Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tired of Squash

Last year, the first five or six weeks of farm ownership meant greens - Kale, Swiss Chard, and Collards mainly.  And I loved them all.  With the addition of such things as bacon, golden raisins, and broth, they became a favorite of mine and I really looked forward to cooking them again this year.  Unfortunately, this year there have been very few greens (I think we got Kale once) and tons and tons of squash.  Each and every week we receive zucchini - both green and yellow, and my favorite (not!), patty pan squash (see attached photo).  I have figured out what to do with the zucchini.  I have made bread with them, including such ingredients as chocolate, cinnamon, and walnuts, and they make a nice breakfast side.  Today I made a cake that called for 3 cups of shredded zucchini, along with cocoa, walnuts, and an orange glaze.  And it actually was quite a hit.  But I can not find anything good to do with the patty pan squash.  I have tried stuffing them - they are pretty huge - but have not been satisfied with the results.  I tried a recipe that called for fresh bread crumbs, Parmesan, and bacon, and it was so-so.  Last week I used turkey Italian sausage and mozzarella and was still not impressed.  Any ideas?   I would greatly appreciate it.  I thought the CSA was joking when it said we would be getting 104 days of squash!  I guess they decided to replace their fields of greens with zucchini and patty pans.  Too bad.  I think the squash took over the place!   Squash can do that, you know...

Yes, we have also been receiving fruit each week - from tart cherries to peaches, plums, and apples, and they have been good.  But most of the vegetables have been in the squash family.  Pout.  : (      I used to actually like squash - a lot.  Now, I am sad to say that I am sick of it.  This does not mean that I will not join a CSA again next year, but I may have to try a new one.  Oh well...

Until next time, happy and healthy eating!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Woodward House in Front Royal - Bed, Breakfast and So Much More

Last year after my husband and I came back from our first visit ever to a Bed & Breakfast, I wrote about it, asking you all, "Are all Bed & Breakfasts this good?"   After what we experienced this past weekend, I would have to say that, in Front Royal Virginia, they are!   Woodward House is a refurbished 1910 home that sits atop a small, steep hill off of what once may have been the main drag.  Upon arriving, we were warmly greeted by the owner's twin sister and were told that, because the house was being occupied by a family of 12, we had been upgraded to one of the 2 cottages that sit in the woods above the main house.  Our cottage was, for lack of a better word, adorable.  It was decorated in a country motif and contained a cozy sitting area with a fireplace that was off of a small kitchen and breakfast nook.  Because it was my birthday, the owner had left us a small carrot cake (my favorite cake, by the way!) on the table-for-two, along with a handmade card, some homemade (of course) cookies, and a bottle of wine.  To the left and tucked into its own cozy corner was a comfy four poster bed that was about 4 feet off the ground and was covered with a soft down quilt and a wide selection of pillows.  The bathroom was more than ample in size and had a heart-shaped whirlpool tub for 2 that, with the addition of rose-shaped bath beads, was so relaxing that I felt like I was floating after spending time in it.  After wrapping yourself in one of the "his and hers" bathrobes, you'll find a variety of lotions and scented talcum powder to make you feel just that much more pampered.  The cottage itself would have been reason enough to recommend this charming home away from home.  But the accommodations were just the tip of the iceberg.

Joan and Bob, the owners,  have gone out of their way to make sure your stay at their home is a special and unique experience.  They have set up an open bar area off of the sitting room in the main house where you can help yourself to home-brewed beer, wine, or ice cold water infused with cucumber slices and mint any time the mood should hit you.  After a 102 degree day, I found the cucumber water to be a real treat and plan to make it at home. 

The star attraction at Woodward House house, however, is breakfast.   Joan is an accomplished baker and, after being served a plate of fresh fruit, we were treated to arguably one of the best orange/cinnamon rolls I have ever had.  Cinnabon, step aside!  This perfectly proportioned treat (it was about the size of a baseball) was warm and tender and had just the right amount of glaze.  See photo below:

After the delectable roll, Joan sweetly asks what you would like for breakfast.  She can make you pancakes, waffles (with or without blueberries), french toast, eggs cooked any way you'd like them, homemade breakfast potatoes, and ham.  My husband chose a Western omelet and I had poached eggs atop Joan's homemade cheesy biscuits.  Both dishes were amazingly delicious!   See photo below:

This was our Monday morning breakfast.  On Sundays, Joan makes a sausage gravy that is served over her cheesy biscuits with eggs any way you like them.  Her gravy is another unbelievably delicious addition to her repertoire.  And as if that isn't enough, Joan makes spiced apples and granola that you can have over oatmeal, along with one of her homemade flavored sugars.  I loved the way her orange sugar complimented the Japanese green tea I chose to accompany my meal.   I must have had 3 cups each morning. 

Joan and Bob make you feel at home, not only with their comfortable accommodations, and the  outstanding meals and snacks they prepare for you, but with their wonderfully warm personalities.  I wish I had more time to have gotten to know this lovely couple.  But from the time we spent with them, I know that they are generous, kind, and devoted to making their guests feel comfortable, and special.  You know how you find that place that is "you"?   That makes you feel like you can be yourself while at the same time feeling  special?  Woodward House in Front Royal is that place for me.   And I hope to be able to go there again soon.  In the meantime, thank you so much, Joan and Bob, for making my birthday weekend an unforgettable one!