Holiday foods & festivities

December at Abbott’s Glen was a full month of holiday foods & festivities. Like most kitchens, ours was busy with creating holiday cookies, glorious food for our Christmas party for guests and our families. Our chef Gerry added some sugar & spice to the Christmas season with yummy chocolate truffles, chocolate dipped cherries & a variety of  cookies, cakes & cheesecake.

assorted cookie cutters
cookie cutters

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookie

1 cup white sugar

1 cup butter, softened

1 3 oz. pkg cream cheese, softened

1/2 tsp almond extract

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 egg , yolk

2 cups white flour

  1. In a large bowl,combine all ingredients except flour & beat until fluffy.
  2. Add flour & mix well. Divide dough into 2 chunks & flatten into disks. Place flat disk onto plastic wrap & chill 45 minutes.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven 375. Roll dough out onto a floured surface & cut dough with holiday cookie cutters. Bake 6 ~ 10 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet. Cool before decorating.Makes 3 dozen, depending on how thick you roll the dough out.

    baked holiday cookies
    baked holiday sugar cookies
baked sugar cookies
holiday baked goods
sugar cookie dough
sugar cookie dough and rolling pin

Fall dining at the Inn

early morning-pondside-abbotts glen-coffee
Early morning, pondside at Abbott’s Glen, Vermont

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!

tito-woodfire-abbotts glen
Abbott’s Glen lounge, wood stove, and Tito

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).

meadow-house-inn-dining-
Meadow House, Abbott’s Glen, Vermont

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.

 

Pumpkin Pie

1 single-crust 9-inch pie shell

3 eggs

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

  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. 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.
  3. Bake 10 minutes at 450° & then turn oven down to 350° & bake an additional 40 ~ 45 minutes, or until filling is set.
  4. Serve with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream & a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Oktoberfest at the Inn

 

Oktoberfest hats
Hats for Oktoberfest guests at Abbott’s Glen

Oktoberfest, held at Abbott’s Glen Inn in Vermont, is always a fun fall-getaway event. Each year our naturist guests join us from all over New England to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage and a great dinner in celebration of Germany’s Oktoberfest. The menu this year, presided over by our own new chef Gerry, who is of German decent, included numerous dishes all harking back to his German heritage. We had “the best of the wursts,” representing five different varieties, two cabbage dishes, a spaetzle dish with a creamy Swiss cheese sauce, potato pancakes with homemade apple sauce,  potato dumplings in broth, and a variety of hearty German breads and mustards. No German dinner would be complete without a sauerkraut dish, simmered with beer, apples (from our orchard), and sweet onions.

Platter of Wursts
Platter of wursts for Oktoberfest dinner

New to our table this year was a relish tray, which chef Gerry said was common in German restaurants. The tray offered horseradish-infused cottage cheese with fresh chives, a corn and bacon relish, a light white cabbage slaw with just a hint of vinegar and sugar, and saltine crackers to scoop it all up.

Oktoberfest dinner table
Oktoberfest relish tray

 

 

 

The meal was accompanied by German music, and the table was set with vintage linens, steins of various sizes, and candlelight. The aromas of Gerry’s cooking wafted through the Inn all day, tempting guests to periodically pop into the dining room to ask, “What am I smelling, and when can we eat?!”

inneri table set for Oktoberfest
Table set for Abbott’s Glen Oktoberfest dinner

 

 

 

Our naturist guests were encouraged to contribute to the German atmosphere wearing any German attire they wish to adorn. Now this can get a little freaky with a bunch of fun-loving nudists, but we maintained some decorum when it was time to sit down and dine. Green felt hats with a variety of feathers were the uniform for most. My husband felt comfortable enough to wear a silly Dachshund hat most of the day and we had a great great time poking fun at him, with his suspenders connecting to an old pair of jean shorts. Not exactly lederhosen but, hey, he’s English, and anyone who knows my husband Lindy knows he definitely has his own special fashion sense. The guests and staff are given a selection of fun aprons they can wear: the ones for the women depicting buxom St. Pauli girl garb with steins of beer and tiny wastes. The men could choose either a lederhosen-wearing gent with six-pack abs holding the obligatory stein of frothy beer, or one depicting a more portly sort, with a beer belly, and sausages and fat German pretzels hanging from his lederhosen. All the garb we needed to enhance the sense of fun and revelry of this beer-drinking day. Abbott’s Glen does not have a liquor license, but guests bring German beers and wines, and sometimes a bottle of Jägermeister to share throughout the day.

The dinner concluded with a fabulous chocolate torte Gerry had prepared. Eight layers of yellow cake held together with a chocolate pudding type of filling, glazed with a thick nap of German chocolate ganache. Although most of us had eaten more than usual, we all managed to enjoy the buttery sweet layers intermingled with a silky pudding filling and fudge-like topping. A cup of coffee gave us a respite from all the German beer and wine enjoyed throughout the meal.

German steins & Cake
German steins & cake

What a great way to begin the beautiful month of October. Vermont is legendary for its brilliant fall colors, apple orchards brimming with a variety of apples, and roadside stands full of pumpkins and winter squashes. We celebrate the harvest all month with beautiful meals reflective of the season. Stay tuned for more recipes from this beautiful time of year.

Kaese Spaetzle

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 tsp. each salt & nutmeg

1/8 tsp. pepper

3 eggs

3Tbs. butter

1/3 cup of milk

1 onion, sliced

1 1/2 cups shredded Emmentaler cheese

  1. Sift together flour, nutmeg, and salt & pepper in a medium bowl. Beat eggs in a medium bowl. Alternately mix in the milk & flour mixture with eggs until smooth. Let stand for 30 minutes.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Press batter through a spaetzle press into the water. (If you don’t have a spaetzle press, a large-hole grater can be used, but be aware that it will be messy!) When the spaetzle float to the top, transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon. Mix in 1 cup of cheese.
  3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until limp and golden. Stir in spaetzle and remaining cheese until blended. Serves 8.

 

The foods of summer

Here it is the beginning of October at Abbott’s Glen clothing optional resort. Like most of us, we are asking where the summer went, perhaps feeling like we didn’t get in all the things we wanted to. On my list were a few more visits to our local organic farmers’ market on Saturdays, longer walks with our dog Tito, and more time to swim at Harriman Reservoir (more commonly known as The Ledges). What we did a lot of was entertain our Inn guests with glorious dinners and breakfasts served outside on the patio. Just in this past month we have celebrated the foods of Greece, Tuscany, and Mexico. We have BBq’d up lots of ribs and chicken as we danced and sang to live blues with our house band, The Reprobates. Leisurely Sunday breakfasts enjoyed al fresco included lots of farm fresh eggs, which we made into deviled eggs and fritattas with fresh herbs from the garden and platters of fresh summer fruits.

Classic BBq pork ribs
Country-style pork ribs
Zucchini Fritatta
Zucchini Frittata
Deviled eggs with Herbs
Deviled eggs

What a joy to be able to go our right out my kitchen door to pluck sweet basil, fronds of tarragon, and mint, which always invades everywhere, every year. Colorful nasturtium blossoms adorned many of our summer platters of food.

The garden had it’s challenges with cooler than normal temperatures, but we had many meals of green and wax beans, Swiss chard, and kale. Our tomatoes are just starting to produce and each day I harvest a pint or two of cherry tomatoes. This year we grew the sweet orange variety as well as a purple variety. Teamed up with fresh basil, thinly sliced red onion, and drizzled with a blood orange olive oil, salt, and pepper was all it needed.

Our fruit trees are fuller than we have ever seen. The plum tree branches are so laden with fruit they are almost laying on the grass. Our apple and pear trees are full of sweet smelling treats that will make their way into apple sauce, apple desserts, chutneys, and breads.

And how could I forget the zucchini?? Maybe I was trying to, as we ate it in every way possible! Our favorite recipe had to be a filo pastry filled with sauteed zucchini, eggs, feta, and fresh dill. Layered with filo and baked until golden, it was a perfect partner to the shish kebabs served for our “It’s Greek to Me” dinner.

greek cocktail hour
Greek mezze

Our guests started their evening with a mezze table, including items such as stuffed grape leaves, roasted eggplant dip, mini spanakopita, and mixed marinated olives.

Summer desserts included many ice cream treats, berry cobblers, and a frozen Margarita mousse we served for our “Taste of Mexico” dinner.

single serving berry trifle
Individual berry trifle

 

 

 

 

 

One of the most memorable evenings this Abbott’s Glen summer was the 12th Anniversary dinner celebrating our 12 years in hospitality. We always rent a tent and entertain about 25 couples. The menu included a cocktail hour pond side, where we treated guests to watermelon mojitos and a variety of little bites from sushi to roasted mission figs drizzled with a balsamic reduction.

Anniversary cocktail foods
Cocktail spread at the pond
celebrating 12 years in hospitality

Dinner included grilled shrimp served with a fresh peach salsa and cold roasted tenderloin with a chimichurri sauce.

Dinner buffet al fresco
Anniversary Buffet

 

Summer table set
Summer table set for dinner

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was fortunate enough to steal away to Santa Fe for a week to visit a dear cousin who is a major foodie and a fabulous cook. I enjoyed a variety of cuisines from tapas in downtown Santa Fe to fabulous elk burgers cooked on a wood fire at my cousin’s ranch.

elk burger
Elk burger Santa Fe style

Hoping your summer was full of family fun, fabulous foods, and travel experiences that made your summer memorable!

 

 

4th of July

The 4th of July weekend at Abbott’s Glen is always one of our busiest. Naturist flock to the resort to enjoy Live BLues music, great BBQ and a great fireworks display. This year we were fortunate to have our new chef participating in our tried & true 4th of July menu. Juicy pork ribs & organic raised chicken was mopped up with a Maple BBQ sauce & grilled until sweet & sticky.  A big pot of Bourbon beans simmered on the stove with chopped peaches & a good swoop of Kentucky Bourbon. We always make a huge bowl of Slaw dressed with a Maple Dressing & sun dried cranberries. A big basket of Corn muffins flecked with sliced green onions & a touch of honey, always end up being the favorite item that everyone goes back for more. A crock of honey laced cinnamon butter accompanies the muffins and by then there is no more room on your big ole plate! Dessert comes later in the evening after we have danced off some calories to our 6 piece Blues Band, called The Reprobates.

Gerry surprised us with a cool display of cupcakes, frosted with red , white & blue to perlicate a waving flag. It was FUN.

 

Saturday summer dinner at the inn

Couscous with mango & herbs
Couscous with fresh mango, raisins, herbs & lime juice

Every week at Abbott’s Glen clothing optional resort,my new chef Gerry & I create a new menu for our naturist guests.Gerry took the lead in choosing a a new side dish & fabulous dessert to highlight strawberry season in Vermont. Some of the highlights from the weekend included a couscous dish with fresh mango, jalapenos, raisins & fresh herbs, sauteed in then mixed into cooked couscous with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.The recipe came from Marcus Samuelssons cookbook called The soul of a new cuisine. The food images coupled with warm & beautiful images of African women & children further draw you into this amazing book , exotic with unusual food parings & spices.

Each dinner served in our dining room over looking the pond, starts with a salad, reflective of the season.

Romaine Salad
Romaine salad with grape tomatoes & kalamata olives

Since my herbs are growing beautifully, we chose to make a batch of buttermilk herb dressing & ladle it over some fresh greens with grape tomatoes & kalamata olives. Dill was the pervasive herb & I was thinking it would go equally well over chilled pasta salad with grilled salmon or chicken.

Whole wheat  dinner bread
Homemade whole wheat  dinner bread

The entree of grilled pork chops received a few hours of marination with a lovely combination of soy sauce, ketshup, fresh ginger, cinnamon, & olive oil. The chops were served with a fresh peach salsa. That paired beautifully with the spices in the marinated pork.

grilled pork chops with peach salsa
Grilled pork chops with a fresh peach salsa

Dessert was a glass goblet filled with three berry trifle. Fresh berries, homemade custard, homemade sponge cake & a big dollop of chantilly cream had everyone wishing they had not eaten so much dinner. Nonetheless, when dishes were being cleared it appeared almost every guest ate all of their creamy decadent dessert.

single serving berry trifle
Individual berry trifle

 

 

 

Creamy Herb Dressing
1/4 cup fresh dill, Italian parsley, chives
3/4 cup good mayonaise(Hellmans)
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
couple dashes of hot sauce
In a food processor combine dill parsley, chives with mayo & process until herbs are shopped.
With motor running , slowly pour in the buttermilk & oil, then add vinegar, salt & pepper & hot sauce.
You may substitute buttermilk with sour cream.
If you don’t have chives, scallions work well too.
This is one of the favorite dressings I prepare here at the inn.

Makes about 2 cups, enough for 12 portions of salad.
Will keep 2 weeks.

Mango Couscous
1 cup couscous
2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1 mango peeled, pitted & and cut into 1 inch pieces(1 cup )
1 jalapeno chili, seeded & finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup of cilantro & parsley, roughly chopped
In a separate saucepan, heat 1 Tbs olive oil & pour in couscous. Stir for 3 ~ 5 minutes until starting to brown. Then add 1 1/4 cup of water & boil covered for 6 ~ 8 minutes. Remove from heat & keep covered.
Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over high heat. Add garlic, mango, and jalapeno and saute until mango begins to turn color slightly. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, couscous, tomato, raisins, lime juice and herbs. Stir & heat through. Season with salt to taste.
Can be served hot or at room temperature.
Serves 4.

 

Breakfast at the Inn

Our clothing optional inn in Vermont has been serving beautiful breakfasts since we opened our doors in 2004.One might think that we would run out of creative ways to make breakfast more interesting or special. Our new chef has been surprising us every weekend with new muffins, coffeecake & egg dish recipes. This weekend was no exception.

quiche with brown rice crust
cajun quiche with brown rice crust
Ricotta Coffecake
Ricotta Coffeecake
fresh fruit salad
fresh fruit salad

Our guests came into the dining room to find a gorgeous fresh fruit salad, a quiche made with a brown rice crust, sauteed peppers & onions and andouille sausage & Vermont cheddar cheese. A coffeecake made with ricotta cheese created a moist buttery crumb and the addition of freshly grated nutmeg provided a fresh spice flavor. It was topped with a sugary nut crust  with no butter. It was light moist & yummy. The best part, it can be prepared the night before & baked in the morning. It just might become a favorite!

Ricotta Overnight Coffeecake

2 cups flour

1tsp. baking powder & baking soda

1 tsp. grated nutmeg

1 1/2 cups softened butter

3/4 cups white sugar

2 eggs

1 cup ricotta cheese

Topping

1/2 cup brown sugar & 1/2 cup walnuts

1 Tbs. cinnamon & 1 tsp.freshly grated nutmeg

Grease 13 X 9 cake pan. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder & soda & nutmeg. Set aside.

Beat butter & sugar until fluffy. Add eggs & ricotta.

Then stir in the flour mixture.Scrape the sides of bowl & then stir again.

The batter will be thick. Spread into the greased pan.

Whirl the topping ingredients in a processor  but only long enough to chop the walnuts.

Sprinkle atop the batter, cover & let sit overnight in the refrigerator, uncovered.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 40 minutes. Serve warm.

 

 

 

Naked Country cooking