Readmore Inn a Vermont Bed and Breakfast Inn

Author Archives: Dorothy Read

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Readmore Christmas Tree

The Readmore Christmas Tree Arrives!

We look forward to putting up our 18-foot or so Readmore Christmas Tree every year. We put it in

IT TAKES A VILLAGE to decorate this tree!

IT TAKES A VILLAGE to decorate this tree!

the Great Hall and run it right up through the atrium! Then we have our friends and guests help us trim it up! Sometimes it takes a few days for everything to make its way to the tree, but there is always mulled cider and some decorated cookies to make the task even more pleasurable.

Our beautiful holly bush was damaged last winter, to the ground, but has regrown beautifully. However, no berries this year! So I will have to make my way to the farm stand to acquire the greens this year. If I had a little more free time, I’d probably just wire cranberries to balsam trimmings from the Christmas tree, but there are too many other fun projects waiting for my attention!

I’ve dusted off my holiday CDs, found the Santa sleigh for the table, and the ritual of decking the halls has begun. We’ve had snow (I won’t mention the freezing rain, although it can be beautiful as well), colder weather, and lots of fires in the fireplaces. Now is the time for tea and mulled cider and a good book. It is a good time to remember to take a break for ourselves as well, so think about getting away, perhaps right here for our post-holiday relaxation weekend, always popular!

Relax weekend special.

I’ve started my holiday baking, just to keep slightly ahead of things, and because I already have events coming up! Parmesan/herb crackers (the dough freezes well) are on the list of things to do today!

Have a wonderful holiday season, and we hope to see you soon!

Dorothy

Holly

 

 

 

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Vermont Autumn

Vermont Autumn

 

It happened.

I turned my back, and Autumn slipped right in the back door after a hot, humid day of short sleeves and sandals. But as the seasons turn, we look forward to all that the fall has to offer in Vermont, and that is a lot.

Vermont Autumn. Chilly weather, yes, but that means birch wood burning in the fireplace, and mulled cider at the side. Foliage festivals and apple festivals, scarecrows and pumpkins. Big piles of leaves to rake, and jump into. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Family and friends and food. I’ve started cutting back perennials and planting spring bulbs, always looking ahead.

The menu changes from peaches to spiced pears, frosty glasses of iced tea to steaming pots of hot Earl Grey, and sweet corn moves to the side allowing room for turnips, potatoes, and squashes. We think soup, and pies, and comfort food, food that will warm you up, and food that there is plenty of to share.

One of the favorites at Readmore is an apple-stuffed French toast that is not overly sweet, and if the mulled cider makes its way from the tea table to the breakfast table, no one has been known to complain. We serve homemade applesauce, apple fritters, apple muffins, and apple pie. Pumpkin mousse, pumpkin tarts, pumpkin soup, and pumpkin quiche!

There are still fall berries, and a little corn left, but soon the frost will give us a wake up, trees will start to drop their leaves, and we’ll settle into the new season.

The month of November still has lots to offer in the area, even when the leaves have mostly fallen to the side.

We natives turn to some of our regular events: the annual Empty Bowl Dinner and Auction which helps to support our local food pantry and kitchen. Join us! We’ll even give you a break.

Thanksgiving weekend in Vermont is a ritual of the locals, our special holiday shopping day that has nothing to do with mega stores. For decades the arts and crafts tours held throughout the area on Thanksgiving weekend offer tours and demonstrations of artists and craftspersons so you can make your own holiday magical.

And, we always have lots of music events, as well.

       Zoe Muth Concert: This year, we plan a concert with Zoe Muth right here at Readmore. Book that Sunday, Nov. 30, and you’ll get to see Readmore transformed into a music hall! We move the furniture, roll up the rugs, set up a mic and chairs, and sit back and enjoy the music. AND, you get your ticket to the concert! To sample her music, go to zoemuth.com

Zoe Muth 1

For more information about Zoe’s music, please visit her website HERE

* Empty Bowl Project. On Sunday, Nov. 2, our local food pantry Our Place Drop In Center hosts its annual Empty Bowl Dinner and Auction. For more information on this important project, please go to the website: http://www.emptybowls.net

Local artists donate their pottery for the event, and local restaurants and inns contribute the soup for the amazing supper. Your ticket gets you the bowl as well as dinner and the auction.

Readmore guests get 20% off their room rate for this evening’s stay if they attend the event. Please let us know if you would like us to get tickets for you.

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Local Arts and Crafts Tours Thanksgiving Weekend

We’ll have maps!

Twelfth Annual Walpole Artisans Tour November 29, 30

See artisans creating their art under one roof! Their gift shop will be open at 52 Main Street in Walpole, NH. The artisans will be demonstrating at Chris Sherwin’s studio located just across the river at 33 Bridge Street in Bellows Falls, VT.

More information here.

Putney Crafts Tour November 28, 29. 30

The artisans of the 35th annual Putney Craft Tour invite you to visit their studios and see firsthand where they create unique objects and fine art and to explore a wonderful part of southeastern Vermont. With 26 studios, there is ample opportunity to spend just a couple of hours or a couple of days exploring our beautiful countryside of rolling hills and meandering roads all colored in the muted tapestry of the late Fall. Each studio offers the visitor a reflection of the personality of its artist and the work created inside. Many of them offer demonstrations and all of us are happy to talk about their work and the process of its creation.

more information here

 Dorothy’s Mulled Cider

And now, the cider I’ve been talking about, or, at least how I made it one day…

            In MY book, anything that uses a lot of spices defies a strict recipe. It just doesn’t happenth-2here in my kitchen. I use spices as the mood dictates, and I like to change it up just to experiment and keep it interesting.

 

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1 tsp. ground ginger

6 or 8 whole cloves

3 star anise

1 tbsp. dried orange peel

2 quarts fresh apple cider

In a large sauce pot, place the spices over medium heat and stir until you start to smell a lovely aroma of the spices. Add the orange peel and the cider, reduce the heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Set aside off the heat an let cool for a few minutes, then strain. If there is any left over, it is great reheated, or even as a chilled drink. If you want to fancy it up, add a cinnamon stick to each cup and serve.

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Blueberry Season in Vermont!

Blueberry Season in Vermont

 

It’s Blueberry Season in Vermont, and high summer, and everything is possible.

Blueberry season also means there is a delightful bounty of fruits and vegetables of every sort, and no reason to have anything on your plate not grown locally. Our gardens are filled with blooms, our streams with canoes and kayaks, our country stores with the curious, and our back roads and byways are dotted with painters and photographers.

The shelves at our farm stands creak under their loads of squash and beans, corn and peppers, tomatoes and cabbage. And if you are not careful, your back porch will become the unsuspecting repository for drive-by zucchini drop-offs from well-meaning gardener friends who planted, let’s say, a couple of extra plants “just in case.”

We measure time in Vermont in terms of our own seasons: blueberry season, corn season, tomato season, mud season, leaf peeping season, and, of course, ski season.

Right now, we have blueberries tucked in every corner of the kitchen. We pick them at bountiful best, when they are practically falling off the bushes, and freeze them for use all winter long. Well, at least those that actually make it to the berry pail and not our mouths! One of our favorite starters at Readmore is a simple bowl of freshly picked sweet blueberries, light cream, and the tiniest dusting of fine sugar on top. Our guests seldom complain about this one, and often it sparks childhood memories! And in February, High Summer in Vermont is served up on your plates in the form of blueberry pancakes and muffins!

Here is one of my favorite recipes for Blueberry Muffins: RECIPE.

Supper tonight will be corn, that’s it, just corn, roasted or grilled outside (with or without butter, it’s not necessary at all). What’s left, I’ll take off the cob and use in corn fritters in the morning. The early corn this year is much sweeter than some years, so it will be a treat for my guests.

Soon, it will be my favorite season, blackberry season, so stay tuned!

 

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Strawberry Season!

   Strawberry Season in Vermont:

Our Official Beginning of Summer

Strawberry Season! It is one of Vermont’s official seasons, the one that comes after Black Fly Season and Trout Season.

This is the time I wait for all year! First of all, the roses are blooming. A morning stroll in the garden with a steamy cup of coffee, a few quiet moments in the Gazebo at dusk, and the scent of roses fills the air. Life is good. The farm stands are filled with everything from quirky little garlic scapes to vine-ripened tomatoes, and every kind of green imaginable! We can pick a rainbow at the counter, and feel virtuous with every meal.

When strawberries are in season, you know that summer is really here, and now they are coming fast and furious. Blueberries are poised for their debut, and local cherries have already made their way to a large jar of brandy for use next year.

It's Strawberry Season in Vermont, a special kind of hunting season...

It’s Strawberry Season in Vermont, a special kind of hunting season…

I spent an afternoon this weekend making and canning my conventional strawberry jam recipe, to pull out all winter long. I just follow the basic powdered pectin instructions, and since this year the strawberries are nice and sweet, the jam is terrific. Some years, the strawberries are watery, and I’ve found it is hardly worth the time of putting them up because the flavor will be lacking. Sometimes I add a little orange zest and juice for an extra element, but when the strawberries are as good as this year, that is not necessary.

I also made a quick fresh jam this past weekend, with the addition of a little lavender balsamic vinegar. It was great, and it was done in 20 minutes. I was using up the last of a quart of strawberries, and it this hassle-free version will keep in my refrigerator for about a month (assuming, of course, that it lasts that long…). And it’s not just for toast, I put it on roasted chicken the other night for supper, and it was a hit with all. Here’s the recipe>.

Our guests have feasted on Strawberries Romanoff, Strawberry Soup, Strawberry Smoothies, Strawberries and Cream, and Strawberry Shortcake Waffles.

When we are not wiping strawberry juice off our chins, we are enjoying all the wonderful things Vermont has to offer in the summer: long, long daylight hours, peepers at dusk, fireflies, hiking, boating, swimming, garden tours, chamber music, plays, art and crafts fairs, book sales, antiques, fine dining. You name it, we have it!

 

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May and the Fiddleheads have arrived!

Fiddleheads: A New England Delicacy!

      Not a moment too soon, the fiddlehead ferns (or just fiddleheads if you prefer) have arrived and I’ve already cooked up a big batch! My sister-in-law has her secret patch by the river all staked out for us, and she has promised more, if I cook them, and indeed I will. Last night’s dish was prepared with a little garlic and a bunch of luscious ramps, which are wild leeks and an enticing early spring green. These are my favorite. Mix the two together, and there is nothing better, especially for sun-deprived northerners who need some fresh green in their diets just about now.

My Uncle Leonard used to forage many things from the forest, a variety of mushrooms, butternuts, ramps,  Indian cucumbers, groundnuts, all kinds of delicacies. But he loved the fiddleheads best, perhaps because they were the first harvest of the year. Many of our guests, especially those who are not from New England, have never even heard of fiddleheads. Once they try them, with their delicious asparagus taste and texture, they become fans. I’ve had guest write to me and tell me that since they tried them at Readmore, they now see them everywhere. Of course, they were always there, but now they are on their radar.

 

They're here! New England's spring delicacy, fiddlehead ferns! Enhanced with local mushrooms and first-of-the season asparagus, topped with poached eggs for great flavor.

They’re here! New England’s spring delicacy, fiddlehead ferns! Enhanced with local mushrooms and first-of-the season asparagus, topped with poached eggs for great flavor.

As my fiddleheads were soaking, and the rain drizzled outside, the mail arrived and quite by surprise I received a package from Yankee Magazine. Imagine how delighted I was to find that Readmore has been named one of the Best of New England lodging establishments (only six in Vermont, and 40 New England wide) and the editors’ choice for May/june for the “Best B&B for Readers.” They sent a lovely plaque which I’m planning to have framed. I have daffodils and violets and any number of other spring bulbs dancing about. The weeping cherry is blooming, grass actually needs to be cut, and my chives are already giving me great bounty. Spring in Vermont is good! P.S. for the recipe for fiddleheads, and explanation of what they are exactly, click HERE.

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My Grandmother’s Tourtiere, French Canadian Meat Pie (& other recipes)

canadian-meat-pie

An old family recipe that has been traditionally served at Christmas Eve.

Mémé’s Good Times Tourtiere

           Meat Pies, (or tourtiere) are a traditional French Canadian dish, a treat that was served in our family on Christmas Eve and other special occasion. There is nothing better than a family recipe that has been handed down, and this one takes a little time, but is worth the effort, and you can even make it vegetarian! This is my version as I have substituted the local ground turkey for the beef and pork, but if you eat red meat, you may use it here; there are many options for locally raised, sustainable meats.

            This makes two bountiful pies, and they freeze well.

One large luscious onion, diced

1 tbsp. duck fat or olive oil

2 pounds Vermont ground turkey

1 pound fresh Vermont pork sausage, broken up

1 tbsp. poultry seasoning

1 tsp. dried sage, or 1 tbsp. fresh, minced

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. hot Hungarian paprika (my addition!)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 large bay leaf

Chicken stock or water to almost cover, about two cups (homemade is best!)

One sleeve crackers smashed into crumbs

1 cup local, organic diced potatoes, precooked but still a bit firm

2 Double butter crust pastry recipes

Egg wash

 

Sautee the onion in the fat in a large pan. Add the turkey burger, sausage, spices, and enough stock to just cover with bits poking their heads up. You can also use just plain water here, that’s what my grandmother used. Bring to boil, cover, reduce, and slow cook on low heat, covered, about an hour, stirring now and then. The house will smell like Christmas Eve!

Remove the lid, stir, and remove some of the fat and liquid that has accumulated. Add crackers and potatoes. Stir well, and spoon back a little of the liquid if need be. The mixture should be very soft and moist, but with no visible pools of liquid.

Pour into two prepared bottom crusts and make smooth. Add the top crusts, and always a little pastry decoration. This is, after all, holiday food, so it should look as pretty as it tastes. I like to decorate with little leaves made from the pastry trimmings. Brush all with an egg wash made of an exquisite organic egg and a little cold water.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 to 50 minutes. It should be golden brown! Check when the house starts to smell really good.

Let set at least 20 minutes before cutting. Traditionally, this was served with a brown gravy, but I like it much better with a wild foraged hen-of-the woods mushroom gravy on the side.

I’ve also made this with the Gimme Me Lean Soy Sausage in place of the meat, and I’ve made it with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Mix pie crust. It will works!

 

My grandmother Dolora around 1930. Many of her recipes, from her own mother, have been handed down in our family.
My grandmother Dolora around 1930. Many of her recipes, from her own mother, have been handed down in our family.

 

Other tempting and popular recipes

from Readmore Bed & Breakfast Inn:

*Please click on the title or the photo for the complete recipe.

 

Fiddleheads and Poached Eggs, here’s a recipe featuring a New England Delicacy!

New England's spring delicacy, fiddlehead ferns! Enhanced with local mushrooms and first-of-the season asparagus, topped with poached eggs for great flavor.
New England’s spring delicacy, fiddlehead ferns! Enhanced with local mushrooms and first-of-the season asparagus, topped with poached eggs for great flavor.

 

Mom’s Secret Recipe Baking Powder Biscuits

Light and fluffy, these baking powder biscuits can be enhanced with cheese or herbs.
Light and fluffy, these baking powder biscuits can be enhanced with cheese or herbs.

 

OK, you’ve got the biscuits, now you need some Zesty Lemon Curd to enhance them!

One of our favorite enhancements at Afternoon Tea at Readmore.
One of our favorite enhancements at Afternoon Tea at Readmore.

 

 

Maple Baked Egg Cups, a recipe for success!

Maple Baked Egg Cups - A little sweet, a little savory, a lot of Vermont flavor!
Maple Baked Egg Cups – A little sweet, a little savory, a lot of Vermont flavor! 

Quick Strawberry Balsamic Jam

It's Strawberry Season in Vermont, a special kind of hunting season...

It’s Berry Season in Vermont, a special kind of hunting season…Above, Brandied Cherries will come alive in about six months, and strawberry jam will be appreciated all year long.

 

 

 Afternoon Tea? A Primer for the Unexperienced

High Tea? Afternoon Tea? Cream Tea? What in the world are we talking about? And how can we entertain with elegance and simplicity?
High Tea? Afternoon Tea? Cream Tea? What in the world are we talking about? And how can we entertain with elegance and simplicity? 

Local Cheese Platter: How to Create a lovely presentation

A platter of local cheeses is always quickly devoured at a party, or even a simple family supper.
A platter of local cheeses is always quickly devoured at a party, or even a simple family supper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Take a tour of the Vermont Country Store while in Rockingham

Vermont Country Store Rockingham

Photo of Vermont Country Store

The Vermont Country Store in Rockingham Vermont

The Vermont Country Store in Rockingham is just a few minutes from Readmore, and is famous for not only the unique selection of “general store” items, but for the nostalgia they carry as well. The old floors still creek, the scent of apothecary fills the air, and even in the winter, the light that filters in through the windows highlights many a long-forgotten item.

Yes, as you cruise the aisles of the Vermont Country Store, you’ll find and sample a lovely selection of our famous Vermont cheese, many made right in the Rockingham area from sharp Cheddar to soft bries, and to serve alongside, there are chutneys, mustards, and flavorful dips. There’s Coke in a bottle, Ovaltine, dried beans, wax lips, old-fashioned sour pickles in a barrel, candy by the piece and black licorice whips, homemade fudge, blackberry jam and apple cider jellies, ladies cotton nightgowns, flannel shirts, and rose-scented bath salts. There’s pepper crackers and corn relish, hard-to-find cleaning products, feathered hats, hand-knit sweaters, books, striped linen dish towels, bird-feeding supplies, bag balm and duct tape (don’t forget the various salves, potions, and lotions your grandmother used, still offered in the same tins)! Just to ensure you are on the right track, there are testers of everything so you can douse yourself in the same Evening in Paris perfume you bought your mother for Christmas when you were seven.

Are you looking for a gift for a child? The Vermont Country Store carries a great selection of both hand-made toys and (new) vintage toys you forgot you loved, such as Mr. Potato Head or Operation. A loaded checkerboard invites shoppers to stop for a few minutes for a quick game, while the kids delight in trying out the new finds (from their parents’ childhood) and looking at the assortment of board games that don’t even require a battery!

Another really popular feature of the Vermont Country Store is the sales room on the second floor where many a bargain is to be found, and the famous summer-long tent sales on the front lawn of the Rockingham store, rain or shine, right through the Autumn foliage season. Where else can you find a Princess telephone or typewriter that uses an inked ribbon?

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My Grandmother’s French Canadian Meat Pies “Tourtiere”

canadian-meat-pie

An French Canadian Meat Pie, tourtiere, old family recipe that has been traditionally served at Christmas Eve, with a bit of a modern update from my own kitchen.

 

 

Dorothy’s grandmother offered up French Canadian Meat Pies on the holidays

French Canadian Meat Pie, or Tourtiere is a traditional dish passed down in my family, a treat that was served in our family on Christmas Eve and other special occasion. This is my version as I have substituted the local ground turkey and sausage for the usual beef and pork, but if you eat red meat, you may use it here; there are many options for locally raised, sustainable meats. Of course, when my grandmother made a French Canadian meat pie, she used the most sustainable meat possible, that which was raised on her own farm. I’ve also made it with ground soy protein, and it tastes pretty much the same! In fact, one meat eater grabbing seconds didn’t realize he had served himself from the vegetarian pie!

            This makes two bountiful pies, and they freeze well.

 

Mémé’s Good Times French Canadian Meat Pie “Tourtiere”

recipe for French Canadian Meat Pie

 

One large luscious onion, diced

1 tbsp. duck fat or olive oil

2 pounds Vermont ground turkey

1 pound fresh Vermont pork sausage, broken up

tbsp. poultry seasoning

1 tsp. dried sage, or 1 tbsp. fresh, minced

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

¼ tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. hot Hungarian paprika (my addition!)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 large bay leaf

Chicken stock or water to almost cover, about two cups

One sleeve crackers smashed into crumbs

1 cup local, organic diced potatoes, precooked but still a bit firm

2 Double butter crust pastry recipes

Egg wash

 

Sautee the onion in the fat in a large pan. Add the turkey burger, sausage, spices, and enough stock to just cover with bits poking their heads up. You can also use just plain water here, that’s what my grandmother used. Bring to boil, cover, reduce, and slow cook on low heat, covered, about an hour, stirring now and then. The house will smell like Christmas Eve!

Remove the lid, stir, and remove some of the fat and liquid that has accumulated. Add crackers and potatoes. Stir well, and spoon back a little of the liquid if need be. The mixture should be very soft and moist, but with no visible pools of liquid.

Pour into two prepared bottom crusts and make smooth. Add the top crusts, and always a little pastry decoration. This is, after all, holiday food, so it should look as pretty as it tastes. I like to decorate with little leaves made from the pastry trimmings. Brush all with an egg wash made of an exquisite organic egg and a little cold water.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 to 50 minutes. It should be golden brown! Check when the house starts to smell really good.

Let set at least 20 minutes before cutting. Traditionally, this was served with a brown gravy, but I like it much better with a wild foraged hen-of-the woods mushroom gravy on the side.

 

My grandmother Dolora around 1930.

My grandmother Dolora around 1930.

 

Tour this and OTHER RECIPES HERE!