Question: My family has enjoyed a Butte, Mont., Uptown Cafe recipe that I clipped from one of your newspaper columns. When we were in the area, we made it a point to eat there, and now strawberries and green peppers over ice cream is a must-have recipe.
- Polly Glascock, Spokane, Wash.Answer: While Butte locals have become used to multistory "high-rises" and an urban skyline, they haven't forgotten their rough-and-tumble mining roots or the thrill of rodeo, which evolved out of ranch work to become a professional sport. Professional rodeo, an original American sport, is a major spectator attraction.
Participants in the annual Butte Vigilante Rodeo (July 10-11) pay to compete and risk their lives. Gold-buckle winners forget the pain of gores, stomps, broken bones, bruised ribs and herniated disks, because for these rambling roughnecks serious tumbles are a way of life.
What is it that makes a cowboy want to hang on to a bull by the name of "Skoal's Outcast" for the eight seconds that can seem like a lifetime? Perhaps it's because "cowboy" conjures up images of wide-open prairies, high mountains, campfires, a John Wayne swagger and nights spent under the stars with a saddle for a pillow.
The Uptown Cafe, only two minutes from the rodeo grounds, offers the weird gourmet fare that rodeo spectators crave after hours of yee-hawing. In a bank building turned eatery, the uptown, up-on-the-hill cafe serves a cafeteria-style lunch, but dresses in white tablecloths for the evening meal.
Uptown Cafe chef Guy Graham marries food combinations you just can't imagine eating, but his concoction of Strawberries and Green Peppers over French Vanilla is dynamite! Am I kidding? No way. You'll be surprised how the peppers complement the strawberries and create an almost chocolaty taste.
STRAWBERRIES AND GREEN PEPPERS
OVER FRENCH VANILLA
2 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons raspberry liqueur (optional)
1/4 cup small diced green bell pepper
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
1/4 cup whipped cream
1 quart whole strawberries, washed and hulled
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 quart French vanilla ice cream
Heat butter in large saucepan over medium heat until it foams. Add orange juice and reduce heat to simmer. Add liqueur. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes to combine. Add green bell pepper and orange zest, and heat until pepper wilts. Add whipped cream. Add strawberries and lemon juice (to stretch sauce or adjust flavor, add a bit more orange juice and the optional raspberry liqueur).
Place scoops of ice cream on individual serving dishes. Spoon warm strawberry-pepper mixture over ice cream and serve.
Yields 4 servings.