Sunday, July 20, 2014

It's Blueberry Season

One of our favorite coffee cakes is White and Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Coffee Cake.
Yes, it is delicious.   But this is blueberry season so yesterday I decided to "berry it up" instead of chocolate!
I'm reposting the recipe below but instead of the chocolate mixture, I used a half cup of sugar, a cup of fresh blueberries and a quarter cup of lemon curd to coat the berries.   (Wish I had used more lemon curd and some zest!)
But it did receive rave reviews!

1/2 cup shortening (I've used both solid shortening and canola oil---both work just fine)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda  (this makes it more moist)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Filling
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 ounces chocolate chips
2 ounces white chocolate chips

To make the batter, cream the shortening and one cup sugar.
Add the eggs one at a time and then add sour cream.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.   Add to the egg mixture and set aside.

To make the filling, combine in a separate bowl the sugar, cinnamon and chocolate chips.  (We do not add nuts because of nut allergies but you may want to add 1/2 cup of chopped nuts).
Spoon half the batter into a greased tube pan.  Then spread half of the chocolate filling over the batter.  Cut through the batter with a kitchen knife.
Add the rest of the batter and then the rest of the filling.   Again, cut through the batter.
Bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes.
 --- The William Henry Miller Inn Lynnette Scofield Bed and Breakfast Foodie

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Edible Flowers Make Breakfast Special

Bee balm, coriander, dill, peppermint, nasturtium, pansies, begonia, and day lily's

Presentation is everything, well almost everything. The quality of the actual food trumps presentation, but great food poorly presented is a missed opportunity to impress. I am often guilty of this. I put so much effort, hard work, and thought into a dish or baked good and then just put it on a plate or slide it into a basket.  I am making a greater effort to stop, and actually think about that first look at the table, how the guest sees it, the guest who has not been involved in its creation for the last hour or more. 
Flowers are a good go-to. Place a nasturtium in the corner, or sprinkle a few pansies across the plate. All good, but there are a few things to remember as we walk through the garden plucking away.
Rule #1 is paramount. The flower must be edible.  Many blooms look great on a plate, but if it is there, it should not harm the diner if eaten.  I have been served many a plate that has had beautiful flowers accenting it that were not edible. True, 95% of the people will just put them to the side, appreciate the beauty for what it is and not eat them, but there is always Joe, a fellow at our breakfast table a few years ago, who asked me as I came past the table if the flower on his plate was good to eat. It was a begonia, and I said, yep, they are actually wonderful. His reply was that it tasted good but I thought I ought to ask. Wow. Really? What if I had said, um no, it actually causes gastric upset but it looks great doesn’t it?
So. Edible is mandatory!  That eliminates the likes of calla lilies, yarrow, lily of the valley, larkspur, bleeding heart, and azaleas.  Today, with Google, it is easy to check to make sure what you plan to use is not toxic.

Rule #2 is just as important. Make sure that you are using flowers grown without pesticides. Most commercially grown flowers are loaded with insecticide and pesticide, all things we don’t want on a plate with food. The best option is to buy flowers from an organic farm, or raise the flowers in your kitchen garden or even on a window sill.
ready for the fridge
Rule #3 Make sure they are bug-free. Ants, earwigs and bugs of all kinds like to live between the petals of flowers. The last thing you want is something crawling out from between the leaves during breakfast! Using a fine spray to wash them is a good idea. Some you can actually wash in a water bath with a bit of chlorine bleach.  I find day lilies to be the worst for bugs and always wash them well.
The usual edible flowers that we all think of are pansies, roses, nasturtiums, chamomile flowers, and the edible orchids -- -- but with a little research it becomes apparent that the list of edibles is really long.
Some suggestions that are, depending on where you live, relatively easy to come by and also fun on the plate are:
Day Lilies: Remove the stamen and fill with chicken salad, tuna salad or an egg scramble
Pea shoots
Tuberous begonia
Bee Balm stamens: In Switzerland we would collect these and make a syrup by boiling them with sugar and water. It made a great flavoring for sparkling water or Prosecco, but they are equally beautiful scattered on a plate or tossed with a salad
Nasturtiums are so easy to grow and bright in color as well as peppery in flavor, and are great tossed in a salad
fruit plate with sugar frosted blackberries, mango and blueberries.Nasturtium garnish
Dianthus  are beautiful. Sometimes called pinks they work well on a plate or in a salad.
Hibiscus and Rose of Sharon:- Hibiscus can be huge and therefore dramatic. The smaller ones come in a variety of colors and work well on a plate. They are beautiful brushed with pasteurized egg white, sprinkled with sanding sugar and left to dry, then used as a garnish for French toast. Be careful with the bright red ones, they stain.
Blossoms from herbs are great, too - dill, cilantro, rosemary, and even parsley.   Chive blossoms are a beautiful compliment to a savory frittata.
Once you get started you will find it is fun to be a “plate artist” and incorporate all kinds of blooms in breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Swiss Woods Bed and Breakfast
Debbie Mosimann
The Lititz, PA Broad
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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Unbelievable Grilled Watermelon with Mango Melon Salsa

Watermelon is a southern staple in the summertime, and watermelon seed spitting contests abound. As a child growing up in Arkansas, I was enthralled with seeing watermelon plants growing in what seemed like only days after spitting in the yard. At our Hot Springs, Arkansas inn delicious summer breakfast appetizers include a melon & mint compote, watermelon wedges, and now we've added a striking new twist. Grilling the watermelon enhances the watermelon, and adds a hint of smoky goodness.


6 watermelon wedges, cut 1 1/2 inches thick

1/3 cup canteloupe, diced
1/3 cup watermelon, diced
1/3 cup mango, diced
1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped


Slice watermelon and cut into wedges. Preheat grill. (I use a stove-top grill). The grill should be very hot to achieve a quick sear--not to cook the watermelon. Sear the watermelon, and turn over. Quickly sear on this side, then remove promptly from the grill.

The key to grilling the watermelon is to sear each side quickly over high heat. If the watermelon is cooked too slowly and heats the interior of the watermelon slice, you'll end up with a shrunken slice of mushy watermelon. This is bad! But a quickly seared watermelon is beautiful and ever so tasty.

To serve, plate each slice and top with a large spoonful of mango salsa, a dollop of creme fraiche, and a mint sprig. 

Lookout Point Lakeside Inn
Kristie Rosset
Eight Broads in the Kitchen
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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Lemon Brownies

If you need a quick "dish to pass" for the Fourth, here is your answer!   This recipe has been around.  Katie Arthur, our Innkeeper brought it to my attention and every time they are on the dessert buffet, they are gone like the wind!

The Cake Batter
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 Tablespoons lemon zest
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup sifted powdered sugar
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
8 teaspoons lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350.
Grease (we spray!) an 8X8 baking dish and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, sugar, salt and butter until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, zest and juice until combined.  Pour into the flour misture and beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy.  
Pour into baking dish and bake 20-25 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before glazing.
When brownies are cool, make the glaze.    Sift the powdered sugar, add zest and juice and whisk together.
Spread 1/2 the glaze over the brownies and let set.   Spread remaining glaze over the bars.
Cut into bars and watch them disappear. Lynnette Scofield Bed and Breakfast Foodie
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