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Posts Tagged ‘Food at a Bed and Breakfast’

An Innkeeper’s Secrets: Easy Ways to Decorate Your Plate

August 22nd, 2014 by abedofroses

Chilled Raspberry Peaches

Chilled Raspberry Peaches

We really do “eat with our eyes first”. How a dish looks on the plate plays a large role in whether we decide to eat it or not and it also enhances the sensory experience tremendously. Even though I was an artist and illustrator before becoming an innkeeper, you don’t have to be an artist to make beautiful, appealing dishes than invite your guests to taste the food and savor each bite. A colorful garnish that looks special can be so easy to put together. Fresh ingredients are always key, but a few slices here and a twist there can make it look really special. Here are some easy tips on decorating the plate.

Remember three rules for creating an appealing plated dish:

  1. Color WheelTaste- when garnishing a plate the first consideration should be, will it taste good? Will the taste of the garnish go well with the rest of the meal? A good garnish is edible! Going to elaborate lengths to create a dramatic look is unnecessary and futile if the eater doesn’t want to consume it.
  2. Color- a plate needs contrast. If all the dishes are monochromatic you lose an opportunity to create interest. Contrasting colors in a garnish like a red tomato and green herbs or bell peppers work well. Complementary colors are at the opposite sides of a color wheel, like red and green or yellow and blue, but use common sense. Not all colors occur naturally in foods and you do want it to look edible! An organic edible flower may provide the right contrasting color too.
  3. Complementing tastes, colors and shapes make an inviting plate

    Complementing tastes, colors and shapes make an inviting plate

    Shape- Pleasing shapes can be created just by how the food is arranged. Fanning a sliced strawberry or avocado creates a harmonious shape. Arranging a few slices of plumb tomato in an arc does the same. Think in threes and curves instead of in straight lines.

For a sweet meal, like our orange stuffed French toast or Peaches with orange sauce in a puff pancake, a sliced orange with a small cut from the middle to the outer edge can be twisted to make a lovely nest for a sliced and splayed strawberry or an organically grown flower.  I love to use nasturnum. For the strawberry, wash and hold with the stem side down, then thinly slice without cutting to the stem- just enough that you can smoosh the strawberry to splay the slices.

Nest a splayed strawberry on a twisted orange slice

Nest a splayed strawberry on a twisted orange slice

For a savory meal, slice a tomato and decorate it with contrasting colored sliced peppers and a sprig of fresh curly parsley or a scored cucumber. Wash and cut the cucumber in half, then take a sharp tined fork and run it down the sides of the cucumber making shallow cuts at even intervals. Then thinly slice crosswise and place on top of the tomato slice. A bell pepper can be cut in half lengthwise, from stem to bottom, and then thinly sliced across. You can also create a bell pepper ring by cutting a circle around the stem, removing the center seeds and membrane and then slicing across. Arrange the slices by crossing them or the rings by layering them in threes like an Olympic seal.

If your main dish is a spicy southwestern or Mexican dish you can top your tomato with fresh cilantro. To garnish an Italian main dish, like our Italian Egg Cups with Proscuito de Parma, you can top your tomato with a fresh basil leaf or a Rosemary sprig. We always have plenty of fresh herbs growing in our “kitchen garden”. Parsley, chives, thyme, rosemary and mint are easy to grow and always look fresh and inviting on the plate.

Cilantro grilled chicken with rice pilaf decorated with avocado.

Cilantro grilled chicken with rice pilaf decorated with avocado and plumb tomatoes.

Avocado adds a creamy cooling taste to any spicy dish and is decorative as well. While working at a French Restaurant right out of college I learned how to thinly slice a peeled avocado and then gently push on it to splay the slices on the plate. All it really needs is a touch of salt and fresh ground pepper, but you can also slide slices of tomato between the slices or drizzle with a little balsamic glaze. Top it with a shaving of fresh Parmesan Regianno and it’s heavenly to taste and to look at.

Bon Appetit!

Innkeepers’ Secrets: Fresh Home-baked Cookies from Scratch in a Flash

June 21st, 2014 by abedofroses

Cookies for now and later too

Cookies for now and later too

Nothing beats warm cookies made from scratch the old fashioned way. But we’re all busy and sometimes it seems like too much trouble for just a few cookies. Innkeepers need to have fresh baked cookies available every day whether they have two guests or 14 guests and we can’t get away with anything but the best homemade recipes. Guests expect variety too! You can’t put out the same cookies all week. The way we do it is to make large batches, bake only the number of cookies we need and quick-freeze the extra dough in individual cookie portions.

Place the dough in a glass baking dish

Place the dough in a glass baking dish

The next time you need cookies you take only the number you need out of the freezer, let them defrost on the cookie sheet for a few minutes and bake. Instant cookies that taste just a delicious as they did the day you mixed up the dough!

A one-tablespoon ice cream style scooper is an invaluable tool for this job. Once you’ve scooped and placed the dough you’re baking today onto cookie sheets, scoop the rest of the dough into large glass baking dishes, just far enough apart that they don’t touch each other.

Pop the frozen cooked into a zip lock bag

Pop the frozen cooked into a zip lock bag

Put in the freezer for 30 minutes. Take them out of the freezer and with a little twist of the wrist you can take each cookie off of the baking dish and throw them into a large zip lock freezer bag. Return to the freezer until the next time you crave that home-baked goodness. We keep several different kinds of cookie in the freezer so we can change them every day or mix and match, so be sure to label the bags. Easy!

First Time at a Bed and Breakfast? What Can I Expect at Breakfast-time?

April 21st, 2011 by abedofroses

Spring Breakfast Tarte

Asparagus Tarte- Tell us if you don't like asparagus!

As promised in our April 10th blog, First Time at a Bed and Breakfast?, here is the Breakfast Edition!

A B&B is not a hotel and it is also NOT a restaurant. We think that’s a very good thing. At a bed and breakfast the morning meal is the main event! We pride ourselves on providing a gourmet start to your day. Every B&B is different in how they approach breakfast so don’t be afraid to ask your innkeeper what they provide. Most provide a full meal rather than a continental breakfast. Some serve buffet style where you come down during a certain time range and help yourself. Some serve family style at a set time with one table and plates are passed around. Others, like A Bed of Roses, provide a plated, multi-course breakfast served to you at the table at a set time. Depending upon the size of the inn and their staffing, there may be multiple “seatings” or a single set time for breakfast. We prefer a single seating at 9AM so that all the guests eat together and we can give them our full attention. Some inns have several small tables that feel more restaurant style and provide you with privacy at breakfast. Most will seat all the guests together at one large table like we do here. For us, at A Bed of Roses, that’s where the magic happens! People of all different ages come from all over the country with all different backgrounds and they sit down at the breakfast table together and it just comes alive with conversation and laughter. Watching the breakfast table is definitely our favorite part of being innkeepers!

“But what if I have plans and can’t eat at the set time?” Check with your innkeeper about what they are able to provide. Some may be willing to provide you with an earlier continental breakfast or may be able to give you coffee and a muffin “to go”. You will most certainly see on the website when breakfast is served so you can plan accordingly. As a point of etiquette, please do tell your innkeeper as far in advance as possible if you will not be joining them for breakfast. They plan their meals well in advance, shopping for what they need for a certain number of people and may even start preparing your meal the day before.

What about the food? What can you expect, if it’s not a restaurant? You can almost always count on a wonderful breakfast. That’s what we’re known for! Some B&Bs do give you a choice of breakfast entrée, but most are not equipped to cook individual meals for each guest. We try to vary our menus to appeal to most people, but communication is the key! On most websites, when you make your reservation they will ask you if you have any food allergies or special needs. This is very important information for the innkeeper to have when planning the week’s menus! Most inns are glad to prepare food that complies with special diets. Don’t be afraid to put down things you just don’t care for either. You don’t have to have a medical condition for your innkeeper to prepare a breakfast you will be able to enjoy! We are here to give you a memorable culinary experience and will be more than glad to plan our menus around your likes and dislikes. Again, planning is the key and it can be tricky planning a menu around multiple food allergies or preferences, so please let us know as early as possible if you have a special food preference or need. The night before is probably not going to be early enough for your innkeeper to accommodate your special diet.

What will the amenities be like at a Bed and Breakfast? Stay tuned for the Amenities Edition!

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