Behind the Blueberry

The innkeepers at Blueberry Cove Inn, Narragansett, RI invite you to their world of innkeeping. This is a behind the scenes look at their version of innkeeping.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New Center Pieces

Fall chores include cleaning up the pond and pulling plants out to overwinter inside. As I was working I found myself regretting that the days of sitting beside the waterfall relaxing and watching the fish were pretty much over for the year. "AHA," I said, "Let's bring the pond inside!"



I had plenty of vases tucked away for our Romantic Roses Package. The nickle feeder fish I put in the pond last year had spawned at least 30 babies that seem to be thriving. The water lettuce and water hyacinth had to come inside. For $0.00 I have unusual and amusing center pieces.


I love seeing the fish play tag in the trailing roots.


That's what Works for me on Wednesday.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My favorite new food blog

Eight of my innkeeper friends have banded together to begin a recipe blog called Bed and Breakfast Foodie. They are great and inventive cooks to begin with and exhibit a great sense of humor. Where else would you find a dedicated group of professionals referring to themselves as "eight broads?" They are gearing up for Facebook and Twitter. It's a great collaboration with a big bonus: you can make any recipe for company without needing to practice it first.

In addition to being great cooks, these women have my respect for being astute business people. Our industry is tougher than most travelers would imagine but they have thrived and strive to keep their businesses and lives as fresh as possible.

And that works for me on Wednesday and every other day of the week.

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Keeping English Muffins fresh

I have always loved English Muffins. Almost any kind, brand, flavor or size will do for me. Depending on the flavor I might use butter, cream cheese or peanut butter on them for breakfast and use them instead of bread for a sandwich. These summer berry ones from Thomas' are absolutely delightful plain.
Not surprisingly, since we serve a whole heck of a lot of them, we buy them by the case and freeze them. To help them maintain their freshness I remove the cardboard liner as soon as they come out of the freezer or home from the grocery. The liner seems to suck the moisture out of the muffins. That's what works for me on Wednesday and every other day of the week.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ironing Boards as saw horses

Every May I drag out the front screen door from the garage. Every year it needs painted or new screen. (Actually, it needs screen repairs a lot - one year I fixed it six times in three months because "City People" pushed the door open by putting their hand or luggage through the screen. One sweetie punched it from the outside because he forgot his key and thought it was better to destroy the screen than ring the door bell. But those are stories for another day...)

Traditional saw horses are pretty worthless for this and may other jobs. They aren't tall enough or wide enough or easy to level. The plastic ones fall over too easily, the wooden ones are too heavy. Ironing boards on the other hand are perfect. You can adjust the height for uneven ground, their wide bases are amazingly stable and they are lighter to drag around. And since I bought 12 of them at an auction for $10 I have a bunch sitting around.

Other uses: catch long boards that being ripped on the table saw, as an extension table for my chop saw, as the base under a hollow core door to make a wallpapering table or garage sale table, and as a stand for things that are being painted. Use your imagination and I'm sure you can come up with some other good nontraditional uses. And that's my Works for me Wednesday tip of the week.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Baking with Glass Pans

Almost all of my bake ware is glass. Pyrex, Fireking, or any other brand that might have been popular and easy to find at garage sales in the Midwest. You see, my parents were big on garage sales and country auctions. When we bought the inn, my dad amassed a large collection of glass bake ware, broken toasters, 1950s era waffle irons, marginal vacuum cleaners, and sparking (not sparkling) lamps that he was sure we would find useful. Although I could have lived without the home perms caused by some of the lamps and toasters we did use almost all of his "treasures.

The unfortunate thing about glass bake ware is that it retains heat so well that baked goods keep on baking after you pull them out of the oven. That's just fine for somethings but for some reasons guests didn't appreciate overly crispy coffee cakes and brownies. The solution? Tin foil. Mold foil over the outside of the pan, insert the form into the pan and gently smooth it into place.
Spray it with non-stick spray if the recipe calls for greasing the pan. Bake as usual but within a few minutes of removing it from the oven gently pull up the foil and remove the cake from the pan to a cooling rack or counter. The extra foil around the edges can cover the cake when it is cooled. As a bonus the pan is still clean so just put it away when it is cool. That' a tip that works for me on Wednesday or any other day of the week.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Shipping Cookies

This Works for me Wednesday tip is both a recycling hint and a fabulous way to ship cookies. My mom started this family tradition. Whether it was her idea or something out of 1960's magazine we don't know.



First, force feed your family lots of Pringles. Bake your favorite cookies the same diameter as the Pringles can. Eat all of the ones that are too large for the cans. Don't worry if it makes your can larger.


Drop the cooled cookies into the can. My sister was sending this to a soldier in Iraq so she also used a plastic bag. Mom never sent me cookies in a bag in a Pringles can.



Box up the cookies and send them on their way. The cookies will not crumble. And someone will love you very much for your efforts.

Posted by Innkeeper Seely, Blueberry Cove Inn

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Warm Winter Fruit Part 2

BROILED GRAPEFRUIT

Narragansett is not the Garden of Eden of Produce in the winter. Thanks to our friendly citrus farmers in Florida we nearly always have plenty of grapefruit. If we’re really lucky we might find the Ruby Red or Rio Star Texas strains once or twice a year. (Although half of Rhode Island winters in Florida we really do prefer the Texas grapefruit. Go Aggies!) Whatever state sends the fruit your way, try to buy the red or pink flesh varieties which tend to be sweeter or less acidic. Unless you are a citrus farmer you'll probably need to look at the tag as the skin color doesn't indicate the flesh color.

We have a simple way to dress up any grapefruit and offer something warm on a chilly winter morning is to simply sprinkle a little brown sugar and some cinnamon on the top of a sectioned half.


Narragansett

Place the halves on a pan and pop in your oven or broiler for about five minutes. That’s enough time for the fruit to warm and for the sugar to melt and run into the cracks for maximum sweet and sour goodness. When you pull it out of the broiler, spread the sugar syrup evenly with the back of a spoon over the top of the fruit.

Blueberry Cove Inn Carefully transfer the halves to a serving bowl. We like to use pressed glass custard cups but you can do whatever works for you on Wednesdays. Or any other day of the week. Narragansett, RI

Next week I'll post our most popular warm winter fruit, a New England classic, baked apples.



Posted by Head Chef Dave, Blueberry Cove Inn







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