Saturday, March 29, 2014

BUTTER


We make our own butter here at the restaurant.  It's one of those things I just won't stop doing.
Making butter is one of my favorite tasks.  There are few things in life that are as easy, as dependable, or as delicious as fresh handmade butter from local pastured healthy cows.
Over the years, I've had a lot of jobs at the restaurant; chef, plumber, farmer, phone technician, dishwasher, graphic designer! But, making butter is still my favorite.




BUTTER

Cream
Always start with cream from pastured animals.  Pastured animals are exposed to sunlight & eat
grass, resulting in a product that is rich in vitamins and minerals.

Culture
Add a couple of table spoons of yogurt or cultured raw milk to your fresh cream, and let it sit on the counter overnight.  In the morning, your cream will be thick & slightly sour.  This step is not essential for making butter, but is essential for making butter milk, which is useful to have in the kitchen.  You could skip this step and still have delicious sweet cream butter.

Churn
Heavy cream is made of fat and sugar with some proteins. If you've cultured the cream, you've transformed the sugar and thickened, or padded, the protein particles.  Churning the cream, agitates the fat molecules, forcing them to rub against each other.  Fat is sticky, so eventually the tiny fat molecules become particles, and the particles eventually grow into visible tangible masses.

Using a hand mixer, a whisk, robot coup, food processor, or an old fashioned churn; beat the cream.  The cream will thicken to whipped cream after about 3 minutes, then it will become VERY thick cream- or what appears to be whipped butter. If you stop the beating now, you have an edible sweet
 or slightly tangy (if using cultured cream) creamy colored dairy topping that is delicious on cobblers.  But it is not very stable, and will begin to loose its body after a few hours.  Keep beating the cream, until the fat and the sugars separate, and the buttermilk begins sloshing around.  THIS is my favorite
part!


Washing
Dump the contents of your churning device into a bowl lined with a colander. If you cultured your cream, you now have butter in the colander, and buttermilk in the bowl. If you did not culture your cream, you have butter and un-cultured whey, which you can feed to your pigs or pups, or use in baking.  Regardless, separate the butter from the non-butter liquid.
On it's own, butter fat is a very stable food, but it will go rancid rather quickly if it is not handled properly. Washing the fat solids removes residual milk sugars and the butter will have a cleaner, sweeter flavor.
Keep the butter solids in the colander, and place in a new clean bowl.  Stream in cold water and gently knead the butter under the running water.  Occasionally, empty the bowl below, and con tune until the water In the bowl is clear.

Drying
Place a clean dish towel on your work surface. A wood surface is best.  Place your butter on the clean towel, place another clean towel on top, and press the butter between the two layer- expressing any water or moisture.  Remove the top towel, fold the butter as you would pastry dough, and place a new clean dish towel on top.  Press the butter between the two layers.  Now that the butter has been pressed twice, remove the top towel & sprinkle the butter generously with sea salt or powdered sea vegetables. Fold the butter again and incorporate the seasoning by if kneading the butter with the towel as your tool. Taste the butter & add more salt if needed.

Storing
I like to roll my butter into a log shape.  It is easy to slice & looks nice as a gift.  The majority of our butter at the restaurant gets packed into clean plastic quart containers.
It's ok to leave butter at room temperature for long periods if you're room is below 80.
In lots of placing in the world, butter is used to make ghee. Ghee is a shelf stable fat that has no protein or sugar.  The proteins and sugars are removed from the butter by gently heating it and skimming the sugars (which foam) and the protein (which turns white and cooks into a loose solid).  The resulting product is light yellow, clear, doesn't burn when you fry with it, and will stay good forever (even in rooms over 80 degrees).

Eating
Butter is a nutrient dense food. Eating butter, along with a whole food's diet, protects your body from stress, keeps your cells strong yet supple, and delivers important fat soluble vitamins.

If you want to geek out on butter:

  • Vitamins ...
    Butter is a rich source of easily absorbed vitamin A, needed for a wide range of functions, from maintaining good vision to keeping the endocrine system in top shape.
    Butter also contains all the other fat-soluble vitamins (D, E and K2), which are often lacking in the modern industrial diet.
  • Minerals ...
    Butter is rich in important trace minerals, including manganese, chromium, zinc, copper and selenium (a powerful antioxidant). Butter provides more selenium per gram than wheat germ or herring. Butter is also an excellent source of iodine.
  • Fatty Acids ...
    Butter provides appreciable amounts of short- and medium-chain fatty acids, which support immune function, boost metabolism and have anti-microbial properties; that is, they fight against pathogenic microorganisms in the intestinal tract.
    Butter also provides the perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Arachidonic acid in butter is important for brain function, skin health and prostaglandin balance.
  • Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) ...
    When butter comes from cows eating green grass, it contains high levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a compound that gives excellent protection against cancer and also helps your body build muscle rather than store fat.
  • Glycospingolipids ...
    These are a special category of fatty acids that protect against gastrointestinal infections, especially in the very young and the elderly. Children given reduced-fat milks have higher rates of diarrhea than those who drink whole milk.
  • Cholesterol ...
    Despite all of the misinformation you may have heard, cholesterol is needed to maintain intestinal health and for brain and nervous system development in the young.
  • Wulzen Factor ...
    A hormone-like substance that prevents arthritis and joint stiffness, ensuring that calcium in your body is put into your bones rather than your joints and other tissues. The Wulzen factor is present only in raw butter and cream; it is destroyed by pasteurization.

Butter and Your Health

Is butter really healthy? Let us count the ways …
  1. Heart Disease
    Butter contains many nutrients that protect against heart disease including vitamins A, D, K2, and E, lecithin, iodine and selenium. A Medical Research Council survey showed that men eating butter ran half the risk of developing heart disease as those using margarine (Nutrition Week 3/22/91, 21:12).
  2. Cancer
    The short- and medium-chain fatty acids in butter have strong anti-tumor effects. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in butter from grass-fed cows also gives excellent protection against cancer.
  3. Arthritis
    The Wulzen or "anti-stiffness" factor in raw butter and also Vitamin K2 in grasss-fed butter, protect against calcification of the joints as well as hardening of the arteries, cataracts and calcification of the pineal gland. Calves fed pasteurized milk or skim milk develop joint stiffness and do not thrive.
  4. Osteoporosis
    Vitamins A, D and K2 in butter are essential for the proper absorption of calcium and phosphorus and hence necessary for strong bones and teeth.
  5. Thyroid Health
    Butter is a good source of iodine, in a highly absorbable form. Butter consumption prevents goiter in mountainous areas where seafood is not available. In addition, vitamin A in butter is essential for proper functioning of the thyroid gland.
  6. Digestion
    Glycospingolipids in butterfat protect against gastrointestinal infection, especially in the very young and the elderly.
  7. Growth & Development
    Many factors in the butter ensure optimal growth of children, especially iodine and vitamins A, D and K2. Low-fat diets have been linked to failure to thrive in children -- yet low-fat diets are often recommended for youngsters!
  8. Asthma
    Saturated fats in butter are critical to lung function and protect against asthma.
  9. Overweight
    CLA and short- and medium-chain fatty acids in butter help control weight gain.
  10. Fertility
    Many nutrients contained in butter are needed for fertility and normal reproduction


Friday, January 03, 2014

From the kitchen with love xoxo

Thank you to everyone who joined us in our new year celebration!


2014 is only three days old, but so far so good!

Despite the frigid temperatures outside, Kismet is warm and cozy and I'm the lucky girl who gets to tend the ovens! Between rotating large trays of caramelized roots and winter vegetables,  I may occasionally be found cuddling huge bubbling pots of nourishing broths, or gleefully rejoicing in the wafts of smoked apples.  It's possible, that come April I may be pale and found staring blankly at the parsnips and celeriac, wishing for a magic spell to turn them into garden fresh haricotverts;  but at the moment I am happily snuggled in with my myriad of roots and pumpkins, and happily seasoning with  honey preserved herbs.

It's true that cooking in Vermont in the winter is drastically different than in July or August.  For one thing, FINDING fresh local food is more difficult when it's -15 degrees.  If you've managed to put away some storage crops or did a little canning or preserving the previous season, chances are you've got a whole lot of root vegetables, pickles, jams, and a bunch of random cuts of frozen meat.  Going to the coop or grocery store can offer some relief, and though a salad for dinner sounds great in late June, it's definitely not what our bodies deserve while enduring sub arctic conditions.  

It's not a surprise to me that seasonal depression disorder effects so many folks.  For me, I spend the majority of winter fantasizing about being half clothed and surrounded by green leaves and warm breezes, but for many others, seasonal depression can be a much deeper and serious illness that may present all sorts of health issues.  

I know how hard it is to stay warm and well fed during this season- but it is truly the most important thing we can do for ourselves.  At kismet, we take this sort of thing very seriously.  Each day, I meet with my kitchen team, who happen to be my best friends, and we plan the week's menus and lists of prep work based on what to feed ourselves and each other. We talk about you, our regulars, and the folks we have yet to meet, and we talk about the season.  The menus we plan are as much for my own children as they are for the rest of the world, and inspired by my honest belief that food is medicine, and that it should taste good! 

This is kismet's 8th winter, and I truly do feel that we have settled into this season with joy and readiness.  We want to feed you! And most importantly, want for you to be fed good, whole, nurturing, foods that strengthen and support you and all of the good work you do! 

From the kitchen with love,
xoxo


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

NEW YEARS BRUNCH!!


we're spending the last day of the year preparing for the first meals of the new year!!

please join us for the 
NEW YEARS BRUNCH!!

january 1, 2014
10-2

(& it's our birthday too!! we're going into our 8th year!)



mimosas & bloody mary specials
rejuvenating fresh juices
xoxo




BENEDICTS (our favorite)
(vegan versions available!)

portuguese fishcake 16
Potato & poached cod, topped with eggs & hollandaise.  
Served with salad.

florentine 14
Spinach, chèvre & dill on seeded baguette. 
Topped with eggs & hollandaise & served with roots.

crepe 14
Buckwheat crepe filled with ham & sharp cheddar. 
Topped with eggs & hollandaise, served with roots.

crab 16
Toasted brioche, seared tomato, seared tomato.
Topped with eggs & hollandaise, served with roots.

steak & egg frites 19
Seared New York strip, poached eggs, hollandaise, served with fries.

……& our other favorites….


biscuits & gravy 10
Choice of tempeh, our own lamb chorizo, or house pork sausage.

huevos rancheros 14
Polenta cake topped with eggs, enchilada sauce and sour cream.  
Plated with black beans, spiced cheddar potatoes, salsa and hot sauce.

portuguese baked eggs 14
Sofrito, baked with 2 soft eggs, ricotta, romano and cheddar. Served with toast.  
With lamb chorizo … 16

grain and vegetable platter 12
Add eggs, tofu, chicken, or tempeh, cheddar, chèvre or feta… 3 

pork & cheddar hash 13
Potatoes topped with cider & rum braised pork, cheddar & 2 eggs

french toast 12

Portuguese sweet bread, cranberry compote, fresh ricotta, maple syrup.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

THIS IS KISMET



When we walk in this door, we leave everything but the most important parts of ourselves behind; our dented cars, dirty dishes, idle projects and disappointments- 
 We enter to sounds of crashing pans and a mad jangle of silverware, breaking glassware, and layers of background rumbling. ..
& we set our mise to the sounds of unanswered cell phone alarms, text signals, ringing, and beeps from all directions- door chimes, machine parts busting, 
and all sorts of semi vocal signals from co-staff and the computer system & guests alike. 
 While the delivery drivers, producers and wine reps stand silent on the stairs holding the myriad assortment of the day's perishables,
 roasted bacon, fried eggs, toasted seeds and yeasted bread further fill the space that has become our dreamtime...
here-  in the midst of orchestrated transformational chaos, we collectively aim to synchronize, create and unify;  to have time for reflection, even just a moment of self witness, and the opportunity to honestly surrender.

THIS 
IS KISMET


in the midst; rhode island calamari arrives and is lovingly handled and gracefully transformed over fire- three, four, five sets of hands gently work this process forward-
flames. olive brine. cured lemon. braised garlic. and then a finesse- as the dish is passed on.
in the corner confectionary; egg whites whipped for 15 minutes to form the lightness that becomes meringue- while discussing quince syrup and crumb topping.  lemon zest piled on the counter, fresh thyme soaking in sparkling rose, macerated black berries.
on the counter: grilled peaches, atlantic octopus, kitchen renovation floor plans
& in the back ground;  miguel perfecting cast iron fried eggs. 

in just a few moments we will open, 
and over the course of four days we will serve over 700 meals.

check out our current menus here
xoxo



Thursday, May 16, 2013

Really delicious & really happy

Even though the wind still smells of woodsmoke and has an uncomfortable arctic feel to it, spring is here and blossoming abundantly. Each day, I've woken to birds and blue skies and to-do lists that involve summer menu planning, setting seeds, and visits to the woods to hunt and gather.
There are only so many hours in the day, and as those of you who know kismet well, know that I have had my hands full and my schedule over booked with the many tasks if running the restaurant and garden on my own.  Over the last 6 months, however, evolution has brought a certain number of changes that have greatly nourished our kismet, and I'm pretty excited about this new season and new energy kismet is experiencing! For the first time since the floods, I feel like kismet has a better and surer sense of itself, and is really and truly recovering from the disasters of 2011.  We have new faces collaborating in the kitchen, and new leadership in the dining room.  New menus are focusing more than ever on the Mediterranean influences of my own palate, with all of the healing and nourishing qualities we have strived for years to deliver.  Jules, Charles, Genevieve, &Miguel have been incredible, and even after only 2 weeks of working together, I feel that I have a team that inspires & directs each other through the kind of manifestation and excellence we all desire.  It feels easy all of a sudden, and delicious- REALLY DELICIOUS!
Things are taking shape in the dining room as well; Damian recently installed the new mirrors & glass rack, lighting is being put in place, and Art has graciously amended and updated our window & menu graphics!
In the front of the house, my friend & completely competent business buddy, Melissa, has chosen to take on a front of the house & bar overhaul.  I can't tell you how incredible it is to have her here working with us! It's like after years of single parenting being given a super nanny!! She's amazing, has a phenomenal palate, has wine and beer expertise,  AND shares a love and devotion to kismet that is felt through the entire staff.
Each day, we all do our best to stay focused, meet our goals, find & appreciate inspiration, and stay connected to what is important to us.  Doubt creeps in from time to time, there are the unsavory surprises, and there are lists that get longer no matter how hard you try.  But, tonight at staff meeting (pre dinner, as we call it), I had tears in my eyes as we tasted the new menu items & talked about tonight's service- not the kind of tears that come from total exhaustion and relentless fear- happy tears. REALLY HAPPY tears..
XOXO
Crystal


Friday, March 22, 2013

spring news xoxo



MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

This year's Vermont Restaurant Week is April 26- May 6.  During Restaurant week, Kismet will be offering daily $10 lunch specials,  a $35 three course dinner tasting menu,
 and a one night only five course tasting menu with wine pairings on April 27th, 2013!

On April 27,  at 6:00 p.m, join us for an evening with Artisanal Cellars and winemaker Matteo Giustiniani.   Kismet Chef-Owner Crystal Maderia will present a menu that both incorporates and is paired with a selection of Villa Sardi wines in a casual and creative dinner.
This 5-course dinner is prix-fixe ($70 per person, tax not included) and by reservation only. Limited to 10 guests.
Call 802-233-8646 for details and to place a reservation.
Thanks, and we hope to see you there! 




Friday, March 15, 2013

dear winter..

snow gently settles at my front door each night when i arrive home; i am happy, because i know that the sap will flow longer this way-- but i am so eager for spring at the same time...

Dear  Winter:
    thank you
    you mean so much to me
    but
    it's time for us to say goodbye.
    Take your time,
    do what needs to be done
    so the sap may run long and fast
    and be plenty.
    I promise to embrace you 9 months from now
    when you arrive again.

xoxo
kismet