As you’ve probably figured out by now…I LOVE food. I love growing it, buying it, making it, and seeing it served at restaurants. I consider this passion a huge blessing, since eating is one of those things that you have to do every day. And we did a LOT of eating on our vacation, both at restaurants and at home, since I finally had a large group of people to cook for.
So what would a series of vacation posts be without one entirely dedicated to the food we ate?
Let’s start with the food we cooked at home.
Grilled Pork Chops with Chipotle-Mango Sauce
(recipe to be posted soon!)
We spent our last night in Vermont at my grandparents’ house, and we brought with us the ingredients to make dinner. I had made the mango sauce ahead of time so that our prep would be easy while we were there.
We served the pork chops and mango sauce with plain brown rice, and green beans from my mom’s garden with sautéed red onions and mushrooms. I definitely underestimated the punch that the sauce would pack as it contains one chopped up chipotle pepper, however it still wound up being a huge hit with my family of non-spicy-food-lovers. Mixing the sauce with the brown rice and pork chops added just the kick the meal needed, so if you love spicy food but your friends don’t, this would be a great compromise dish.
My parents’ grocery store had fresh lobster on sale for $8.99 a pound – which to anyone who pays attention to the average lobster price, is a pretty big deal. Lobsters are usually anywhere from $13.99 a pound to $18.99 a pound….which is quite expensive when you consider it’s usually one lobster per person. Being the lobster-lovers that we are, we couldn’t pass up the deal. We also snagged some little-neck clams, some crusty bread, and whipped up some simple broccoli salad (recipe to be posted later!), to make for a delicious meal.
Look at those beauties. If you’ve ever seen the movie Julie & Julia, you’ll understand why Scott and I were singing “Lobstah-Killaaahhh” the entire time we were cooking them.
And a dinner like this wouldn’t be complete without a fabulous dessert would it?
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cake
Quite seriously the easiest dessert I’ve ever made in my life – and considering that we traded the ice cream for a creamy-blend frozen yogurt brand for the lactose-intolerant among us – it’s also quite (dare I say it?) healthy!
Recipe to come soon as well, but the crust is a simple mixture of rice krispies, chocolate and peanut-butter, and the center was just a full container of frozen-yogurt spread into the crust. I shaved some chocolate on the top just to make it pretty, but we’ll discuss that later. Let’s just say – be looking forward to the post one this one, because my family got into loud arguments over the last few pieces, and my mom actually wanted the recipe. Which is huge, since mom really doesn’t enjoy making desserts at all.
Feta Cheese-Stuffed Cucumbers
Mom was begging me to make something to use up their bumper-crop of cucumbers, so I decided to serve these as an appetizer while we were waiting for the lobsters to be cooked. Super-simple, lovely to look at, and delicious to eat (if I do say so myself).
Mom also had a huge bumper-crop of tomatoes, so one cool morning I made a batch of slow-roasted tomatoes (recipe to be posted later). Perfect for serving with meats and pastas or on sandwiches. Yum.
Alright, so if you thought any of THAT looked good…just wait until you see these photos from food we got at some restaurants we went to.
The Mountain Top Inn Restaurant
It was Burgers & Brew night, which we couldn’t pass up. Scott snagged a giant, juicy hamburger, and Mom & Dad both had incredible-looking Portobello-Mushroom burgers, all of which I sadly didn’t get a photo of. Since I have not developed a taste-bud for beer yet and strongly dislike every variety I’ve tried (GASP), I passed up the Burger & Brew option and settled on a Lobster Salad and a glass of Malbec wine. Yum.
Are you ready to see this salad?
Whew. Now I ask you…is that a salad, or is that a salad??
Fresh lobster, corn, peppers, green onions, tomatoes, chevre (goat cheese), with a citrus vinaigrette. Perfect portion size, as I was full but not stuffed and completely content after the last bite. Also, for those with sensitive tummies like mine, I’m proud to announce that this was a breeze! No trouble whatsoever. Which automatically bumps this meal up about three notches in my book, for sure.
Combine this salad with the view of the mountains and the Chittenden Reservoir, and I was one very, very happy girl.
This was the other restaurant we visited which completely knocked my socks off. This small and intimate place won my heart as it prides itself on serving only local ingredients. Since I’m a fan of buying local foods and making meals based on seasonal ingredients and healthy options, I was blown away when they saw their menu. Almost all entree options were friendly to those with gluten allergies, and some even for vegetarians.
With my stomach, I usually roll into restaurants and say to myself, “Can’t eat that…can’t eat that…can’t eat that…”, but with Roots, it was completely the opposite. I felt like a kid in a candy shop as my eyes roved over the menu and each option seemed more delicious than the last…all of which were not likely to cause me any discomfort. Woohoo!
On the recommendation of our dear contributor Lauren, I tried my very first basil martini. Referred to as the Basil-Cucumber Cooler, this cocktail was made with “Hendricks gin, fresh muddled basil and cucumber, and a splash of ginger ale.” Two thumbs up for sure, and I’ll stand right alongside Lauren with her opinion of these concoctions!
We all split two appetizers for our whole table, both of which were just mind-blowingly good. No words, really.
Fried Risotto (gluten free!)
“Risotto filled with Maplebrook Mozzarella cheese, fried and served over a roasted tomato and basil sauce.”
I can promise you, I will not rest until I figure out how to make this. I’m pretty sure it ranks as one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten in my entire life.
“A blend of Vermont cream, assorted local cheese, herbs and blue cheese gratin, served with fruit and grilled bread.”
Heaven in a dish. Sadly, I will not be learning how to make this because if I do, I might as well start buying plus-size clothing now. There would be no self-restraint, whatsoever. So I’ll just thrive on the memory of how good it tasted.
The last thing I’ll show you from Roots was an entree that three of the five of us wound up getting because it sounded so enticing.
Raspberry Scallops (gluten free!)
“Fresh scallops pan-seared to medium with raspberries, arugula and shallots, finished with a white wine and butter sauce, served over a polenta cake.”
My photo sadly doesn’t do this dish much justice. This was served with a seasonal vegetable, in this particular instance – beets. I’m not a huge fan of beets but this is the first time I’ve been able to eat them tolerably, so bravo, Roots!
And I’ll tell you what…this meal opened my eyes to the world of polenta. I’ve never had it, always hearing it as some dry, mealy hippie food. Polenta loaf. So many negative connotations in my mind. But hoooo-boy. It was moist and creamy with a perfectly crusty exterior, and added the ideal complement to those scallops. It made me feel brave enough to want to try making some at home. I’ll keep you posted on how THAT goes, since I hear that polenta is a tricky thing to work with.
And that, my friends, just about sums up our culinary adventures on vacation.
Are you hungry yet?
Good, because I have one last thing to show you.
Remember how I showed you the photo of our run-down snack shack where we get Creamies?
Behold. The Creamy.
I think rainbow sprinkles are under-appreciated, and I usually take EVERY opportunity to get them.
If you want more information about Roots and the Mountain Top Inn & Restaurant, check out the Little Stirrings page on Facebook. We have their pages “liked”, for easier access for you!
I’ll leave you with this thought, and I hope you all have fabulous meals in your lives this week!