how2heroes trekked up to the Green Mountain State to explore Vermont’s love for food and sustainability. The theme of the trip was bread, chocolate, and down-home favorites using local ingredients. WATCH FOR THE VERMONT VIDEOS IN THE NEXT 2-3 WEEKS.
Our first stop was at King Arthur Flour in Norfolk, Vermont. Susan Reid may look familiar – she is a Chef/Instructor & Editor of “The Baking Sheet,” and has graced the how2heroes website many times before, with tantalizing videos such as Chocolate Almond Coffee Cake, Whole Grain Brownies, and the Zucchini Caponata. During this visit, Susan tackled bread baking. Do yeast-based breads intimidate you? Susan filmed a “Bakers’ Tip” tutorial on different forms of yeast, and applications for each. Next, she showed how to make a No-Fuss Focaccia bread (pictured top middle). Susan explained that she often throws all of this recipe’s dry ingredients in a jar to take to dinner parties or cookouts. Once she gets to her party, she mixes the wet ingredients and allows the bread to rise during cocktails or appetizers, then pops it in the oven for fresh and hot bread, just in time for dinner. Genius
After mastering the Focaccia, you may want to try your hand at Susan’s Basic White Bread (pictured bottom right). Once you smell this bread baking and taste its freshness, you will never go back to a store-bought loaf. The photo situated in the bottom middle is a variation on Basic White Bread. By adding cinnamon, sugar and raisins, it transforms into a Cinnamon-Swirl Bread. If you have ever attempted a swirl bread before, you know how the swirls often pull apart and separate when it is baked then sliced. Stay tuned to discover Susan’s secret for preventing this mishap!
Next, Susan covered at-home artisan bread baking. It is a difficult task to achieve a crunchy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside bread product without industrial bread ovens. Susan makes this possible, and will hold your hand along the way to aid you in the creation of Rustic Olive Rolls (pictured middle) and traditional French Baguette. The time needed for multiple dough risings is well worth the wait.
Want to know the most creative tip Susan gave the how2heroes crew? Save the little packets of shower caps from hotel room bathrooms. They fit perfectly as a cover over a bowl of rising dough. So much easier than wrestling with plastic wrap!
Once in Burlington, we visited our still photographer Zoe Brookes’ former place of employment – Lake Champlain Chocolates. Watching the production of each confection was amazing! It took all of the world’s willpower to restrain ourselves from plucking a truffle from the assembly line of moving chocolate.
Chocolate Artist Emily Jones demonstrated chocolate sculpting techniques. She explained how to temper chocolate, then work to form fun shapes and designs. Thinking of giving a card for a birthday or special occasion? Très blasé! Give a Chocolate Picture Frame with a personal message inside! Emily’s scrumptious spring-inspired creation (pictured upper left) would be a “sweet” gesture at any occasion! What’s also great is that all the unused bits and ends of chocolate can be “recycled” into a chocolate bark. We have the Chocolate Bark with Cranberries & Candied Orange Zest, as well as the Chocolate Bark with Toasted Almonds to satisfy your chocolate cravings until the video goes live.
Next, we filmed an essential classic…(drumroll please…..)…the ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE CAKE! This recipe could not, I repeat, NOT be simpler. When we initially received the recipe, we were alarmed to see that the cake contained no eggs! Kirk explained that this recipe has been in one of the Lake Champlain Chocolates employees’ family since World War II, when food staples such as eggs were being rationed. The leavening agents in this cake are baking soda and white vinegar. Chocolatier Kirk Weed frosts his dense, moist cake with Mocha Buttercream Frosting (pictured top right). While waiting for this recipes, try some other ultimate chocolate delights like Chef Jansen Chan’s Flourless Chocolate Cake or Paul Dorr’s Chocolate Pudding Cake.
Kirk also made decadent Chocolate-Strawberry Truffles (pictured bottom right). This recipe could be made with milk or dark chocolate, and any jam or jelly (mmm….try black current, huckleberry, blackberry or rhubarb! Get creative!). Roll the confections in powdered sugar or cocoa powder. Kirk exclaims that these babies are supposed to be ugly, resembling savory truffle fungus.
On the way back, how2heroes stopped at The Farmers Diner in Middlebury, Vermont for some classics made with local ingredients. The diner as adorned with farm-themed kitsch and cherry-red booths. Waitress Alexandria Spooner blended a soda fountain favorite – a Chocolate Milkshake using local chocolate ice cream, whole milk, and rich dark chocolate sauce. The best part is that Farmers Diner serves their milkshake in a mason jar!
Line Cook Micheal Carter shared diner breakfast favorites – Buttermilk Pancakes and Corned Beef Hash. We topped our pancakes with Vermont maple syrup, but they are delicious enough to eat on their own! The hash was a meaty mass of finely chopped corned beef, peppers, onions and potatoes – a great alternative to the Irish classic Corned Beef & Cabbage. These recipes will be perfect additions to a Sunday brunch, perhaps alongside some Creamy Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Goat Cheese, or Honey Almond Granola with Raisins and Cranberries. Or you could make them for mom on Mother’s Day (May 9th)!
What is a trip to Vermont without visiting quintessential local Vermont attractions? If you opt not to buy your cheese straight from one of Vermont’s countless artisan cheese makers, stop into Cheese Traders, a grocery and wine extravaganza at discounted prices. The best part – the cheese ends! These large, misshapen hunks of cheese from local farms are sold at extremely discounted prices! The crew brought some samples back for the office!
Along with Vermont cheese comes…good beer and ice cream! We swung by the funky, eclectic Magic Hat Brewery, visited Ben & Jerry’s, and sampled the local fare in downtown Burlington. One of our dining highlights was at Duino Duende, a cool little eatery specializing in street food from around the world. We stuffed ourselves with Poutine (fries, cheese curd and gravy), Tostones (fried plantains), Piroghies (stuffed, boiled dumplings), and lamb sliders. YUM!
We are very excited for all of you to learn from the talented heroes in Vermont that we met. We can tell you first hand that everything was delicious and you can absolutely do it at home yourself! Keep an eye out for the videos or better yet, sign up for the newsletter so we can tell you when they’re ready.