anticipation and posole

Anticipation.

It’s that feeling you get when you know a package is on its way. Or when you peek over the precipice of a particularly steep ski run. Or those pre-trip jitters that keep you from sleeping before your flight the next morning. Or when some of your favorite people in the world are slated to visit.

It’s this kind of heightened anticipation that, while exciting, can also so easily be met with severe disappointment.

The package was delayed or the contents were damaged. The ski run turned out to be riddled with children you had to dodge at every turn. You come down with a cold right before your trip. You spend more time worrying about how clean the house is or how perfect your friend’s or family’s stay is than spending quality time with them.

Thankfully our recent feelings of anticipation have been met with nothing but fulfillment. Our packages have arrived on time and have immediately been put to use. Our uncrowded ski runs have warranted more “yahoo’s” than “oops’es”. Our recent family-filled trip to Austin was smooth sailing, even with a four-month-old in tow. And we have had a slew of friends and family book their travel to Denver for a bit of quality time with us and, of course, Lilia.

lilia
Lilia’s first flight!

Our most recent visitors were none other than the Margolis clan.

You might remember this delightful family from our time in New York when their son Ari was only 7-months old. Ari is now his own little 18-month old person, strutting his way through the city streets and reminding us of the magic of such simple words as “airplane, up, and down.” Needless to say, he and Lilia became fast buds.

The Margoli, as we like to call them, are the special kind of soul friends who were always meant to be. We tend to copy everything they do, whether that’s go to the same university, move to D.C. immediately after graduation, or spend time doing mission work in Africa. [As is the case with Mary Elizabeth, our shared first and middle names are just a bonus!]

We’re also pretty sure that Lilia has all the same swag as Ari did a year ago, from the saucer activity center lovingly referred to as “the babysitter,” to the same bottles for feeding. We also bought the same couch and cat scratch post as them. Basically, the Margoli are the cool kids on the block, and we’re just trying to keep up.

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The Margoli and Frels friends

These friends are also the kind that cause time to warp and misbehave. Every time we get together, it seems like no time has passed since our last reunion, yet we still have plenty of things to talk about. Nearly week-long trips seem to fly by in the blink of an eye but still refresh the soul.

Take last week for example. We had two full days at our disposal for skiing and snowman building in the mountains. Then another two full days to explore the best of Denver, from its fossil-ridden nature walks and local brewery scene to its Beethoven symphony concerts and artsy neighborhoods. And it still felt like we didn’t have enough time together.

Another reason we love these folks is that they love food just about as much as we do. Every visit to New York is met with a hunt for the best the city has to offer: pizza, soup dumplings, cookies, sushi burritos, bagels, pudding, donuts, kolaches, Thai food, you name it. It’s eats like this that make it virtually impossible to impress them with Denver’s food scene.

A sampling of our most recent NYC food haul

Fortunately, Denver has one thing that New York doesn’t: our kitchen. Sure, they experienced some local favorites like Steuben’s and Linger and Crema. But nothing could compare to the home roasted coffee sipped every morning, or the Chicken Galantine Jason and Zach whipped up for a pre-Symphony meal, or the après-ski Pork Posole comfort dish simmered on the stove for hours.

These were the moments when we were truly allowed to slow down and soak in our time together. These were the moments that made their visit live up to every anticipation and expectation.

We may often put pressure on ourselves to put our best foot forward or to worry about the logistics of nursing a baby while getting in a solid ski day, but it’s friends like the Margoli who remind us that none of those things really matter as long as the kids are cute and the company is quality.

It’s friends like the Margoli who make those feelings of anticipation so very worth it.

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Pork Posole

This stuff hits the spot you never knew you had. There are typically two ways this dish can be prepared — with either green or red chiles. But because we don’t discriminate, we used both! Smoky Morita peppers complement the dried and freshly roasted hatch chiles, though you can use just about any combination of dried red chiles. The pork can also be prepped a few days in advance, making it an easy throw-together meal on the day-of.

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Ingredients
  • 1 pork shoulder
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 c. green chiles, seeded and chopped
  • 8 dried red chiles of any variety, seeded & powdered [alternatively, you can boil them and run them through a blender]
  • 2 quarts [64 ounces] chicken stock
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 6 to 8 cans hominy
  • 1/2 Tbs. oregano
  • 1/2 Tbs. cumin
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Garnishings: cilantro, lime, tortilla, shredded cheese [optional]
Instructions

1. Heat oven to 375-degrees.

2. Prepare the pork. In a large skillet or roasting pan, sear the pork shoulder on high heat, about 2 minutes on each side. Place in oven and roast pork shoulder for up to four hours, until the bone pulls out. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before shredding or slicing into 1/2-inch cubes. [Can be prepared several hours or a day or two in advance.]
3.  In a large stock pot, sauté garlic and onion until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
4. Add remaining ingredients and cover with up to 1 c. of water if necessary.
5. Let simmer for 3 to 4 hours to let the flavors meld.
6. Serve with cilantro, lime, tortillas, and cheese.
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