Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
I found this recipe in the September/October issue of Yankee Magazine. These doughnuts are amazingly easy and so delicious! They are light and airy on the inside and crispy on the outside. The recipe calls for boiled apple cider which can be found online at Wood's Cider Mill* Serve doughnuts warm with a side of real maple syrup for dipping.
Vermont Apple Cider Doughnuts - Yields approx. 18 3-inch doughnuts
1 cup sugar
5 Tb. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups flour, plus extra for work surface
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup boiled apple cider*
1 Tb. vanilla extract
Canola oil for frying
Cinnamon sugar (1 1/2 cups sugar mixed with 3 Tb. ground cinnamon) or confectioners' sugar
In a large mixing bowl beat together sugar and butter until mixture is pale and fluffy, 4-6 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating one minute after each.
In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
Pour buttermilk, boiled cider, and vanilla into sugar/butter/egg mixture. Mix well, and don't worry if the mixture looks a bit curdled; it'll smooth itself out. Add flour mixture and combine gently just until fully moistened.
Line two baking sheets with waxed paper or parchment paper and dust generously with flour (very important to make sure the doughnuts don't stick). Turn dough out onto one baking sheet and pat gently into 3/4" thickness. Sprinkle dough with additional flour, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 10 minutes to firm up. Remove dough from the freezer; use a lightly floured 3" doughnut cutter to cut out about 18 doughnuts. (You may gather the scraps and roll again as needed, but you may need to chill the dough more to firm it up.) Place cut doughnuts on the other baking sheet as you go; then transfer to the freezer for 5 minutes to firm up again.
Line a plate with a few paper towels and set it nearby. In a Dutch oven or a large pot, heat 3" of oil to 370 degrees (test with an instant-read thermometer). Drop 3 or 4 doughnuts into the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook 1 minute then flip and cook 1 minute on the other side. Repeat with the remaining dough (if you find that the dough is getting too soft, refreeze for a few minutes). Remove from oil and place on paper towels. Let doughnuts cool for about 3 minutes. Roll them in the cinnamon sugar mixture or sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Serve immediately.
* You can make your own boiled cider by slowly boiling 1 cup cider under low heat for approx. 30 minutes until it is reduced to 1/3 cup.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
It's been raining for days. I don't mind the rain; in fact I quite enjoy the cool rainy days of fall. But when the sun comes out after days of rain and quite suddenly and unexpectedly a rainbow appears, it's utterly breathtaking! This rainbow lasted for only a few moments, but in those moments I could not look away. Pure perfection.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
A Virginia grower discovered this apple sprouting amid the ruins of a hurricane-devastated orchard in the late 1960s, and named this greenish-gold, sweet-tart apple after his sweetheart. Its parentage includes Albemarle Pippin, a favorite apple of Thomas Jefferson. This early-season apple is great for salads, and cooks well too. Available in the orchard starting in late-August.
This old well-known variety was discovered as a chance seedling by John McIntosh in 1811. Its deep red finish sometimes carries a green blush. Juicy, tangy, & tart, McIntosh has a tender white flesh. It is best used for snacking and applesauce, but some people enjoy its tart flavor in pies as well. (Cook's hints: McIntosh's flesh cooks down easily; if pie making, cut your slices thick or add a thickener). This apple is available in the orchard in mid-September.
This variety originated in the late 1890s in New York state, a cross between McIntosh and Ben Davis developed at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. Sweeter than its McIntosh parent, with only a hint of tartness. Cortland has tender, snow white flesh that resists browning, making it an excellent choice for salads, kabobs and garnishes. It is a highly praised apple for cooking pies. The Cortland is available mid to late-September.
This excellent variety is a cross between McIntosh and Jersey Black. It is a superior eating apple with just the right snap as you bite into it. Very crisp and very juicy, this apple is the prized eating apple here in the orchard. Available late-September
This variety originated in New Zealand, a cross between Kidd's Orange Red and Golden Delicious. The Royal Gala strain was named in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, who deemed it her favorite during a visit to New Zealand. It was brought to the United States in the early 1970s, and is now one of the country's most popular apples. This crispy, juicy, very sweet apple is ideal for snacking. Galas can vary in color, from cream to red- and yellow-striped. Galas are harvested beginning in late-September.
This new apple with an old-world name was discovered as a chance seedling in the late 1980s in Washington state. Cameo makes its appearance beginning in October. It bears red stripes over a cream-colored background. Extra-crispy Cameo has a sweet-tart taste. This apple resists browning, making it a natural choice for salads and fruit trays. Cooks, please note that Cameo's extra-denseness takes a bit longer to cook.
A blend of Jonathan and Golden Delicious apples, New York native Jonagold offers a unique honey-tart flavor, and crispy, juicy nearly yellow flesh. It debuted in 1968, a product of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. With a yellow-green base skin color and a red-orange blush, it is excellent both for eating fresh and for cooking. Jonagold is typically available in October
Empires premiered in 1966 in the Empire State of New York, a cross between Red Delicious and McIntosh developed by the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. This crisp, juicy apple has a delightful sweet-tart flavor and creamy white flesh, making it a good all-purpose apple. Stake out your Empire in late-September.
Originally developed in Japan in the late 1930s and named after the famous Mt. Fuji, U.S.-grown Fujis began appearing in markets in the 1980s. Fuji is a cross between Ralls Janet and Red Delicious. This variety's popularity is skyrocketing, thanks to its sweet flavor and firmness. Fuji apples are bi-colored, typically striped with yellow and red. They are available beginning mid-October.
|Crispen / Mutsu|
As its alternative name suggests, Crispin also has Japanese origins. This 1930 cross of Golden Delicious and the Japanese variety Indo was named Mutsu upon its 1949 release. It was renamed Crispin in 1968 in the United Kingdom, and New York adopted that name several years ago. In Michigan it is still widely known as Mutsu. It is one of the later varieties, with a mid-October harvest in Michigan, and does double duty as a fresh apple and a processing apple. It is typically greenish on the outside and creamy white on the inside with firm-textured juicy flesh. It has a moderately sweet flavor.
This most widely recognized of all U.S. apple varieties originated in Iowa in the 1870s. This sweet, crispy, juicy apple varies in color from striped red to solid midnight red. This apple is best eaten fresh or in salads. Red Delicious apples are available in early-October.
This Australian native was discovered in 1868 as a chance seedling by "Granny" Anne Smith of Ryde, New South Wales. One parent might have been a French Crab Apple. Grannys are known for their distinctive green flesh, which sometimes bears a red blush, and their very tart flavor. An all-purpose apple, Grannys work equally well as a snack or in pies and sauce. U.S. Grannys are harvested in mid-October
This apple originated in New Zealand in the early 1950s, as a chance seedling with Lady Hamilton and Granny Smith as possible parents. Now grown in the United States, Braeburn is a multipurpose apple good for all types of apple uses. Its color varies from orange to red over a yellow background. This crisp, juicy apple has a rich, spicy-sweet flavor. U.S. Braeburns are available beginning in October.
This honey of an apple has a honeyed, mild flavor and a crispness deemed explosive. Crispy, juicy and sweet, this popular newcomer is a cross between a Macoun and a Honeygold. Honeycrisp's skin is a distinctive mottled red over a yellow background, with coarse flesh. This apple is good for snacking, salads and sauce-making, and stores well. Honeycrisp is college educated, developed by the University of Minnesota. Harvested beginning in September, supplies are limited but growing here in the orchard.
If you like tart apples, sink you teeth into a Paula Red. It’s one of the earliest varieties and the first taste of fall for many apple lovers. Paul Red’s are a tart, juicy apple with crisp white flesh. They are excellent for eating and make good applesauce of which you need little or no sugar.
|Red Rome / Rome Beauty|
Referred to as the “baker’s buddy,” this apple was discovered as a chance seedling in the early 1800s on a farm near Rome Township, Ohio. Famed for its storage qualities, this mildly tart apple is primarily used for cooking and is especially good baked or sautéed. The Rome apple is typically available beginning in September.
This old favorite was discovered as a change seedling in 1890 in Clay County, W.VA., and was originally named Mullin’s Yellow Seedling. Renamed in 1916, its parents are thought to be Golden Reinette and Grimes Golden. Golden’s have a pale yellow skin, sometimes with a red blush. Mellow and Sweet, all-purpose Golden’s are great for eating out of hand, baking and salads. Golden’s crisp, pale yellow flesh resists browning, making it a good choice for salads and other dishes. Cooks, note that you can reduce the amount of added sugar when making pies with Golden’s.
Soon after 1740 the Baldwin came up as a chance seedling on the farm of Mr. John Ball, Wilmington, near Lowell, MA., and for about 40 years thereafter its cultivation was confined to that immediate neighborhood. The farm eventually came into the possession of a Mr. Butters, who gave the name Woodpecker to the apple because the tree was frequented by woodpeckers. The apple was long known locally as the Woodpecker or Pecker. It was also called the Butters. Deacon Samuel Thompson, a surveyor of Woburn, brought it to the attention of Col. Baldwin of the same town, by whom it was propagated and more widely introduced in Eastern Massachusetts as early as 1784. From Col. Baldwin’s interest in the variety it came to be called the Baldwin. The Baldwin is a bright red winter apple, above medium in size or large, and very good quality. It stands handing well because of its firm texture and thick skin.
Notable for its hot pink skin color and lily white flesh, this Southern Hemisphere native is now growing la vita loca stateside. A cross between Golden Delicious and Lady Williams, crunchy Pink Lady has a unique sweet-tart flavor described as “Gala with a zing!” Pink Lady is great for snacking, slicing or dicing on a salad, and for baking. This lady makes her debut in mid-October, one of the last varieties to be harvested.
Late season. A large, handsome apple, the yellow background color is almost totally covered in bright red oversplashed and striped with darker carmine red. The skin has a light bloom. An excellent flavored, slightly yellowish fleshed, very crisp and juicy apple that is still grown commercially in some countries, particularly the USA, even though it bruises easily and is more difficult to transport. Northern Spy is also a very good culinary apple.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Friday, May 13, 2011
An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.~Henry David Thoreau
I find inspiration and peace when hiking, especially in the spring after a long winter’s hibernation. The smell of the ferns coming to life, the sound of the birds calling as they soar above, and the feel of my muscles simultaneously rejoicing and complaining after being neglected for too long all grant me a sense of harmony and connection with the world around me. Even when I am hiking with friends, I find myself in deep, contemplative thought. I send a silent, “Thank you” up to the heavens in gratitude for nature’s beauty. Not a bad way to spend a day.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
by June Bacher
Though weather-worn, it sits there
In dignity and charm--
The ancient bridge of childhood
That led to Grandpa's farm.
It used to like the rainstorms
And never minded dust;
Somehow though that's different
From aching boards--and rust.
Do you think it remembers
Young lovers' Sunday walk?
The joy of moonlight hayrides--
The laughter and the talk?
Does it recall the wagons
With pumpkin piled sky-high
On the way to market
For sweet November's pie?
Though weather-worn, it sits there,
As if awaiting sound
Of young, impatient hoof-beats
Upon the frozen ground.
A few years ago my husband and I took a drive to Brattleboro, Vermont, something we had done many times. But on this particular day as we drove over the Creamery Covered Bridge I asked him to stop so we could take a closer look at the structure. It was a truly incredible experience and thus began my fascination with covered bridges. Between western Massachusetts, southern Vermont, and southern New Hampshire, there are 9 unique, historic bridges. We’ve put together one or two day self guided tours that include detailed driving directions and a map to each covered bridge, photographs and the history of each bridge, and other notable things to do and see in each location, including places to eat and shop. We also have to loan a copy of New England Covered Bridges: A Complete Guide by Benjamin and June Evans. Here are a few of the covered bridges in our area. Taking a leisurely drive along scenic New England roads is a great way to spend a day.
Friday, February 25, 2011
4 lb boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour (more if necessary)
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
6 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cup beef broth
2 cup Guinness or other Irish stout
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Monday, January 10, 2011
We’ve been waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Now finally the snow is really coming, just in time for the holiday weekend! With our skis waxed and ready to go we will be cross-country skiing across beautiful Upper Naukeag Lake this weekend. The conditions will be perfect for both alpine and cross-country skiing. Bring your skis and head right out the back door or get your discounted tickets to Wachusett Mountain and spend your day there. We have a pair of snowshoes for anyone who wants to try that too! Start your day with a hearty breakfast to keep you energized and return to a warm crackling fire and the most delicious hot chocolate you can imagine. Or, if you prefer to stay inside, just relax and enjoy the fire and the spectacular view with a glass of wine and homemade refreshments. Early check-in and late check-out. We can’t wait to see you!