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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Good Morning Muffins

I like to serve a really delicious but healthy breakfast to guests who are staying at our Sandwich bed and breakfast. I am always experimenting with recipes that I have found online or in magazines in an effort to have food that is low in fat and sugar without sacrificing flavor and texture. More often than not I wind up developing my own recipes in order to meet these requirements.

I wanted a muffin recipe that was low in sugar and healthy. I have tried a lot of muffin recipes that I found online or in magazines and didn’t really find anything that suited my needs. After experimenting with whole grain flours, with fruits to add for sweetness, and the right combination of spices, I finally had a muffin that worked for me. There are a lot of ingredients in these muffins and it takes some time to make them, but I think they are well worth the effort. I make these muffing the evening before I want to serve them because they really need to set in an enclosed container for a few hours to reach their peak sweetness. They are just not as good right out of the oven as they are after a few hours.

Good Morning Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour       
1 cup oar bran               
¼ cup Splenda               
1 tablespoon baking powder       
2 teaspoons baking soda       
½ teaspoon salt           
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spices   
1 teaspoon cinnamon           
1 can  pumpkin                   
2 eggs, slight beaten           
¼ cup canola oil       
½ cup orange juice           
1 apple, pealed and chopped       
½  cup chopped walnuts
 ½ cup raisins       
½ cup dried cranberries
 2 tablespoons honey               

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, Splenda, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. In a smaller bowl, combine the canned pumpkin, the canola oil, and the eggs. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Fold in apple, raisins, cranberries, nuts and honey. Spray muffin tin with Pam. Fill tin and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The muffins are done when you can insert a toothpick and it comes out dry. Place muffins on cooling rack. When they are just warm to the touch, place in an air tight container with half an apple, quartered. Close container and let sit overnight. Serve warmed or at room temperature.

These muffins are so hearty and delicious. They are very dense and will keep in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. They really do get better each day. Putting the apple into the container with them will keep them moist. I rub the apple with a slice of lemon to keep it from turning brown but it isn’t really necessary.

Note: If you want to leave the Splenda out, these muffins will still be delicious. You can also substitute the Splenda for Stevia or Agave Nectar.

 Jan Preus, Innkeeper, Chef, and Artist in Residence at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod, MA

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Italian Fritata

I love making frittatas for breakfast because they are easy to make and very versatile. I enjoy making this Italian frittata for guests at our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast because it is not only healthy and delicious, it is colorful and beautiful when it is served.

A frittata is really just a flat omelet that is baked in the oven. Some people start them on the top of the stove in a large skillet and then finish them off in the oven. I prefer to put all the ingredients into a baking dish and bake it in the oven. That just seems to work better for me when I am making breakfast for any number of people. I do prepare two smaller dishes rather than one larger one because they bake in less time and I am sure of having them bake all the way through.

This recipe serves 4. You can use many types of vegetables in the frittata, you just need to make sure they don’t release too much liquid. Roasted vegetables are wonderful in this. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cooking time varies depending on the size of the frittata. You want it to cook through so that the eggs are set and do not ooze or jiggle.

4 shallots peeled and sliced into thin slices,
1 cup baby bella (brown) mushrooms, sliced,
4 small tomatoes ( I use Campari or Roma tomatoes) sliced and seeded,
1 cup fresh Spinach loosely packed,
4 to 6 large fresh basil leaves, torn,
6 to 8 eggs, depending on the size of the eggs,
Lemon pepper (I use Trader Joe’s blend) to taste ( about ½ teaspoon),
Sea salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon),
¼ to ½ cup cheese,
1 Tbls. Olive Oil,
1 Tbls. cold water,

Slice the tomatoes, remove the seeds, and drain on paper towels. This can be done ahead. In a small skillet at medium temperature heat olive oil. Add shallots and cook until translucent. Add cold water to caramelize. When done,  remove from skillet and set aside to cool. Use the same warm skillet to cook mushrooms just until they release their juices. Remove from skillet and set aside to cool.

Spray a baking dish with cooking spray (I use canola oil or olive oil spray). Layer the shallots, mushrooms, spinach, basil leaves, and tomatoes. Sprinkle the cheese over the layered vegetables. (You may do 2 layers like this if you would like a thicker frittata.) Beat eggs with sea salt and lemon pepper and pour evenly over vegetables. (Vegetables may not be completely covered.) Bake until set. Take out of oven and let set for about 5 minutes before serving. It is ok if it sets longer as this is also good at room temperature. Cut into portions and serve.

We serve this frittata with turkey sausage or bacon and either potato gratin or mini-muffins….Enjoy!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Recipe For Cool Summer Melon

On a warm summer morning, what is more refreshing than chilled, fresh melon? Weather permitting we like to serve breakfast al fresco. At our Sandwich Bed and Breakfast, we have a lovely patio with umbrella-covered tables where guests enjoy sitting outdoors to dine in full view of goldfinches having their early morning thistle seeds, the dish-plate sized hibiscus blossoms in full bloom, and the blue hydrangeas that are so prevalent on Cape Cod.

I like using a variety of melons in this fruit dish. Most grocery stores carry cantaloupe, watermelon, Crenshaw, and honeydew melons.  In some areas of the country, you may find other seasonal varieties.  The more different colors you use, the more colorful this dish will be. I use a melon-baller to cut perfect small melon balls. Most melon-ballers come with two different sized balling tools. I like to use the smaller one but the larger will work just as well. I then toss the melon balls with a little bit of honey. I think the honey really brings out the taste of the melon.

I serve the melon balls in crystal compote with a topping of plain Greek yogurt whipped with a little bit of lemon curd and with a dollop of lemon curd on top. I use 2% Fage (pronounced Fa-yeh) as I find fat free yogurt to be a little bit chalky tasting. I also prefer sweetening yogurt myself so that I know what is in it. I also use Trader Joe’s Lemon Curd. It is really beautiful. I chill it before using it.

Melon Balls with Greek Yogurt and Lemon Curd
4 Servings
½ Small Cantaloupe
½ Honeydew Melon
1 small slice seedless watermelon
A drizzle of honey
1 cup Greek yogurt
3 to 4 tablespoons lemon curd
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Ball the melons using the small end of the melon-baller. Drizzle with a little bit of honey and toss together. Whip the lemon curd and lemon zest into the Greek yogurt and store in the fridge until you are ready to use it. Place the melon balls into a fruit compote or bowl and top with the yogurt. Put a dollop of lemon curd on the top.

Option: You can sprinkle with blueberries or cranberries for more color. The yogurt and lemon curd topping also works really well with berries.

If you have lots of people coming for breakfast, brunch, or are using this as dessert with dinner, you can cut the melon balls the night before and mix the topping and just store it in the fridge until you are ready to use it. You family and friends will love melon served this way.  Enjoy!

Jan Preus, Innkeeper, Chef, and Artist in Residence at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod, MA

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cape Cod Bananas

Breakfast at our Sandwich Bed and Breakfast always includes fresh fruit served in crystal compote. I enjoy experimenting with different ways to serve fresh fruit. Summer is really wonderful because of all the seasonal fruits that are available. Fall offers an abundance of fresh apples. Winter is a bit more challenging but, with today’s growing technology, quite a variety of fruit is always available.

I like including cranberries in fruit dishes because they are grown in bogs on Cape Cod. They are the ingredient for which this dish is named. Sometimes when guests remark that they didn’t know bananas grew on Cape Cod, Charlie jokingly tells them that we grow the bananas in the back yard.

The cranberries I like to use in this dish I get at Trader Joe's. They are orange flavored cranberries and I think they add another layer of flavor to this delicious dish. However, you can use any kind of dried cranberry.

For the topping, I use low-fat Daisy sour cream, but any kind will do. It is best to use one with a small amount of fat as the fat-free is a bit chalky tasting. I have also tried to use yogurt instead. Regular yogurt does not hold up to having honey whipped into it as well as Greek yogurt does. Again, use low-fat instead of fat-free. You can also use half sour cream and half Greek yogurt. That works quiet well. After you have made this dish a few times, you will be able to judge just how much honey and orange juice you like in the topping.

This is a wonderful, healthy dish that can stand alone for breakfast, lunch, or a snack. I use small servings of it for breakfast at the Inn because we follow Cape Cod Bananas with an egg dish.


½ cup low-fat sour cream,
2 Tbls. honey (or more if desired),
1 Tbls. orange juice (I use fresh squeezed),
½ tsp grated orange peel – optional.

Mix well, cover tightly, and refrigerate overnight. (This is still good if you do it the morning you want to serve it and it will hold in the fridge several days.)

You will need:
1 banana per person,
Orange chunks ( I slice oranges in ½ inch discs, then remove the peel and cut into chunks.)
Dried Cranberries,
Granola – I use Cascadian Farms Organic Honey Oat Granola.

In the morning:

Slice half a banana into each serving dish and put in some of the orange chunks and a few cranberries. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the topping over the banana-orange mixture. Sprinkle with a small amount of granola. Add the rest of the banana, a few chunks of orange, and a few cranberries. Add another tablespoon of the topping and Sprinkle with granola.  Top with a few cranberries. Serve immediately so that the granola does not get soggy.

I hope you will try this dish and then experiment with it to make it your own…Enjoy!

Jan Preus, Innkeeper, Chef, and Artist in Residence at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, 118 Tupper Road, Sandwich, Cape Cod, MA

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Best Egg Breakfast Casserole

As I have mentioned before, the kitchen is not my natural habitat and when we purchased our Cape Cod bed and breakfast, my wonderful women friends came to the rescue with recipes they loved. My friend June Jones gave me a recipe for a dish that she calls ‘Brunch Eggs’ and it has become one of my favorites and a favorite of guests who stay at our inn. This is a dish that June makes for her family on Christmas morning and I always think of her when I make it. I have made a few changes and when you have made it a couple of times, you can easily alter it to make it your own.

This is a favorite type of breakfast dish for innkeepers because it can be prepared the night before and cooked in the morning. You can use almost any kind of hearty bread but I prefer to use Challah which is egg bread or brioche. I find that it gives a wonderful, rich texture to this dish.

Brunch Eggs
Serves 4-6

Farm Fresh Eggs
3 c. of plain croutons ( I use challah(egg) bread)
6 oz. shredded cheddar cheese and a bit more for top of dish
6 slightly beaten eggs
3 c. milk
¾ tsp. salt, ½ tsp dry  mustard
Dash of lemon pepper (I use Trader Joe’s)
¼ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. garlic powder
1 bunch scallions sliced
4 slices of cooked & crumbled bacon

Grease a 10x6x1 ¾ inch-baking dish with butter or spray with butter flavored Pam.  Toss cubed bread with cheese and scallions and place in baking dish. Crack eggs in a separate bowl and add milk, salt, dry mustard, lemon pepper, onion and garlic powder, and whisk together. Pour over bread cubes and cheese. Sprinkle top with a little more cheese and bacon. Bake at 325 degrees for 55 minutes, till set. Can easily be doubled and baked in a larger pan. Serve with herbed tomatoes and fresh fruit.

Note from Jan: I have used seasoned croutons in this dish, which gives it a different and more salty flavor. If you use French bread or egg bread instead of prepared croutons and cut it into cubes, the dish is more like a soufflé. You can add many things to this dish to make it different each time you make it so experiment and Enjoy!

Jan Preus, Innkeeper, Chef, and Artist in Residence at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

French Toast With a Twist

This recipe was given to me many years ago by our wonderful friend Rebecca Brooks when we bought our Cape Cod bed and breakfast. It is a guest favorite and one of the few non-savory breakfasts we serve.

Plummer's Sugar House
This mildly sweet toast is made with Challah bread which is an egg bread that some people call brioche. You can buy it at your local grocery store or bakery or use home baked. It is sweetened with orange juice and does not have any sugar added. Some of our guests prefer it with nothing else on it but many do love the fact that we serve pure Vermont maple syrup, which we have sent down from Plummer’s Sugar House in Grafton, Vermont.

Macadamia Nut French Toast
serves 8 - 10

8 eggs
2/3  cup milk
1-1/3 cup OJ
2 tsps. vanilla
dash of nutmeg (optional)
1 stick butter
8 to 10 slices Challah bread
Approx. 1 cup Macadamia nuts, chopped coarsely

The night before serving, beat eggs together and then mix in next 4 ingredients.  Slice the bread into 1 inch slices, and arrange in a pan just large enough to fit the slices.  (Often, a 9 X 14 is good for this.   It’s OK to use 2 smaller pans.)  Pour the mixture over the slices, turn once to coat, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

Preheat oven to 375.  Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Melt the butter just until it is soft. Brush the butter onto the foil-covered sheet making sure the surface is well covered.  (You can also use Pam)  Arrange the bread slices on the cookie sheet so they don’t touch each other. Spoon the chopped nuts evenly on each piece.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until the nuts start to brown.  Serve at once with maple syrup.

When the toast is first removed from the oven, it will be nice and puffy. If it sits very long prior to serving, it will settle down a bit. However, it is still delicious. 

Notes: The above are the basic proportions. This recipe can easily be doubled, dependent on how many slices of toast you want to make.  It is very rich, so one slice per person is often all that is needed.  When you prepare the bread the night before, you want to have enough liquid to allow the bread slices to become soaked, so after you pour it over the bread, there still should be some liquid covering the bottom of the pan you soak it in. The next morning, it should all be absorbed. You will get a feel for it after you make it a few times.   

Jan Preus, Innkeeper, Chef, and Artist in Residence at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Monday, May 16, 2011

Eggs at our Sandwich B&B

I enjoy preparing a hearty and delicious breakfast each morning to serve guests at our Cape Cod bed and breakfast. As the kitchen is not my natural habitat, conquering this particular task was herculean. What has surprised me most is how much I enjoy preparing breakfast. I have often described myself as an intuitive cook as I much prefer experimenting with spices and fresh herbs and produce and selecting ingredients based on my experience growing herbs and vegetables. I love reading cookbooks and recipes in magazines to see what other people are cooking and often adjust a recipe to suit my needs.

One of the egg dishes I like to serve has become a guest favorite at our inn. I serve this dish with Potatoes Gratin and Herbed Tomatoes. Both of these recipes have appeared in earlier blogs. I prepare this dish, and many others, in ramekins for individual servings.

Eggs in a Ham Basket 
This recipe serves four.
Preheat oven at 325 degrees.

You will need:
4 very thin (but not shaved) slices of Black Forest Ham,
4 eggs,
¾ cup half & half or cream,
¼ teaspoon lemon pepper,
¼ teaspoon onion powder,
¼ teaspoon garlic powder,
6 – 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

Preheat oven. Spray ramekin with Pam. Place ham slice in each cup to form basket. Place a bit of the cheddar cheese in the bottom of the ham basket. Using a wire whisk (or a mixer or stick blender if you prefer) beat eggs, half & half, and seasonings in a bowl. Pour egg mixture into ramekins – about ¾ full. Sprinkle heaping tablespoon of cheese on top of each basket. Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out dry. When done, remove the ramekins from the oven and let them sit for about 5 to 10 minutes. To remove the ham cup from the ramekin, I fold a clean paper towel in quarters, place it on top of the ramekin, place my hand on top, and flip the ramekin over. The ham cup should easily slide into the paper towel in your hand. Then you just place it on your serving plate right side up.

Try adding herbs such as fresh dill with this recipe…’s delicious.

 Jan Preus, Innkeeper, Chef, and Artist in Residence at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast Herbed Tomatoes

At our Sandwich Bed and Breakfast, we serve a 3-course, delicious breakfast. While it is a full and hearty breakfast, we do all that we can to keep it healthy without sacrificing taste. With most of our egg breakfast dishes, we like to serve herbed tomatoes as one of the sides. They are healthy, refreshing, and really delicious. They are also not just for breakfast.

The herbs I use in the summer months are from my garden. In the late spring, I usually plant basil, oregano, cilantro, rosemary, thyme, and parsley in pots on the back patio. I am able to cut them fresh each morning as I need them. Of course, you certainly don’t have to restrict your herbed tomatoes to just these herbs. You can also use any variety of tomatoes. Experiment and enjoy.

Herbed Tomatoes

These are a great side dish with almost everything. I serve them with my egg dishes for breakfast. If there are any left over, I toss them with greens for a salad for lunch or use them in a sandwich. These are the herbs I normally use but you can use other types. Experimenting is fun!

  • Grape or Roma Grape tomatoes cut in half or campari tomatoes sliced (about 6 grape or 3 Roma grape or 1 campari per person), and (my new favorite) husk tomatoes (about 6 per person).
  • Chopped fresh Italian & curly parsley, chopped fresh basil,
  • Sea Salt,
  • Lemon Pepper

Husk Tomatoes
First, prepare herbs by chopping them and tossing with lemon pepper and sea salt. I use Trader Joe’s brand Himalayan sea salt.

Cut the tomatoes and set aside until you are ready to serve. Just before serving, toss with herb mixture.


Jan Preus, Innkeeper, Chef, and Artist in Residence at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Potato Gratin

One of the most popular breakfast side dishes we serve at our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast is Potato Gratin. It is so easy to make and our guests really love it. I like to serve this with Baked Eggs and Herbed Tomatoes but it is great with fritatas, omelets, or eggs prepared however you like them. This dish can be prepared the night before and kept in the refrigerator. It can be popped into the oven right from the fridge or brought to room temperature first.

1750 Inn at Sandwich Center Potato Gratin

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. I use a 6-muffin, muffin tin to make this for 6 people. You can use a larger muffin tin for more people or use ramekins for individual servings.

Frozen, grated Ore-Ida Potatoes, thawed, (about 1/3 cup per serving),
Lemon pepper, to taste,
Sea salt, to taste,
Gruyere cheese, grated (you can use Swiss cheese or a blend of both), about 1 tablespoon per serving.
Cream, 1 to 2 teaspoons per serving. (You can use more if you want them creamier. You can also use half & half.)

Optional:  Onion powder (about 1/4 teaspoon for 6 servings), Garlic powder (about ¼ teaspoon for 6 servings), or sautéed shallots or onions.

Spray muffin tin or ramekins with cooking spray (I use canola oil). In a large bowl, mix thawed potatoes, lemon pepper, and sea salt and toss just to blend. (If you want to use sautéed onions or shallots or any other herbs or spices, now would be the time to add them.) Add cheese and toss again.

Distribute evenly in muffin tin or ramekins. Drizzle potatoes with cream. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Oven temps vary so check after 25 minutes. Potatoes should be only slightly browned but cooked through. Remove from oven and cool.

Use a spatula to loosen the potatoes around the edge then slip it under the potatoes, lift out and place on your serving dish….yummmm-y!

Note: This is such a versatile dish so, experiment with other herbs and spices but keep it simple and have fun.

Jan Preus, Innkeeper, Chef, and Artist in Residence at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Friday, February 18, 2011

Rosemary-Roasted Corn Muffins - Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast Recipe

 We serve many kinds of freshly baked muffins at our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast. One of the most popular with our guests is Rosemary-Roasted Corn Muffins made with corn meal that is ground at the historic Dexter Grist Mill. The mill is just across the street from the Inn and is one of the oldest operating grist mills in the country. It is one of the few mills that still uses water power to grind corn. The meal is packaged and sold on site. It is a bit more coarsely ground that other corn meals and has no preservatives. When used in muffins, it provides a wonderful texture. Many of our guests purchase the corn meal to take home with them when they visit the mill.

If you do not have roaster corn kernels, plain ones can be substituted. These muffins are also great made with blueberries instead of corn kernels.

Rosemary-Roasted Corn Muffins

Makes 1 dozen regular sized muffins or 6 very large muffins.

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
½ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 cup roasted corn kernels (I use Trader Joe’s but can use plain corn kernels)
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, slightly beaten
¼ cup Canola oil (can substitute melted butter)
Vegetable-oil cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray muffin tins with cooking spray (I use Pam)
Whisk together dry ingredients including rosemary.
Stir in corn kernels.
Combine buttermilk, egg, and oil in a small bowl and then add to flour.
Stir just until combined.
Spoon batter into muffin cups.
Optional-sprinkle with minced rosemary.
Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into center of muffins comes out clean. Let cool in tin or on a wire rack.Serve warm or at room temperature.
Muffins can be stored in an airtight container for several days or frozen for up to two months.

We serve these muffins warm with blueberry jam from the Jam Kitchen at the Green Briar Nature Center.