Saturday, July 24, 2010

Summer Weekend Menus

 It's wonderful to be able to create absolutely wonderful breakfasts using nature's bounty! Birchwood Inn's weekend menus celebrate the summer's freshest ingredients. Most of the recipes for the menu items are here on the Eight Broads in the Kitchen blog! If you aren't visiting Birchwood Inn this summer, this is what you may have missed...

Berry Fruitini (with raspberries from our garden)
Tomato Basil Tart (a guest favorite)
Jazzy Sausage
Zucchini Nut Bread

Poached Pears with Candied Orange Zest Syrup
French Toast to Die For (filled with cream cheese, marmalade, Bailey's Irish Cream and walnuts)
Maple-Glazed Ham
Lemon Yogurt Bread with Marmalade Glaze

Mango Tango
Breakfast Tacos with Sausage
Southwestern Corn Bread

Birchwood Inn
Ellen Gutman Chenaux
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Orange Zucchini Muffins

It's that time again.   Beware.   Don't leave your doors unlocked at night in case the mysterious Zucchini Dumper shows up during the night and leaves gifts of oversized green produce on your kitchen counter.   I've never quite figured out why people don't notice these things growing in their garden before they get to baseball-bat size.   But it seems that they all think that the best place to unload these behemoths is on their friendly neighborhood innkeeper.   So with my fridge full of green goodies it was time to dig out my favorite zucchini recipes.    Guests at The White Oak Inn this morning were treated to these spicy citrus muffins, hot out of the oven.   This recipe makes about 36 muffins.    You can make the batter up ahead of time and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.   Just scoop and bake as needed.    I wouldn't recommend freezing this batter because it will go too watery when thawed.

Note:   Whenever we slice oranges we throw the "ends" into a ziploc in the freezer.   We chop these up very finely in a food processor or grinder to use in recipes that call for orange rind.  It is a coarser chop, so doesn't work in all recipes, but is perfect for muffins.     

4 cups of shredded zucchini
5 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
6 eggs
3 cups brown sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 cup of chopped orange ends (see note above) or
1 whole orange cut into 8 pieces and pureed in a blender
2 teaspoons vanilla
Optional - 1 cup of chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray muffin tins with cooking spray, or line with paper liners.

Measure flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt into a large bowl and mix well.

Beat eggs with brown sugar.   Add oil, orange juice and vanilla.   Mix in chopped orange and shredded zucchini and stir together.

Make a well in the dry ingredients.   Pour zucchini mixture over top.   If using nuts, add now.   Fold gently together just until dry ingredients are all moistened.

Fill muffin tins 3/4 full and bake at 350 degrees for about 18 to 20 minutes.

The White Oak Inn
Yvonne Martin
Bed and Breakfast Foodie
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Debbie's Lemon Drops

I love lemons. Every way shape and form you can think of.. I love them all. I cook with preserved lemons, I add lemon zest to all kinds of baked products, and last but certainly not least I love them in drinks. Iced tea with lemon, garden mint tea with lemon, lemonade, and my favorite, lemon drops. I do not know where I first ran into this mixed drink but I do remember working diligently to come up with an at home version that would turn out for me every time. Most are made without any mixer but I find the addition of sweet and sour or a good margarita mix makes for a gentler drink and allows the lemon to shine through.  
Never one to waste a lemon's rind, zest your whole lemons before you juice them putting the rind into a bottle to which you add straight unflavored vodka. This is the start of an amazing limncello, the after dinner drink of Italy. Patience required. The mix has to marinate for 3 months before you finish making the limencello, but.. that is a separate post. Suffice it to say that you take the zest from your lemons before you juice them and thru a funnel, put them into a bottle or jar. Cover them with a vodka.. This does not have to be the expensive stuff. Many recommend Everclear but I use whatever I can get easily and inexpensively. Cover and put the jar in the back of the fridge and .. forget about it. Every time you make lemon drops or anything that does not need the zest.. zest it and add it to the bottle, add a bit more vodka and shake gently. Return to the refrigerator. 
Now.. on to todays topic.. Lemon Drops. 


1 shot Vodka, Citron
1 shot Cointreau
1/2 large lemon, juice
1 shot margarita mix or sweet and sour


In a shaker filled with ice measure all the ingredients
Shake well
Pour through a strainer into a chilled martini glass.
Garnish with a twist of lemon and serve

Swiss Woods Bed and Breakfast
Debbie Mosimann
Bed and Breakfast Foodie

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Herbal Butters

I admit that summer is not my favorite season.   I'm a cold-weather girl myself.   But one thing I won't deny, I am just thrilled when all of the fresh summer vegetables and herbs start to be ready in the garden and show up in the local farmers' markets.    Fresh herb plants such as basil benefit from regular and frequent "pinching" of the tops. It encourages them to become more bushy and flavorful.   If you never take more than the top 1/3 of the plant it will keep producing right until the first frost.

One of my favorite things to do with fresh herbs is make herbal butters.   These delicious spreads can be refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen for longer-term use.   They are delicious spread on warm bread, melted on a grilled steak, stuffed inside a chicken breast a la Chicken Kiev style, or served with steamed redskins or baked russet potatoes.     And they couldn't be easier to make.

2 sticks (1/2 lb total) of butter
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped herbs   (My personal favorite combination is chives and basil)
Optional - 1 clove of chopped garlic

Have butter at room temperature.   Mix in fresh herbs, and garlic if using.   Spoon into small serving dishes, or spoon onto plastic wrap to form a "log".    Return to fridge and chill for at least an hour before using.    For a fancier presentation, spoon soft butter into candy molds and refrigerate.   Pop out when chilled.     Freeze for longer storage.

The White Oak Inn
Yvonne Martin
Bed and Breakfast Foodie
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Monday, July 5, 2010

Madeleine's Rhubarb Pie

This is my grandmother Madeleine's recipe and my mother always made it in the Spring when tender rhubarb stalks were available. It is absolutely heavenly. We have eight large plants in our garden at the inn. It is hardly enough.
The amount of sugar you will want to add to the custard is pretty much up to you. This pie is tangy but as kids we always sprinkled a little bit of coarse sugar on top of the cooled pie before we took a bite. I highly recommend it.
For best results use young and tender stalks of freshly picked rhubarb.                                                                                                                      

For the pie crust:
1 1/4 cup unbleached flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tblsp. granulated sugar
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, very cold and cut into 16 pieces
1/4 cup (+/-) of ice cold water
1/2 tsp. white vinegar

Measure water into a measuring cup and add the vinegar. Set in refrigerator to keep very cold.
Put flour into the bowl of a food processor, add salt and sugar and pulse 1-2 times.
Add cold butter pieces and pulse 5-6 times until butter is the size of peas.
Add cold water with the vinegar to the flour and pulse until dough barely holds together. 2-3 times.
Dump dough onto clean work surface and very gently push together until it forms a ball adding extra water by the teaspoon if needed. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
The dough can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.

For the custard:
4 cups diced rhubarb (about 1/2 inch pieces) peel rhubarb if it is too stringy
3 large eggs
3/4 cup half and half
1 pinch of salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar more if you prefer
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of coarse sugar to sprinkle on top of the pie after it has cooled

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Butter a deep dish pie plate.
Roll out refrigerated dough and line pie plate. Crimp border. Cover dough with a piece of parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake for 15 min.
While the crust is baking assemble the rhubarb custard.
Cut, peel and dice the rhubarb. Set aside.
In a large bowl of a stand up mixer add eggs and whisk well, add half and half, pinch of salt, sugar and vanilla extract and whisk until well incorporated.

After 15 min. remove pie crust from oven and reduce temperature to 350 degrees. Remove pie weights. Set pie crust dish on top of a sheet pan. Let cool slightly before distributing cut rhubarb on top of warm crust. Pour custard over rhubarb. Return pie on top of sheet pan to oven and bake for 45 - 50 minutes until custard is set. Remove from oven and cool pie dish on a rack.
Sprinkle coarse sugar on top before serving.

Brampton Inn
Danielle Hanscom
Bed and Breakfast Foodie
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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Buttermilk Ranch Salad Dressing

Summer is here and there is simply nothing better than the fresh vegetables and salad greens straight from the garden. I love arugula mixed with Boston bibb lettuce and then served with this extraordinary buttermilk dressing. This is also good on cooked red beets with some mild onions chopped in. We served it at both of our daughters weddings to rave reviews and many requests for the recipe. This was given to me by a Swiss chef who was a friend of a friend. Add parsley and chives for added flavor and color, or coarsely grated black pepper for a peppercorn ranch.. Ahh the possibilities!

1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup  mayonnaise
1/2 cup  sour cream
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon Aromat (yellow seasoned salt)
dash Maggi (if you can get it- optional)

With a blender or stick blender whirl all the ingredients and then allow to stand for at least one hour for the flavors to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Servings: 16
Yield: 2 cups
Swiss Woods Bed and Breakfast
 Debbie Mosimann
Bed and Breakfast Foodie

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