As I mentioned earlier this week, I recently had the opportunity to travel to southern Vermont and spend a couple of days at King Arthur Flour’s headquarters. Not only was King Arthur Flour amazing, but I also got to experience Vermont…which is now one of my favorite states! I was due to arrive on early Sunday afternoon, so I spent Sunday morning driving across this beautiful state. The views were amazing, and I totally get why Vermont is nicknamed “The Green Mountain State.” As I drove in and out of picturesque small towns and villages, I was struck by the number of local farms and farmer’s markets. It is clear that the folks in Vermont believe in the importance of locally-sourced food. The farm-to-table movement in Vermont is more than a fad…its a way of life!
During my trip, I got a copy of Tracey Medeiros’ new book, “The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook.” And let me tell you, this book is far more than just a cookbook. Tracey somehow took the entire state of Vermont, complete with its farm-centered way of life, and shrunk it into a single book. In addition to the 150 Vermont-inspired recipes, Tracey includes personal stories and descriptions of dozens of the farms that dot the Vermont landscape. So whether you live near Vermont or on the other side of the world, this book will definitely make you feel like you are driving through the green mountains and valleys, stopping at the numerous roadside markets, and enjoying the best of the local food movement.
I got in the kitchen earlier this week and made the Honey Ice Cream with Fresh Strawberries recipe that Tracey shares in the Desserts section of her book. I was intrigued by combining the sweetness of the honey with the brightness of the strawberries…and so I decided I needed some of this delicious-sounding frozen treat. And it didn’t disappoint! This recipe was well-written and quite easy to make, and I am certain that it will become a summer staple in my household!
I am excited to announce that I will be giving away a copy of Tracey’s book to one lucky Spiced reader! Fill out the entry form below and good luck! Even if you don’t win, I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of this book. Whether it’s for yourself or a gift for a fellow foodie, this book will not disappoint!
Disclosure: A copy of this book was provided to me at no charge, but all opinions are entirely my own. (Seriously, this book is awesome!)
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I absolutely love to bake. I mean I have three different types of flour in glass jars on my countertop at all times! I grew up in a Southern kitchen and baked goods were certainly the norm around my house. Not surprisingly, I have carried that love of baking into my own home and the smells of freshly baked breads and pastries are often coming from my kitchen. (And my dogs love the smell of freshly baked bread…who would’ve guessed!) So you can only imagine my excitement when I was offered the opportunity to visit to King Arthur Flour’s headquarters in Norwich, VT a couple of weeks ago. In short, it was absolutely amazing. If you love to bake, then you absolutely need to make the pilgrimage to King Arthur Flour. Seriously, their main location in Norwich, Vermont is nicknamed “Camelot.”
I was invited to attend Blog & Bake™, an event where King Arthur Flour brings together a group of bloggers for several days with the primary goal of learning about baking, flour, and Vermont in general. Over the course of the trip, we not only took several classes at the King Arthur Baking Education Center, but we also visited a couple of local farms, tasted a variety of Cabot cheeses, and experienced glass-blowing first hand at Simon Pearce. In all honesty, this was an amazing trip! Not only is Vermont a beautiful state, it is also quite serene. And what’s more, everyone seemed to have an incredible commitment to locally sourced food. The farm-to-table movement is more than just a trendy phrase in Vermont. It’s a way of life. So if you are looking for a summer or fall trip this year, definitely consider Vermont. But enough of my ramblings, let’s get back to baking!
One of the techniques we learned while at King Arthur was how to make a basic Homemade White Sandwich Bread. From start to finish, this is a really simple recipe. The mixing and kneading stage takes maybe 15 minutes, and then it’s time to just let the yeast do all of the work. In fact, if you woke up one morning and wanted to have fresh sandwich bread for lunch, then you could easily pull it off using this recipe! And if you are wondering why you’d ever want to make your own white bread when you can buy its so cheap at the store, then you absolutely need to make this bread first. It tastes so much better than the store-bought stuff! Maybe it’s the quality of King Arthur’s flour. Or it could be the lack of all of those other ingredients that you can’t pronounce. Or maybe its because the baking experts at the Baking Education Center have created an amazing recipe. No matter the reason, this bread will absolutely become a staple in your house!
I also encourage you to visit the sites of the other bloggers who attended Blog & Bake™ this year. If you aren’t already following them, you will absolutely want to start!
- Food Babbles
- The Baker Chick
- Tiny Urban Kitchen
- Foodie with Family
- Adventures in Cooking
- Cooking with Books
- Bake or Break
- Heirloom Meals
- In Erika’s Kitchen
- Nutmeg Nanny
- Healthy Seasonal Recipes
- Ladies Home Journal
I attended Blog & Bake at no charge, but the opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.
Holy guacamole, Batman! I love this time of the year. All of the markets in the area are competing for Cinco de Mayo sales, which means I can find cheap avocados everywhere. I live in upstate New York, which means avocados are normally pretty expensive…after all, it’s been a while since I’ve seen an avocado tree in the area. Since we’re not as lucky as folks in California who can pick avocados in their backyards, we have to rely on the markets for these delicious fruits.
Since avocados are plentiful right now thanks to Cinco de Mayo, I have been making tons of guacamole. (You may have seen my post earlier this week on Grilled Guacamole Flatbread with Cilantro-Lime Shrimp.) So I decided another fun way to use guacamole would be make Guacamole Potato Skins. I recently made some twice baked potatoes, so I had some leftover skins that I didn’t know what to do with. So I stuck them in the freezer until earlier this week, when I decided to see if potato skins and guacamole go well together. Well, they do. In fact, they were delicious! The extra sturdiness of the potato skins meant that I could really load up the guac. My potato skins were already cold from the freezer, but if you are making these fresh, I would let the skins cool completely before filling and serving. These Guacamole Potato Skins would make a perfect appetizer to your Cinco de Mayo parties this weekend…and best of all, they can be made entirely in advance and stored in the fridge until party time! Enjoy!