Sunday, February 28, 2010

From Our Kitchen to Yours: Mashed Rutabaga and Apples with Sauteed Onions

Have you ever seen a rutabaga at the grocery store and wondered what to do with it? (I think that a rutabaga is one of the ugliest vegetables, so we dressed it up a bit using pieces of garnish and made it feel special on a cake stand.)

If rutabaga is new to you, consider giving the following recipe a try. It pairs well with a fontina-stuffed chicken breast and side salad.

Mashed Rutabaga and Apples with Sauteed Onions
The recipe can be found in Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop; I use this cookbook a lot to go with our theme of trying to eat more vegetables.

1 large rutabaga (about 2 pounds)
Salt, to taste
1 medium sweet apple, peeled, quartered, and cored
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon canola or other tasteless oil
2 medium onions, halved and sliced thin
1/4 cup milk or half-and-half, warmed

To prepare the rutabaga, peel and cut into 1-inch chunks. Make sure to use extra caution when cutting a rutabaga. It is very dangerous since it is very difficult to cut through using even a sharp knife.

Place rutabaga chunks in a large saucepan and add water to cover by 2 inches. Add a generous amount of salt and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat a bit and cook for 15 minutes.

Add the apple and continue cooking until the rutabaga and apple are very tender, 10 to 15 minutes. While the rutabaga is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon butter and the oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook over medium heat until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Cover and keep warm.

When the rutabaga and apple are tender, drain them well. Return them to the empty saucepan set over low heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and use a potato masher to turn the rutabaga into fine bits.

Stir in the milk with a wooden spoon and add salt to taste. Transfer the mashed rutabaga and apple to a serving bowl. Top with the onions and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings as a side dish.

For the chicken, bake or roast however you prefer to cook chicken breasts. Just when they are finished cooking to the required temperature, cut a small slit in the side and insert a slice of fontina cheese. Return to oven for just a few minutes until it melts and then serve.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

From Our Kitchen to Yours: Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are the made-from-scratch chocolate chip cookies that are waiting for guests on their pillows each evening.

Willis Graves B&B Inn Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from the Ghirardelli Chocolate company

2 1/2 cups unsifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon high quality vanilla extract
11 1/2 ounces Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

Stir flour with baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, cream butter with sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Gradually blend dry mixture into creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie onto ungreased cookie sheets. We bake ours in a convection oven at 350 degrees for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. If you are baking them in a regular oven, adjust the bake setting to 375 degrees.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

From Our Kitchen to Yours: Gingerbread Pancakes

In 2006, one of our guests asked us to arrange a breakfast surprise for his wife during their stay. He sent us the recipe for her "favorite" pancakes, which are now one of our favorites too.

Gingerbread Pancakes

3 1/2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine all wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. The mixture will be lumpy - make sure not to over mix!
Warm a greased griddle on medium heat. Spoon 1/4 cup batter onto the preheated griddle for each pancake. Cook until the top of each pancake is speckled with bubbles and some bubbles have popped open.

Then turn and cook until the underside is golden brown. Make sure not to flip pancakes more than once.

To serve, cover pancakes with fresh berries and top with maple syrup or powdered sugar.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

From Our Kitchen to Yours: Crème Brulee French Toast

One of our most requested breakfast dishes is our signature French toast, which was featured in the Room at the Table cookbook published by the Bed and Breakfast Association of Kentucky. A good portion of the recipe can be completed ahead of time, which makes it a lot less labor intensive in the morning. We snapped a couple pictures of Margaret filling the bread so you can see how easy it is to assemble.

Crème Brulee French Toast
Source: Nancy Swartzel, Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast Inn

Crème Brûlée:
2 cups heavy cream
¼ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon high-quality pure vanilla extract
*Lemon zest, optional

French Toast:
3 average-size, day-old loaves of plain, round French or Italian bread (You don’t want the skinny and crusty french baguette from bread bakeries; look for the softer French or Italian bread that is a bit thicker and rounder in the bakery section of Kroger or similiar-type grocery stores.)
3 eggs
½ teaspoon high-quality pure vanilla extract
½ cup half-and-half
Butter for griddle
Turbinado sugar (granulated sugar may substitute)
Fresh berries
Pure maple syrup
*You’ll also need a small kitchen torch.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and have a pot of boiling water ready. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, sugar, and salt. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until steam rises. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour the hot cream into yolks, a little at a time, stirring constantly, until blended. Divide this mixture among four 6-ounce ramekins. To ensure a smooth consistency, line the bottom of the baking pan or glass dish with a damp kitchen towel before adding the ramekins and boiling water. After placing ramekins in the baking pan, add boiling water to fill the pan halfway up the sides of ramekins. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake until custard is set, 25 to 40 minutes. (It took more time for me, but we used deeper ramekins.) Chill for 4 hours.

Cut bread into 1¾-inch thick slices. Using a serrated knife, cut a deep pocket on the side of each slice but do not cut all the way through.

Fill each pocket with as much crème brûlée as possible; typically 1½ to 2 tablespoons, but this may depend on the size of the bread being used.

The French toast can be prepared in advance and placed in the freezer at this stage. When ready to use, take slices out of the freezer, defrost in the microwave, and proceed with the next step.

In a shallow dish, whisk together eggs, vanilla extract, and half-and-half. Place filled bread pieces in the egg mixture and let stand until the bread is saturated, turning bread to coat all sides. (You may have to make more of the egg mixture if you are cooking the entire recipe at once. We usually freeze most of it for later, and prepare 8 to 10 pieces at a time with the egg mixture.)

To prepare, melt approximately 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet or griddle for each serving. Add bread and cook until toast is golden brown on all sides and the filling is hot. When taken off the griddle, sprinkle sugar lightly on top of bread and use a kitchen torch to caramelize sugar, using small circular motions just above the surface. Be careful not to use too much sugar on top of the bread, or it will be too hard to eat. Serve immediately with a side of pure maple syrup. Add fresh berries or a serving of bacon or sausage to this delicious treat!

Yield: 10 to 15 servings (serving size: 2 to 3 pieces).

*The kitchen torch can be purchased at a kitchen store for around $30.00. For a little zip, you can also add finely chopped lemon zest to the crème brûlée after the custard is set.

Orange Marmalade French Toast

If you are looking for another French toast variation, our Orange Marmalade French toast (pictured below) recipe can be found in the Breakfast section of our main website.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Guest Feedback

Our signature Crème Brulee French Toast recipe will be up tomorrow. In the meantime, we received the following comment in our guest book...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Happy Valentine’s Day: A Month of Recipes

February often prompts romantic gestures and reservations that include things like our chocolate-covered strawberries. But for those of you who want to extend the celebration while at home, we have several recipes you can prepare for loved ones.

Each week throughout February we’ll share one of our favorite recipes. To start the month, we’ll share two breakfast options for those who may want to create a breakfast in bed surprise, followed by our homemade chocolate-chip cookies for your kids or close friends, and then we’ll end the month with an easy dinner option for dining at home.

Up Next: Our signature Crème Brulee French Toast.