Vermont welcomes the arrival of the first day of fall! Nature’s color palette will soon be ablaze here at Pond Mountain Inn – birches with brightening yellows, vibrant red maples still to come all with mountain backdrops of fading green. Frosty mornings will give way to cool crisp days perfect for mountain hiking and coming together once again with nature.
Our late summer dish has basil from our garden and broccoli from a local farm just down the road – we love having fresh local ingredients so widely available here in Vermont! This was absolutely delicious and great weeknight quick meal.
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Ready in 30 minutes
- 1 pound Bucatini or Perciatelli Pasta
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup pesto (recipe below)
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (crab meat optional)
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add Bucatini pasta, and cook for 9 to 13 minutes, or until al dente; drain.
Steam broccoli, covered, 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Set aside.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in cream, and season with pepper. Cook 4 to 6 minutes, stirring constantly.
Stir Basil Pesto into cream sauce, stirring until thoroughly mixed. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until thickened.
Stir in the shrimp, and cook until they turn pink, about 5 minutes. Serve over the hot Bucatini.
Basil Pesto Sauce
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Olive oil (for covering)
Put all ingredients except olive oil into a blender or food processor and process, scraping down side of bowl once or twice, until mixture is smooth.
Transfer to a freezer container or jar and cover with 1/2 inch of olive oil on top.
Keeps for several weeks in the refrigerator.
Scoop oil off top with a spoon before using. Pour it back over any unused portion and return to refrigerator.
Heading south on Vermont Route 30 from Wells to Manchester you’ll discover five general stores – four of which are still operating! What makes them so interesting? First, it’s the simplicity and thoughtfulness of early New England architecture. Then, it’s the incredible variety of goods and services from one general store to the next that make each so fascinating – mostly locally-sourced products you’d never find anywhere else and the ice cream is simply local. But, writing a treatise about their varied product and service offerings is no substitute for discovering them yourself. I always like seeing the hoof cream not far from the deli counter… makes me curious about the extent of vertical integration here in Vermont. Below are two farther afield general store standouts and the five you’ll discover leaving Pond Mountain Inn on your way to Manchester. Pursuing Vermont’s Historic General Stores is a great way to spend a day or an afternoon!
F.H. Gillingham General Store, Woodstock; since 1886 this store is renowned throughout New England. A quintessential Vermont General Store! Step back in time when you visit this 131 year old store and find both traditional and latest products all in one place. See why they have always been the “source” for gift boxes of all shapes and sizes for any occasion throughout Woodstock and New England and don’t miss a visit to the archives of the building that has a vast collection of artifacts and documents about the Gillingham family and Woodstock’s social history. https://www.gillinghams.com/
J.J. Hapgood & Eatery, Peru; is the longest continuously running general store in the state. Over the past 150 years it has been a post office, market, hardware store and a meeting place for friends and neighbors. Well known for their creative lunches (a must have is the authentic wood-fired pizzas) and dinner is enjoyed with their fine wines or beer. They also have exceptional dry goods and is far more polished than its general store counterparts. The interior is wonderfully decorated with exceptional local artifacts since its renovation in 2013. A fun fact from their website: “The store—and a local cow—was famously featured in the 1987 film Baby Boom, staring Diane Keaton and Sam Shepard.” http://jjhapgood.com/
From Pond Mountain Inn Heading South on Route 30…
The Wells Country Store, Wells; people from all over including our guests come for the baked goods! The sandwiches, homemade pizza, soup and ice cream is incredible! But what makes this place so special is Juli & Tim’s love of community. Funny story… Juli & Tim once drove to our inn to return one of our guest’s packages that had been left behind – they met our guests, joined the party and stayed for a glass of wine! https://www.facebook.com/TheWellsCountryStore/
Mach’s General Store, Pawlet; closed last year is said to become a microbrewery and eatery was originally the Franklin Hotel, built in 1808 that gave way to Mach’s Store in 1945 has a brook and waterfall running through its center, which is visible from inside. We look forward to its opening.
Sheldon Market, Pawlet; the only gas station on Route 30 between Wells and Manchester. The store is small, but don’t underestimate its contribution – the parking lot is always full for a reason.
The Dorset Union Store, Dorset; celebrated its 200th anniversary last year, the owners succeed with staying true to its authentic character and is exceptional in every way! Purveyors of Necessities and Frivolities since 1816 they offer a Deli with made-to-order sandwiches, soups and more. A Bakery with breakfast treats such as freshly baked muffins, scones, croissants, and donuts. Their wine room offers a wide selection of wine, champagne, a selection of local, domestic and imported beer. Their Dinner to Go menu offers entrees such as grilled chicken, fresh salmon or veggie lasagna, with sides and salads. If your looking to take home some Vermont treasures then you must visit their grocery store and don’t leave without picking up what Vermont is known for, Vermont maple syrup and maple candies. https://www.dorsetunionstore.com/
H.N. Williams General Store, Dorset; is the quintessential Vermont country store dating back to 1840 is where we always buy our Vermont Darn Tough socks! A simple and unassuming appearance gives way to a rich product offering from animal feed to hunting and fishing supplies! They have it all including a great deli! https://www.hnwilliams.com/
A cursory glimpse at our local Vermont’s general stores is more about harkening back to a time when life was far simpler. Join us in Vermont for one of the many things that make this place so special. We have a complete listing of all Vermont Country and General Stores.
When was the last time you had a fresh duck egg omelette? Pond Mountain Inn now offers duck eggs for breakfast, which are now available locally as a delightful alternative. Over the last few weeks many of our guests have enjoyed our new offering!
Some of us are fortunate to have experienced the rich, clean flavor of farm-fresh chicken eggs a few days after appearing in the nest and duck eggs are no different. The flavor and nutritional value of a fresh egg is far superior to that of a supermarket egg, which may be over a month old by the time it reaches your kitchen.
What’s the real difference between duck and chicken eggs?
Let’s begin with taste – the flavor is tastier and a bit different, but only slightly – fresh eggs are fresh eggs with the majority of the flavor coming from its freshness. I find the duck egg yolk creamer when having a hard-boiled egg.
Size… duck eggs are considerably larger and the shell is far tougher than a chicken shell, which may allow for a longer shelf-life. Eggs can be stored on the countertop for a month and another month in the fridge – still, fresh is best!
Nutrition… a duck egg will provide about 20% more Kcal of energy than an equal size chicken egg. Carbohydrate content is about identical and the mineral content is also similar with duck eggs containing slightly higher amounts of potassium, copper, phosphorus, manganese, selenium, zinc, calcium, iron, and sodium.
Vitamin content is quite similar too… Vitamins A, B6, B12, D, E, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folate, and retinol are present in both.
The biggest differences are the monounsaturated fat is about 50% more in duck eggs and the cholesterol content is more than twice than its chicken counterpart.
We dry and feed the egg shells for our neighbor’s chickens to help naturally supplement their calcium requirements. Our duck eggs are from Mountain Ledge Farm, Wells, Vermont.
We love duck eggs when we can get them… from omelettes, to fried or scrambled; they’re all great. Our recommendation is come visit us – have us prepare your our duck eggs just the way you like them!
Let the sun do all the cooking. This Pond Mountain Inn favorite is prepared by our host Kay. Once the ingredients have sunbathed you’ll love how the ingredients pair so well together with such robust flavor.
Fresh Tomato Sun Sauce Recipe
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + Sunbathing
YIELD: 4 -6 servings
2 1/2 pounds Fresh Ripe Plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
¼ cup Julienne cut Sun-Dried tomatoes with Italian Herbs (Bella Sun Luci*)
¼ cup Parmesan Cheese
¼ cup minced fresh Italian Parsley
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Spaghetti or Angel Hair pasta
Grated Parmesan cheese
Mix tomatoes together in a large glass bowl (cover) or wide-mouth Mason jar along with sun dried tomatoes, parsley, oil, grated Parmesan cheese and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss well and let the sun do the work until juices are released from the tomatoes – approximately 2-3 hours. Stir occasionally.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain pasta, and toss into a serving bowl with the Sun Sauce. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle generously with grated cheese.
* If Bella Sun Luci sun dried tomatoes are not available in your area please use your local favorite sun dried tomatoes packed in oil.
Intrigued by the clarity of the night sky and the absence of any artificial light we joined the Dorset Astronomy Club. Our first question, like many others, is “what can I see through a $200 telescope?” The short answer – a lot!
Star Gazing at Pond Mountain Inn Without a Telescope
Let’s begin by mentioning what can be seen without a telescope – quite a bit! The International Space Station (ISS) passed by twice last week while having dinner outside with friends. And, with an untrained eye, having ISS Detector app on my telephone is the best way to distinguish the space station from roaming satellites. After only a few sightings, the two are easily distinguishable – the space station has a much larger and brighter footprint. Satellites are quite common – we saw three in fifteen minutes the previous Sunday night!
The broad swath of milky light stretching across the night sky is, of course, the Milky Way Galaxy that never disappoints. The Big Dipper sits directly above our home in the summer, which is somehow very comforting. And, the annual Perseid Meteor Shower two weekends ago was disappointing again this year with large amounts of cloud cover. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for next year…
We see shooting stars about 30% of the time – last summer we saw an incredible meteor streaking across the night’s sky that lasted just a split second – absolutely magnificent!
Planets are easily visible to the naked eye, especially the notable three – Jupiter, Saturn and Mars, but are virtually featureless. The meteor strikes on the moon are nicely apparent with a pair of department store binoculars.
And, there is so much more to see….
A $200 Telescope Certainly Improves Things – A Lot!
The Moon’s craters come alive with a telescope and it’s easily the most impressive object in the sky given its proximity to earth. There are now eight planets, with the absence of Pluto. Jupiter, Saturn and Mars are the “big three” in the sky revealing nice surface characteristics that we hope to share with you in the future!
Kay and I certainly look forward to learning so much more about the night sky and will share photographs of what we see and experience from Vermont… Stay tuned! And, it may be even better in the winter!
Our Pond Mountain Inn guests love these pancakes! After emailing the recipe to so many of our guests we decided to make it easier for everyone. These delicate pancakes at this bed and breakfast are wonderfully light and fluffy – Vermont Maple syrup complements the tangy tartness of the fresh squeezed lemon.
Kay, one of the hosts at Pond Mountain Inn, is known for creating extraordinary breakfasts.
Kay’s Lemon Cottage Cheese Soufflé Pancakes
- 6 eggs, separated
- 1/4 cup canola oil or high quality vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons Rumford Aluminum Free Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon McCormick® Small Batch Pure Vanilla Extract
- 2 cups large curd 4% milkfat cottage cheese
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
Beat the egg whites until firm, then set aside.
In a food processor or blender, combine the egg yolks, oil, salt, baking powder, cottage cheese, maple syrup, lemon juice, lemon zest, and flour, blending until smooth. Pour the batter into a bowl. Fold in the egg whites.
Meanwhile, heat a nonstick griddle or large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, then lightly brush with melted butter or oil.
Pour the batter, about ¼ cup for each pancake, onto the cooking surface.
Cook until the tops are bubbly, then turn and cook until the bottoms are golden browned.
Serve hot with warm maple syrup and or blueberry compote.
Yield: Serves 6
Photo Courtesy of Pond Mountain Inn