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!
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.
I am always looking for new salad ideas. It is so easy to get bored with lettuce, tomatoes & cucumbers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
As the owner & chef at Abbott’s Glen Naturist resort in Vermont, I always look forward to the sweet month of March. Sweet because that’s when sugaring begins. If you are unfamiliar with that term, it means drawing off sap from the maple trees & boiling it down until you have that golden amber maple syrup.
With help from our guests we tap about 50 mature trees lining our driveway. These trees can accommodate 3 buckets each. The sap begins to run when temperatures reaches over 40 during the day & falls below freezing at night. Generally a season runs from mid March to early April, if we are lucky. Abbott’s Glen produces several gallons of syrup which we utilize at the inn. The whole month of
March we host theme dinners celebrating the new syrup. Each course of the dinner highlights some maple in the recipe. Guests are also treated to a hot stack of buttermilk pancakes for breakfast with a warm cruet of syrup to pour a top.
Did you know it makes a fabulous marinade for salmon? How about a sweet potato & Peanut soup? How about enhancing your roasted veggies with a drizzle? Add some Maple syrup to your morning smoothie? Now that I have you thinking let’s get cooking. Just promise me you won’t use the fake product you find on your supermarket shelf. The real maple syrup is worth every penny..
Maple Ginger Roasted Salmon
¼ cup soy sauce or wheat free tamari
¼ cup dark maple syrup
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 Tbsp peeled grated fresh ginger
½ tsp crushed red pepper
1 1 ~ 1 ¾ lb. boneless salmon, skin on.
In a large baking dish stir soy sauce, syrup, vinegar, ginger, & red pepper. Lay salmon skin side up in marinade.
Preheat oven 425. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil.
Lay fish on the foil, skin side down. Roast uncovered until fish for 12 minutes.
Pour the marinade into a sauce pan & cook down until syrupy. Pour it over the fish & serve with thinly sliced scallions.
Serves: 6 ~ 7
Maple Glazed Carrots
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, minced
¼ cup water
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ tsp cinnamon
5 cups sliced carrots, ¼ inch thick
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
Parsley or chives to garnish.
Heat butter in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add shallot & cook stirring 1 to 2 minutes until soft & browned. Add water, syrup & cinnamon. Increase heat to high & bring to a boil. Add carrots & return to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
Cover, reduce heat to medium to maintain a lively simmer, 4 ~ 6 minutes, until crisp tender. Remove lid & stir in vinegar. Increase heat, continue to cook until liquid has thickened & carrots are coated. Sprinkle with fresh chives or parsley.
We celebrated Mardis Gras at the Inn last Saturday night. What a fun event this is. Guests arrive for our theme weekend with masks, beads & funky hats. My husband Lindy makes sure we have music to accompany the weekend from zydeco to Harry Connick Jr. We deck out Club Sugar Shack with all kinds of Mardis Gras regalia to create a fun & festive feeling for the party that will follow a great dinner.
This year, I decided to veer from my tried & true recipes from Gourmet , & try a few new ones. Our dinner menu this year was a fabulous Shrimp & Andouille sausage melange served atop a mound of creamy cheddar grits. To accompany it, braised collards with bacon, brown sugar, onions & Worcestershire , came together with a splash of red wine vinegar.
A basket of freshly fried
hushpuppies, with bits of red peppers , were placed on dining tables for guests to enjoy. Biting into the crispy crust & cheesy cornmeal interiors , one had to restrain from eating them all . Remember, sharing is a nice thing to do!
The one recipe I did prepare, that is always a favorite for this menu is sweet potato pie. A dollop of sweetened cream & a good cup of coffee & we were ready to head over to club Sugar shack to dance away the night.
Smoky Southern Collards
3 Tbs vegetable oil
4 strips of bacon, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large onion, halved & thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 ~ 21/1 lbs of fresh collard greens, rinsed & chopped, center vein(stalk removed)
1 ham hock
1 tsp salt
2 beef bouillion cubes
3 Tbs light brown sugar
3 Tbs BBQ sauce
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
several dashes of hot pepper sauce
1 Tbs red wine vinegar or balsamic
Heat oil in a large heavy bottom soup pot.Add bacon & cook until lightly browned. Add onion & garlic & cook until softened about 5 minutes.
Add collards & just enough water to cover the greens. Add ham hock, salt & bring to boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
Add bouillion to the pot & stir until dissolved.Then add brown sugar, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce & hot pepper sauce. Stir, then simmer for 2 ~ 3 hours uncovered. Add additional water, 1/2 cup at a time, if necessary to keep greens stewing but not drowning.
About 15 minutes before serving, remove hock & add vinegar. You may pass more vinegar at the table if you wish. Makes 6 servings
Shrimp & Andouille Sausage with Cheddar Cheese Grits
2 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup green pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (15 oz) diced tomatoes with their juices
1/2 cup chicken stock
salt & pepper
3/4 lb shrimp, peeled & deveined
2 andouille sausages, cut in half length wise, then cut in 1 inch thickness
For shrimp: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon & cook until crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Add onion & pepper to bacon drippings in skillet & cook until soft. Add garlic & cook 1 more minute. Add tomatoes & stock & bring to a boil. Lower heat & simmer 5 minutes. Add sausage & cook 5 more minutes. Add salt & pepper. Add shrimp , cover 7 cook until shrimp are cooked through, 4 ~ 5 minutes. Add hot sauce & parsley., & stir.
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup quick cooking grits
2 Tbs unsalted butter, in several pieces
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
freshly ground pepper
Heat milk & stock in a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add grits, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes, until mixture thickens. Add butter, stir, & add cheese, 1 cup at a time. Cook until grits are thick but not runny. If too thick, add milk a Tbs at a time. Add chopped scallions & black pepper.
Makes 6~8 servings.
Beer-Cheese Hush Puppies
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup white flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder 1 Tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 oz. cheddar or Monterey jack cheese
1/3 cup minced yellow onion
1/3 cup red pepper
1 egg, slightly beaten
2/3 cup light lager
Vegetable oil for deep fat frying
In a medium bowl mix cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar & salt. Add cheese, onion, & red pepper, toss to combine. Make a well in center of flour mixture. In another bowl mix egg & beer. Add at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened.
In a large vessel, I use my wok, heat oil to 375. For each hush puppy, drop 1 rounded Tbsp. I use a small ice cream scoop. Fry 3 ~ 4 at a time until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels. I hold them in a low oven while the remaining hush puppies fry up. Serve them up with some pepper jelly. In case you are wondering , 128 calories per. Oh my, you do the math!