Mint & Green Tea Simple Syrup Recipe
We grow our own mint out in the garden and I’m forever trying to come with different ways to use it. I like this recipe for a simple syrup infused with green tea and fresh mint. I toss local fresh ripe cantaloupe and/or watermelon with this fragrant syrup and serve it as a first course in the summer months when the ingredients are fresh. When you’re done a little of this sweet syrup goes a long way to taste test as you add it to your fruits of choice. If you try it Let me know what you think.
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1.5 cups water
- 1 T white corn syrup
- 2 green tea bags
- 1/2 c packed fresh mint leaves
Combine the sugar, water and corn syrup in a sauce pan can cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Don’t let the syrup boil but heat long enough to make sure the granulated sugar is completely dissolved.
Chop the mint and place 1/2 of it in a mesh tea bag or infuser and set aside the other 1/2 aside. Place the infuser filled with mint and the green tea bag in the syrup. Remove from heat and allow the syrup to cool completely (about 1 hour).
When cool remove the mint the green tea. Stir in the remaining mint. This will last in a covered container in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.
Rhubarb Coffee Cake
1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. To prepare cake, combine rhubarb and 2 tablespoons flour in a medium bowl; toss well to coat.
3. Place brown sugar and 5 tablespoons butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sour cream, rind, and vanilla; beat until well combined.
4. Lightly spoon 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Fold in rhubarb mixture. This is a thick batter. Spread evenly into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray.
5. To prepare streusel, combine turbinado sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in 2 tablespoons butter with a pastry blender or 2 forks until mixture is crumbly; stir in nuts. Sprinkle streusel evenly over batter. Bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely. Cut into squares and enjoy.
National Pancake Day is March 3
I guess there’s a reason to celebrate something every day so why not pancakes too! Throughout the year we make variations on these crowd pleasing favorites. In fall and winter we serve gingerbread, pumpkin or apple pancakes. In the spring we’ll change it up to lemon ricotta and sometimes in the summer we’re making buttermilk and sweet corn pancakes. But our tried and true hit are fluffy classic buttermilk pancakes topped with berries and local maple syrup. Here’s our recipe for our version. Enjoy! Happy Pancake Day!
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/2 teaspoon Table Salt
- 2 cups Buttermilk
- 2 Large Eggs
- 3 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 1/4 cup Sour Cream
- Whisk together all dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
- Melt Butter and cool slightly
- Whisk buttermilk into cooled butter and then whisk in the eggs and sour cream.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Use a large rubber spatula and fold together until just combined. Use a minimal amount of strokes – some lumps might remain. Let stand for at least 15 minutes – this will give the sour cream and baking soda time to react.
- Pour 1/4 cup for each pancake onto a hot oiled skillet or griddle. When bubbles start to uniformly appear it’s time to flip. These pancakes will rise nicely so let them cook for at least 2 minutes on the second side. Don’t forget to use quality (LOCAL if available) syrup. Enjoy.
Chocolate Fondue Recipe
There’s never any need to wait for a holiday to enjoy this chocolate feast. It’s a great treat to enjoy with friends while you linger at the table after dinner. And, while they are pretty, a fondue pot is not necessary. Make your fondue on the stove and when you are ready to serve pour it into a pretty bowl. When (if!) the chocolate gets too cool just reheat it. I’ve even used a microwave to reheat.
Choosing your dippers is the fun part. Use fresh fruits like bananas and strawberries, dried fruits like apricot and chunks of mango, lemony pound cake cut into cubes, marshmallows, and my favorite rice krispie treats. When arranged nicely on a platter and presented to family or guests you’ll instantly turn into a superhero. Provide plenty of wooden skewers so everyone can dip and dip and dip.
- 6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate. I use Callebaut bittersweet which is available in the specialty food aisle of most supermarkets.
- 3/4 cup half & half
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, optional
- 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of your favorite liqueur (such as Frangelico, Grand Marnier, Kahlua, Tia Maria, Amaretto, or a brandy) (optional)
Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized heatproof bowl and set aside.
Combine the 1/2 & 1/2, sugar, and butter in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring just to a simmer, stirring often.
Remove from heat and pour immediately over the chocolate. Let stand until the chocolate has melted, then stir gently until smooth. Whisk in vanilla extract and the liqueur until smooth and shiny.
Place the chocolate sauce in a fondue pot over a low flame or bowl and serve with your dippers.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups (360 ml).Preparation time15 minutes.
Quinoa Porridge Recipe
I think quinoa should get the most versatile food award for 2014. I giggle to myself as I read other foodie blogs when they have discovered how great quinoa is in sweet recipes because I’m on the other end of the spectrum as I begin to discover great new ways to use quinoa in savory recipes. I’ve been using quinoa in my signature granola, cookies, and pancake recipes for quite some time. And this time of year my quinoa breakfast porridge is very popular. It’s healthy, it’s gluten free and it’s vegan so what’s not to love? If you haven’t found a place for quinoa in your diet yet this porridge recipe is an easy and delicious way to start
For each serving:
- 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 1/2 cup almond milk (see my recipe for easy homemade almond milk)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 dash cinnamon (or cardamon)
- 1/4 cup fresh seasonal fruit like chopped apples, pears or your favorite berry. Raisins work too!
- 1 handful of your favorite nut – almonds, peacans, or walnuts – toasted and coarsley chopped
- Bring the quinoa, almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered until tender, about 15 minutes.
- Mix in the fruit and top with toasted nuts.
Souper Sundays return on December 14th
There are many things we do here on the Connecticut shoreline in order to coexist with the cold New England weather. From skiing and skating to reading and hibernating, we each have our own ways to keep from going stir-crazy during Old Man Winter’s annual visit. One of my own favorite winter rituals is to make homemade soup. It’s healthy (well…sometimes!), satisfying and delicious, which means that in one pot I get to fulfill all of my new year resolutions: live healthier, cook at home more, and eat better.
The aromas that fill the inn are second only to the reward of eating a bowl of hot homemade goodness. I enjoy it so much that I have have started sharing my ritual with our Sunday guests and am calling it Souper Sundays. All guests that check in on Sunday are invited into the kitchen to help me prepare what will become the Sunday supper that we will share at dinner time. It’s a time to bring the ever-changing Scranton Seahorse Inn guest community together to do something fun, healthy and, if we do it right – utterly delicious.
Book your room with us and enjoy a perfect stay at a classic Connecticut bed and breakfast that includes a cooking class and dinner with (new) friends. Bring your own favorite wine if you wish, and we’ll provide the soup, bowls, and spoons!
- December 14th: Butternut Squash with Sage and Apple & New England Style Clam Chowder
- December 21st: Creamy Chicken Chowder
See you at the inn!
Oatmeal Scones with Hazelnut & Cherries
I’m a bit behind in sharing some of the recipes I’ve been asked for. I hope to catch up on that this week.
One of my favorite recipes (and that of many of the guests) is this scone recipe. This is not my own invention but a variation of a recipe my friend Jan shared with me. In my opinion hazelnuts make everything taste good!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- 1 1/4 cups Quaker oats
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup 1/2 & 1/2
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/3 granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried tart cherries
- Spread oats and chopped hazelnuts evenly on a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned and fragrant – about 7 minutes. Keep an eye on this and be sure not to burn the hazelnuts. They will brown before the oatmeal does which is ok. Remove from oven and cool. Raise temperature of your oven to 425 degrees.
- Whisk together cream and egg. Reserve 2 tablespoons for glazing scones.
- In a food processor combine the flour, sugar and baking powder and pulse a few times to combine. Scatter in the cold butter and pulse until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse cornmeal. Transfer this mixture to a good size mixing bowl. Using a large rubber spatula fold in the oatmeal and nut mixture. Add the cherries.
- Fold in the liquid ingredients until large clumps form. using your hand mix the dough a few more times until a large ball is formed.
- Dust your clean work surface with a little flour and then gently pat the mixture until a 7″ circle until it’s about 1″ thick. Using a sharp knife cut into 8 wedges. Line a sheet pan with parchment and place wedge 2″ apart. Brush each wedge with the reserve liquid and sprinkle with a little sugar. Place sheet pan with scones in freezer for about 10 minutes.
- Bake until golden brown and delicious – about 12 – 14 minutes. Let them cool for about 20 minutes before serving.
This recipe doubles easily. Uncooked wedges can be wrapped and frozen for 2 weeks. If you plan to freeze the uncooked wedges don’t glaze or sugar them until your ready to cook (you can use 1/2 & 1/2) Cook them frozen and increase the cooking time by a few minutes.
As always write all call me with questions, especially if the recipe didn’t come out as planned!
Breakfast is our favorite time of day. We make it our duty to serve things like pastries, pancakes and bacon. However, we do offer healthy choices at breakfast for our guests that want to enjoy something delicous at breakfast but don’t want to over do it. One of our most requested offerings is our Kale Smoothie. The recipe below is how I make it most days but keep in mind smoothie recipes have ingredients that are easy to swap with others. Feel free to use what ever your happen to have on hand.
Scranton Seahorse Kale Smoothie
- 2 handfuls of fresh kale washed and chopped.
- 1/2 chopped fresh chopped carrots
- 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
- 1 cup fresh pineapple
- 1 pelled chopped apple
- 1 cup unsweetened unflavored almond milk
- 1 cup ice
The strawberries and pineapple should be frozen for at least an hour. What I do is package 1 cup of each the strawberries and pineapple in zip lock bags and when I’m ready to make a smoothie I’ve got them already chopped measured and frozen.
Combine all ingredients in a blender or smoothie machine and blend until smooth. Depending on your preference add more ice (or almond milk) to thin out the smoothie. I personally don’t like mine thick like a milk shake. You can keep the extra in a covered pitcher in the refrigerator for a couple days.
What’s your favorite smoothie recipe?
Apple Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe
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.