Archives for category: cooking classes

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Gather your girlfriends and pack your bags!

Escape to The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa – relax, renew, and reconnect with your sense of adventure and your best friends. With great food and pampering in the equation – it’s sure to be a memorable experience you’ll treasure.

The Gourmet Girls Get-a-way starts from only $579* for 2 Ladies.

Both of you will enjoy these fantastic features:

  • One night accommodations in a Traditional Guest Room
  • Chef In Training Cooking Class onsite at Cook Academy
  • Choice of One:
    • 50 Minute Swedish Massage
    • 50 Minute Transformation Facial
    • Essential Manicure  & Pedicure
  • Unlimited Spa Access
  • A Delicious Spa Lunch
  • Complimentary Fresh Start Breakfast
  • Early Check in / Late Check out when available
  • You can also click HERE to see a schedule of the great Chef-In-Training classes available.

Is there more than one BFF? Well that’s an easy solution–additional girls in the same accommodations for $230 (so that means it’s cheaper if more fabulous friends tag along!), but limited rooms are available and the rates are based on double occupancy.  Need more time away?  Adding on a 2nd night is only an extra $169.*

What are you waiting for? Come here and let us pamper your stress and worries away, not to mention a time of your life with your closest girls! Click to see the new Spa Menu!

Mexican Adobo Paste
Yield 1 ½ cups

Abobo is a word that has been carried from Spain to the Philippines with a major layover in Mexico. It is deriver from the word adobar, meaning to “pickle” or to “marinate”. This flavorful paste will keep for several weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Rub, grill, and serve!

1 clove
10 peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 bay leaves, broken
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup garlic oil
8 dried ancho chilies, seeded, toasted, dehydrated, and drained
4 dried chipotle or morita chilies, seeded, toasted, dehydrated, and drained
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup sherry vinegar

Put the clove, peppercorns, and cumin in a dry skillet and toast over medium heat until fragrant and slightly smoking, about 1 minute. Transfer to a spice grinder, add the bay leaves, and cinnamon, and finely grind. Transfer the spice mixture to a food processor or blender and add the garlic oil, the drained chilies, oregano, thyme, salt, and vinegar. Puree until smooth. Reserve in your refrigerator, or immediately rub on to your meats or fish. Grill and serve!

*This recipe works fantastic on veal chops, pork, chicken, and fish.

By Chef Courtney Contos

As I was writing a speech the other day, I started reflecting on whether we’re running a resort or a “university” – or both, at The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa!

Here’s a partial list of educational and experiential programming I included in my presentation:

  • Our chefs conduct tours of the Institute and their gardens.
  • Our chefs are available to narrate and demonstrate at group culinary experiences.
  • Our chefs accompany group tours of farmers markets, farms, orchards, cheese factories, microbreweries, vineyards and specialty food stores.
  • Many guests come for our Cook Academy hands-on culinary classes in our theater kitchen.
  • Our new spa will offer personal training as well as group classes in all manner of lifestyle disciplines.
  • We’ve recently opened our Orvis-endorsed fly-casting pond and academy.
  • Golf instruction at our Links at Lang Farm is second to none.

Here at The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa (& “University”), opportunities for newly grasped skills and life-long memories, is an important element of our rich, guest experience.

By David Hakins

4 pork loin chops
4 strips bacon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 Braeburn apples, unpeeled and cut into wedges
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons Banyuls vinegar

Wrap each pork chop with a strip of bacon, not around the sides but around the surface area so that it crisps when in contact with the pan, season well with salt and pepper.

Preheat a 12 inch skillet over a moderate heat add butter and then chops. Cook for five minutes on the first side, then turn over and cook for 5 minutes on the second side. Remove pork chop from pan and set to rest.

Turn sauté pan up to med high and add apple wedges, sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Return chops and any liquid from them to the pan; add syrup, vinegar, and thyme continue to cook until the syrup has formed a nice glaze.

The pork should register 145 to 150 degrees on your meat thermometer when done.

Enjoy the seasons freshest flavors and check back for more great and easy recipes!

Chef Courtney Contos

We are very excited this year about the possibilities with our extensive and growing wine program!  Recently, we have submitted our wine list into consideration for the next level of award with Wine Spectator Magazine. For those of you that are unaware, Wine Spectator, is one of the best publications in the United States focused strictly on wines and it runs a highly competitive restaurant award program all across the country. Butler’s, the upscale dining venue for The Essex Resort and Spa and the crown jewel of culinary achievements for our students at New England Culinary Institute, has received the first level of award, the Award of Excellence, for the past 5 years running.

This award is only given to top restaurants that have demonstrated a commitment to their personal wine programs, having great understanding and training surrounding wines from all around the world. While we have been honored to receive this award, we have been working hard towards a goal of ours and the next level  of awards, The Best Of Award.  There are only a few hundred restaurants in the United States who have earned this honor, and only 2 or 3 are here in Vermont.  We have been working whole heartedly to get that next level.  We have expanded our offerings to almost 800 labels (one of the largest in the whole state of Vermont!). We also have excellent vertical strength in many areas (verticals are a term used for a wine that has vintage depth…a single bottle label that we have multiple vintages of), and have representation from every major wine producing area in the world.

By Chris Benjamin

My inbox is filling up with emails requesting “Girlfriends Weekend Getaways”. Women are coming two, four, six, even eight groups of friends  at the same time from all over New England, Middle Atlantic States and Eastern Canada to take a very short vacation away from life.  They generally share our value-priced traditional two-bedded rooms, keep our room service staff hopping, dine casually in The Tavern and Butler’s (they’re loving our award-winning wine lists, BTW), take Chefs Courtney and Kerry’s Cook Academy classes in our beautiful theater kitchen (addicting!).

Request in-room massages, shop Essex Shoppes designer outlets next door, and enjoy the Burlington area’s sophisticated range of fine and performing arts. “Girlfriends Weekend Getaways” will really pick up when our spa opens mid-May and our warm season sports, golf, tennis and fly-casting, get underway. In fact, we have just joined the premier private golf course in Vermont at the Country Club of Vermont which offers the most spectacular views one can find on a golf course.

Hey, men! How about “Guys Getaway Weekends” at The Essex? Call me at 800-727-4295,  I’ll custom-design a fabulous experience for you and your friends!

By Dave Hakins, Director of Business Development

Although it was a few weekends back, Valentine’s  weekend was full of love and fun cooking! We loaded up on rich and decadent dark chocolate Fondue in our Fondue Demo that was open to the public on Saturday! We dipped hazelnut wafers, ginger molasses cookies, and soft chocolate chunk cookies! Later in the day I taught a class how to make Fettuccine Alla Carabonara in “Ticket To Rome”. On Sunday, I taught a brunch class where we prepared poached eggs, made herb hollandaise sauce, and the best ever fennel & pork breakfast sausage!


Enjoy the recipe and let me know how it comes out for you.

Fennel & Pork Breakfast Sausage

Makes 16- 2 inch patties

2 pounds fine ground pork
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 ∏ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 ∏ teaspoons fennel seed
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
∏ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

Mix all ingredients well. Form into 1 inch rounds. Refrigerate and use within one week or freeze for up to 3 months.  To cook, heat a cast iron pan or similar heavy pan to medium low. Cook about 10-15 minutes or until brown on both sides and cooked through.

We have classes almost every week, incorporating local and seasonal foods and creating our own spins on the tastiest international and traditional foods.

See you in the kitchen!

By Chef Courtney