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July 2007

Extra features are included for the following articles:
Letters | You Want Fries with That?


Dear Editor,

I am thrilled to learn that the First Generation group exists, and I want to applaud those who support it.

I chose CC in 1990, and accepted CC’s offer of acceptance, sight unseen. I could not afford to visit colleges. I knew I was smart enough to go to college, but I did not know if I could afford to attend. With generous financial aid from CC, I hopped on a Greyhound bus to give it a try.

It didn’t take me long to understand that I did not fit in at CC.

Raised on the prairie, I’d never come face to face with a mountain before, and I was fascinated but intimidated. My fellow students were being delivered to school in their parents’ BMWs. I felt surrounded by rich students, with attentive, educated, and committed parents, who inhabited a world as foreign to me as those mountains. My mom’s parting words, “A college degree is just a piece of paper. What use is that?”
rang in my ears.

After one of my first blocks, a CC professor (now retired) told me, “You belong at a state school.” His comment destroyed my self-confidence, and gave voice to all my doubts. I gave those words entirely too much power. I can see now that the issues that caused me to be particularly vulnerable are, in large part, issues faced by first-generation students. I do not know of any other first-generation student who attended CC while I was there. I would have liked to connect with the others.

Other professors, including Dan Tynan, were more supportive. But I was unable to reconcile my doubts, and under financial strain, I dropped out of CC early in my sophomore year.

I earned my bachelor’s degree 11 years later, from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. I did not “belong” at the state school, any more than I belonged at CC; I just set my mind to getting through college anyway, no matter how painful the process.

My college education has allowed me to contribute to my community in a very real way. I am proud to be a nurse, providing health care to the vulnerable population of Southeast Portland, while collaborating with a group of innovative thinkers, tackling the biggest challenges in modern health care. I am personally committed to removing barriers for my low-income patients. They are my neighbors.

I know how important it is for all of us to have access to health care and education.

Here’s what I learned from my experience: Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t belong. You might not feel like you fit in, but you do belong, as long as you have the potential to do great things with your education. Use your background as a bridge to understanding.
Appreciate others, and make room for everyone, no matter how different one’s background may be from yours. Share your stories. Listen. And don’t lose faith in reconciling your own family background with your college experience. In the end, my mom recognized the value of a college education. She recently earned her own “piece of paper” (bachelor’s degree), after all these years.

Val Stricklin ’94

You Want Fries with That?

recipe card

Cheesy Pretzel Dipping Sauce

Courtesy of the “Deen Brothers Cookbook”

“Good on everything from pretzels to broccoli,” says Scott. “We’ve even been known to eat it with a spoon!”

1/2 c. milk
2 T. unsalted butter
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
¼ c. sour cream
1 t. prepared deli-style mustard
1/8 t. bottled hot pepper sauce, more to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Assorted pretzels for dipping

In a large saucepan, bring the milk and butter to a boil; reduce heat. Add cheddar cheese; whisk until smooth. Remove from heat. Add cream cheese, sour cream, mustard, and hot sauce; whisk until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm with pretzels. Can be reheated in the microwave, stirring frequently.

Kim and Scott Holstein ’88

recipe card

Turkey and Cranberry Mayo Pretzel Sandwiches

Courtesy of the “Deen Brothers Cookbook”

1/3 c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
¼ c. canned whole-berry cranberry sauce
6 frozen pretzels, thawed, split, and toasted
¾ lb. sliced turkey breast
1-1/2 c. baby arugula or spring salad mix

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, cilantro, and cranberry sauce. Spread the cut side of each pretzel half with some of the mayo mixture. Top six halves with turkey and arugula, then with remaining pretzel halves.

Kim and Scott Holstein ’88

recipe card

Frosted Rhubarb Cookies

1 c. butter at room temperature
1-1/2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
3-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
½ t. salt
1-1/2 c. fresh rhubarb, diced
¾ c. shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. With mixer running, add eggs. Mix until the eggs are fully incorporated and the dough is no longer shiny.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add this mixture to the butter mixture slowly. You’re almost done.

Add rhubarb and coconut to dough; mix until just combined.  If you overmix, the rhubarb will get too juicy and the dough will get too runny. (I suppose the coconut is optional if you want to be that way.)

Scoop out portions of dough onto parchment- or Silpat®-lined baking sheet. (We like to use spring-loaded ice cream scoops for this job.) Using a flat-bottomed cup or glass dipped in sugar, gently flatten the dough to encourage a nice flat cookie shape.

Bake until firm around the edges and golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.

Let cool completely, then frost with cream cheese frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
½ c. butter at room temperature
1 pound powdered sugar
Vanilla to taste

Cream butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy. Slowly add powdered sugar; beat until fully combined. Add vanilla to taste.

At Kneadful Things, we can barely get a batch of these cookies out in the case before they’re gone or spoken for! They come out very soft because the rhubarb gives out so much moisture, so don’t panic. They are best kept at room temperature … if covered or refrigerated, they get a little mushy. Use fresh rhubarb if you can get it!

This recipe makes about one dozen cookies, depending on how big you like them.

Both the cookies and the following cream cheese frosting recipe can be multiplied with no problem.

Liz Pratt-Janssen ’92

More Alumni in the Food Biz

Among the many other CC alumni who labor to feed their neighbors:

Joann Reiss Colt ’66, restaurateur
John Krakauer ’85, ice cream maker
Michelle Talarico ’86, caterer
Sarah Cohen ’86, owner, potato chip manufacturer
Ken Rubin ’98, chef

Joann Reiss Colt ’66, restaurateur

The Depot’s Garlic Shrimp with Linguini

Joann Colt '66
Colorado Springs’ original train station is now a good place to enjoy pasta, chicken, or a burger. The woman behind the magic: Joanne Reiss Colt ’66.

The old train depot still trembles a little when trains roar past, as though hoping one might stop and unload passengers there. Instead, most of the depot’s current customers simply walk in from the parking lot, intent on loading up on Italian fare. Giuseppe’s Old Depot Restaurant, located in the original 1871 train station, is a Colorado Springs institution (see “Alumni Say ‘Ciao’ to Student Chow” in the July 2007 CC Bulletin) owned by Joann Reiss Colt ’66, who supplied this favorite recipe for two.

“A nice Pinot Grigio makes this a perfect light dinner for two,” says Joann. “Pinot Grigio is the only white wine that complements dishes with asparagus.”

4 oz. olive oil
1 T. garlic pepper
1-1/2 t. lemon pepper
2 T. minced fresh garlic
3 T. chopped fresh green onion
3 T. sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
3 T. finely shredded carrots
3 oz. sliced fresh asparagus
12 oz. boiled shrimp (size 50-60)
2/3 c. diced fresh tomato
5 oz. al dente linguini, well drained

Toss olive oil, seasonings, garlic, green onion, and sun-dried tomatoes in skillet over high heat for one minute. Add asparagus, carrot, and shrimp; toss for another minute. Add fresh tomato and linguini, toss thoroughly, and serve. Do not let ingredients linger on stove.

John Krakauer '85
You’ve been there for business meetings, post-movie catch-up sessions, even hot dates. And who served up that oatmeal cookie ice cream in the waffle cone just right? Josh and John’s co-owner John Krakauer ’85. Photo by Mary Lynne Ashley.

John Krakauer ’85, ice cream maker

John Krakauer owns Josh & John’s, now the only ice cream parlor in downtown Colorado Springs, which he opened with a partner in 1986. While an ice cream recipe at his scale wouldn’t make sense for a home freezer, John says, he’s happy to reveal his favorite flavors: coffee, gingersnap molasses, Almond Joy®, and raspberry chocolate chip.

“To me, the mark of a great ice cream flavor is one that is uncommon and tastes as advertised,” says John. “One of my favorite moments in the ice cream business is when a customer, in an almost shocked tone, marvels at how the ice cream actually tastes like a yellow cake, a cup of chai tea, or the orange Creamsicle® they remember enjoying from their childhood.

“Recently, I made my first batch of green tea ice cream at the prodding of a green tea fan. Personally, I do not like green tea because of an odd aftertaste. I thought I was successful, however, when I tasted the flavor and recognized that same aftertaste.  I knew I had been successful when the green tea fan tasted the ice cream and proceeded to order an entire 2.5 gallon tub to store in their home freezer!”

Locally, Josh & John’s is best known for the “icecreamometer” card, which records punches based on the weather at the time of purchase. Buying a scoop during warm weather earns the cardbearer one punch, but buying a scoop while it’s raining doubles that to two punches. Snow makes it five punches, and diehards who buy scoops when the outside temperature is below 0 degrees earn 15 punches — a free scoop!

Michelle Talarico '86
Michelle Talarico ’86, left, and partner Kathy Dreiling co-founded the Colorado Springs catering firm Picnic Basket. They have since created companion businesses that focus on upscale dining and barbecue. Photo by Wendy Pearce-Nelson, Blue Fox Photography.

Michelle Talarico ’86, caterer

Almond-stuffed Dates

36 dates
8 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. sour cream
¼ c. brown cane sugar
¼ t. almond extract
¼ c. almond paste
12 slices center-cut bacon, cut into thirds
36 bamboo six-inch skewers

Combine cream cheese, sour cream, brown sugar, almond extract, and almond paste in a food processor. Mix until there are no lumps. Place in a pastry bag with a tip small enough to fit into the end of a date. Fill each date until you can see filling at the other end. Then wrap each date with a piece of bacon and skewer. Place on a lined baking sheet. Bake at 350° until the bacon is done (about 10 to 15 minutes).

Pollo Verde

36 oz. sour cream
¾ c. tomatillo sauce
4 oz. diced green chiles
2 T. chile powder
2 t. ground cumin
1-½ quart diced, cooked chicken breast
¾ c. jalapeño pepper jack cheese
1/3 c. shredded mild cheddar cheese
4 flour tortillas, fried and crushed
salt to taste

John Krakauer '85
From cinnamon sweet potato to dill pickle, Sarah Cohen ’86 can be counted on to produce some of the more unique potato chips on the market. She founded her Virginia-based company, Route 11 Potato Chips, 10 years ago in a converted feed store. Photo by Jeff Greenough.

Combine all ingredients except the cheeses and tortillas in a 9” x 13” pan. Separately, mix the cheeses. Layer as follows: tortillas on the bottom, combined ingredients, cheeses. Bake at 350° for 30-45 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden brown. Center will be bubbly.

Sarah Cohen ’86, owner, potato chip manufacturer

Sarah Cohen ’86 opened Route 11 Potato Chips in Middletown, Va., in an old feed store just off — you guessed it — Route 11, about an 80-mile drive west from Washington, D.C. This recipe appears on the company’s Web site:

Crab Cakes

Use your favorite crab cake recipe, but substitute Route 11 Mama Zuma Habañero potato chips for the breading. Serve with freshly made salsa or bean dip.

Ken Rubin ’98, chef

Sylvia’s Latkes

These are the latkes that I learned to make from my grandmother Sylvia when I was about 8 years old. They are a bit thicker and sturdier than many latkes, and they are great with the traditional accompaniments of sour cream and applesauce.

5 lbs. russet or new potatoes, shredded (on a cheese grater or in a food processor)
1 large yellow onion, grated

John Krakauer '85
Ken Rubin ’98 is editor in chief of, an online hub for recipes and all things food-based. Photo by Jeff Brady.

1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1 T. kosher salt (plus additional for garnish)
1/2 t. black pepper
4 eggs
2 c. matzo meal
4 c. canola oil (for frying)

Put the shredded potatoes in a clean tea towel or colander and squeeze the liquid out of the mixture. Do the same for the grated onions. Combine all the ingredients (except oil) in a large bowl and combine. In a heavy skillet, put a ½”- to ¾”-deep layer of oil. Heat until it is very hot, approximately 360° F.

Form the latkes by hand into disks a little less than three inches across and ¼ inch thick. Slide into pan using a slotted spatula. Add four or five latkes to the hot oil at a time, being sure not to overcrowd the latkes.

When the latkes are nicely browned on one side, turn carefully and cook until browned on the other side and crisp on the edges. Remove with a spatula and place on paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Finish the latkes by holding them in a warm (275° F oven) for 20-30 minutes. Serve with sour cream and applesauce.

Makes approximately three dozen latkes.

Simple Summer Caprese Salad

This summer salad couldn’t be any easier. I love using fresh heirloom tomatoes and Genoese basil from my garden.

simple summer caprese salad1 pint yellow teardrop tomatoes
8 oz. fresh mozzarella (cherry-sized if possible)
4-6 leaves fresh basil, cut chiffonade
2-3 T. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Slice the tomatoes and the fresh mozzarella in half. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toss with salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Makes four servings.

We welcome your comments and suggestions. Please send email to Communications. For more information about Colorado College alumni, go to the alumni homepage.