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A Keeper among nearby Woodstock VT Restaurants!

By Evelyn Brey. One of the advantages of being located in the village is that we have so many wonderful restaurants in walking distance from our Woodstock Inn: The Village Inn of Woodstock Bed and Breakfast. That is also one of the disadvantages. We sometimes don’t get to great restaurants that are really not so far away. We were lucky enough last night to venture out to Keepers Cafe, located in Reading, VT: a favorite among nearby Woodstock VT restaurants!

Keeper Among Nearby Woodstock VT Restaurants

Caesar salad with Grana Padano crisp

The half portion of the Caesar salad was just the right size to start off my meal.

Keeper Among Nearby Woodstock VT Restaurants

Crispy lump crab wands with sweet orange chili dipping sauce

Crispy crab wands were delicious.

Keeper Among Nearby Woodstock VT Restaurants

Rack of lam with beets, baby carrots and fingerling potatoes.

The rack of lamb, veggies and sauce were amazing, all prepared to perfection. Portions were perfect for us, think quality, fresh ingredients over quantity. Chef/Owner Chris and his wife Gosia couldn’t be any nicer, and they clearly have quite a local following. We’re sure that you’ll enjoy Keepers as much as we did, and we hope that you’ll join us at our Bed and Breakfast in Woodstock VT if you are looking for a romantic Vermont getaway.

Bring on the Merriment!

Ready for the holidays at our Woodstock, VT Lodging!

Woodstock, VT Lodging

 

We would love to welcome you to our Woodstock Vermont lodging this holiday season!

Woodstock, Vermont Lodging

Cheers!

 

The tavern is the perfect place to gather after a day of shopping in the village.  We’ll treat you to a glass of wine each afternoon between 4:30 and 5:30. During the holiday week we’ll have mulled cider and freshly baked cookies each afternoon.

Inn in Woodstock, VT

The Christmas tree at one end of the dining room, the wood burning fireplace at the other.

 

Enjoy your three course candlelit breakfast at your private table, with the real wood burning fireplace lit every morning.

Lodging in Woodstock, VT

Happy holidays!

 
Woodstock, VT Village

The village all lit up.

 

Our Woodstock Vermont bed and breakfast is the perfect place to spend the holidays. You can walk to all that the village has to offer, including many restaurants, cafes, art galleries and beautiful shops. We look forward to being your home away from home!

 

Best Belgian Waffle Recipe

belgian waffle recipe

Egg yolks get added to the batter after it has had a leisurely night on the kitchen counter.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Not a bad motto, except that we are always trying to improve even the most tried and true of Village Inn of Woodstock’ s recipes. My old recipe for Belgian Waffles used baking powder & baking soda for leavening. I came across the idea of a yeasted batter some time ago, and decided to give it a try. We haven’t gone back. That’s all I have to say about that.

belgian waffle recipe

Egg whites beaten to soft peaks

 

belgian waffle recipe

This is my favorite whisk for incorporating beaten egg whites into batter

 

belgian waffle recipe

All set, ready for Vermont maple syrup.

We serve these most Sundays here at our Woodstock VT Bed and Breakfast, and I get asked for the recipe quite often. Almost everything is done ahead of time, so I hope that you’ll give them a try at home.

Belgian Waffle Recipe (Serves 4 to 6)

Ingredients:

1/2 teaspoon instant yeast (see note below)

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoon sugar

2 cups milk

8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), melted and cooled

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Canola or other neutral oil for brushing waffle iron

2 eggs

Instructions:

Before going to bed, combine the dry ingredients and stir in the milk, then the butter and vanilla. The mixture will be loose. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside overnight at room temperature.

Preheat the waffle iron. Separate the eggs and stir the yolks into the batter. Beat the whites until they hold soft peaks. Fold them gently into the batter.

Spray the waffle maker with canola oil spray. Spread batter onto the waffle iron and bake until the waffle is done, about 4 minutes, depending on your iron. (We use the KitchenAid Pro Line waffle maker, and find that it is really superior to the other makers that we’ve tried.) Serve immediately or keep warm for a few minutes in a low oven.

NOTE: This recipe calls for “instant yeast.” Unlike “active dry yeast,” instant yeast does not need to be first dissolved in water or proofed before mixing. It can be added right into to the dry ingredients. At the store, you’ll sometimes see instant yeast sold as “bread machine yeast” or “rapid-rise yeast.”

From the Woodstock Farm to the Market on the Green!

If you find yourself in Woodstock VT on a Wednesday afternoon between 3 and 6 p.m. this summer or fall, make sure to stop by the Market on the Green for fresh produce from the Woodstock farm. This year is the 6th Vermont farmer’s market season, running from June 6th to October 3rd. You’ll see either David or me there each and every week!

woodstock farm

Beautiful fresh produce is one of the highlights of the market

 

The market is an easy walk from our Woodstock bed and breakfast. We have plenty of refrigeration, and we’re happy to help you store your purchases while you are enjoying the farmer’s market.

Woodstock farm

I just love these heirloom cherry tomatoes. We hope that it is a very long season, they look and taste just amazing.  You’ll find them served at breakfast alongside our eggs from Rocky Ridge Farms.

 

Woodstock farm

I took this picture at The Taste of Woodstock this past weekend, but this is our friend Mark who is at the Market on the Green every Wednesday.

We met Mark from Plymouth Artisan Cheese last year at the Market on the Green. It is hard to imagine that we missed out on this great cheese for so long, but we’re tickled to have discovered it. Actually, Julia Child was a fan of their cheese. Enough said. The cheese is made from raw cow’s milk that is sourced from a single herd that lives right near the President Calvin Coolidge’s State Historic site in Plymouth, VT, just a 25 minute drive from here. We use East Meadow for recipes that call for Swiss (such as David’s take on Quiche Lorraine), and the Hunter in place of Cheddar. They are both aged, but Hunter is aged for more than a year, so it has a lovely sharpness to it. Mark is happy to tell you about each of the cheeses, which you can sample and buy right at the market.

 

Woodstock farm

Here is our very own vegetable and herb garden.

 

Having my own small garden at our Woodstock bed and breakfast makes me appreciate even more how hard our farmers work. We’re able to grow all of our own herbs for breakfast, including parsley, basil, rosemary, mint, thyme, and oregano. Check out our fabulous crop of Swiss chard this year, plus zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell peppers. We look forward to sharing our bounty with you, and hope to see you soon!

When smoke is in the air….

Sugarbush Farm in Woodstock

Happy days, spring is here!

You know that spring is officially here in Vermont! Today we went to visit Sugarbush Farm, a family run farm just a few miles from our Woodstock, Vermont Bed and Breakfast. If you visit us here in Central Vermont, we highly recommend that you visit the Luce family at their farm, known for excellent waxed cheeses (great to take home with you), and Maple Syrup made right on their hillside farm. They have a new, energy efficient evaporator that makes shorter work of boiling down the 40 gallons of sap that it takes to make just 1 gallon of syrup.

Sugarbush Farm Woodstock Vermont

Brand new, very shiny evaporator at Sugarbush Farm

Please make sure to call ahead if you plan to visit them, the back roads can get a bit muddy this time of year, and you’ll want to make sure that they are still boiling.

Sugarbush Farm in Woodstock, VT

The boiler hard at work

All of this talk about maple syrup can make you hungry, I know, it happened to me. So, what to do but make a trip to Simon Pearce Restaurant, just down the road from Sugarbush Farm, in Quechee, Vermont. The wonderful folks at Simon Pearce always make you feel special, and lunch today was delicious as always.

 

Simon Pearce Restaurant in Vermont

Arugula and Bosc pear salad, with almonds, Great Hill Blue cheese and white balsamic vanilla vinaigrette

 

Simon Pearce Restaurant in VT

Grilled Atlantic Salmon, roasted turnip puree, braised chard, Minus 8 lingonberry jus

We look forward to seeing you soon, and hope that you enjoy the many things that there are to see and do near our Woodstock, Vermont boutique Inn!

The Prince and the Pauper’s Bistro Bargain

March can be a little bit quiet in the village of Woodstock, Vermont, especially mid week. If you are thinking about coming to visit us at the Village Inn of Woodstock bed and breakfast, there are some really great things to do and see.   The kids are being born at Fat Toad Farm, the sap is flowing from the maple trees at Sugarbush Farm, and The Prince and the Pauper Restaurant in Woodstock, VT is offering its bistro menu for sixteen dollars.

The Prince and the Pauper Restaurant in Woodstock

House salad with balsamic vinaigrette and Danish blue cheese

The P & P is one of our favorite restaurants anyway, but this deal makes it hard not to eat there every week since it includes a lovely salad, bread and your entree.   The $16 bistro menu deal is available throughout the month of March, Sunday through Thursday evenings.

The Prince and the Pauper Restaurant in Woodstock, Vermont

Sesame seared salmon

To make the deal even sweeter, join us for two nights midweek, Sunday through Thursday and we’ll include a glass of wine and hors d’oeuvres in our tavern.  Just mention that you read this post when you make your reservation.

The Prince and the Pauper Restaurant Woodstock VT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Prince and Pauper is just a five to ten minute walk from the Village Inn of Woodstock, both conveniently located in the village of Woodstock, Vermont.

Simon Pearce Restaurant is back, serving lunch and dinner!

If you are reading this, chances are you already know that Simon Pearce Restaurant in Vermont is one of our favorite restaurants. We have recommended them to countless guests over the years, and have sorely missed them since tropical storm Irene caused significant damage to the downstairs of their building. The team at Simon Pearce is nothing short of amazing, working countless hours to restore the impacted areas of the mill. The restaurant opened for lunch the past Saturday, and as of today they are open for lunch and dinner daily. Here is a peek at my wonderful lunch today.

Simon Pearce Restaurant in VT

Spinach salad with bacon, pumpkin seeds, cheddar cheese and sherry vinaigrette. (Half-eaten, photographer was hungry!)

 

Simon Pearce Restaurant VT

Steelhead trout with roasted butternut squash hash, apple maple mustard sauce. This was unbelievably delicious. Not one bit of sauce left by the time that I was finished!

 

Simon Pearce Restaurant in Vermont

Ok, so I wasn’t hungry by the time I finished my salad and steelhead, but I am a real cheese lover. Three amazing Vermont farmstead cheeses, served with apricot mostarda and house-made crackers. Amazing finish to a delightful lunch.

Please be sure to include Simon Pearce in your plans while you are here visiting our wonderful part of the country. Vermont is open and ready for you to visit, please join us at our Woodstock, VT inn!

Welcome back pasta!

 

Stuffed Ravioli Recipe

Dinner is served!

Pasta, welcome back to our world after many years of the low carb lifestyle. A  funny thing happened in Italy. Nearly three weeks of eating pasta and pizza every day. Somehow neither one of us gained much weight at all. It seems that walking all day long, and eating modest portions works like a charm. Good news for David, who has been pasta deprived for more than a decade. Things are looking up for him now that we’re back at home at our bed and breakfast in Woodstock, Vermont!!!!

 We’ve had lots of rainy weather for the last few days, not so conducive to spending time in the garden, but great for spending time in the kitchen. So, the other day I decided to make ravioli for dinner, which was an absolute blast. I can’t think of a nicer way to spend time – hanging out with my hubby in the kitchen, a nice glass of wine, and lots of flour.

Stuffed Ravioli with Spinach

I love my Atlas pasta machine

I made two batches of pasta dough, one with King Arthur all purpose flour, the other with King Arthur Italian-style flour.  The Italian style flour is much lower in protein than all purpose.  We learned about this flour at Mamma Agata’s cooking class in Ravello.  She insists that it is the secret to nearly everything that she makes – light pizza crusts, gnocchi, pasta, her famous lemon cake, etc.  The folks at King Arthur concurred.  They assured me that it would produce incredible results for ravioli.  I made the dough with the Italian-style flour first.  I used three cups of flour, made a well, cracked in three eggs, and proceeded to incorporate the flour with a fork.  Let me confess that this is the first time that I’ve made pasta in many years,  so I am by no means an expert on the topic.  I incorporated too much flour, and ended up with a pretty dry craggy mess.  I added a little bit of water, proceeded to knead for about 8 minutes, and eventually ended up with a cohesive ball.

Stuffed Ravioli Recipe from Italy

My free form raviolis. I have a mold, what was I thinking?

My second batch went much smoother.  I stopped incorporating flour when I had a ball that was not so dry.  I kneaded for about 8 minutes, adding flour to my hands when the dough felt a little bit sticky.  This dough was far easier to roll and to fill. 

I admit that I was a bit disappointed with my (very expensive) Italian-style flour dough.  It didn’t roll as nicely, and it had a tendency to tear.  But my disappointment ended when we cooked the raviolis – no question, the texture of the Italian-style flour made the most tender ravioli.  The all purpose flour is great, but not nearly as melt in your mouth tender as the Italian style.  I’m anxious to try making the dough again, making sure not to add too much flour.  I have a hunch that better technique on my part will produce better results. 

Stuffed Ravioli Recipe

My friend the ravioli form

My filling mixture for this stuffed ravioli recipe was inspired by some great local beets and spinach from the Woodstock Farmer’s Market, Maplebrook Farm ricotta cheese, and goat cheese from Vermont Butter and Cheese company. 

1 pound of beets (mine happened to be golden)

1/2 pound baby spinach

1 Tablespoon each finely chopped garlic and shallots

1 pound ricotta cheese

4 ounces goat cheese

1 to 2 Tablespoons white truffle oil

Wash the beets, place in a pan just big enough to hold them, drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, cover with foil, and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork.  Cool beets.  Mince finely and add to a mixing bowl.

 Sautee the spinach, garlic and shallots in a saute pan with a tablespoon or two of olive oil.  No need to cook very long, just until the spinach is wilted.  When cool, chop and add to the beets along with the cheeses and truffle oil.   (My spinach was not wet, but if yours ends up with liquid in the pan, make sure to squeeze it dry before chopping.)   Add salt and pepper, taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary.

 If you haven’t already done so, now is a great time to open a bottle of wine.  Rolling and filling is going to take some time, so get ready to relax.

 I rolled my pasta to the thinnest setting on my pasta roller, and had the prettiest results using the ravioli form shown below.  After putting a little bit of filling in each pocket, brush the perimeter with a damp pastry brush.  Top with another sheet of pasta, and use a rolling pin to seal and cut the ravioli.

Ravioli Recipe

Dusting the form is a great idea – makes it easy to release the finished raviolis

 Bring a pot of water to the boil, add a liberal amount of salt.  The water should taste salty like the ocean, this will flavor the pasta as it cooks.  Cook the ravioli in barely simmering water for about 2 minutes.  For the sauce, melt a few tablespoons of butter, add chopped chives.  Drain the ravioli, top with the sauce, and add freshly grated parmesan cheese. 

Would love to hear back from anybody that tries this recipe.  I hope that you have as much fun as I did!

I re-rolled all of my pasta trimmings, and ended up with some lovely fettuccini noodles that are now in my freezer waiting for my next inspiration.

Stuffed Ravioli Recipe with Cheese

Waste not, want not. Left over pasta dough & scraps put to good use.

My Venice Love Affair- Touring an Italian Fish Market

Lolo

So we are back at Vermont bed and breakfast after an amazing spring break – three weeks in Europe.  We spent our last three days in Venice, a place that I was so excited to see, but had heard was filled with restaurants that are mostly over-priced tourist traps.   Determined to eat well, I read a lot about the Venice restaurant scene.  A name that kept popping up was Loris Manna, better known as “Lolo,” owner of  Al Fontego dei Pescatori restaurant.  Lolo has over twenty-seven years experience in the mongering of fish, and served as President of the Rialto Fish Market for over nine years … where he still has a vendor operation.

David and Lolo at the entrance to the fish market

With the help of our host in Venice, we were lucky enough to arrange a tour of the Rialto fish market with Lolo.   He doesn’t charge anything for the tour.  His whole mission is to educate visitors to the bounty of food that Venice farmer’s markets have to offer.  He doesn’t require that you dine with him.  Upon meeting him, I just about had to beg to eat in the restaurant – showed him my notes of dishes that he’s known for.  He smiled, really seemed to appreciate that I had done a little homework.  Finally allowed to have dinner with him, he still demanded that we would only pay for wine and water if we did not enjoy our meal at his restaurant.  Such is the hospitality that we enjoyed in Venice.

I was completely blown away by what I saw at the markets.   Superbly fresh fish, mostly from the waters just around Venice.  (This came as a complete shock to both David and me.  We have been somewhat unimpressed with the selection and quality of fish available in the Mediterranean both on this and other vacations in the past.)   Lolo is passionate about terroir and quality of ingredients, using only native fish and produce in his restaurant.  He pointed out the difference between Maine lobster and his native lobster.  The local lobster cost more than twice as much as Maine lobster (46 Euros per kilo, versus 20 for the Maine lobster).   His philosophy is simple – only buy the best.  If you cannot afford the local lobster, then do not buy any lobster.  Make frittata instead, use local zucchini and eggs of course.

Native lobster and shrimp

The shrimp was a revelation.  He picked one up, pulled off the shell and handed it to me.  I smelled it and agreed that it was indeed fresh.  He said “yes, fresh, don’t smell it, eat it.”  Now, I am a lover of sashimi and sushi, but raw shrimp with no seasoning at all scared me a little bit.  Deep breath, get ready, eat shrimp.  WOW, that is all that I can say.  Sweet, delicate texture, clean taste of the ocean.  I have never had a piece of seafood that was so beautiful.  David, not a raw fish fan, was also handed a shrimp.  I had a hard time keeping a straight face knowing his personal aversion to the raw.  Surprise, he too agreed that it was wonderful.  Hmmm.  So much for our pre-conceived notions.  More on this later, but Lolo’s restaurant was full of these kinds of wonderful surprises.

More and less local artichokes

The produce from the neighboring vegetable market was equally impressive.  Lolo pointed out that the best artichokes are the ones on the left in the photo.  They cost nearly twice as much as the others, and according to Lolo are the only ones worth using.  The others are from an area considered less desirable in terms of the quality of produce that is grown there.  It really amazed me that everything being sold at the market was grown locally, and that it was all just so beautiful.  And Lolo’s definition of local really redefined local.

Hangin’ with the locals

After we concluded the tour, Lolo invited us to his local bacari, All’ Arco,  for a glass of wine.  It was tiny, unassuming, full of Venetians.  Just the kind of place that you hope to find, tucked into a tiny alley, no water view,  people mostly standing because there are just a few seats to be had.  Glasses of Prosecco and wine flowed freely, and the price was shockingly cheap – just 2 Euros per glass.  Lolo knew the people standing outside, and was happy to introduce us to them – the one on the left is a vendor in the produce market, the one on the right is a currently unemployed chef, self-described as “loco”.  We felt as though we had made friends in just a few minutes, such a warm and welcoming bunch.

Cicchetti

The company wasn’t the only great thing at All’ Arco.  The bar’s counter was filled with a stunning array of snacks called cicchetti, all costing just 1.5 Euros each.  We happily snacked on cicchetti and drank prosecco, feeling as though we had somehow stumbled into a fairytale.  Luckily the day didn’t end there, check back another day to see about our dinner at Al Fontego that evening.

We would happy to share more great stories with of our trip on your next visit to the Village Inn of Woodstock! See you soon!

Fish Stew Club!? Simon Pearce Restaurant Makes it Worth Signing Up For

 “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”  – Groucho Marx

There are exceptions to every rule. For me, it’s the Fish Stew Club at Simon Pearce Restaurant in Quechee, Vermont- just a hop and a skip from the Village Inn of Woodstock. It began innocently enough. A few years ago I ordered one of the specials at lunch at Simon Pearce Restaurant. It happened to be the Provencal Fish Stew.  One bite and I was hooked.  It was like a trip to the south of France. Fresh fennel, tomatoes, mussels, an assortment of fish, baby spinach simmered in a white wine and lemon flavored broth, topped with saffron aioli and focaccia croutons.

Simon Pearce Restaurant Fish Stew

Provencal Fish Stew

My fish stew delight is heightened by the atmosphere. The restaurant is cantilevered over a waterfall, looking at a covered bridge.  The atmosphere is both modern and warm at the same time. The glassware is all made by Simon Pearce artisans – hand blown, made in the USA.   The dinnerware is also handcrafted by master artisans. Service is wonderful, friendly and efficient.  For me, going to lunch at Simon Pearce is like being on vacation, even if for just a few hours.

Alas, that lunch ended, but my craving for fish stew did not. A few weeks later, I called the restaurant to see when fish stew would be on the menu again. The lovely Deanna, restaurant manager, answered my call.  She asked if I wanted to be included in the Fish Stew Club. Too funny, I am not the only one that craves the stuff.  Sure, I sign up, and will be notified by e-mail whenever fish stew is on the menu.  Perfect! 

Simon Pearce Restaurant

The water fall, right outside the window by our table

Now don’t worry if you aren’t in the club, and aren’t sure if you want to join, either.  As of this fall, the Provencal Fish Stew has become a staple on the lunch menu.  Not sure if it will stay that way, but I sure hope that it does so that you can try this wonderful dish anytime.

While you are at Simon Pearce Restaurant, be sure to check out the glass blowing downstairs.  It is a delightful activity for folks of all ages.   You can also see the turbine that harnesses energy from the massive waterfall.  The turbine produces all of the energy needed to power the entire restaurant and glassblowing operation.   If you are visiting on the weekends, you can see potters at work.  And once you’ve come to appreciate all that goes into creating these beautiful pieces, you can saunter back up to the retail shop and treat yourself to a one of a kind remembrance of your visit to Vermont.

If I sound like a hired hand for Simon Pearce, I’m not.  I just have a real love for how well they do things.  Our guests always rave about the excellent service at the restaurant.  Personally I have a bit of an addiction to their glassware.  The tables at our Woodstock Vermont bed and breakfast are topped with Simon Pearce hurricanes and their champagne buckets and glass ice cubes are in our tavern. And yesterday I was lucky enough to have another bowl of my favorite Provencal Fish Stew. Life is good.

 
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The Village Inn of Woodstock, a Woodstock Vermont Bed and Breakfast, 41 Pleasant St., Woodstock, Vermont 05091

Phone: 802-457-1255 | Email: stay@villageinnofwoodstock.com

 
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