Meet Keith and Brittany McNeal
Chefs and Farmers
Living a rural life in Rutland, Vermont has inspired Chefs Brittany and Keith McNeal to change their relationship with food. “I’ve always been interested in the farm-to-fork movement, which led us to move to rural Vermont in early 2015 to pursue a life as both chefs and farmers. Life in Vermont has completely changed our relationship with food. Almost everything that we put onto the table comes from within a 15 mile radius”, says Chef Keith. “Great food and great stories come from each meal we make together. We teach our children, Piper & Hudson, the tradition of cooking in the hope that it will create great memories for them too.”
Brittany, a pastry chef, graduated from Johnson &Wales and went on to work with Chef Jean Georges in NYC. She is a Culinary Ambassador for iSi North America, and returns to her beloved Washington DC each year for the Adams Burch Great Ideas Show. Keith dedicated 8 years to the Air Force to achieve his culinary degree. Most recently, he has spent time at Green Mountain College designing a first of its kind sustainable culinary arts, agriculture and food systems program, and is now pursuing a graduate degree in sustainable foods. This summer, the family will relocate to Copenhagen, Denmark for Keith’s exciting internship at world renowned, Noma.
“We hope that our blogs and recipes will offer a unique perspective on food through our eyes. All of the food in this Farm to Table series will highlight ingredients and techniques that we love, and local farm fresh food that we are lucky enough to eat regularly as a family.”
Vermont Maple Yogurt Foam Parfait
Maple Syrup is a big deal in our home. And right now, the maple tree sap is running in our New England forests. As a Northeasterner, I use maple syrup on everything, but it seems recently, everyone in the house has adopted the practice. It is hard to argue with the impeccable quality of real Grade A Vermont maple syrup. Therefore, for all of our recipes that use maple syrup we recommend that you find the highest quality syrup possible, preferably from the Northeastern region of the US or Canada.
Another important ingredient that we use in our home is raw milk. The product itself is always a subject of controversy with foodies and milk drinkers, and I have to admit for a long time I was strongly against drinking raw dairy due to concerns about drinking unpasteurized dairy product. Now that I’ve been exposed to high quality products and processes very close to our home; we’re hooked on the wholesome goodness, positive probiotics, and flora properties that high quality raw milk delivers. And, it’s just down right delicious. Our milk comes directly from a farm about ten minutes down the road. It travels from a cow to our refrigerator on the same day. In fact, it has become a tradition every Wednesday to visit our local dairy with the kids and let them run around to see the cows and everything that’s happening on the farm. Our special treat every Wednesday – is at the top of the Mason jar of fresh milk. This prized possession is reserved in our house for morning coffee.
If you decide to give raw milk a try, our recommendation is to get to know your farmer and take a walk around their property with them to look at their processes so you can feel assured you are bringing home a quality product for the family. For best results, always use the highest quality milk available, or substitute in your dairy product of choice as it fits in your daily lifestyle. Raw milk and maple syrup are near and dear to our hearts up in Vermont, and we hope that with this tasty recipe, they will become a staple in your home as well.
Our family enjoys yogurt – and what better way to create a farm fresh experience, than to combine two of our local farm ingredients: Maple Syrup and Fresh Raw Milk. You will find the experience of making fresh yogurt from Raw Milk and Milk Kefir Grains easy and rewarding. Adding the Maple Syrup to this wholesome recipe is our favorite way to enjoy it. We’ve further enhanced the experience with our fresh home-made applesauce and the crunch of locally made granola.
Vermont Maple Yogurt Foam Parfait
1 Pint iSi Gourmet Whip
1 iSi Cream Charger
1 iSi Funnel and Sieve
1 Pint Raw Milk
2 Tbsp. Milk Kefir Grains (let the Kefir grains sit out at room temperature in your raw milk for full 24-48 hours in a mason jar covered tightly with cheese cloth)
4 oz. heavy cream
Vermont maple syrup
¼ tsp. Vanilla extract
Macerated Fresh Fruit (I used our homemade applesauce from our heritage apple trees)
Your favorite Granola
Cinnamon to taste
To make the yogurt, let the Kefir grains sit out at room temperature in your raw milk for a full 24-48 hours, in a mason jar covered tightly with cheese cloth. Once the kefir grains have attained the desired thickness (depending on the temperature of the room this could take 24-48 hours) remove the grains from the Mason jar. The liquid is your cultured yogurt base. Flavor the yogurt with high quality Vermont maple syrup, and a 1/4 tsp. of vanilla extract. Pour flavored yogurt and 4 oz. of heavy cream through the iSi Funnel & Sieve, directly into pint sized Gourmet. Charge with 1 iSi cream charger. Shake vigorously – 6 times, and let it sit in the refrigerator for twenty minutes. Take the yogurt out of the refrigerator. Test consistency, and if needed, shake additional times to desired dispensing consistency. It should look creamy and fluffy upon dispensing
Layer the yogurt with desired fruit mixture and granola in parfait style. Top with cinnamon and granola to serve.