We’re Baaaaaack!!!


So how long has it been friends? One, oh geez, TWO YEARS?!

How ya been? Wonder where we went?

I guess you could say life happened for us; just a few changes since we last spoke. We moved back to Vermont. Harrison took over a responsible restaurant with national acclaim. I worked for a young inspiring magazine helping their business grow. We then followed our hearts back to our hometown. And oh yeah, we had a kid. He’s pretty awesome. We’re pretty proud.

 

Andrea

 

Harrison

 

A lot has happened but we can honestly say that we are finally hitting a joyous stride as we lay down roots with our boy here in the place we always thought we needed to leave.

View of Pilot Mountain, MingleWood Farm, TowniesWS
And with that, we are taking a closer look at our new-again city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina over at our new site, TowniesWS.com 

Winston Salem, NC - TowniesWS.com

 

There, we will be showcasing the doers, makers and innovators that are helping to make our “little-city-that-could” shine. Of course there will also be seasonal eats from Harrison, photo essays from me, as well as some creative inspiration for all of you out there.

artist palette, TowniesWS.com

Homegrown Tomatoes, TowniesWS.com

Summer Tomato Beet Salad, TowniesWS.com

 

We’d love to have you follow along with us in this next chapter. Big plans in store. Here’s to the ride!

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August Farm Tour and Sunset Dinner at Sandiwood Farm

“Did you enjoy yourselves?” we ask. “It was magical”, they reply.

There was that word again. Magical. It has crept into my vocabulary here – into my journal, our conversations, it’s become a genuine feeling. Magical. As Disney as it might sound that is how I will fondly remember this summer in Vermont.

My friend Allison likes to say that “the stars aligned for us”. Harrison was just finishing culinary school and was hungry to get more hands on experience growing the food he prepares. Then our friend Sandi enters. Her parents have a small organic vegetable farm called Sandiwood Farm in Wolcott. We visit and poof, we’re then lending a hand with seeding, weeding and harvesting.

We also shared a common vision of creating farm-to-table dinner experiences there on the farm. But more than just a vision, we each possessed our own unique strengths that we could pull from to bring the concept to life. I could pull from my event planning and communications roots; Harrison, Sandi (and this month, Amy) brought menu design, cooking and catering talents; Sara and Bob of course offered beautiful harvests, a wealth of farming knowledge and an eagerness to share; and Dani, Becca and Kyle had the passion, resourcefulness and contagious enthusiasm to pitch in wherever needed to bring it all to life.








This week we hosted our third farm dinner and as I looked around it did feel as if the stars aligned. We were organizing, orchestrating and best of all, just laughing. And outside there were warm introductions between strangers, the crackling sounds of a bonfire, bottle after bottle of wine shared between new friends, the illuminating flicker of candlelight, the oohs and ahhs of each course, and the content smiles as the sun set. Yes, it was a magical.

{Heirloom Tomato, Sage Farm Goat Dairy Feta, Lemon Basil, Shaved Red Onion & Olive Oil}

{Heirloom Tomato, Blueberry, Opal Basil, Balsamic Reduction & Roasted Garlic Aioli}

{Crudites with baba ghanoush}

{Local Cheese Board includingJasper Hill Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese and Sage Farm Goat Dairy Sterling, Madonna & Feta Cheeses}

{Fried Fromage Fritters (goat and cow’s milk) with sun-gold tomatoes and a balsamic drizzle}

{Crostini with farm fresh egg, cucumber, radish, dill & a roasted garlic farm egg aioli}

{Chard Sushi}





{House Made Farm Egg Tagliatelle Pasta with oven roasted cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomato sauce, arugula sprouts, roasted garlic cloves & basil}


{Mixed Beans with dill and brown butter}

{Roasted Potatoes, Cippolini Onions & Locally Foraged Black Trumpet Mushrooms}

{Cider-Brined Grilled Pork Loin, Braised Belly & Braised Leg with a late-summer apple reduction}



{House Made Basil Shortbread Biscuits with Macerated Madeira Berries & Lemon Cream}

We will be taking a little of that magic with us to Winston-Salem, NC.

{Thank you Schlosser Family!}


Only a week and half left until we move…


Until we find fresh inspiration again,

a + h

Raspberry Dream

Would you believe that our little red cabin in the woods came with an entire field of red raspberries? I mean talk about amenities – rhubarb and now this!

Of course, there was a catch. Isn’t there always? Pesky overgrown brush was blocking our access. So it was up to us to find a way to get through it. Luckily, Harrison loves a good challenge. And me? Well, I love cheering him on…while swaying in my hammock.

So last month he headed out on a mission with machete in hand. Off he went and in a mere hour, that pesky overgrown field was transformed into a national park-like raspberry oasis.

I couldn’t believe it. I offered up a standing ovation.

And wouldn’t you know it, he has had me out there picking raspberries in that field like it’s my job ever since.




We’ve been swimming in raspberries – by the handful, on oatmeal, over ice cream, in salads. It’s been a dream. Personally my favorite concoctions have been his syrups and dressings, including this base created with crystallized ginger and vanilla bean.






Ingredients:

  • (2) pints of raspberries
  • (3/4) cup of cold water
  • (1/4) to (1/2) cup of cane sugar (depending on your preferred level of sweetness)
  • (1) vanilla bean, cut in 1/2 and scored
  • (1/4) cup of crystallized ginger, rough chopped

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients and bring to a rolling simmer.

2. Cut heat to low and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and then strain.

          – add a thickener to make a sauce or coulis

          – add vinegar to make a dressing

          – add pectin to make a jelly

           – or use the syrup as a cocktail base.

Here are a few other raspberry inspirations that have caught my eye:
Chocolate Raspberry Jam from Love and Olive Oil
Berries Sorbet with Lavender Cookies from Tartlette
Red Berry Popsicles from La Tartine Gourmande
Gooseberry & Raspberry Jam from Spectacularly Delicious

How about you? Do YOU happen to have any good ones to share?

Until we find freshly picked inspiration again,

A+H

July Sunset Farm Dinner and Tour at Sandiwood Farm

“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece” ― Claude Monet

To watch them walk through the rows and rows of vegetables and select by hand those that will make the cut for our July dinner was surreal. For me it wasn’t too long ago that I ate out of boxes, cans, and frozen trays.  And this year has been a crash course on how to live, eat and prepare so much better. For this experience, I am forever grateful.

The late-July harvest was a beautiful masterpiece. Tomatoes were plump and beautiful. The snap peas had a perfect crunch. As we peeled the loads and loads of harvested garlic, the smell lingered on our fingers. The smells, the textures, the colors, the fresh-out-of-the-ground flavors were spinning through our minds as menu ideas were freely exchanged outside in the warm sun. Harrison and Sandi once again walked through which items would be at their peak that week with Sara. Together our chefs curated a lovely farm to fork menu for the 24 hungry guests who joined us that night.


There was a 50th birthday celebration at one table and intermixed at the other were new and old friends including an established Stowe concierge and an intrigued farm to table tour operator. Among the tables set with freshly picked flowers, garlic braids and tomatoes was a sincere appreciation for the love and dedication behind the evening’s food. As guests made introductions and shared stories at the communal dinner tables, a shared energy and enthusiasm was felt throughout the farm while a series of fresh, colorful courses were served just as the sun set.

{local cheese board}

{fresh vegetables with homemade carrot hummus topped with nigella seeds}

{poached beet skewers with lemon-basil vinaigrette}

{bruschetta with homemade heirloom tomato jam, fresh mozzarella and assorted basils}

{roasted summer garlic with grapeseed oil}

{homemade fromage stuffed bite-sized tomatoes with roasted garlic & opal basil}

{flatbread with heirloom tomatoes, green onion, opal basil and homemade white sauce}

{“the green machine”: flatbread topped with braised greens, fennel, green onion, cabbage, sugar snaps, red onion}

{flatbread with fresh farm blueberry, heirloom tomato, goat cheese. opal basil and balsamic reduction}

{homemade pappardelle pasta}

{7-hour smoked chicken with herb pistou}

{sautéed and grilled summer green veggies}

{farm fresh egg custard with chocolate ganache, fresh blueberry compote and wooly mint}


On behalf of Sandiwood Farm, we would like to invite you to our upcoming sunset dinners and farm tours. Each night will include a unique menu inspired by the week’s farm harvest.

Upcoming Dates
August 21
September 20
October 10

Time: 6:00pm
Cost: $50/per person
BYOB and BYO appetite

These intimate meals will be capped at 20 guests, so RSVP early!

To RSVP or learn more, please email Sara at maplesyrup@myfairpoint.net or call 802-888-2881

Until we find fresh inspiration again,  
A + H

Black Bean Hummus {Summer Days}

“So how exactly do you make hummus?” I casually ask as we’re driving down the road in wet swim suits. The windows are down and the warm breeze feels nice on our cool skin. We just spent the afternoon floating on tubes and showing off our swimming skills in the clear reservoir water among the green mountains. It was the perfect way to soak in yet another toasty summer day.

He starts right in like he’s been waiting on this question all day. “Well hummus is traditionally made with five base ingredients,” he says and holds up his right hand to start counting each one off with his tan fingers. “Olive oil. Chick peas. Tahini. Garlic. Lemon juice. And I like to add a little shallot or onion in mine for sharpness. Sometimes some black beans and cumin too for flavor.”

He pauses and looks off. I can see the wheels turning. Perfect. He’s already making it in his mind.

I clear my throat. He comes back to me. “That’s a really random question. Do you want some hummus or something babe?”

I slyly smile. “Why yes, a matter of fact I do. I thought you’d never ask.”

…………………………….

The perfect snack for these warm summer days… Let’s let loose on some black bean hummus, shall we?

Ingredients:

  • (1) can of chick peas, rinsed
  • (1/2) can of black beans, rinsed
  • (3) cloves of garlic
  • (2) Tablespoons of onion or shallot, rough chopped
  • (3) Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • (1) Tablespoon of ground cumin
  • (4) Tablespoons of olive oil….can add to mixture in 1 Tbsp increments
  • (1/3) cup of Tahini
  • (1) and ½ teaspoons of salt (maybe more for personal preference)
  • And a little water for smoother consistency

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, process your garlic, chopped onion/shallot.
  2. Add in our chick peas, black beans, tahini, cumin, lemon juice and salt.
  3. During the processing, occasionally add a little olive oil and a little water as you go to help create your desired consistency.
  4. Once you achieve a smooth blend, you’ll need to finish by adding a little more olive oil and salt for a final blend or to your desired taste preference.

Alternate prep: We only have a mini-processor here in our little red cabin in the woods. Ideally you want a standard sized processor to process all of these ingredients together. Instead, we processed our chick pea mixture in batches with the black beans and then combined it all in our Kitchenaid mixer for a final light blend.

Enjoy with fresh summer veggies as a dip or on a sandwich like we did, made with fresh focaccia bread from Elmore Mountain Bread.

Until we pull from random inspirations again,

A+ H

June Sunset Dinner and Tour at Sandiwood Farm

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”
― Henry David Thoreau

It rained. It poured. There was thunder. And lighting. In a word, the weather was – nasty.

It was the big debut of the new farm to fork dinner series at Sandiwood Farm. And the rain – that week of rain was spoiling all of our plans.

We began obsessing over those little details that we thought were ruined. No stunning sunset. No walking farm tour. Muddy grounds. Geesh … not even warm weather. “We should consider rescheduling”, we said. It’s our trial run and we were certain plan B just wouldn’t be as fun.

At least that’s what we had thought.

“It is what it is”, we repeated to one another as we pulled together to simplify the original plan. Without a word, we agreed to not give those uncontrollable details a second thought.

And so…

Behind the scenes, the harvesting room became an extra plating, prep and flower arranging station….


And our dinner table was reset family style in a greenhouse surrounded by growing tomato vines…


In the house, the kitchen came alive with direction and focus….

And the skies slowly cleared just in time for the evening’s guests to arrive.


The June dinner menu was inspired by the fresh organic produce and herbs harvested that day on the farm, along with other locally sourced ingredients. Crisp. Spicy. Crunchy. Green. Sandi and Harrison took a simplistic approach in their preparation. Flawlessly and respectfully the ingredients just shined.

{Fresh homemade cheeses + goat cheese from our friends at Sage Farm Goat Dairy}

{Warm bread freshly baked that afternoon by local baker/NECI Grad, Trenton Chamberlain }

{Veggie Summer Rolls filled with freshly harvested ingredients from the farm and homemade ponzu sauce }

{ Bruschetta: Homemade Chevre with farm herbs, arugula pesto and Wild Branch oyster mushrooms }

{ Cream of Zucchini Soup with herb and green garlic croutons. Topped with a curry creme fraiche drizzle }

{ Baby Lettuces, shaved radishes, edible flowers and grilled scape and Sandiwood farm maple vinaigrette }

{ Fresh tagliatelle pasta with homemade fromage blanc and seasonal farm veggies }

{ 7-hour smoked chicken with herb pistou }

{ First picked strawberry cobbler topped with decadent dulce de leche whipped cream }

And at the end of the night, just as the warm strawberry cobbler was served, a stunning electric pink sky emerged.

In the end, it turned out to be a magical evening… a special experience for new friends and old. All thanks in part to that darn rain.

On behalf of Sandiwood Farm, we would like to invite you to our upcoming sunset dinners and farm tours. Each night sure to offer its own pleasant surprises along with the latest in farm fresh delights.


Upcoming Dates

July 24

August 21

September 20

October 10

Time: 6:00pm
Cost: $50/per person
BYOB and BYO appetite
These intimate meals will be capped at 20 guests, so RSVP early!

To RSVP or learn more, please email Sara at maplesyrup@myfairpoint.net or call 802-888-2881

Until we find fresh inspiration again,
A + H

Fresh Strawberry Cobbler with Decadent Dulce de Leche Whipped Cream

The other week we were lucky enough to snag an invite from our good friend/farming sensei Sara over at Sandiwood Farm to join her on a strawberry picking field trip. So we loaded up one morning with the intern crew and headed over to “the spot”, Riverside Farm in East Hardwick, Vermont.

Riverside Farm is owned and operated by the lovely couple, Bruce and Judy Kaufman. The Kaufman’s are committed to “organic farming to cultivate a sustainable farming practice.” In their own words “one that is supportive of the earth, the people working on the farm, the people eating the food, and the community we live in. Real food for real people”. Well that sounds mighty nice and refreshing, eh?

It happened to be the first solid week of strawberry picking in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom and we were in for a treat with rows and rows of plump strawberries up for grabs.

And H O L Y smokes it was a hot one too!! Judy shared that the heat actually speeds up the already short season and our timing couldn’t have been better to get in some of the best picking around. And so, after a quick tutorial on strawberry picking, we were off with buckets and Tupperware in hand (and coated in sunscreen from head to toe).

A Few Things We Learned:

1. The best time to pick strawberries is in the morning when the berries are still cool. Sunshine and heat quickly make the berries soft and then they tend to bruise easily.

2. Only solid red berries are completely ripe. Look for plump firm berries with a red tip. Unripe (white) or partially ripe berries will not ripen once picked. The ripening process actually stops once you pick them.

3. Smaller berries tend to be sweeter and more flavorful. Plus – they’re pretty freaking cute.

4. When you pick your berries, leave about ½ inch of the stem still attached.

5. It’s best to process your berries soon after picking. Berries stored more than 2 – 3 days will lose some of their fresh, bright color and tend to shrivel and deteriorate in quality.

6. You can easily freeze strawberries that you’re not planning to eat right away. Simply wash, cut off the green husks, and place them in a Ziplock bag removing as much air as possible. Perfect to have on hand for smoothies, jams, pies and cobblers… which we’ll show you  how to make! Keep on reading…

Why Pick Your Own?
Here’s an interesting tid-bit
: Did you know that commercial, store-bought strawberries continuously rank as one of the most contaminated common foods due to the use of pesticides? Even after washing store bought berries they still have significant levels of unnatural chemicals on them. YIKES! BUT not the case with organic, freshly picked strawberries like  those found at Riverside Farm. No pesticides means you can dive right in – plant to mouth. Perfect for me – professional taste tester.


And today for your strawberry indulging pleasure, we’re making you a Strawberry Cobbler topped with Decadent Dulce de Leche. Mmm…Let’s dive in, shall we?

Ingredients – for your filling

  • 2 ½ cups of sugar (taste your berries first for level of sweetness; you may want to adjust amount of sugar based on this)
  • 2 ½ cups of cold water
  •  ¼ cup of corn starch
  • 14 cups of fresh strawberries
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

1. Heat your sugar and (2) cups of water in a large pot until sugar dissolves.

2. In a separate bowl, add ½ cup of cold water to your corn starch to make a slurry. Then add to your sugar/water mixture.

3. Bring your mixture to a light boil so your corn starch activates. Then add your strawberries and lemon. Turn off heat.

Ingredients – for your topping

  • 3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt
  • 6 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 ½ Tablespoons of baking powder
  • 2 ½ cups of milk
  • 1 Tablespoon of softened butter

1. In a large bowl, mix your dry ingredients and sift.

2. Next mix in your softened butter. And mix until the butter becomes more like grains of rice.

3. Create a well in your mixture (similar to making biscuits except your mixture will be more like pancake batter).
 

To make your cobbler:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. Pour your strawberry mixture in your baking pan(s). We used (2) 9×9 pans.

3. Spoon your topping mixture evenly across the strawberry mixture.

4. Bake on 350 for 15 – 20 minutes, or until your dough is cooked all the way through.

Decadent Dulce de Leche:

1. Take one small can of sweetened condensed milk. Boil in a medium pot on medium low heat for 2 – 3 hours. (Longer the time = Richer the Color)

2. Pop open the can after a couple of hours and fold into fresh whipped cream. Then pour over your cobbler for a sinfully good treat.

Enjoy!

Until we find freshly picked inspiration again,

A + H

Sunday Brunch – Pancakes for Brooke

Happy Fourth of July weekend y’all!  Our dear friend Brooke is quite a pancake connoisseur.  She can’t get enough she says.  Since this weekend just so happens to include both her one year wedding anniversary AND her birthday, we thought we would put together a recipe just for her (and share with you!).

White Chocolate, Vanilla, Fresh Blueberry and Orange Zest Pancake Recipe

You know you want to make some...

Lets let loose on some white chocolate, fresh blueberry and orange zest pancakes, shall we?


Basic Pancake Recipe:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cup of low-fat organic milk (although H dog recommends whole)
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup of organic flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder 
    (Important note:  If you’re going big with additional acidic ingredients as we are down below, then you will want to substitute baking soda for your baking powder.  Acidic ingredients include orange zest or juice, molasses, brown sugar, etc.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
White Chocolate, Vanilla, Fresh Blueberry and Orange Zest Pancake Recipe

Mise en place. French culinary term for "everything in place."

1.  In a medium bowl, beat eggs, milk and vanilla.
2.  In a separate medium bowl, mix your above dry ingredients.  Once mixed, create a well in the center of your dry mixture.
3.  Add your wet mixture to your dry mixture.

Mixing your wet ingredients with dry to create your pancake batter.

Creating a well in your pancake mixture helps you mix your batter together more evenly.

Pancake Batter Mixture

Here is the consistency you're looking to achieve if you're planning to add in extra yummy ingredients. If you would prefer to stick with the basic recipe, continue mixing until a few less lumps remain.

Additions (the fun stuff!):

  • 1 and a 1/4 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup of white chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon of orange zest

6.  Add in the above yummy ingredients. 

Pancake batter with yummy additions

Orange zest, fresh blueberries and decadent white chocolate... oh yeah!

Pancake batter

Lookin' good. We're ready!

7.  Now we’re ready to cook these puppies.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil (or olive oil or grape seed oil or go southern and slap down some butter!) to a 9 inch saute pan. 

8.  Turn your heat on medium low and heat your pan.  You can drop a little water to test once ready… does it sizzle?  If yes then we’re ready to cook these cakes!

Cooking temp - medium low

A peek at our setting . We currently have an electric range (and are still missing our gas from NC).

9.  We recommend you use a 1/2 cup to measure out each pancake. 

This give you a great approx. 5 inch pancake and helps keep your yield more consistent.

This measurement gives you a lovely (approx) 5 inch pancake and helps keep your yield more consistent.

10. Cooking on each side will vary with each pancake.  The first few will take longer per side while your pan continues to heat. 

When cooking pancakes, look for bubbles to form on top and then burst.  Once this is actively going, you're ready to flip!

When cooking pancakes, look for bubbles to form on top and then burst. Once this is actively going, you're ready to flip!

11.   Another tip:  Be sure to add another 1/2 teaspoon of oil to the saute pan between each pancake to ensure your pancakes do not stick and that each cooks more evenly.

Pancakes will cook faster as you go because your pan is tempering at a faster rate.

Pancakes will cook faster as you go because your pan is tempering at a faster rate.

12.  This recipe yields approx. (5) to (6) pancakes with additions, and approx. (4) if you just make the basic pancake.

Ta-da!  Birthday brunch for Brooke!  Enjoy!

Top your fluffy stack with a little powdered sugar and pure Vermont maple syrup... sooo good!

Top your fluffy stack with a little powdered sugar and pure Vermont maple syrup... sooo good!

A patriotic twist:  Reduce your milk to 1 cup, reduce your blueberries to 3/4 cup and add 1/2 cup of pureed strawberries for red, white and blue pancakes!