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

Keep It Local

By Courtney DiFiore

Growing up in the Adirondacks, a love for fresh, local produce was instilled in me; I could walk into my backyard and pick my own berries. When I moved to Vermont, I found it even easier to stock up on locally made products. Stop by any farmer’s market and you’re surrounded with the freshest veggies and the most unique hand crafted goodies.

Typically, you’ll find me wandering the South Londonderry Market, but I do take the time to drive into Dorset on occasion. I have a weakness for Earth Sky Time’s gluten free multigrain bread; it’s the best gluten free bread I’ve ever had and now the only one I’ll buy.

Where do you go and what’s your favorite ‘must-have’?

Check out local Farmer’s Markets and their hours here.

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.

“Green Restaurant in the Green Mountain State”

By Lucyann Murray

Stratton Food and Beverage Achieves “Green Restaurant in the Green Mountain State” Designation

A number of initiatives have been cooking behind the scenes this winter in Stratton Mountain Food & Beverage. While striving for quality and consistency, an element of sustainability has been incorporated through local sourcing of food, conscious sourcing of non-food products, energy efficient measures, and waste diversion away from landfills, to name a few. All six food establishments, which include Stratton Mountain Club, Cob’s Market, Mid-Mountain Lodge, Sunbowl Lodge, Bentley’s and Grizzly’s, are proudly sourcing 16% of their food locally. Stratton has just partnered with Vermont Fresh Network, a network connecting farmers to businesses, and is looking to raise that number in the near future. Stratton has also looked to companies such as EcoLogic Solutions to source green cleaners and energy efficient dishwashers. After an energy assessment this year, a number of steps are being taken to improve energy efficiency throughout all establishments. Lastly, through composting, the kitchens have begun to lessen their impact on landfills. These six establishments are producing approximately a ton of compost a week which is sent to a dairy farm in Fort Ann, NY where it is turned into energy. These initiatives are just the beginning of what is to come in this department.

Congratulations to Food and Beverage for achieving Green Restaurant status. Keep up the good work.

Stay tuned for updates in Tenderloins, Bentley’s, catering, and the Stratton Mountain Club this summer!

The Maple Syrup Season

By Kelsey Boyce

Tubbs Snowshoes Collecting Maple Sap for Maple Syrup Sugaring in Vermont

The original North American sweetener, the sweet nectar of the gods, liquid gold for your tastebuds. Whatever you like to call it, Maple Syrup is a North American tradition in both creation and consumption.

Oral stories vary from Native American and First Nations peoples on the discovery that the clear liquid from tapping maple trees could be boiled to become a sweet treat and integral ingredient for future generations. But, it is known that it was Native Americans in New England that would introduce European immigrants to the tradition of tapping trees, collecting sap, and creating maple syrup in the process called “sugaring.”

The season can vary in start date and length each season, but generally trees are tapped in early February and sap begins to flow when temperatures are 20-30F at night, and over 40-50f during the day. The sap flow can last anywhere from 7-20 days long, during which aluminum buckets, plastic bags, or rubber pipes are used to collect the clear liquid that resembles water. After the sap is collected, it is boiled at an extremely high temperature with a wood-fired evaporator located in what many call their “Sugaring Shack”. The evaporator reduces the sap at a 40/1 ratio, creating a very concentrated, sweet liquid called Maple Syrup.

Many people in both Canada and the United States continue the tradition of tapping maple trees around their property, whether deep in the woods, or along their driveway, to collect maple sap, and create their own batch of maple syrup. With deep snow remaining from winter storms, snowshoes help keep folks afloat while they are tapping trees and collecting sap throughout their property.

A Romp to Stomp volunteer and Stratton Mountain employee, Leah C., shared a few photos of her and her husband, Harold, in the process of maple sugaring in Vermont.

Tubbs Snowshoes maple sugaring, maple syrup

Harold, while wearing Tubbs Mountaineer snowshoes, drills a hole into a mature Sugar Maple to create placement for the tap.

Tubbs Snowshoe maple sugaring, maple sap collecting with snowshoes

All of the taps and buckets are set for when mother nature decides to let the sap flow.

Tubbs Snowshoes collects maple sap to create maple syrup

Leah collects bucket filled with maple sap while wearing Tubbs Xplore snowshoes.

The Maple Sap Evaporator for maple sugaring season

Harold and his brother keep the evaporating fire hot with maple wood in the sugaring shack.

The evaporator is used to reduce maple sap to maple syrup in the sugaring process.


Leah and Harold’s sugaring shack is used to reduce the sap to syrup in a 40/1 ratio.

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 27th, 2014 at 11:04 pm and is filed under International News.

Originally posted on

The Fire Tower Restaurant & Tavern


By Lauren Suriani

Who doesn’t love a good meal, especially when it’s delicious? Last night the marketing team at Stratton got a chance to try out the new restaurant located in the Stratton Village, The Fire Tower Restaurant & Tavern (formally Organic Pizza Company).

If you were around at all this summer, you may have noticed some commotion in the village and a lot of it happening around what is now The Fire Tower. Owner, Peter Micioni, has created something that everyone is going to love. The atmosphere inside is cozy and relaxing yet upscale and modern. They are calling it “rustic Vermont meets urban chic.” It was great to see the locally milled timbers and barn board as well as hand blown glass lighting, which were created right in Manchester.

But the atmosphere isn’t the only great thing; the food was fantastic. Everyone was raving. From drinks to dessert, Fire Tower doesn’t miss a beat. I thoroughly enjoyed my quesadilla appetizer. Loaded with braised beef and a special sour cream, I couldn’t get enough. The jerk wings were also delicious. Served with a special dipping sauce that was the perfect mix of sweet and tangy. They than surprised us by bringing out pizza for us to sample. Again, it was awesome. For my entrée, I ordered what I like to call the best cut of pork I’ve ever had. It was cooked to perfection and topped with figs and apples.

They will be offering everything from soups and salads, to shrimp, chipotle glazed ribs, burgers and pizza. And let’s not forget about the bar. Topped with concrete and illuminated alabaster panels the bar was the place to be last night. They offer some of the most unique Vermont craft beer as well as wine from around the globe.

ImageThe official opening of The Fire Tower is tomorrow, Saturday, November 23. They will offer lunch at 11:30am, après at 2:30pm and dinner at 5pm. They will also offer carry out and delivery options in case you want to stay in after a hard day on the slopes.

Stop in and give The Fire Tower a try. You surely will not be disappointed.

Beer & Chili

By Rob Chrostowski


I LOVE beer and chili, so suffice it to say I’m excited for the Chili Cook-off and Brew Fest this weekend! There’s nothing better than a cold beer to take the edge out of some spicy food. Light lagers and amber ales pair quite well with Chili and are perfect to cool off those taste buds. If you like it more on the spicy side, give a pale ale or IPA a try. The bitterness of the hops will bring out the spice in your food. If you’re a fan of darker beers, try adding some to your chili while you’re cooking it!

1st – BBQ Beef Brisket Chili
2nd – Maple Chocolate Stout Chili Con Carne
3rd – Scooby Doo and the Ghost Chili
4th – Happy Hippy Habanero Chili
5th – Earth Candy
6th – Ghost Chili
7th – Drop It Like It’s Hot
8th- Tom’s Turkey Chili

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.





Full Palette Findings

By Myra Foster.

I don’t know about you, but Brussels sprouts have never been among my favorites.  Until today.

Caramelized on a  Vermont  Country Grillstone during a demonstration today at The Full Palette,   this formerly suspicious vegetable will be the star of my harvest table.

Grilled mushrooms topped with brie,  perfectly charred onion,  salmon,  snowpeas, even tomatoes hold up to grilling thanks to the Martin Hemm’s grillstone,  which adds savory flavor to every dish.

It took  two years of trial and error to develop  a cooking stone that would stand up to the heat of a wood or gas fired grill. Hemm, an affable architect and structural engineer was up to the challenge.

He tried limestone and granite. Marble is perfect for serving, chilled and topped with sushi, but not for cooking.  Then it hit him! Igneous rock, formed by heat and pressure. He zeroed in on basalt, a natural stone that won’t break,  and is porous to keep any fats away from the food and from dripping onto to the fire (which can produce carcinogens).

You can sear diver scallops, grill flaky fish and all vegie shapes and sizes,  add a tasty marinade while you cook and clean it all up in flash with the Vermont Country Grillstone, always available at  Vermont Marble Museum in Proctor or online

I paired my my grilled cheddar and tomato on baguette with a pint of Northshire Brewery’s newly unveiled Sicilian Pale Ale, made from ancient grain with a hint of blood orange.  And that’s just a sample of what you’ll find in the Tasting Tent.

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.