Welcome to Vermont State Parks Cooks, an exciting new program geared towards helping you enjoy cooking over your campfire at Vermont’s 55 beautiful state parks. All summer, we’ll be sharing creative recipes that can be prepared with minimal equipment, and which make use of the bounty of ingredients made and grown by the state’s farmers and food producers.
Each week, we’ll release a set of themed recipes and photographs. We’ll also be creating cooking videos, printed cooking pamphlets, and online resources. Throughout the season, we’ll offer cooking classes at some of the most popular parks. Have a burning question? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll help you find the answer.
Suzanne Podhaizer is a chef, journalist, cooking educator, and erstwhile goose farmer. She was the first food editor of Seven Days newspaper, owned Salt Café — a farm-to-table restaurant in Montpelier — and is a founder of Sel de la Terre, a multifaceted food education, multimedia, and consulting business that offers public and private cooking classes, recipe development, and pop-up dinners.
This spring, Suzanne reached out to the Vermont State Parks about collaborating on a project centered around campfire cooking, and VT State Parks Cooks was born!
Find us here at and on Instagram at @vtstateparkscooks
From Suzanne This Week: Mediterranean
During the long Vermont winters, I take my cooking inspiration from Northern climes, where beets, cabbage, and potatoes are mainstays. In the brief window during the summer when I can get more tender, short-lived vegetables, I allow my cooking to range around the warmer parts of the globe. This week, I cooked a meal inspired by the cuisine around the Mediterranean.
Have any burning questions? Send ‘em to email@example.com
A quick and easy way to get meat on the table. If you don't love lamb, you can make these meatballs with beef, or venison.
- Mix the lamb with all the other ingredients, to taste.
- Roll into meatballs, or into longer, sausage-type shapes. You could also make these into sliders, or full-sized burgers.
- Cook in a pan, or on a sheet of foil, to retain the drippings...they taste pretty great! I like to mop them up with bread or pour them onto rice.
Fireside Risotto with Rosemary & Feta
It is totally fine to use another type of white rice, throw in a rosemary branch, and simply steam it. The risotto needs to be watched just a bit more carefully and stirred on a regular basis.
- Sunflower or olive oil
- Onion, diced
- Arborio rice
- A rosemary sprig or two
- Water or stock
- Feta, crumbled
- Heat a cast iron pan over the fire.
- When hot, pour in some oil. When the oil is heated, add the onions and season them with salt and pepper.
- Cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent.
- Add the rice, and cook, stirring, until the grains are a little opaquer.
- Add the rosemary, and a small amount of stock or water. Cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed.
- Repeat until the risotto is cooked through but still has a little bit of “bite” at the center.
- Add feta, and season to taste.
Roasted Cauliflower with Dates, Almonds & Olives
This dish is surprising and lovely, with the sweetness of the dates playing off the saltiness of the olives, and the toasty crunch of the almonds.
- Cauliflower, cut into equal-sized pieces
- Sunflower or olive oil
- Mixed Greek olives, minced (or another kind of olive you prefer)
- Toasted almonds, chopped
- Dates, minced
- Toss the cauliflower in oil, sprinkle with salt, and place in a pan over the fire, or on a piece of foil with the sides folded up.
- Roast, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is browned in some spots, and is just tender.
- Add the olives, almonds, and dates. Let cook another couple of minutes to heat the garnishes and meld the flavors.
- Season to taste
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