Some people wonder what we do here all winter. No skiing this year, although March is often the snowiest month, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed on that score. We love food and cooking, so we spend a lot of time in the kitchen!
We – well, I – love to buy cookbooks, and I’m always on the alert for the latest volumes. Nancy Silverton’s Mozza is a current favorite. Her recipe for braised leeks with burrata (ricotta-filled mozzarella) is simply to die for! Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc has a wonderful savory leek bread pudding that would get anyone up for breakfast. And I also find myself using the iPad to research ideas for dinner.
Last fall, Peter and I joined a CSA (community sponsored agriculture) share with Pete’s Greens from Craftsbury, Vermont (www.petesgreens.com). If you’re unfamiliar with CSAs, the way it works is that you give the grower/producer money up front and they provide fresh food for you each week for a specified number of weeks. Many people have done this during the summer – when we’re eating at Basin Harbor – but only lately has it become possible to enjoy the bounty of fresh local food all year long on this basis.
Each week we get veggies, which might be carrots, onions, shallots, garlic, leeks, cabbage, rutabaga, acorn or butternut squash, beets and salad greens (which change as the winter comes on) like butter lettuce, boltonia (so-called miner’s lettuce, which is very cold tolerant), or sprouts of various types.
There is a “localvore” component, such as artisan cheese, eggs, whole wheat pastry flour, barley, red or black beans, salsa, pizza dough, apples, maple sugar, cranberries – they vary from week to week but always include four or more items – and once a month, we receive a meat share, something like a whole chicken, specialty sausage, ground pork and veal, pork shoulder, short ribs, etc.
If you have ever watched Chopped, the cooking show about having to make up things from a mystery basket, you will appreciate our weekly challenge to cook things we might not be familiar with. I wouldn’t call Peter a root vegetable guy but he’s adapting well to the new culture. And, the folks at Pete’s Greens send a weekly news letter with recipes so each week is a culinary adventure!
We’re looking forward to dining at BHC soon, too. Executive Chef Rod Rehwinkel has joined our staff, and he’s busy creating menus for the 2012 season. Chef Rod was one of the early adopters of fresh and local food in Vermont, so you’ll see a renewed emphasis on the best of all that Addison County (and all of Vermont) has to offer on all our menus. Did you know that there are 275 growers and producers of food just in our county alone?
We can’t wait for summer! Pennie