Category Archives: Vermont Food Blogs

St. Patrick’s Day menu

We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day this weekend with our inn guests, even though the official day to commemorate  St. Patrick is March 17th. A dinner & dance is a great way to bring warmth into a chilly Saturday in March.St. pats menu

I prepared a lovely dinner complete with corned beef that simmered throughout the day with onions & pickling spices. It was a great day to be in the warm kitchen cooking, as it drizzled outside making a mess of melted snow & mud.

My menu for this meal has not changed in years. I always prepare a big pot of colcannon, which is a luscious mixture of onions & cabbage cooked in milk & butter, then added to a pot of mashed potatoes seasoned with salt & freshly ground pepper. My dear father  would have called this Irish soul food.

My vegetable accompaniment is a winter mix of parsnips, organic carrots & turnips which I steam & then cloaked in a buttery mixture of ground cloves, maple syrup & Irish butter (if you can get your hands on any.) I like to imagine those Irish cows grazing on that lush green grass. Like the French butters, they have a higher butterfat content and add a richness & creaminess to anything you slather it on.

I always prepare a few loaves of Irish bread to go with the meal, however, when I went to get my ingredients out to bake, I had no baking powder. I was now unable to use my tried & true Irish bread recipe of my mom’s. What to do? Since I had seen many a recipe for Irish soda bread, I decided to try one from an Irish pub cookbook. It was great! I made a few additions of my own like caraway seeds & currants I had plumped in a bit of Irish whiskey. I had no complaints from guests who seemed to clean their plates & go for a second round to the sideboard, where the buffet was presented.

I tried a new dessert this year, a chocolate cake made with cooked sweet potatoes & Guinness stout. I plated it up with a dollop of whipped cream & a few berries for garnish. Our guests left the table almost numb, and to even think about some Irish revelry over in club Sugar shack seemed hard, but they did make their way over to dance a bit, yes they did!

st. pattys party
Club Sugar Shack decorated for St. Paddys party

Chocolate Guinness Sweet Potato Cake

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups cooked sweet potato puree(2 large potatoes)

1 1/2 cup white flour

1 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking powder & soda

pinch of salt

1 cup Guinness

1.)In a mixing bowl, cream butter & sugar. Add eggs & sweet potato puree & mix until well combined.

2.)In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda & salt. Then add to wet ingredients until partially mixed.

3.)Add Guinness & beat until you have a thick smooth batter.

4.)Spoon batter into a well greased tube/bundt pan.

5.)Bake in a preheated oven 350 for 45 minutes.

Let the pan sit for 15 minutes, then turn it over onto a cake platter. Once totally cooled, dust with confectioners sugar & serve with whipped cream.


Irish Soda Bread
Soda bread has long been a staple in Ireland. It is a bread made without yeast, because baking soda mixed with buttermilk is used as a leavening agent. A cross is cut into the top of the bread to help it rise and according to Irish folklore, to either ward off evil or let the fairies out.
Makes 1 loaf serving 10
breakfast -bread-jam3 1/2 cup white flour, plus extra for dusting
1 Tsp. salt
1 Tsp. baking soda
1 Tsp. caraway seeds
1/3 cup currants, plumped in 2 Tbs. Irish Whiskey
1 ¾ cup buttermilk
1.)Preheat oven to 425. Oil a baking sheet.
2.)Sift flour, salt & soda into mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle. Pour buttermilk in & mix just until it comes together. Dough should be soft but not too wet.
3.)Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it lightly. Shape into an 8 inch circle. Place on prepared baking sheet & cut a cross into top with a sharp knife.
4.)Bake in oven for 25 ~ 30 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
This bread is delicious served the following morning toasted with butter & jam


March mornings are a changin’

Pears & candies ginger
Pears & candied ginger

I enjoyed a cup of coffee with my husband this morning, a ritual we always make time for. We sat in our Inn dining room overlooking the frozen pond and meadow beyond. The wind swept the snow in soft curls that spiraled up into large Vs and then disappeared. This dance went on for an hour and as one extinguished itself others would form. We watched like children as this performance, perhaps one of winter’s last, made us appreciate the beauty of the ending season.

Breakfast is my husband’s favorite meal. Lucky for him, I love creating something healthy and nourishing. Morning always includes some fresh fruit, protein, and a pastry/bread item. On the weekends he enjoys whatever menu I am preparing for my guests. When it’s just the two of us, I can try out a new recipe, as I did this morning. This is a lovely variation on a baked German pancake. We topped it with our own Abbott’s Glen Maple syrup and toasted almonds.

Ginger-Pear Baked Pancake

3 eggs

3/4 cup whole milk

3/4 cup whole wheat white flour

dash of salt

1 tsp. almond extract

2 pears, cored & sliced thin

2 Tbs. brown sugar

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

1 Tbs. minced candied ginger

Preheat oven to 425°

  1. Melt 2 Tbs. of butter in an iron skillet. Add pears, brown sugar, cinnamon & candied ginger. Cook until pears are slightly softened.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, milk, flour, salt & extract. Whisk until smooth.
  3. Pour the batter over the pear mixture in the skillet. I use cast iron for oven baking as the pancake seems to puff higher.
  4. Bake for 20 ~ 25 minutes until puffed & golden.
  5. Carefully remove from the oven, handle will be hot, hot, hot!
  6. Top with toasted almonds & a Vermont maple syrup.

Serves 4 with a nice side of sausage or hearty bacon.

Sunday morning breakfast

blueberry spelt pancakes
Sunday breakfast

There are some mornings when you wake up & want more than cereal or eggs. It was Sunday morning & I was thinking pancakes.

For years, I have made a buttermilk pancake recipe that has become an Inn favorite. In an attempt to make this morning favorite more nutritious, I decided to use melted coconut oil rather than butter. I was out of whole wheat flour so opted for  spelt flour rather than white. I had recently purchased some coconut sugar, so decided to add that rather than brown. Tired of apples & pears, our seasonal winter fruit, I added fresh blueberries  into my griddle cake batter. They were delicious & light. And no pile of pancakes is complete until you have a cruet of Vermont maple syrup to bath those cakes in. We make our own syrup every March so there is always a bottle on hand for those pancake/waffle mornings.

Spelt flour is becoming a more familiar item these days. Spelt is an ancient cereal grain from the Middle east. It is in the wheat family but it is not the same thing as wheat. It has a slightly nutty sweet flavor similar to whole wheat. It is not gluten free. Spelt has fewer calories &  is slightly higher in protein than whole wheat flour.

Buttermilk Blueberry Spelt Pancakes

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

3 tTbs. of coconut oil

2 Tbs of sugar,white , brown or coconut

1/2 cup spelt flour

1/2 cup ground cornmeal

1 Tsp. baking powder

1/2 Tsp. baking soda

pinch of salt

1/2 Tsp. vanilla

Combine 1 egg & buttermilk in a mixing bowl and mix.

In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.

Add dry to wet. Mix gently.

Add vanilla & coconut oil.

Add blueberries.

If batter appears to thick to easily slide off of a spoon onto griddle, add a few more tablespoons of buttermilk.

Cook on a greased griddle. Makes 10 medium size cakes.

Note: I used coconut oil to grease the griddle. It gives the pancakes a slight coconut flavor.

A note about coconut oil. This use to be a no no oil as it was thought to be a bad fat, one of those stick to your artery walls kind. Recently, that information has been proven false. As a matter of fact, coconut oil is a good for you oil with lot’s of other uses.




Spring dreaming

Even the most passionate cook gets a little kitchen weary this time of year. We have all cooked up chiliies, soups, pasta dishes & roasted enough veggies that even a vegetarian would say “no more!” With spring just two weeks away, my thoughts are wandering to the start of gardening season.

Here at the Inn we plant a large veggie crop out in our orchard. Several years ago we planted asparagus & strawberries, and reach spring they are our first crop. Tender green asparagus stalks grace our breakfast & dinner plates, roasted or grilled, served with homemade aioli.

basket of strawberries
fresh from the garden

The thought of picking fresh strawberries, sweet smelling from the sun’s warmth, makes my mouth water. I know I am getting a little ahead of myself as I look out the window to meadows still frozen over in several feet of snow. Spring comes slowly to Vermont. We await its arrival, bringing the color & scent of the earth waking up.


With Valentine’s Day weekend approaching, we compiled a menu sure to delight our guests and kindle their love…for our food! As our dining room only accommodates 18 and we have 22 guests dining, a four course plated meal will be a challenge; but we’re going to grin and bare it!