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Recipes cater to a city’s Olympic dreams

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Ya gotta have a motto.

Salt Lake City has been awarded the 2002 Winter Olympics. Local boosters are talking about seeking the Summer Games 10 years later for Seattle.Well, it's not too early to formalize that dream. Salt Lake City's bid committee had been active for 16 years before the announcement in June 1995 that Utah had beaten out Sion, Switzerland; Ostersund, Sweden; and Quebec City, Canada.

Upward of 40,000 people assembled before a giant TV screen outside City Hall to hear and celebrate the announcement.

We recently spoke with some members of the Utah bid committee, seeking advice for Seattle. Without a pause they suggested that South Africa or South America would get the 2008 Summer Olympics but that Seattle should make a bid anyway to get the attention the city will need four years later. To further emulate Salt Lake City, the same people said Seattle must build - rather than promise - the venues it now lacks.

Salt Lake promoters claim a population similar to Seattle's. Actually, the Utah capital city more resembles Spokane or Tacoma. But the venues are in place. Freeways are being expanded, a light-rail system is under construction and Salt Lake City will add 1,500 hotel rooms between 1999 and the opening of the 2002 Olympics.

Salt Lake City had a motto, "The Greatest Snow on Earth." The phrase has been copyrighted. It appears on Utah license plates. International skiers insist the claim is absolutely accurate. Colorado may be on a par, but Colorado does not have seven world-class ski areas within 40 minutes driving time from a major airport. Salt Lake City does and counted them off repeatedly for the 65 InternationalOlympic Committee delegates who visited before the 1995 vote.

They are Park City, Deer Valley, Snowbird, Alta, Brighton, Solitude and Wolf Mountain. And they not only guarantee great snow, they also provide great food.

So, to emulate Salt Lake City, we've gotta have a motto similar to "Greatest Snow on Earth."

How about: "No Rain, No Gain."

Or how about, "Seattle: Percolation and Precipitation!" alluding to our weather-induced coffee mania.

Or maybe, "Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Emerald City." Of course that would mean the head of our Olympic bid committee would have to be named Dorothy. As for a mascot, my daughter has a dog that looks just like Toto, and it might be willing to work cheap.

For decades Salt Lake City has been stereotyped as a community where a glass of merlot, a cup of espresso or an order of Dungeness crab cakes enjoyed the same legal status as crack cocaine.

That reputation is no longer deserved. True, the liquor laws still smack of the Prohibition era in Chicago. But a restaurant such as the Market Street Oyster Bar (one of seven establishments owned by Gastronomy Inc. in historic buildings) not only provides fresh seafood on a par with Seattle's best but also boasts a wine cellar that has won national awards.

Gastronomy Inc. catered all of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee's social functions at the Lillehammer Winter Olympics and will do the same this winter at the Games in Nagano, Japan.

Salt Lake residents think nothing of driving 30 or 40 minutes to find new dining experiences at the ski areas. Snowbird has 14 eating sites, seven of them classified under "fine dining." Deer Valley offers the award-winning Mariposa, and ski director Stein Ericksen has his own mountaintop resort and gourmet restaurant nearby. The other five world-class resorts multiply the choices.

Utah's down-home cuisine is well represented in this easy but delicious recipe furnished by Tom Welch, former head of Salt Lake's Olympic bid committee. It is featured in "Utah's Celebrity and Local Heroes Cookbook."

Here's also a pizza recipe from the ovens at Snowbird, which also offers low-fat enjoyment. Like Welch's dessert, Alice the Artist and I also tried it in our own oven with good success.

HUNTER'S DESSERT

2 tablespoons butter

2 cups boiling water

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup apple cider

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 apples, peeled, cored and diced

Apple cider sauce (recipe below)

Whipped cream

Put the 2 tablespoons of butter into a mixing bowl. Pour the boiling water over the butter then add the brown sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then set this bowl aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together 1 teaspoon butter and the granulated sugar. Stir in the apple cider.

In yet another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Fold in the raisins, nuts and apples.

Spread this mixture into an 8-by8-inch baking pan or dish.

Pour the dissolved brown sugar liquid over the pudding. Shove the pan into a 350-degree oven and bake 35 minutes. Cool and refrigerate. When your guests are ready for dessert serve up portions and top with Apple Cider Sauce.

APPLE CIDER SAUCE

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup apple cider

Combine ingredients in a saucepan and boil, stirring continuously, for 3 minutes. Pour over the pudding servings and top with whipped cream.

If you are on a low-fat diet, you can substitute canola oil for butter in the pudding recipe and eliminate butter completely from the sauce.

SNOWBIRD PIZZA

2 cups canned garbanzo beans, drained

1 tablespoon tahini

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

3 sprigs fresh parsley

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 splats Tabasco sauce

Salt, pepper to taste

To create the hummus, put these ingredients into a food processor or blender and lean on the button until you have a smooth puree. You can add a bit of water if mixture is too stiff. (Tahini is sort of like peanut butter but is made from sesame seeds. Most supermarkets stock it.)

The chefs at Snowbird coat pizza crusts with a thin layer of hummus, then lay on tomato slices, green pepper slices, red onion rings, sliced fresh mushrooms and black olives. You can refrigerate the leftover hummus for tomorrow's pizza or use it as an all-purpose dip.

The hummus pizza should be baked in a 475-degree oven for about 8 minutes, or until the crust is done.

This will serve two visiting International Olympic Committee delegates or one downhill skier.