Friday, May 25, 2012

Corn and Black Bean Salad

This is one of my favorite recipes to take to parties.   It can be used as a salsa and eaten with tortilla chips, or if you add a diced avocado and some grilled chicken or shrimp, it makes a lovely salad.

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups corn kernels (fresh, frozen or canned)
1/2 cup chopped Cilantro
1/3 cup lime juice
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet red onion
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon cumin
4 cups diced fresh tomatoes
1 small (4 oz) can diced green chiles
optional:   Add hot sauce for a spicier salsa

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.  Chill and serve.   Best if made an hour before serving to allow flavors to blend.

The White Oak Inn
Yvonne Martin
Bed and Breakfast Foodie
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Monday, May 21, 2012

Berry Bread Pudding with Orange Custard

The first of Lancaster County's fresh strawberries just hit the market and this week, my favorite 'pick your own" farm opens for business. I can hardly wait to get into the strawberry field to fill bowls of those beautiful red juicy berries. We fill our freezer with fresh strawberry jam, as well as bags of the frozen berries.  Red Raspberries are not far behind and the absolute cornucopia of produce is truly inspiring.  This weekend I took one of my old favorites and revamped and updated it to include the flavors of spring with just a hint of citrus. Even I was surprised at how incredibly good this was and went back for a second and third taste. All I can say is Yum!
Eat it cold or better yet slightly warm with the custard sauce. A little creme' fresh or whipped cream would go well here too.


Berry Bread Pudding

8 slices white bread, cubed
8 oz cream cheese, cubed
1 1/2 cups mixed berries (red raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, currants..can be frozen or fresh )
8 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup butter, melted  (optional but really really good!)

Fresh berries to serve along side

Butter a 9X9 baking dish
Place half of the cubed bread in the bottom of the baking dish
Layer with the half of the berries, half of the cream cheese
Cover with half of the remaining bread cubes, the rest of the berries and the cream cheese cubes finishing with the last of the bread cubes.
Mix the milk, eggs, honey and orange zest in a bowl and pour over the bread layers
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Remove from the refrigerator half an hour before baking
Drizzle with the melted butter
Preheat your oven to 350F
cover with foil and bake for 30 min.
Uncover and bake for an additional 15-20 min or until a toothpick comes out clean. 
Allow to cool before serving though it can be warm to serve
Cut into squares and serve with the orange scented custard and lightly sweetened fresh berries

Orange Scented Custard

 This custard sauce is derived from the custard my mother made to serve with the fresh blueberries we had growing in the back yard. This sauce is versatile and holds well. It is good slightly warm or cold. It is good over cakes and, as used here over bread pudding, served with berries or.. all alone.  I have added some orange zest to compliment the fresh berries

 2 cups of milk
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk

1 Tablespoon corn starch
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Scald 2 cups of milk in a glass mixing bowl in the microwave*
In another microwave safe bowl mix the sugar with the cornstarch
Add the beaten egg and egg yolk and stir till there are no lumps
When the milk is hot, add half to the egg mixture stirring till smooth
Slowly continue adding the rest of the milk to the egg mixture till all is well blended
Microwave at 30 second intervals stirring with the whisk ever 30 seconds till you see it starting to thicken.
Reduce your microwave intervals to 15 seconds and lower to medium high power. It is important to watch it here that it does not overheat.
Your custard is finished when it thickens, coats a spoon but has not boiled. Microwaves vary in strength but this process took me about 5 minutes. 
Remove from the microwave, add the orange zest and vanilla and a pinch of salt
Stir at intervals till the custard has cooled to warm
Serve with the warm bread pudding
Refrigerate remaining custard

 *Scalding is heating milk to right below boiling. I used the microwave when I was doing this custard because I find it a simple way to make a small amount of custard,  but you can just as easily make it on the stove. Watch as you heat the final custard, stirring constantly so that it does not set on the bottom of the pan and make sure to remove it just as it starts to boil. Use a medium high heat setting.  You do not want a full boil.

Swiss Woods Bed and Breakfast
Debbie Mosimann
Bed and Breakfast Foodie
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chilled Apricot Mint Soup

I don't know about where everyone else is, but we're having a long and lovely spring here in Ohio.   I just love this time of year.   It's such a joy to see the gardens come back to life, particularly our herb gardens, since you can't beat the flavor of fresh herbs in recipes, and they add such a splash of color when used as a garnish.   Right now we have four different kinds of mint growing in our herb garden, including spearmint, chocolate mint, lemon balm and lime mint.  On a trip to the garden center last weekend I found a pot of pineapple mint.   Of course I just had to buy it.   I'm looking forward to seeing how it grows and  adding it to some of our recipes.   I think it would be wonderful in the following recipe for chilled Apricot Mint soup. 

One 14 ounce can of apricot halves in syrup (do not drain)
One cup of half-and-half
1/4 cup of fresh mint
1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
More mint for garnish.

Put all ingredients in a blender and puree.    Chill very well.   Serve in pretty glasses, such as martini glasses.     Makes a delicious first-course for breakfast, brunch or even dinner.

The White Oak Inn  
Yvonne Martin
Bed and Breakfast Foodie
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Monday, May 7, 2012

Pineapple, Mangoes and....Fresh Thyme

The other night I was over at a friends house for dinner and she announced that for dessert she had made a little fruit salad with pineapple and mangoes.  I groaned a bit cause mangoes are not really my favorite but she said, just wait and see, even you will like the mango in this salad. She was right, mix fresh thyme with just about anything and I will love it.   So this morning I made the pineapple-mango salad and.....yep the bowls came back licked clean, the true test of whether something went over well at our Bed and Breakfast.  Now if someone would just tell me an easy way to cut a mango.......... we would serve this all the time! 

INGREDIENTS  to serve 10 one cup servings
1 large fresh Pineapple cut into chunks
2 good sized Mangos also cut into bite sized pieces
Fresh Lime Juice (about 2 tablespoons)
Fresh Thyme leaves (I try to keep the stems out as much as possible)
Lime slices - cut to go on the side of the fruit bowls for a little garnish

Put Pineapple and Mangoes in a bowl and add Lime juice, really to taste, I probably used a tablespoon or two for one pineapple and 2  large mangoes.  Add thyme leaves and stir well, again you add to taste.  I love thyme, so I used about 10 sprigs, you can taste it as  you go (this is often the best part).  It is then ready to serve as I did this morning,  but when my friend made it for dinner, she refrigerated it for a bit and I think that helped the thyme flavor really come through even more.

We are having a lot of fun this summer mixing the "savory" herbs with the sweet fruit!

Chambered Nautilus Bed and Breakfast Inn  
Joyce Schulte
Bed and Breakfast Foodie
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Breakfast Bruschetta

Dessert with breakfast?   Why not!   And it couldn't be simpler.   You can change the toppings with the seasons.   Fresh fruit in summer and fall, dried fruit and nuts in the winter.   Use your imagination and have fun.

1 French Baguette
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1 cup ricotta
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract  (can substitute vanilla, orange, lemon or any other flavored extract that complements your toppings)
Toppings of your choice, such as sliced strawberries, whole raspberries or blackberries, sliced peaches, apricots or plums, diced kiwi, chopped dried apricots, dried blueberries or craisins.   Shaved dark, milk or white chocolate, chopped nuts - walnuts, almonds, pecans or pistachios, or crushed Heath Bars.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Slice the baguette into 1/2 inch thick slices.   Arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
Melt butter and lightly brush each slice.   Sprinkle with white sugar.   Bake in a 375 degree oven until edges are lightly browned and top is crispy.  
Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, powdered sugar and almond extract.   Spread a tablespoon of  this mixture on each slice of bread.   Top with fruit, then sprinkle with shaved chocolate and nuts.
Favorite combinations:  
Strawberries, dark chocolate and pecans
Raspberries, white chocolate and almonds
Craisins, pistachios and white chocolate
Apricots, walnuts and crushed Heath Bars

The White Oak Inn
Yvonne Martin
Bed and Breakfast Foodie
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