Archive for the ‘Food & Drink’ Category

Winter Wedding

November 29th, 2012 by Susan

Ryan & Jeff married by Greg Trulson, Justice of the Peace

 

With early season snowflakes whirling about them, and the temperature sitting at about 28°F, Ryan and Jeff were married in the meadow at West Hill House B&B. Our favorite Justice of the Peace, Greg Trulson officiated at the wedding making it a very meaningful occasion, as he always does. Following the ceremony,  the newly married couple asked Peter to continue taking photos as they enjoyed a short stroll around our wintery gardens.

Warming up by the fireplace a few minutes later Ryan and Jeff enjoyed an intimate wedding reception complete with wedding cake, made here at West Hill House, and a bottle of  Champagne. They were kind enough to invite Greg and Peter and Susan to join them.

Ryan loves experimenting with recipes. Check out her food blog called Skinny Supper. It’s a fun site with lots of photos to help you along.

Celebrate the 254th birthday of Robert Burns

November 27th, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

Robert Burns

On January 26th 2013 we will be holding our 5th annual Burns Supper at West Hill House to celebrate the 254th anniversary of the birth, on January 25th 1759, of this great Scottish Poet, often referred to as “The Bard”. (Bard is a Scots word for a poet.)

A Burns Supper is a significant tradition in Scotland and among Scots around the world. The evening will consistent of traditional Scottish fair including Haggis (which really is worth trying!) and Scottish Trifle. Wine will be served with dinner and a wee dram of Scottish whisky will be served  to toast The Bard (for those 21 and older; soft drinks will also be available).

The Haggis will be piped in by a local piper and will be addressed in the traditional manner by Peter:

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang’s my arm. …

We will then encourage you to try some Scottish Dancing after dinner – we’ll show you how!

The Burns Supper will be held in our handsome Red Barn and we have room for only 30 guests. We expect a sell-out so don’t wait till the last minute to book. Tickets must be purchased by January 21st.

The Burns Supper is just $50 per person (including tax), and it is sure to be a memorable evening. Book two nights including the 26th and we will include the supper at the reduced rate of $80 per couple. Advance reservation is required for all tickets.

Bird Seed Granola

August 25th, 2012 by Susan

Bird Seed Granola with melon.

Stirring it up! This past week breakfasts were gluten, soy, lactose and pork free. Wanting to increase my repertoire for such recipes, I searched the internet for something new and different. As often happens I got ideas but no recipe was exactly what I wanted or indeed, what I had in the pantry. So… here’s my made up recipe – and no, it doesn’t contain bird seed, it just looks like it does.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c. honey (or you can use maple syrup)
  • 1/4 c. canola oil
  • 1 t. pure vanilla extract
  • 1  1/4 c. almond meal/flour
  • 1 generous pinch of  sel de mer (or 1/8 t. table salt)
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • 3 T. sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 c. craisins
  • 1/4 c. chopped almonds
  • 3 T. pine nuts

Preparation:

Set the oven to 350°F.

Mix oil, honey and vanilla in a medium bowl. In another bowl combine almond meal, salt and baking soda and gently stir to mix dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to the liquids and mix together. Add seeds, nuts and fruit, mixing well. Grease an 8X8 pan and press dough evenly into the pan. It is sticky so damp hands work well. Bake for 20 minutes.

Let the pan cool for about 15 minutes and you can use the granola right away by spooning it out of the pan and sprinkling it on, or layer it under, a bowl of  fresh fruit, yogurt or even ice cream. It’s is fairly sweet so you don’t need a lot. When the amount remaining in the pan cooled completely I it cut it into squares which was ok but they didn’t really stick to gather all that well so when nibble, a crumb -catcher  is a good idea. Hummm, guess that recipe needs a bit of tweaking before I can turn it into a good, stick-together snack bar.

Dishing it out! Before becoming an innkeeper/owner/chief cook and bottle washer, I had heard of lactose intolerance and celiac disease and had one recipe for gluten-lactose free cornbread. Now, over the last six plus years, I have prepared  numerous types of breakfasts including vegan, frutarian (that one bothered me), dairy free, no pork, egg-free as well as oxalate free breakfasts. Thanks to the guests who have needed these I have had a chance to cruise through recipes on-line and in numerous cookbooks new and old  and have discovered many great recipes, and made up a few along the way.

Vermont Cheese Tour

July 30th, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

Vermont Cheese Trail

Guests Laurent and Julia created this list of some of the excellent Vermont Cheese makers–and they visited many of them as you will see from their comments!  If you like cheese you may want to follow in their footsteps.

See also the Vermont Cheese Trail which is the source of the map on the right – the numbers before each Cheese maker refers to their number on that map. The header image on this blog is also from that site.

The letters following Cheese maker names mean the following:

  • C = Cow’s milk
  • S = Sheep’s milk
  • G = Goat’s milk

Vermont Cheese Trail MapCheese makers are listed south to north:

14. Grafton Village Cheese C
400 Linden St/Rte 30,
Brattleboro
open daily, 10-6
Comment: Large store, good amount of samples, must pay to see animals, can view cheese making through window.

39. Vermont Shepherd S                             
281 Patch Farm Road, Putney
Farm Store is open year round 9-5
Comment: No people around to greet or show you around. Small honor store. No samples.

33. Taylor Farm C                                    
825 Route 11, Londonderry
Open daily 10-6
Comment: Small store. Free range chickens running around. Some samples.

16. Hildene Farm Signature Cheese C & G
1005 Hildene Rd, Manchester
Open daily 9:30-4:30

31. Southwind Farm C
3783 Vermont Route 30, Pawlet
Open daily 9am-6pm

8. Consider Bardwell Farm C & G
1333 VT Route 153, West Pawlet
Self-serve farm store is open year
round ~ The farm is open to visitors on weekends
Comment: Small store. Can pet goats. Some samples.

27. Plymouth Artisan Cheese C
106 Messer Hill Rd,
Plymouth Notch
Open to the Public

23. Neighborly Farms of Vermont C                           
1362 Curtis Rd,
Randolph Center
Open Monday-Friday 8-4
Comment: Small store. Gave free tour of cheese making.  Can pet calves.  Some samples. Unpaved roads.

12. Fat Toad Farm G                               
787 Kibbee Rd, Brookfield
Open daily
Comment: Best small farm experience. Small store. Lots of samples of cheese and caramel.  Got tour of farm. Unpaved roads.

35. Turkey Hill Farm C                            
55 Turkey Hill Rd,
Randolph Center
Farm store is open daily 7am-5pm

37. Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery C & G                       
Vermont Cheese Trail Map40 Pitman Rd, Websterville
Open Monday-Friday 9-5
Comment: More industrial.  Small visitor center.  Samples only when asked for.  Save time and buy it at other stores.

5. Cabot Creamery Cooperative Visitors Center C
2878 Main St, Cabot
June-Oct 9-5;
800.837.4261
AlsoWaterbury 802-244-6334 and
Quechee 802-295-1180, 9-6 daily

Dakin Farm
5797 Route 7
Ferrisburg, VT 05456
Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – seven days a week
Comment: Not a farm.  Medium size store. Lot’s of samples of cheeses and jams.  Good Maple frozen yogurt.  Has a sugaring house.

30. Shelburne Farms C                           
1611 Harbor Road, Shelburne
Open during summer 9-5

42. Willow Hill Farm S & C                     
313 Hardscrabble Rd, Milton
Farm store and viewing
room open daily 9-5

19. Lakes End Cheeses C & G                                 
212 West Shore Rd, Alburg
Open 10-7 daily mid-June
through Labor Day

15. Green Mountain Blue Cheese C
2183 Gore Rd, Highgate Center
Open daily 7am-7pm

4. Boston Post Creamery G                                    
2061 Sampsonville Rd,
Enosburg Falls
Open to the public: Tuesday-Friday
9-5, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-3

Happy 4th of July!

July 4th, 2012 by Susan

Happy 4th everyone!

Wow! Awesome!

The Sugarbush area 4th of July celebrations got off to a great start on June 30 with the 3rd annual Stars and Stripes Air Show featuring vintage plane and glider aerial acrobatics.

This morning the focus is on the 64th annual Warren 4th of July parade with its collection of quirky floats which draw thousands of folks to the area for a day of celebration. Family activities, music, and food – including a roast pig from Gaylord Farm and pizza from American Flatbread- will help keep the celebration going all day.

Swimming holes will be a great attraction today too, as folks look to cool off. Sugarbush Resort  has activities throughout the day and to the enjoyment of everyone will conclude the day with a spectacular  fireworks display.

Come Sunday we’ll all be encouraging the runners in the 2nd annual Mad Marathon as it winds it’s way through the beautiful Mad River Valley. We have a house-full of runners booked in for the weekend. Go runners!

Wishing you all a safe and fun filled day.

Soft Ginger Cookies

June 29th, 2012 by Susan

A yummy treat.

Stirring it up! While cleaning rooms the other day I clicked on the TV and found The Barefoot Contessa featuring a batch of the Ultimate Ginger Cookie. They looked absolutely scrumptious so after finishing the rooms I cleaned up and headed off to the kitchen to cook up a batch for our weekend guests. Unfortunately I didn’t have all the ingredients called for in that recipe so I made my own version of ginger cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 c. all purpose flour (I use King Arthur Flour)
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 t. ground cloves
  • 1/2 t. nutmeg ( I grate nutmeg so  just eyeballed the quantity)
  • 1/2 t.  ground ginger (I used a tiny bit more than this)
  • 1/4 t. fleur de sel
  • an additional 1/3 c. granulated sugar for rolling cookies in before baking
  • 1 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 c. canola oil
  • 1/3 c. unsulfured molasse
  • 1/4 c. to 1/3 c. crystalized ginger, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 c. raisins (optional)
Preparation:
Set the oven to 350°F. The cookies will bake for about 12-14 minutes. I made 22 cookies.

Put the first 7 ingredients into a large bowl and set it aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer,  mix on low speed, the brown sugar, canola oil and unsulfured molasses. Note that the dough is fairly stiff so I don’t recommend using a hand mixer. With the mixer still on low speed add the egg, mix for about 1 minute and remember to scrape the sides of the bowl – stop the mixer first. Without changing the mixer seed, very gradually add the dry ingredients which are in the first bowl. If the mixer is going too fast you will find yourself and the mixer covered in a fine white dusting of flour! Increase speed and mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add the crystalized ginger and raisins (optional) and mix until incorporated. Make dough balls about 1 T. in size and roll in the reserved 1/3 cup of sugar. Place dough balls on a parchment lined jelly roll pan or cookie sheet and flatten slightly with your fingers.

Bake until the cookies are crackled on top but still soft to the touch. Cool cookies on the pan for a few minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to complete cooling. These freeze well if they last long enough for you to get them into containers!

Dishing it out!  One sunny summer day, my dad and I decided to take a drive along a nearby lake so stopped off first at the grocery store for sustenance for the journey. While I choose a well aged cheddar cheese, my dad went off to find crackers or so I thought but back he came with a box of gingersnaps. Supplied with these items and the thermos of tea from home, we set off on our adventure. This was the day that I learned how well cheddar cheese and crunchy gingersnaps go together. While these ginger cookies are soft, they are still pretty darn good with a cup of tea and a chunk of strong cheddar cheese.

Enjoy!

A 4th of July to Remember

June 16th, 2012 by Susan

Red stunt planeOur Sap-bucket list is overflowing with activities for one super week of 4th of July celebrations for all tastes and interests!

The 3rd annual Stars and Stripes Air Show on June 30 will bring excitement to the Sugarbush Airport in Warren with vintage planes, stunt flying by both planes and gliders, glider rides, classic motorcycles, food and fun for children and adults alike. Tickets may be purchased on line or at the gate. Check out the air show website for more information and some video of last year’s show. Sorry but dogs and coolers must be left at home.
Cooking class

If cooking is your delight, you can learn to impress your family and friends at the cooking classes at The Kitchen at The Store in Waitsfield.  Chef John shares his wisdom and makes learning in the kitchen most enjoyable.

On Saturday, Chef’s Table-Aound the World offers participants not only the opportunity to create food from 4 different countries but to eat it too!

July 2 and 3 will have you creating scrumptious pies at the Butter, Sugar & Sin-Pies class and the Easy Entertaining-Soups and Paninis classes. The best thing is you don’t have to be an expert cook to take these classes, they are fun for all skill levels.

Of course on the 4th of July is the world famous, wild and wacky, 4th of July Parade which makes its way down the main street of Warren to the delight of thousands, yes thousands, of spectators. Family fun, kids games, music, food an more follow the parade in the town as well as up at Sugarbush. FireworksThe parade starts at 10AM but be there early, no cars are allowed in town but buses will be making the circuit from various parking places to town. The day closes with a bang a fireworks will light the sky over Sugarbush starting shortly after 9PM.

As well as all these activities, don’t forget there are mountain walks, energetic hikes, river and lake kayaking, refreshing swimming holes, eclectic shopping, golf and plenty of relaxing to be had here in the valley.

Join the residents of the Mad River Valley and celebrate the 4th of July Vermont style. With the many lodging opportunities here in the Valley, from welcoming B&Bs to condos and rental houses, there will surely be something perfect for you.

See you soon!

Farmer’s Market

June 15th, 2012 by Susan

Waitsfield Famers' MarketA must on our Sap-bucket list is our local Farmers’ Market which is held every Saturday morning from now until October 20th–rain or shine–on the Mad River Green in Waitsfield.

Local farmers bring a vast array of items including seedling plants, freshly harvested vegetables and fruits, cheeses, local meats, maple syrup, honey, eggs, jams and fresh baking–ummm I can almost smell the fresh pies! When you are at the market, be sure to visit the artisans’ booths where you’ll see beautiful intricate blown glass, colorful woven goods, hand crafted wooden items, finely turned pottery pieces and much more. Everything’s super and everything’s for sale.

If you are visiting the valley and had to leave your canine baby at home you’ll especially love the Waitsfield Farmers’ Market as dogs are invited to attend as long as they promise to stay on their leash and  be polite and friendly to everyone they meet.

Healthy ‘Green’ Shopping Bags

May 21st, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

Person With Bag on Head

An questionable fashion statement.

Green is in – especially here in Vermont. Among other things, here at West Hill House we use “green” light bulbs, we have solar panels to preheat our hot water, we have rooms with individually adjustable temperature controls, we drive a hybrid car and, we use reusable bags for our shopping.

Every conference that we have been to in the last 10 years has given out conference material in a reusable bag. After our most recent conference our count is now 43 reusable bags with about 10 others having been already “retired” due to wear.

Bags

7 of 43

So what to do with all those bags? A friend made throw pillows and is thinking of making a quilt top which would use up some of her bags.

While he promised to use his new bag for its intended purpose, we got a photo of this young man’s first and somewhat questionable fashion use for his new bag.

We encourage the use of ‘green’ bags, just be aware that all kinds of germs can be transferred to you from your bag. Think of all the places your bag (or purse for that matter) has been recently; the floor of a shop, the soccer field, the locker room, a public washroom, or the floor of your car. If you use your bags for carrying groceries, remember that raw food can transfer germs to the bag as well as to other foods in the bag. Bags often end up on the kitchen counter where the germs are happy to go forth and multiply. Think green. Stay healthy. Wash your reusable bags frequently.

Picnic by the pond

May 21st, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

West Hill House Bed and Breakfast

Grace & Charlie enjoy a picnic.

A basket filled with Vermont cider, cheeses, crackers, home made cookies and other goodies brings smiles to Grace and Charlie who welcomed the warm spring weather with a picnic by our pond. Spring has indeed sprung in the Mad River Valley. Signs of the season are all around us; chipmunks are sunning themselves on the rocks, peepers are singing our guests to sleep each evening and our beautiful gardens are coming back to life with brilliant daffodils now in bloom. We won’t even mind a few April showers. Sugarbush has opened the golf course, folks are out walking and cycling as well as hiking on the many local Green Mountain trails.

Though we can’t guarantee that there will be warm picnic weather when you come, we can guarantee that a warm welcome awaits you.

See you soon!

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