Our visit to my brother and sister-in-law, Steve and Trish, at their vacation home on Crystal Lake in Barton, Vermont was filled with great food, amazing wine and wonderful times to create lasting memories. We picked up our youngest son, Zach and his girlfriend, Agata, arriving from Germany, at the airport last week on Thursday and headed straight up north. Barton is a quiet village with a population of 720, near the Canadian border. This makes for a marked contrast to the hustle and bustle of our daily lives in NYC. We have been going up there for 34 years now and not much has changed. Crystal Lake is aptly named. It is very crystal clear.
Steve and Trish are the most amazing hosts. They planned every meal to perfection along with delicious pairings of wine. (you may remember that Steve has a wine and food pairing blog – www.wineandfoodpairings.net) We were joined by their friends, Dana and Richard. (They are the owners of the beautiful Bernese mountain dog, Otis.) Richard was celebrating a birthday last Saturday, and he brought some fantastic champagne, French Chardonnays plus a magnum of Tensley Syrah from CA and a 1977 port! Both Richard and Steve have full wine cellars. Richard said that since it was his birthday, he picked very special bottles he had been saving and felt like a kid in his own candy store. We got to be the lucky beneficiaries!
We arrived home this past Wednesday, relaxed, refreshed, and happy. We all ate and drank too much – but I’m not sorry. Here are some visual highlights so you can take a vicarious tour of our little vaca. I wish I would have taken more pictures, but I was too busy drinking all the delicious wine.
We are a cooking family! Here’s Trish’s agile hands on the mandolin cutting raw zucchini into pasta-like strips to make Jenny Ross’s zucchini pasta with lemon pistachio pesto recipe from Jenny’s cookbook, Raw Basics. Jenny has the restaurant 118 Degrees in Costa Mesa, CA, where everything is served at 118 degrees or less. It was delicious!! Totally raw and totally healthy.
Here’s my brother, Steve completing his fresh tomatoes and basil side, with balsamic vinegar pearls or as he likes to call them, balsamic caviar. This is made with the Molecular Gastronomy Kit by Cuisine R-evolution. To make them you put a tall glass of vegetable oil in the freezer for 30 minutes. Combine agar-agar with balsamic and bring to boil. Fill a pipette (dropper) with this mixture and then slowly drip the liquid from the pipette into the cold oil. The pearls will form and then you use a sieve to remove pearls from the oil, rinse with water and serve. Pretty cool, eh?
Zach and Agata helping themselves to my brother’s famous grilled baby back ribs. What a beautiful meal with a gorgeous wine pairing!! The Williams Selyem vineyard is one of my brother’s favorites, and mine too!
Here’s Zach’s Ukrainian style borscht, which was delicious and oh so healthy with homemade chicken broth. (I liked it with a small dollop of sour cream.) They brought back a bottle of wine from Georgia to give to my brother. They said they knew that it was a little like bringing sand to the beach, but did you know that Georgia has some of the oldest wine producing regions on earth? I surely didn’t.
Always a highlight of a Vermont visit is the weather permitting, early evening cocktail cruise. Here’s our appetizer tray for one evening – homemade kale chips, jalapeño hummus, vegetable dipping sticks and lightly salted cashews.
Now you’ll notice I have no mention of my meal made there, as my Provencial chicken got quite the blackened treatment from a fire on the grill. Although it still tasted good and seconds were had, it was not something to share in a photograph.
I hope you all have been able to fit in relaxing vacation time this summer as well. School is starting soon!