Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Season in Vermont!

I am filled with gratitude for this wonderful holiday season. Thank you to everyone for the endless gifts of love and laughter!
From the festive holiday work party at Peter's with Jim's surprise guest, Caesar Salad, to Christmas Eve drinks with the sweetest Dave and Nancy who gifted me BBQ ribs for Christmas because they know a chef is always hungry. Then on a snowy Christmas Eve off to the Anderson's in Charlotte VT where we played Santa and drank Sarah's divine glug that not only had cardamon pods and orange peel but caramelized sugar as well.

The next morning was filled with presents, joy, excitement, and more culinary creations from Chef Sarah.

After assisting (refilling beverages) on the just built Ice House/Igloo, Sarah and I made the Christmas dinner feast while enjoying the sunset over the Adirondack's! We seared and roasted local beef tenderloin, sauteed winter greens with garlic and glug, roasted pearl onions and tiny potatoes , then may favorite, Ginger Bread which had the usual suspects like cloves, molasses, cinnamon, but what about mustard powder, coffee, and black pepper. Yes indeed and did it taste so out of this world, especially with Orange Hard Sauce. After all that I drove back to Mallets Bay so full of gratitude.
Thank you to all that made this a holiday I will always remember.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Holiday Cookie Recipe:

Happy Holidays from my kitchen to yours!

Enjoy this family favorite Greek holiday cookie recipe. My mom always says they get better as they sit. So make them now and get a head start on your holiday baking. Be sure to save some cookies for New Years Eve 2007 as these are a traditional New Years Greek cookie!

Be safe, have fun, and keep in touch!


Yield: 3 dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoon Brandy
2 ½ cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 pound powdered sugar, sifted

1. Preheat oven to 350ยบ.
2. In a bowl mix the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy.
3. Mix in egg yolk and brandy.
4. Then slowly add flour and baking powder. Knead well until dough is smooth.
5. Divide dough in half. Mix cocoa powder into one half, mix until incorporated.
6. Take small pieces of dough and shape into balls using both even amounts of the chocolate and the plain dough to create a marble effect. Shape the size of a small egg, crescents, or into small pears and insert a clove in the top of each.
7. Place on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake cookies 18-20 minutes.
8. Roll Kourabiethes while warm in powdered sugar. Then sift sugar over as they must be very well coated.

Variation: You may add 1/2 cup blanched and finely chopped almonds to the dough.

Chef Contos on the Radio

Tune in or listen on the web at on December 12th and 19th at 7:40am.
Are you having friends and family over for the holiday season? Impress them with your newly minted cooking skills courtesy of Star 92.9 and The Inn at Essex, "Vermont's Culinary Resort."On Wednesday December 12th and 19th at 7:40a, tune in to Lana and Nolan to learn some exquisite holiday cooking tips with Chef Courtney Contos, New England Culinary Institute, Chef Instructor, at the Inn at Essex. Not only will Chef Contos give you some great tips for cooking this holiday season, but Star 92.9 and The Inn at Essex want to give you the opportunity to have some more in depth and personalized training with Chef Contos. On both mornings, you'll also have an opportunity to win a Chef "Inn" Training class with my self, Chef Contos. You'll be able to choose from classes including, Holiday Desserts, Heroic Holiday Entertaining and Winter Soups.