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Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir win Olympic ice dance gold. American Shibutani siblings earn bronze.

February 19, 2018 - 9:41pm

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were the last couple to leave the ice after their warmup early Tuesday, the Canadian ice dancers soaking in every second before their final Olympic performance.

They sure made it a memorable one.

After watching their training partners Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron break the world record with a flawless free skate, Virtue and Moir took the ice one last time with a dazzling, dramatic interpretation of “Moulin Rouge.” Every movement was synchronized, every element raw and emotional, and the only question left at the end was whether it would be enough.

They wound up with a personal-best 122.40 points for a record 206.07 total, pushing them past their French rivals’ score of 205.28 and making them the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history.

It was the second gold medal of the Pyeongchang Games for Virtue and Moir, who were instrumental in helping Canada win the team event. It was also their third gold overall after winning their home Olympics in Vancouver in 2010, and their fifth medal overall after two silvers at the Sochi Games four years ago.

They retired for two years after that disappointment, content with their place in history, only to decide a couple years ago to make one more run at Olympic glory.

They finished it off exactly how they had imagined.

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Their medal total broke a tie with Russia’s Evgeni Plushenko and Sweden’s Gillis Grafstrom for the most in Olympic figure skating, and their golden haul matched the record shared by Grafstrom, Sonja Henie of Norway and Irina Rodnina of the Soviet Union.

American siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani won the bronze medal with a near-flawless free skate that totaled 192.59 points, edging teammates Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue by just under five points.

Still, the race for the gold medal came down to two teams a cut above the rest.

Vitue and Moir have been the standard bearers for the better part of a decade, the longest-tenured ice dance team in Canadian history. They carried the Maple Leaf flag into the opening ceremony, and their rock-inspired Latin short dance broke their own world record the previous day.

Papadakis and Cizeron were the new rivals on the scene, bringing a fresh, contemporary style that had won the judges over. They upset the Canadians at the Grand Prix Final in December, then set the world record with their elegant, mesmerizing performance at last month’s European championships.

The French couple, whose wardrobe malfunction in the short dance made them a trending topic worldwide, drew the penultimate starting number for Tuesday’s free dance. They put on a program that former ice dancer Meryl Davis described as “art in motion” — their lifts were effortless, choreographed elements smooth and synchronized twizzles as if they were tied together.

Their score of 123.35 points was exactly what they needed to make a case for gold.

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The unflappable Virtue and Moir answered the challenge with 4 minutes to last a lifetime, a program certain to go down in Olympic history. The throaty, gritty portion of “El Tango de Roxanne” had the crowd roaring, and the finishing lift was a fitting conclusion to an exemplary performance.

Not to mention their exemplary careers.

The Americans had assured themselves a medal when the “Shib Sibs,” who helped the U.S. win the team bronze , put on their best performance of the season. Their sharply choreographed show to “Paradise” by Coldplay made up the two-hundredths of a point they trailed Hubbell and Donohue after the short dance.

The third American team, Madison Chock and Evan Bates, were also within sight of the podium after their short dance. But a rare and stunning fall entering their combination spin was enough to damage an otherwise beautiful performance to “Imagine” that still drew an emotional applause.



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Eric Hosmer and San Diego Padres finalize $144 million, 8-year deal

February 19, 2018 - 9:32pm

SAN DIEGO — Eric Hosmer and the San Diego Padres have finalized their $144 million, eight-year contract.

The team announced the signing Monday night after Hosmer passed his physical. The first baseman, who spent his first seven major league seasons with Kansas City before becoming a free agent this offseason, can opt out of the deal after five years.

The contract is the largest in Padres history.

Hosmer gets a $5 million signing bonus payable within 30 days of the contract being approved by the commissioner’s office. His salary is $20 million each year from 2018-22 and would be $13 million annually from 2023-25 if he doesn’t terminate the deal.

A four-time Gold Glove winner and 2016 All-Star, Hosmer will be introduced during a news conference Tuesday morning at Padres camp in Peoria, Arizona.



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Ex-NFL and CU Buffs player Rae Carruth apologizes for death of mother of his son and makes bid for custody

February 19, 2018 - 8:57pm

Former Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth is eligible for parole in October, and at some point after that, he wants to take custody of his 18-year-old son. That young man requires special care because he has mental and physical challenges, the result of being a seven-month-old fetus when Carruth arranged to have his mother shot to death in 1999.

Carruth, a former first-round pick by Carolina, was sentenced to 18 to 24 years in prison in 2001, and he has remained nearly silent about that episode, including at his trial, when he did not take the stand. Now 44, he broke that silence Monday, sending a letter to a Charlotte, North Carolina, TV station and subsequently telling it in an interview from prison that he was apologetic for the death of Cherica Adams.

Carruth directed his apology to Adams’ mother, who has taken care of his son since he was delivered by emergency Caesarean section, with Adams dying several weeks after being shot four times while in her car. For her part, Saundra Adams said Monday that while she wants Carruth to have a role in her grandson’s life, the ex-NFL player will never have custody.

“I’m apologizing for the loss of her daughter. I’m apologizing for the impairment of my son,” Carruth said of Saundra Adams to WBTV. “I feel responsible for everything that happened. And I just want her to know that truly I am sorry for everything.”

Carruth, though, said in the interview and his 15-page letter that he was making his thoughts public to rebut the “lies” he claimed Adams has made about his state of contrition and the nature of his past relationship with herself and her daughter. “If I say publicly, ‘Ms. Adams, I apologize; Ms. Adams, I take responsibility for what happened,’ that she can no longer get on television and do an interview and say Rae has never apologized to me,” Carruth told the station.

In his letter, Carruth told Adams, “For too long, you’ve used my silence against me, and for once I feel the need to speak to finally speak up for myself and hopefully put an end to this.” He also thanked the 60-year-old for the “unconditional care, compassion, love and support” she had given his son, Chancellor Lee Adams.

“I mean come on, Ms. Adams, the reality is you aren’t going to be around forever,” Carruth wrote. “At some point someone else will have to be responsible for Chancellor’s care. . . . I would like to be in a position to be seriously considered as a viable option.”

“I’ve forgiven Rae already, but to have any type of relationship with him, there does have to be some repentance,” Saundra Adams told the Charlotte Observer. “And I think this opens the door. But I can say definitively he’s not ever going to have custody of Chancellor. Chancellor will be raised either by me or, after I’m gone, by someone else who loves him and who knows him.

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“He will never be raised by a stranger — someone he doesn’t know and who tried to kill him.”

Carruth was acquitted of first-degree murder but convicted of three other felonies, including conspiracy to commit murder, while two other men also went to prison for pulling the trigger and driving a getaway car, respectively. Adams called 911 after being shot, and the recording of her account of having gone to see a movie with him before following his car home, only to have him stop unexpectedly, allowing the shooter’s car to pull up alongside her, was a major factor in his conviction.

“If I could change anything, I’d change the whole situation,” Carruth said in the interview. “His mother would still be here, and I wouldn’t be where I’m at. So that’s what I’d want to change. I want the incident to never have happened at all.”

Of his desire to eventually gain custody of his son, Carruth said, “I let him down as he came into this world, and the only way that I can make that right and the only way I can work out my relationship with my son is to be there for him.”



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With signing of J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox added much-needed power to lineup

February 19, 2018 - 8:30pm

The Boston Red Sox reached agreement on a reported five-year, $110 million contract with outfielder/designated hitter J.D. Martinez on Monday — the day of their first full-squad workout of spring training — taking the best power hitter off this slow-developing free agent market and giving the Red Sox a powerful answer to the impressive winter moves of their American League East archrivals, the New York Yankees.

Martinez, 30, hit 45 homers with a major-league-leading .690 slugging percentage in 2017, which he split between the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks. In just 62 games in Arizona, he hit 29 homers, drove in 65 runs and propelled the Diamondbacks into the NL Division Series.

While agent Scott Boras attempted to drum up big-money interest in Martinez elsewhere, reportedly seeking $200 million or more at the outset, it always seemed almost predestined that he would wind up with the Red Sox, who desperately needed his bat to anchor an offense that hit just 168 home runs last season, by far the fewest in the AL.

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The contract with Boston reportedly contains two opt-out clauses for Martinez, the first of which comes after just two seasons — giving him the option of retesting free agency at a point when the market may be more robust.

Despite winning back to back AL East titles in 2016 and 2017, the Red Sox fired manager John Farrell and replaced him with rookie skipper Alex Cora, then watched as the Yankees, after coming within a game of making it to the World Series, acquired slugger Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins in the blockbuster trade of the winter and re-signed veteran starter CC Sabathia.

With the Red Sox prepared to start an outfield of Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts, Martinez could see the bulk of his at-bats in the DH role, which was manned primarily by Hanley Ramirez in 2017. Ramirez, meanwhile, appears destined to platoon at first base with veteran Mitch Moreland.

With Martinez and Eric Hosmer (eight years, $144 million from the San Diego Padres) coming off the board in the past few days, third baseman Mike Moustakas is the best available hitter on the market, while Jake Arrieta heads the list of still-available starting pitchers.



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PHOTOS: Colorado Rockies spring training — February 19, 2018

February 19, 2018 - 8:16pm

The Colorado Rockies during the teams workout on Monday, February 19, 2018 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Editor’s note: Ad blockers can cause photos and captions to appear out of order or show information unrelated to the photo displayed.

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WATCH: Brita Sigourney’s bronze-medal-winning run in the freeski halfpipe at the Winter Olympics

February 19, 2018 - 8:11pm

#bronze for @BritaSig!

Brita Sigourney earned the medal for @TeamUSA on her final run in women’s freeski halfpipe. #WinterOlympics https://t.co/0RLwnI9dSx pic.twitter.com/wYAEIbfGUb

— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 20, 2018

American Brita Sigourney scored 91.60 in her third and final run in the freeski halfpipe final on Tuesday, to claim a bronze medal at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Canada’s Cassie Sharpe won the gold, while Marie Martinod was awarded the silver.

Each of the competitors have three runs. Their best score of the three will be recorded for the final standings.

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Canada’s Cassie Sharpe wins Winter Olympics freeski halfpipe gold medal. Brita Sigourney takes bronze.

February 19, 2018 - 8:05pm

BONGPYEONG, South Korea — Canada’s Cassie Sharpe got her wish.

The pipe-skiing phenom aced qualifying on Monday, saying she wanted to drop last so she could get a victory lap on her final of three runs in Tuesday’s ski pipe finals.

She got that lap, along with the second-ever gold medal in women’s ski halfpipe. With a declarative 1080 as her final hit, the 25-year-old Sharpe proved untouchable despite gallant final runs by the Americans, Brita Sigourney, Annalisa Drew and defending gold medalist Maddie Bowman.

Sigourney’s emphasis on amplitude over technicality, opting to soar over spin, earned her bronze behind Sochi silver medalist Marie Martinod, a 33-year-old mother from France whose young daughter cheered her from the bottom of the halfpipe.

The women’s halfpipe finals were not the display of progression seen in the snowboarding contests the week before, where both the men and women riders highlighted first-ever tricks in a battle for the ages. The women skiers focused on style and soaring over spinning and flipping, using 540s, 720s and big 900s to shine. Despite several skiers having 1080s in their arsenals, Sharpe was the only woman to spin the rare trick.

Maddie Bowman struggled with her trademark back-to-back 900s on the end of her run, falling on all three attempts to land that final rightside 900. She slammed hard on the last attempt, laying in the pipe for several minutes before walking away to applause from one of the most crowded events seen at the Phoenix Park Resort.

“I decided to go for it and I wasn’t going to hold back. I didn’t want to put down a safety run and I went for it,” said Bowman, tears welling as she praised her teammates.

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Sigourney’s final run was her best of the three and bumped her friend and teammate Drew off the podium to secure bronze.

Drew said her final run “was the best skiing I’ve done all season” but she wasn’t celebrating with Sigourney left to step up her run.

“I knew she had it as soon as she dropped in,” Drew said. “I just knew. I think everyone is on top of their game right now, on top of the best pipe we’ve ever skied and the combination of the two made for a good performance.”

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Sigourney said it was uncomfortable, embracing Drew at the bottom of the pipe waiting for a score that eventually delivered her a medal but pushed her friend out of contention.

“We love each other and want each other do to well,” said Sigourney, who competed in Sochi following two years of several surgeries. “So obviously it was kind of an uncomfortable spot but at the end of the day just having Anna’s support and her telling me she loves me and is proud of me, it takes everything away.”

For Sharpe, her victory run wasn’t everything she hoped for. She had the gold locked down but fell in the middle of her run.

“Being at the top I didn’t realize how emotional it was going to be to have that victory run,” she said, noting that she still was able to throw that big 1080 as her final hit. “Just for the crowd. It was awesome.”



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The New York Jets are reportedly “willing to pay whatever it takes” to land Kirk Cousins

February 19, 2018 - 7:48pm

Assuming that Kirk Cousins does indeed become an unrestricted free agent, he figures to have no lack of suitors. However, none may be quite as ardent as the Jets, or at least quite as ready to back up the ol’ Brinks truck.

In case there was any doubt about that, a report Monday by ESPN’s Rich Cimini underscored New York’s apparent, and quite understandable, ardor for the Redskins quarterback. A longtime Jets beat reporter, Cimini cited sources who told him that the team is “willing to pay whatever it takes” to land Cousins.

Given that Jimmy Garoppolo, who has seven career starts to Cousins’ 57, just reset the quarterback market with a five-year, $137.5 million contract from the 49ers, whatever it takes to land his Washington counterpart will be quite a bit. Some observers expect Cousins to get something on the order of $150 million over five years, making him the NFL’s highest-paid player, and the Jets are in a position to make that happen.

According to overthecap.com, the Jets have the fourth-most salary-cap space available, at $73.2 million. Of the three teams above them — the Browns ($110.1 million), the Colts ($77.3 million) and the 49ers ($74.5 million) — only Cleveland has need for a quarterback akin to that of New York, and with the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in the draft, the Browns are perfectly positioned to grab an elite college prospect.

With the No. 6 pick, the Jets are in a much more precarious position if they hope to land the college quarterback of their choice, even with a well-regarded crop this year that includes Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen. Instead of giving up valuable draft picks to move up from sixth to, say, third in the draft, why not just fork over a ton of the money they’re able to spend on more of a sure thing?

The real question may be whether the Jets, as Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio suggested Saturday, would be willing to guarantee all $150 million or so of its presumed contract offer, which would blow away the current NFL mark for most guaranteed money. New York is “already is being pegged in league circles as having the willingness to do it,” Florio wrote, and that could give “other suitors for Cousins … no choice but to follow suit.”

Those suitors are expected to include the Browns, Broncos, Vikings, Cardinals and Bills, plus perhaps the Jaguars if they can figure out how to divest themselves of Blake Bortles. Of that group, Minnesota likely would present the most appealing destination for Cousins, but with approximately $49 million in cap space and some in-house contracts to negotiate, it probably can’t match a gargantuan offer from the Jets (or, say, the Browns).

That would test Cousins’ stated position that he wants the best situation, not necessarily the most money possible. Having earned almost $44 million over the past two seasons, when he was twice placed under the franchise tag by the Redskins, Cousins can afford to give his preferred team a bit of a discount, but highly competitive people tend to enjoy beating their peers in the wallet as well as on the field.

The Vikings could essentially drop out of the running by placing a franchise tag on Case Keenum, who led them to the NFC championship game, when NFL teams are able to use that designation, starting Tuesday. Or, if they’re sold on Keenum, the Vikes could sign him to a longer deal that would entail far less money than it would presumably take to land Cousins.

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For that matter, the Redskins could throw a wrench into the proceedings by placing a franchise tag on Cousins for a third straight year. That seems very unlikely, as it would put the team, which just acquired Alex Smith and agreed to a four-year contract extension, on the hook to pay Cousins $34.5 million this year, and the latter has indicated that he would file a grievance with the NFL if Washington attempts that maneuver with an eye toward making a trade.

So assuming again that Cousins hits the open market next month, he will have some choices. It makes sense why the Jets, whose 2017 quarterback depth chart included Josh McCown, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg, would want to go all-out for Cousins, but would he have a reciprocal interest if there were other compelling options?

Earlier, this month, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora described the Jets and Broncos as being the two teams most likely to wind up as finalists in the Cousins sweepstakes. Of that pair, he thought New York would actually be more appealing to the quarterback, citing front-office stability and roster flexibility, lower expectations (and thus less pressure) and a sense that the Broncos are “a descending team” while the Jets are “more of a blank slate prepared right now to build around a capable quarterback.”

For the Jets, it may ultimately be less about a blank slate than the blank check they reportedly are dying to hand Cousins. If they are as zeroed-in on him as some analysts have suggested, he might be able to choose the number of zeros in his contract.



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Driver suspected of DUI in double-fatal crash in Denver

February 19, 2018 - 7:36pm

A driver is suspected of DUI in a double fatal crash in Denver on Sunday morning.

Ernie Crawley, 39, is accused of being the driver at fault and is being held on suspicion of vehicular homicide, according to police.

The crash happened about 1:40 a.m. Sunday on eastbound I-70 at southbound I-225, police said.

When officers arrived at the scene, Crawley smelled of alcohol, according to case documents, and his speech was slurred.

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Three people were injured in the two-vehicle rollover, according to KMGH-TV.

After the crash, Crawley was taken to the University of Colorado Hospital where a draw of the suspect’s blood was taken. An investigation is ongoing.

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WATCH: Cassie Sharpe’s gold-medal-winning run in the Winter Olympics freeski halfpipe final

February 19, 2018 - 7:35pm

Cassie, you’re so Sharpe.

Canada’s @CassieSharpe distanced herself from the field in Run 2 in women’s freeski halfpipe. #WinterOlympics https://t.co/0RLwnI9dSx pic.twitter.com/r3iHB5EPQC

— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 20, 2018

Cassie Sharpe scored 95.60 in her second run in the freeski halfpipe final on Tuesday, climbing into first place at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Each of the competitors have three runs. Their best score of the three will be recorded for the final standings.

Let’s Talk Olympics

Do you love watching the Olympics? Come talk about the Games with us on our exclusive Facebook group.



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Kiszla: New Olympic sport: Riding a toilet designed by Buzz Lightyear. Afterwards, you’ll need a good, stiff drink.

February 19, 2018 - 7:11pm

PYEONGCHANG — I fell in love in South Korea from the moment I settled my bum on a toilet seat that’s a full E-ticket ride.

And from the first sip of a wine that smelled like turpentine, I learned more than perhaps any American really wants to know about the hardships of living in North Korea.

Yes, it’s dangerous to jump to oh-too-easy conclusions, when a visitor parachutes into a place as complex as the Korean peninsula, where diverse cultures get as tangled as the barbed wire stretched across the DMZ. So consider this a two-snapshot glance, with a futuristic toilet displayed next to a tiny bottle of wine, as anecdotal evidence of the huge North-South divide. While nordic skiers fly off the iconic jumping tower that resembles a space ship in PyeongChang, there’s a whole different and much tougher world ruled by Kim Jong-un only 50 miles away.

You can’t walk into the sparkling Olympic venues in South Korea without bumping into a robot. There are robots that vacuum the floor in the media center and robots that schuss (albeit slowly) down a slalom course on skis and an aquarium filled with colorful robotic fish that eliminate the messy chore of cleaning the tank.

The most ingenuous bit of artificial intelligence, however, greeted me warmly on this visit to the Winter Games, shortly after I threw my luggage on the bed at the conclusion of a 20-hour trek from Denver to Seoul.

On a bone-chilling winter night, my first order of business in South Korea was a stop in the hotel bathroom, and the first thing I noticed upon taking a seat was a throne fit for royalty. It was like putting my bum in an oven. A heated seat! It was so comfortable drivers of a $50,000 luxury car would be envious.

Everyone back home has heard of Samsung or Hyundai, but the local company that demonstrates real genius is Vovo, designer of a toilet that has taken all the classic features of a bidet from the 18th century and transformed it into a futuristic device that would require Buzz Lightyear to check the instruction manual.

Let’s Talk Olympics

Do you love watching the Olympics? Come talk about the Games with us on our exclusive Facebook group.

This combo toilet/bidet had a control panel, with more bells and whistles than the “Splash Mountain” ride at Disney World. I inspected buttons that were labeled posterior wash, feminine wash, enema and dry, with additional tabs to select the water action from jets inside the bowl, with myriad choices ranging from oscillating and pulsating to rhythm.

Being a kid at heart, I pushed all the buttons at once. The resulting experience was as close as I’ll ever get to taking a trip to the moon. I let out a shriek loud enough to wake a couple sleeping in an adjourning room. Afterwards, I felt the hankering for a good, stiff drink.

In South Korea for Olympics. Gonna call this feature #OlyGangnamStyle. Let’s start with: Controls on my toilet are full E-ticket ride. pic.twitter.com/za4JtDIfMG

— Mark Kiszla (@markkiszla) February 6, 2018

The name of the wine is Kangge Sanmorusul.  It is a product of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea. It’s sold in small bottles for $10 to knuckleheads like me at a gift shop in a beautiful but largely unused train station, which was optimistically built by South Korean engineers, in hopeful anticipation the two countries that share this strife-torn peninsula might someday reunite in peace and start a line of transportation extending from the current DMZ all the way to Europe.

For lovers of white or red, here’s probably the first thing you need to know about Kangge Sanmorusul: This wine is brown.

Open the screw cap to let the bottle breathe, and the stench will take your breath away. Swirl this wine in a glass to examine the legs and any smart connoisseur would run for his life.

.@markkiszla: “you know you are in trouble when you have to shake your wine bottle” … before taking an ill-advised sip of wine from North Korea, which apparently does nothing well pic.twitter.com/aTuPjZ9TXI

— Jason Blevins (@jasonblevins) February 19, 2018

Instead, I took a belt. Tiny flakes of grape-leaf sediment stuck to the tip of my tongue, followed by an acidic wash in the back of the throat. The label claims the wild-grape wine is 16 percent alcohol by volume. The other 84 percent is pure torture.

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In the grand sports-writing tradition of Oscar Madison, I will drink almost anything, so long as you’re buying. In the Amazon River basin, I’ve slugged down bowls of chicha, a maize drink fermented by the saliva of the sweet elderly ladies who generously shared it with me. That was Dom Perignon compared to Kangge Sanmorusul, which you wouldn’t double-dog dare your worst enemy to chug.

So much for the brilliant idea of using my duty-free allotment to bring back a souvenir from the land of Kim Jong-un to the United States.

What am I going to do with the rest of that $10 bottle of wine from North Korea?

Pour it down the best toilet in the world.



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Jefferson County is temporarily closing a few public spaces — including parts of trails and climbing routes — to protect several animal species

February 19, 2018 - 6:55pm

In an annual effort to protect several animal species, including nesting raptors and calving elk, Jefferson County Open Space rangers temporarily closed three public spaces — including parts of trails and climbing routes — this month. Two more areas will temporarily close March 1.

Visitor services manager Mary Ann Bonnell said the closures affect only 11 of the more than 1,000 climbing routes and only 5.4 miles of the 236 miles of trails the agency oversees, leaving plenty of terrain to enjoy.

“A lot of the reasons people come to our parks is to enjoy wildlife,” Bonnell said. “If you enter closed areas, you’re jeopardizing these ecosystems and the opportunity for people to see the wildlife in the future.”

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Not only do the closures help protect species from people, but they also help to protect them from other predatory animals.

“Raptors might seem like impressive birds, but their nests are very fragile,” Bonnell said. “If you scare a red-tailed hawk off its nest, it only takes a couple of seconds for a crow or a blue jay to land, destroy and eat the eggs. It only takes a few moments for them to peck the nestlings to death. That’s something most people don’t think about when they decide to go hiking through these closed areas.”

The closures also help protect other birds, such as nighthawks, which are ground-nesting and prefer to lay their eggs directly on the rocky trails. Bonnell said the eggs are difficult to see and are easy to step on, so it’s important to keep people from hiking through nesting areas. Some closures also help protect people:  Female elk can be dangerous and unpredictable, especially if they have a calf in the area.

According to a Jeffco Open Space statement, the affected regions are:

Centennial Cone Park

Seth McConnell, The Denver PostA horse looks over a fence from private property at Centennial Cone Park in Golden Gate Canyon, Colorado on Dec. 7, 2013.

Elk Range Trail at Centennial Cone Park, including the interior of the park, is closed through mid-June to protect elk during their calving season.

Clear Creek Canyon Park

File photo, YourHubA view of the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon in Jefferson County on Jan. 19, 2017.

The area of Clear Creek Canyon Park near Mile Marker 270 is closed to all public use uphill of the U.S. 6 corridor through July 31 to protect golden eagle nesting territory. This closure encompasses the following rock climbing sites: Bumbling Stock, Stumbling Block, Skinny Legs, Blonde Formation and Ghost Crag. The closure includes the Fault Caves.

The area of Clear Creek Canyon Park near Tunnel 2 is also closed to all public use uphill of the U.S. 6 corridor through July 31 to protect golden eagle nesting territory. This closure encompasses the following rock climbing sites: Highlander, Evil Area and Tetanus Garden.

North Table Mountain Park

Kathryn Scott, The Denver PostCyclists use the trails on North Table Mountain Park on Sept. 21, 2017 in Golden.

Rim Rock Trail at North Table Mountain Park is closed through July 31 to protect raptor nesting territory and ground-nesting bird habitat.

Cathedral Spires Park

Cathedral Spires Park is closed from March 1 through July 31 to protect raptor nesting territory.

Crown Hill Park

File photo, YourHubFamilies walk around Crown Hill Lake, which is at the border of Lakewood and Wheat Ridge, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013.

The Crown Hill Park National Urban Wildlife Refuge is closed from March 1 through June 30 to protect nesting and brooding waterfowl.

Violations regarding seasonal closures can result in a fine of up to $100,000, imprisonment or both. Rangers are on the lookout for trespassers, so it’s best to steer clear. To report active violations, call the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency line at 303-277-0211. For more information and maps of the closures, visit climbjeffco.com/about/closures.

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A difference of 0:00:00: Canada, Germany share Olympic two-man bobsled gold

February 19, 2018 - 6:39pm

DAEGWALLYEONG, South Korea — Justin Olsen, the American bobsled pilot, watched on a television screen as the Canadian sled, the final entrant in the two-man bobsled race Monday night, barreled into final turns, toward the bottom of the rack.

Olsen was standing in the mixed zone, the maze of barriers at the base of the track, just past the finish line, where reporters and athletes mingle. He had finished well back, but he happened to be watching the run that would decide the competition. Canada’s sled, driver Justin Kripps and push man Alex Kopacz, had started the last run with a gold medal in sight, needing a run of 3:16.86 to keep pace with the German sled of Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis.

On the screen, as the Canadian sled stormed around a turn, the differential clock flipped from green to red — Kripps and Kopacz were one hundredth of a second ahead of the German pace.

“He’s gonna get it,” Olsen said.

But then, coming around Turn 13, Kripps steered into a slight skid, an imperceptible nudge against a side wall. It didn’t look like much — except to Olsen.

“Nope,” Olsen said. “Not anymore. That bobble.”

In the next turn, Canada had picked up speed. It was going to be close, for sure.

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“Maybe,” Olsen said. “If he does it, it’s going to be by a one-hundredth.”

The Canadians crossed the line. The pace clock did not turn to red. Nor did it stay green. It turned white. The differential was 0:00:00. It was a tie, a dead heat after four trips, 3.1 miles of racing careening down an icy, winding hill. Two gold medals would be awarded, plus one bronze, to the Latvian sled, which in another testament to the margins of bobsled had finished four runs in 3:16.91.

On the track, it was mayhem. Nobody had any mixed feelings about a dual gold. Canadians hugged each other. Germans hugged each other. Germans hugged Canadians. The fans of both countries erupted.

For Kripps and Kopacz, it was a mix of elation and confusion. When Kripps crossed the finish line, he had seen, for a flash, the scoreboard put up ‘1.’ He knew they had won, but that was all he knew. “There’s no symbol for tie in bobsled,” Kripps said. When the sled came to a stop, coaches and teammates swarmed the sled.

“I saw the Germans, too,” Kripps said. “I was like, ‘That’s nice; they’re really excited that we won.’ We’re all good friends.”

After Kripps got out of he sled and teammates had embraced and high-fived him, Margis, the German pusher, hugged Kripps.

“He was like, ‘It was three hundredths, and then two, and then we tied,'” Kripps said. “I was like, ‘We tied?’ He was like, ‘Yeah!’ It’s amazing.”

Kopacz still didn’t realize the Germans had won. For several minutes, he believed Canada had claimed the only gold. Then the sliders all convened in the change room.

“I asked the German guys again,” Kopacz said. “I said, ‘I’m not understanding. Did we win?’ They’re like, ‘Well, yeah. But we tied.’ It’s pretty insane. What are the odds?”

Not actually that long. The differences in bobsled are so thin that ties, while rare, do happen. The last gold medal tie in bobsled came in 1998, when Pierre Lueders piloted Canada to a gold-medal tie with Italy. Lueders drove with Kripps as his brakeman in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. He was there Monday night: He is now the coach of South Korea’s bobsled team.

Olsen immediately predicted bobsled would move to a clock with thousandths of a second. Luge has already made the switch — incredibly, races are even tighter in luge. There are good reasons to stick with the current system. If two sleds come with less than a hundredths of each other, should that really separate them? Still, bobsled changing to thousandths felt inevitable to some.

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“We have a lot of ties,” Canadian Christopher Spring said. “Like, a lot of ties. Not just today. For me, it doesn’t matter. But, yeah, if you want to see who actually beat who, then sure, let’s go to the thousandths. But hey, we could still have ties then as well. Where do you stop?”

“I think it needs to now,” Canadian slider Jesse Lumsden said. “You don’t see a ton of ties, but, shoot, I don’t know why you wouldn’t.”

One worthy reason could be seen Monday night, when four men stood on top of a podium instead of two, and two national anthems were played, and joy was doubled. Sharing a victory had not reduced the achievement, but somehow enhanced it.

“It was actually a really special moment,” Kripps said. “It’s two other guys that are as happy as you are. You just became Olympic champions. The bobsled community is really tight-knit. We’ve been friends and rivals with these guys for years. They’ve had a lot of success, and we’re starting to as well. They’re genuinely happy for us, and we’re happy for them, too.”



Categories: All Denver News.

Hiker discovers body in Saguache County, investigation underway

February 19, 2018 - 6:22pm

A hiker found a body in Saguache County during the weekend, and local and state authorities are investigating.

The body of a female was found just after 10 a.m. Sunday in the area of County Road 42 and County Road Z, according to a Colorado Bureau of Investigation news release.

An investigation into the identity of the deceased, as well as the cause and manner of her death, is ongoing.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 719-655-2544.

Categories: All Denver News.

Baker Mayfield rejects Johnny Manziel comparisons with NFL combine near

February 19, 2018 - 6:18pm

FORT WORTH, Texas — Baker Mayfield doesn’t like comparisons to Johnny Manziel, although the Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma wasn’t surprised by them after an arrest and other antics during his time with the Sooners.

At a stop in his home state of Texas to accept the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s top quarterback, Mayfield said Monday he and Manziel were “two completely different people.”

Mayfield will be at the NFL combine next week and is projected as a possible first-round pick in the draft in April.

It’s been four years since Manziel, the first freshman to win the Heisman at Texas A&M in 2012, was taken 22nd overall by Cleveland and dumped after two trouble-filled seasons. A former Texas high school star like Mayfield, Manziel has been out of football for two years.

After an offseason arrest for public intoxication and disorderly conduct, Mayfield planted an OU flag at midfield after a win at Ohio State. He made a lewd gesture toward the Kansas sideline after the Jayhawks refused to shake his hand before the coin flip.

“We’re two completely different people,” Mayfield said. “I’ve always been a team-oriented guy. Not saying that Johnny wasn’t. But I’ve quickly earned the respect of my teammates because of how I worked.

“I wasn’t given the natural talent that Johnny had. Because he’s a talent. And there’s a reason he got taken in the first round, amazing player. We’re just not the same mentally. Just wired differently.”

Mayfield acknowledged last weekend that NFL personnel have talked to him about having more awareness of his social media use and trying to stay out of trouble. But coaches have long praised his leadership and infectious energy.

“I’ve always been an outgoing person, somebody that’s confident, somebody who has passion and energy for the game of football and for whoever I’m playing for, I’m going to be passionate about it,” said Mayfield, who broke his own single-season passing efficiency rating and threw for 4,627 yards and 43 touchdowns.

After the Sooners lost to Georgia in the Rose Bowl in the national semifinals, Mayfield stayed in the Los Angeles area and has spent most of his time there preparing for the combine and draft.

“This process right now is different than anything of the stuff I’ve been through before because it’s more individualized right now than anything else,” Mayfield said. “Normally in the offseason I’m with the team. We’re working toward one goal together.”

The Kansas sideline incident cost Mayfield a start in his final home game when coach Lincoln Riley benched him. He also apologized for the flag plant. But Mayfield said the arrest in Arkansas last February is what braced him for the Manziel chatter.

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“I didn’t want to be portrayed as the villain or somebody like that,” Mayfield said. “I do good things within my community. I’m not trying to say those cover up any mistakes that I’ve made. But there’s always a learning curve when you’re growing up.”

And Mayfield knows where his career is taking him next.

“You get a bunch of grown men that work really hard, so it’ll be different going from 18 (to) 22-year-olds to people that are feeding their families, their children,” Mayfield said. “A lot of these guys make their money just based off work ethic and never quitting.”

Mayfield thinks that’s what he’s bringing to the NFL, not Manziel-like baggage.



Categories: All Denver News.

Everything you need to know about Colorado Avalanche at Vancouver Canucks

February 19, 2018 - 6:04pm

COLORADO AT VANCOUVER, 8 p.m. Tuesday, ALT, 950 AM

Spotlight on: Thomas Vanek

The Canucks forward from Austria is playing for his seventh NHL team, and next week he could be with his eighth. Vanek, 34, signed a one-year, $2 million contract with Vancouver last summer. Since the Canucks aren’t going to make the playoffs and Vanek is a pending unrestricted free agent, there’s a strong chance he get traded to a contender by Monday’s deadline. Vanek is the Canucks’ second-leading scorer, with 40 points (16 goals) in 59 games. He has 349 goals in his 944-game career, which includes stints with Buffalo, the New York Islanders, Montreal, Minnesota, Detroit and Florida. Vanek played two seasons at the University of Minnesota.

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Avalanche: Goalie Semyon Varlamov will make his second consecutive start, his third in the past four games. … The Avs are 11-15-3 on the road and losers of four of their last five outside Denver. … Colorado remains the NHL’s worst faceoff team at 43.8 percent… Following this three-game trip that continues through Edmonton on Thursday and Calgary on Saturday, the Avs return to Denver and prepare to face Vancouver on Monday and Calgary next Wednesday at the Pepsi Center. .. Since winning 10 consecutive games, the Avs are 4-7-1, and just 2-6-1 on the road.

Canucks: They are 2-6 in their last eight games and expected to unload some veterans before Monday’s trade deadline. But they pounded playoff-bound Boston 6-1 on Saturday at home, thanks to backup goalie Anders Nilsson (44 saves). Nilsson made a surprise start because Jacob Markstrom was ill. … Forward Brock Boeser leads all NHL rookies with 27 goals, and he’s second in points (49) behind the New York Islanders’ Mathew Barzal (61). Boeser also leads all rookies with 22 power-play goals and 157 shots. … The 37-year-old Sedin twins, Henrik and Daniel, have identical $7 million contracts with no-move clauses and are pending unrestricted free agents, so it will be their decision to part ways with the only team they’ve played for to join a playoff contender before Monday’s trade deadline. It’s unlikely they’ll go anywhere because they don’t want to get split up.



Categories: All Denver News.

One-pot (sheet pan, casserole dish, pressure cooker and dutch oven) main meals

February 19, 2018 - 5:53pm

Everything new is old again.

It’s a trope of cultural analysis to note “there’s nothing new under the sun,” as when a fashionista remarks, “Look, wide ties are back.” Or sometimes we just repurpose old words to describe new things. The horseless carriage was cooler than the iron horse, which itself nudged Old Nellie off the roads.

The new hottie in cooking is the Instant Pot, the programmable pressure cooker (and slow cooker, yogurt or cake-maker, sauté pot, food warmer and rice steamer). It’s verily “one pot does all.” I await its next generation in hopes that it will perform the prep.

But, wow, one-pot cooking is a story so old that the term hasn’t changed at all in thousands of years. Various words will describe the pot itself —  skillet, casserole, roaster, Dutch oven, sheet pan, even — and, in modern times, gewgaws got added by Rival (the “Original Crock Pot”) and now, Instant Pot.

But one-pot cooking is, well, the original paleo. Before food and cooking became stratified by social class and the way that wealth could grow, purchase, hunt, discover, ship or prepare special foods — that is, until the horse — everyone just threw whatever they were eating (grains, edibles from the ground or trees, maybe milk) into “that pot over there by the fire.”

And they ate from it and then added to it, eating again from it the next day, and so on. It was as much a fixture of their hut as was the fire itself.

The first recipe books — the first start-and-stop cooking, as it were, about fixing fowl, say, or grilling meat, or filets o’ fish —  were for people who could read (and those weren’t the first people). One-pot cooking is about as old as we are.

If it’s new again, it’s old again. Just fancier, perhaps better managed.

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And it remains one great way to cook, not merely because of its convenience, but especially because of its flavors —  layers of them, one atop the other or next to the other or pilling on each other. Sure, a sauté may approach the same, or a boil in a court bouillon, or the char of grilling over a fancy wood.

But little matches that mica-like stratifying of aromas, textures and tastes that comes with cooking it all in one pot. Time can make the matter —  what’s more come-hither than a long-stewed stew? —  but sometimes only a few minutes of piling on flavor will do.

We’ve got a bunch of recipes for you, each using a single pot — a sheet pan, a casserole or baking dish (sometimes an interchangeable name), a Dutch oven and a pressure cooker. You’ll find one-pot recipes elsewhere for roasters and skillets, themselves useful “one pots.”

Some things to keep in mind with these various one-pot cooking utensils:

  • Choose skillets carefully, especially when seeking non-stick surfaces (that don’t allow transfer of the skillet to the oven if cooking in the same skillet both atop the stove and then in the oven) and when looking for those with or without lids. A lid is handy for one-pot cooking, but not always sold along with the skillet. (You might use a sheet pan or cookie sheet instead, but be sure you have on hand either of the correct dimension to cover the entirety of the skillet’s diameter.)
  • The best non-stick surface on a bare- or all-metal skillet is that on a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Getting that surface takes time, though, so prepare one well in advance.
  • Remember that the edges of a sheet pan are hotter than its center, so foods crowded up against or touching the sides may burn more readily than those toward the middle, especially if the cooking time is lengthy.
  • Likewise, the higher sides of a roaster “trap” or contain heat within the roaster itself. It may be wiser, given the recipe or the foods being cooked, to use a more shallow “one-pot” such as a baking dish or sheet pan.
  •  A casserole (casuela, to use the Latin or Spanish term, or cocotte, the French) does not necessarily function as a Dutch oven. One key component to the true, cast iron or enameled iron Dutch oven is that its top or lid is flat, by and large, so that, when cooking outdoors, coals could be stacked atop the lid to achieve the “oven” effect. The lid also functions as a separate pan, on occasion, for either cooking or serving, outdoors or indoors. Most casseroles, with their knobbed lids, don’t allow for any of that. And, certainly, if a casserole is earthenware or made of enameled fired clay, cooking in it on top of a stove burner may or may not be allowed.

I honed this first recipe over several years — and several recipes — from its beginnings at the elbow of a Polish elder when I lived in Chicago at the turn of the 2000s. Her beginning admonition still rings in the ears of my memory: “Rinse well always the sauerkraut!” You will find bigos (pronounced “bee-goss”) — along with pierogis, grilled kielbasa, and Polish beer — at any Polish event worth its name (and at many a Polish dinner table). It is a national treasure, with proponents and repudiators of its using tomatoes or mushrooms (which I prefer) and caraway seed or red wine (which I do not). Bigos is the perfect recipe for one-pan.

  • Amy Brothers, The Denver Post

    A steaming pot of Bigos on Jan. 31 , 2018 in Denver. Many call bigos the Polish national dish. It is a long-cooked mix of both raw and brined cabbage and any number of meats: beef, game and various cuts of pork.

  • Amy Brothers, The Denver Post

    A steaming pot of Bigos on Jan. 31 , 2018 in Denver. Many call bigos the Polish national dish. It is a long-cooked mix of both raw and brined cabbage and any number of meats: beef, game and various cuts of pork.

  • Amy Brothers, The Denver Post

    A steaming pot of Bigos on Jan. 31 , 2018 in Denver. Many call bigos the Polish national dish. It is a long-cooked mix of both raw and brined cabbage and any number of meats: beef, game and various cuts of pork.

  • Amy Brothers, The Denver Post

    A steaming pot of Bigos on Jan. 31 , 2018 in Denver. Many call bigos the Polish national dish. It is a long-cooked mix of both raw and brined cabbage and any number of meats: beef, game and various cuts of pork.

  • Amy Brothers, The Denver Post

    A steaming pot of Bigos on Jan. 31 , 2018 in Denver. Many call bigos the Polish national dish. It is a long-cooked mix of both raw and brined cabbage and any number of meats: beef, game and various cuts of pork.

  • Amy Brothers, The Denver Post

    A steaming pot of Bigos on Jan. 31 , 2018 in Denver. Many call bigos the Polish national dish. It is a long-cooked mix of both raw and brined cabbage and any number of meats: beef, game and various cuts of pork.

  • Amy Brothers, The Denver Post

    A steaming pot of Bigos on Jan. 31 , 2018 in Denver. Many call bigos the Polish national dish. It is a long-cooked mix of both raw and brined cabbage and any number of meats: beef, game and various cuts of pork.

  • Amy Brothers, The Denver Post

    A steaming pot of Bigos on Jan. 31 , 2018 in Denver. Many call bigos the Polish national dish. It is a long-cooked mix of both raw and brined cabbage and any number of meats: beef, game and various cuts of pork.

  • Amy Brothers, The Denver Post

    A steaming pot of Bigos on Jan. 31 , 2018 in Denver. Many call bigos the Polish national dish. It is a long-cooked mix of both raw and brined cabbage and any number of meats: beef, game and various cuts of pork.

  • Amy Brothers, The Denver Post

    A steaming pot of Bigos on Jan. 31 , 2018 in Denver. Many call bigos the Polish national dish. It is a long-cooked mix of both raw and brined cabbage and any number of meats: beef, game and various cuts of pork.

Show Caption of

Expand Bigos (Polish “Hunter’s Stew”)

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds sauerkraut
  • 1 head Napa or Savoy cabbage, medium- to large
  • Handful dried mushrooms, rehydrated in a small amount of boiling water
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 pound beef short ribs, meat removed from bones, or 3/4 pound beef chuck, cut into 1-inch (or slightly larger) chunks
  • 3/4 pound pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch (or slightly larger) chunks
  • 1/2 pound pork belly, unsmoked, cut into 1-inch (or slightly larger) chunks
  • 3/4 pound smoked kielbasa sausage, thickly sliced
  • 5 slices Canadian bacon, cut up into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound lamb or venison loin, cut into 1-inch chunks (optional)
  • 2 large onions, peeled and sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 32-ounce canned diced tomatoes and their juice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dried prunes
  • Dark rye or pumpernickel bread

Directions

Rinse the sauerkraut well in several changes of cool water and let drain, squeezing out excess water. Remove outer or wilting leaves from cabbage, core, and slice into shreds as if for cole slaw. Drain the rehydrated mushrooms, rinse and chop up. Strain the mushroom water of any grit and reserve.

In a commodious pot or Dutch oven, brown all the meats in batches in the vegetable oil, setting each batch aside, assuring not to crowd the pieces of meat as you brown them (you do not want them to steam themselves, but to develop nice brown, crisp crusts). Sweat the onions in the same pot (adding a smidge more oil, if necessary) just until they begin to brown, then add the garlic and carrots and sauté for a few minutes more. Add the tomatoes, scraping up anything brown along the bottom of the pot. Stir in the chopped mushrooms, the reserved mushroom water, bay leaves, the thyme and several healthy grinds of black pepper.

The cooking of the bigos now takes up to 6 hours, at a slow and steady heat. So, decide whether to slowly cook the bigos as a stew on top of the stove, or in the oven in a large pot or casserole. In any case, you’ll need a cooking vessel large enough to accommodate all the meats, the sauerkraut, cabbage, onions and tomatoes, leaving an inch or more at the top for bubbling juices.

Assemble the bigos in layers: Begin with all of the raw cabbage, then the drained sauerkraut, the meats (mixed together or not, it does not matter at this point, because you’ll stir up the bigos a few times as you cook along), and the onions and tomatoes. Cover the cooking pot and bring the bigos up to a slow simmer, either atop the stove and then placed in the oven, or merely atop the stove. Adjust the stove burner as necessary. If in the oven, the bigos cooks best for this long at 300-325 degrees. Stir up the bigos 3-4 times over a cooking period of 5-6 hours. Halfway through the cooking, taste the bigos for salt, adding if necessary (the sauerkraut, cured meats and tomatoes already may have done the job).

An hour before the bigos is done, stir in the dried prunes, and continue cooking. Some cooks assert that bigos is best cooked three or four days before serving, even being reheated and stirred up a bit each day. It’s certainly something that’s difficult to overcook. But its only truly bigos if it is cooked for a very long time, however it will be first enjoyed. And it is best served with slices of dark bread.

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I always feel like I need an extra 2 to 4 hours more per day, so I  prefer to cook two or three things on the weekends that I can then eat during the week. To make the most of my cooking time, I’ve become a big fan of sheet pan recipes. They’re simple, quick to make and easy to clean up. To make this recipe from Cooking Classy even easier, I use pre-cooked bacon and line the sheet pan with foil,  making cleaning up even easier. — Sara B. Hansen

Sheet Pan Chicken, Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Balsamic Glaze

From CookingClassy.com

Prep time: 15 minutes; cook time: 32 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 20 ounces sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 16 ounces Brussels sprouts, bottoms trimmed, halved
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1 1/4-inch cubes (try for uniform sizes)
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced into chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley (optional)
  • 3 tablespoon store-bought or homemade* balsamic glaze

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a rimmed 13-by-18 (or 9-by-13) baking sheet with cooking spray. Place sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to evenly coat.

Sprinkle bacon over everything. Roast in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven.
Add chicken, red onions, garlic and rosemary; season everything with salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat. Spread into an even layer (don’t overlap chicken pieces).  Return to oven and roast until chicken has cooked through (center of thickest pieces should register 165), about 17-20 minutes longer. Drizzle everything (or each serving) with balsamic glaze, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

*For homemade balsamic glaze: In a small saucepan, whisk together 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon honey. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, until reduced to about 3 tablespoons, about 10-13 minutes. Let cool (it will thicken more as it cools).

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This is the recipe my college-age daughter clamors for whenever she returns to the nest. It’s the recipe I make every year for our ladies’ Christmas dinner, at their request. It’s the recipe I froze and mailed down to Florida for a Christmas gift to one of those ladies who moved away. And the fact that you can slim it down or fatten it up when you might not have the lighter ingredients on hand (and don’t mind the extra calories) makes it all the more versatile. It’s a keeper. Tip: You will want to double this, even if you live alone. It freezes well, is a quick go-to meal for one and, combined with a salad and garlic bread, it’s a party-pleaser, too. — Barbara Ellis

Amy Brothers, The Denver PostSpaghetti Pie, photographed on Febuary 14 , 2018 in Denver. Spaghetti Pie

From Cooking Light magazine

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground round (I use 80/20 ground beef)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (I’ve used garlic pepper instead; can’t have too much garlic)
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce with garlic (or plain tomato sauce and minced garlic or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups hot cooked spaghetti (about 8 ounces uncooked)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/3 cup (about 5 ounces) shredded reduced fat extra sharp cheddar cheese

Directions

Cook the pasta in boiling water, until it is al dente. Drain well (otherwise it can make the pie too watery). Brown meat in a large nonstick skillet. Drain well. Stir in salt, pepper and tomato sauce (and garlic, if using plain sauce). Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Combine the sour cream, green onions, and cream cheese in a small bowl, and set aside. Place spaghetti noodles in a 2-quart casserole dish coated with cooking spray. (I use a 9×13, 3-quart casserole dish when I double the recipe). Spread the sour cream mixture over spaghetti noodles. Top with meat mixture. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Cover and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Uncover, bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Yield 6 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 408 calories (30 percent from fat), 13.7 g fat (7.3 g saturated), 28.4 g pro., 39.9 g carb., 67 mg chol., 849 mg sodium.

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This is so beautiful to look at we just had to try it. And it’s as delicious as it looks. One key, Cook’s Country warns, is buying vegetables that are about the same size so that when you lay them out in a “shingle” pattern, they’re somewhat uniform.

Cook's Country 2017Vegetable Orzo Tian from “One-Pan Wonders” by America’s Test Kitchen Vegetable and Orzo Tian

From “One-Pan Wonders” by America’s Test Kitchen (Cook’s Country 2017)

Serves 4 as a main dish or 6 as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 yellow summer squash, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 pound plum toatoes, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil

Directions

Adjust oven rack to middle position. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine 1/2 cup Parmesan, orzo, shallots, oregano, garlic, pepper flakes and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Spread mixture evenly into broiler-safe 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Alternately “shingle” zucchini, squash and tomatoes in tidy rows on top of orzo.

Carefully pour broth over top of vegetables. Bake until orzo is just tender and most of broth is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Remove dish from oven, adjust rack 9 inches from broiler element, and heat broiler. Drizzle vegetables with oil, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup Parmesan. Broil until nicely browned and bubbling around edges, about 5 minutes.

Remove dish from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with basil before serving.

As a kid growing up in Kansas, a trip to the grandparents in Aurora was full of anticipation.  They would take us to the mountains for camping and fishing, and to Denver’s amusement parks, museums and parks. The visit always included Grandma’s old-fashioned homemade Chicken and Noodles or Beef and Noodles for dinner. As the noodles rested on the kitchen table after being kneaded, rolled out and cut, Grandma would chase my brother Scott out as he tried to sneak a few.

Today, I typically take a shortcut and and make this hearty dish with store-bought frozen egg noodles (like Reames home style egg noodles or Grandma’s-brand homemade style.) But when I’m feeling nostalgic, only my Grandma’s home-made noodles will do. — T.J. Hutchinson

Amy Brothers, The Denver PostGrandmas homemade beef and noodles, made from scratch with fresh pasta. photographed on Feb. 14 , 2018 in Denver. Beef and Noodles

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 1/4 inch cubes, or stewing meat
  • 2 32-ounce boxes of beef broth or chicken broth
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic salt or garlic powder (optional)
  • Frozen homestyle egg noodles or Homemade Noodles (recipe below)

Directions

Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a pressure cooker over medium high heat. Brown one-half of the meat in oil, searing all sides. Remove and repeat for other half. Put all the browned meat back in pressure cooker. Add onions and 3 cups of broth, plus 1 cup of water; the meat should be covered. Pressure cook on low heat for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat, reduce pressure and take off lid. Bring liquid and beef to slow rolling boil and drop in frozen noodles or homemade noodles (recipe below). Broth will thicken as noodles cook.

Homemade Noodles

Now, I’m not a great cook. I don’t have the patience for rolling out perfect dough. But this recipe is forgiving. I can roll out crooked sheets of pasta dough and cut the noodles unevenly and they still taste like home. If you make extra noodles, they freeze well. Use them the next time you make Beef and Noodles, or drop them and some veggies into any broth for a quick meal. — T.J. Hutchinson

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Mix flour and salt in a bowl, and make a well for the eggs. Slowly mix by hand until all flour is incorporated. Move to floured surface and knead dough until it is no longer tacky, adding a little flour as needed. Divide dough into two portions; let rest for about 20 minutes. Roll out dough as thin as you can (the noodles plump a lot in cooking). Cut the rolled dough in half, loosely roll up into a cylinder and make thin slices across the roll, making pinwheels. You can cut the pinwheels in half again to make shorter noodles, but they start sticking together more at this point.

Toss the pinwheels in flour to separate noodles. Let sit for a couple of hours, tossing occasionally to keep separate.

Refrigerate pasta until you are ready to add to the boiling beef and broth.

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I was raised on the Colorado-New Mexico border, where roasted green chiles are king. We put them in our burgers, on our pizza, in our eggs, and even in our beer. For grad school, I moved to the East Coast and discovered no one knew about the magic green chiles. My mom had to ship them to me in care packages. I once found a recipe that combined chicken, green chiles and beer in a crockpot; it became my go-to when I was missing home. I’ve modified it over the years as my cooking skills have improved. Cooking it all in one pot makes for more complex flavors. — Amy Brothers

Green Chile Chicken Tacos

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 pounds of bone-in, skinless chicken thighs (can use boneless)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 to 5 medium tomatillos, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 12 ounce can of beer (preferably a lager)
  • 16 ounce jar of flame-roasted green chiles (505 is my favorite brand)
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 12 ounces of Cotija cheese
  • Corn tortillas

Directions
Cut excess fat off chicken thighs and salt.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear chicken thighs on each side; remove from pot.  Turn heat down to medium.

Add onion to pot and cook until translucent. Add tomatillos, and cook until soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.

Pour the can of beer in to deglaze the pan, scraping the sides and bottom so the bits of caramelized flavor incorporate in the liquid.  Reduce down to half the liquid.

Add the jar of green chiles and return the chicken back into the pot. Turn down to low and simmer for one hour.

Pull apart chicken with fork.

Warm corn tortillas on stove, then top with chicken mixture, cheese and fresh cilantro.

———————————————————–

We haven’t actually made this one ourselves yet, but it looked so good (and was so different) that we thought we’d share.

Cook's Country 2017Reuben Strata from “One-Pan Wonders” by America’s Test Kitchen (Cook’s Country 2017) Reuben Strata

From “One-Pan Wonders” by America’s Test Kitchen (Cook’s Country 2017)

Serves 4-6 Total time: 3 hours

Ingredients

  • 8 slices seeded rye bread, toasted
  • 1 pound thinly sliced deli corned beef, chopped
  • 8 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 12 ounces sauerkraut, rinsed and squeezed dry
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives

Directions

Spray 8-inch square baking dish with vegetable oil spray. Arrange half of bread in prepared dish. Sprinkle half of corned beef over bread, then top with 2/3 cup Swiss cheese. Repeat with remaining bread, corned  beef and 2/3 cup Swiss cheese to make second layer.

Whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper together in bowl, then pour evenly over top. Cover dish tightly with plastic wrap, pressing it flush to service. Weigh strata down and refrigerate for 1 to 24 hours.

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Meanwhile, let strata sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Unwrap strata and bake until edges and center are puffed and edges have pulled away slightly from sides of dish, about 50 minutes, rotating dish halfway through baking.

Remove dish from oven, adjust oven rack to 8 inches from broiler element, and heat broiler. Sprinkle sauerkraut over top of strata, then sprinkle with remaining 2/3 cup Swiss cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and golden, about 5 minutes.

Remove dish from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with chives and serve.

Tip for weighing down strata: Cover surface with plastic wrap, pressing it flush to surface and weigh it down with a zipper-lock bag filled with sugar or dried beans.

Categories: All Denver News.

U.S. women’s hockey back in Olympic gold medal game after win over Finland

February 19, 2018 - 5:37pm

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — The Americans played their way back into the only women’s hockey game that matters: a showdown with Canada for the Olympic gold medal.

The Americans are back in the title game for a third straight Olympics after shutting out Finland 5-0 on Monday in the semifinals. They will face their archrival on Thursday, and the Americans will be trying to win their first gold since 1998 when women’s hockey made its debut in the Olympics.

And yes, the Americans understand the United States-Canada playing for gold is what everyone expects to see.

“Definitely the rivalry has been there since I think I was born, so everyone’s looking forward to that,” said 22-year-old Dani Cameranesi.

This will be the third opportunity at gold for six Americans: captain Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight, Gigi Marvin, Kacey Bellamy and twin sisters Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson.

“It’s honestly a dream come true,” Knight said. “This is the world’s biggest stage. This is the game that you want. This is the game we’ve been dreaming of and to have another opportunity to get back here, it’s huge.”

Canada is the four-time Olympic champion and has won the last five games against the U.S. The Canadians know a battle is likely.

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“You never know what you’re going to get,” said Jennifer Wakefield, who scored twice in Canada’s 5-0 semifinal win over the Russian team. “It’s going to be heated. You’re going to see a lot of good skill working. It’s best on best and that’s what the Olympics are for.”

Olympic newcomer Cameranesi scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Americans past Finland. Marvin started the scoring, and Lamoureux-Davidson and Knight both scored during a 5-on-3 34 seconds apart in the second period. Maddie Rooney made 14 saves for the shutout.

Finland remains winless in eight games against the Americans at the Olympics. The Finns, ranked third in the world last year, will try to take home the bronze medal for the first time since 2010.

“We’re got one thing on our mind, and that’s to get a medal,” said goaltender Noora Raty, who made 33 saves. “They’re the best in the world (U.S. and Canada). We just need to get more girls involved so we have more to choose from.”

The Americans opened these games a 2-1 loss to Canada wrapping up pool play.

“This was really a gold-medal preparation for us because they’re a darn good team, and we had to be ready to play,” U.S. coach Robb Stauber said of Finland.

The Americans wasted no time getting on the board. Captain Meghan Duggan found Marvin alone in the slot, and she beat Raty stick-side for the easy goal just 2:25 into the game.

Finland lost defenseman when she had to be helped off the ice and to the locker room after a knee-on-knee collision with Duggan. She was knocked off balance before crashing face-first into the boards, snapping her head back. When play resumed without a penalty, some fans booed. Savolainen returned in the second period.

Stauber said the referee immediately came over and said it was a collision. Duggan said she was really happy Savolainen got up and that any decision about a potential suspension was out of her control.

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“There’s been some other plays that haven’t been put into question, and so I can’t imagine that there would be any disciplinary action just based on other things that have been let go,” Duggan said.

Cameranesi put the United States up 2-0 with 1:22 left in the period, taking the puck away from Susanna Tapani and skating into the left circle before beating Raty’s blocker with a wrist shot top shelf.

Lamoureux-Davidson’s slap shot from the left circle came with 2 seconds left on the 5-on-3 at 13:21 of the second period, and Knight got her first goal of this tournament by redirecting a shot from Sidney Morin with 5 seconds left on the man advantage for the 4-0 lead. Cameranesi padded the lead as she scored from the slot over Raty’s glove off a pass from Hannah Brandt.

“We’re super excited to be in this position again,” Lamoureux-Davidson said. “We worked four years to put ourselves in position to compete for a gold medal and we’ll enjoy this for a little bit, but we know that this isn’t what we came here for. We’re ready to go to battle in a couple days.”

AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno and AP Sports Writer Jimmy Golen contributed to this report.



Categories: All Denver News.

Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger has an idea of where Kirk Cousins will land in free agency

February 19, 2018 - 5:23pm

Three days after word got out of Alex Smith’s impending trade to Washington, Kirk Cousins made the rounds at radio row during Super Bowl LII week to talk of his uncertain — but undoubtedly lucrative — future.

In an interview with Sirius XM NFL, Cousins said that he expects to become a free agent and that “at the end of the day, I want to win.”

“There are a ton of variables that decide, ‘Do we think we can win?’” he added. “But that will ultimately be what makes the decision.”

Cousins’ current teammate, Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger, believes that decision will end with Denver.

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“With the situation they have out there on defense, they’re missing their quarterback,” Swearinger said while a guest on NFL Network on Monday. “Kirk is a great quarterback. I wish we could have had different things on that, but the business is the business. I think Kirk will be getting a healthy payday and I think Denver is the team that can do that.”

Rarely does a quarterback of Cousins’ caliber hit free agency, and though it’s been floated that Washington could still use a franchise tag on Cousins and then trade him, doing so would open the Redskins up to an array of issues with the league, the NFL Players’ Association and Cousins.

All signs point to the 29-year-old hitting the open market and landing a record contract by a quarterback-needy team. The Broncos are on the short list of those teams, and they’re expected to pursue Cousins heavily.

San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo reset the quarterback market when he signed a contract worth $27.5 million a year, but Cousins was already projected to draw close to $30 million per year and possibly $100 million in guarantees in his next contract.

Though the Broncos are coming off two playoff-less seasons with mediocre quarterback play, they still have a situation to entice with outside linebacker Von Miller guiding the defense, a pair of elite receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, and a general manager that already made the biggest free-agent splash in team history six years ago.

In 2012, John Elway lured Peyton Manning to Denver on a $96 million contract that ultimately produced a pair of Super Bowl appearances and the franchise’s third Lombardi Trophy. This year many believe Elway will return to the free-agent market to try to right the ship.

 

Categories: All Denver News.

Fergie says she “tried my best” after blowback from national anthem at NBA All-Star Game

February 19, 2018 - 5:22pm

LOS ANGELES — Fergie is apologizing after trying something different with the national anthem at the NBA All-Star Game.

“I’ve always been honored and proud to perform the national anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA,” the Grammy-winning singer said in a statement Monday. “I’m a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best.”

Fergie’s slow, bluesy rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” on Sunday night wasn’t particularly well received at Staples Center or on social media before the 67th edition of the NBA’s annual showcase.

A low chuckle rumbled through the sold-out arena after she finished the first line of the song with a throaty growl on “the dawn’s early light.”

Fans throughout the star-studded crowd reacted with varying levels of bemusement and enthusiasm while her languid, 2 ½-minute version of the song continued. Although Fergie was on pitch, her tempo, musical accompaniment and sexy delivery were not exactly typical for a sporting event or a patriotic song.

Golden State All-Star Draymond Green captured Sunday’s mood — and became an instant GIF — when he was shown open-mouthed on the scoreboard and the television broadcast in apparent confusion over the unique vocal stylings. Green then chuckled to himself after realizing he was on TV.

After a forceful finish, Fergie finally got big cheers when she shouted, “Let’s play some basketball!”

The Black Eyed Peas singer, born Stacy Ann Ferguson, is from nearby Hacienda Heights, California.

Famed basketball commentator Charles Barkley joked that he “needed a cigarette” after Fergie’s performance during the TNT halftime show.

Former Lakers star Shaquille O’Neal leaped to Fergie’s defense, saying: “Fergie, I love you. It was different. It was sexy. I liked it. Leave her alone.”

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Others on social media weren’t as kind, with criticism of the performance outpacing the positive reviews.

The Forum in nearby Inglewood, California, was the site of arguably the most famous national anthem in sports history during another NBA All-Star Game 35 years ago.

Marvin Gaye’s touching rhythm-and-blues version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the 1983 game was initially criticized, but has since gained widespread acceptance as a groundbreaking musical performance.

Instead, Fergie is more likely to join the long list of curious versions of the anthem, even though she showed far more impressive vocal chops than the likes of Roseanne Barr or Carl Lewis.



Categories: All Denver News.