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.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Where do you get your recipes?

Because I am strictly a self-taught cook, most of my breakfasts are borrowed or appropriated from various sources. Magazines like Cooking Light, Gourmet and Southern Living have all made contributions. The innkeepers on our web group are also very generous about revealing their creations.

Like most cooks, I do have a tendency to make small modifications geared either towards my own taste or based on what I hear from guests. Because of my own insecurities about my culinary skills, once I fine-tune a recipe to the point that I'm getting regular good response, I tend to stick with it. I have 6-8 recipes that are reliable standbys -- easy to prepare, can be cooked within a half hour and will hold for 20 minutes if the diners show up late.

For guests with special needs like diabetics, vegans and those with allergies, there are a number of good websites that offer suggestions on substitutes for existing recipes or specific entrees for those who can't tolerate our regular dishes. Seely often gives me a hard time because she wants to offer guests more variety, so we fine tune a new recipe or two every winter.

Here's one of recipes that we did create on our own:

Irish Jack Eggs

8 large eggs
1/2 cup of half and half
4 oz grated pepper jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded hash browns

Beat eggs and half & half in a mixing bowl, then pour into 4-6 oz. greased ramekins, filling each about 2/3 of the way. Sprinkle in the hash brown and pepper jack to taste. Depending on the size of the eggs, it usually makes about 8 servings.

I do the prep the night before and refrigerate it. In the morning pop as many as needed for a sitting into the oven at 350 for about 25 minutes. The mixture will rise like a souffle and, if served immediately, will have a fluffy texture with a spicy kick.

Labels: , ,

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.

Labels: ,

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







Labels: ,

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Warm Winter Fruit: Poached Pears

As I watch the icicles forming on the bird feeders, my mind drifts to one of the trickiest aspects of being open year-round: finding fresh fruit and figuring out ways to serve it warm in the depths of the frigid season.

After years of trial and error we have found three types of fruit that are generally available even in December, January, and February. Fortunately (or unfortunately) those are the months least likely to produce full houses or lengthy stays, so you need less variety than in July and August where you might be full (16 people) four or five days a week and some guests will stay for a week or more.

POACHED PEARS
This is an offering with less sweetness and more spice. Begin by peeling, coring and halving as many firm pears as needed for your crowd. The finished pears will keep in the fridge for a week so you might want to make extras.
Blueberry Cove Bed and Breakfast InnBoth Bartlett and Anjou varieties work well in this dish. Place the prepped pears in a wide-bottomed fairly deep pan and pour in enough cranberry juice to cover the fruit. Add a couple of cinnamon sticks and four or five cloves (more of each if you’re poaching more than six pears). Romantic winter get- awaysCover the pot and put the mixture on the lowest possible flame for 35-45 minutes. You want them simmering, not boiling away. You’ll know they’re done when the pears have absorbed some of the color from the cranberry juice and are still firm to the touch but can be pierced easily with a fork. (If you zone out and overcook the pears just mash them up into a coarse sauce like chunky apple sauce.) Refrigerate overnight and heat for about 5 minutes over a low flame before serving. These are also great just chilled if your climate is a bit more tropical.

We like to plate the pears with a puddle of vanilla yogurt and serve granola on the side. The plates always come back to the kitchen clean which is a great ego booster for the cook.Narragansett breakfast treats
Our other favorite warm fruits involve apples and grapefruit. Check back for the other recipes that work for me on Wednesdays.

posted by Head Cook Dave

Labels:

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Perfecting meringue

Meringue is so easy to make when all the atmospheric conditions are perfect. Add in too much heat and humidity though and you might as well have skipped it altogether. I learned a tip many years ago while living in Houston from a friend from England. Apparently in the UK they make a meringue sugar, I think it is also called castor sugar, that is fine and puffy like our powdered sugar but does not contain cornstarch. This finely ground sugar melts instantly into the beaten egg whites. To make your own version place the amount of sugar called for in your recipe into a clean, dry blender. Pulse the blender to until the sugar powders. You may have to tilt it from side to side or stop and scrape down the sides once or twice. Voila! another tip that works for me.

Labels: