Roxbury Vermont church in winter

Finding a Vermont Church for all seasons

The snow was good before Christmas and I bet it will be back in full force before too long (But 40 degrees here in Salem today!) This is the Roxbury Vermont church in both winter and in fall for comparison…

Roxbury Vermont church sits at the cross roads of the Warren mountain road and Route 12A
Purchase or view this image of Roxbury Church in winter snow on Fine Art America
The Vermont fall foliage surrounds the Roxbury church on route 12A
Purchase or view this image of Roxbury Vermont church in Vermont fall colors on Fine Art America

You can find this little white Vermont church nestled in the hills of Roxbury Vermont.  I was travelling over the Warren Mountain road from Warren Vermont to where it comes out of the hills to Roxbury VT. The tall steeple caught my attention as I came down the Warren Mountain road last Oct.

Vermont church good in Vermont fall colors

Last Oct I was forced to continue driving down the hill into Roxbury and then to walk back up the Warren Mountain road to get this shot since there was no room for me to pull off to the side and get the shot.

I kept turning around to look and see if there was a view but in autumn there was a lot of trees and leaves in the way. I finally came to a gray house where the view from the road allowed me to see this Vermont church.

I did not enter the yard but was able to stand or kneel on the side of the road and out of traffic. The cars come down this road very quickly, even by Vermont dirt road standards. I would not try during the spring to autumn time period to park here. I was able to do it during the winter but I was also very quick about it.

The Vermont fall colors were pretty much showing peak fall foliage on 2 October and after this I continued up to Northfield and the covered bridges there. (seen below)Art Prints

Jeff Folger

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A panoramic of the Creamery covered bridge in Brattleboro Vermont

Our Ancestry and Tourtiere-French Canadian Meat Pies

 

When it comes to New England ancestry, Jeff and I have it covered from North to South.  My ancestors all came from Canada around the turn of the century.  I have traced my roots back to France on all sides of the family.

Jeff on the other hand, comes from the same stock as Benjamin Franklin, with ancestors coming to America on the Mayflower, and original settlers of Nantucket. (not trying to brag here, it’s just a fact  )

So, on our first holidays together, we had to merge some traditions.  I contributed the French Canadian tradition of the tourtiere, or meat pie and maple walnut pie, and his family contributed parsnips.  Well, maybe that is not just an English thing, but we never had parsnips in our family.

I never meant to make this a cooking blog, but I thought I would share my tortierre recipe at the end of this post, and hope you might want to try it.

Lisa

Sautee onions in some butter.

Oops! got a little brown!
Oops! got a little brown!

Add the meat and spices and brown.

Meat, Onions and spices
Meat, Onions and spices

Simmer for an hour

Meat mixture has simmered for an hour.
Meat mixture has simmered for an hour.

Most of the liquid is gone, but not all!  Don’t overdo it!  You don’t want hamburger pie, this is much better!

A little liquid left in the pan.
A little liquid left in the pan.

Add the potatoes.

Mashed potatoes mixed in with the meat.
Mashed potatoes mixed in with the meat. I’m a messy cook!

Put meat mixture into a prepared pie crust, cover with another pie crust and bake the pie!

The baked pie
The baked pie

Tourtiere Recipe

1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
( or if venison is used to replace the pork, make sure the beef has a high fat content since venison will be very lean)
½ tsp of salt
¼ tsp black pepper
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp allspice
2 tsp sage
2 tsp dry mustard
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup of water
2- 2½ large baking potatoes, baked and scooped out or boiled, and mashed

Top and bottom pastry for two 9 inch pies

Makes two pies

  • In a large skillet, melt butter and add onions at medium high heat. Sautee onions until softened but not browned.
  • While onions are being sautéed, combine the pork, beef, salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, sage, and mustard in a bowl. Everything should be integrated and this helps start to break down the meats.
  • Add the meat mixture to the onions in the skillet. Cook the meat, chopping through it and stirring to break up any clumps, until browned, do not overcook.
  • Add 1 cup of water to the meat mixture. Turn heat down to medium-low so it cooks at a slow boil/simmer. Continue to break up clumps and stir occasionally until most of the water has been boiled off, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Not all the water needs to be gone, but you should have to move the beef mixture over in order to see the liquid accumulate.
  • Add the potatoes to the meat mixture and stir in and break up clumps of potato. You will want the mixture well blended with only small lumps of potato. Cool slightly.
  • Turn the oven on to 350 degrees.
  • Spoon mixture into prepared pie crust. Cover with second pie crust and crimp edges. Cut several steam vents into the pie crust.
  • Bake pie for one hour or until crust is golden brown.

If you want traditional French Canadian style, serve with a little maple syrup drizzled on the piece of pie.

A Fall Aroma: Baking Bread

Nothing better than a fall aroma!

the fall aroma of fresh and warm banana bread
fresh and warm banana bread

When the leaves turn and start to fall, and there is a chill in the air, I want to spend more time in the kitchen. Where nothing is better than the fall aroma of baking bread.

I modified my banana bread recipe to include some local fall fruits.  I thought it turned out good enough to share.  As you can see, most of it is gone already.

This is a simple quick bread that requires very little culinary skills, just mix and bake, but the results are fantastic!

 

 Fall Fruit Bread

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
2 Tablespoon shortening
3 cups flour
3 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup nut pieces, pecan or walnut
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 ripe pear, chopped or mashed
1 small to medium apple, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine sugar, egg and milk in a small bowl.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

Add the wet ingredients and the shortening to the flour.  Mix well. The batter will be stiff.

Mix in the mashed bananas, apple and pear.  Add the nuts.

Spoon the batter into a greased loaf pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes.

Let cool slightly before slicing or it will crumble apart.

This is great toasted, buttered and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.

 

Hope you enjoy this recipe~Lisa

Dollars to Donuts in Northern Maine

Jeff and I took a long weekend trip to the Great North Woods of Maine at the end of September.   We were determined to cross Katahdin Mountain in Baxter State Park off our “Places to See” bucket list. 

Thursday, Sept 25

Lunch at Goody’s Pizzeria in Gray, ME.  We were made welcome as the owner chit-chatted with the locals.  We both had subs which were made with some excellent, tasty sub rolls.

Flying moose near Greenville Maine

 

Almost to Greenville, ME, we happened upon the flying moose. What more can I say.

The sculpture was based on a Native American legend.

 

 

Kineo View Motor Lodge, outside of Greenville is on a hillside down a long driveway. This no-frills motel is a bit old with modest furnishings, but it is exceptionally clean.  The owner and his family are friendly and helpful.  They also have a small gift shop located at the office.  The expansive view of the lake and mountain ranges from the wall to wall windows is the same from every room on the second floor.

Kineo View Motor Lodge

If you prefer sitting on your own balcony enjoying a great view at a reasonable price, rather than being on the main routes downtown, this is a good place to be. The continental breakfast had the bare essentials, bagels, cereal, coffee and juice. 

Stress Free Moose Pub and Cafe

Stress Free Moose Pub and Café in Greenville for dinner. This is a bar with the café as a second thought. There are more beers on tap than menu choices, and we probably made a mistake of not ordering what appeared to be the specialty, flame-grilled burgers.  I had the antipasto appetizer and Jeff had Caesar salad.  Although presentation was nice, I would have liked more wow for the price.  For drinks, we experimented.  Jeff had a microbrew, Lobstah Killah, and I had an Irish Cider.

 

 

Friday, Sept 26

On to Katahdin, and although I am not physically fit enough to attempt a climb, many people along the way were enjoying all the trails in the area.

Lunch was at Northern Restaurant, a small watering hole on the narrow, dirt Golden Road, which happened to be a check in station for moose hunters.  I watched a bull moose being weighed and listened to the hunting stories while Jeff got a photo of Katahdin from the nearby Abol River Bridge.  The menu explained the reason for the higher prices was because they were off the grid and ran the restaurant/convenience store off a generator.  

Northern Restaurant

We had soup and sandwiches, and shared poutine made with hand cut fries. If you have never heard of poutine,  it’s a Quebec dish made with French fries smothered in beef gravy and cheese curds.  Artery clogging, but don’t knock it until you try it. 

Hunters, logging truck drivers, and hikers drifted in and out as the young waitress seemed to be a bit overwhelmed with the added business the beautiful weather had brought in, but it all added to the backwoods charm of this oasis in the woods.

Later, I waded in Tougue Pond at the foot of Katahdin behind the ranger station at the southern entrance to Baxter. The water was so cool and clear, I never wanted to leave, but time was limited because we didn’t want to drive too late into the night, so we headed back to Greenville, this time on the paved road.

Flatlanders, “where the locals eat.” If you go by the license plates on the cars parked outside, many of the patrons were actual “flatlanders” from Massachusetts, like us.  Seating is limited, so get there early for dinner rather than later.  Fried food on the menu, and the specialty is ‘broasted’ chicken which Jeff had, and declared it very good.  Desert was ice cream down the street at the The Dairy Bar.

Back at the lodge, we watched the stars over Moosehead Lake. We were a little disappointed that we had not seen a live moose that day, but if we had a mind to, we could have hired a guide.  There are local certified Maine guides on every street corner and they know where the moose hide.  But our focus was on fall foliage for Jeff’s blog, New England Fall Foliage, and he spent the rest of the evening answering questions that had been posted that day.

Saturday, Sept 28

We did a little shopping at Northwoods Outfitters Outdoor Store, and set out for Rangeley, ME.  On our way out, the low tire pressure warning came on and then went off.  Jeff checked the tires and they looked fine, until we stopped at a rest area.  When I got back to the car after using the facilities, the tire on my side was flat.

After getting help from some nice fellow travelers in getting our spare ‘donut’ on, we spent the afternoon looking for somewhere to get the tire fixed.  Forty miles out of our way, in Skowhegan, we found out the hole was too big to plug, and no tire of the same kind was to be found.  Instead of purchasing four new tires, we kept on the spare, pulling over for faster traffic along the way.

We could have given up and headed home from there, but with reservations made for our last night in Rangeley, we kept going. This is the pro and con of reservations.  You are assured a place to sleep, but you can’t change your plans, or if you do, you are out cancellation fees. 

However, if we had gone home, we would have missed out on one of the most beautiful historic places in the area. The Rangeley Inn and Tavern is chock full of charm. 

Rangeley Inn and Tavern

Our room, in the historic Ellis wing, was decorated with a collection of period furniture.

Rangeley Room

We peeked into the adjoining tavern, but after a day cooped in the car, we wanted to stretch our legs. Down Main Street, we found Parkside and Main.  Even though the deck with its lake views was full, I was happy with a table by the window. 

I have had baked haddock all over New England and this was one of the very best I have ever had. The fish was fresh and creamy, and the light covering of crab stuffing was complimentary, not overpowering.  And I don’t usually care for Brussel sprouts, but the maple glazed variety won me over.  Jeff had fried scallops which were also exceptional.  This chef here knows what he is doing.

Parkside Menu

Sunday, Sept 29

After a restful night, we had the continental breakfast in the elegant dining room. It seemed like gentlemen in top hats and ladies in long gowns would stroll in at any time, but the room filled with other travelers like us, couples and families discussing where they were going and where they had been. 

Rangleley Breakfast

On the way home, we stopped for gas at LL Cote in Errol, NH, a sprawling convenience/gift/outdoor supplies store in Errol, NH, and for lunch at Northland RestaurantNorthland Restaurant and Dairy Bar, an unassuming building just north of Berlin, NH village.  Pleasantly surprised to walk in and find a comfortable, clean, bright and airy interior overlooking the river.  Prices are very reasonable.  We had a great lunch of bison burgers.  I would recommend this place for hungry travelers.

We finally made it home on our ‘donut’ tire and got everything straightened out with that.

If you want more details on our route, check out Jeff’s article on his fall foliage blog.

~Lisa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Crapeaux” or Maple Dumplings for the Non-Quebequois

Crapeaux
Crapeaux

Every spring the air around rural New England fills with the aroma of sweet Maple Dumpling deliciousness.  Similarly, when brandy is aged in it’s oak barrels, it gives off an aroma which the French monks called la part des anges – the angels’ share.  So, just like with aging brandy, when sap is boiled into maple syrup, a portion is given to the angels, la part des anges.

Today, I am sharing an old family recipe for what was called in rural parts of Quebec, Crapeaux, which translates to ‘toads’ and don’t ask me why, maybe it is the lumpiness reminded those old Quebec farmers of a warty toad. But there is nothing else in connection to a toad!  They are a dumpling boiled in maple syrup.  If you love maple syrup, this is total nirvana.  We used to have this for dessert every Easter when I was growing up.

 

Crapeaux or Maple Dumplings

Ingredients

1 egg
1/4 cup milk
dash of salt
1/4-3/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Approximately 2-4 cups maple syrup brought to a gentle boil in a pot. Too much of a boil will cause the syrup to boil over.

Beat the egg, milk and salt until thick.  Add 1/4 cup of flour and the baking powder and mix just until blended.  Add up to another 1/2 cup of flour to make a stiff batter like a drop biscuit.

Drop generous tablespoonful of batter into the boiling maple syrup. Cook one side then turn to cook the other side of the dumpling.  This should be approximately 3-5 minutes for each side.

There should be enough syrup so the dumplings don’t touch the bottom of the pot and do not overly crowd the dumplings when they are cooking.  The dumplings will expand when cooking.

The remaining boiled syrup can be drizzled on the cooked dumplings and can also be used for sugar-on-snow which is the syrup drizzled on snow, (if you have any left) and it hardens into a caramel-like consistency which we used to eat off the snow with a fork. It is great on vanilla ice cream too, but has to be used right away because it will harden too much when cooled, but it will create a candy or ‘sugar’ which can also be used.

Make sure you soak your pot right away in hot water or it is difficult to clean!

Enjoy!

Lisa Folger

 

 

Norumbega Getaway in Camden

outside view with the last few minutes of sun hitting the Norumbega Inn
outside view with the last few minutes of sun hitting the Norumbega Inn

This weekend, Lisa and I went up to Camden, Maine and stayed at Norumbega Castle.  It’s not a castle in the real sense of the word, and would qualify more as a large English manor.  Since Lisa is doing a series of articles on Castles in New England, we wanted to get a few photographs of Norumbega, and the tower on Mount Battie, so this seemed like a good place to stay overnight.

Norumbega Inn

It’s early April and just starting to warm up as we arrived in Camden, Maine. The day was sunny, if not quite warm in the low 50’s, as we slid open the antique wood and glass entry pocket door to be greeted by Linda, the hostess.

the curved library room of Norumbega Inn was very eclectic and interesting to explore with books and games on the shelves
Norumbega Inn library

Lisa and I were worried that as beautiful as this place is, it might be a bit pretentious, but our fears were soon allayed. Linda got us settled into our room and then gave us a tour of the inn.   I would say the inn reflects history with modern amenities.  However, it is not a museum.  The inn is bright, the original woodwork gleams, and it has a comfortable lived-in atmosphere, so you are not feeling like you have to sit on the edge of the furniture for fear of messing something up.

As we proceeded through the different areas of the building, Linda gave us the background history of the different families who have owned the property since it was first built back in the 1880’s.

We explored the first floor with the sitting room parlor with a baby grand piano, if you are so inclined to play, a library, a formal dining room, the breakfast room. Then we moved upstairs, past the unusual landing with a fireplace and built in corner seat, to check out some of the unoccupied bedrooms.

The room that Lisa had picked was in the lower garden level and our outside door opened onto a small deck on the East lawn and facing Penobscot Bay. Our view of the bay was limited though, due to the trees at the far end of the property. Once we got to the second floor bedrooms and looked out the windows facing Camden Harbor and Penobscot Bay, we decided we would be staying in one of those rooms next time.

Dinner is available upon request, but we didn’t provide advance notice which is required so Chef Phil can prepare a meal created with the freshest local ingredients. Linda gave us suggestions of some places to eat downtown.

the smiling cow store on the main Street in Camden
the smiling cow store on the main Street in Camden

After we had dinner at Cappy’s Chowder House in Camden (2 min. away), we walked around downtown and did some window shopping. Camden is a quaint seaside town with many outdoor activities year round.

When we arrived back at the inn, Linda once again greeted us, and in finding it was my birthday, poured a glass of wine for us. We sat by a roaring fire in the sitting room parlor. Soon we headed to our room and slept soundly on the custom made mattresses and the high quality Cuddledown sheets and duvet covered quilt, all made in Maine.  The bed was very comfy after a long day of travel.

Nice little touches throughout, such as the Kuerig coffee makers in common areas on every floor with shortbread cookies, bath salts for the tub, and super soft bathrobes.

Chef Phil Crispo does breakfast right and it not only looks good it tasted wonderful
Chef Phil Crispo does breakfast right and it not only looks good it tasted wonderful

In the morning, we sampled Chef Phil Crispo’s culinary expertise at breakfast  (he’s also one of the owners) which is included with your stay,  and it was simply one of the best we’ve had. There is a choice of a sweet or savory breakfast, and started with a three grain oatmeal, and pastries which were mini cinnamon rolls and sausage-bacon-onion biscuits.

We chose the sweet selection for the entrée, blueberry and lavender pancakes served with golden Maine maple syrup and bacon on the side.  They were presented as you would expect in any high end restaurant. There was real substance to these pancakes to go with the presentation.  In addition, we had freshly squeezed orange juice and French press coffee brought to our table.

As with most bed-and-breakfasts, we conversed with the other patrons staying there which is one of the best parts about staying in a place like this.

Their mission statement is “simple things done exceptionally well” and Lisa and I agree that they accomplished their mission fully.  From the start to finish, this overnight trip was superb!

 

(Disclaimer: The views in this review are our own and we received no compensation for our opinions)

Jeff and Lisa Folger
The Four Corners of New England
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What’s Up Wednesday for Weekend of March 29-30

It’s a great mix of events this weekend.  Pick your favorite!

Western Massachusetts Home and Garden Show
Eastern States Exposition
West Springfield, MA
March 27-30

Lilly against Hydrangea
Lilly against Hydrangea

If your looking for a flower fix amid all this snow and cold weather, head over to the Big E this weekend!

For more info: http://www.westernmasshomeshow.com/

Native American Weekend

Old Sturbridge Village
Sturbridge, MA
March 29 at 9:30am

The second annual Native American Weekend at Old Sturbridge Village will take place March 29-30 and will feature demonstrations by some of New England’s foremost experts on Native American culture, food, music, and crafts. Activities include Native American-themed performances and hands-on crafts.

Remember, children still get in free!

For more info: http://www.osv.org/event/native-american-weekend

 

Space Expo
New England Air Museum
36 Perimeter Rd., Bradley Int’l Airport,
Windsor Locks, CT
March 30, 10 AM-5PM

Lots of activities going on related to space. Most activities are hands on and include touching a 70 pound meteorite, piloting a spacecraft simulator, and try a Segway!

For more info: http://www.neam.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1275