Thursday, April 28, 2011


People love cookies.   And they really seem to love dunking cookies in coffee, tea or milk at The Pearl.   Over the last few years, I have added biscottis to a second cookie jar.   They have very little butter and are low in calories.   I found this recipe in one of the Moosewood Restaurant Cookbooks.   They have listed the calorie count at 127 calories per cookie.   They are not a sweet cookie and can be very addicting.

You can toast almonds in a 350 deg oven for 5-10 min.

Almond Biscotti

Preheat oven to 350 deg.   Lightly oil a baking sheet or use Silpat or parchment paper.

Using an electric mixer or whisk, cream together:
    ¼ cup butter, room temperature
    ¾ cup sugar

Add to cream mixture:
    2 eggs
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    ½ tsp almond extract
    2 tsp grated orange peel

Fold in:
    ½ cup chopped toasted almonds

In a separate bowl, combine:
    2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
    1 ½ tsp baking powder
    1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
    ¼ tsp salt

Fold the wet ingredients into dry ingredients and press together to form an approx 12 x 3 inch log shape.  

Press down on log to flatten into an inch thickness.

Bake on the top rack of a 350 deg oven for 20 min until slightly brown. Slide log onto cutting board.   When cool, slice crosswise into ¾ inch pieces.   Lay each biscotti cut side up on the baking sheet. Bake for 5 min on each side, using tongs to flop cookie over.   Cool and enjoy.

  - Mary

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Guest Demographics are Important to Us

It is so important for innkeepers to know their changing demographics.   The demographics at our B&B have changed over the last 6 years.   When we first opened in 2005, our primary guests were retired people or those about to retire.   When the economy took a tumble, everything changed.   It seems now we have more people in the 30-50 age range.   This is important for us as innkeepers since we have noticed some foods are generational.   People from Europe and those over 60 love poached eggs.   The athlete, vegetarian and those who are health-conscious want our 5-grain toast and granola with yogurt or almond milk along with the entrée.   Some of our retired people are staying away from roughage and so they eat my home made white bread and fruit along with a smaller entrée.   I have to be aware and provide for those who work at manual labor and need more food than those who work at a desk.

The best part is that all of our guests are the best.   They are fun, interesting people.   Some guests are here to relax and are on a “lovers’ weekend”.   Others do the wineries or the race track.   We were told when we opened to use our good things.   Nothing will happen to them, and that seems to be true.   People take very good care of everything that they use and are very respectful, helpful and welcoming to each other.   I love it when I hear them share experiences and tell each other about their favorite winery or restaurant.   An amazing fact is that they always have things in common – areas of work, towns they lived in, hobbies, etc.   At one breakfast, we had 3 librarians.   Another time we had all carpenters and construction workers.   And then we always feel very safe when the house is full of medical people.

As you can imagine, out main focus is breakfast and making each person feel welcome and comfortable in our home.   This is not hard to do.   When you connect good people in a good environment, only good things can happen.

- Mary

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Making Breakfast for a Vegan

Making breakfast for a vegan at our B and B or for someone who limits their cheese intake makes life interesting. I always love the challenge and that drives me to find and try new recipes. A variation in the breakfast menu prevents me from getting stagnant or bored making the same things each week or so. When people make reservations and Peter tells me about a dietary restriction or preference, it awakens my creativity and at times provides a challenge meeting all the various needs. (And knowing ahead of time makes all the difference. When we are serving the entrée and I then find out that someone does not eat eggs, cheese, meat, pork, gluten, onions, peppers, etc, it can become difficult and leave me no time to be creative.)

I found the following recipe for Spinach and Red Pepper Frittata as a result of such a challenge. The recipe was in the New York Times. It is so pretty, easy to make and you feel good after you eat it. This recipe is a keeper and will be great in the summer when spinach and red peppers are so plentiful in the area. So enjoy –

Spinach and Red Pepper Frittata

Wilt spinach in a large skillet with the water left on after washing. Remove from the heat, rinse with cold water and squeeze out excess water. (I use the salad spinner)

1 6-oz bag of baby spinach or a bunch of spinach

Using a 10” skillet, heat and cook about 5-10 minutes:

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into small dice

Add and stir a few seconds and then remove from the heat:

1-2 garlic cloves, minced
10 fresh marjoram leaves

In a separate bowl beat:
8 eggs
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp milk

Then add the cooked spinach and red pepper and remove from the heat. Clean and dry the pan.

Heat another tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat till pan sizzles. Pour in the egg mixture, tilting the pan to distribute the eggs and filling. Occasionally, lift up the edge of the frittata with a spatula to allow a little of the eggs to run underneath. Turn heat to low and cook for about 10 min. or until the eggs set.

Preheat the broiler and place the pan under the broiler for 1-3 minutes. It will brown slightly and puff up under the broiler. Remove from the broiler and let cool for 5-15 minutes. Loosen the edges with a spatula and slide onto a platter or cutting board. Cut into wedges. This frittata can be served hot, warm, at room temperature or cold.

- Mary