Smoky Jalapeño Poppers Wrapped with Bacon


This appetizer is a sensation whenever and wherever you serve it. Jalapeño peppers stuffed with Smoked Grafton Cheddar, wrapped with crisp, smoky bacon, glazed with barbeque sauce is a combination that can’t be beat. The great thing about this recipe is that there are no fixed proportions—it depends how many you want to make, and the size of the peppers. Plan on making twice as many as you think people will eat. Continue reading

Gravlax with Rye Crackers & Honey Mustard Dill Sauce


Gravlax can be the centerpiece of any appetizer buffet served during the holiday season, or really any time you want to serve something special. I have scaled down the size of this recipe to make it more accessible. Many recipes start with a 7 to 10 pound fish—I find that’s a little more than I generally need. I used a fillet of wild caught Coho salmon weighing a little over a pound. It is more expensive than farm-raised salmon, but is worth every penny. Serve gravlax thinly sliced on crispy, homemade rye crackers and top with a spoonful of honey mustard sauce into which you have stirred some fresh dill. Continue reading

Roasted Delicata Squash Chips with Sweet Chili Garlic Dipping Sauce


Oven roasted Delicata rings are sweet and crispy and create a beautiful presentation. It is the easiest of all winter squashes to prepare since you don’t have to peel it, which is most of the battle with winter squashes. It slices into perfectly sized portions and provides a terrific result with very little effort.  Continue reading

Twice Baked Cheddar Soufflés


Recently, I received a piece of Grafton Clothbound Cheddar as a gift. If you love Cheddar you’ve got to try this cheese. The cheese makers at Grafton use hormone-free raw milk purchased from small Vermont family farms. The handmade Cheddar is then aged in special caves from one to four years. The texture is slightly crumbly and has a distinct earthy taste. A special cheese calls for a special recipe. These soufflés can be a first course or a light lunch. You can make these up to a day in advance and then just reheat to serve. They puff up beautifully on the second baking, which only takes a few minutes. If you have never attempted a soufflé because it sounds complicated, this recipe eliminates the timing issue. Continue reading

Fiddleheads Tempura with Aoli


Spring came earlier than usual this year. Fiddleheads usually appear in May, but this year they are plentiful in April—even as far north as Elmore, Vermont. The scroll-like Ostrich Fern fiddleheads are easily identified by the brown skin that clings loosely to the emerging shoots. If you pick your own, harvest only 3 per plant to prevent decimating the fern population. Fiddleheads are readily available in markets during their brief season. They have a delicate flavor sometimes described as similar to asparagus or okra, or simply as spring greens. Continue reading

Scallion Pancakes

These pancakes are a classic appetizer formed of crispy layers holding thinly sliced scallions. The process of rolling out the dough, painting it with sesame oil, and then rolling it up like a jelly roll, making a spiral, and rolling it again creates these layers. Unlike most types of dough that call for using cold water this one uses boiling water to defeat the toughing influence of the gluten. When you roll it out you will notice that it doesn’t try to pull back, but retains its shape. The dough has only 4 ingredients, and is easy to make. The result for such little effort is amazing. Continue reading

Mozzarella Porcini Fondue

Gooey, stringy mozzarella blends beautifully with white wine and cream. The nutty flavor of porcini mushrooms adds a subtle note that is enhanced by the mellow cheese. Dip cubes of crusty sourdough bread into this fondue for a rich snack after skiing, during a Sunday afternoon football fest, or a special supper. Try to find Maplebrook Handmade Mozzarella, it has just the right moisture content and consistency. Continue reading