Cookbook author comes to Phoenix Books


On Saturday, Dec.19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Phoenix Books Essex will host Lauren K. Stein, author of “Fresh Made Simple,” for a book signing and meet and greet.  Customers who could use a chocolate pick-me-up will be in luck!  Stein will bring samples of black and white bark, one of the recipes in this beautiful new book.

“Fresh Made Simple” is an engaging collection of illustrated recipes for beginning to advanced cooks in a beautiful hardcover gift package. With just a few fresh ingredients and appealing visual interpretations of each recipe, anyone can quickly put together these satisfying snacks and light meals. Each of the 75 recipes in “Fresh Made Simple” is a charming full-page illustration showing, rather than telling, how to make the dish described. Each meal or snack begins with one delicious ingredient, and the cook builds around that to make a simple yet elegant creation. An avocado, seasoned with lime and salt, elevates a fried egg on toast; fresh-picked blueberries and an ear of corn add sweetness and texture to standard pancakes. From pineapple cilantro salsa and asparagus apple salad to a kale egg scramble, tortilla soup, and crostini, these simple recipes celebrate the unbeatable flavors of fresh ingredients.

Lauren K. Stein, author of “Fresh Made Simple,” is a former journalist for Reuters who has written for the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Boston Business Journal, and Eat Boutique, a website that sources small-batch food products and offers recipes and food columns. Stein’s experiences in the kitchen preparing food for her very curious and very hungry toddler inspired this collection of recipes.

Phoenix Books Essex is located at 21 Essex Way in Essex.  Copies of “Fresh Made Simple” will be available for attendees to purchase and have signed. For more information, call 802-872-7111 or visit

Shelburne Vineyard introduces new wine variety

This week Shelburne Vineyard recently announced the first public release of a new red wine varietal. The varietal, called Petite Pearl, was released for tasting on Nov.14 at the Vineyard Tasting Room on Shelburne Road in Shelburne.

Petite Pearl is a new cold-hardy hybrid grape released to growers only in 2010 when Shelburne Vineyard planted just one experimental row.  In 2012, the vineyard followed with a full 2.2 acre planting, having vetted the vines’ suitability for our growing environment.

Petite Pearl represents the vanguard of a second generation of cold hardy grapes building on the success of the first generation that is known for grapes such as Marquette, La Crescent, Frontenac and Louise Swenson that have spearheaded the rise of Vermont’s wine industry.

The grape makes a richly toned, garnet colored wine with complex savory herbal notes and earthiness and a somewhat higher level of tannins that has excited northern winemakers.

This year’s Petite Pearl release is from the 2013 vintage and followed a small, 2012 experimental batch vinted in a single glass carboy from the 2012 harvest and tested last year. Based on early testing of the juice, Shelburne Vineyard’s manager and winemaker, Ethan Joseph, chose to give the grapes extended fermentation of about 20 days on the skins, the process which extracts the color and tannins from the grapes.

After fermenting and aging the resulting wine in oak barrels, Joseph prepared a series of test blends, bottled and poured in a blind tastings to a panel of vineyard staff who evaluated it for taste, color, aroma, and finish.

The Petite Pearl is a hybrid grape bred by Minnesota viticulturist and author Tom Plocher, who has worked extensively with Vermont grape growers for test plantings.

Today, wine from the larger 2014 harvest remains in oak barrels for aging to be released in 2016.

Shelburne Vineyard was founded in 1998 with three acres of vines on leased land and produced its first wine in 2001. Today the vineyard grows a total of about 16 acres of grapes, and in 2014 they produced about 45,000 bottles of wine. The vineyard specializes in northern varietals and is known for their sustainable production  of  award-winning wines including Marquette, Louise Swenson, La Crescent, Riesling and Ice Wine, which consistently bring home top medals from national and international competitions.