The Hot Handle

A blog interspersed with occasional gluten free recipes.

Please note: If you have a family member who requires a gluten free diet, be sure to use a cast iron skillet that has never previously touched gluten....and if it has, scrub it all down completely and re-season, to be on the safe side.

Looking for information on Celiac Disease? There are many good sites, but here is one to get started with:

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Farm Table - Restaurant Review

Backtrack to Spring 2010:  We were heading home from a day trip.  John had been diagnosed with Celiac Disease for less than six months.  We were still figuring out all this gluten free stuff.  The last thing I wanted to do was go home and cook dinner for all of us, but I did.  As we drove along during a normal dinner hour, I fantasized about running across a restaurant that we had never seen before.  It would be appropriately titled, "Gluten Free Heaven." 

We never ran across that dream restaurant.  Until now. 

This past weekend we were heading for a trip to Woodstock, Vermont. 
On Friday evening, driving from Connecticut through Massachusetts via I-91,
we were minutes away from a new restaurant that I had spotted on Facebook,
touted as specializing in gluten free and organic foods. 
(Not everything on the menu is gluten free, but a lot is.) 

Forget the organic.  Really?  They understand gluten free?

We decided to stop there. 
Courtesy of John's cell phone with internet,
we called the restaurant and secured a reservation. 

Wow.  This place was stunning from the outside.

Inside, we were greeted by a cozy fireplace.

The wait staff wore blue checked shirts and standard blue jeans. 
The cloth napkins held the same blue check pattern as the shirts.

We looked over the menu, and asked a few questions about ingredients. 
Our server was gracious about conferring with the chef, returning with the requested information.

There was a lot to choose from. 
We could have spent sizeable amounts on dinner entrees. 
But we were heading for a weekend with lots of food. 
Lighter seemed appealing. 

We decided to share two gluten free pizzas among the three of us. 
This meal was certainly a good deal.

One pizza was with mushrooms and sauteed spinach and garlic cream. 
This proved to be quite tasty.

The other was all veggies, with artichokes, roasted mushrooms, and roasted peppers.

These two pizzas proved to be more than enough for the three of us. 
John asked for a doggie bag for the last two slices. 
These were given to us in a cool biodegradable package!

He ate these cold for lunch the following day.  I'm told they were delicious.

As I was sipping from my water glass, I remarked about its flavor. 
Turns out the water is from their own well, then filtered. 

The building is heated and cooled with geothermal technology.

We were so impressed with this place that we decided to visit it again on our way home.
We planned to stop by for Sunday brunch.
We arrived at 1:30 pm, a busy time for the restaurant.
We had to wait a short while to be seated.

John and I ordered the Cobb salad, and hubby ordered an egg sandwich.
We sat back and waited.
And waited.

We did think it was odd that our order did not come in very quickly.
How hard can it be to whip up two salads and an egg sandwich?

Soon, our waitress returned.

"The egg sandwich was not up to our standards. 
Please accept this basket of gluten free breads while you wait."

Mmmmm.  How do they DO that? 
GF muffins that are crunchy on the outside, yet tender on the inside!

Meanwhile, we chuckled and giggled. 
How does an egg sandwich not be "up to standards?"
Probably it fell on the floor, or pehaps it burned to a crisp!
(Yes, we have a sense of humor here.)

Our food was again delicious. 
All of it was certainly worth the short wait.
The salad greens were fresh.
The salad itself was lightly dressed, which suited me fine.

And guess what is served with the egg sandwich?
House-made ketchup!
Nothing from a bottle!

We all had to taste this one!

It was good.
Now I have to research how one makes their own ketchup.
This would be cool to have at a family burger night!

We will definitely return to the Farm Table Restaurant.
It's on Route 5, just off of exit 28 of I-91,
in Bernardston, Massachusetts.
(413) 648-5200

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Angels Watching Over Me

I believe in angels.

Sometimes things just can't be explained.
Some will say it's coincidence.
But how do we really know?

I have hints in the past of my deceased grandfather interceding on my behalf.

Now I have another heavenly being watching over me. 
(Technically, people who die and go to heaven become saints, not angels.)

My dear Mom passed away on January 1, 2012.
We will all miss her.

Since then, my Dad has experienced wonky things with the clocks.
He thinks it's her doing.
Then again, she always had a sense of humor.

When I came home from the burial yesterday,
I found an interesting e-mail on my work site.
It seems that a project that I requested grant money for may be reconsidered.
Did Mom whisper in someone's ear?
I'll never know, but it's a comforting thought.
Even if I don't receive the grant in the end, it's okay.

I have angels watching over me.

If you have an angel story, I'd love to hear it.
Please share in the comments below.