This Past Weekend

Pizza Margherita
Peach & Raspberry Cobbler by Susan
Clematis
Zinnia
Local Farm Stand Corn
Freddy
Morning Glory
Roses and Garden Statue
Japanese Stake and Spinach Stir Fry
Bruce’s Garden
Corn Raspberry Muffins

Herb-Crusted Haddock

This is delicious. Herb-Crusted Haddock with Tomato Maple Salsa. Served with Asparagus with Lemon Chive Sauce.

All recipes from one of my favorite cookbooks–both a wonderful cookbook and garden design book, by Ellen Ecker Ogden.

The Haddock recipe called for a Fresh Fennel Salsa but I forgot to buy the fennel when I was grocery shopping so I made the Tomato Maple Salsa, which was out-of-this world!

Ellen writes:

“In Vermont we add maple syrup to everything, including fresh tomatoes and herbs for a fresh, tangy salsa. The sweet syrup tames the acidity of tomatoes, add the small bite of hot peppers and it is an explosion of flavors. Don’t be daunted by the list of ingredients, it all comes together quickly.”

Ingredients

6 medium vine ripe tomatoes (3 pounds)
2 sweet peppers, finely diced (2½ cups)
2 medium onions, finely diced (2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced (1 teaspoon)
1 Habanera pepper, minced (1 tablespoon)
1 Jalapeno pepper, minced (2 tablespoons)
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Juice of 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)
Juice of 1 lime (1 to 2 tablespoons)
1-teaspoon sea salt
1-teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Instructions

  1. Trim the tops off the tomatoes and gently squeeze out the juice and the seeds from the interior cavities. Discard the insides and coarsely chop the tomato flesh into half-inch pieces and place in a large bowl. You should have about 5 cups of chopped tomatoes. Add the sweet peppers, onions, and garlic and set aside.
  2. With a paring knife, trim the tops off the Habanera and the Jalapeno peppers; slice them in half and remove the seeds. (Be careful not to touch your eyes or your face and clean the cutting board, knife, and your hands carefully when done!) Slice and finely mince into very small pieces, adding them to the tomato and sweet pepper.
  3. Add the herbs, juice from the lemon and the lime, salt, and cumin; finally, pour in the maple syrup and soy sauce. Mix together well, taste, and add seasoning. Place salsa in the refrigerator overnight so the flavors can blend. You may need to drain some of the liquid from the salsa that has accumulated overnight. Salsa will keep for up to a week.

I baked the Haddock at 375 for about 20 minutes. It was coated with a mix of:

1 1/2 cups of bread crumbs
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh savory, finely chopped
Salt & Pepper

I roasted the Asparagus as I baked the haddock. The Sauce recipe follows:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • Zest from 1 lemon, about 1 tablespoon
  • Fresh chives, about 1 tablespoon chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 pound asparagus ( 12-16 spears), tough ends snapped off

In a medium bowl, mash together the cheese and yogurt until smooth. Whisk in the lemon zest, chives, cumin and sugar. Season with salt and pepper.

We loved these recipes from Ellen so much so that a few days later I made a version of her Tarragon Chicken Salad with Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing!

A Few Days In Vermont

Three weeks ago, we spent a few days in Bennington, Vermont. We had never been to Bennington. We went to visit a friend of Susan’s who was visiting her mom in Bennington.

According to the Bennington, Vermont website:

“History, colleges, cafés, world-class golf, an acclaimed healthcare center. Mountains, museums, innovative industries, and a vibrant arts scene. The view from the 306-foot-tall Bennington Monument, built to commemorate the Patriot victory at the Battle of Bennington. A lively downtown, home of Bennington Potters and other one-of-a-kind enterprises. The classic New England villages of Old Bennington, home of Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain Boys, and North Bennington (one-way traffic on covered bridges, please!) Distinctive places to stay, to eat — and to get married. Bennington has it all!

“Modern-day Bennington is teeming with outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs, budding entrepreneurs, and free-spirited artists — all coming together to fashion a lively community.

“The SMU National Center for Arts Research has consistently hailed Bennington in its top-ten most vibrant arts communities. This is an honor we wear proudly as their Arts Vibrancy Index tracks more than 900 communities in the U.S.

“And Yankee Magazine gets us too.

“Bennington, a jumble of artsy shops and cafés that have a jittery beat-poet buzz, spiced up with some highly regarded museums”

We had not been away from home on a vacation since our trip to Hamilton, Ontario. Of course, the pandemic prevented us all from travel this past year and now that we were both vaccinated this was a great opportunity to spend a few days away from home, exploring a town know for its “artsy shops and cafes.” It might also be a place where we could retire–find a small cottage within walking distance of artsy shops and cafes.

We stayed at the lovely Harwood Hill Motel, located on 4 acres of park-like grounds on the north side of Bennington, set into a hillside surrounded by apple orchards on one side and mountains on the other. The view from our cottage.

The grounds and rooms are filled with art–paintings and sculpture. In fact, we bought a painting that was hanging in our room!

Painting by Barb Case. “Fall’s Abundance.”

And here it is on display in our home (Nude photo by Bruce.)

We did not need to check-in as Harwood had a contactless check-in-and-out policy. But look at this office!

As we drove past the office, we were greeted with this beautiful view. That’s Mt Anthony in the distance and the Bennington Battle Monument; a 306′ tall blue limestone obelisk serves as a tribute to the Green Mountain Boys of the American Revolutionary War.

Our cottage was just beyond and behind the garage where a light breakfast was served every morning.

Cottage B for Bruce. So kind of Harwood to put my initial on the cottage! The cottage was clean and beautifully decorated with art.

Here are a few photos of the sculptures scattered around the property:

I bought a few bottles of special wine for our stay at Harwood. Unfortunately, I forgot to pack them in the car. So I went to the state store and bought a few bottles in town. While out and about I saw this:

And this, which is for sale. Strike!

Susan relaxing in a hammock on the grounds:

Soon Maria and her dog, Bailey, arrived and we spent hours talking and enjoying a glass or two of wine along with cheese and crackers.

The next morning:

Maria recommended that we visit Manchester which is a short distance north from Bennington. Here are a few photos of our visit to Manchester.

The Manchester Riverwalk is a short pleasant path through a wooded glen beside the West Branch of the Battenkill River. Reading from Manchester Life Magazine:

“Manchester became a prosperous commercial hub by the mid-1800s, thanks to this hardworking river. Standing near the spillway at the Factory Point Town Green on Depot Street, you see just a small part of the Battenkill. The river rises close by at Mount Tabor in East Dorset, and courses more than 59 miles in all, eventually converging with the mighty Hudson River at Easton, New York; 28 miles flow southerly, then westerly through Vermont. The short section of the river running through Manchester Center has a long story to tell about how the town was settled and grew. In the late 1700s and first half of the 1800s, you would have seen busy mills and factories drawing on the waterpower. You would have perhaps been one of the hundreds of men, women, and children arriving at dawn, toiling away as long as there was daylight, and then wearily trudging home again at dusk, six days a week. Where are all those factories now? And, how did the river become so hidden here? Aside from the natural beauty, there’s so much to tell about this one river’s role in Vermont’s early economy.”

Back in Bennington, we walked along Main Street and had lunch at Ramuntos, where Susan had a Cobb Salad and I had a burger and a slice of Thai Basil pizza, one of the best slices I have ever eaten. We then walked some more stopping at The Bennington Bookshop, Vermont’s oldest independent bookstore, where we purchased a copy of a new journal, Vermont Almanac, a beautiful and fascinating collection of stories, profiles, history, photos and much more.

We didn’t have time to look for a cute cottage near artsy shops and cafes but we found this B&B for sale in Bennington. Susan could greet guests and I could cook.

It’s only $1.5 million, too!