Archives for posts with tag: cooking

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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!

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The party planning season is coming around full-swing and The Essex is proud to announce their newly renovated ballroom as of this month! Whether it is a large company gathering or a pleasant wedding reception the ballroom can fit up to 130 guests. A rehearsal dinner or brunch with all of your closest family and friends would be perfect for the space!

ballroom3

Featured above is our NECI Wedding Coordinator, Stacy Elwell. She is one of the party planning ladies from the entire Essex Resort and Spa! She will coordinate your visit and be a part of every aspect throughout the planning process to being a part of the harmonious event you dreamed of having.  Site tours, menu tasting with the New England Culinary Institute and outdoor adventure opportunities can be a great adventure.  Your wedding should be the time of your life!

Visit the special Weddings & Catering section on our Web site!

By Maggie Kerin

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

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

Traditional rehearsal dinners have evolved from sit down restaurant affairs to so much more!  We are finding brides and grooms are becoming more creative with their offerings and at Vermont’s culinary resort why not take advantage of all we have to offer.

One popular choice is action stations with the students of the New England Culinary Institute preparing the food right in front of the guests.   Hand rolled Sushi stations or pasta stations with freshly made pastas and gnocchi’s, risotto stations with a variety of fresh ingredients are all popular choices.  For something more “informative” one of our Instructors would be happy to do a cooking demo, wine class or beer tasting!   Enjoying delicious, freshly prepared and local product is a fun and interesting start to a wonderful wedding weekend.

No matter the season, we can work with you to create a personalized theme that can accommodate groups of any size.  An outdoor barbecue amid our beautiful gardens, a bonfire and New England Clambake or a pool side picnic are great ways to include a larger group of wedding guests.

For the more active and adventurous couples,  we can customize a menu and set up a wonderful event at our golf course or ropes, rock and ice course.

There are so many fun,  fabulous and exhilarating events to experience at the Essex Resort and Spa!


By Mimi Overman

Have you ever tasted that special ingredient, Love? I often here about people adding it to recipes, I even saw it written on labels of different foods as an ingredient. Have you added it? I have, and I also remember the memorable meals with love added. This Valentine’s Day add some love to your romantic meal for your special one. I know it will be well received and remembered!

I send you off with one of our favorite chocolate dessert recipes. Promise me that you will purchase high quality chocolate, as it is the main ingredient.

This is impressive and easy to prepare. Enjoy!

Chocolate Hazelnut Lave Cakes

Ingredients:

  • Lots of Love
  • 5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup ground hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 425º.  Butter six ramekins.  Melt chocolate and butter in heavy sauce pan over low heat.  Set aside to cool slightly. Whisk whole eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla extract. Add sugar and mix well. Then fold in chocolate mixture, Love, flour and hazelnuts.

Pour batter into the ramekins, dividing equally. Bake cakes oven until the sides are set but the center remains soft and runny, about 14 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 2 minutes. Run small knife around cakes to loosen. Immediately turn cakes out onto plates and serve hot with your favorite Ice Cream.

Tip: You may prepare the batter and pour it into the well-buttered ramekins in advance! It will keep unbaked in the refrigerator for two days. Serves 6


By Chef Courtney Contos

The transition from country hotel to full-service resort

“Country Inn Charm… Luxury Hotel Service” 

All thru the 1990’s and early 2000’s, this was our tag line.  We certainly were – and continue to be – “charming”, and the fact is, we’re the most luxurious property in our region (heck – we are the only AAA Four-Diamond Resort in Chittenden County / Greater Burlington).  But this tag line, though accurate, sometimes just didn’t feel like us.  During our formative early years, it probably did best describe what we were:  a very nice country hotel providing exceptional service and wonderful dining by the New England Culinary Institute (NECI).  Those traits certainly live on today, but they tell only a small piece of what has evolved at our property over the past five-plus years.

Since 2003, we have been experiencing a steady evolution towards what will come to fruition this spring, making us the only full-service, luxury resort in the Greater Burlington, Vermont area.

Here’s a snapshot of that evolution:

2003 Spring – Owners agree there is pent up demand for world-class, full service resort in the Greater Burlington, and it needed to be filled.  We realize that a spa is really needed in this area – and lack of indoor pool has been hurting our business for years!  Resort theme needs to be pursued with a culinary angle that we uniquely possess having one of the top rated culinary schools in the country here on-site.  How can we really integrate the classroom with the dining room, in an exciting and accessible way?

2003/2004 – 90 hotel guest rooms are renovated by renowned designer of Manchester VT – Susan Sargent.  Links at Lang Farm Golf Course opens all 18 holes across the street from the Inn.  

2004 – 6 Har-Tru Tennis Courts are built and partnership formed with New England Tennis Holidays, the #1 adult rated tennis program in the country.  Spa study begins, initial consultants hired.  NECI receives coveted Wine Spectator Award for our wine list!

2005 – Relationship formed with Vermont National Country Club (semi-private Jack Nicklaus golf course) and Country Club of Vermont (exclusive course with spectacular views) to offer the finest golf venues in Vermont!  Partnership with Dacor is formed, and hands-on-kitchen is built to offer classes to the general public by the New England Culinary Institute.

2006 – Permitting is submitted, plans begin for the spa.  We see a distinct shift in our guest mix to those looking to stay on property more and make the most of our on-site amenities, in addition to our Burlington area assets.

2007 – Spa permitting is approved.  Inn becomes approved as an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Lodge… the first in Vermont!  We purchase a hot air balloon as an additional resort offering.

2008 – Spa begins construction!!  Stocked fly-casting pond is added to front of property.  Northern Lights Rock and Ice builds an on-site rock and ice climbing facility with twin 400 ft zip lines for yet another interesting resort amenity.

2009 – Spa is scheduled for a spring 2009 opening!  A 22,000 sq. ft facility featuring 10 treatment rooms, full salon services, movement studio, multiple coed and same-sex relaxation areas, 25 yard indoor pool with 18 person outdoor hot tub and 900+ sq. ft. fitness center.

So today, we look at our original name (“The Inn at Essex”) and realize,we are no longer an “inn” (never really were), and this says nothing of what we offer or are coming to be.

With that, I introduce, The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa

Hope to see you soon and often!

Jim Glanville, Vice President & General Manager