Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Me & Ted: Cooking at Ted Turner's Ladder Ranch Pt2/2

Sunday took us to the Hermosa ghost town. The ghost town had its heyday at the turn of the century but had gone by the wayside until Ted Turner bought it to protect it and provide a hunting outpost.

On the way to the town we saw some amazing ruins and petroglyphs. The property is covered with incredibly rich architectural and historic treasures.

I was in the advanced team so once the camp was set up for photo ops I had a couple of hours to kill - my first respite of the trip.

I walked down the creek a bit and found another ghost town, then headed up off trail to the top of the nearest high point (its what I do). I then cut across the mountain playing on some of the cliffs and gazing across the valley - what a view.

(The Seco valley where the ghost town sits)
I finally headed back to start working on the afternoon tea (mesquite chocolate chip cookies) and sundowner - simpler today - guac and chips and brie with fig cake and crackers.

(The town kitchen - I opted for camp fire instead)
Dinner was my final adventure - dutch oven cooking. I haven't dutch oven cooked since I was 12 in boy scouts so this was all a big gamble. I opted for green chile cheddar corn bread and a hearty pot of posole.

Of course for me that meant Meyenberg aged goat cheddar and a posole of locally raised pork and chicken.

(My cornbread - 8 coals on bottom, 16 on top = 350ºF in a 12" round)
This was also my chance for the big photoshoot.

(One of the silly photo shoots)
And maybe it was the food, or maybe it was the moment, but this was the meal that became the biggest hit.

(MY silly photo shoot)
The crew from Santa Fe, all of whom have consumed massive amounts of posole in their lives, claimed that this was the best posole they had ever had.

I humbly said thanks since it was as much luck as anything else.

(My video shoot)
We all settled in for ghost stories around the campfire, the best being from Apache Joe who told the tale of a scorned cook who tried to steal his soul - I ended the story with, "You all better remember that one! By the way, there are dishes in the sink." The joke was on me, however, since I was the one who couldn't get to sleep because of the stories.

That's a wrap. Breakfast the next day was leftovers since everyone had to race out to get to their next location and the locals headed home. Ranch Manager Steve drove me back to the HQ to get my truck. This was my first time with Steve who shared stores of the ranch and Ted Turner and gave me a true appreciation for everything that they're doing on that ranch. I'm very appreciative for that time and have a new found respect for Ted Turner's conservation vision.

Who knows what role my food will have in the article, but it will appear in Conde Nast Traveler in their September issue which is one of their most popular - the innovation issue. Let's hope my food will make the final edit!


racheld said...

What a wonderful thing---to partake of those great spaces and silences, and to have a kitchen which stretched clear to Yonder.

Beautiful photos.

Sharlene T. said...

Oh, wow! Great photos. Was that an authentic dutch cooker? Was it yours? Where'd you find it? I haven't seen a deep top like that in a hundred years...Don't you dare forget to remind us about that mag issue, either...

Charles Dille said...

My name is Charles Dille, I worked and lived on the Ladder in the early 70s for several years. The best time of my young life!! This was befor Robert O Anderson sold to Ted Turner. You have to go and experience the VAST open spaces. Robert O owned Atlantic Richfield Oil Co. at that time, He had the $$$ to keep the ranch as it was 100 yrs ago. I hope Ted Turner kept it so.

Steve said...

My Grandfather George Lester Lane was born in Hermosa in 1892. I would love to someday soon wander the area and try to imagine how it was way back then.