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

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

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Pebre

Although the calendar indicates that spring arrived a week ago it was snowing while I grilled the pork. Fortunately, this kind of meal makes me think of warm summer evenings. Tender slices of juicy pork served with crisp vegetables, toothsome rice, and a zippy, neon green sauce made from cilantro, garlic, and jalapeño. It is both light and highly flavored; a perfect combination for hot weather, but in this case for a cold, snowy spring. Continue reading

Turkey Meatballs Braised in Apple Barbecue Sauce with Corn Pudding

Seek out meat from free-range turkeys to make these tender meatballs. Organic, naturally raised birds are generally available at food co-ops, independent grocers, through your local CSA, natural foods stores, and at farmers markets. I used coarsely ground turkey from Misty Knoll Farm located in New Haven Vermont. Birds grown in the open air, and allowed to forage on bugs in open pastures grow more slowly, but are more flavorful and healthier to eat. The richer texture and taste of these turkeys stands up to the spice-laden barbecue sauce. A traditional pudding of toothsome whole corn kernels and sharp cheddar balances the texture and deep flavor of these meatballs. Serve with a leafy green vegetable such as Swiss chard sautéed with garlic. Continue reading

Lamb Steaks with Cracked Peppercorns and Blueberries

These lamb steaks have a snappy coating of cracked peppercorns and a buttery sauce flavored with red wine, blueberries, rosemary, and red currant jelly. Serve these steaks with a simple and colorful assortment of roasted root vegetables. Choose a wine featuring a berry or plum flavor such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz. If you prefer a malt beverage, try an American style brown ale to go with the lamb and sauce. Continue reading

Flourless Walnut Torte with Apple Butter, Maple Sauce

Gluten-free cake! Usually, a cake pan is usually prepared by buttering and flouring. The flour provides a surface for the cake batter to grasp as it climbs the sides, and the butter underneath allows for easy removal from the cake ring. A pan that is completely unprepared also provides traction for the batter. You just have to run a thin-bladed knife around the pan before releasing the ring, and since no flour was involved, you can serve this dessert to those intolerant of gluten. Another amazing thing about this recipe is the number of ingredients—there’s hardly any. Continue reading

Meatballs with Porcini and Prosciutto, Marinara Sauce

Meatballs are one of the great comfort foods. These are tender, moist, and enriched with the heady flavors of porcini mushrooms and prosciutto, they will make you lean back and in your chair and rub your belly. I started with some local, pasture-raised organic ground beef from Windy Willows Farm in Johnson, Vermont. Once you’ve eaten a hamburger made from grass-fed organic beef you’ll search for a steady source. Grass-fed beef has about the same amount of fat as chicken breast, but more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acid. That really makes this comfort food—not only does it taste great, it’s good for you. Continue reading

White Bean Soup with Zucchini and Eggplant, Tomato Pistou and Garlic Croutons

This recipe is all about garlic. Garlic in the soup, garlic in the pistou, and garlic croutons. The pureed cannellini beans give the soup a nice smooth body. Garden vegetables are the essential ingredients of summer cooking. Nothing tastes like produce in season. Enjoy it while you can. Pistou is often made without tomatoes, like pesto, but this version gives the soup a blast of ripe, uncooked tomatoes—a memorable flavor to be enjoyed when you can get it.  Continue reading

Grilled Shrimp with Cheddar-Jalapeño Polenta, Chipotle Sauce, and Scallions


A good friend of ours stayed for a few days, and for her last dinner I wanted to make something special and a little different. I also didn’t want to make anything that required time away, or a lot of preparation. It had to be cooked and served quickly. Nobody wants to be the galley slave while everyone else is at the party. Except for stirring the polenta occasionally for 15 minutes, the total cooking time for the grilled shrimp is no more than 2 minutes. The marinade, sauce, and putting the shrimp on skewers can all be done well in advance—the few ingredients are quickly prepared, but nobody knows that except for you.

The shrimp combined with spicy flavors of jalapeño and smoky chipotle pair well with a slightly sweet Reisling Spätlese. A good beer pairing would be a malty, copper-colored Altbier.

Continue reading