The big, fat zucchini

August 27, 2010

Nancy called out from our front door, “Helloooo,” to see if we were home. When we answered her, she headed back out to her car to get a grocery bag full of goodies, then headed back up the sidewalk with her present: a bag of fresh squash. She apologetically explained the big, fat squash in the bag; it was for zucchini bread. So that was exactly what I did with it yesterday afternoon.

The squash was so enormous that I only used half of it to do a double batch of zucchini bread. I tried to give the remaining section of the green monster to Mary Jane, next door, since she also likes to make zucchini bread, but she had plenty, so it’s in my fridge for another double batch.

Mary Jane makes a super-yummy dessert bread, but the recipe that I have is a true vegetable bread with onion and parmesan cheese, and it was my recipe that I was eager to use, since I hadn’t made it yet this season.

Ummm…I’m a batter-taster, (and no, I haven’t died yet from eating raw eggs mixed in dough, but I also haven’t served breads in this uncooked form to any guests, so a big sigh of relief can be breathed at this point) and the squash mixture was exactly as I’d remembered it–light, almost fluffy in texture with a delightful hint of onion subtly blending with the parmesan–and so I had to have several tastes. Just to be sure. You know how that goes. Or maybe you don’t. But no matter. If you’re curious about the bread or if you are a closet taster who wants to have this same experience, just follow the directions below:

Tea Time Zucchini Bread

1 1/2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini
3 cups flour
5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 T sugar
4 T grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup yogurt or milk
6 T butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 T grated onion

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 2 8 x 4 ” pans.

Mix all ingredients together. Bake 45 min’s or till done.

Best served warm, but our guests seemed to like it just as well not so warm, which was what it was since their arrival was a little later then they’d planned. In fact, they liked it so much that she wanted the recipe. I promised her a blog post, so Annie*, here you go! Now you can make it at home!

*Name changed

“Peach ice cream to die for”

August 22, 2010

I bought some beautiful peaches at the Farmer’s Market this morning! They’ll be sliced and on the breakfast table for tomorrow morning — yum!

And speaking of peaches, David and I passed the sign in Riverheart Cafe window today advertising their homemade peach ice cream, and David said, “Ummm, we should get some of that.” I agreed, because it was just this morning that our neighbor, (and assistant innkeeper), Nancy, told me that the Riverheart peach ice cream was “to die for.” Soooo, guess it won’t be too long till we go and try some for ourselves!

And speaking of trying some of that ourselves, doesn’t that sound like a good idea for you, too?

Paula Deen’s Tomato Dill Soup

August 15, 2010

3 cups peeled and diced fresh tomatoes (or one 28-ounce can)
1 med onion, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/3 to 1/2 cup white wine
1 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning
3 T chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup heavy cream (I’m going to go lighter with this)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, mix all ingredients together except cream, parsley, Parmesan, and salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat about 30 minutes, until tomatoes are tender. Add cream, parsley, and Parmesan cheese last. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

From The Lady & Sons, p 26 (see previous post).

Soup and such

August 15, 2010

I had some tomatoes rotting on the counter and hadn’t even noticed. Hmm…that doesn’t sound very good for a B&B, huh? But there was no odor (and I have a very good sense of smell!), so I missed the problem this morning before we left. I noticed the whitish liquid (gross) under one of the tomatoes, though, as soon as I got back, so I started cutting out the bad spots, then saving the rest to use them as needed…..

…..which is turning out to be this way: making “Tomato Dill Soup” from Paula Deen’s The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook (p. 26). (Recipe in separate post).

…..And that made me think of other soup. It’s really too early to think a lot about soup (unless it’s a cold one); it’s simply NOT soup weather yet. But that didn’t stop me from thinking about it anyway, and how I used to throw whatever was left in the fridge into a pot of chicken stock on my winter soup days. (You know the ones: it’s gray, cold and maybe even snowing — sort of like today because it’s raining and it’s a nice gently falling rain, which is exactly how snow falls, so maybe that’s what got the soup thoughts going.)

And then I started thinking about how I also used to throw extra stuff into my homemade pancakes when the girls were little. They were always good breakfast eaters, so I figured I’d get as much nutrition into them early in the day since they might not eat that much later. And the pancakes never were served with syrup, so they really were pretty nutritious. And the soups are, too. The Tomato Dill Soup recipe that I found is a fun, fresh tomato option, and it should also be healthy. Yum…

And then the thoughts of the soup and the pancakes and how one thing leads to another all made me think of the story I read last night, “The Student,” by Chekov, and how things hold together in relationship, even when we’re not aware of it all the time….you know, how one thing relates to another when it’s a seemingly random thing, like soup, pancakes and wholeness and joy….

“The old woman had wept, not because he could tell the story touchingly, but [because of the story itself, and how something in it had connected with something in the woman’s life, and how when those 2 things connected, there was an instant sense of completeness and meaning.]….And joy suddenly stirred in his soul,…’The past,’ he thought, ‘is linked with the present by an unbroken chain of events flowing one out of another.’ And it seemed to him that he had just seen both ends of that chain; that when he touched one end the other quivered. …and the inexpressible sweet expectation of happiness, of unknown mysterious happiness, took possession of him little by little, and life seemed to him enchanting, marvellous, and full of lofty meaning.”

I think I got what Chekov meant. And it was soup and pancakes and such that got the thoughts going.

Openings at Simply Bed & Bread: NOW!!

August 14, 2010

Need to expend some end-of-the-summer energy in the next few days? Maybe you’re a teacher and you’ve only got a few days left before it’s time to get back to the school year schedule but you’re still wishing you could just hop into your car and…..

….maybe take a couple of long bike rides….Chestertown is in-between Rock Hall and Galena and is the perfect spot for biking to each of those towns….

OR

….take a couple of day-long canoe rides, wandering and winding across a water “trail,” watching for herons and egrets and who-knows-what-else?

Take advantage of our Before-The-New-School-Year Specials: Call for details!! (But be sitting down b/c they could sound too good to be true!)

Oh, and you’re wondering what is behind that garage door??? It’s a tandem bicycle for the daring…Come and try it out!

We’d love to welcome you back to Simply Bed & Bread each evening where it’s quiet, cool and still — before the New Year Crazy Crunch begins!

Home School Happenin’! A Back-to-School Deal!

August 14, 2010

Homeschool parents: Ever thought about a different sort of a New School Year Kick-off?

How about a night or two with your homeschooler…..away from your environment….

….. just as a way to say, “This is gonna be a great year: let’s have a brainstorming get-away…..
….. where we come up with a bunch of brainstorming babble….
….. that leads to a bazillion bright ideas for a great new year?

Bring your homeschooler to Simply Bed & Bread and we’ll give you a wonderful weekday welcome!

Mon, Aug 23 – Wed, Aug 24 OR Mon, Aug 30 – Wed, Sept 1: Open dates for availability!

Both nights (Aug 23 – 24) both rooms — $ 150
Both nights (Aug 30 – Sept 1) both rooms — $ 150

A guest review….

August 8, 2010

I was at Wind in The Willows at The Prince Theatre last night when David was sitting in the living room with our two guests. So I missed his question to them, requesting that they do a Tripadvisor Review, but I came in shortly after.

Jeri* (*name changed) had told me on the phone, at the time of her booking, that she was a “great guest.” She’d explained to me that what she meant was that she always made her bed, and generally studied the ways her hosts did things so that she could make things a little easier for them. I laughed and said she didn’t have to do that, but she assured me that she would because it was just what she did! So I laughed, said, “Great!” and “I can’t wait to meet you!”

So after I came in the door after the show at The Prince, right after David’s question, she kiddingly said that since she was such a Great Guest, she should have a “TripGuest Review!” So I promised her I’d blog one!

So Jeri, here it is!

She was driving her dapper dad (he was 91; she was 55) into town for a couple of days, and I saw them when she pulled up to the curb in front of our house. “Ah,” I thought: “Jeri and Mr. Bell.” The Terrific Guest and her father had arrived.

I saw her attentiveness to her dad, the way she watched him with his bag, and the patient respect in her eyes as her gaze traveled with him up our sidewalk. I had already known that I would like her, but this was icing on the cake. Yep, she would be One Terrific Guest.

Jeri and I clicked immediately, as I did with her father, a genuine gentleman in his summer suit and matching shoes. (In appearance, he was a masculine version of my Aunt Bernice who wore her nylon stockings and skirts every day of her life.) Each extended an open, friendly, warm hand to me, and I did the same. We talked easily and were quickly chatting like old friends.

They were full of stories. Laughing and listening, we heard quite a few, but one of the best images was of Jeri’s mom and her sister as Purdue coeds in the 30’s. They’d “invented” air conditioning. Lying strip, stark naked — the pair of them — on the floor in front of their refrigerator with the door open with just 3 wet washcloths straegically placed on their heat-stressed bodies, they fanned away the heat and enjoyed the cool “AC” air. It was a favorite story of their’s, and we laughed along with them, enjoying that piece of their family history with them.

Jeri was true to her word: At the breakfast table, she said, “Mom, I made my bed,” and of course, she had.

She’d told me that they were very comfortable at our house, and that she felt like a kid who was coming in and out of her house, like she’d come home. I said, “Cool. That’s what we’re going for here.”

Later that day, she had called me to ask if she could use my kitchen in order to have Downey’s chicken and mashed potatoes in the dining room. (She, her dad, and her family have been coming back and forth to Chestertown for 50 years, so the chicken from Downey’s has been a favorite of Jeri’s for most of her life. She’d heard the news that Downey’s was closing, so she wanted to be sure to get that chicken one more time.) She said, “I’ll wash everything and put it all back exactly as I found it, and you won’t have to do a thing.” Of course. That’s what Great Guests do. And so she did.

Jeri’s TripGuest Review Rating? A 5 out of 5. Oh yeah, I’d have her and her sweetie pie papa again. I highly recommend this TripGuest guest (and the other guest, too.)

Farmer’s Market Goodies

August 5, 2010

It took a while for “Wednesday Afternoon” to be synonymous with “Farmer’s Market,” but I think I’ve got it now.

At 1 PM on Wednesdays, there are a couple of vendors in Fountain Park–way fewer than on Saturdays, but 2 or 3, nonetheless, and it’s just enough….at least, if you need to pick up a veggie or 2 or a few pieces of fruit….which is what I did yesterday, since we had a guest coming in and I wanted to have fresh produce.

I bought a pint of blueberries–they’re so nice to “sprinkle” through the fresh, sliced peaches in the mornings; a zuchinni, 2 ears of corn and a quart of peaches.

I had omelets on the brain. No, not for the fruit; but for the corn and squash. Since it’s summer and corn and squash are so yummy–especially if you put in some onion–I figured a “Summer Omelet” served for today’s breakfast might be just the thing…

…And so it was, at least, according to Chad* (*name changed), which was a very cool thing for me, since Chad was a self-professed foodie! Woo hoo! Some things work! (Some don’t, but if you top it off with an Amelia Bedelia sort of ending, it just might. And as my mother used to say, “20 years from now they won’t know the difference!”) But today was a score. And that’s always a nice thing (when those goodies turn out goooood).

A Little Present

August 2, 2010

A special gift

We had guests, so I didn’t think about taking the picture until after the flowers had started to fade.  But since I thought they still looked lovely, I took the picture anyway.  They had been the perfect touch for that tiny spot in the dining room, and since they were a gift from the young neighbor boy around the corner, that made them prettier still.  So here they are.  Some of the best presents in the world, I’m sure, must come from little ones, don’t you think?

Location, Location, Location.

You might notice the WAC Administration Building cupola out of the corner of your eye as you walk onto Simply Bed & Bread's brick path, since our house is just a stone's throw away from the college. Or it might be the ...
Continue reading »