Sunday, March 28, 2010

Home Improvement Project: Pot Rack

My husband, Bob, does a lot of things to improve the inn. In the kitchen, he created a pot rack over the window to store some of our copper pots and pans.

This project was in my mind for years. In all the homes we have lived, I have always wanted a pot rack similar to those sold at places like Williams Sonoma or Sur la Table.

We could never figure out how to center it over an area because the supports were never in the right place since we had rafters in the ceiling. The other issue for me was the rack’s mobility. When a pot rack hangs from the ceiling, it moves around when you try to hang a pot.

In our other house, Bob made a shelf at the kitchen window that we used for displaying items.

This time we decided to put up a shelf at the top of the windows and run a copper pipe through the brackets to create the pot rack. (The copper pipe was added with the rebar inside to keep the copper pipe from bending.)

If you decide to take on a similar project, you will need the following items:
  • One board the desired length of your space; depth is one foot. Poplar is a nice wood to use if you will be painting the piece.

  • Copper pipe approximately 3/4-inch wide. You will want the length to match your shelf. The pipe should be at least 6 inches away from the window so that the pans do not hit the glass.

  • Trim for the front of the board to give it a finished look.

  • Three brackets with openings for the pipe to run through under the shelf.

  • You will also need a few odds and ends like wood screws, wood filler, and paint.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Winter Blues? Cozy up to the Fire with a Book Club

Earlier this winter, we had a couple call to reserve all five rooms for a book club. At that time we did not have any availability for their reservation, but it seems like such a good idea so we thought we should share it with all our guests. Guests can share dinner around the bend at The Tousey House and then spending the night at the inn, dishing about their latest book selection.

If you are not in a regular book club, but like the idea, you may want to consider getting a small group to read "A Dream Within a Dream" written by Hal McFarland. It is a book about a 1940s murder that was never solved, right here in Boone County. The author stopped by last fall; his wife is also a writer and has been on the Oprah show. I have not read the book personally, but there was a trial reenactment a few years ago at the Old Court House.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Celebrate Cincinnati's Restaurant Week: March 22nd - March 28th

According to an area food blog, the first Cincinnati Restaurant Week of 2010 will be March 22nd - March 28th. Locally-owned restaurants in the greater Cincinnati area are eligible to join The Greater Cincinnati Independents (GCI) group. Twice each year, this group hosts a Restaurant Week. Guests may frequent their establishments and enjoy a three-course prix-fixe dinner for a special price. This year's event is $26.10 per person (not including drinks, taxes or gratuities).

Be sure to check their website for up-to-date information and menus.

Our last-minute special is in effect for those looking for a special getaway in conjunction with Restaurant Week. Guests receive a 20% discount for same-day reservations. After a nice dinner, fresh baked cookies waiting on your pillow, and our gourmet breakfast the next morning, you may be too full to drive home!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

From Our Kitchen to Yours: Woodford (or Maker's Mark) Pudding Cake

During book signing events for the Room at the Table cookbook, I would often make this dessert for attendees to sample. The recipe belongs to my friend, Marsha Burton from the Inn at Woodhaven in Louisville, Kentucky. We used Maker's Mark, but the name of the dessert is Woodford Pudding because Woodford Reserve bourbon is suggested.

Woodford Pudding Cake
A Bundt cake pan is nice for presentation, but when preparing enough for a large group, I also use a 9 x 13 pan.

1 cup butter, melted and cooled
6 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups Windstone Farm blackberry jam, preferably seedless
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 cups brown sugar
2 cups cream
2 sticks butter
Glug glug of Woodford Reserve bourbon

Mix butter, eggs and buttermilk in a large bowl; stir in jam. Combine dry ingredients and add to liquid, mix until creamy. Pour into greased 9 x 13-inch pan or large Bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until pudding is set.

In a saucepan, combine brown sugar and cream and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add butter and whisk until blended; add bourbon. Pour sauce over warm cake, setting some extra aside for drizzling when served.

Yield: 12 servings.