Dining at Abbott’s Glen in October with our naturist friends is always so satisfying. The foods of autumn are so bountiful & nourishing. We find inspiration everywhere, from the last few leaves of kale in the garden to the baskets of apples we collect in our small orchard. Creating our menus to highlight the fall harvest is what this seasonal cooking is all about, and what guests expect when they come to our country inn, known for its food.
Let’s set the scene for welcoming guests in the fall. You drive down a long driveway lined with mature pines, cedars, and 100-year-old maples. A golden glow canopies the entire driveway as you approach the Abbott House. To the left of the driveway is a meadow punctuated by a pond and more stately pines. A cluster of red buildings with green tin roofs create a country scene, adorned this time of year with mums, pumpkins, and our dog, Tito (the official greeter!). Once parked, you are guided to the Meadow House check-in area. As you enter the main hallway, you see a fire in the lounge cracking with warmth. Two comfortable chairs beckon you to find a spot near the fire and enjoy a glass of wine or whatever. You are greeted by the Abbott’s Glen staff, which includes chef Gerry, my husband Lindy, our assistant Steve, and often me, Amy. With a warm hello, we dispense the information necessary to make our guests feel comfortable and on the path to a weekend of fun and relaxation!
Once guests are shown to their rooms, we often find they have changed out of their clothes and into an Abbott’s Glen terry robe. Many guests meander over to the Carriage house, where entertainment is yours to make. From billiards to Foosball, darts, or dancing, there is something for everyone. A wood stove heats this space and guests often gather in front of it to read or converse with other naturist guests. At this time of year, the Finnish sauna and hot tub take on fuller use as folks like to be warm, particularly our naturist friends.
During the month of October, we always host a Vermont cheese & cider tasting on Saturdays, from 5:30 ~ 6:30, as a prelude to the evening meal. Generally, three or four cheeses are represented along with the labels of their producers. A bowl of olives, assorted crackers, and novelty meats, such as venison sausage, fill the gap between lunch and dinner. It’s cocktail hour without the cocktails (unless you provide your own–we do not have a liquor license).
The Inn kitchen is located in the Meadow House. All those heavenly scents make their way through the Inn all day and start appetites craving for the beautiful dinner that awaits that night. This weekend was no exception. Our menu began with a butternut bisque, creamy and sweet, laced with a hint of nutmeg and topped with a dollop of sour cream. A basket of homemade maple oat rolls was a perfect buttered dipper for those last spoonfuls of soup. Our dinner buffet, set up on the side board, included a big wooden bowl filled with various greens, sliced apples, Vermont cheddar, and red onion. A new recipe for maple-ginger vinaigrette with soy sauce, ginger, and shallots topped the salad along with a sprinkle of salted pumpkin seeds. The entree of chicken breasts stuffed with wild rice stuffing, napped with a cider veloute, melted in your mouth. To accompany the entree, a roasted root vegetable medley, with some new and unexpected additions, had everyone wanting this next recipe. Our meal concluded with cups of coffee and a silky pumpkin custard pie topped with maple whipped cream. Ahhhhh, another beautiful dinner shared with guests, where conversation comes easily and new friendships begin. Full, relaxed, and feeling good after a few glasses of wine, guests headed over to Club Sugar Shack for some dance time with more fun to be had.
Harvest Roasted Vegetable Medley
6 cloves of garlic, peeled & cut in half
3 shallots, quartered
10 carrots, peeled & sliced in 1 1/2 inch pieces
4 apples quartered (not Macintosh)
1 bunch radishes, tops removed, sliced
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, bottoms trimmed & cut in 1/2
1 large sweet potato, peeled & cut into chunks
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary or Italian parsley
1. Preheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil.
2. In a large bowl, combine garlic, shallots, carrots, apples, radishes, Brussels sprouts & rosemary sprigs. Add oil & butter and toss to coat. Season with salt, pepper & rosemary.
3. Bake for 25 ~ 30 minutes until lightly browned and tender. Garnish with chopped parsley & more fresh rosemary. Serve immediately. Serves 8.
Maple Ginger Vinaigrette
1 medium clove of garlic
1 medium shallot
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs pure maple syrup
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup canola oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1. In a food processor, combine garlic, shallot, ginger, mustard, soy sauce, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar until well blended.
2. With motor running on low, slowly pour oil through the feed tube & blend until smooth.
3. Adjust seasoning. Strain if desired.
This is a delightful salad dressing, but can also be used to marinate salmon, pork, or beef.
1 single-crust 9-inch pie shell
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs molasses
1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, ginger & nutmeg
pinch of cloves
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups pumpkin puree
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- In a large bowl, combine eggs, egg yolks, white & brown sugars, 1 Tbs molasses, & all the spices. Add in milk, cream & pumpkin. Pour filling into shell.
- Bake 10 minutes at 450° & then turn oven down to 350° & bake an additional 40 ~ 45 minutes, or until filling is set.
- Serve with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream & a sprinkle of cinnamon.