Fabulous Scones

Back in the 80’s, I was chef and manager at a lovely Inn in Bucks country PA. I was solely responsible for all the baked items coming from the kitchen. It is where I really learned how to bake with yeast . I turned out loaves of fragrant whole grain bread, toasting white, rye, oatmeal & a variety of sweet rolls. But my all time favorite item to prepare was scones. I was introduced to a breakfast cookbook by Marion Cunningham. Here is where I found the best scone recipe , ever. Now this recipe has no butter. The dough is held together with 2 cups of softly whipped cream. They are light, not too sweet & I bet you can’t eat just 1. My sous chef  Kate, made up the first batch today,

Kate working scone dough
Kate forming scones
ginger scone dough
forming scone dough

getting ready for a very busy weekend here at the inn. Speckled with candied ginger & a dash of nutmeg, we could barely wait to slather on some butter. We decided to amp up the flavor with a precious home made rose petal jelly.

scones at the glen
scone & butter with rose petal jam

While Kate & I enjoyed a scone our pups, Ranger & Tito snoozed by the kitchen door, in hopes some crumbs might end up on the floor.

Ranger & Tito
Ranger & Tito resting after a play date

Sorry boys, too good to waste a crumb.

Ginger Scones

3 cups white flour

1/4 cup white sugar

2 Tbsp of baking powder

dash of nutmeg & salt

2 cups softly whipped cream

2 tbsp candied ginger

Egg wash

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg & salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl lightly beat whipped cream. Slowly fold in 1/2 of the whipped cream into the flour mixture. Then add the remaining half. The dough will be a bit craggy. don’t worry, Once you empty the bowl onto a floured surface, pat the dough into a round disk, about 3 inches high. You may cut the dough into 8 wedges or use a biscuit cutter to make rounds.

Make a simple egg wash with an egg & a tablespoon of cream. Brush onto scone tops before baking. You may also sprinkle sugar on top for an extra crunch, once baked.

Bake on a parchment lined cookie tray at 400 for 15 ~ 18 minutes.

Vermont winter from a cooks kitchen

onions still life
onions lined up on a wooden board

The temps have dipped to places I have never seen in the 16 years I have lived in Vermont. Last night 10 below 0. When it gets this cold, the only place I want to hang, other than our hot tub, is in the kitchen. I have 2 new cookbooks for inspiration. Tartine All Day & the book I have been falling asleep with since Christmas, called Breaking Bread by Martin Philip. Martin is the head baker at King Arthur flour in Northfield, Vermont. His story of how he got to his present position is one of a passion for not only good bread, but good food that feeds the soul & spirit too.

Armed with both books, I spent my day baking. I made up a batch of grainy looking flax muffins with grated apples, in hopes that I would like this gluten free muffin.

gluten free muffins
gluten free flax muffins

I did.More than ever, I find every weekend guests who are either gluten free or lactose free. This year my challenge is to find recipes that excel in taste & texture for my inn guests.

Next  item was a maple oatmeal bread. It was an all day event with numerous proofings, but when those loaf pans emerged from the oven, brown & smelling of yeast & molasses, I knew my effort paid off. It was a great accompaniment to a bowl of butternut squash soup with cumin & coriander.

maple oat bread
maple oat bread

Soup was my next effort. A rich satisfying puree of butternut squash, creamy peanut butter , aromatic spices, & coconut milk. And the best part, it came together in less than an hour. If you have fresh cilantro, top it off with a sprinkle of it and a squeeze of lime.



butternut squash soup
creamy butternut squash soup

Peanut Butternut Squash soup

2 Tsp peanut oil

4 cups cubed peeled butternut squash

1 cup onion chopped

6 cloves minced garlic

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp ground coriander

4 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 can coconut milk

1/4 tsp crushed pepper

fresh cilantro

Heat peanut oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add squash & the next 5 ingredients to pan.saute 5 minutes until the onion is tender. Add broth, coconut milk, peanut butter, tomato paste & red pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes until squash is tender. You may puree at this point or leave for a chunky texture. Top with cilantro.

Magical Maple Mousse

In March we have maple on our minds in Vermont. Oh and mud too, it;s definitely mud season. However, I am going to keep on with the maple theme. I have created a Maple theme dinner all month. Last weekend, I tried a maple mousse recipe from a foodie friend in the Philly area. She is always sending me great recipes and this one is over the top fabulous. Try not to think about the calories in this. Just commit to a walk, run & 100 sit-ups  for the next 5 days and you’ll be fine!

maple mousse
Maple mousse dessert at Abbotts glen

Allison’s Maple Mousse

1/4 cup water

2 tsp plain gelatin ( 1 packet)

1 cup pure maple syrup

4 large egg yolks

2 Tbsp of coffee liqueur( I used maple liqueur)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup chilled whipping cream

Crushed gingersnap cookies & fresh raspberries (garnish)

Place 1/4 cup of water in a small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin over. Let stand 10 minutes. stir over low heat until gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat. Whisk syrup, yolks, liqueur and vanilla in top of double boiler. Set over simmering water and whisk until a candy thermometer registers 160, about 4 minutes. Remove from water, whisk gelatin mixture into maple mixture. Set the bowl over a bowl filled with ice. Stir until the mixture is cool. Then remove it from over the water.

Beat the whip cream in a large bowl to stiff peaks. Fold 1/3 into syrup mixture. The fold syrup mixture into remaining whipped cream. I spooned the mixture into clear glass goblets & topped it with gingersnap crumbs & a few fresh raspberries. Since it is so rich, 4 oz of this is a perfect amount.

It can be refrigerated overnight or let it set for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator.

Makes 8 larger portions or 12 smaller, depending on your glassware.



A special slaw

I am always looking for new salad ideas. It is so easy to get bored with lettuce, tomatoes & cucumbers.

Winter slaw
Kale, brussel sprouts & radicchio slaw

This past weekend, I was looking through one of my Ina Garten’s cookbooks & found this great looking slaw. Although it is called a winter slaw, probably because it has brussel sprouts, and curly kale, I decided to make it anyway. Even though I am tired of winter, I just had to try this recipe.

I have tweaked the recipe to include a little honey in the dressing, thinking the radicchio would make the salad too bitter. My guests loved it and everyone wanted the recipe. Enjoy.

Winter Slaw

8 leaves of curly kale, center rib removed

6 oz of brussel sprouts ( 12), trimmed

1/2  small head of radicchio, cored & sliced thinly

2 lemons freshly squeezed

1/2 cup olive or avocado oil

4 Tbsp of honey

salt & pepper to taste

6 oz of good Parmesan cheese(Reggiano is the best)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Slice kale, radicchio & brussels crosswise into thin shreds. I used the food processor for the brussel sprouts with the shredder blade.. Place in a large bowl.

In a  small bowl, whisk lemon juice, honey, oil & salt & pepper. Pour half over the slaw mix & toss, just to moisten.

Shave Parmesan into big shards with a vegetable peeler. Add the cheese & cranberries to salad & toss gently to avoid breaking the cheese shards. Pour the remaining dressing on top. Add more salt & pepper if necessary. The salad may be served cold or at room temperature. We enjoyed it warm.


New kitchen space

Anyone who has visited Abbott’s Glen and dined here knows food is very important . And if you have met me, Amy, you know I love to cook. There is no place I feel more at home than in my kitchen. For years, I created breakfasts & dinners for our guests sometimes as many as 40~ 50 . My prior kitchen was a space 11 X 14 with no counter space except for a movable wooden cart in the middle. The space was so small that only 2 people could function it it, in an intimate dance of culinary tango. To open the door to the refrigerator, you had to move the cart. To open the dishwasher, you had to move the cart again. It was a dance I grew to excel in, but with dreams of a larger space that would allow me to have multiple surfaces for creating everything from fancy plated dinners to bountiful gourmet breakfasts with a large center island.

center island in the Abbotts kitchen
center island in the Abbotts Glen new kitchen

My dream was realized last summer when the new addition to our inn was completed. I now had a space not only for creating gourmet country meals, but also a official check in office & a small gift shoppe.

My proclamation is: I love my new kitchen. I have created a space that functions professionally with a restaurant license, but with the charm & beauty of country antique  pieces. Even when I am not actively cooking, I find great joy in simple gatherings of certain items that I have collected over the years.

onions still life
onions lined up on a wooden board

Cooking with Maple Syrup

March may not be the prettiest month in Vermont, but it sure is the sweetest!

Abbott’s Glen naturist Inn has been cooking with maple syrup since the inn opened in 2004. I have several cookbooks that I call favorites and many have a maple theme. Given that we also make our own syrup here every March, we have a plentiful larder of sweet golden syrup to adorn pancakes, sweeten up a salsa, give sauce a glazey sweetness & making a wicked batch of maple walnut granola. Granola is always part of our country continental breakfasts. Many of our guests were asking for the recipe so here it is. If you are not into making a batch for yourself, stop by our inn gift shoppe & pick up a bag.

granola ingredients
granola ingredients

Maple Nut Granola

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup maple syrup

3 Tbsp of brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup chopped walnuts & sliced almonds

1 cup coconut, sweet or unsweetened

1 cup sunflower seeds

1/2  cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup wheat germ

1/4 cup bran flakes

fresh trays of maple nut granola
Trays of maple granola from the oven

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 15 x 10 inch rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper.  In a small saucepan heat oil, syrup, sugar, cinnamon and salt.

In a large bowl, mix together oats, nuts, seeds, coconut, wheat germ & bran flakes. Feel free to add some 1/4 cup  flax meal for added nutritional benefits. Pour the syrup mixture over the oat mixture & stir to blend. Spread the granola evenly in the prepared pan. Bake 15 ~ 20 minutes until deep golden brown.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300. Gently turn the granola with a spatula, trying not to break up clumps. Continue cooking until the granola is brown & not sticky to the touch.

Add 2 cups of dried fruit in whatever proportion you like. Our favorite is craisins, currants, chopped dates & apricots.




Breakfast is never boring

Blueberry quinoa pancake
Blueberry quinoa pancake

If you have visited Abbott’s Glen or follow this blog, you know we love pancakes! I am always looking for healthier versions with a new twist on the standard hotcake. I found this recipe in a Saveur magazine and dog eared the page. Since I had a fresh pint of blueberries  just waiting to be utilized, I decided to make this fabulous baked pancake. One tip: don’t exclude the lemon crema. The lemon zest in the sweetened sour cream brings the pancake s final topping all together with a wow………….

Blueberry Quinoa Pancake with Lemon Crema

1/2 cup quinoa

2 sticks cinnmaon

4 cups flour

6 tbsp. sugar

2 tbsp baking powder & 2 soda

1 tsp salt

2 cups buttermilk

2 cups whole milk

4 eggs

4 tbsp butter or coconut oil for cooking

2 cups blueberries


LEMON CREMA: Mix 1/2 cup sour cream, zest or juice of 1 lemon, 2 tbsp sugar together.

Granola & maple syrup for serving

Heat oven to 350. Boil quinoa, cinnamon & 1/2 cup of water in a 1 qt. saucepan.Reduce heat to low & cook 10 minutes, covered. Remove from heat, remove cinnamon sticks,& let cool.

Combine flour, 4 tbsp of sugar, baking powder & soda & salt & stir.In a separate bowl, whisk quinoa, buttermilk, milk, & eggs. Add to dry ingredients until batter forms.

Pancake in a cast iron pan
Pancake batter in a cast iron pan

In a cast iron pan, heat oil or butter, over medium heat. Ladle 1 1/2 cups batter into pan & add 3/4 cup of blueberries & cook for 3 ~ 4 minutes. The flip. Cook 2 more minutes. Transfer to the oven, & bake until it is crispy. Repeat this 3 more times.

Top each pancake with dollops of lemon crema, more fresh blueberries, some granola & a generous drizzle of maple syrup. Our guests loved it!

I portioned each pancake into 8 pieces. Most guests ate 2 or 3 wedges.

Naked Country cooking