Looking back at all my previous blog posts, I realize that I can come across as a little one-dimensional. This post will both reinforce that idea while also dispelling it. I can be a bit of a Vermont-loving, comfort food-makin’ one trick pony. I can’t help but be inspired by Vermont and I can’t help loving warm, comforting food. But I do, in fact, branch out. With the arrival of spring (or so I’m told. It’s currently snowing in NYC), comes my craving for fresh and healthy foods. What better way to welcome the spring than by making a big ole salad inspired by my trip to Vermont last weekend (is anyone really surprised)?
I took a quick jaunt up to Waterbury and Stowe with two good friends for a much needed getaway from the city and as a sort of “farewell to winter.” We stayed in a cozy Airbnb in Waterbury with a wood-burning stove and skis mounted on the wall. So many #vermontvibes there. It was wonderful. It snowed on Saturday night, giving us a nice, new layer of snow for skiing and snowshoeing.
It was so nice to be able to take a winter trip up to Stowe to show my friends one of my favorite places. When we weren’t dedicating ourselves to outdoor activities, we toured the town to see all my favorite shops. Two places I absolutely must go while in Stowe can both be found on Mountain Road. The first is Stowe Kitchen, Bath, & Linens. We’ve been going there for years and it has been a great resource for dorm linens all the way to helping populate my first kitchen. I did not walk out empty-handed this trip, either (I never do).
Another favorite in Stowe is Harvest Market. In the summer we stop there for light lunches and to stock up on delicious hors d’ouevres for cocktail hour. One of our favorites there is goat cheese marinated in olive oil and roast garlic. Something tells me that may pop up on here sooner or later. This trip we got some simple snacks for our après-ski cocktail hour. I also picked up some wine from Shelburne Vineyard called Cayuga White. I know Vermont isn’t what everyone thinks of when they think of great American wine, but I love Shelburne Vineyards. If you’re ever up there, try to snag some!
We did get to try something new while we were there. Since we stayed in Waterbury and not Stowe, we tried one of our Airbnb hosts’ favorite restaurants for dinner one night. It was a spot called The Prohibition Pig and it was there that I encountered the salad that inspired this one right here. After one helluva cheeseburger the night before (at Plate in Stowe) and all the cheese I sampled at the Cabot Creamery Annex (one of my friends is lactose intolerant and I dragged her there…twice), a big salad was definitely in order.
This salad was called the Staff Meal and it had arugula, Brussels sprouts, grapes, farro, toasted hazelnuts, parmesan, and a shallot-honey vinaigrette. It was everything I needed and wanted.
On our way home, we made our second stop at Cabot to pick a few things up. One of the samples we tried on our first stop there was a dip of maple mustard mixed with cream cheese and it was divine. I made sure to pick up a jar of the maple mustard and immediately thought of all the wonderful vinaigrettes I could make with it. And that, my friends, is how I decided to make a preeeeetty bomb salad inspired by Vermont and the Prohibition Pig’s masterpiece.
I could obviously go on about Vermont for quite a while longer; that won’t be changing any time soon. But for now I’ll leave you with the recipe for my Ode to Vermont Salad. The beauty is in its diversity. If you don’t like something, switch it out. Feel like it needs something else? Throw it in. Tell me if you do! I’d love to hear. And with warmer weather approaching (thank God), you can expect some healthier options popping up here. But don’t worry – there will still be more pastas, pastries, and pinches of wine.
Ode to Vermont Salad
Serves: 3-4 people for dinner, with a nice hunk of bread
1 bunch of kale (curly or Tuscan, your choice)
1 package of Brussels sprouts (usually around ¾ lb), roasted
5 slices of thick slab bacon, cooked
1 cup cooked barley
¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 chicken breast, halved and cooked
A handful of dried cranberries
2 radishes, sliced
Parmesan cheese, for serving
2 tablespoons of Vermont Maple Country Mustard + and additional tablespoon of maple syrup
OR 2 tablespoons maple syrup and 1 tablespoon of coarse grain mustard
¼ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup of olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
- Cut or rip your kale into bite-sized pieces, place in a salad bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil, then massage the kale.
- Add the Brussels sprouts, bacon, barley, chicken, cranberries, radishes, and almonds to the kale.
- For the vinaigrette: In a mixing cup or small bowl, add the Vermont Maple Country Mustard, additional maple syrup (or the maple syrup+mustard), the shallot, the white wine vinegar, and the olive oil. Whisk vigorously until everything is emulsified. Add salt and pepper for seasoning.
- Add the vinaigrette to the salad, toss, and serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan. Congratulations, you’re eating like a Vermonter (I think?)!