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Omnivore Food Blog By Suzanne Podhaizer

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June 2007

June 29, 2007

Dinner at the Cliff House in Stowe

Tomorrow evening -- Saturday, June 30th, I'll be attending a Vermont Fresh Network Farmers' Dinner at The Cliff House in Stowe. These dinners bring local farmers, restaurateurs and consumers together for a really great meal made with lots of seasonal, local ingredients. Seven Days sponsors the series. The previous dinner, at the Basin Harbor Club, was really fun.

The menu for tomorrow's dinner, along with the number to call for reservations, is below. If you decide to attend, stop by and say hi! The 6-course meal is $80 a person, but the ticket price also includes a Gondola ride up the mountain.

Farmer’s Dinner
Saturday June 30th

Pete’s Greens Radish, Elmore Mountain Bread and Vermont Butter and Cheese Co. Cultured Butter with Sea Salt

Pete’s Greens Lamb Sausage with Upland Cress
Deep Fried Willow Hill Farms La Fluerie

Pete’s Greens Arugula salad with Green Mountain Blue Cheese Gore Dawn Zola, and Verjus Vinaigrette seved with a selection of Elmore Mountain Breads

East Hill Gardens Lemon Balm and Black Pepper Sorbet

Main Course
Sautéed Rabbit with Wild Mushrooms and Baby Carrots
Guinea Hen Two Ways- Roasted and Fried
Shoulder of Lamb stuffed with Spinach and Garlic Scapes

Rhubarb and Strawberry Tart with Willow Hill Farms Frozen Sheep Yogurt

Chef’s Selection of Cheeses

For more Information and Reservations call 802.253.3500 or visit

Veggie Booty Recalled, and Other Food News

No, this is not a post about my fond memories of a snack food. The booty, 21629often found in co-ops and health food stores, is potentially linked to 51 cases of salmonella. So, if you have any, get rid of it. And if you see it in a store, please let the manager know about the recall so that they can safeguard their patrons. Thanks!

In America, we celebrate our nation's independence in a variety of strange, food-related ways. For instance, we create egregious dishes, the only excuse for Competitiveeating2which is that the ingredients are in the colors of our flag (yeah, yeah, I'm a snot because I don't like cake mix, pie filling, cool whip or Jello...I know). On July 4, we also celebrate our world renown gluttony with a Nathan's Famous hotdog-eating contest on Coney Island. But this year, there's a twist. Six-time champion, Takeru Kobayashi is suffering from a mysterious jaw injury that may make him unable to consume the 59-or-so hot dogs it will take to win the competition. The New York Times has the scoop.

Also in the Times, an article about restaurants and intellectual property. Interesting stuff.

June 28, 2007

Lots o' Food News

Hey there! There are few little food news items out there that I want to blog about, here's an aggregate. Have fun!

Do you think she's sexy? New SlimFast Spokeswoman doesn't actually use SlimFast...Rachel Hunter, Rod Stewart's ex, looks just perfect the way she is. She hasn't tried the product she's endorsing, and doesn't necessarily plan to. Weird!! Even weirder, the company's new slogan: "find your slim." First of all, slim -- not a noun. Secondly, it's not like "your slim" is hiding under the bed. I guess the idea is that it's hiding under your fat, and you just need to locate it. Something about that really rubs me the wrong way. Here's a link to Rachel Hunter defending her choice to work for SlimFast. And to add a bit of irony to the mix, Hunter is playing a passionate cook (the type who would probably never let a product like SlimFast past her lips) in an upcoming film, La Cucina.

Ever used conversation hearts to have a serious discussion with your partner? Probably not, given that options are limited to phrases like "Be my hero," and "Purr-fect." Ryan Donlon and Jennifer Farina have just promised to do something similar for the next month. The affianced couple have taken a 30-day long "vow of sweet silence," and will receive $1000 dollars from the Masterfoods/Mars co. in exchange for each day they opt to communicate using only personalized M&M candies. Their options? Clever phrases like "I'm the luckiest" and "u make me smile." Unfortunately, phrases like "by the way, don't drink the's spoiled," and "did you write the damn rent check yet?" don't fit on M&Ms.

Eatin' like an Edwardian.  Giles Coran, the saucy restaurant critic for the London Times, recently subjected himself to a week of excess in the style of Edward VII at the behest of BBC. Says Coran in his article on the experiment, "Some guinea pigs might have been daunted by the prospect of four whopping meals a day, rivers of grog and hardly any fruit, vegetables or water for an entire week. But not I." Ah, the brave soul. Items on the menu: pheasant, kippers, rolled ox tongues, braised celery and mock turtle soup. The tale reads like something from a Roald Dahl story. You should definitely check it out...Appetite for Excess.

June 26, 2007

Playing (Music) With Your Food

I've got a strange one for you today. Apparently, there are several groups of people out there in the world who have a penchant for carving instruments from fruits and vegetables. Carrots seem to be a rather popular choice among those who make audible edibles, as are butternut squash.

You can learn about a few of them here.

Also, check out this YouTube video from the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra.

June 24, 2007

A Chat with the Positive Pie Guy

In Patrick Timothy Mullikin's recent article on the Montpelier Pizza scene, "Scarfin' Slices in the 802", he quoted a few lines from the now-famous "802" rap video, made by a group of Montpelier teenagers. What does rap have to do with pizza? The snarky rappers, who call themselves X10, did a little restaurant criticism in their song.

Mullikin used their lyrics to introduce each of Montpelier's pizza joints, and the young men didn't pull their punches -- they said that the "dude" at Village pizza "ain't nice," and claimed Angeleno's "pies are overpriced." One place, Positive Pie II, got left out 'cause they didn't have room in their rhyme. To make his story more complete, Mullikin asked them to throw out a snippet off-the-cuff. Their response: "Positive Pie, where the chefs get high."

But Carlo Rovetto, owner of Positive Pie II, didn't find it funny. "It was a big blow," he explained in a recent phone call, "I literally work 100 hours per's such a tight competition, and I'm trying to attract families and business people, and they don't want to go to places with that kind of reputation...if this was New York City an there were a hundred-thousand people per block, I wouldn't even care. But Montpelier is so small..."

Although some people say that any press is good press, Rovetto doesn't share that perspective. "We ride on the edge of success or failure every this point, I wish I hadn't been in the article at all," he explained.

Hopefully, for Rovetto's sake, readers will remember the other comment the young rappers made about Positive Pie II. According to Colin Arisman, one of the X10 crew, "I would say, if you want to go for a pizza with character and dignity — [go to] The Pie...There's this white garlic sauce, and it's one of the most fulfilling experiences one can have." 

June 20, 2007

Goin' to the Green Room

Where in Burlington can you find house-smoked duck and trout, martinis with hand-stuffed, blue cheese olives, and gel candles? At the Green Room on St. Paul Street.

My first recent visit was with my husband before a Jazz Fest show. We shared two, $8 small plates. The first was a bacon-wrapped scallop, which was cooked to a perfect, pearly translucence and served atop a spinach salad with jalapeño vinaigrette.  The garnish of kiwi and cooling cucumber slices was a surprise. Both worked well to offset the spicy dressing.

The second small dish was a crispy quesadilla of smoked trout with black beans, provolone and pico de gallo, guacamole and chipotle sour cream. If you appreciate smoked fish and a little bit of heat, you'd love this.

While we were supping on apps, I started sipping a VTini -- a martini made with Organic Sunshine Vodka and garnished with olives stuffed with Boucher Bleu Cheese. I don't drink a lot of vodka and am not an authority on booze, but I think this stuff is really good. 

We moved on to a $15 shared plate, the foie gras medallion "over a prosciutto and smoked gouda puff pastry, with marinated eggplant and radicchio drizzled in white truffle demi-glaze." Kind of heavy for summer (as are a few other items on the menu), but delicious. I would have opted for the lighter smoked duck and foie over greens with blue cheese and figs, but my sweetie aptly pointed out that we were planning to try a different duck dish, and that we'd already decided on smoked trout, and thus didn't need smoked duck.

In my experience, Chef Pratt always cooks foie to a state of oozing, fatty perfection, and this time was no exception. (If you object to foie gras consumption, please read Stuffed Animals, an article by the wickedly funny and brilliantly snarky Jeffrey Steingarten).

We also shared a duck entrée, about which exact details elude me. Stupid vodka! Looking at the menu won't help, cause it was a special. I do remember the delicious flourless chocolate cake though!

Last Friday, a vegetarian friend and I stopped by for a light meal. We sat outside and the service was a bit spotty -- the server almost walked away without taking my friend's order, and it took quite a long time to get refills on our water. Not sure if this is just a peril of dining al fresco on a busy-ish night, or not.

The mixed greens salad with cherries, blue cheese and pine nuts was lovely and refreshing. Then I moved on to a lightly-seared tuna over avocado and peanut noodles. It was a great summer dinner.

In my opinion, the Green Room offers some of the best executed, most exciting food (and drink) going on downtown.


June 17, 2007

Switchin' It Up

So...the other night (last Thursday) I was on VPR's Switchboard. It was my first attempt at live radio, and I was terrified both beforehand and during.

The topic of the show was Vermont specialty foods and how they're providing new revenue streams for VT farmers. There were two other guests, too. Allen Matthews from the Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Kyle Thygeson from the Woodstock Water Buffalo dairy.

I'd written out a post to let people know about it in advance, but I got caught up in wordsmithing, and decided to leave it alone for a while while I finished up some other work. By the time I got back to it, the post was lost in cyberspace and it was too late for me to reconstruct, here's a link to the recording. Be forewarned, it's nearly an hour long. And remember, I was really terrified, so go easy on me... 

June 14, 2007

CSA Hits the Bigtime

Found an article at this evening (yep, when I get home from work, I just keep reading about food) on how to buy organic foods on a budget. While I thought that much of the advice in the article could certainly be useful, what particularly caught my eye was a reference to community supported agriculture.

I read the mainstream, food-related news on a very regular basis, and this is the first time I've ever seen CSA mentioned. Yet again, Vermont is ahead of the curve!!

June 12, 2007

Strawberry Season

Last week, pints and quarts from Adam's Berry Farm in the Intervale started showing up at City Market. Although the berries weren't as sweet as they'll be a bit later in the month, they were complex and much nicer than the ones coming in from California, methinks. Adam's is also open forImg_0594 578-9093 for hours.

Like your produce Progressive? I checked in with David Zuckerman, organic farmer and chair of the House Agriculture Committee, about when Full Moon Farm's pick-your-own strawberries would be ready. His response: "The end of this week." Call 863-2199 for specifics.

The Charlotte Berry Farm has also got it goin' on...425-3652

Obviously, this list isn't even close to comprehensive. These are just a few of the places I've gone in the past. For more listings, check out this useful site on pick-your-own products from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.


June 08, 2007

Gerard's Recipe

Gérard’s Country Bread

This is a simplified version of the bread Gérard makes in his bakery

For the poolish:
1⁄4 cup spelt and rye, ground from whole grains, sifted
1 2/3 cups of all-purpose white flour
1 2/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon water
1⁄2 teaspoon dry commercial yeast

Mix ground spelt and rye in a bowl with all-purpose white flour. Mix in water and dry commercial yeast. Make sure the temperatures of the flour and water and the kitchen's air temperature are 80 degrees. Mix into a paste, put into a tightly covered tall plastic container, and let ferment for 6 to 8 hours at 65 degrees or 4 hours at 80 degrees.

For the dough
3 3⁄4 cups all-purpose white flour
1⁄4 cup ground rye and spelt, mixed (half of each)
2 3⁄4 cups water
2 tablespoons sea salt

Once the poolish has sat for the required time, combine all-purpose white flour with ground rye and spelt. Quickly mix in by hand all the water. Compact the mixture and cover with a plastic sheet. Let it sit for 30 to 45 minutes at 70 to 80 degrees.

Next, incorporate the poolish into the flour and water mixture, kneading for about 10 minutes. Make sure to just stretch the dough as you knead, rather than pulling or tearing it. When the surface is smooth and shiny, form the dough into a ball. Sprinkle the surface with sea salt and mix again for 5 minutes. Place in a bowl and cover with a clear plastic bag or lid. Let it rise for 1 hour at 70 degrees.

After 1 hour, punch the dough down. Divide the dough into three equal pieces, shape into balls, and let rise again, covered, for 30 minutes. Flatten to let the gas escape, round the dough into a baguette shape, and let it rise a third and final time for 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours. Make four light slits in the surface, dust the surface with flour and place in preheated oven. Bake at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

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