Archives for the month of: November, 2010

Written by Chef Tom Brooks, director of food and beverage at The Essex Resort and Spa.

This past weekend I decided to take a little trip back home to see my parents, for no other reason than I missed them.

Before I headed down, I called to let them know, insisting that they were not to make any special plans or cook any special meals, but sure enough, my mother went ahead and cooked anyway. To be honest, I’m glad she did.

I arrived just in time for dinner Friday night, and my mother had prepared one of my all-time favorite rainy-day meals, called Po-Po. It is undoubtedly one of the easiest dinners to make, but it’s also, interestingly enough, one of the easiest dinners to mess up. The reason? Well, it’s so simple that everyone wants to dress it up and make it into something that it’s not.

I’m not sure if Po-Po is a traditional Italian dish (or if it’s even spelled that way, for that matter), but it was served by my great-grandmother, who was fresh off the boat from the very poor region of Puglia. She made it regularly for my grandfather and his 10 brothers and sisters. When he married, she introduced it to my grandmother, and then it passed down to my mother and her three brothers and sisters. When I was growing up, my mother served it to me, and now every single one of my relatives, on the English side and the Italian side, serve this dinner when we need a little love and want to remember those relatives that loved us.

Here’s the recipe, presented in memory of great-grandma DeMarsh. Just remember: Follow the directions, and don’t add anything to it. You’ll thank me later.


Italian Po-Po
1 very large dense head of green cabbage
2-3 cloves of smashed garlic
one-fourth cup extra virgin olive oil
1 loaf day-old Italian bread
one-fourth cup water
Hot pepper flakes

Core the cabbage and then cut into two-inch pieces. Cut bread into 2-inch slices. Bring olive oil up to temperature, and saute the garlic just until it infuses into the olive oil. Add the cabbage and water and cover the pan. Cook until cabbage is almost mush. Take the lid off to let the liquid reduce a little, and then add the bread on top of the cabbage. Re-cover and let the bread steam a bit in the pot. After about ten minutes, take the lid of the pot. Stir in the pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Makes four large servings.

Announcing our newest Cook Academy / Camp Cook classes: “Kids Cooking Date” and “Kids Shopping Date”

Drop your children off with us, and you’ll enjoy a few hours to get the toy shopping done, to relax with a massage in our Spa, or to just do whatever you please.

Six-Hour ‘Kids Cooking Date’ (Recommended age group: 8 and up)
Saturday, November 27, 3:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 4, 3:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

We’ll keep your children busy with activities and cooking. After going for a swim in our indoor pool, the kids will don their chef’s hats and cook a meal of fresh basil pasta with tomato sauce and pan-fried chicken Milanese. For dessert? Berry crepes with honey mascarpone filling. Plus, our chefs will also teach them the fine art of holiday cookie-making, with plenty left over for a bountiful doggie bag. Then, after the cooking, we’ll retreat to our library for a movie.
Cost: $90* per child (or, in babysitting terms, just $15/hour!)


Five-Hour ‘Kids Shopping Date’ (Recommended age group: 8 and up)
Friday, December 12, 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Saturday, December 18, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Let us keep the kids occupied with cooking and activities while you run your errands. The kids will learn to cook up a delicious Lemon Ricotta Gnocchi with Sicilian Style Chicken Roulades, and then they’ll top it off with delicious Chocolate Lava Cake for dessert! Plus, we’ll send them on their way with a heaping serving of mint-orange-chocolate truffles to bring home for you all to enjoy! After cooking we will hop into the indoor pool at The Spa for a swim.
Cost: $65* per child (or, in babysitting terms, just $13/hour!)

Call 800-727-4295 to book your child’s spot now. Or you can also click here to register.

The classes are filling up quickly, so don’t miss out!

*plus tax and gratuity

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

A few weeks ago, The Tennis Channel visited The Essex to interview our Vermont Tennis Vacations team for an upcoming episode of one of their programs. They, of course, were very interested in enjoying a meal that included as many local Vermont products as possible, and my immediate thought was to create a tart—perfect for almost any meal since it is so versatile.

A well put-together tart can be featured as the first course of a great dinner, as a luncheon entrée, a snack in the middle of the afternoon, or, of course, as a dessert.

So, thinking of how I could fit Vermont into a tart, here’s what I came up with—a Duck Confit tart with sweet Potato, Bayley Hazen Bleu, and a maple syrup glaze. The flavor profile is really great, and the dish is relatively easy to put together. Enjoy!

Duck Confit Tart
4 large very thinly-sliced sweet potatoes
½ lb. Bayley Hazen Bleu Cheese
1 lb. duck confit (or any left-over dark, fowl meat)
1 cup pure Vermont maple syrup
4 sprigs thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Pate Brisée
1 cup flour
3oz. (¾ stick) butter
2 tbsp. vegetable shortening
4 tbsp. ice water
½ tsp. salt

Cut the butter, vegetable shortening and salt together until it forms small pebbles. Use enough water to be able to gather the dough into a loose ball. Place the dough on a table and fraisage– (smear it together with the heel of your hand). Scrape the dough up and kneed gently into a firm ball and let rest in the refrigerator for half an hour. Roll out the pastry and lay it into a 9” tart pan and prick with a fork. Lay a piece of parchment paper on the bottom, weighed down with beans, rice, or very clean pebbles, and pre-bake in a 425 oven for 10 minutes.

Remove the paper and weight, and then layer the shell with sweet potatoes, blue cheese, duck, and thyme. Drizzle maple syrup on each layer of potatoes, and then brush maple syrup on the top and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

The Essex Resort & Spa has a limited number of premier seats for the famous Holiday Pops concert by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra.

Presented annually in Burlington’s historic Flynn Theater, the Holiday Pops is a tradition for people throughout the region.

This year’s program is ‘Glory Hallelujah’ and co-features the VSO Chorus. On the program: two Glorias, two Hallelujahs, three spirituals, music from the court of King Henry VIII, excerpts from “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” and, yes, the always-popular audience sing-along.

Included in the EXCLUSIVE Essex Resort & Spa package:
• One night’s accommodations in a Traditional Room
• Two tickets to VSO Holiday Pops (7:30PM, Saturday December 11)
• Dinner for two in Butler’s Farm (early seating at 5:00 pm)
• Discount vouchers for Essex Shoppes and Cinema

All for just $299, plus tax.

Don’t miss this fun, family-friendly Vermont tradition!

Book now by calling 800-727-4295.

For Release: Immediate (November 1, 2010)
Contact: Peter Edelmann, Eurowest Properties, 802-878-4200

Grand Opening! T-REX is coming to The Essex Cinema November 18th

(Essex Junction, VT) The Essex Cinema in Essex Junction, Vermont, today announced that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 will be featured at midnight, Thursday, November 18th, as the grand opening show for its new T-REX theater. The new addition, a state-of-the-art, 400-seat Theater, featuring the latest advances in technology and comfort, has been trademarked as T-REX (Theater Real Extreme) by Eurowest Cinemas.

Planning began almost two years ago when The Essex Cinema manager Dale Chapman and Eurowest Properties owner Peter Edelmann met to determine how they could bring a ‘wow factor’ to Essex.

“We felt that a large format, state- of-the-art experience was the way to go,” says Edelman. “We discovered a nationwide trend to re-introduce the large-screen format, and this trend is continuing to grow due to advances in digital sound and picture technology.”

The centerpiece of T-REX is its enormous 60-foot curved screen (the largest in Vermont, by more than 70%), which features the latest in Christi digital processing and is also ‘Real D’ 3D capable. Movie-goers will relax in extra wide leather rockers with memory foam headrests, while 18 amplifiers and 105 speakers provide crystal clear sound.

“The typical large auditorium has 40 speakers and 6 amplifiers,” says Edelmann. “We’re tripling that. Not only can you hear a pin drop, but it could sound like thunder!”

Premium Performance Sound of Kansas City designed the audio system for T-REX and is showcasing The Essex Cinemas as their “beta site” for large format, high-performance sound auditoriums.

“We are excited to bring T-REX to Vermont,” says Chapman. “To say that T-REX is a ‘monster’ addition to the area’s movie audience is no understatement.”

The Essex Cinema is also opening another theater as part of a major renovation of the entire property. The second, smaller theater (which will bring The Essex Cinema up to a total of ten screens) is intimate and upscale with 48 luxury seats. It can be reserved for private functions or opened to the public for art films, commercial offerings, or even sporting events such as the Super Bowl.

The Essex Cinema was the first stadium-seating theater in Vermont and is now the first theater in Vermont to be 100% digital. Other highlights or the renovation include enhanced sound, enlarged screens, a renovated lobby, and new carpeting throughout. The Essex Cinema now also features a second lobby which can double as a private meeting room or as a dining room, and it will be serviced by a full kitchen and beer and wine bar.

“We now have the ability to bring in a celebrity chef for a company retreat or party and provide a truly unique dining and movie experience,” says Edelmann. “It’s the perfect blend of culinary and cinematic entertainment.”

The Essex Cinema is partnering with RealD 3D for the marketing and introduction of the T-REX. Christi digital processors, New England Theater Services (for sound, acoustics and digital installation), and Premium Performance Sound of Kansas City (for audio) were all used for the project. In addition, the project has utilized Vermont subcontractors Bushey Excavating, Hammond Electric, Avonda HVAC, Harrison Concrete, and Lakeview Contracting for roofing. Architect Gordon Greenfield and project manager Pat Morgan designed and managed the construction. Financing was made possible via a combination of funding from New England Federal Credit Union and SBA funding. The SBA loan was coordinated by Granite State Development.