Thursday, December 18, 2014

Making Homemade Bagels

What else do you do when the decorating is done?  For the past several years I have always wanted to try making my own bagels.  But I was afraid...I love bagels, lived in New York for a while, and so I have definite ideas about what a bagel should and should not taste like.  Texture, chewiness..all very important.  And I knew you had to boil them, because I remember seeing the pots in my favorite bagel place in Squirrel Hill (outside of Pittsburgh).

So, I finally took the plunge (sorry about that).  Paul, my trusty assistant made some bagels a month ago, and let me taste one.  And I had a real hankering ever since then.  I have always trusted the recipes at King Arthur I pulled up the recipe for Water Bagels and stepped into unchartered territory.

The dough was surprisingly easy!  I actually made it in my bread machine, then divided and formed it into those iconic shapes.  That was make it into a ball, stick your finger through it and twirl it around...I probably should have made a video!

Here is the dough rising:

 Then, you put the raised bagels into simmering water that has non diastatic malt powder and sugar in it:


You bake them, and this is how they look!
They were SOOOO yummy still warm, and really good even after!

Fear conquered!

Innkeeper Grape Arbor Bed & Breakfast

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Fun!

It's  Christmas time!  Decorations galore!  To prepare myself every year I go to the  Festival of Trees and look for decorating inspiration!  Fifty professionally decorated trees in one place!  Christmas music!  Reindeer!  So, what did I see this year?

 An angel tree!   A foot tree!  Aren't they amazing!  And then, the Sunday after Thanksgiving we started the Christmas decorating.  Only some people were not impressed....

Innkeeper Grape Arbor Bed & Breakfast

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Baking Adventures--Persimmons!

 I am always trying to find new and different things to serve for breakfast.  When I saw a bag of persimmons at the store...I couldn't resist, even though I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with them!
 So home I went and started my research.  I found there are two different kinds of persimmons; the ones that I had purchased are to be served crunchy, just like the bag said.

Next I went online to look for recipes....after tasting one raw, I wasn't sure...and I found two recipes that looked promising--Poached Persimmons and Broiled Persimmons.  So I experimented with the Poached Persimmons !

I (of course) didn't follow the recipe exactly--I left them in larger pieces than recommended.  The color is so vibrant and beautiful!
Here they are simmering away in a mix of white wine, orange juice and ginger!  See that color!
And I left them a bit crunchy, then served them warm with a dollop of yogurt...there was nothing left on the plates!

Innkeeper Grape Arbor Bed & Breakfast

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner

What does an innkeeper do for Thanksgiving dinner?   First, you need a turkey!  So waaayyy back in the spring I purchased a pullet from Parable Farms just a short drive away.  They have naturally raised, grass fed animals--chickens, pigs and beef!  So the week before Thanksgiving Sarah e:mailed me that the turkeys were big and sassy...well, when we got there...I have never seen such HUGE turkeys.   Up to 42 pounds!

This is our baby, a mere 23 pounds!  And this is how the baby looked, after cooked....

LOTS of wonderful food, a truly bountiful table...
and the desserts....mmmmm pumpkin cheesecake and ginger pear cranberry pie, among others...

And now...planning for Christmas!

Innkeeper Grape Arbor Bed & Breakfast

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Autumn Leaves Bring Thoughts of ...Doughnuts!

 The grape harvest is in full swing, and the town of North East is full of the sweet smell of Concord Grapes!   The leaves are turning their brilliant shades of red and orange, and the nights are cooler.

So where is my mind?  Thinking of apples, cinnamon, cloves and the smell of all things spicy.  One of my favorite things from New England is Cider Donuts, with a coating of cinnamon sugar.  But my hips and stomach have started to tell me to search for options other than frying.

And these donuts do just that...they are light, and spicy...and covered with a wonderful maple glaze that just says fall to me!  (and if you don't happen to have a donut pan to bake them in...just make them as muffins...)

My hips are thankful...and ready for my 2nd annual run at the Columbus Day 5K in Columbus PA.  Wish me luck!

Baked Spice Donuts with Maple Glaze

Yield:  6 donuts

1 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (I always grind my own)
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/3 C light brown sugar
1/4 C buttermilk
1/4 C yogurt
2 T melted butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 35o degrees.  Spray a donut pan with nonstick spray.
Whisk the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  Whisk the egg, sugar, milk and yogurt together; add the melted butter and vanilla, combine.  Add the wet to the dry, and stir just til combined.  Do not overmix.  It is quite thick.
Spoon or pipe into the pan, filling each 3/4 full.
Bake for 10 -12 minutes or until edges are brown.  Pop out of pan and cool on a wire rack set above wax or parchment paper.

While baking, make glaze:
1/4 C butter
1/2 C pure maple syrup (I use PA dark amber, which has a wonderful flavor)
1 C confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp maple extract (adds flavor, but not necessary if you don't have it)

Melt the butter with the maple syrup.  Whisk, remove from heat and add sugar.  Whisk till smooth.  Add flavoring, if desired.  Set aside to cool.

Dip one side of donut into the glaze, let rest, then dip again.  Enjoy!

Innkeeper Grape Arbor Bed & Breakfast