Monday, September 20, 2010

Autumn in New England - a beautiful weekend

Friday night, I got out for a run in the cool weather, running along the bike path on the edge of Lake Champlain. It was an amazingly casual and fun run. After the events of the past few days with the loss of our pet, it felt good to exercise. On the way home, I met my wife at my favorite watering hole, Three Penny Taproom in Montpelier. My wife had one drink (DD), while I enjoyed a few seasonal beers. After that, we left one car in Montpelier and headed home in the other.

On Saturday morning, we returned to Montpelier to pick up the car. And, instead of visiting the tiny famers' market in our hometown, we went to the "big city" market in Montpelier. I really like supporting our local farmers, but the market in Montpelier is so much more diverse than our local market.

We got lots of veggies, including Chinese long beans, one of my favorites and something that I rarely see. We got some Elba potatotes, a rarely grown variety that is perfect for mashing. We got some great cheeses and great bread. I bought some local wild yellowfoot chanterelles mushrooms. We got some local guinea hens and some local pasture-raised and nitrate free bacon. I was cooking dinner in my head as we shopped. We added a bunch of other fresh fruits and veggies for the coming week. Tomato season is at its peak right now and it's time to enjoy all of these that I can.

After the market, we headed home for our workouts. I lifted, with a 5K scheduled for Sunday, and my wife did a walk/run with the dog. After that, I had a couple margaritas while watching college football.

After the game, I hit the kitchen. I had a homemade chicken stock that I'd recently made. I added some dried porcini and began reducing the stock. I put the guinea hens in a pot to poach slowly, adding some salt and veggies for some additional flavor (and a future stock). I cut the bacon into lardons and cooked it. I then sauteed the chanterelles in some remaining bacon fat.

I made a salad from all local ingredients and prepped some local snow peas. Even the butter and bread I was working with were from Vermont.

By the time I was done, this was dinner:

Poached breast of guinea hen in a chicken-stock demi-glace with chanterelles and bacon lardons.
Mashed Elba potatoes
Steamed and buttered snow peas
Salad with a homemade vinaigrette (the vinaigrette ingredients weren't local)

1989 Leoville Las Cases Bordeaux - Some people claim this is the winery's best wine ever, but even at age 21, it seemed a bit young. Luckily, I have another bottle to re-visit in a few years.

The dinner was simple but amazingly tasty, and something that just came together from what I found at the market that morning.

After dinner, I stayed up too late watching football, while my wife, who was more interested in a good race on Sunday morning than I was, went to bed early. And, it paid off for her.

We ran the Mad Dash in Waitsfield, VT on Sunday, opting for the 5K over the 10K. I mostly wanted to hang out with friends and after some wine and margaritas on Saturday, I just wanted to finish, and hopefully not be last. The course was almost a cross-country course, with trails, puddles of mud, and a long uphill on a dirt road. At the 1 mile mark, I was behind just about everybody I knew. My wife passed me about that point and asked me how I was doing. I told her I was fine and she took off. She beat me by at least a minute and I was very happy for her. One of my former ski students even beat me, running her best 5K ever. (Please note that I'm not posting my time. It must be on the interweb somewhere, but it was my slowest 5K ever, and I see no reason to admit how slow I am).

After the race, we enjoyed a nice cook-out with the families of two other ski instructors from Sugarbush. By the time we got home at 6:00 p.m., both my wife and I were ready for bed. It was a fun, but full, weekend.

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