Monday, April 23, 2012

The Secret Behind Innkeepers' Great Breakfasts….

Part of why the food tastes so good at bed and breakfasts is because it looks so nice.  Most innkeepers know how to create wonderful food with fresh local ingredients.  They dress it up, serve it in a beautiful atmosphere….and voila - guests feel pampered!

Certainly garnishing plays an important role – as does an accessible herb garden.  But most innkeepers  I know have great stuff.  From beautiful linens to quirky serving dishes, B&Bs set a table that matches their excellence in the kitchen.

So….what do two innkeepers from Lancaster County do when they get a rare day off?  Well, go shopping for more stuff, of course.  That’s just what Lynne Griffin (of the Australian Walkabout) and I did.  I discovered Marlyand China years ago.  They used to sell only wholesale, but have now opened up their showroom and website so that you, too, can enjoy all that great china you find at The Artist's Inn.
This is the overstock room - a treasure trove of vases, dishes, cups and platters.

I don't often use them for breakfast, but I have the covered casseroles,

several of the pitchers, and the platters on the bottom shelf.
Although the showroom is small, we managed to fill several bags full of great "stuff". My friends are usually more organized than I am; Lynne's the one that marked the boxes so that we could get everything back to the right inn.
The folks at Marylnad China are very helpful trying to wedge fragile packages into a small car.

Whether you need platters for your muffins,

berry bowls for fresh fruit,

serving dishes for jam,

or a tea set for your Babymoon package, you can fine all that and more at one of my favorite "secret" shopping places, Maryland China.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Just in time for Easter – Cheesecake with Warm Spiced Plums

Last night we invited friends over for dinner.  I made an Indian dish that we love, Tikka Masala and, because it has a bit of a bite to it, I wanted a creamy but not-too-sweet dessert.  I decided on a cheesecake – and combined several recipes to come up with this one.  I hope you like it.  It would be a perfect ending to an Easter dinner……and you just might find it at our Easter celebration this weekend.

1 ¾ cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick melted butter

Combine dry ingredients, add butter, and press down in a 9-inch pie pan.
1 egg
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup sour cream
8 oz. cream cheese
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Put first four ingredients in blender and liquefy for 30 seconds.  With the blender running, slowly add cream cheese in chunks.  Stop now and then to scrape blender.  Add melted butter. 
Pour into crust and refrigerate for about an hour.

Bake at 325 for about 35 minutes.

Chill until set.

Warm Spiced Plums:
Just before serving, clean and slice four plums.  Sauté in a small pan with 3 tablespoons of sugar, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and ¼ cup water.  Stir until the plums are soft and the sugar makes a nice sauce.

Spoon over cheesecake.
Serves 8 – 10.