All posts by aglenvt

Summer Lunch time at the Tiki Hut grill

 

Summer is here and Abbott’s Glen is now offering lunch to guests on Saturday & Sunday at the Tiki Hut Grill.For those of you who have not been to Abbott’s Glen yet, this is officially our summer grilling station. The structure itself looks like something you might see at a local baseball field, a concession stand. It has 3 sides enclosing the structure and a bar top to the widest side with wooden stools for guests to watch their meal prepared. There is a music system & some great bantor while scents of grilled items waft from the hut.

tiki hut grilling
summer tiki hut grilling.

 

turkey sandwich with rhubarb chutney
lunch at the tiki hut grill

We try to vary the menu with 1 hot item & 1 cold. This weekend Sarah, our breakfast chef, made up some yummy turkey sandwiches served on a whole grain bun. Lettuce, mayo & a dollop of rhubarb chutney was the sauce that made the sandwich special. This would be equally good on cold sliced lamb, or even ham.

We have lots of rhubarb as guests & friends are bringing it to the inn in hopes that I will know how to use it. Hmmmmm, how about drinks?

rhubarb shrub
rhubarb shrub

Sarah made up a batch of rhubarb syrup called shrub. It is a mixture of rhubarb, sugar, fresh ginger & vinegar. Boiled up and then strained , the color is a dreamy pink reminding me of memorable sunsets. Chilled & then shaken in a matini shaker with gin & lime juice, poured into your favorite glass & topped with bubbly seltzer, and you have an ahhhhhhhhhhh moment.

rhubarb cocktail
rhubarb cocktail

This will definitely become a summer favorite. It is  equally delicious without any alcohol. Sorry Abbott’s Glen does not serve alcohol, so this one you will have to enjoy at home.

Rhubarb Chutney

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

4 tsp of minced peeled fresh ginger

1 stick of cinnamon

1 tsp grated orange zest

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1 1/4 lbs rhubarb

2/3 cup scallions including green stems

1/2 cup currants

Combine sugar, ginger, vinegar, cinnamon, orange zest & cardamom in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves & comes just to a simmer.

Trim rhubarb and cut into 1/2 inch slices to equal 4 cups. Add rhubarb, scallions & currants to sauce pan & turn up the heat. Cook for 5 minutes until rhubarb is tender  and slightly thickened. Do not overcook or rhubarb will become mushy. Cool to room temperature.

Then remove cinnamon stick. Chill until chutney thickens a bit more. Can be stored for 5 ~ 6 days. If serving with a tray of cold cuts, put chutney into a small bowl & let come to room temperature. Garnish with  a curl of orange peel.

Makes : 3 cups

Rhubarb Shrub

6 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2 in pieces

1/4 cup fresh ginger in slices, no need to peel

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar& we use organic)

1 1/4 cups sugar. Being Vermonters I will try maple syrup next time.

Boil all the ingredients in a saucepan, about 15 minutes, until rhubarb is completely broken down, stirring occasionally. Strain the mixture into a glass container & chill.

Later, Combine 2 oz. of gin, and 1 1/2 oz of rhubarb syrup in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice & shake 30 seconds. Strain into a glass filling in only 3/4 full. Top with seltzer or club soda.

Makes : 12 cocktails. Shrub will hold in the frig for a week.

What’s cooking this summer from the Abbott’s Glen kitchen

What’s cooking this summer from the Abbott’s Glen kitchen?

fresh summer salads
fresh summer salads

The start of summer always brings a new excitement to the menu at Abbott’s Glen. Salads vibrant with fresh colors & flavor, organic meats spiced & grilled, homemade ice cream with fresh berry sauces! Sound good?

Summer is our busiest season at the resort. To meet summer demand,we hired Sarah. She comes to Abbott’s Glen wilh great baking skills and a young enthusiasm for producing great breakfasts for our weekend guests. You will also see her smiling face out at The Tiki Hut Grill where she will prepare lunches on the weekends.

Sarah whole wheat loaves
Sarah whole wheat oat loaves of bread

 

Sarah busted out some terrific items this weekend including a whole wheat oat loaf which screamed for a big pat of butter, while hot from the oven. A Blueberry Buckle with a lemon glaze was a perfect ending to dinner on the patio Saturday night. We served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream & a fresh mint leaf.

blueberry buckle dessert
Blueberry buckle with a lemon glaze

Rhubarb made a big showing this weekend too, with many guests bringing some from their gardens. Sarah made up a double batch of rhubarb bars similar to a raspberry bar with a bottom crust. Tart & sweet altogether. I could not decide if i needed a cup of herb tea or a big glass of chilled sweet tea. I think no matter what you team it with, you’ll be happy.

Kate with a basket of herbs
smiling Kate with fresh herbs

Kate, our sous chef of 1 year,  was busy in the kitchen too, making up juicy burgers for Friday night dinner. Her burgers are gaining a great reputation. She starts by making a mixture of soft whole wheat bread crumbs soaked in milk. With the addition of a few eggs, herbs, roasted & chopped balsamic glazed onions & maple BBQ sauce , it sets itself apart from most burgers. We purchase our meat from a local farm called Millies Heritage Farm. The beef is grass fed & even without embellishment, is excellent in taste & texture.

Kate made a batch of rhubarb chutney to top the burgers . The sauce added an unexpected tartness to the robust flavors of the burger and was a great hit with our guests. She also makes a great potato salad with the addition of fresh herbs from our garden, adapted from Ina Gartens( Barefoot Contessa)cookbook.

potato salad
potato salad

Lemon Blueberry Buckle

Crumb Topping

1/2 cup white flour

1/3 cup white sugar

1/8 tsp salt

zest of 1 lemon

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9 in square baking pan.

To make the crumb topping, mix flour, sugar, salt & lemon zest together in a bowl. Add butter with a fork or your fingers, cut it into the flour. Chill the mixture until you are ready to bake the cake.

Cake

1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbs of white flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp nutmeg

6 Tbs butter , room temperature

3/4 cup white sugar

zest of 1 lemon

2 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 cups of blueberries

To make the cake, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt & nutmeg together in a bowl. Put aside. In a mixing bowl cream butter, sugar & lemon zest  on high until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl sides with each addition. Add the flour mixture with the buttermilk to the butter mixture. Gently fold in 1 cup of the blueberries. Spread the batter into the 9 inch pan & distribute the remaining berries a top of the cake. Next, remove crumb topping from the refrigerator & sprinkle overt he berries. Bake 45 ~ 50 minutes until slightly golden & firm on top.

Lemon Glaze

1/3 cup white sugar

Juice of 2 lemons

To make glaze, combine sugar & lemon juice in a saucepan. Whisk & cook over medium heat until syrupy.  Pour the glaze over the top of the buckle as soon as the cake comes out of the oven.

serves 12

 

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