Thursday, April 28, 2011

Inn at Long Lake-Voted #1!!

Greetings from Western Maine, Blog Friends!

A recent reader survey for the Lake Region Weekly has granted us the title of Number One as Best Hotel/Motel in the Sebago Lake region of Maine!! Gail relayed the news to me via e-mail while on a recent vacation to beautiful Montreal. I am humbled and thrilled at any type of accolade like this one!

Today marks my 3rd year of ownership of Inn at Long Lake, by the way! Weathering this economy has been challenging, for sure, but I am still inspired and happy doing the work of Innkeeping and running an inn.

I hope for today to be a relaxing day (quietly raining here in Maine as I write).

That's all for today! Hoping all my readers are happy and well.

Keith A. Neubert


Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Essence of American Living...

Greetings, Blog Friends.

As an Innkeeper, guests often ask me which room at Inn at Long Lake is my favorite. I have a preference for more masculine rooms at the inn, such as The GLENN MILLER SUITE and The GABLE ROOM for my own personal tastes decor-wise, other rooms, inspired by icons of Classic Hollywood and American music, all hold a special place in my heart.

In 2007, one year after ownership, I re-named all the guest rooms at the inn and started the never-ending decor design based on the icons I selected. My last room named was a room that I named in was The COPLAND ROOM on Floor 2. With other rooms named after larger than life icons like Mae West, Duke Ellington, and Louis Armstrong, who might actually be familiar with the brilliant American composer, Aaron Copland?

Tonight, as I tooled around online I encountered an amazing quote about Aaron Copland and his music: It read:

"Copland is a reminder of what is pure, wonderful, eternal, and majestic--about this American life. If only my life could be a fraction of this goodness embedded in this beautiful piece of music..."

I feel exactly the way this reviewer feels. I create my inn business, my life, and my home cooking around this credo---that simplicity has its own purity, and that the expression of this reminds us of simpler days--much like the movie that Aaron Copland scored for his friend, Thornton Wilder--"Our Town." Music is a part of the experience of Inn at Long Lake, and this said, I endeavor to open each day at the inn with the playing of this 11 minute 'eternal' music depicting life in a honorable New England town (in the play Wilder suggested Peterborough, New Hampshire as its setting).

Grovers Corners doesn't really exist. It exists in only one place---our hearts. It is about each day starting, making coffee for our spouses, sending kids off to school, discovering love, dealing with the inescapable experience of death. Many of these are the threads of simplicity that comprise our daily lives. Small touches of afternoon cookies (that I adore making each day in the inn kitchen) still brings a smile to guests' faces. Has simplicity become its own marketing niche?!

Whatever the answer, I adore what I do every day--as Innkeeping is all about simple touches.

I remember this each time I step into The Copland Room, with its Americana feel. I look down onto Long Lake and see this New England town--and its lake-- at any given moment of the day live through its day. Copland has set the music to this so eloquently. I hope you will have a chance to explore his music.

That's all on this cool Spring night overlooking the dark waters of Long Lake.

Keith A. Neubert

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Different Type of Brownie...

Hi, Blog Friends.

Everyone likes a little sweet treat after school (or a treat after a long day of work--now that we are all "grown up."). Try a different type of Brownie called a "Bamboozler."

I made a batch of Bamboozlers recently (an 8"x8"-inch pan). I found the recipe in a cookbook called "Best-Loved Chocolate Recipes" by Barnes and Noble Books (although some of the recipes contained therein I have seen on packages and labels from chocolate purveyors.)

Much like a brownie, which are best only slightly warm (but set up), Bamboozlers have cocoa powder, an egg and two egg whites (which make them lighter and less dense), a 1/4 cup of honey (only a small amount of brown sugar as additional sweetener), and can be topped with your whim-expressed toppings (peanuts, chocolate bits, mini marshmallows, etc). Frosting them thinly with a unique icing (ganache or buttercream style) would be interesting as well!

My guests at the inn that afternoon enjoyed these bars. Hope you can soon.

Back to the Spring yard clean-up and painting! Thanks for stopping by the Inn at Long Lake blog.

Keith A. Neubert


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Feel "Royal" with "Chicken Imperial"

(Pictured above: Home Cooks will not let the regal Chicken Imperial pass them by! Here it is accompanied with our Inn at Long Lake Cranberry Chutney and some simple sauteed Buttered Green Beans. A perfect meal any night of the week--and SO easy!"

Greetings from a chilly, raw rainy day in Western Maine, Blog Friends.

My last post was a short article about a winner of a certificate I donated to the local Chamber of Commerce. Even before I knew the guest was a press writer, I thought of you blog readers and took a picture of the main course I served that early evening.

We all know there exist many ways to prepare chicken. Without listing them to prove the point (haha), I have been curious about one way for some time---Chicken Imperial!

Chicken Imperial can be made so many ways with simple ingredients from your pantry. It made be made as a casserole (with or without rice or pasta) or served as an elegant whole breast (bone-out). I did a combination of all of them for my guests.

Simply (and you may find recipes on the internet): Dice (or slice) chicken breast meat. Season with S&P and saute in hot olive oil, turning with tongs. When 3/4 cooked, transfer to a paper-lined plate. Turn down heat in the same skillet, melt butter and add flour to make a roux (the butter melting will bring up the tasty browned chicken bits!). Next introduce part chicken stock and part warmed milk in stages (to prevent clumps). Bring to simmer, adding a few tablespoons of mayonnaise, pinch of nutmeg, a couple of teaspoons of fresh lemon juice, a little Worcestershire sauce, a small "blop" (real scientific, huh) of Dijon mustard, and S&P.

When sauce has simmered for 3 minutes, return to warm skillet, add chicken, and heat through (make only enough sauce to coat liberally--it is not chicken chowder!).

At this point, add to a pre-sprayed casserole dish and top with buttered fresh bread crumbs (it is nice to toss strained garlic butter, without the garlic bits, to the crumbs with some paprika, and S&P. Garlic may burn in the crumbs as it is on top of the casserole!) Bake, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes.

Eat in the casserole or spatula-shingle the chicken and crumbs gently over rice or orzo pasta.

Chicken Imperial is one chicken dish that I won't let fade away from obscurity. Try this recipe and you'll be agreeing after the first bite!

Thanks for stopping by the Inn at Long Lake blog today. Spring is closer than we might think!

Keith A. Neubert