Archives for the month of: September, 2010

Written by Chef Tom Brooks, Food & Beverage Director, The Essex Resort & Spa

Normally, spring is considered the season of change and new beginnings. But here The Essex, it seems as though autumn has taken spring’s place. Not only have we just unveiled our new FEAST cooking class series, we’ve also made some exciting changes to our restaurants. Butler’s Restaurant is now Butler’s Farm, and it features a chalkboard menu that we update weekly. It couples all the freshest and best ingredients of Vermont with classic culinary techniques, reflecting our region and our passion for food.

One of the most popular items on the menu so far is our Hollandeer Farms venison ossobuco, which we serve with rosemary gremolata atop creamy polenta, with sautéed garden-fresh tricolor baby carrots.

It may be an Italian dish, but you can’t help but taste pure Vermont when you sink your teeth in.


Venison Ossobuco
4 medium-sized deer shanks, cut 1.5” thick
1 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
Olive oil
2 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 cup Côtes du Rhône wine
3 cups veal stock
2 bay leaves
10 tricolor baby carrots, peeled

Dredge each venison shank in seasoned flour. In a heavy gauge Dutch oven, pan-sear venison shanks on both sides until slightly browned and crispy. Remove from pan. Sauté onions, celery and carrots. Deglaze pan with wine to get all the good tid-bits off the bottom of the pan. Place shanks back in pan, add the veal stock (make sure liquid is ¾ to the top of the shanks).  Add bay leaves and simmer until meat is very tender and almost falls off the bone (approximately one hour). Remove the shanks from the pan, strain the liquid, and push all the veggies through a sieve. Put shanks back in pan with sauce and simmer.  At this point you can either add your baby carrots to the ossobuco, or sauté them in butter.

2 rosemary sprigs, cleaned and minced
½ bunch flat parsley, minced
4 lemons, zested
1 cup panko bread crumbs
3 cloves garlic, minced
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and sprinkle over top of ossobuco.

2 cups white polenta
3 cups water
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and white pepper
Bring water to boil. With your hand, sprinkle the polenta into water while stirring. Bring the heat down until all the polenta is incorporated into the water.  Stir in heavy cream and serve in bowl.

Spoon polenta into shallow bowl.  Place shank on top. Cover with sauce and carrots. Garnish with gremolata.

Announcing a new package offered exclusively by The Essex Resort & Spa…

While your hunter is away, it’s time for you to play!

For just $199* per person any night in November, receive:
• Traditional room for one night
• Continental breakfast
• Choice of one (per person):
50-minute Swedish Massage
Transformation Facial
Essential Manicure/Pedicure per person
• One fun hands-on cooking class per person

• Unlimited spa, indoor pool, hot tub access
• Early check-in / late check-out when available
• Discount shopping coupons at Essex outlets

*Based on double occupancy. Plus tax, gratuities, and $12 resort fee.

Call 800.727.4295 to book your getaway now!

If wine is your passion, The Essex Resort & Spa is your only destination this Halloween Weekend.

Our Fine Wine Sale and Auction includes more than 2,800 bottles, including some of the most sought-after vintages in the world— all priced at only 15% above wholesale.

As the winner of Wine Spectator’s “Best of” Award of Excellence, The Essex features one of the most comprehensive wine lists in the country, and now’s your chance to take some home for yourself.

VIP packages afford premier access to the auction and sale.

To view sale and auction wine list, click here.

Friday, Oct. 29
7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. VIP EVENT: Wine sale inventory open for view. (Ballroom)
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. VIP EVENT: Hospitality Reception with butlered hors d’oeuvres. Hosted by Chef Tom Brooks, Director of Food & Beverage at The Essex Resort & Spa. (Arbor Room)

Saturday, Oct. 30
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. VIP EVENT: Retail sale (Ballroom)
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. LCRCC EVENT: Retail sale (Ballroom)
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. PUBLIC EVENT (FREE): Retail sale (Ballroom)
5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. VIP EVENT: Five-course Vermont harvest dinner, wine pairings, and private auction with Chef Tom Brooks (Butler’s Farm Restaurant)

VIP: includes Traditional Guest Room Friday & Saturday night, private viewing, Friday reception, private sale, Saturday dinner/auction. $289 pp (double occupancy) or $459 pp (single occupancy). Includes all taxes and service charges.

VIP LOCAL (no accommodations): includes private viewing, Friday reception, 11am entrance to sale, Saturday dinner/auction. $200 per person

LCRCC (no accommodations): includes private viewing, Friday reception, 10am entrance to sale, Saturday dinner/auction. $180 per person

Plus, each package grants $10 credit at The Essex Resort & Spa for every $100 in wine purchased, to be used on a future visit.

Call 800-727-4295 for reservations.

For Release: Wednesday, September 22, 2010

(ESSEX JUNCTION, VT) Jim Glanville, general manager of The Essex Resort & Spa in Essex (Burlington), Vermont, received the prestigious Borden E. Avery Innkeeper of the Year Award from the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. The award was presented at the Chamber’s annual Hospitality Gala Tuesday night.

According to the Chamber’s press release, “The Borden Avery award is the Vermont hospitality industry’s most prestigious award, designed for individuals who have held long time, high profile positions in the state’s tourism industry.”

Glanville, a career hotelier and native of Baltimore Maryland, moved to Vermont in 1995 to further his career in Hospitality, raise a family and realize his childhood dream of living in the Green Mountain State. In 2003, he became Vice President & General Manager of The Essex Resort, and he helped turn the once-boutique country hotel into the Burlington area’s only AAA 4-Diamond Resort.

The Chamber’s release continued, “While creating a new Vermont visitor destination, Glanville has led the renaissance of The Essex through a comprehensive rebranding project and the development of a broad range of upscale activities and amenities, all the while maintaining a commitment to hands-on management of a team of 180 professionals. Glanville also is a community leader, and advocates on behalf of Vermont tourism as a whole.”

About The Essex Resort& Spa
Nestled on 18 acres between the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain, The Essex Resort & Spa is a 120-room resort and spa featuring world-class cuisine in two restaurants: Butler’s Farm and The Tavern. The Essex is also the home of Cook Academy, Vermont Tennis Vacations, and it features dozens of onsite activities and amenities, including golf, hot air ballooning, and fly fishing. Visit The Essex on the web at:


Written by Tom Brooks, Director of Food & Beverage at The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa

When I heard the topic of this week’s column was ‘Food as Art’ I immediately thought about the response that I give whenever someone asks me if I’m enjoying my new position here at The Essex. My first response is that, yes, I love it because I always have considered food to be art, and I think of the foodservice industry as a kind of performance art. It’s why I consider The Essex my studio– where I have all the paints, brushes, canvases and talented, creative co-workers needed to create masterpieces every day.

For example, our Executive Chef Shawn Calley and I were going over the menus we’re creating for our annual Grand Buffet Thanksgiving Feast, the new Butler’s Farm Restaurant, our Holiday Party options, and our Cook Academy classes. Not only are Chef Shawn and I thinking about all the flavors, colors, and textures of individual plates, but we’re also looking at the event styles to create menus that will best combine in a harmonic way, accentuating the look and feel we’re trying to create for our guests.

From designing a gingerbread house iron chef ‘competition’ for corporate holiday parties to creating dishes for both The Tavern and Butler’s Farm, we want to provide sustenance while also appealing to diners’ esthetic sensitivities. Food is very unique in that it is necessary for survival but can also be the beautiful cornerstone for an entertaining occasion. Our desire is to combine the event elements with the ingredients necessary to create a masterpiece. Yes, the moment lasts only as long as it takes to eat, but it should be remembered for a lifetime.

All that being said, here is a recipe that fits the bill. Not only is it pretty, but it’s fresh and delicious and warm and satisfying.


Gingered Carrot Pear Soup with Candied Almond Pear Crème
2 lb. carrots, peeled and rough-cut
3 large ripe Bartlett pears peeled and cored (leave ½ pear unpeeled for garnish)
1 whole peeled ginger root cut down the middle
2 shallots
1 tbsp. butter
2 qts. chicken stock
1 cup sliced blanched almonds
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp. water
¾ cup sour cream

In a pan, sauté diced shallots and butter until clear. Add carrots, pears, and ginger root and cover with chicken stock. Bring to a simmer for 1 hour until carrots and pears are fully cooked. Strain, discard the ginger, and reserve the liquid to either loosen up the carrot purée or to reduce and use later as a beautiful sauce for a duck confit pasta or a crispy pan-seared chicken breast. Chill the purée. Place the almonds on a buttered sheet pan. Melt the sugar in another saucepan with the water. When the sugar melts and begins to caramelize, pour it over the almonds and let cool. When almonds are completely cool, pulse in a CuisineArt until you get a semi-fine powder. Mix the almond praline powder into the sour cream, slice the un-peeled pears, and keep both as garnish for the soup. Take chilled puree and either add heavy cream to it until the desired consistency, and then top with the praline cream and sliced pears, or you can instead heat up the carrot purée, add some of the cooking liquid, and garnish with the almond cream and sliced pears.

Written by Tom Brooks, Director of Food & Beverage at The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa

Of all the classes I took during my years of training at Culinary Institute of America, charcuterie class was hands-down my favorite. I still remember walking in the first day and seeing a 30-gallon steam kettle filled with bobbing pigs’ heads. Our instructor (never one to underestimate shock value) thought he would jump right in and grab our attention from day one. Well, it worked. I’ll admit that the head cheese that we crafted that day was an acquired taste, but I’ve been hooked on all charcuterie ever since.

Along with the more exotic things like head cheese, terrines, and galantines, charcuterie also refers to food you probably eat on a semi-regular basis, including bacon, sausage, and even hot dogs.

I’ll assume you already know how to cook bacon, and I’ll spare you the thought of having to boil some pigs’ heads on your stove, so instead, here’s a relatively simple recipe (the toughest part will be finding all the ingredients) for a tarragon, chicken & pistachio pâté en croûte.

Tarragon, Chicken & Pistachio Pâté en Croûte
1 lb. ground chicken (dark meat)
½ lb. chicken tenderloin
1/4 lb. ground pork fat
1/2 lb. ground pork
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 bunch tarragon, chopped
1/4 lb. pistachios
1/2 tsp. salt
2 lb. bacon

Pâte Brisée
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
6 tbsp. cold butter
2 tbsp. cold vegetable shortening
1 egg yolk
¼ tsp. salt
3-4 tbsp. cold water

2 cups chicken broth
2 gelatin sheets

Mix ground dark meat chicken, pork fat, and pork together with chopped tarragon, pistachios, heavy cream, salt & pepper. Cool in refrigerator.

Making the pâte brisée – Use the well method to make the brisée. (Put the flour in a little mound in the middle of a cutting board. Make a divot in the center for the other ingredients. Slowly cut in butter, salt, egg, shortening, and water, and form into a ball. Frisée the dough with the palm of your hand to knead the ingredients together. Put in refrigerator for a half-hour. Then roll out dough large enough to line the pâte mold and to have a top cover. Lay the dough in a mold that has the little pin on the side for disassembly. (If you have trouble finding one, try Williams-Sonoma or any gourmet cooking shop).

Making the pâte en croûte – Line the mold cross-ways with the bacon, and place half the forced meat into the mold. Lay the chicken tenderloin on top of the meat and then place the other half of the meat on top of the tenderloins. Then fold the ends of the bacon strips over the top. Take the top portion of the brisée and place it on top of the pâte and pinch the edges together like with a pie. Apply an egg wash. Cut a little hole in the top of the brisée, and put a tin foil chimney in the hole. Bake for 60 minutes at 350 degrees until the pastry is very golden brown and the internal temp is 160 degrees. Take the pate out of the oven and let cool for about a half an hour. Heat the chicken broth in a shallow pan, remove from heat, and melt the gelatin sheets into it. Pour the mixture into the chimney and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, pull out the pin and carefully separate the mold not to pull away at the pastry. Slice and serve with a nice salad of mixed greens with herbs or some cheddar cheese and cranberry chutney.

Before you put the racquet away for the season, enjoy our special ‘Summer Send-off’ rate on all Vermont Tennis Vacations getaways.

Book your inclusive 2-, 3-, or 5-day package, and we’ll give you 20% off the total cost.

Make your reservations now by calling 800-727-4295.

Visit for a complete list of our packages.

Valid September 1-30, 2010. Blackouts may apply.

Want to learn the skills you need to make the most of your time in the kitchen?

The Essex is pleased to introduce a new month-long cooking class series called FEAST (Food Experience and Skills Training).

Each week for four weeks, you receive in-depth culinary instruction in a particular aspect of cooking and food preparation.

September classes begin on Wednesday the 8th with ‘Baking FEAST’. Among the recipes you’ll learn:
∙ Yeast Dough
∙ Whole Wheat Golden Raisin Dinner Rolls
∙ Everything Bagels with Lemon Herb Cream Cheese
∙ Garlic and Rosemary Foccacia

Then, in October, we present ‘Canning FEAST’, featuring:
∙ Hot Pepper Relish
∙ Pickles
∙ Jams and Preserves

Class is in session in the JK Adams Kitchen in Cook Academy at The Essex every Wednesday night from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

The cost is $110 per class. Or, you can sign up for the whole month, at just $90 per class (plus, get a free apron!). Tax and service charge not included.

Enroll now by calling 802.878.1100