Sunday, July 27, 2008

Guests at the inn...

What a great week at the inn. Early in the week made the acquaintance of Tony and Shirley D. from Augusta, Georgia area (and blog readers to boot!). They are caterers so talking about food on the front porch was interesting and fun. I gave them some suggestions on how to package their catered offerings to prospective clients. Always glad to help. They were such nice guests--a good book on the inn's front porch was their way of relaxing.
Also had a few nice conversations with Nancy B. from Elkins Park, PA. This lady, I discovered, continues to design residential kitchens into her Golden Years. What a great Lady and businessperson. She was with her husband, Ted--taking a break from some big designs projects back at home.
We talked in depth about customers--her sage advice being: always be honest with them, price your service or product with value (but factoring in your own experience, too), and to keep the lines of communication open.
As an innkeeper, it amazes me who reads the blog or how they select Inn at Long Lake as their "home away from home." I'd like to believe that people will always gravitate to a "business with heart."
Oh, and the BEST compliment of last week when a guest checked in: "Wow! Those cookies remind me of my Grandmother's house!" (I think they are getting what I am doing *smile*). Speaking of cookies, time to put mine out for my guests.
Stay cool all!

Your Maine Innkeeper,

Friday, July 18, 2008

"Notes for the Home Cook" Chef's Tip of the Week

Greetings, Blog Readers!
So sorry I didn't post my Wednesday Tip of the Week. Peak season in Maine, you know...alas, the life of an innkeeper!
This week as I prepared new recipes and stand-bys from my inn chef past, I realized how important it is to WRITE on your recipes. Why, you might ask? Well, recipes can be off sometimes in their yield amounts and (I'll say it again...) YOUR personalized touches need to be jotted down on the actual recipe. Did the recipe work better with tomatoes, rather than red bell pepper? Does it take a longer cooking time than it claims?? Etc.
If a recipe is a "dog", write "not good" on it--saves you the time of doing it again. If it is a "keeper," write "Yum" on it. I LOVE the old cookbooks one finds at flea markets---pages dirtied with smudges, where someone has taken the time to inscribed "good" on it. Does your family have one of those?? Was your Grandma's cookbook the beginning of some of your family's current food favorites??
Work with your cookbooks--they are blueprints, and history, and loads of fun.
Happy cooking to all during these warm summer days. Until next time...

Your Maine Innkeeper
Inn at Long Lake
Naples, Maine

Monday, July 14, 2008

Labor Day Weekend Package

Calling all Vamps and Crooners!! Join me, my special guest pianist/musical director Charles Grindle, and other inn guests for an evening around the inn piano. Cool cocktails and classic tunes from America's Great Song Book. Brush up on your Gershwin, Berlin, and Cole Porter favorites---sing out strong, hum, or tap your feet. Great songs like these are no longer written.
A unique way to sing out the Summer of 2008 in grand style!
Call the inn for availability or reserve online (Mr. Grindle performs on Saturday evening only).A great gift for everyone!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

"Turning Up the Heat" Chef's Tip of the Week

Wow--it's been warm here in the Lakes and Mountains! Guests came back from their day trips to enjoy the drink of the week--Adult Mocha Milkshakes (with tall straws and whipped cream!) These chilly shakes helped cool things down.

This week (talking about heat) I bring to you another easy tip when using onions or shallots. Caramelizing them adds great flavor to quiches, pasta dishes, sauces, and so many foods. I can tell you the extra time is well worth it.

To caramelize onions, preheat a saute pan to medium-high heat & add diced or sliced onions tossed uniformly in olive/vegetable oil. As the water evaporates during the cooking, the color and sugars in the onions intensify (ever taste grilled onions in a Philly Steak sub??! YUM!). Once the onions turn tan colored, reduce the heat to low and stir occasionally. Do not walk away or they will burn (Murphy's Law)--you might learn that mistake at least once...never beat yourself up when you're learning ;-). 15 minutes for the entire process, Blog Readers--that's all it takes.

Try these in your favorite barbecue sauce and then on your summer burgers. Again, Yummy.

Turn up the heat on onions--caramelize, intensify, and enjoy!

Your Innkeeper in Naples, Maine

PS: Did anyone collect any family recipes from their Fourth of July cookouts??!! ;-)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

"Flavors of your Family..." Chef's Tip of the Week

Hi, Blog Readers.
This week I don't have a particular cooking tip or method for you. Instead...

While the Summer months bring warmer weather and we travel to our friends and families for outside gatherings, why not consider getting a few good family recipes over your burger-steak-hotdog conversations and festivities?
Recipes that pass down through family generations are such blessings. While my joy and focus in cooking at the inn is on re-introducing American homecooking from the 1920's forward, my favorite recipes are ones in which I remember my Granny, or my Mom, or a family Thanksgiving. Beyond their taste, they bring a warmness to our hearts. My Mom's secret Pistachio Coffee Cake is always an inn favorite!! Thanks, Mom!

Compiling Aunt Tilly's Famous Potato Salad recipe, and Uncle Warren's great Steak Marinade (why are there so many recycled bottles in his bin?) needs to be written down and passed on...or potentially forgotten forever. Get them to e-mail you their recipe within a few days and let them know it is a treasure to your entire family.

To those avid writers and cooks reading this blog, these recipe books make a wonderful Holiday or Wedding Gift. Office supply stores help bind these family cookbooks beautifully! Craft stores have great resources for their artistic design. (Even 15 GREAT family recipes are worth their weight in gold!). It will be a rewarding experience, I assure you.

Hope this inspires you. Oh, and be sure to put a few of YOUR great recipes in the family recipe card book, too!!

Happy July to all! From the front desk of Inn at Long Lake...
Your Innkeeper,