The Green Apron Competes to be the Better Burger

How do you like your burger? Meat? Veggie? Lettuce, tomato, onion? Blended with mushrooms?

…Wait… What was that last one? Hamburger meat blended together with mushrooms. Hmm, that sounds interesting. Well, as part of a new health initiative, the chefs at Stratton’s Green Apron will be hard at work this summer putting their culinary artistry to the test by competing in the James Beard Foundation Better Burger Project.

Throughout the summer, restaurant guests are to upload a photo of their Better Burger, which is hamburger meat blended with finely chopped mushrooms, to Instagram with the hashtag #BetterBurgerProject. When the contest concludes on July 31, 2015, the top 5 chefs with the most Instagram uploads from guests will win a trip to New York City to cook their Better Burger at the James Beard Foundation Food Conference.

According the the Better Burger judges, blending mushrooms and meat improves flavor, texture and juciness. It also reduces calories, fat and sodium and adding key nurtients like vitamin D, potassium and B vitamins.

Table Provided by
Table Provided by

The chefs at the Green Apron are embracing the sustainable culture of Vermont and sourcing local ingredients for their Better Burger, and it is delicious.

Green Apron's first Better Burger.
Green Apron’s first Better Burger.


Vermont grass fed Bison

Hen of the Woods Mushroom

Grafton 2 year cheddar

Local Arugula

Grilled Local Heirloom & Tomato

Balsamic Marinated Red Onions and Baby peppers

Sriracha Aioli

Mushroom Demi

Toasted Brioche

I am now very hungry.

So, if you’re at the Green Apron this summer, be sure to try out this delicious, healthy burger and upload your photo to Instagram using the hashtag #BetterBurgerProject.

Author: Cassie Russo

Go ahead. Play with your food.

By Myra Foster

Every day is different as our farms and gardens deliver a rolling cast of flavors and colors. Of fruits and vegetables. Today it’s favas, bright green in their giant pods and nothing at all like those beige beans you find in the supermarket.

Even if you are no Silence of the Lambs fan, you must try fresh fava beans during their ever-so-brief  appearance.  Gone  before the end of July. Can’t take the heat, I guess.

Preparing them is no easy task, but I’ve always loved playing with my food. Step 1: Free the beans from their pod. Step 2: Steam with a little salt. Step 3: Peel the thin layer of something, I don’t what it is, that surrounds each one. Step 4: Marry with fresh veggies and herbs over pasta. Serve blanched with shallots, lemon and olive oil.  Or in what I dreamed up last night:

Fava Bean and Garlic Scape Hummus.fava_final

Well, it’s not really hummus if you don’t add tahini but I take liberty with my concepts.

Prepare a couple pounds of fava beans (mine were raised by True Love Farm in North Bennington and found at Manchester Farmer’s Market).

Add a few garlic scapes, a little parsley, squeeze of lemon,  sea salt and olive oil, really good olive oil (I recommend a tasting trip to  Saratoga Olive Oil Co. where you can sample the full palette of olive oils, sea salts and balsamics; be prepared to leave with dozens). Whip it all up in your bullet or blender.

Serve with baguette and a nice Chianti.

Can’t wait to see what’s next at the farmer’s market as summer’s sublime alchemy of air, water, soil unfolds.

Sunday Dinners at Grandma’s

By Diane Lovell

Sunday Dinners at Grandma’s house ranked very high on the family priority list when I was a kid growing up in rural Virginia.  Farm-to-Table was our way of life back then.  My Grandma would fry up a couple of her chickens straight from the coop, bake a batch of her amazingly light yeast rolls, and feed about 20 of her extended family members every Sunday.  As kids, if we didn’t go into a food coma under a coffee table, we were out climbing apple trees.

My Grandma had several apple trees around the yard.  Every fall during apple picking season, we helped her make crab apple jelly, apple sauce, apple pies, and her famous fresh apple cake.  She also had a black walnut tree in the yard, the key ingredient to the delicious cake.  She would wait until the walnuts fell from the tree and then remove the outer husk and then crush the shell with a hammer to remove the nut meat inside.

This cake was loaded with fresh apples, black walnuts, and raisins.  Served with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, it was like tasting heaven.  I have a tattered, faded, very used copy of that recipe that I will share with you.  As I said, black walnuts are a key ingredient, worth the extra effort to look for them.  Many supermarkets carry them now.  Clarks IGA in Londonderry usually stocks them with the other baking nuts.  Celebrate autumn and apple picking season by baking this fresh apple cake.  Enjoy every morsel of this moist and delicious cake.

Grandma’s Fresh Apple Cake
1/2  cup butter
2 cups of sugar
3 eggs
2tsp.  baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts (black walnuts are best!)
½ teaspoon  nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
4 cups of chopped apples, peeled
2 cups of flour
1 cup of raisins
2 teaspoons of vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease and flour a tube cake pan.  Set aside.  Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and eggs.  Mix dry ingredients with nuts and raisins. Stir into butter mixture.  Fold in raw apples and vanilla.  Blend until all is incorporated.  Pour into prepared cake pan.  Bake for one hour and 15 minutes.  This cake keeps well in the refrigerator and can be frozen.





What’s Cooking for the 2013-14 Season

What’s Cooking for the 2013-14 Season
By Myra Foster

There’s a new restaurant in town. And I ran into the owner today,  getting his hands dirty. Literally.  Peter Micioni was scrubbing  walls in the old prep kitchen while his team stripped the place bare to redefine a space that will be The Fire Tower Restaurant and Tavern, anchoring the Commons end of Stratton Village in time for the upcoming winter season.

1075691_191812527646805_1040285992_n“I love to build things,”  says the former Wall Street executive whose Act II has been all about Vermont,  starting with Wheeler Woods homes in Jamaica and now opening our newest restaurant here in the Village. Peter and his family have been Stratton homeowners and skiers since the 1990s, and they are creating the sort of dining, and gathering, spot they know skiers and snowboarders will love.

And it starts with a name. Family and friends got together and brainstormed ideas that would reflect the rich history, tradition and community that is Stratton Mountain, now spanning three generations and four seasons. “What do we all have in common,” they asked. “Everyone hikes to the firetower.” If you have yet to make the 1.5 mile roundtrip from the summit, fall foliage is right around the corner and the views stretch clear across four states and mountain ranges.


The Fire Tower’s casual atmosphere welcomes skiers and riders to enjoy great food and good times with a Vermont artisan inspired menu perfect for foodies and families alike.  A refined selection spans the range from burgers and pizza to ahi tuna or the signature Fire Tower shrimp – with fine wine in a very nice glass. “It will be big,” Peter says about the wine glass, just one of the myriad details he has well in hand.

“The structure will be rustic, complemented by urbane design and finish,” he explains as we walk through the spacious dining areas which are lined with locally milled post and beam timber about to go up around the perimeter. Stopping to look at the model,Peter points to the hostess stand and pick-up point for carry-out orders. Ready for this? Order – and pay – on your smartphone as you ride Ursa to the top for one last run then make tracks to the Firetower Tavern where dinner or après-ski spread await.

Adding The Fire Tower Restaurant and Tavern to my top 10 list of reasons why I cannot wait for winter.