Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cheese Trays for Holiday Entertaining


Growing up in a “market family” meant that the holidays were almost frantic. Early mornings turned into late days as we traveled with smoked meats and cheeses to the outlying farmers markets. It was exhilarating and fun and truth be told I looked forward to November and December.   This year was no different. December came and I split my time between the Inn and market, selling specialty cheeses for office parties, Christmas drop ins and family gatherings.  As I talked so many of my customers through a well organized and varied cheese tray that would meet the needs of their function and surprise their guests with new and different flavors, I decided to share some of those ideas here with readers of the ‘Broads’.

Cheese tastes differ drastically and with more than 120 varieties in the case to choose from there is something for everyone. A brie type is a good start. Frommage d Affoinais  (French) is a creamy triple crème brie (what’s not to like!) that has broad (literally) appeal.  A well aged Canadian or Vermont cheddar adds some sharpness to the creamy smooth notes of the  Frommage. You will want to include a blue of some type. For the folk who are not sure if they like Blue cheeses, a piece of German Cambazola is perfect. It is also a brie type cheese with blue running through it and has a wonderful flavor. St Agur (French) is a creamy blue that is also well liked and not overpowering. Those 2 are on my list of all time favorite cheeses.  If you enjoy the blues, go for a pungent English Stilton or Roquefort (French).
Round these selections out with a harder cheese such as an aged Gouda or Gruyere
No cheese offering would be complete without a goat cheese. I particularly like the French Montrachet drizzled with a bit of good quality honey and sprinkled with Saigon Cinnamon. This gives a bright sweet edge to the cheese plate and is exciting and different.

Serve all of these with sliced pears, almonds, and Spanish fig cake as well as a assortment of crackers, bread and lavash.


As you prepare cheese trays in the future go with the ones that you know and enjoy and try and add a new one to provide good fodder for conversation as well as expand your cheese horizons.

Here are 10 of my all time favorites. Serve 3 to 5

Canadian Sharp Cheddar
Fromagge d Affoinois (plain or with herbs and garlic)
St Agur
Vlasskaas (Gouda type)
Wensleydale Cranberry
Cambazola
Robiola (a goat, sheep cow milk cheese. Italian. Outstanding flavor)

Morbier 










Swiss Woods Bed and Breakfast
http://www.swisswoods.com
Debbie Mosimann
Bed and Breakfast Foodie
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Swedish Pecans

I am not one for doing a lot of holiday baking but these are a simple treat that my mother has made forever. I have not made them in years but this afternoon, I dug up the recipe and whipped out a batch. Seriously they are wonderful, easy to make and the perfect thing to add for a sweet bite on a holiday buffet, or make the perfect gift for a teacher or neighbor or co-worker.  That is what my Mom did with them, the ones we didn't eat that is!


INGREDIENTS

1 pound Pecans
1/2 cup Butter
2 Egg Whites
Dash Salt
1 Cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla

DIRECTIONS
Spread Nuts in low pan and bake at 250 degrees for 15 minutes. Take out and cool on wax paper. Put Butter in the pan and melt in oven. Make a meringue of egg whites, salt, sugar and vanilla. Add nuts to meringue and fold in until all nuts are covered. Put in pan of butter and spread out. Put in 275 degree oven and bake 15 minutes. Turn with spatula and bake another 30 minutes turning every 10 minutes.
Let cool. Separate into your favorite containers, and they are ready for snacking!

Chambered Nautilus Bed and Breakfast Inn
http://www.chamberednautilus.com
Joyce Schulte
Bed and Breakfast Foodie
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Friday, December 18, 2009

Lemon Butter Cookies

We had been open only a short time when I happened upon "The Pillsbury Book of Baking" at a neighborhood garage sale. That was probably the best $4.00 I've ever spent!
The Lemon Butter Cookies, The Brown Sugar Drops and the recipe for our oatmeal cookies all came from that book.
If you came to our kitchen today and took a look at that cookbook, you would instantly know just how much use it gets!

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup softened butter (margarine is acceptable but butter is soooo much better!)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 egg
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt


DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl, beat sugar, powdered sugar, butter and oil until light and fluffy. Add lemon peel, lemon juice and egg. Blend well.
Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Mix well.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate one hour for easier handling.
Preheat oven to 350 (we use 300 and bake for twenty minutes). Shape dough into one inch balls and roll in sugar.
Place two inches apart on parchment lined sheet and bake for 7 to 12 minutes.
We glaze with a smooth mixture of confectioners sugar and lemon juice for a little tang!

The William Henry Miller Inn
http://www.millerinn.com
Lynnette Scofield
Bed and Breakfast Foodie
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Brown Sugar Shortbread Drops

Each night our guests will find an array of homemade sweets on our sideboard in the Dining Room. There may be an Apple Crumb Pie, a Triple Chocolate Cake, Baked Fudge or Apple Crisp. But there are always
cookies!
We make large batches of cookies, roll into the particular shape and then freeze on half sheet pans. When frozen, the dough goes into freezer bags so that we can use only the number needed.
These are some of our most requested recipes.


INGREDIENTS

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cups softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg yolk
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl, beat brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
Add vanilla and egg yolk and blend well.
Add flour and stir until the mixture forms a smooth dough.
Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls on parchment lined cookie sheets.
Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly brownes
**Baking note--Fellow Broad Danielle Hanscomb mentioned to me once that they bake cookies for twenty minutes at 300. This works perfectly for all of our cookies!
Yield: four dozen cookies
The William Henry Miller Inn
http://www.millerinn.com
Lynnette Scofield
Bed and Breakfast Foodie
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Make Ahead Mini-Latkes


My grandparents always celebrated their birthdays during Hanukkah. All of the aunts would gather in Grandma's kitchen -- no counters!only a small table -- and proceeded to grate mounds of potatoes -- and no doubt a few fingernails -- by hand. It is only as an adult with a food processor do I appreciate their herculean efforts! It is still a messy process but worth the trouble as I never met a guest who didn't like a latke.


Ingredients
5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, with skin left on
4 eggs, gently whisked
1 medium onion, finely grated
1 tablespoon matzo meal or all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Canola oil for frying


DIRECTIONS
Because the scent of the potatoes frying permeates your clothes, your body, and your home, it is best to prepare the latkes in advance and freeze them. Wear your an old sweatsuit or anything washable because even your underwear will smell like latkes!

Put the potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Boil for 8-10 minutes. Immediately drain the water from the pot and add cold water. Drain again and cover with ice water. Let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the water and pat dry.
Using a food processor (or a hand grater using the largest holes), use a medium shredding disk to grate the potatoes. Scoop the grated potatoes into a bowl and mix with the eggs, onion, matzo meal or flour, lemon juice, baking powder, salt and pepper. In two batches, add the mixture to the food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Pulse 5-8 times. The mixture should resemble relish, not mush.


Add oil to a large frying pan, up to about halfway up the pan. Heat. Drop the batter by teaspoons or a small ice cream scoop into the hot oil. Flatten each one with a meta spatula. Give each latke plenty of room, making 6-8 at a time. Brown and turn, to brown the other side. Remove the latkes from the oil using a slotted spoon or spatula and drain on paper towels.


Once the latkes have cooled, place them in a plastic freezer container, separating each layer with waxed paper, and freeze.
Throw the clothes you wore to make the latkes in the laundry, and take a long hot shower,washing your hair.
When you are ready to serve them, heat the oven to 425-450F. Place the latkes on cookie sheets and bake in the hot oven for about 10 minutes to re-crisp them. Serve with homemade apple sauce or sour cream.

Makes about 30 latkes.


Birchwood Inn
http://www.birchwod-inn.com
Ellen Gutman Chenaux
Bed and Breakfast Foodie
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Eggless Cranberry Orange Cookies

One of our favorite guests is unable to have eggs in any form.
Since we do a dessert buffet each evening, we needed a good cookie recipe and boy, did we find one! This was found on the website www.eggless.com
These cookies have been such a hit, we have made them a constant on our evening sweet list.
We hope you enjoy them too.
INGREDIENTS

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups chopped cranberries
1 cups chopped nuts (optional--and we never add these)

Orange Glaze:
1 cup sifted confectioner sugar
Orange juice added until you achieve desired consistency

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 300(see note below)
Cream together the sugar and butter in a large bowl.
Stir in milk, orange juice and sour cream.Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
Stir in cranberries and nuts.

Drop by rounded teasponfuls onto parchment papered cookie sheet. Bake for twenty minutes at 300.
Remove from cookie sheet, cool and glaze.

NOTE REGARDING THE OVEN TEMPERATURE: Fellow "Broad" Danielle Hanscomb of The Brampton Inn told me about baking cookies at this lower temperature for a longer time. What a great tip! We've never had a less than perfectly baked cookie!
The William Henry Miller Inn
http://www.millerinn.com
Lynnette Scofield
Bed and Breakfast Foodie
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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hot Chocolate with a twist


Hot chocolate brings back memories of childhood sledding parties, evening skating on the frozen lake, or even with cookies after a taffy pull and sleigh ride. It is still one of those comfort foods/drinks that makes me yearn for winter and snow. This morning as the first snowfall of the season changed the landscape into a true winter wonderland and Werner bought in arm loads of every kind of evergreen imaginable, to decorate the inn for Christmas, I just had to make him a mug of this wonderful concoction. Remember that Switzerland is the "home" of great chocolate. The Swiss consume an astonishing 11.6 Kg (that is no less than 25 Pounds) of chocolate per capita per year. I can attest that our small family did our part! Enjoy this treat with a freshly baked cookie or biscotti.

*note: this is more of a process than it is a recipe. Use less cream, more chocolate, add a shot of Bailey's, .. you name it and it will most likely work.


INGREDIENTS

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp cocoa powder ( I like Ideal cocoa from Wilber's)
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 oz grated or finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 Tbsp vanilla

4 cups lowfat milk



the following are optional additions or can be sprinkled on at the end
*cinnamon
*crushed peppermint stick
*crushed chocolate covered espresso beans
*vanilla powder



DIRECTIONS

In a bowl whip the heavy cream until it holds stiff peaks. Be careful not to overbeat or you will have butter!
As the cream starts to thicken add the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and vanilla
At the end stir in the chopped or grated chocolate
(This can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for several days.)

Heat the milk till steaming.
Spoon 1/2 cup of the whipped cream mixture into a mug
Pour the hot milk over it
Sprinkle any of the above additions on top and serve.

Serving suggestions:
peppermint sticks to stir
cinnamon sticks
chocolate "cigars" which will melt as you stir





Swiss Woods
http://www.swisswoods.com
Debbie Mosimann
Bed and Breakfast Foodie

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Oven Poached Eggs

This egg dish is a staple at The William Henry Miller Inn.
We serve them with Spinach Brownies from The Inn at Birchwood or with a savory waffle.
They are always a hit!


1 egg
1/2 teaspoon half and half
1 teaspoon shredded Cheddar Cheese

DIRECTIONS

Spray muffin tins with non stick spray.
Break one egg into each muffin cup.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of half and half on top of each egg. Add shredded cheese.
Bake at 425 degrees about eight minutes and check for doneness.

The William Henry Miller Inn
http://www.millerinn.com
Lynnette Scofield
Bed and Breakfast Foodie
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Pumpkin Bread (Vegan)

This is such a wonderful bread! Our guests never know that there is no dairy in this moist, flavorful loaf. We keep a supply in our freezer in case a guest requires no dairy or is vegan.

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar (less if you prefer)
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups coarsely chopped sun dried cranberries
1/2 cup sunflower or other nuts or seeds (optional)
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray and flour two large loaf pans or four small loaf pans.
Mix all dry ingredients in a medium bowl and the pumpkin, oil, nuts and berries in a large bowl.
Stir dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture (batter will be stiff).
Divide among prepared pans. Top batter with coarse sugar if desired.
Bake large loaf pans about 55 minutes. If using the mini pans, check after 30 minutes. Bread is done when tester comes out clean.
Cool on rack for 10 minutes. Turn out and cool completely.

The William Henry Miller Inn
http://www.millerinn.com
Lynnette Scofield
Bed and Breakfast Foodie
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