Autumn Snow Storm in Connecticut

October 30th, 2011 by hafford

CL & P Power Outage Legend

Connecticut got hammered by an autumn storm yesterday!   Many towns are without power and are told to be prepared to be without power for a few days.   Unlike Irene, when the temperatures were in the 80′s for the week, it’s cold!
 
Fortunately we did NOT lose power and we’re prepared to help those who did.  We’ve significantly reduced our rates for those that need a place to call home until power is back.  Give us call and we’ll make sure you’re in a warm bed for the next few nights. 
 

Apple Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe

August 18th, 2011 by hafford

When I was in pastry school one of the chef instuctors shared this recipe with our class.  I’ve carried this fairly simple recipe with me for many years and it’s always a hit.  When  I make it  at the inn I always get asked for the recipe.    Use your favorite tart, fresh and locally grown apples for the best results. 

  • 2 sticks of butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 T Vanilla Extract
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 5 peeled and diced apples

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream butter and sugar on medium – high speed until light and fluffy.   Add eggs one at a time  – completely incorporating and scraping down the bowl and paddle with a rubber spatula after each addition.  Don’t skip this step!    Add vanilla.

Combine all dry ingredients and whisk to incorporate.    Set the mixer to low and slowly add to butter and egg mixture until just combined. 

Add sour cream and mix until smooth.    Add apples until thoroughly mixed.  Pour mixture in even amounts into three 8″ spring form pans that have been sprayed and lined with parchment paper.   I suggest a struesal topping and you can use your own favorite recipe or here’s my easy nut free topping:

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch table salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter  cut into pieces, softened but still cool

In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, combine flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt on low speed until well combined and no large brown sugar lumps remain, about 45 seconds. Add butter and mix on low until mixture resembles wet sand and no large butter pieces remain, about 2 1/2 minutes.    Spread evenly over each pan of batter. 

Bake at 350F until golden brown and a test inserted into each pan comes out cleanly.    About 1hr 10 minutes.

Rum Raisin Scones

July 23rd, 2011 by hafford

I call this grown up scones because the raisins are soaked in dark rum before cooking.    The longer the raisins soak in the rum the more intense the flavor gets.    The raisins will keep 8-10 weeks in the refridgerator so I make a large batch and have them ready.  The recipe below is enough for 12 scones. 

 Ingredients:

  •  1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 dark rum (I use Meyers)
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 granulated sugar
  • 1/2 kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream + 2 tablespoons to brush the scones with
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons demerara sugar

Place the raisins in a small saucepan and cover with water.   Bring to a boil then strain.   Now place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with the rum and let it set for at least an hour.     

In your mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, and salt.  Toss in the cut up butter and place the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes.   Using the paddle attachment mix on low until the butter is broken up into pebble sized pieces (3 minutes). 

Strain the raisins reserving the rum.    Add the raisins to the flour mixture and beat just once or twice and evenly distribute them.   With the mixer still on low speed and add the 1/4 cup of rum and the heavy cream until the dough comes together.   Using your hands, knead the mixure in the bowl until the dough comes together completely.

Turn the dough out to a lightly floured surface and roll it into a 7-inch round – about 3/4 inch thick.   Using a sharp knife cut in 12 equals wedges – like a pie.    The wedges will look small but they will spread and rise in the oven!

Place the pieces on your baking sheet at least 1/2 inch apart.  Cover with plastic wrap and freee for 15 minutes. 

Preheat your over to 375.   Brush the scones with heavy cream and spinkle with the Demerara sugar.  Bake the scone for 20 minutes turning the baking sheet halfway through.   Transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Serve warm.

Hawaiian Waffles Recipe

July 20th, 2011 by hafford

Macadamia nuts and shredded coconut aren’t the only things that make this dish a summer time favorite.   I serve a tropical salsa along side it to finish it off.     Use whatever fruit is ripe and fresh at the supermarket.   Some of my favorites include mango, pineapple, & kiwi.   Don’t be afraid to try something different like starfruit or papaya to wow your family or guests.

For 6 Belgian Style Waffles

  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking power
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cups coarsely chopped raw macadamia nuts

Whisk the eggs until foamy and then whisk in the butter and milk.    Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the egg mixture and whisk until smooth.    The batter should not be so thick that you cannot run your whisk through it.   You can thin it out by adding a tablespoon or two of milk.      Fold in the nuts and coconut.    I like to let the mixture sit for 10 minutes before using.

Follow the instructions for your waffle iron to cook.   But a general rule of thumb is when the steaming from the iron stops your waffles are done!

Tips:

Instead of maple syrup, which can overpower the flavors of the coconut and macadamia nuts,  try a light or amber agave nectar.

Chop your fruit salsa into small bite size pieces just like a salsa and serve a heaping mound with each waffle.

Dinners at the Farm, Madison Connecticut

July 19th, 2011 by hafford

Dinner Madison CTWhat happens when great personalities come up with an idea to generate awareness of the importance and vitality of our local farming community?  Things like Dinners at the Farm happen.    And they’re happening right here on the Connecticut shoreline at Madison’s Barberry Farm and East Lyme’s White Gate Farm.

Beginning this weekend and continuing for several weeks you have the opportunity to eat delicous food prepared by some of the best chefs in CT and at the same time reconnect farming, cooking, and eating.  Each event includes a tour of the farm followed by a 6 course menu including paired wines.    And that’s not all.    Dinners at the Farm also strengthens our community by helping to raise funds for local agricultural and humanitarian non-profit organizations.

There are still limited tickets available so check out the schedule and tickets page today.  

Barberry Farms is just 2 minutes and White Gate Farm is just 30 minutes from our door.   Make your farm dinner an overnight stay and enjoy a continuation of great local food during breakfast at the Scranton Seahorse Inn.

It’s great to be in good company.

Strawberry Jam

July 6th, 2011 by hafford

As I mentioned in a previous post we’re very excited about our part in the CSA at Bishop’s Orchards.    Part of our share last week was a few quarts of strawberries.   Because we had such terrible weather this spring our strawberry crop here in CT was not abundant.  In fact the season lasted just a few short weeks and I didn’t even get out to pick any.   This is why the CSA is so perfect! 

Strawberry jam on the cooktop...

Strawberries are my favorite berry so I need to make homemade strawberry jam at least once a year.   Yesterday I made my champagne strawberry jam.    The perfect sweetness of the local strawberries, the sweet champagne and tart fresh squeezed lemon juice produced several jars of perfect jam.   

 My guests went crazy spreading it over my homemade buttermilk biscuits this morning.

hands on expressions massage therapy

June 22nd, 2011 by hafford

2nd Place Winner E-List Best of the Shoreline Reader's Poll

Bob McCandlish

After our first introduction I learned very quickly that Bob McCandlish is an amazing person.   His generous and positive personality emits good energy whenever he is near.   I then learned that he is an amazing massage therapist and I am very lucky to have Bob offering his massage services exclusively at the Scranton Seahorse Inn.   Our guests and all of Madison and the shoreline is fortunate to have access to Bob’s services in such an accessible & peaceful location.

Congratulations to Bob McCandlish and hands on expressions for winning 2nd place for “Best Massage” on  The E-List’s Best of Shoreline readers poll.   Call Bob directly today @ 203.779.9215 to book 1 hour massage.

Check out The E-List to see all of the winners of The Best of the Shoreline Reader’s Poll.

It’s good to be In Good Company….

In Good Company….

June 22nd, 2011 by hafford

I’ve started a new blog category entitled “In Good Company”.   It’s here that I’ll post about the businesses, people,  and places that we have relationship with either by partnering with them on specific initiatives or that we’re just lucky enough to be neighbors.

Community Supported Agriculture at the Scranton Seahorse Inn

June 21st, 2011 by hafford

We had a very exciting weekend at the inn.   Not only was it a beautiful spring weekend but it was our first weekend when we cooked with the fruits and vegetables from our CSA share from Bishops Orchards.   Connecticut has had a wet & cold spring so we’ve been anxiously waiting for our local & sustainable produce to be ripe for picking.   Let’s back up a bit…

What’s a CSA or Community Supported Agriculture?  As far as food propositions go it’s about as simple as it gets.   You find a local farm and buy a share and every week during the growing season you pick up a box of whatever goodies are being pulled from the fields right now.    It also lets you enjoy the best parts of sustainably grown fruits and vegetables without the responsibility for the weeding and watering.   In our case, our CSA share from Bishop’s supplements our own gardens and what we buy at the farmers markets.

In our first box we were very excited to find multiple varieties of lettuce, sugar snap peas, spinach, basil, and strawberries!   And, in turn our guests enjoyed fresh strawberry scones and strawberry lemon muffins.   I also made a delicous spinach frittata, a guest favorite.  

I’m looking forward to creating some magnificent menus this growing season and providing fresh & healthy meals to our guests.

Loving Your Local

June 14th, 2011 by hafford

 As I mentioned at our last Business With A Twist Chamber Meeting it’s an honor to be associated with so many varieties of special businesses in our small community.    The Scranton Seahorse Inn and hands on expressions has a great deal from June 15th – July 15th for all Madison Chamber Members.     For the next 30 days the Scranton Seahorse Inn is offering 50% off room rates and h.o.e. is offering 1 hour massages for just $50 (a 30% discount).   

Word of mouth goes a long way and we want you, our fellow business owners, to experience our first class services yourselves and then spread the word!    Please, in the spirit of this offer our special is available only to the business owner or representative and is not tranferrable to family or friends.

Call the inn at 203.245.0550 to book your room and a massage.   Or, call Bob directly at 203.779.9215 if you wish to book a massage only. 

All policies apply and cannot be combined with other packages or offers.

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