Fifteen

Fair warning: there is over a pound of cheese and 9 eggs in this quiche recipe. I’m not saying it is healthy….I’m just saying it is delicious.

Simon Pearce’s Vermont Cheddar Quiche

 What You Will Need

The Crust
1 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose white flour (100 percent USA milled wheat)
1 stick cold unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/3 cup ice water

The Filling
24 ounces extra-sharp Vermont Cheddar cheese, grated and divided into thirds (told you so)
8 ounces filling of your choice (I opted for spinach and ham, but you could also do veggie only or…meat only if you want to go into heart failure sooner rather than later…I’m not judging)
8 large eggs
2 cups cream (not pictured above)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

The prep takes a bit of time, so you could hold off on preheating the oven until after the crust is chilling in the fridge. Either way, your oven will be at 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

First things first, set aside a morning and afternoon to cook this quiche. I’m not kidding. Okay, maybe a little…but you will see, this is a pretty time consuming recipe. It helps if you have bribed two sous-chefs into grating your cheese with the 8 ounces of cheddar that you will not be using in the recipe. After you have done that, you can start.

Start by making the dough for the crust. Chop your butter into little pieces. If you have made pie dough before, this should be an easy step. If you have a pastry blender, add your 1 1/2 cups of flour to the butter and let the blender work it’s magic. I went the old fashioned route and used two butter knives to blend my little butter balls into the flour until it resembled “coarse crumbs”.

 

After you reach this point, go ahead and add 1 large beaten egg and the 1/3 cup of ice water. This is when the fun begins for me……errr, don’t forget to wash your hands!

 

I have an abnormal fear about using too big of a mixing bowl. I always end up in the situation you see here. My suggestion: use a bigger bowl than I did. Your little dough ball should end up looking like the one below. You can turn it onto a lightly floured surface.

 

Roll out your dough….

Once the dough is rolled to a size slightly larger than your 9 inch deep pie plate, you can use this little trick. Lightly flour your rolling pin, then carefully roll your dough around the pin.

Place your pin on your pie plate and roll the dough off of the pin onto the plate. Now you can push your dough into your plate and crimp the edges however you see fit. Place the dough into the fridge for at least one hour.

Now, go watch your dog play in the snow.

Okay, now take your uncooked crust out of the fridge and layer 1/3 of your grated VT cheddar cheese. Then add your filling.

Mix together your 8 eggs and 2 cups of cream, then season with the salt and pepper. Layer your remaining 2/3 of cheese on top of your mixture and create a “well” like the one seen below.

Perfect! Now, slowly (and I mean slowly) pour the egg and cream mixture into the well, allowing time for the cheese to absorb the moisture.

It may leak a little, so place the uncooked quiche on a cookie sheet before placing it in the oven. Bake for 1 hour. After an hour, it should look something like this…

Okay, now rotate the pie plate and bake for another 45 minutes. At this point you will be thinking, “When do I get to eat this quiche?!?!” Patience is a virtue. Or something like that.

When the quiche comes out of the oven, let it sit and de-puff for 10 minutes. Then serve.

Maybe with some warm Vermont maple syrup drizzled over the top…I mean, you’re already eating something made with more than a pound of cheese anyway, right?

 

Now, take a nap. You deserve it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fourteen

In honor of the delicious Vermont Cheddar Quiche that I plan to make this weekend, I thought I should write about where I got the recipe from: Simon Pearce.

So technically, the first Simon Pearce glassblowing shop was opened in Ireland. However, today you can find a gorgeous little shop located along Ottauquechee River in Quechee, VT. The river serves two purposes: a beautiful view, as well as hydroelectric power for the glass furnaces and the electricity for the shop!

Of course the turbine is not the focal point of the shop. I’m sure most people go to view the beautiful pieces of hand blown glass :)

These pictures are from my visit to VT two summers ago. Since then, the shop has had to do some serious recovery after Hurricane Irene hit the Northeast and wreaked havoc on Vermont and the historic covered bridges.

You can find a lot of treasures at Simon Pearce beyond blown glass. If you are in the area and plan to go, make sure to have lunch at the Glassblower Cafe overlooking the river. We obviously lucked out and were there on a gorgeous day.

I will post the Simon Pearce Vermont Cheddar Quiche recipe with pictures later, but I obviously had to give credit where it was due :)

Thirteen

I have had the opportunity to go on a few amazing hikes now that another one of my friends from back east has moved to CO. Last weekend we hiked up to Silver Dollar Lake and Murray Lake. This is near Georgetown, Colorado on Guanella Pass. If you are familiar with the area, but have never done this hike, I definitely recommend it :)Image

You can find the ProTrails.com description here. I’m not going to pretend to be a big hiking expert. I enjoy a nice day hike. I would also say that I am slightly more active than your average person, but I think this trail was very accessible. My friend had moved from sea level about 2 weeks prior (she is also a pretty active individual) and she found it to be an enjoyable hike.

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The sky was very blue, so the lake was a gorgeous aqua color.

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The first snowfall had me thinking that my hiking days for the season were over….sad. BUT! I just ordered a pair of snowshoes that will have me laughing in the face of winter all season long! Couple that with skiing and I am beginning to think that this will be a fantastic winter in Colorado.

Twelve

It is officially Autumn (well, as of yesterday) and the only thing I want to do is bundle up, head into the mountains, and enjoy some yummy seasonal craft beers.

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Unfortunately, it is still registering in the high 70s for the 10 day forecast along the front range. So, I am having to hold off on the flannel and the sweaters, but that doesn’t mean I cannot enjoy some beer!

This weekend we gave Big Choice Brewing a try. Colorado is know for it’s endless amounts of craft breweries and we like to give them all an equal shot, an “innocent until proven guilty” stance to drinking, if you will :)

A lot of breweries are opening up in warehouse/industrial spaces which I have heard has something to do with laws, blah blah blah, I have no idea…I just like to try the beer.

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We walked up to a food truck serving “gourmet grilled cheese”. Thinking that sounded like a perfect pairing for beer sampling, I opted for the French Connection. Not very American, I know…but who can pass up brie and apricot jam joined together on delicious, toasted egg bread? No one in their right mind.

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The warehouse looked a bit empty and we were thinking we had found a dud. It was a Friday night at a brewery. We saw about 3 people sitting at a picnic table inside the opened garage door and brewing equipment…

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Then I glanced to my right and saw the door to the pub. OHHH! They must have invested in some sort of amazing sound proof door because as soon as we entered, it was a whole different world.

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Lots of folks sampling beer and drinking pints. That’s more like it! My favorite part about Big Choice Brewing was the atmosphere. With all of the breweries popping up in the Boulder/Denver area, you of course run into a few that put off the “beer snob” feel. This was not one of those! I loved it. The tap room felt more like a local bar that just happened to brew and serve their own delicious beer.

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I totally recommend the 10,000 Summers Saison, but I’ve also been in a bit of a Saison rut lately (not that, that is a bad thing). I chose the Saison for my pint following the taster. If you want to try an IPA, but are a little weary of hops, I think the Type III IPA would be a good choice. It wasn’t the “hoppiest” I’ve ever had, but it was still a good beer. One that I would probably start some of my girlfriends on that don’t particularly care for beer.

You can find their website here. This isn’t the kind of place that you go to party until the wee hours of the morning (they close at 10:00pm most nights, like most brewery tap rooms), but it is a great place to meet up with some friends and try a few new beers.

Eleven

It is always really hard for me to pass up a good Groupon. I am currently saving for 3 big money items (ski pass, snowshoes, and ski jacket). So when I saw that H Burger was running a Groupon deal a while back I had to practice some self control. Turned out, my boyfriend bought two. This is why I love him.

There have been a ton of burger places popping up around Colorado in the past few years. At one point I overheard someone say “…fancy burger joints are the new steakhouse”. Well, I’ve never been a huge steakhouse girl, but I have made it a personal goal to try all of these new burger joints and decide which one I like best. I think I have found my winner!

We started with a strawberry-mint liquid nitrogen milkshake. After commenting that the shake would be delicious with some bourbon mixed in, it was pointed out to me that they offer an adult version of this milkshake! Jim Beam, peppermint schnapps, fresh strawberries, mint, and vanilla ice cream. I may have to do an at home version :)

The menu at H Burger is not your typical burger shack menu. I stuck to a simple burger, The Standard. Lettuce, tomato, and American cheese. I added a little of the “H sauce” which is a garlic mayonnaise concoction that I am sure Doctors will find somewhere in my arteries from the amount I used on my fries as well.  I don’t like to go too far out of the box.

My boyfriend, on the other hand, likes his burger made out of a less traditional meat. I cannot seem to stomach eating poor little Lambchop, but he orders a lamb burger pretty much every where they offer it on the menu. He enjoyed the Colorado Burger with locally sourced lamb, feta cheese, greens, and tomato. Judging by how quickly he placed his order and the fact that he is also known to peak at menus online before we go anywhere, I am pretty sure he had his mind made up that he would be ordering the Truffle-Parm fries on the side (truffle oil and Parmesan cheese).

H Burger offers much more than just burgers (although I would go back even if they didn’t!) Use my boyfriend’s trick and take a peak at their menu.

All around a delicious affair. With the Groupon we were able to stuff our faces and enjoy $10 off of our bill :) We will definitely be back.

Ten

Happy day-after Labor Day! Life has been feeling extra laborious lately, so we decided a camping trip for the weekend was exactly what we needed.

Reasons why I love National Forest areas:

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I don’t know if anyone else agrees, but I am not a big fan of running water or even port-o-johns when I camp. I mean…if you are going to rough it, you should be roughing it….right? I also find National Forests to be more beautiful and a little less untouched than National Parks or State Parks. Imagine Yellowstone without all of the pavement and ugly visitor centers. Absolutely gorgeous :)

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Nine

Time has been flying since our trip and we are almost into a new school year! It seems like we just got back a week ago.

At the end of our week in NY, we said goodbye to the St. Lawrence for at least one more year and headed on our way to the Green Mountain State. The time we spent in Vermont was A LOT of fun. VT seems to be the capitol of locally owned, small business…so I took full advantage of that, snapping photos every where we turned!

We checked out the big names like Cabot and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters…

Took a stroll along a Stowe craft show where we were able to say hello to this little one…

and I don’t think a trip to Vermont would be complete without a visit to Bragg Farm for some maple creamies and playtime with the goats!

We also made it back to Grand View Winery. The views have not changed one bit, but we did get to try a new wine. This winery specializes in fruit wines and this year they had made a Back Roads Berry. It was delicious! I wandered around and took pictures of the property. I think this may be an annual event.

We took some beautiful Vermont back roads to Caledonia Spirits in Hardwick. We got a glimpse of the distillery and lots of samples of yummy meads, elderberry cordial, gin, and vodka.

The rest of our week in VT was filled with lots of pool time and even a kayaking trip to the Waterbury Reservoir. I’d say we lucked out!

Eight

A few days into our Northern NY trip, we decided to head out on what is known as the Seaway Wine Trail. A few spots were closed and some were a little too far for what we had planned but, along the way we stopped at the Thousand Islands Winery, Yellow Barn Winery, and Otter Creek Winery.

We tasted some delicious wines and learned a lot about the grapes that are able to grow in the North Country. From the sounds of it, a grape called “La Crescent” is really ideal for the frigid winters that tend to freeze over Northern NY from the month of November through the month of March. The grape is similar to a Riesling and just about every winery in the area has their own version. I have had Coyote Moon Winery’s La Crescent in the past and loved it, so it was fun to try the others.

After sipping wine after wine at what seemed like a socially inappropriate time to be drinking, we decided our next step was lunch before venturing on to the next stop on the wine trail.

My boyfriend has a knack for mapping out every brewery in a 50 mile radius on every one of our trips, so we headed towards Sackets Harbor, NY to try some of the Sackets Harbor Brewing Co. beers. To our disappointment…they were closed :( But right next door was a great place called The Boathouse. We heard the food was great and they had 2 for 1 drink specials when you sat at the bar….and who can pass that up during vacation?

….Brie and ham may just be the best thought of sandwich man has ever had. “The Hawaiian Pig”

The last winery on our day trip was Otter Creek Winery in Philadelphia, NY. This stop was BY FAR my favorite. Both the wine and the view were fantastic!

After a few more sips of wine, I was pretty sure I had found heaven and it was located in Northern New York. This place would be amazing to rent out for a wedding reception or a party! Our tasting room attendant was the mother of the winery’s owner and she was beyond sweet. She spent a TON of time with us going over their wines and giving us the background. It turns out, the property is a family-farm-turned-vineyard. Gotta love Upstate NY innovation!

Quite possibly one of the best parts about wineries in the North Country is the Northern NY “flare” that comes along. For example, where else can you find WINE SLUSHIES?! If anyone is aware of a place in CO, please let me know before I decide to rig up a machine of my own.

We had a fantastic time wine tasting our way through the back roads of Northern NY. It will be exciting to see the progress some of these places have made when we go back next year!

A very “American” snapshot from Otter Creek Winery in Philadelphia, NY

Seven

Two weeks of visiting friends, family, restaurants, wineries, distilleries…….the list goes on! We have been catching up on a lot of sleep and a lot of snuggling with Ella bear (who we pulled about 100 cactus spines out of last night, but that’s a whole other story).

I had so much fun exploring new places at home. In the 5 years after I moved out of New York State, northern New York seems to be booming with new businesses in the region. I have always thought, with the beauty and the history of the Thousand Islands, tourism really should be the main industry. This region is commonly called New York State’s “best kept secret”, which in my opinion is really too bad! The St. Lawrence River also serves as the Seaway between the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Ontario (a little Jeopardy trivia for you). A few folks I have met in the West are unaware that there is anything more to NYS besides NYC. An internet search of the Thousand Islands will lead you to tour boat rides, castle adventures, and little towns that are great for simply relaxing and enjoying the view.

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So, what did our trip look like? Well to start, lots of driving! The trek from Boston to Central VT to Northern New York and back again is definitely not a short one. It is worth it though. The diversity in the Northeast is pretty unbelievable. Large bodies of water, mountains, flat-beautiful-farm-land…it is all gorgeous. Our Fourth of July was pretty traditional. That morning we drove up to the river from Central VT, so after a 6 hour drive we were not exactly ready to party. We did get to enjoy the fireworks over Boldt Castle in Alexandria Bay, NY. With Fort Drum not too far away, “Alex Bay” seemed to be a perfect location to celebrate our nation’s independence sparklers, fireworks, and yummy grilled food.

Before it got dark, we could already see all of the boats gathering to watch the show.

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Nothing says Patriotic like kids running around with burning sticks of metal, right? So much fun!

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…and the big event….

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Except my big event ended up looking more like this, only because I haven’t been far enough away from light pollution in a long time to see this kind of beauty…..

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The moon rising over the St. Lawrence River. Happy 4th of July! (kinda late, huh?)

Just so I don’t turn this one post into a book, I will be posting over the next few days with our tour of the Seaway Wine Trail and all of our fun adventures in VT.

Until then!

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Six

My heart is breaking. We just dropped Ella the bear off at doggy camp for our travels. She absolutely LOVES it there…but it does not make it any easier to leave her :(

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However, here is to the start of vacation and lots of blog posts to come! 

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