Lamb Chops

Today I have a great dinner recipe for you—for Valentine’s Day or any day of the year. As much as we love cooking for each other, Tom and I are often too busy to make fancy dinners. But we try at least once a week to make time for an exceptional meal and a few relaxing minutes in our crazy life.

Rack of lamb of is always a treat. This recipe, which I created by combining a couple of ideas, works well with the nice loin lamb chops you often find at the store these days. The marinade is very flavorful and can even be used on a leg of lamb. If you’ve never cooked lamb, try this recipe. Lamb may just become one of your favorite dishes.

Grilled Lamb Chops
4 servings

2 lbs. lamb (either rack or loin lamb chops)
1 cup oil
½ cup minced garlic
2 tblsp. fresh chopped rosemary
2 tblsp. fresh chopped thyme

Mix together all ingredients except the lamb. Marinate the lamb in the mixture for 2–24 hours. Wipe off excess marinade and grill the lamb chops until desired doneness. If using rack of lamb, grill or brown both sides in a skillet, transfer to a roasting pan, and place in the oven at 350° until desired doneness.

Crab Cakes

Are you looking for a wonderful dinner recipe to make for your special someone this weekend? Even though our business is a bed and breakfast, we often host private parties and dinners—so I have a growing collection of dinner recipes too. It’s another opportunity for me to look for new recipes and experiment with different ways to wow my guests. I love watching cooking shows on TV for inspiration. I also use Google searches to find new recipes. Sometimes I mix two recipes together and make up my own version. Here’s one I really love.

Crab Cakes

1 pound crab meat (not imitation)
1 egg
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tblsp. mayonnaise
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tblsp. Dijon mustard
1 tblsp. melted butter
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes or 1 tblsp. fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp. seafood seasoning
½ cup fresh bread crumbs

Mix together all the ingredients except the crab. Then gently fold in the crab meat. Shape into cakes and refrigerate for 30 min. Fry 12–15 min., until golden brown on each side.

Keep warm in a low oven. Serve with your favorite tartar sauce.

Tomorrow: Rack of Lamb!

Best Chocolate Recipes!

I like to include chocolate whenever possible in our breakfast menu. Today I thought I would give you two chocolate recipes that have been among my favorites for years. The first one is Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake. I cut the recipe out of the coupon section of the Sunday paper years ago. I had it in my recipe file for about five years before I finally got around to trying it. When I did, I was sorry I had wasted those five years! Not only is this cake moist and delicious, it will also keep for 2-3 days and it freezes well. A real winner.

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup sour cream
powdered sugar

Topping:
½ cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tblsp. cinnamon

Combine butter and sugar until barely mixed. Add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla, flour, and baking powder alternately with sour cream. Mix 2 minutes with an electric mixer on medium speed. In a separate bowl, combine the topping ingredients.

Grease a 9×13 pan and spoon in half of the batter. Sprinkle with half the topping. Top with the rest of the batter and the rest of the topping.

Bake at 325° for 45–55 min. Serve warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Today’s second chocolate recipe came from a newspaper article about Mrs. Field’s cookies. This is a copy of her recipe for Deadly Chocolate Muffins. If you are craving something really chocolately, this recipe is for you!

Deadly Chocolate Muffins
Makes about 16 regular-size muffins

2 cups (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate
1 stick butter
½ cup sour cream
1 cup flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
4 large eggs
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup chopped nuts (optional)
¼ cup white chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 350°. Line muffin cups with paper liners and spray the top of the pan with nonstick spray.
2. Melt the 2 cups of semisweet chocolate with the butter in the top of a double boiler, stirring until smooth. (Or heat in the microwave, in a microwave safe bowl, for 1 minute). Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream. Cool.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat eggs and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla. Add flour mixture and 1 cup of the semisweet chocolate chips.
4. Mix together the remaining ¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips, chopped nuts, and white chocolate chips.
4. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups until about ¾ full. Top evenly with the mixture of chocolate chips, ¼ cup nuts, ¼ cup white chocolate chips.

Bake 20–25 min., until centers are set.

I’ll be serving one or both of these treats for breakfast this weekend. There’s still time to make your reservations!  www.oliverinn.com

Insanely Great Waffles

Well, it’s Monday—less than a week until Valentine’s Day.  Have you been thinking about something special you can do any other day this week?  Making homemade breakfast is always a treat for your family, but during the week you say you are too busy. So you usually buy the frozen toaster waffles. Well, I have just the answer for you. I call them Insanely Great Waffles.  They are really wonderful, super fast and easy, and they freeze well so you can have your own “frozen toaster waffles.” Serve them with fresh fruit or your favorite maple syrup, and your family will think they are something special. (I won’t tell them you really made them because you wanted them yourself!) This recipe is sure to become a family favorite.

Insanely Great Waffles

¾ cup flour

¼ cup cornstarch

½ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 cup buttermilk or whole milk

1/3 cup oil

1 egg

1 tablespoon sugar

¾ tsp. vanilla extract

Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the milk, oil, egg, sugar, and vanilla and mix well. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes.

Preheat waffle iron. (No need to use nonstick spray; these will not stick.) Cook for 2 ½  to 3 minutes or until done.

Green Eggs and Ham Pizza

I mentioned a few days ago that I’m always searching for wonderful new recipes. One of the questions guests often ask is whether I make the same thing for breakfast every day, or if I have a specific menu for each day of the week. Absolutely not! I would get really bored making the same thing every day—or even rotating just a few menus. I admit I have a few favorites that I like to fall back on from time to time. But I love to try new recipes, and I love finding that new idea that turns out to be something my guests find irresistible. This breakfast pizza is one of those. When guests first see it, they are usually surprised. And then when they taste it and love it, I’m happy.

Give it a try, and let me know how your family likes it!

Green Eggs and Ham Pizza
(4 servings)

1 lb. pizza dough (make your own, or buy premade dough from the grocery store or your local pizza parlor)
½ cup pesto
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
sliced deli ham, cut into thin strips
4 eggs

1. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll each one into a 7-inch circle (or for Valentine’s day you could make a heart shape). Put them on a cookie sheet and roll up the edges to create a crusty edge.
2. Spread each crust with 1-2 tablespoons pesto.
3. Top each pizza with about ¼ cup mozzarella cheese.
4. Place 4-5 strips of sliced ham on each pizza.
5. Bake at 500 ° for about 5 min.
6. Crack a whole egg in the middle of each pizza and continue to bake for 5-7 min. longer.

Serve immediately!

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake Muffins!

I love to cook. I am always reading recipes and looking for my next favorite. Most of the time for our candlelight breakfast here at the Inn, I like to make small portions of different breakfast treats. These Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake Muffins are an exception. You can make them as regular size muffins, but they are best when you make them jumbo size. Usually my guests say, “Oh, those are so big! I’m just going to eat half of one.” But by the time breakfast is over, all that remains are a few crumbs. (If you do have any leftovers, I suggest you microwave them for about 10 seconds to give them that just-baked warmth.)

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake Muffins

1½ cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¼ stick margarine
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
½ cup sugar
½ cup milk
1 egg

Topping:
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup chocolate chips
2 tblsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

1. Spray 6 jumbo muffin cups (or 12 regular muffin cups) with nonstick vegetable oil spray.
2. In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the margarine until crumbly.
3. In another bowl, mix the sour cream (or yogurt), ½ cup sugar, milk, and egg. Add to the flour mixture and stir just until combined.
4. In another bowl, stir together the topping ingredients.
5. Spoon half the batter into the prepared muffin pans. Sprinkle with half the topping. Top with remaining batter and then remaining topping.

Bake at 350° for 25 min. or until a toothpick comes out clean. (If making 12 regular-size muffins, bake at 400° for 15–18 min.)

I hope you love these muffins as much as I do!