Thursday, August 26, 2010

My new best friend in the kitchen

Do you ever consider what the 'best' kitchen tool you own is? Yeah, me neither. However, after spending years (seriously, years) making a colossal butchery of brownies, I started asking around to find out how anyone cuts brownies without have cracked, chipped and otherwise nasty-looking edges on their brownies.

After all, I've been to bake sales with other moms' perfectly square brownies for sale and always wondered how they did that. Not enough back then to ask because I would never make brownies for a bake sale, we were a cupcake kind of family.

But, you know, presentation is sometimes 75% of how something tastes, so I figured I should master this 'square-edged brownie' phenomenon.

Voila! My new best friend in the kitchen arsenal:

Yes, dear reader- a plastic knife. Cuts through warm brownies like buttah. No more crumbly edges, no more cracked tops and chunks missing. PERFECTLY square brownies every time. Ahhh.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Peachy Upside Down Cake- September Recipe of the Month

If you've read up on the blog, you know this came about because guests skipped breakfast one day. This was pretty yummy. The cake part is a bit closer to 'shortcake' in consistency, so make adjustments as you like.


For the peach topping:

1/4 c butter
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
18 peach slices (fresh, canned, whatever you have)

For the cake:

1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/4 c flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 c milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

For the topping:

Melt the 1/4 cup of butter. Press the brown sugar into the bottom of an 8" square pyrex baking dish. Sprinkle the 1/4 tsp of nutmeg over the top. Pour the melted butter over the top, making sure you get all areas of the brown sugar covered (otherwise the peaches will stick). Lay the peach slices on top of the brown sugar in sets of two, 3 rows across, with a slight space between each set of 2 peaches. (makes it easier to cut into 9 servings).


For the cake:

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat in egg. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together and alternating with the milk, add to creamed butter & sugar. Beat well after each addition. The consistency will be thick.

cake batter

Spread batter over peaches in baking dish. Make sure you get it into all the corners.

Pop in oven for 45 minutes. (That's how long it took in my oven, you may want to start with 40 minutes in your oven.) Cake will be lightly browned on top and a toothpick carefully inserted will come out clean. (Don't poke the peaches when testing.)


Let sit for 5 minutes and then invert on the serving plate. (Do not invert on another surface to take pictures. You really can't MOVE the inverted cake without it falling apart. Lesson learned.) Let cool and gently cut into 9 pieces, cutting between every 2 slices of peaches and along the edges of the 3 rows. If the peaches stick to the baking dish, don't try to get them off until the cake is completely on the serving plate, then you can slide a spatula under the stuck ones and peel them off and replace them where they belong. (I learned a lot making this cake, can you tell?)

Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Saturday, August 21, 2010

When guests skip breakfast

OK, I know those of you who have delighted in our breakfasts are staring at your computer screens aghast- skip breakfast? What were they thinking? Sometimes it's not planned, guests just realize it's farther away to wherever they are going than they thought or their flight leaves really early so they don't have time to stop and dawdle over the fabulous fruity french toast or the Irish scrambled eggs (BTW, now known as 'Tuscan Scrambled Eggs' after they were pronounced 'a taste of home' by one of our Italian guests. Plus, 'Tuscan' makes you think of tomatoes and 'Irish' doesn't, so it really does work out better. Sorry Nana.)

Anyway, back to what happens when guests skip breakfast- we have a lot of fruit leftover. Generally, Rock has all the fruit courses made up by 6:30 AM so if anyone leaves after that we have extras. Today, we had 5 extra peach fruit plates leftover and this is what happened to them:

peach upside down cake
Yum-o! Peach upside down cake! I know most of you know that I am not the cook. I won't mention how old I am but this is the very first upside down cake I have ever made. I'll be tasting it once it has cooled. Hope it's worthy of the pretty photo it took!

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Crazy busy

You may have noticed the blogs are getting further apart as summer progresses. There is a really good reason for that...YOU!

I'll take just a moment here to thank all of our wonderful guests this summer who have made this the busiest summer we have ever had. I managed to update the website back in July (all new slideshows!) but I haven't sat down since. (OK, I'm sitting right now, but don't tell Rock.)

Rock has been working his magic in the kitchen every morning now since June 24. (June 23 was our last day with no guests in the house!) Looking forward, I think we might squeeze in a day off in September, just before the leaf-peeping season hits.

A hearty 'THANK YOU' to all of you who have visited us this summer, who have plans to visit us soon and even to those of you who are just thinking about making a trip to White Cedar Inn. We appreciate all of you very much!

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Grilled Eggplant- August Recipe of the Month

eggplant on the grill
So simple, even I can make this! And, eggplant is one of those healthy veggies. Vitamins K & B6, Folate, Thiamin, Potassium, Manganese & dietary fiber. And relatively low calories. (High in salt, tho.)

In trying to eat throughout the color wheel, nothing does purple like eggplant!

What you need to do this:

1 eggplant (medium size for 2)
olive oil
thyme (crushed or fresh)

Slice eggplant into thick chunks. Slicing on a diagonal gives you nicer looking slices with a long eggplant. A bulbous eggplant will give nice slices cut straight on. Mix the olive oil, salt, pepper & thyme together in a small bowl. Brush both cut sides of the eggplant with mixture. (No specific measurements, just what tastes good to you.)

Preheat grill. Pop those eggplant slices on the grill and cook until the 'white' flesh is soft, but not soggy. This doesn't take long, so if you are having meat, too, you'll want that to be almost done before you start the eggplant on the grill.

We had our eggplant with lamb chops from the Friday farmers market at LL Bean.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032