Scranton Seahorse Inn

Peanut Butter Cookies – Gluten Free

Gluten Free CookiesI TRY to keep our cookie jar full and I have a few go to recipes that I use to make sure our guests with cookie cravings in the middle of the night have somewhere to go.   When I know I have a gluten free guest checking in to the Scranton Seahorse Inn my peanut butter cookie recipe the one I use.   It is so ridiculously simple but so nutty and delicious.   They are so satisfying at midnight with a cup of coffee or tea too.

This recipe makes 24 cookies.  It’s 1 of everything so it’s quite easy to double, triple or quadruple.   Do what you gotta do!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup good quality creamy peanut butter.  
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Seasalt (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350* and grease cookie sheets or line with parchment or silpat.
  2. Beat together peanut butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.
  3. Add beaten egg and baking soda to peanut butter mixture and beat until well combined.
  4. Roll 1 teaspoon of dough into a ball and place on cookie sheet.
  5. Place dough balls one inch apart on cookie sheet.   Do the thing we all do with a fork to our peanut butter cookies.
  6. Sprinkle each with a little seasalt.
  7. Bake until puffed and a golden pale, about 10 minutes.
  8. Cool cookies on baking sheet about 2 minutes and then transfer with spatula to rack to cool.
  9. May be kept in air tight container at room temperature for 5 days.  If you have a wall safe – store them there.
  10. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

 

Granola Recipe

Scranton Seahorse Inn

Healthy & Simple Granola Recipe

 

housemade granola

This recipe is a variation of my original granola recipe.  I was asked by a guest to create one that used less sugar and syrup.  After a few experiments this is the end result.   My guest and I are very happy with this version.   I like that the amount of sweeteners was reduced by more than 70% and the flavor was not only not compromised but improved.   You can eliminate the 3T of brown sugar completely when mixing the dry goods.   Make this once and you’ll stop buying boxed sweet cereal forever!

 

 

In a microwave or on a stovetop gently heat the following ingredients until the butter is melted.

  • ¾ cup high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ¼ cup of your favorite local honey or local maple syrup
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • ½ t almond extract OR pure vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl mix together the following ingredients:

  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup Quinoa
  • ¾ cup slivered almonds
  • ¾ cup sliced almonds
  • ¾ cup raw pepitas
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 1T kosher salt
  • 1t cinnamon
  • ½t freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3T brown sugar (optional)

Stir in the warmed olive oil mixture and oats mixture with a rubber spatula.    Spread evenly on a rimmed sheet pan lined with parchment paper or silpat and cook in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes until browned stirring every 10 minutes.   Cool completely.

Once cooled and just before storing, stir granola with your hands, breaking up any of the mixture that may be stuck together.  Stir in 1 cup of your favorite dried fruit. Pitted dates, cranberries, golden raisins are great.   Store in an air tight container in a refridgerator for up to two weeks.

A few notes about ingredients and substitutions.

  1. Great olive oil is key. We are lucky to have Shoreline Vine here in Madison and I use their Picual EVOO for this recipe because it’s naturally sweet and appropriately earthy for this recipe.   I personally don’t recommend flavored or infused olive oil for your granola but this is about you and your taste buds.   Experiment! If you don’t have a store like Shoreline Vine near you (they do ship by the way!) then find a high quality extra virgin olive oil in your supermarket
  2. If you don’t like almonds substitute your favorite nuts in equal quantities.
  3. When springtime arrives I used whatever fruit is local & fresh in place of dried fruits. If you use fresh fruit just wash and chop and add to your granola just before serving with yogurt or milk.
  4. I serve this granola frequently and this is a fairly large batch.   You can easily cut this recipe in half by dividing all ingredients by 2.

 

 

Easy Irish Soda Bread Recipe

soda breadTis the season!  For Irish Soda Bread that is.    Not sure why I don’t make this more than I do.   Everyone seems to gobble it up when withI make it.   Maybe too much of a good thing comes into play.  Below is the recipe I’ve adapted from others I’ve experimented .   There’s no yeast in this bread so it’s quick to make.   It’s the bread flour in this recipe  that makes it cripy chewy so definitely splurge and use it in this recipe.

10 ounces White Whole Wheat Flour
5 1/4 ounces Unbleached Bread Flour
1 1/4 ounces granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ounces currants or raisins
1/2 stick very cold butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1 large egg

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, salt, and currants or raisins. Using pastry fork cut in the butter until it’s evenly distributed and no large chunks remain.

In a separate bowl whisk together the buttermilk and egg. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix to combine. The dough will be stiff; if it’s too crumbly to squeeze together, add another tablespoon or two of buttermilk.

Knead the dough a couple of times to make sure it’s holding together, then shape it into a ball. Flatten the ball slightly, and place the loaf in a lightly greased 8- or 9-inch round cake pan.  Remember there is no yeast in bread so it won’t spread much, so the pan doesn’t have to be large. Use a sharp knife to cut a 1/2-inch deep cross, extending all the way to the edges, atop the loaf.

Bake the bread in a preheated 400°F oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until it’s golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven, and brush the top with melted butter.

Hot Chocolate Recipe

The November chill is setting in and combined with the rain and grey skies I’m craving hot chocolate.  Some would say that any day is a good day for hot chocolate.   Our favorite cup of cocoa is easy to make and uses real good quality dark chocolate for a very rich flavor.

hot chocolate

1 cup of chopped bittersweet Callebaut chocolate

Heat 2 cups steamed whole milk in a heavy bottomed sauce pan.

Whisk in chocolate until it melts and is well blended into hot milk. Pour into cups, top with mini marshmallows, cinnamon or   your favorite liquor like Frangelico or Kahlua.

I think once you make a cup of hot chocolate using this recipe you may never go back to the packets again.    Enjoy and stay warm!

Mint & Green Tea Simple Syrup Recipe

mintThis is for the mint lovers out there.   Recent guests from San Diego Maureen and Carlton asked me to please post this recipe so here it is guys!

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.

Enjoy!

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

RhubarbCoffeeCakeYou know I love my rhubarb.  The only thing that I don’t like about it is that the growing season for rhubarb in Connecticut is too short.   I take advantage of the local harvest, including from my own garden, as much as I can.   A lot of our guests here at the Scranton Seahorse Inn have asked for this recipe – even from some that didn’t think they liked rhubarb.  The small chop on the rhubarb in this recipe doesn’t overwhelm but provides tasty tart bites.  The combination of the wheat and all purpose flour provide a nice nutty aroma and flavor.   I hope you enjoy this Rhubarb Coffee Cake recipe.
CAKE:
 1 pound finely chopped rhubarb
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 cup  sour cream
1/2 teaspoon orange extract or 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
STREUSEL:
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

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

hd-breakfast 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!

Ingredients

  • 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

  1. Whisk together all dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt Butter and cool slightly
  3. Whisk buttermilk into cooled butter and then whisk in the eggs and sour cream.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

An overnight stay, a cooking class, and dinner – all for 1 price!

Souper Sundays 

Spicy Red Pepper SoupThere 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 promises to myself: 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 overnight 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 & Spicy Red Pepper Bisque

See you at the inn!

 

 

 

Cooking Class – Pumpkin!

Pumpkin Our CSA from Bishops Orchard’s provided us with a bounty of local squash and pumpkin this season.   This leaves us no choice but to invite you into the Scranton Seahorse Inn kitchen to help cook up some of our favorite perfectly sweet fall flavors.   In this class we’ll start off by discussing the local varieties of squash and roasting techniques before we get started with a hands on class creating:

  • Pumpkin Ice Cream
  • Pumpkin Cheese Cake
  • Pumpkin Harvest Bread
  • Pumpkin Cannoli

Details:

  • Wednesday November 12th
  • 5:30 –  8:30 (approximately
  • Maximum 8 students
  • $50 class only or
  • $160 class & over night accommodations  (single occupancy, $210 – double)

Call me at 203.245.0550 today to reserve your spot.    See you at the inn!

 

 

Strawberry-Rhubard Crisp

Rhubarb CrispCrisp Topping

Preheat oven to 350F

  • 1 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugars, and salt.  Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour mixture.  Using a pastry blender (or two forks) chop and toss the butter until the butter is pea-sized and coated with flour.   Careful to chop the butter – not mash it.  add the walnuts and mix and chop until the nuts are part of the butter and  flour mixture.

Fruit Mixture

  • 2 pints fresh strawberries (washed, dried and quartered)
  • 2 1/2 pounds dark red rhubarb (washed, dried and chopped in 1/4 inch pieces)
  • 4 teaspoons flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large stainless bowl toss fruit with sugar, flour and salt.  Pack fruit mixture evenly into a 12x8x2 baking pan.    Spread the crisp topping evenly over the top of the fruit mixture taking care to not pack it down.

Back on center rack of  oven until the topping is browned and fruit it bubbling – about 45 minutes.     It’s ok to put it under broiler for the last 5 minutes to brown the topping further.    Let cool for 15 – 20 minutes before serving with whip cream or vanilla ice cream.