Friday, December 12, 2014

inspired by you

When I began kismet in 2006,  I had very humble expectations.  I wanted to feed people the type of food that I loved to eat.  Good Food, from local organic farms, inspired by my family and travels, and made from scratch with simplicity.  No fillers, no corn syrup, no frozen foods; no crap!
I am so thankful for my staff and community for these years; together we have overcome floods and bad fortune, shared stories and recipes, and have grown our families together.  2015 will be the beginning of kismet's 9th year! NEARLY A DECADE! And my resolve stays the same; serve the food I like to eat, from our own garden and local farms, inspired by YOU: my family.

Come celebrate a new year (and our anniversary)! 
DINNER December 31, 2014 
BRUNCH January 1, 2015. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014


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.


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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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).

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,