked with us to ensure that standards were met. The space necessitated a new HVAC system, roof,reframing of bathrooms, electrical, and more. Much of this early work was spearheaded by Alvin Zitting, who deserves much gratitude for the work he put in. He eventually decided to move on to other projects and Gwen Darger, who owns the Berry Knoll Bakery, came on as a partner.

Gwen and her husband Richard have been working tirelessly to put finishing touches on the brewery. The Dargers have brought invaluable experience and energy to the project. Along with Maria Jessop, who joined to manage the staffing and day to day food and bar operations, they hammered out the aesthetics, logistics, and detail work to make a successful small business. For months they have spent every free moment working to put the place together. Their work ethic, knowledge, and talent are inspirational.

On Wednesday, March 28, 2018, Edge of the World brewed our very first batch of beer in the new facility. We brewed a best pale ale recipe, which went off without a hitch. March 29, 2018, we turned on the open sign for the first time. As patrons began to come through the doors, sports and music played on the multiple television sets, the sun lit up the blossoming trees framed by the large west facing windows, and conversation gradually amped up the energy in the room.

The scene became surreal. A familiar refrain heard among patrons, “Dude, there is a bar in Colorado City on Central Street,” followed by a chuckle. “I remember when this was the old Post Office. Never thought I would see this,” another said. Some people even came up from Hurricane, Utah, to check it out on opening night.

Currently, we are working toward getting our brews on tap. State regulations require that you must have a qualified facility before you can brew in earnest. Meanwhile, we have curated a selection of beers from various breweries across the state of Arizona and plan to extend our selection as time goes on.

The tasting room at Edge of the World will be open from 4:00 to 10:00 PM, Thursday through Sunday. Follow Edge of the World Brewery on Facebook for updates. Stay tuned for our beers as they come out of the fermenters and into the kegs!