Tuesday, October 23, 2007

October's Bounty!

Allenholm Farm on South Hero Island has super apples and maple creamies that I love.

Along with a great variety of local apples the Cider Doughnuts at Hackett's Orchard in South Hero are so fresh and good! I often serve them as a dessert topped with Vermont organic maple Ice cream and sauted brandy apples. Yum.

Pumpkins .30 cents a pound!

Pomykala farm is located on Grand Island.

In spring Jane and Bob grow some of the best asparagus I have ever tasted! Then in June they have a sweet strawberry festival that should not be missed.

Now the self service farm stand has hearty winter green, a large variety of squash, broccoli, garlic,and many tomatoes.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Lobster Bake 2007!

A warm sunny day in July on Mallets Bay, Vermont, a group of us planned a Lobster Bake. We started our day early gathering wood, collecting rocks, and digging a hole in the sand. A big thanks to Mark and Dave, who carried the heavy rocks that lined the bottom and sides of our lobster pit. Meanwhile our guests were at home preparing foods to bring to the party. In between laughs on the beach building our lobster pit I was baking a huge lemon, blueberry, & raspberry flag cake. Then, off to pick up Kenny, who flew in from Ireland and the lucky lobsters!

Guests started to arrive and enjoyed Kenny's famous (strong!) white summer peach sangria along with chipotle guacamole from my kitchen. Cooking the lobsters in a pit requires a raging bond fire for three plus hours to properly heat up the rocks. While we fed the fire some guests floated in rafts, played Frisbee, and hung out on the beach. The time came to clear out the wood, add Maine choke weed, lobsters, potatoes and corn all in layers. We covered the pit with a wet tarp and hoped for the best. In the end the lobster Bake was super tasty and you just had to be there! :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Magical Maple Tour!


Vermont is Sweet today! March 2007 I went out seeking the best of the best, Vermont Maple Syrup, in the heart of sugar season. The cold freezing nights and warm sunny days keep the sap running.

The only clouds in Vermont on Sunday March 26th were clouds of Maple Steam. The evaporators in the sugar shacks were loaded up with wood, creating a roaring hot fire to reduce the sap into sweet gold.

I continued my "Chef Contos Magical Maple Tour" visiting 3 homespun sugar shacks. Planting myself down on a bench in the sugar shack, soaking in the sweet smells and moments. I watched these hard working Vermonters throw wood into the fire every 10 minutes on the alarm. The goal is to keep a roaring hot fire burning at all times. This reduces the sap fast and may I say, there is a lot of sap to be reduced. It takes 43 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of Maple Syrup. So no complaints on the price folks, it is a lot of work to produce this Vermont Liquid Gold.
I ended my personal tour at Morse farms in Montpelier VT, with Burr Morse and his beautiful sugar bush. He and his family have been sugaring the same land for 200 years. Wow, I love that. Go Burr! After talking to Burr and his buddy I simply had to set off and grab one of his famous Maple Creamies. Yes famous, as it was voted 89 on Americans best 100 things to eat. Well deserved indeed!

I ended up totaling 1 1/2 gallons of 07 Vermont Maple Syrup. With the wild blueburries and the syrup, pancakes are good eats out here!

Someday my tour will be a yearly feature on my cooking show, you all may enjoy.

Sweet Days,

P.S. You may order the 07 syrup from Burr at http://www.morsefarm.com/pages/