As the weather continues to warm, the foliage begins to green, and the Winooski and Mad rivers begin to swell, thoughts turn to canoeing and kayaking Mad River Valley.
That shift in the weather, that smell of maple sugaring in the air can only mean one thing: Springtime in Vermont is here!
Ah, springtime in Vermont: runoff swells the creeks back to bubbling life, the trees fill with the activity of birds. Both year-round residents and migratory species can be seen winging their way back to – and through – our neck of the woods: the Scarlet Tanager, Bicknell’s Thrush, the Indigo Bunting, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, the Common Yellowthroat, the Meadowlark, the Blue-winged Teal, and many, many more.
Stirring it up: Here’s an easy recipe for a simply delicious and delicate treat. While easy, this recipe should be undertaken when you have no other distractions as you will be cooking with very hot oil. You will need rosette irons and handle as pictured here with the completed rosettes. The recipe for the sandbakkkels (the three cookies scolloped cookies) will be posted before long.
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 2 t. vanilla sugar or 2 t. white sugar plus 1 t. of an extract of choice
- 1 c. milk
- 1 c. all purpose flour
- 1/4 t. salt
- Canola oil
Whisk together the eggs, vanilla sugar and milk.
Sift together the flour and salt then whisk it into the egg mixture and whisk till smooth.
Attach an iron to the handle.
In a large, heavy pan heat 2 to 3 inches of Canola oil to between 360°F and 365°F. Keep a careful eye on the oil so that it does not get hotter during the cooking process.
CAREFULLY dip the iron into the hot oil.|
Remove the iron from the oil and dip it into the batter just deep enough to come up to the top edge of the sides of the iron. Do not cover the iron with batter.
Now, submerge the iron into the hot oil just long enough to turn the rosette a light golden brown. If the rosette falls off the iron, use a chopstick or a long handled roasting fork to remove it from the oil.
Remove the iron from the oil and place the rosette on a paper towel to cool. If the rosette doesn’t come off the iron easily, use a kitchen knife to gently press it off.
If you wish to change the iron to another shape remember, the iron may be extremely hot so use a pot holder to cover the iron when unscrewing it from the handle.
Cool completely. Just before serving sprinkle with powdered sugar.
This recipe makes about 25 large rosettes.
Dishing it out: Called struva in Swedish, these delicate treats were not common in our family, maybe because there were four of us kids and Mom had little time to stand over a hot pan of oil without one or the other of us needing (or wanting!) her full attention. When she did make these, usually for a special occasion, she would always save one for each of us. A rosette covered with powdered sugar and a cup of “tea” was about as special a tea-party as any child could wish for.
There’s just about nowhere more perfect for an outdoor Vermont wedding than West Hill House B&B in the Mad River Valley – and now is the time to plan that summer wedding you’ve always dreamed of.
Whether you’re going for a big ceremony with all your friends and relatives, a more intimate ceremony, or just a simple elopement, we have the experience and facilities to help make your special day one that you will look back on with fondness for the rest of your lives.
Our all-season, Handsome Red Barn is the perfect venue for larger weddings, as it is newly renovated and can comfortably accommodate up to 50 people. We don’t overload ourselves with big events – only six a year – so we can devote the helpful kind of stress-free attention your wedding deserves.
With our extensive experience hosting weddings, we’re familiar with all the wedding professionals the Mad River Valley has to offer, so we can help coordinate the services that fit your needs: catering, music, photography, cake, Justice of the Peace, and more. No detail is too small.
West Hill House B&B is ready to accommodate your rehearsals, receptions, and dinners, too. We offer on-site catering and we’re even state licensed for the sale of beer and wine!
Prefer elopement to a big ceremony? We have a number of elopement plans to suit whatever size ceremony you’re planning: whether it’s just the two of you or up to 16 guests.
We’re the perfect location for your Vermont Honeymoon, too – whether you get married here or not! West Hill House B&B’s location on a quiet country lane in the heart of Vermont’s lush Green Mountains is the epitome of intimacy and relaxation. Settle into one of our unique guest rooms with its incredibly comfortable bed, warm and soothing double Jacuzzi tub, pampering hosts, and only minutes away from a wide array of year-round activities.
With the amenities at West Hill House B&B and the natural beauty of the Mad River Valley, your perfect, outdoor Vermont wedding is but a reservation away. Don’t let the opportunity to hold your ceremony at our popular wedding venue slip away: book now.
Stirring it up!
These bars are quick and easy to make, perfect when you need a little something to go along with an afternoon cuppa. Dates add a special sweetness and walnuts give a nice crunch to each bite. This recipe does not call for any butter or shortening.
- 2/3 c. all purpose flour
- 1 t. baking powder
- 1/4 t. salt
- 3/4 c. sugar, white
- 1 c. dates, pitted and chopped
- 1 c. walnuts, chopped
- 2 eggs, well-beaten
- 1/2 t. vanilla
- confectioners sugar
Stir the flour, baking powder and salt together.
Add sugar, dates and nuts, then stir in the eggs and vanilla.
Spread about 1/2″ thick in a well greased or parchment lined 9″ x 9″ square pan.
Bake at 325°F for 25 to 30 minutes.
Cut into small squares while still warm and dust with confectioners sugar.
Dishing it out:
Apparently this recipe was first published in Good Housekeeping magazine in 1917 but by all accounts, why the name Chinese Chews, remains a mystery. While this recipe may not be the same as the early version, my mom made these from a recipe in her trusty Five Roses Flour cookbook, A Guide to Good Cooking. My copy of the same cookbook is filled with annotated recipes on well worn pages, several of which are held in the book with tape. The recipe actually called for the squares, once cool enough to handle, to be rolled into balls then dusted with sugar. I never remember having them rolled but no matter the shape, the taste is great and they are chewy! One drawback though, they are so good they won’t last long!
Stirring it up:
For all of you who have been after me for the recipe I use to make German Pancakes, here it is. This is a simple recipe for one serving and can easily be increased depending on how many hungry folks are at the table.
- 1/4 c. all purpose flour or sifted bread flour
- 1/4 c. milk (2% is just fine)
- 1 egg
- 1 t. butter
- pinch of salt
- dash of cinnamon or nutmeg
This recipe is for one serving. Increase it by the number you are feeding. I have found that using a 10″ (25cm) round, pyrex pie dish and trebling the recipe makes 4 good servings.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C)
Place the butter in the baking dish (size is dependent on the number you are feeding) and place it in the oven when the oven reaches 400°F (200°C). Leave it there while you proceed but be careful the butter does not burn.
Combine all the ingredients in a food process or blender and blend until just smooth. A wire whisk will do the job however the batter will not be as smooth.
When the butter has melted, remove the pan from the oven. Pour in the pancake batter and put the pan back into the oven. Be careful as the butter and the pan are extremely hot and the batter may make the butter splatter a bit.
Bake for 12-18 minutes depending on the size of your pancake. You want around the edges to be puffed up and the center to be just firm. I tend to use a lower temperature than similar recipes call for, I find the pancake stays thicker in the middle while still being puffy around the edge.
The pancake will start to deflate as soon as it comes out of the oven so serve it immediately.
Top each serving with fresh fruit, some powdered sugar, and sausage or two along side, and you have a very yummy breakfast. Oh, and if you have a sweet tooth, add some real maple syrup.
Tip: Sometimes I dice apples or peaches, cook them in some butter in a separate pan until they are soft and add them to the batter once it is poured into the hot buttered baking dish. Makes a nice change from a plain pancake.
Dishing it out:
These are also sometimes called Dutch Babies. ‘Dutch’ relates to the German-American immigrants who were known as the Pennsylvania Dutch— Dutch being of course a corruption of the word Deutsch which is German for, well, German! My great-grandmother, Ursula, came to the United States from Germany when she was a child and I can only imagine that she would have loved eating this wonderful eggy breakfast treat.
If you like craft beer and vacations, have we got the deal for you: the Vermont Bed and Brew Package is back for Spring. And we call it our “Brews and Snooze” special!
That’s right, all you micro brew beer enthusiasts should sit up and take notice so you don’t miss an opportunity that you can’t (or at least probably shouldn’t) refuse:
Mad River Valley’s Chamber of Commerce is once again offering you a chance to tour and sample the offerings of our local, award-winning, craft breweries, plus two or more nights lodging – what a deal!
You know the Mad River Valley for its skiing, its incredibly photogenic autumn foliage, its unique and welcoming communities, and, if you’re a beer enthusiast, all the great, craft breweries in the area. Touring them is a treat but can be logistically difficult: who drives? With the Vermont Bed and Brew Package, you can sit back and leave the driving to somebody else!
Here’s how the tour works – You get picked up from the B&B at 10am by a 14-seat tour bus, complete with coolers for your purchases, that takes you to:
- Mad River Distillers
- The Alchemist Brewery
- Lost Nation or Von Trapp Lagers
- Rock Art Brewery
- Crop Bistro Brewery
- Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
- Private tasting of Lawson’s Finest
You’ll also receive:
- a gift box containing hearty snacks and unique treats
- Specials to restaurants and shops in and around the Mad River Valley
- a unique, Mad River Valley 6oz tasting glass to use at the breweries and take home
Vermont Bed and Beer Package
Spring Dates: April 26, May 17 and May 31, 2014
More details are shown on our “Brews and Snooze” special!
Now, call us biased, but we don’t think you could do any better than West Hill House B&B, right here in Mad River Valley, when it comes to lodging for the Vermont Bed and Brew Package, so don’t forget to select West Hill House B&B as your choice of accommodation – or we can book it for you but call soon because space is limited.
See you then!
If you’re scratching your head at that, it’s clear you are not from Vermont because, up here, *everyone* knows about sugaring time. It’s a major event! Maple, as they say, is in the blood of Vermonters.
Oh, and now I’ve gone and let the cat out of the bag with that word: “maple.”
Blueberry Lake Cross Country Center (the sign out front has “Snowshoeing” in between “Country” and “Center” but everyone just calls it “Blueberry Lake Cross Country Center”) is a scenic, no-frills – and thus affordable – ski center right here in Mad River Valley.
Blueberry Lake Cross Country Center features 33km of regularly groomed, sheltered trails for Nordic skiing, skating, or snowshoeing; 11 trails, easy to expert, and designed with the average skier’s enjoyment in mind.
There’s a comfortable, homey feel to the place that really makes you feel welcome: handwritten signs and the woodpile that fuels the modest center’s wood stove. The trails opening up on those lovely, Mad River meadows and up scenic, forested hills.
If you like dogs, Blueberry Lake is the place to be as many of the skiers and snowshoers bring theirs along with them—however like the people in the Mad River Valley the dogs are friendly and just enjoy being out in the snow!
The center was opened in 1983 by former dairy farmer, logger, equipment operator, and road town commissioner, Lenord Robinson. Well into his 80’s, Lenord still skis, participates in races, and helps to maintain the trails at Blueberry Lake. That’s Mad River Valley style right there.
Blueberry Lake Cross Country Center offers lessons (if you call ahead) and rents skis and snowshoes.
Blueberry Lake Cross Country Center
For directions, trail conditions and more, please visit: www.blueberrylakeskivt.com
And for breakfast …
Nothing completes – or begins – your Mad River Valley skiing vacation like a stay at West Hill House B&B with our hot and filling breakfasts: scrambled eggs, pancakes, french toast, and more, all done in our own delicious way so that you will have a great and nutritious start to your day!
Catamount Trail was conceived of 26 years ago by three back-country skiers who dreamt up the idea of tying all the state’s best cross-country ski areas together, stretching from Quebec to Massachusetts. Completed in 2008, Catamount Trail is now 300 miles of well-groomed, back-country ski trails with stretches of true wilderness in between. What a feat! What a treat!