Happy Anniversary!

5 years ago today, we bought The Oliver Inn Bed and Breakfast! Tom and I sold most of what we had,  made a life change, and packed up our things and moved here to South Bend.  We love being Innkeepers! Living in downtown South Bend is great. Fabulous dining and entertainment all within walking distance.   Great museums and other family fun places, like Coveleski Stadium and the East Race!

If you get the chance to come and stay with us, we would welcome the opportunity to show you some hospitality!

We are glad we live in this historic neighborhood!

End of February ……..

Well, at the beginning of February, I challenged myself to write every day about Food and Love. I made it to the end (with the help of my best friend, Kathy!).

Here at the Oliver Inn, we are all about food and love. We try to create a relaxing environment with great food, a special place for you to take the one you love for a great getaway. Remember to keep looking for ways to share food and love with your friends and family every day.

Keep following us for recipes and events as well as our restoration project here at the Inn. I will still be blogging—just not every day. See you in March!

Flourless Chocolate Cake

I have friends, and sometimes guests, with various food allergies. So I’m always on the lookout for good alternative recipes. Here’s a great chocolate cake for those who need to avoid wheat.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

1 stick plus 2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup sugar
1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons coffee
4 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
powdered sugar for dusting

Grease 6 half-cup ramekins with the 2 tablespoons butter and sprinkle the inside of each one with 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Place ramekins in a 9×13 baking dish.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips, stick of butter, and coffee. Microwave for 90 seconds and then stir until smooth and creamy.

In a mixer combine the eggs, remaining  sugar, vanilla, and salt. Mix until frothy and almost doubled in volume, about 5 minutes. Fold 1/3 of this mixture into the chocolate. Repeat 2 more times, until all the egg mixture has been folded into the chocolate.

Portion the batter into the 6 ramekins. Add enough water to the pan to come up halfway on the sides of the ramekins. Bake about 20 minutes. The edges will just be setting and the cake will have risen slightly. Cool slightly and the loosen the edges with a dull knife. Invert each cake onto a plate and then flip back over so the top is facing upwards. Cover and refrigerate.

Just before serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Catering Events at the Inn

I’ve been catering large and small events for over 20 years. Some of that time I had my own business, and some of that time I worked as the head baker for a small college. All that planning, cooking, and serving was great experience for me. Now I cook for guests nearly every day. And believe it or not, I still enjoy it!

Today we are hosting a private breakfast for a group of local bankers. Our beautiful dining room is a popular location for business meetings over breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We also often serve private dinners for groups of guests who are staying at the Inn. Many people love the convenience of hanging out together for a weekend with friends or extended family, while someone else does all the cooking and cleaning.

Next time you’re looking for great food, an elegant setting, and a relaxing time, give us a call!

German Pancakes

If you are looking for a way to wow your family for a fun breakfast, this recipe for German Pancakes is just the thing.

2 tblsp. melted butter
6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
½ tsp. salt

Coat a large oven proof  frying pan or a 9×13 baking pan with the melted butter. (If you prefer, you can use 6-8 small ovenproof dishes to make individual serving-size pancakes.)

Combine the remaining ingredients, whisking hard until frothy or using a blender. Pour batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake at 400 for about 20 min., until puffy.

For toppings, you may want to saute sliced apples or peaches (fresh or frozen) with cinnamon and butter, or use sliced fresh strawberries. Whipped cream adds a fancy touch. The pancakes are also delicious served simply with warm maple syrup.

Let me know how these turn out and what toppings your family likes.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I just took a batch of chocolate chip cookies out of the oven. Would you like one? Here at the Inn we have homemade cookies every day. I use the Nestle’s Toll House recipe right off the bag. I make up the dough on Monday and keep it in the refrigerator. Every afternoon, right before our guests arrive, I scoop out a few cookies and bake them. Fresh baked cookies make the whole Inn smell great, and most people find them irresistible.

Before we bought the Inn, I would make a batch of dough, scoop the cookies into balls, and freeze them. Then after a busy day, I could still make freshly baked homemade cookies for my family. I know these days you can buy frozen hunks of cookie dough and do pretty much the same thing with even less work. But why not try making your own frozen cookie dough balls? It really takes very little time, and they’re tastier–and more economical–than the premade ones.

And don’t forget you’re always welcome to join us for freshly baked cookies here at the Inn. We still have a few rooms left for this weekend!

Spinach Hash

Today I thought I would share a Rachel Ray recipe that has become a favorite of my guests. It is beautiful, good for you , easy, and very tasty. Even my husband will eat spinach this way! Try it for a quick breakfast or a super supper.

Spinach Hash

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
4 tablespoons butter, divided
8 small red potatoes
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 large ham steak, finely chopped
4 extra-large eggs
2 cups baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped (or one 10-oz. package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and wrung dry in a kitchen towel)
10 leaves fresh basil, chopped or torn (or a few rounded spoonfuls of prepared store-bought pesto)
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of generous handfuls

Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of extra-virgin olive oil, about 2 tablespoons, and 2 tablespoons of butter. While the pan is getting hot and the butter is melting, cut the potatoes in half and then thinly slice them, add to the hot skillet and season with salt, pepper, thyme, and the crushed red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring every now and then, for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes have browned and are tender. Add the onion and the ham and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

Preheat another skillet over medium high heat with 2 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter has melted and the bubbles have subsided, crack eggs into the pan, season with salt and pepper, and fry to desired doneness.

While the eggs are frying, finish off the hash by adding the spinach and basil (or pesto) to the potatoes. Toss to wilt and warm the spinach. Sprinkle the hash with tomatoes and cheese and remove from the heat. Transfer the ham and spinach hash to plates. Top each portion with a single fried egg or arrange the fried eggs evenly over the platter.

Never too late for Romance!

You missed Valentine’s Day, you say? You’re in trouble, you say? Well, it’s never too late for romance. It doesn’t have to be just one day of the year.

This weekend we had 40 people at the Inn, taking a break from the everyday rat race to spend some quiet time together. But there are still plenty of opportunities if you weren’t able to make it for Valentine’s Day. A visit to the Oliver Inn can be enhanced with our Double Dark Chocolate Truffles from the South Bend Chocolate Company, a bouquet of roses, or even rose petals scattered around your room waiting to surprise your special someone. We also have dinner packages with Tippecanoe Place (right next door!) and LaSalle Grill, to save you time and money. We make the reservations and take care of all the plans. Give us a call and let us help pick out a fireplace or Jacuzzi suite for your perfect getaway. Don’t forget—you can keep romance alive everyday.