Kitchen Blog

Buying Local Matters

July 30, 2016 by WhiteStone  

eat localTwo groups of middle schoolers came over to the inn recently. They are part of a summer school program that has a session on Architecture and Culture. During the second unit they were studying food and culture, exploring different regions and seeing how restaurants design their menus and their spaces to reflect where they are located. At the end of all of this, the students will have to present a vision of what kind of restaurant they would create, and what the menu would look like and why.

It was an interesting study to reflect on why we do what we do and to articulate that; to explain why we designed Champney’s as we did; and why buying local is as important to us as running a scratch kitchen.

We are not sure if these students fully understood about reducing the environmental impact, keeping the farming community vibrant, preserving genetic diversity, putting taxes to good use, investing in the future, buying what is in season so there is less waste. We said we like to buy what we want and not what a food conglomerate wants us to buy; that for us it was morally, ethically, philosophically, the only way – that growers, the land, animals, should be treated with respect and appreciation.

We told them we buy local draught beers, bringing in many different ones and supporting new brewers. We buy local gin and vodka, and we make our own infusions for the clarity of taste, supporting area growers when we can for those infusion ingredients.

We spoke of the opportunity we had after tropical storm Irene to create two warm, inviting, gathering spaces within the footprint of the old hall-like dining room of the inn, to put in fireplaces, a dining bar, well-padded seating, sound-absorbing carpets and café curtains, and bring modern comfort and operation into a space that still honored the past and sense of place with its color choices, period reproduction wallpaper in the restaurant side, and seeded glass windows.

We showed them that the restaurant and tavern have pictures on the walls that reference this village that owes its very existence to the rich land around it, the rivers, orchards, and fields. It all speaks to community, place, past and present.

We told them that even the name of our restaurant and tavern have significance for us; that James Wells Champney was a Deerfield resident who was an ardent abolitionist, a champion of women’s suffrage, an innovator in photographic techniques, and an early impressionist painter.  Above all there is much testament in the Memorial Libraries to his kind and generous heart, and a good heart is greatly valued here. You can learn to be a server, but you can’t learn a caring heart, and the authenticity of the desire for folks here to make sure you are well and happy is a delight to experience.

We are not sure the students got all this: The compare and contrast restaurant was a fast food chain –and, when asked, they said the difference between that menu and ours was that the chain restaurant’s had pictures,  but it was an interesting exercise for us  to articulate to a rising generation how the Chef has designed the menus and how our spaces reflect this village where we are located, and the importance to us of authenticity in produce and products, in preparation, in ambiance, and in service.

Then they all shared a plate of local cheeses with strawberry-rhubarb compôte and we told them how that pairing of a “jam” with cheese was a very old culinary tradition and gave them tasting notes  – and then, finally,  it was all about the food.

Bring Something to the Table – A Community Support Initiative

April 22, 2016 by WhiteStone  

The Deerfield Inn and Champney’s Restaurant & Tavern is bringing back its Bring Something to the Table initiative that we rolled out in December to invite guests who come to enjoy a meal here to leave a donation of any amount in an envelope for members of our community who are in need of our kindness and help. Obviously folks do not just need help during a single fund-raiser and on high days and holidays, so through the spring and summer, starting in May, we will be supporting four different and extraordinarily worthwhile, valuable, organizations that do so much good for those who neighbors who need our help.

Come by to Champney’s on a Sunday in May to August, gather with friends, with family; bring a date; and slip something in the envelope in the check holder. Every single dollar helps, and if you can bring more than that to the table, then good on you.

At the end of every month we will draw out a donor name and give someone an overnight stay at our Massachusetts bed and breakfast along with a $50 VIP card to spend in Champney’s when you come for your sleepover. Afternoon tea and Kathleen’s cookies, a full country breakfast, free Wi-fi, $4 off each adult museum ticket, and 10% off in the store as well.

You can come by as often as you want on any Sunday you please, leave some more for those in need of a hand up, and enter the raffle again.

May – New England Learning Center for Women in Transition, NELCWIT, to assist the safe house ad its carers, and protect, feed, clothe, and help the residents through their transitions. Women and children find a haven here where they can be given safe passage, warmth, kindness, and a respite from aggressions and fear while they rebuild their life.

JuneFranklin County Sheriff’s Office Regional Dog Shelter run by the upbeat Deputy Colucci and her compassionate staff and volunteers. Unwanted dogs, lost dogs, the shelter cares for them all with medical care, good food, walks, and strokes of love. Sheriff Donelan’s office can provide only a stipend, and this shelter is kept going by the hard work and endeavors of the Friends, and more aid is always needed. We need to keep this shelter here because so many people finding a lost dog are reluctant to go all those miles down to the shelter in Springfield, and many dogs will not find the safe and fostering way station they need until they are found or adopted.

July – The Franklin County Community Meals Program. We think you agree that it is just not right that people in our neighborhood do not have enough to fill their tummies. It is especially not right that many children go to bed hungry. FCCMP serves over 20,000 meals a year and they need our continued help to keep this level of sustenance and support going.

AugustThe Literacy Project – with its commitment and outreach to teach adults and young people, 16 and up, to read, to grow existing skills, to gain a GED, in safe, non-judgmental, caring classes with the knowledge that being literate and having the basic building blocks of education, give one the empowerment to engage in society, to find employment, to gain inner confidence and to find a positive voice.

So please share the bounty with the county and help spread the joy of a good meal, a safe haven, a more positive future, and a forever home. We appreciate you and we look forward to you being the one who might get a gift (beyond the gift of giving) and will win the monthly raffle.

 

 

 

Melt in your Mouth Mint Chocolate Cookie Recipe

April 14, 2016 by WhiteStone  

Pizza at Deerfield, MA inn

One of our favorite culinary quotes is by Yogi Berra – “You better cut the pizza in four pieces,” he reportedly said, “I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”

And the lovely Sophia Loren has supposedly claimed that, “Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.” If only it could be that simple to be gorgeous!

Well, we don’t have any recipes for pizza to offer you, although fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, and sun-dried tomatoes are an awesome topping, and the secret for the deliciousness of our thin crusts is heritage grain flour from Northfield’s Four Star Farms.

Instead, here’s a recipe for the totally delicious Mint Chocolate Meltaways that we have had out at high tea showers:

Cookies

Beat 2 sticks butter with 1t vanilla, 1t peppermint extract, ½ cup powdered sugar until soft and fluffy.  Beat in 2 cups flour and pinch salt. Spoon into pastry bag with no. 4 star tip. Pipe cookie shapes onto sprayed baking sheet. (About 2½” long)  Bake in 350° oven until golden – about 12-15 minutes.  Cool on paper towels.

Mint ganache

Bring generous ¼ cup whipping cream + 2 extra T and ¼ stick butter to simmer in pan. Add 9oz good imported white chocolate chopped. Stir until smooth.  Add 1t peppermint extract.  Refrigerate until firm enough to spread. Spread on flat side of cooled cookies.  Refrigerate until ganache is firm.

Chocolate coating

Melt 9oz quality bittersweet chocolate with 1T vegetable shortening in top of double boiler until smooth.  Dip one end of cookie into chocolate. Hold cookie on sides and dip ganache side into bittersweet chocolate.  Place cookies on foil-covered cookie sheet.  Chill until chocolate is set.

Enjoy!

The Mighty Squirrel Leaps In!

November 5, 2015 by WhiteStone  

Mighty SquirrelersOne day recently I saw three people in matching t-shirts in the living room when I emerged from my work space behind the fireplace. The T-shirt was very cool with a white squirrel on the move. Got to talking, and it turned out they are new brewers from Boston with a European style lager with 5 grams of protein! Mighty Squirrel Original is complex with bready, caramel, and citrus notes, plus a hint of honey. Mighty Squirrel Light is clean and crisp with citrus and honey notes and only 109 calories!

On Saturday, November 14th, the Mighty Squirrel team will be here at Champney’s at about 4:00 pm for you to sample their brew and tell their story. We are the only bar in western Massachusetts carrying their product, so come on by to be among the first to try the latest microbrew in our line-up.

This is what will be in store:

• A free Mighty Squirrel pint glass to every customer that orders Mighty Squirrel beer
• The taste profile of Mighty Squirrel beer described – its brewing process, and its history to anybody who is interested in learning about it
• 2oz tasting samples of Mighty Squirrel to customers who want to try Mighty Squirrel before ordering

Thirsty Thursday August Beverage Series

July 30, 2015 by WhiteStone  

kitten in a wine glass

Just for the cuteness factor

Come and join us with your friends for any of four fun & informative tastings with four fun and informative guys. Every Thursday in August from 5:30-7:00.

  • August 6, scotch tasting with the kilted dude, Mike Walsh. $25 for five tastes
  • August 13, beer with Charlie “blue eyes” Olchowski, president of the oldest home brew club in New England. $15 for nine tastes
  • August 20, wine with wine guy and bon viveur, Dave Abbott. $20 for eight tastes
  • August 27, talking tequila with muy chido Sean Barry. $25 for five tastes

Call us at 413-774-5587 ext 173 and buy your tickets now!

Check out these deals:
Buy one in the series, or get all four for the special price of $75
Buy six tickets for any one tasting and get 10% off
Stay for supper and get a 10% discount coupon.

(Remember we have the super prix fixe deal on weeknights for $33)

Read more on our SPECIAL EVENTS PAGE

Complementary snackerels with the tastings, of course.

Call us  at 413-774-5587, ext 173 or come on by and ask at the inn’s front desk.

New Local Craft Beer Choices for our List

July 13, 2015 by WhiteStone  

Photo by Bri Stachowski

Photo by Bri Stachowski

Stoneman Brewery in Colrain, with brewmaster Justin Korby (aka Stonaman) will be providing our latest local offerings. Not on draught, but in glorious 22oz bottles. Stoneman Brewery is a small farm brewery located on a 74-acre farm in Colrain, MA. Their beer contains nearly 100% locally and regionally sourced ingredients, which is just what we like best at Champney’s! We will be getting a variety, based on availability, and maybe some of the following:

 
Tractor Ryed IPA 5%
Peacemaker Pale Ale 6.3%
Not So Blonde Ale 6.2%
Old Mutton Ale 5%
Very Wizeman Ale 6%
Zzz IPA 6.5%
Honey B Belgian Ale 5.8%
Monk Light Belgian Style Ale 6.3%
Sellout IPA 10% abv

Coming Soon…
Ghost Hog Imperial Brown Ale 9%
Sazzy Saison 6.4%
Red Eye IPA 6.3%
Rusty Hoe Farmhouse Ale 5.5%
Dragon Beam IPA 5.5%
Maggie’s Summer Farmhouse Ale 5.4%
Jolly J IPA 6%
Pig City Porter 5.5%

The batches are small 1-barrels. Most of the grain comes from Valley Malt of Hadley and the hops come from Four Star Farms up in Northfield where we buy our flour. The water for the brewing process comes from a mountainside spring-fed well. Each month Justin releases an extremely limited truly local beer that is a one-time recipe.

AND any day now six piglets will be arriving to Justin’s farm to be well taken care of and fattened up on all their spent grain from the brewery, as well as garden and kitchen scraps. Stand by, carnivores, for some particularly fine local pork at Champney’s!

Tad Talks

June 10, 2015 by WhiteStone  

The Mind Unleashed tells us that these are some of harmful ingredients that are commonly found in beer:

  • GMO Corn Syrup
  • GMO Corn
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Fish Bladder
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
  • Natural Flavors
  • GMO Sugars
  • Caramel Coloring
  • Insect-Based Dyes
  • Carrageenan
  • BPA
  • & lots more!

So, they say, when it comes to beer you have to be very careful. Your best option is to find a microbrewery that you can trust. As with everything, try to avoid cheap, low-quality products. Bars may offer Coors Light, Miller Lite or Budweiser specials, but they are cheap for a reason. The rest of the world is banning GMOs everywhere, while the USA is lagging years behind, and only several states offer GMO labeling laws. Choose organic or locally-crafted beer! European beer is most likely to be safe from GMO ingredients, and we have a plethora of bottled choices for you, but unfortunately most other beer contains GMO artificial ingredients, stabilizers, grains, HFCs, and preservatives.

Luckily for beer drinkers, we have a range of really excellent choices in western Massachusetts, and you can find many on tap at our bar. Can’t decide? Have a taste before you buy, or choose a flight.

Make a note that we will be on the Valley Beer Trail on September 10, starting at 5:30!

Meet Chef Ameer Whitmyer

May 13, 2015 by WhiteStone  

Ameer 2We are pleased to announce that Chef Ameer Whitmyer has joined us to head up the kitchen team for Champney’s at the Deerfield Inn. Chef Ameer has extensive cooking experience, having worked on both the East and West coasts, focusing on establishing buyer relationships with local farmers and purveyors. As both a specialized meat and fish chef, Chef Ameer’s passion and knowledge, with the help of his sous chef Joshua Rock, is being conveyed to their team in the kitchen in a careful, inspiring, and articulate way.

Ameer was raised in a stream of cooking culture, and his mentor Chef Typhun Yolak showed him the importance of how cooking connects to everything in a very powerful and contemplative way, how it is primal and visceral, but also artistic and thoughtful. As Chef Typhun demonstrated to him, Chef Ameer believes that what flows through his hands flows through life – from the front of house, to family, to the kitchen: it is all connected and food is the translation of that togetherness.

Ameer’s adult experience began at Whitefish Lake Restaurant in Whitefish, MT, an upscale steak house considered the best restaurant in Montana in the early 2000s. Next he moved to The Phoenix House in Ashland, OR, focusing on local ingredients and French techniques with an Asian flare. His journey in cooking took him to the East Coast where his family was located, and he worked in Doris & Ed’s Classic & Contemporary Seafood Oasis, in Highlands, NJ – a James Beard Award of Excellence and Gourmet Top Tables List restaurant – until this establishment was utterly destroyed by our nemesis Hurricane Irene. From there he went on to Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank, NJ, a 4-star restaurant and among Gayot’s Top 40 in the US, and then he worked at the Mumford’s Culinary Center, in Tinton Falls, NJ, where the team maintained a 1.5 acre garden growing produce for the kitchen. Ameer studied under Chef Chris Mumford, an early pioneer of the fresh and natural cooking style. His last position before joining Champney’s was at Navesink Country Club in Middletown, NJ, a private club rated among the best in its class in the NY/NJ area.

Chef Ameer has also participated in farm internship programs in the Bay area of northern California and in southern Oregon, and spent a season commercial fishing to understand first hand more about the food source process.

It is important to Chef Ameer to look for variety based on availability and creativity to keep it to the moment. He describes his cuisine as New American, and he interprets that as meaning that America is a place of blended cultures, so while he celebrates tradition here in Deerfield, he also celebrates the flavors that are on hand and available here now. Lemon grass, ginger, piquant peppers, were not grown then, but are grown here in this valley today, and that is New American to him – the blending of the best flavors of the traditional and the new.

Chef Ameer does not really have a signature dish because he says often that means relying on one thing year upon year. He is as happy making a meal of a big bowl of soup and a platter of grilled sandwiches with his family, as he is bringing well-loved favorites back into the kitchen, but his favorite dish is the best of the now and of today.

We hope you come back soon to try the new spring menus. The porch is now open when the weather is fine, and good dogs are welcome to sit there with you while you eat after your stroll. There are fresh, light, seasonal cocktails on the constantly changing wine and beer list, and Kathleen is always coming up with new dessert ideas.

You can make a reservation on line, or you can call us at 413-772-3087.

Cheers!

New Kids’ Menu

by WhiteStone  

Comin soon - May 15

$11 complete meal for 11 and under

kids menu 5 15

New Draught Beer for the Local Line-up

April 25, 2015 by WhiteStone  

Thank you for the photo, Abandoned Building Brewery!

Thank you for the photo, Abandoned Building Brewery!

We found our way to the Abandoned Building Brewery in Easthampton recently. We had read the really interesting story of how brewer and owner Matt Tarlecki came to be in this place, and we felt compelled to track down his brewery.

The directions on the site are very careful to guide you over mega potholes and around fire hydrants down towards the river where this old brick building stands. It was like finding a secret haven behind the double doors of the grey cinder block entrance way. You push these open and find yourself in a long corridor stretching to the left and right and lined with closed doors. We heard sounds of good cheer and on opening the correct metal door we were in the brewery itself: huge metal tanks, bare brick walls, a comfy area with sofas and tables like giant wooden bobbins, and a wooden counter for growler refills and tastings.

We had a flight of the four beers that were available and will probably have the Dirty Girl IPA as one of the draught choices soon. Great name! Great beer!

This is the blurb from Matt’s website:

Dirty Girl IPA

6.7% ABV – 60 IBU

An American IPA made with 5 hop varieties that impart big citrus and pine characteristics to the aroma and flavor. A medium malt backbone and subtle malty sweetness provide balance for the hop bitterness which is neither harsh nor astringent. Dirty Girl IPA is named to celebrate the awesome ladies in agriculture that make beer possible.

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