Great Summer Salads

Summer is the best time to celebrate the freshest ingredients. It’s almost worth surviving the harsh winter so the fresh summer ingredients taste the best after the winter palette doldrums.
One of our favorites at The Victoria Is the Corn Edamame Salad. this colorful melange is vibrant in flavors and adds a beautiful presentation to your summer entertaining table. This is very easy and a party pleaser!

Corn Edamame Salad:

3 ears corn (cooked or can use frozen)
1 red pepper
1 cup edamame
4 green onions
2 Tbsp Balsamic reduction
1 tbsp. cumin
1 bunch cilantro
2 tsp honey
1/3 cup olive oil

Cook ears of corn and shed from ear.Chop red pepper, onions, edamame and cilantro. Mix next three ingredients. Toss dressing with the salad and enjoy.

“Special Needs” Breakfasts

 

As the old adage goes: Two percent of the customers take up 98% of your time…..You may think you are not in that 2 percent I  suspect : You are the “Special Dietary Needs” patrons of B & B’s.

I am not dismissing the seriousness of Nut Allergies,Gluten-Free, Lactose Intolerance, or Raw- Food- Only patrons or Vegans out there…but we B & B owners shudder when we hear pronouncement-“What will there be for ME to eat for Breakfast because I am (fill in the blanks)”

One morning during a busy breakfast I had a mother who was Gluten-free, a father who was vegan and a daugther who was Lactose intolerant. I also had to ensure the mother there would not be any lactose products touching her daughter’s plate. After an inspection of my kitchen and assurance that I would be en guard for any jumping plate milk, I was allowed  to proceed. I had 25 people to feed and had planned on quiche Lorraine. (She had brought the special milk and soy butter to make french -toast for the daughter.)

I quake when I read the  comments area when reserving before arrival about particular dietary needs. Unfortunately unlike Burger King …Special Orders do upset us. Perhaps this is why they chose a B & B in the first place is  their assumption that individualized  service is part of what they are paying for.

I still am blistering from the nasty write-up I got for not taking a husband’s Celiac disease seriously enough. the fact that I did not know whether the sausage had any gluten in it sent the wife into ground attack mode. To my defense I had bought a special Gluten-free corn biscuits for them the day before which they rejected…(they did taste like week old hockey pucks, but let’s face it, Gluten-free food needs Gluten to taste good)

Where were these gluten-free when I was growing up? I never saw a schoolmate keel over after eating his Wonderbread. My suggestion to special-order-breakfast patrons is they give us the option to pay for their breakfast at the inn across the street.

Raising Teenage Boys is like working with pie dough

vintage-pie-crust

In my forty plus years of cooking, with some of the most difficult-to- master-cuisines, my stark conclusion is Pie Dough is the toughest to master. The reason for this is it requires a finesse that took me  years to master, in knowing exactly how much to handle the dough at each stage of the process. It took almost this same instinctual precision in raising my two teenage boys.

As we know when you have a boy they are inherently born with approximately 1 million words and they gradually working with only the last remnants of this given vocabulary in their teenage years. Grunts and uhh’s along with”Where’s the Bacon” is the staple of their lexicon.

Pie Dough:

4 cups Flour

2 tsps Salt

1 Tbsp sugar

1 3/4 Butter Crisco

1/2 cup water

1 egg

1 Tbsp vinegar

In the first phase of pie dough you throw all the dry ingredients together, then cut in the Crisco. That is what most recipes say.  Actually what’s better is to get your hands dirty and mix with your fingers so that it resembles coarse meal. (Those of us who have raised children know that it is a dirty business at times and seems very messy.)

The second phase-Make a well in the center and then add the liquid ingredients that have been mixed well. Mix these ingredients until you can form the dough into a ball. You have a critical choice at this point- do you want your pie dough to be flaky or cut perfectly without fear of breaking off. Do you want a “looking good for others pie” or one that just has perfect flakiness.To achieve perfect flakiness you handle the dough slightly… Like the time I had to look away when my youngest dyed his hair blond and combed it to one side in his Justin Bieber years. The more you work with the pie dough the less likely it will break when cut.

When boys are teenagers it is such a delicate balance between being there for them when they need you yet not hovering so that they start to feel like they need to go into witness protection to get away from you. Like the dough the relationship will be very tough if you are a constantly getting your hands into their affairs.

The next step is so important…Let the dough Rest. That’s thought to be between the ages of 16 and 25 for boys. Boys need to throw off the maternal protectiveness of the mother figure and become their own men.(I know all this psycho-babble  because of twenty years of in therapy with a hot therapist I had a crush on and good insurance.) I call these years the Drive-by Texting Years.

After 2 hours roll the dough on floured surface or between floured parchment paper. The more you have worked the dough the tougher it will be. The good news if you are dissatisfied with your results it has cost less than a dollar and you can start from scratch. Unfortunately raising a child costs 250,000 without college and you can’t start over.