Saturday, December 19, 2009

Roasted Butternut Squash Ginger Soup

Tweeted: December 19, 2009
Origin: with personal alterations

Roasted Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup
Serves: 2-4 depending on squash and serving bowl size

1 lg butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small chunks
1 cup Onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, small dice
4 slices of fresh ginger, peeled
6 Tbsp butter, divided
2-3 cups of veg 
2 cups apple cider
grated ginger, salt and pepper to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2.  In a bowl mix squash chunks, 2 Tbsp melted butter, a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper.  Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes +or -.
3.  Once squash is fork tender, remove from oven.  Melt remaining butter in large saucepan.  Add onions, celery, and ginger.  Sweat until onions and ginger has begun to soften.  (if you would like to add garlic to this recipe, now would be a good time, sweat until garlic has softened).
4.  Add squash and broth to onions and bring to a boil, simmer, covered 15-20 minutes until squash is completely cooked and beginning to get mushy. 
5.  Puree with wand blender or in a food processor.
6.  Add cider and adjust seasoning and thickness with ginger, salt, pepper, cider and broth.

This recipe can easily be doubled to serve more or to have leftovers. 
Garnish suggestions: Sour cream, nutmeg, fresh bread rolls, mascapone. 

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Tweeted: December 5th
Recipe Origin: King Arthur Flour - The Bakers Companion, pg. 229

Hot Buttered Pretzels
8 pretzels

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
7/8 - 1cup warm water

1/2  cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
course, kosher, or pretzel salt
3 tbsp salted butter, melted

Place all the dough ingredients in a abowl and beat until well combined.  Knead the dough, by hand or mixer, for about 5 minutes, until it's soft, smooth, and quite slack.  Dust with flour and place in a plastic bag.  Close the bag, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface and divide it into eight equal pieces (about 2 1/4 ounces each).  Let the pieces rest, uncovered, for 5 min.

Roll each piece of dough into a long thin rope and twist each rope into a pretzel (illustration to come at a later date). Dip the pretzels in the warm water mixed with 1 tsp sugar, and place them on the baking sheets.  Springle them lightly with the salt.  Let them rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Bake the pretzels for 8-9 minutes, until they're golden brown, reversing the baking sheets halfway through.

Remove the pretzels from the oven and brush with the melted butter until the butter is gone. Seems like a lot but it's yummy.  Eat warm or reheat just before serving.

Serve with plain yellow mustard or spice it up with some horseradish, other spices or find some of the many many recipes online for pretzel dips like beer and cheese dips.  MMM.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Spicy Fall Stew Baked in a Pumpkin

Tweeted: December 3rd, 4:30
Recipe Origin:  Still trying to remember....

Spicy Fall Stew
Serves 6
1 md onion diced (1 cup)
2Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 red pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp)
1tsp chili powder
1tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2# tomatillos, husked and quartered (1,1/2 cup)
1 15-oz can hominy, rinsed and drained
3/4tsp salt
1 3-4# pumpkin
2oz cheddar, grated (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. heat 1Tbsp oil in pot over med heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic.  Saute 7 minutes until soft.  Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano, cook 3 minutes until spices darken.
2. Add tomatillos, hominy, 1/2 cup water and salt. Cover, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer.  Partially covered, 10-12 minutes or until tomatillos are softened.  Uncover and cook 5 minutes to thicken.
3. Cut top off pumpkin scoop out seeds.  Rub inside of pumpkin with 1 Tbsp oil.  Sprinkle generously with salt, spring with cheese in bottom.
4.  Fill pumpkin with stew, top with lid and place on a parchment covered baking sheet.  Bake 1 1/2-2 hours or until the pumpkin flesh is fork tender.  Let stand 5 minutes after removing from oven. 
5. Cut pumpkin and serve slice of pumpkin with filling.
6. Enjoy!!

Tasty leftover too!

Twitter Recipes

So I have recently become a twitter fiend and base most of my 'tweets' on what I may happen to be working on in the kitchen.  I'm still trying to get used to the 140 character limit and have been thinking how nice it would be to be able to post the recipes that correspond to that meals 'tweet'.  It just dawned on me that in this absolutely possible since the world is my oyster in this age of the internet.  I can post the recipe on my oh so useful blog here and post a link side by side with the dish in which I'm sharing with all of you world wide web friendly peeps.  So here is the precursor to my future of baking and cooking.  If the item I am posting doesn't have a direct link within the realms of the web, I will write it up and post it here.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's Coming....dun dun duuunnnn

It's 9:15am and I'm looking out my window right now to see everything I am used to, trees, grass, fallen leaves but it all has seemed to have lost it's color throughout the night.  It's all a similar shade of grey.  My car will need to warm up a few minutes before I'm able to go anywhere and I feel, at this point in the day that I need my down.  But I look at the forecast and it mocks my attempts to get settled into the coming winter.  It's suppose to be in the mid 50's today and as much as I'd love to only live through 4 months of winter instead of 6, 7 sometimes even 8, It's about time to decide already.  Is it winter or not?  Low 20's last night but high 50's and rainy on Sunday?  It's confusing and hard to buckle down and start sucking it up.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Time change creates time warp

Sitting here at my computer all afternoon catching up on emails, Relay for Life NordicStyle items, pulling up directions to my destinations for the next couple days, copying down recipes and making a check list for what I need to do and pack all before tomorrow.  I'm taking a road trip down to Waltham, MA to visit my best, newly engaged, friend.  We've only gotten to see each other a few times in the last few years and always in the company of others.  So this is a much needed trip of down time and celebration of her new relationship status.  A couple bottles of champagne should do the trick!

    Friday I will travel just down the road to Braintree for the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life Summit.  As the new Event Co-Chair of the NordicStyle event here in Stowe, I think this will be a great opportunity to meet other Relay-ers and learn about the Relay world and this years theme, MORE BIRTHDAYS!!  I'll be there until Saturday and will hopefully have someone to ride back up with me so I don't have to drive all the way home by myself.

    As for other things that I'm trying to do tonight?  Procrastinate finally posting an entry on this here blog, pack so I can leave right after work tomorrow, cook dinner.  My friend Melissa has a pretty cool blog that she inspires me to actually try to keep up on mine.  Her latest entry has a link to a really cool bread recipe that you can keep the raw dough for long periods and bake it off as needed.  My printer is out of ink so I've had to write everything down so I've copied down this bread recipe and would like to try it tonight.  Though I keep thinking I have no time because of the awful time change.  The light keeps telling me it's 6 or 7 but no, only 3:45.....(I went to bed at 9 last night because it felt so late). 

Well I feel successful in not going too long without posting so there it is for today.  Also successful in killing another 20 minutes.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tis the season for sauce - Part 1

It was 35 degrees this morning when I went to work. While last week there was a flame of leaves here and there and we chalked it up to the sick trees turning earlier than all the others, yesterday as I was driving up the mountain road, I had to force myself to notice that it was only every 4th tree that was green rather than the other way around. The sun shining bright is no longer an indication of the temperature and last night there was a threat of the first hard frost. Tuesday was the Autumnal equinox and it was dark at 7:30. Winter is approaching and after barely a month of definable summer, I am not ready to see it go. I'm cold.

With that said, things I look forward to are warm sweaters, the need to cuddle up under a heap of blankets, carving pumpkins, my birthday of course, the gorgeous leaves (even if it means the world will no longer be lush, as they slowly drop to coat the ground), Oktoberfest (which is this weekend I might add), Apple picking and Apple Sauce!

As the seasons start to show signs of change, I begin to take natures cue to start preparing for the cold winter months ahead. My usual and as of yet, only, contribution to the winter store cupboard is applesauce. It is a yearly ritual at this point, going into our fourth year, to spend a day taking a trip to Shelburne Orchards to scavenge for our yearly supply. I prefer Macintosh and Cortland so we usually go mid to late September. We pick, I use the word loosely, drops. All those apples that fall off the trees before anyone can get to them. We crouch in the cave of the fruit heavy trees sifting through the tall grass and or fresh cut hay, picking up each apple, checking it for bruises and bug holes. We decided this year that I have a half bag attention span. I fill half a bag before I start loosening my guidelines on apple quality. I start thinking "good enough" or "I can cut that out" or I start coming up with bruise to apple size proportional ratios before I have to put my mind back to focusing on properly choosing worthy fruit. It's not about a quick and easy novelty trip it's about taking our time and making each apple count and most certainly making our work worth the half dozen cider donuts we treat ourselves to after a hard day of picking and they in fact rarely even make it to the road. Mmm. Did I mention that was one of the pros of fall?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Acadia National Park

Nate and I just got back from a quick few days at Acadia National Park on the coast of Maine. It is a really beautiful place with lots of hiking, camping, and a couple really nice roads to bike. We decided not to take the midget which was sad to not have her along, but better in the end. She was at camp with her three golden friends.
While we were there it was in the high thirties at night and between 50-70 during the day, depending on if the sun was out.  Brr though at night.  We got to use our new tent which is still pretty economy size, but much bigger than our previous home away from home.
We spent a day driving around and exploring the park, and a day in Bar Harbor.  We Hiked one of the "Bubbles" which gave to a gorgeous view.  Our last day there we set our alarms and dragged ourselves out of the cozy warmth of our sleeping bags, wrapped ourselves in blankets and climbed into the car.  We took the 30 plus minute drive up to the top of Cadillac Mountain.  We parked and walked out and found a spot to cuddle up.  When we were settled the sky was pink and was quickly getting brighter by the minute.  We were of a dozen people on the Mountain that day to be the first in the United States to see the sun rise.  It was a gorgeous end to our trip away.  We took a leizurly drive back to the camp site and curled back up in our sleeping bags for another couple hours...when we got up, we packed up, checked out and drove over to the showers.  We drove into Bar Harbor for a smoothie and hit the road.  Would love to go back when the weather is a little more Ali friendly (at least 50 at night...) :)

We played mini gold after an awesome yoga class and some ice cream.

Just a quick walk from our campsite and where Nate had breakfast most mornings.

The Bubble Rock Trail

Our drive around the park day

The Sunrise from Cadillac Mountain

The sunset on our drive home.  We saw the sunrise and sunset in the same day!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Letting Things Speak for Themselves

Just signing on to inform the masses that I'm too tired to grace cyber space with witty anecdotes that make up my days. Instead I would like to share a poem. It's from a small pamphlet like book called Bhakti, Santi: Love, Peace, a book of meditations edited by Jacob Trapp. The bottom left corner of the cover states PRICE 75cents. There is an inscription inside the cover addressed to my grandmother dated June 1974:

Dear Mrs. Pontbriand,
There are only a few with
whom the deeper things
can easily be shared.
Thinking of you.

I'm not going to share the name of the man who presented this little treasure, but here is one entry I felt was appropriate for today.

Let Things Speak for Themselves

Consider the lilies,
they neither toil nor spin;
yet Solomon's bride in all her glory
was not arrayed like one of these.

The famous silence of the Buddha:
Before a waiting, expectant congregaion of monks
he came and stood before them silently
holding up a flower for them to contemplate.

The sage Teu-tzu one day pointed to a stone
lying near the temple gate, and remarked,
"therein reside all the Buddhas
of the past, the present, and the future."

"Tongues in trees, books in running brooks,
sermons in stones. . . . ."
"An old pine tree preaches wisdom,
and a wild bird is crying out truth."

The flower is.
Beauty in not its own excuse for being;
it needs none.

J. T.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Unlike most folks of my age, and even more unlike those who share in the profession of rising long before the crack of dawn, I'm not a coffee drinker. I've always loved the smell and I learned young how to prepare a cup whether it be in a counter top push button model or a good old fashion stove-top percolator I've been fixing coffee for others for years. Mothers day breakfast in bed, milk, no sugar. Thanksgiving in the brown plug in with the pour spout. Always reveling in the smell and wondering when the day would come when I'd be grown up enough to like it and enjoy the array of flavors as I do it's aroma.

While I'm still waiting for the day when I'm all grown up, I do realize I've reached adulthood. My responsibilities are tedious and I cringe at the thought of where I've led myself thus far and the lingering consequences if I neglect the many obligations we become shackled to. Though I have made it to this point and still have yet to be a faithful cup-a-joe a day, must-have-before-I-can-function, flavored-is-for-wanna-be-coffee-drinkers kind of gal. I still have the *blagh nope, still don't like it* reaction when the smell pulls me in. I ocassionally force it on myself when I'm having a particularly delusion brought on by sleep deprevation that as much as I dislike it, it will help me make it through. I've on all occasions in the long ago past, found that; and this includes all sugar products like soda (which doesn't really inhabit my diet now-a-days) candy and the like; caffine has a difficult time penetrating my overly relaxed demenor.

After years of continually trying to fool myself that being overtired merits the punishment of a cup of coffee, I have noticed, the punishment is to no avail a dud. In my continued attempt to have some solice from droopy eyes and a muddled mind, I have made the discovery that I'm not what one would call at caffine light weight. I'm of the 200 pound weight class and if you were, in the instance of booze, trying to turn a person of this class to a state of handing over their keys, it would take more than a sea breeze or two. Sure you could feed a steady stream for period of time and hope they drink fast enough. If you're really trying to lay them on their back, your going to go for the hard stuff straight up, no ice...I'm aware that this may sound slightly like I'm in the business of incapacitating people for sport, but it's an analogy that is closely related to where I'm going with this coffee issue.

So to get to my point, if I drink enough coffee all at once, I get the desired effect that one anticipates from the beloved morning elixir. Though unfortunately there's no in between. I drink a straight cup of the black stuff and nothing. I drink, as the market has named it (I think), the Hammerhead (coffee with a shot of espresso), I end up with a twitch.

This wordy narrative was all to pretense my morning....

I got to work, did some stuff, slowly, took a quick break that would usually cause a detrimental problem in my timing of the mornings schedule, drank (half a cup) of the concoction noted above and was well on my way to burning a path in the floor. Eyes wide open and mind buzzing about, as I reflect, nothing at all significant, which is nice sometimes. I do recall having a thoughtful internal discussion about the results of this successful caffine-straight-to-the-bloodstream experience. Does it mean that for some coffee and it's close relatives are an aquired taste? Do some people just drink it because of it's effects not for the taste? This leads me to another opportunity to compare it to alcohol. I think you can bridge the gap. Should I try to suck down this not so enjoyable beverage every morning for a week to see if, at the end of the week it has become more appealing to my taste buds? Or should I stick to my current trend of enjoying my usual cup of tea until the occasion arises when I'm desperate for a funtional pick-me-up? All questions I plan to ponder, most likely over tomorrows hammerhead.....

Signing off.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dear Winter: You Can Kiss My Pastey White Hiney!

So it's been brought to my attention, by a recent comment (though not a direct critique), that I am a very bad blogger. After, spending, I'm sure, an unreasonable amount of time creating this page, I posted a whole one time! It's the idea of it that counts. I'm slightly embarrassed that this person stumbled upon this pathetic excuse for a blog in fact. But to address her comment directly, no my real name is not Betty. It's a, well, short story that I'll share with her in person. The name does well for my attraction to alliteration though.

So to move away from my disgust at my blogging history, I begin to move forward, one post at a time.

No go on the house....let's not go there.

I had a pretty mellow and productive day in the cellar today. The boss left early and with very little to do anyway, I whittled away at mundane tasks that are often not considered worthy of the mantra "why do tomorrow what you can do today." I was still home by 9:30.

It's nice to feel like we're getting back into the summer schedule. I've missed it, though of course that's only because that also means the other high points of summer will be soon to follow. Sun, thunder storms, local veggies and farmers markets, longer days, warm weather that doesn't require five layers just to take the dog out. I have to admit, though anyone who knows me is aware, that summer is by far more enjoyable for me than winter. "Why do I live in the 3rd cloudiest county in the country" you ask? Believe me, I ask too. I'll get back to you.

Back to the summer schedule, Sundays have become a day of rest for us bakers in the market cellar, also known as the kitchen. We make sure the two days prior we've set our selves up nicely as to be home by 9ish, enjoying the relaxation the traditional day of rest was intended for. This is also a ploy to make up for the sleep we inevitably miss out on during the abundance of daylight the summer months bring. This rutine has begun to transpire as well.

I do have to concede that this winter has been monumentally more difficult than others in the past for so many reasons I have no control over. I can only hope that tragedy and bad luck have both said their piece and have moved on for at least a little while.

Aside from this uncharacteristly sorrowful repose, I spend the majority of the winter months tucked away under a fleece blanket (or two) hibernating. I become somewhat of a hermit who goes out to go to work or the few and far between get together with a close friend, or maybe a beer at the local watering hole (if I'm already out). I need more sleep that humanly possible and turn in with little trouble by 8:30. It's an outstanding amount of work to muster the motivation to fufill unavoidable duties such as taking the dog for a walk/hike. I take on a persona that humanizes the emotions that is winter. Dull, cold and dark.

Summer on the other hand, I get a steady average of four hours of shut eye a night. I rarely sleep later than 8 on my days off and I accomplish almost as much as one should in a day. I work, cook dinner, get a hike and/or a paddle in and still have time and energy to spare.

I love this about summer. I always feel much better about everything. It's all about ones outlook.

Needless to say, I am rather pleased to have this feeling that summer is not far away. Though I'll have to go stand out in it for some time this afternoon, I'm pleased with the rain. It smelled so nice and clean when it rained on Thursday. The seasons are a changin and to hide the elation I feel towards this idea would be like holding a hand towel in front of a hippo. (sorry, I couldn't resist a ridiculous analogy).

So that's it for now, don't hold your breath that it won't be another 11 months before you hear from me again.

As a tribute to the few outings in which we took a camera, here are a few photos from this winter, at which moments we took solace in the outdoors. Notice that the sun is an always present factor...won't leave home without it :)

Trek to Taylor Lodge. January 2009.

Little River State Park. Waterbury, VT. February, 2009.

Signing off, BB.