A Taste of Vermont in Illinois – Vermont Cheddar Ale Soup {Find it, Make it}

Hi. I love to search out new recipes and try new things. As I find them in magazines, on blogs, and various other places, I will make them and let you know how they turn out. I will also give you any tips to make it easier or offer suggestions on how I changed the recipe to better suit me and my family. Check back frequently for new recipe ideas.  Take a look at the other recipes in the {Find it, Make it} series or enjoy the other posts on Julie’s blog. – Amanda

I was in the mood for Vermont. The smells, the tastes….don’t get me started. I grew up in Vermont but haven’t been back in about 7 years. I have a trip planned on the horizon, but until then I needed a little fix. I started searching for a good soup recipe and came across the recipe for Vermont Cheddar Ale Soup from the Grafton Inn in Vermont. You can find it on a few sites, but I stumbled upon this recipe on the website Your Mileage May Vary.

This recipe takes a bit of time to come together and there are a few steps you can do ahead of time:

1. Get your garlic bulb roasted (about 30 min)
2. Caramelize your onion (20-30 min)
3. Grate your cheese while the above 2 are working.

For the cheese I used 2 blocks of Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar and 2 blocks of Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar. I could not find the Grafton cheese, but Cabot cheese is also made in Vermont and available at most grocery stores.

I also could not find the McNeills Ale. I substituted with New Belgium’s Fat Tire Amber Ale.

Then I followed the recipe exactly. I especially enjoyed using the new immersion blender I received from Julie for Christmas. It was so easy and there was just one little piece to clean. No need to move everything over to the blender.

  • 1 garlic bulb, roasted
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped & caramelized
  • 1 red pepper, diced 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2 shallots thinly chopped
  • 2 qt vegetable stock (64oz)
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 2 pounds Grafton Cheddar, shredded (see above note)
  • 22 oz McNeill’s Firehouse Ale (see above note)
  • 3 large Yukon gold potatoes, diced 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  1. Saute shallots, peppers, and carrots until soft in 2 T olive oil and 1 T butter.
  2. Add bottle of beer and simmer 5 minutes.
  3. Add caramelized onions, potatoes, stock and remaining butter.
  4. Simmer until potatoes are tender, then turn off flame.
  5. Add cream, roasted garlic and cheddar slowly with whisk.
  6. Puree in blender.
  7. Add salt & pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh chives and croutons.

Yields 1 gallon.

To go with this I cubed up some pumpernickel bread, sprayed with my new olive oil sprayer, and sprinkled a little salt. After about 10-15 min at 400 degrees I had some yummy croutons to top it.

This recipe makes a lot and I think it would be easy to make half the recipe. However, my family all loves it and we can have it a few nights in a row.

I definitely got my Vermont fix and it made the house smell really yummy. Thanks to Neil and Shaula for posting this recipe that I stumbled on.

From my searches to your dishes…Enjoy!!

Project 366

I am participating in a photography project I found on the website Develop.  There aren’t really rules for the project – everyone kind of sets up their own. Some people are doing daily photos, some weekly and some are posting a monthly theme.  I have decided to call my project Project 366 and my goal is to try to take a photo each day of this year.  I started the project on Jan 2 and I missed my photo on Thursday but I’m not letting that discourage me.  I’m gonna keep plugging along.  I have already been thinking a little more creatively when taking pictures and I have gotten to experiment with some of the photo editing tools available for my iPhone.  Here are the pictures I took for week 1.

Rock Island Railroad Bridge

Rock Island Railroad Bridge
Best Seat in the House
Best Seat in the House

Radiant Beams
Radiant Beams

Blue Raspberry
Blue Raspberry

Kiddie Ride
Kiddie Ride

Kiddie Ride Closeup
Kiddie Ride Closeup

Spicy Whiskey BBQ Sliders (my way) {Find it, Make it}

Hi. I love to search out new recipes and try new things. As I find them in magazines, on blogs, and various other places, I will make them and let you know how they turn out. I will also give you any tips to make it easier or offer suggestions on how I changed the recipe to better suit me and my family. Check back frequently for new recipe ideas.  Take a look at the other recipes in the {Find it, Make it} series or enjoy the other posts on Julie’s blog. – Amanda


I found this recipe on Pioneer Woman’s blog under the ‘cooking” tab. You can view the step by step process here http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/12/spicy-whiskey-bbq-sliders/. It is also listed on her Tasty Kitchen site.

I altered this recipe to make it a bit more figure friendly…we’ve got to stick to those New Year’s resolutions right?

I used ground, 99% fat free turkey breast instead of beef and I made this as a loose meat sandwich like Sloppy Joe’s instead of as sliders.

I only used one pound of meat, but I kept the same measurements for the sauce and it just coated the meat and wasn’t too saucy.

Here is the recipe with my adjustment.  You can see P Dubs recipe with all the step-by-step photos here.

Spicy Whiskey BBQ Sliders (My Way)

1 pound Ground 99% Fat Free Turkey Breast
Salt And Pepper
4 Tablespoons Butter
1 whole Large Onion, Diced
1/2 cup Whiskey
1 cup Barbecue Sauce
1/4 cup Jarred Jalapeno Slices (more To Taste)
Buns

Brown the meat in a skillet until cooked through.  Remove and set aside.  Add butter to the same pan and saute onions until golden and tender.  De-glaze the pan with the Whiskey being sure to stir in all the little brown bits on the pan.  Add the remaining ingredients and cook through until warm.  Return the browned meat to the pan, toss with the sauce and bring to temperature.  Serve on your favorite buns.

It was delicious!!! And I didn’t miss the beef. It was a little spicy so you might want to go easy on the peppers and add more to your taste at the end.

We made homemade baked potato chips to go along side. I had two new gadgets I got for Christmas that I wanted to use…a mandolin slicer and a olive oil sprayer. We cut a russet potato thin with the slicer, coated the tops with olive oil and placed them in the microwave on parchment (also sprayed with oil) for about 7-8 minutes until you just start to see them browning..watch closely!! Sprinkle with salt.

Good luck to you all in the New Year and I hope you have some fun in the kitchen along the way. For example, I cooked this dinner without pants on as I dumped jalapeno juice all over mine while trying to open the jar. My kids got a kick out of that!!

From my searches to your dishes. Enjoy!

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