Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Quick Little Post...

I was recently tagged by my friend Katie to list the ten books that had a great impact on my life. As you now know, I love a good list and I really love books so I am sorry to say I could only whittle my list down to 18 (close!).  What are some of your favorites?

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
Wendal, His Cat, and the Progress of Man - V. Campudoni
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Persuasion – Jane Austen
Cannery Row – John Steinbeck
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Far from the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
The Way of the Wizard – Deepak Chopra
Cousin Bette - Honoré de Balzac
The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemmingway
Dr. Zhivago – Boris Pasternak
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
Silas Marner – George Elliot
Lord of the Rings Trilogy – J.R.R. Tolkein
A Room with a View – E.M. Forster
Watership Down – Richard Adams
A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle

Saturday, September 20, 2014

VT Mac and Cheese Challenge!

Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to taste-test 20 varieties of mac and cheese and select a winner.  That was a challenge I could not ignore.  Miss K. was up for the weekend and we hopped in the car and headed down to Harpoon Brewery who, along with the Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company, graciously played host to the 2nd Annual VT Mac and Cheese Challenge, where we met up with Lady D. for some cheesy fun.

This is me and K. excited about the fact we were about to spend the day eating carbs and cheese.

We immediately planned our attack and got in line....we were slightly daunted by the throngs already waiting for their little taste of cheesy heaven, but we would not be deterred.  In we went!

The duo below are from Beard-n-Lady and they served up our first little taste and they set the bar high as they ended up coming in second place!!! Their offering included bits of apple which was soooo good when paired with the cheesy pasta...nom nom nom...

After eating our way through the first tent, we took a break to step out into the sunshine and fresh air.  The gals each grabbed a pint and I (not a beer or cider fan), had a really tough time hunting down something else to drink.  Although it would have been really nice to have had a glass of wine, we were at a brewery so I understand why that was not an option.  That said, finding anything else was nothing but difficult...not cool.  It would have been great to have had easy access to a stash of chilled waters and juices next to the beer and cider...just sayin'.  That said, we did enjoy the sun and the opportunity to catch up.  

Miss K. convinced me to give hard cider another try.  The following snapshots illustrate my current thoughts on it.  I still think it is totally gross...just not for me, I'm afraid. 

And then, as our work was not yet done, we headed into tent number two for the next round of tastings!  As you can see, we took our jobs very seriously.  No fooling around.  None.  There was no laughing and there were certainly no shenanigans. 

Seen below, I loved Loon Mountain's buffalo chicken mac and cheese...the pasta still had a good bite to it, and the dish was just the tiniest bit runny and had the slightest kick of heat which did not overpower the cheese...and shouldn't it always be about the cheese?

And, you can't beat a simple mac and cheese laced with chorizo!

This dude had two offerings, one of which was a lobster blueberry mac and cheese.  I know what you are saying.  What???!!!  Lobster???  Blueberries??? Cheese???? Together???  But, it worked and it was intriguing and good!  And, he was vastly entertaining, which is always a benefit when waiting in a long line!

The one below was a butternut squash mac and cheese with pumpkin seeds and sage...although I applaud their sense of adventure, the sage really overpowered the delicate cheese they used. Sometimes, simpler is better.

Lady D. noted that we made a rookie mistake and ate the full serving given to us at each of the stations in the first tent.  Although small servings, pasta and cheese packs a punch when you have cup after cup of the stuff.   That said, I soldiered forth.  And ate another cup of mac and cheese...

...and then another cup...

...and yes, one last serving.  After fifteen or so tastings, I had to admit defeat.  But thankfully not before hitting what turned out to be one of the clear winners of the day which came from PINE at The Hanover Inn.  Fantastic flavors, great texture, and well-balanced. The crunchy bits of pancetta didn't hurt either. Not only was it my favorite, but it was the judges' pick for number one! 

What I wore...

If you live anywhere in the New England area, I highly recommend checking out this event - assuming you are not lactose-intolerant.  And although I (thankfully) do not suffer with said affliction, by the time I left the VT Mac and Cheese Challenge I couldn't help but think of a certain exchange from French Kiss as I passed this gal.  ;o)

Have a great day, everyone!

Meghan xo