Tag Archives: Wayside Country Store

Nutty noodles, Vermont-style

13 Apr

A unique Vermont-made nut butter, perfect for spicy sesame noodles
 

Rambling

On last weekend’s trip to our favorite Vermont country store, I was drawn to the nut butter section. Yep, the nut butter section. Oodles of creamy concoctions made with not just peanuts, but also cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, and beyond. Most of them made in Vermont, most of them made for sweet pairings. But one screamed savory, and piqued my interest: a jar of Maple & Chipotle Triple Nut Butter, made by The Nutty Vermonter. No suggested uses on the jar, but a company website promised recipes. So I added it to my only-in-Vermont haul–along with maple basil roasted almonds and Mad River Mojo peanut butter–and made this tasty, super simple sesame noodle dish. With enough leftover nut butter to perhaps try one of the other website recipes…Chocolate Chipotle Hard Shell Ice Cream Topping. Much love, nutty Northeast Kingdom neighbors! 

Roast

Maple & Chipotle Sesame Noodles

From an online recipe posted by The Nutty Vermonter

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Maple & Chipotle Triple Nut Butter
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Directions:

In a blender, add the ginger, garlic, sugar, Triple Nut Butter, tahini, vinegar, soy sauce, chili sauce, sesame oil, and water. Process until the mixture is well combined. Put the blender jar into the refrigerator and let it chill for about 30 minutes.

Cook the pasta in large pot of boiling salted water over medium heat until barely tender and still firm. Strain and rinse with cold water until cool. Drain the noodles well and transfer to a wide bowl. Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss until well coated. Serve garnished with the scallions, sesame seeds, and cilantro.

Be sure to toast the sesame seeds! Easily done in a dry sauce pan over low heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly browned…brings out great flavor!

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I fricasseed the Easter Bunny

9 Apr

On rambling to a vaunted Vermont country store, and baking bunny meat
 

Rambling

Vermont is crazy amazing. I Lovermont. Rolling hills, pastoral pastures, birch-filled woods, limpid mountain waters, peace, progressiveness, cheese. (If it had an ocean, it would be perfect. It has Lake Champlain, which is still pretty cool.) On Saturday, Hubby and I took our annual spring road trip through a favorite corner of southwestern Vermont, not so very far from home. This is Norman Rockwell country. Covered wooden bridges, and salt-of-the-earth locals in waders, and roadside general stores that have little changed over the decades.

A fun stopover for us–and sometimes a destination unto itself–is the Wayside Country Store in Arlington, along the banks of the Battenkill River and just over the New York border. From live bait to Burt’s Bees products, from fine wines to a dozen different varieties of Vermont-made nut butters, from Silly Putty to hot meatball subs…this store has everything. Including frozen rabbits, processed at a nearby farm. On this, the day before Easter, my mind was on bunnies. Specifically, bunny meat. I knew this store sold it, and I wanted to cook it. On Easter. Perverse? Perhaps.

Along with the rabbit, Hubby and I loaded up on a lot of other fun, only-in-Vermont vittles, and headed out to enjoy the rest of the day rambling. But I’ll save that travel tale for later. For now, it’s all about the rabbit.

Yeah, I was a bit squeamish about cooking it. I have never eaten rabbit before, let alone cooked it. Did I think twice when I saw a sweet cottontail hopping through the backyard on Easter morning, as I prepped my own hapless hare? Yep. Was it odd that Hubby insisted on channeling Yosemite Sam–asking when the hasenpfeffer would be done–and Elmer Fudd–singing about the “wascally wabbit”? Sure. But I was not to be deterred. Especially not after finding a few really yummy-looking rabbit recipes online. The one that sold me? Why, the one that called for bleu cheese, Doc.   

Roast

Rabbit with Bleu Cheese-Dijon Sauce

Adapted from a recipe found at Food.com by “Chef Shadows”

Ingredients

  • 1 (2 1/2-3 lb) rabbit , cut up
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh savory leaves
  • 2 bay leaves, fresh, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup crumbled bleu cheese

Directions

Steel your stomach, and remove the innards from the rabbit, after looking at it for a little while and coming to grips with the fact that it’s just a step up from a squirrel, and just a step down from your pet cat. Cut up the thing much like you would a fryer, except instead of wings…two large and two small legs, and only a little bit of breast (or is that belly?) meat…

In a 9×13 baking dish, toss the rabbit meat with the olive oil and herbs until evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

In a small bowl, combine the mustard and water, mixing until smooth.

Pour half the mustard mixture over the rabbit meat, and bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn over rabbit meat pieces, coat with other half of mustard mixture, and bake for another 20-25 minutes, basting a few times.

Remove baked rabbit to plate and keep warm.

On stove top over medium heat, heat mustard sauce, reducing to about 1/2 cup. Whisk in half-and-half and heat to bubbling.

Stir in all but a few tablespoons of the bleu cheese, whisking over medium heat until melted and smooth.

Pour sauce over rabbit. Top with additional bleu cheese crumbles and serve warm. Suggested accompaniments: Steamed greens and new potatoes. Dessert? A chocolate bunny, perhaps…

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