Summer Cooking at Fresh Tracks Farm

When I think of spring, not only do I think of warmer weather, I think of how best to use these longer, more temperate days. Especially after months of frigid weather. I mean, it was cold, even by Vermont standards. But it is over and done with, and will only make this summer season even more pleasant. Now back to my day dreams: to me, making good use of these summer afternoons usually involves copious amounts of food, libations, and of course, lovely company!

If we are talking June, we are talking back-yard wine cocktail parties, where roses (and Rosés) can once again take the stage. I am a person that loves Rosé all year long, but the wine especially captures the spirit of spring and early summer; it’s crisp and bright, with floral and fruity linings peaking through, and just enough body and texture to keep up with the cooler evenings as we descend to twilight gatherings around a fire. You might even find a semi dry rosé that works well with s’mores! Note: If you do, please let us know ASAP. We must know. For obvious reasons.

While s’mores are all well and good, for a wine-themed cocktail party you might be looking for something a little less messy. Like a simple nibbler that can complement what’s in your glass, or be enjoyed on its own. Our Little Piggy Pink is a classic late spring/early summer sipper, with its juicy cherry aromas and sweet-tart finish. It is a most versatile of wines, and can be teamed up with char-grilled venison burgers, mounds of strawberry shortcake, or going it alone as you recline in an Adirondack chair at a Vermont vineyard (hint hint).

On one of our recent culinary escapades we discovered a little savory treat that would be make for some great nibbling food. A simple crostini topped with peaches and blue cheese, finished off with a drizzle of local honey, partnered with our fruity rose.

We loved this recipe because it was super easy, super fast, and super yummy. It also gracefully accommodates pantry miscalculations, so if you don’t happen to have peaches available you could probably substitute juicy pears, nectarines, or even mango if you wanted to get a little wild! We are fortunate enough to have many wonderful bakers who provide us fresh bread, as well as many fruit growers and cheese makers, so if you are a local warrior you can always find ingredients around here to suit your fancy. The cambozola cheese in this recipe is a triple cream gorgonzola, so it is very strong; if you prefer a milder or sweeter blue cheese, we would suggest trying Middlebury Blue or Bayley Hazen Blue. I wouldn’t say no to a fresh chevre or tomme either. Point is: have some fun with it!

Our afternoon of cooking was far from over! After some deliberation, we decided that our waistlines would benefit from something a little more healthy to go with our crostini. We found this fun recipe for buffalo chicken quinoa bites, with a greek yogurt blue cheese dip. that goes along with our easy fast and yummy theme. Crispy on the outside, cheesy and meaty on the inside, and the quinoa provided a great chewiness. We also whipped up a delicious combination of fresh fiddleheads, ramps, and farm eggs. While not a finger food, it is still a pretty plate to have at a dinner party or even as a brunch item! There are not many measurements with this recipe as it was partially on the fly, so just adjust to your liking and people being served.

After tasting all of the dishes individually, we dived head on into matching them with wine. While the original intent was to find some delightful pairings with our Vermont Rosé, in the end we discovered that our recipes went better with some of our other wines instead. Fortunately (and unsurprisingly), we had a fresh supply of other wines at our disposal. The peach and blue cheese crostini was a hit with our Little Piggy Pink, with the fruit cherry flavors of the wine hitting the same sensory notes as the peach, and creating a great alternate to the rich blue cheese. The tangy quinoa bites were just a little too hearty for the Vermont Rosés acidity; however the richer berry notes, spice, and hint of sweetness of the Dog River Red held up eagerly. The hotcake and fiddlehead dish was rich and bright at the same time, a perfect match with our succulent yet invigorating La Crescent. The Vermont Rosé doesn’t need big flavors, it was very happy to go with some leftover French fries and the Pan Fried Fiddleheads.

Ultimately, we’re always on a quest here at Fresh Tracks Farm – even when we’re off the clock. It’s a quest for the perfect pairing. That ultimate fireworks moment when you take your first bite and then, when you add a sip of wine to the mix, the flavors dance together in happy harmony in your mouth. When we find that combination, the whole experience is better than the sum of its parts. And in order to better discover those hidden Perfect Pairings, we have enlisted the help of many local producers, such as Nutty Stephs, Von Trapp Farmstead, and Vermont Salumi. Our food-and-wine events were created with the idea that wine can be better with food, and food better with wine. We wanted to give everyone the opportunity to create their own ‘Wow!’ moments, and what better way to do that than providing the space, food, and wine all in one place!