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The Old Hen B&B closed May 31, 2014. We recommend The Roaring River B&B 425.888.4834 and The Log Cabin B&B 425.533.8278 for your North Bend get-away. Please stay tuned for Deanna's cookbook and food truck plans as seen on New Day Northwest. Here's to starting from scratch. Talking about The Old Hen online? Our hashtag is #theoldhen .

How to Cook Rice on the Stove Top

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This may seem like a plain post. And, you’re right. It is. But in a world where we are bombarded with gimmick-y kitchen utensils every day, it is good, sometimes, to go back to the basics.

I’m not completely sure why I opted for a rice cooker over a food processor for my first 17 years as a grown up. But, I can tell you now, I made the wrong decision. I use my food processor pretty much daily and rice is way easier to make on the stove top than some might realize. And, by some, I mean 22 year-old me.

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How to Cook Rice

  • 2 cups long grain basmati or jasmine rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Rinse and then place rice into a saucepan with water & sea salt. Stir. Bring to a boil over high heat.

Turn heat down to lowest setting then cover with lid.

Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir in some butter if desired.

The end. Nope, not kidding. It’s really that easy.

Thank goodness we can change. In a world of Magic Bullets and Insta Pots, thank goodness we can opt for beautiful spoons, food processors, and going back to basics. Rest in piece, rice cooker.

 

Berry Hand Pies With Lemon Glaze

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I am afraid there is about to be a berry shortage. I am always afraid there is about to be a berry shortage. It is the only explanation for a grown woman to have bags of berries in her freezer. Every time I use fresh berries for a salads (ahem, crepes, ahem) I toss the extras into a bag & save them in the freezer for sauces and fillings and jams and stuff.

Today my emergency stash of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries unite to make hand pies. If you want to take the easy route, you can slap some store-bought jam or pie filling into some store-bought pie crust cut into shapes but sometimes the extra effort is fun and, no doubt, very country girl.

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Preheat oven to 350F.

Hand Pie Filling

  • 2 cups berries (mixed or any kind you like)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch

Place berries in medium sauce pan. Stir in sugar & lemon juice. Let sit for about 30 minutes. Stir in cornstarch. Cook over medium high heat while keeping a close eye on berry sauce. Sauce will start to boil. When it gets thick, remove from heat immediately and set aside.

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Hand Pie Crusts

  • 3 cups white flour
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter (or 3/4 cup), cut into small pieces
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup very ice-cold water (approximate)
  • 1 egg (for brushing onto top)

Place all pie crust ingredients in food processor except for water. Pulse until butter is incorporated with flour & sugar (crumbly & about size of peas). Add water. Continue processing until dough turns into somewhat of a ball. Add a teaspoon more water at a time – only if needed.

Roll dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using about a 4-inch cookie cutter, cut dough into circles about 1/8-inch thick. Make 2 circles for every hand pie. You should be able to get about 6-8 hand pies total.

Place bottoms (ugliest circles) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using a spoon, place about 1/4 cup berry filling onto middle of each pie bottom. Center and place pie tops over each pie. Using a fork, crimp all around the edge of each pie to seal together. I always overfill so if you like a prettier pie, do as I say and not as I do.

Beat egg well in a small dish. Using a pastry brush, brush egg onto top of each pie crust. It is best to start brushing from middle and work your way to the edges to prevent filling from smearing all over pies.

Bake in oven for about 30 minutes or until pies are light golden brown.

Leftover filling can be saved in the refrigerator and used for jam.

Lemon Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons water

Place powdered sugar, water and fresh lemon juice into a bowl. Stir until no longer lumpy. Add a tiny bit more water if needed. Drizzle or spread over warm hand pies.

Allow pies to cool just long enough so the centers aren’t dangerously hot – about 30 minutes, then insert in your pie hole and go ride a tire swing, brave country girl. You have survived another berry shortage.

 

 

Chicken Makhani AKA Indian Butter Chicken Recipe

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When my kids were little, they learned about various countries by studying not just the history of the country, but the foods. Son and dotter had to cook dinners that represented the country they had been learning about. In my home? Imagine that. I wish I had found my love for Indian food back then. I suppose this time mom is the student.

I know I’m a little late to the game, but I have finally figured out which Indian foods I can eat and still have tastebuds left after trying them. I had to ask a nice lady at our favorite Indian restaurant which dishes were hot and which were not after a few visits of dead buds tuckered out from all the heat. One bite of the super spicy stuff and I can’t taste anything else.

Butter Chicken has a little zing to it but not much. If you like things really spicy, you can add more green chilis or just leave the seeds in. Me? I’ll be the one with the taste buds in tact, thanks.

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Indian Butter Chicken Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 green chiles, stems removed, cut in half, and middles removed
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, roasted in oven for 20 minutes then remove skin
  • 5 tablespoons kasoori methi
  • 2 tablespoons red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 4 whole green cardamom seeds
  • 1 tablespoon honey (add a teaspoon or so more if finished product is too acidic)
  • 2 pounds chicken breast, diced into large bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Place two tablespoons of the butter and olive oil into a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add diced tomatoes. Cook tomatoes down for about 10-15 minutes. Stir in ginger, chiles, garlic cloves, kasoori methi, red chili powder, paprika, cardamom seeds, and honey. Simmer for about 5 more minutes.

Carefully pour sauce in a blender. Cover lightly and blend on lowest setting. Work blender up to medium speed until sauce is smooth. Set aside.

Clean large sauce pan.

Place last two tablespoons of butter in saucepan over medium heat. Saute chicken pieces in butter until cooked through to 165F on inside and light golden brown on outside. Pour sauce over chicken.

Continue to simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes. Sauce will thicken and spices will settle, making this a dish you will adore.

Serve with Basmati rice (with some peas & carrots mixed in) and naan bread.

I couldn’t of been whiter in that moment I asked for help, but it has allowed me to find a love for Indian food. And by Indian food, I mean Butter Chicken and rice and naan bread. Happy buds.

 

 

Raspberry Almond Mazarin Tart Recipe

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One of my favorite Scandinavian treats is the mazarin tart. It is rich and regal yet one of the easiest things one could make for friends… the perfect dessert.

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Preheat oven to 350F.

Dough Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 teaspoon sea salt

Cream butter & powdered sugar. Add egg yolk (save egg white for filling). Combine. Add flour & sea salt. Mix well. Place some flour on countertop. Separate dough into six equal pieces. Press into six 4-inch tart pans with removable bottoms. Make sure bottoms and sides are covered as you would a pie crust. Set aside.

Filling Ingredients

  • 7 ounces almond paste
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white (remaining from above egg yolk)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Whip butter and almond paste until combined well. Add sugar, egg, egg white, almond extract, and sea salt. Whip together. Spoon filling into tart crusts. Place all tarts on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool until they can safely be removed from tart pans.

Topping Ingredients

  • 1 cup Strawberry or raspberry preserves

Spread a few tablespoons of preserves over the top of the almond tarts while they are still somewhat warm.

Serve on a pretty little plate.  Add a few fresh raspberries on top and drizzle with chocolate if desired.

This recipe can also be made in about a 10-inch tart pan for one large tart.

Alternate Topping

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sherry wine

Mix together well to make a lovely glaze. Spread over top of tarts after they have cooled. Allow icing to dry for several hours before serving.

These are an impressive holiday dessert but also easy to make ahead and refrigerate for a hot summer evening.

 

Homemade Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese frosting Recipe

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I admit, my memories of carrot cake are a bit abnormal. When a bakery shelf becomes your natural before school nap habitat, you catch glimpses of bakers taking full sheetcakes out of a room-size, ferris-wheel oven.

You watch your mom carefully remove parchment papers the size of a small child off bottom of each cake. You drool as each cake is cut into the sizes requested for each special-order customer.

You nap some more.

You wake up to dozens of 8-inch carrot cakes decorated with cream cheese frosting and carefully placed in a revolving case.

You pretend you can eat the cakes through the glass. You run to the back next to your momma’s side when you notice a customer giggling at your dramatic, cake-longing expressions.

You watch the carrot cakes go out the door one by one as customers proudly carry their box out to their cars to their celebrations.

You play with plastic cake decorating embellishment toys. (Even though I was shaped like a muffin and never danced, the ballerinas were my favorite).

You laugh as, once again, the baker purposefully trips and pretends to drop a gorgeous wedding cake and your mom’s heart rate drops. “You jerk,” she replies to the man who signs her paycheck. This is almost a daily occurrence.

 

IMG_0813Preheat oven to 350F.

Carrot Cake Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Dash of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups carrots, grated
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple (with juice)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)

Place dry ingredients into mixer and mix until stirred together. Stop mixer and add remaining ingredients. Mix well.

Butter and then flour 2 8-inch pans or one 9X13 pan. Pour batter into pans (or pan).

Bake for 45-55 minutes. Cake is done when fork comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool completely. If baking in 9X13, just wait for cake to cool completely, make half a batch of frosting, frost top of cake, and serve out of pan.

If making 2 8-inch cakes for a layered cake, make complete recipe of frosting. Wrap each cake in plastic wrap and freeze overnight or for a few hours then place on platter and frost. The easiest way for beginners to frost a cake is to use a decorating bag with a large tip to decorate. This alleviates crumbs that can happen when spreading with a spatula. Freezing your cakes before frosting also helps cut down the cakes and creates a moister cake.

 

Frosting Ingredients

  • 8 ounces unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar
  • Sea salt (to taste – this might take up to a teaspoon)
  • Few drops of water if needed

Mix frosting ingredients together on lowest setting until powdered sugar is combined. Turn up speed and whip for about 8-10 minutes. If frosting is too sweet, it needs more salt.

And then you grow up and you realize. Cake is community. And you start a food blog. Cuz everyone deserves to have a community of happiness. And cake. And jerks. And happiness.

 

Emergency Chocolate Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

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I am so proud of my kids. Most importantly, I’m proud of who they have worked hard to become. But I am also proud of their accomplishments. There are too many to list; but, last night I received a typical call from Dotter getting ready to accomplish something once again. It went something like this…

5:38pm call: “Hi, Mom. I’m at the grocery store…”

And, that’s when I know I need to put my chef hat on to answer cooking or baking questions. There will be messaging, grocery lists, and mom tips involved. Dotter uses this website just like you do except, you know, she has the hotline number. This week she was making cupcakes for some nurses. We got her all set and then the updates came…

8:53pm message: “Really cute!”

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10:03pm message: #winning

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And little boxes all dolled up. I’m beaming with pride.

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10:13pm message: “I’m so proud of myself! I’m giddy!”

If she’s anything like her momma, I’m guessing there was dancing and bouncing and clapping involved. We’re a little Tiggerish that way. One day perhaps she, too, will break her dotter’s bed while sharing good news. I love her.

Cake Ingredients

Makes 16 regular-size cupcakes.

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup of Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Give them a couple of spins with the mixer so they are well combined.

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup really hot water

Mix until combined well. Bake 20 minutes or until cake bounces back when touch or until fork comes out clean. Try not to over bake, or cupcakes will be dry.

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 – 4 oz pkg cream cheese, room temperture
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • Sea salt to taste – this make a huge difference in the flavor
  • Teenie tiny bit of water at a time if needed

Start mixer on low until ingredients are combined then whip ingredients together. Add a wee bit of water only if needed.

You can use 1/4 or 1/2 batch of this fondant for decorations.

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11:33am message: “They loved them! They couldn’t believe that I made them… One nurse said “Get out of town!”

My kids… they make my heart so very happy. And their talents? Well, that’s just the frosting on top.

 

Southwest Salad Recipe

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I’ve had some fantastic Southwest salads and I’ve had some horrible ones. One restaurant served theirs covered in a vinaigrette – heavy on the vinegar. I couldn’t eat it. I puckered up, pecked at it like an Old Hen would, cut my losses, and left the place $18 poorer and pretty darn hungry.

So, because I love you, I present thee with a Southwest Salad which will be more pleasing than a prissy plate of lettuce & vinegar every single time.

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Makes two large salads or 4 medium salads.

Ingredients

  • 1 small can black beans
  • 1 recipe of Southwest Rub
  • 2 chicken breasts, butterfly cut in half
  • 1 cup Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped into about 1-inch squares
  • 1 ear corn on the cob
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalepeno, minced
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, diced fine
  • 8-10 stalks cilantro, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons grated cheddar
  • 4 tablespoons grated pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • Tri-color tortilla strips (or regular tortilla chips will do)

Rinse black beans well and place in saucepan in water. Boil for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

Turn on grill (or oven to 350F. Prepare Southwest Rub and set aside. Butterfly cut chicken breasts and coat with Southwest Rub. Allow chicken to sit for about 20 minutes then grill until middle of thickest part reaches 165F.

It is wise to invest in a good meat thermometer to be sure any meats you cook reach their safe temperature for eating. 

Place corn cob in a pot of boiling water. Leave in water for three minutes and then place in a bowl of ice cold water for a few minutes. After corn is cool enough to handle, cut corn off of cob.

Place lettuce on plates. Top each plate of lettuce with corn, tomatoes, bell peppers, black olives, red onion, cilantro, cheddar and pepper jack cheese.

Slice chicken at a slant for an extra stylish look and place on top of salad.

Drizzle with desired amount of ranch dressing.

Dice avocado right before serving (so it won’t brown). If preparing in advance for a crowd, you can drizzle and toss avocado with fresh lime juice. Keep everything except chicken refrigerated until ready to use.

Decorate sides of each plate with tortilla strips and a couple of lime wedges. Lime wedges are ever so delightful squeezed upon your salad.

Budget-friendly, fresh, flavorful, and comforting. Eating out (on the patio) is so very perfect.

 

Southwest Rub Recipe

One has not lived until one has entered into a simple shop at Pike Place Market in Seattle and asked an old Mexican woman which spices to buy if one were to want to cook authentic Mexican food. How she sold me a basket full of spices without speaking a single word of English I will never know but I’m glad she did.

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Will coat about 4 chicken thighs or 2 butterflied chicken breasts.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground paprika molido (regular paprika is also fine if you don’t have this)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (can be halved if you prefer your seasoning less spicey)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Coat chicken well with rub. Allow to sit for about 20-30 minutes. Brush off excess rub. Grill as usual. For added zing, drizzle fresh lime juice over chicken while it grills.

Make sure with a meat thermometer that the inside temperature at the thickest part of chicken reaches 165F. Less than 165F will make your family sick. Too far over 165F will make chicken dry. For these reasons, it’s good to watch it very closely. If using a different meat than poultry, just look up the safety temperature for that meat. 

This recipe can be baked at 350F in the oven for about 20 minutes as well. Just make sure middle of chicken pieces reach 165F.

Thank you, lovely Mexican lady. Your smile and your wordless sales abilities have changed my world.

 

10 Television Shows Featuring Bed & Breakfasts

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It is no coincidence my home was turned into a B&B. I blame Gilmore Girls. It went off the air in 2007. I spent 2008 getting ready. And opened up my gorgeous wooden doors to guests in 2009. My kids and I watched every single episode and decided this was the life we wanted. Our journey as innkeepers allowed us to travel through the stories of our guests as we opened our doors to many lovely people and hilarious moments. We were not disappointed by our real-life sitcom.

1. Newhart

An American classic. No one can deliver a line like Bob. Well, except maybe Larry… “Hi, I’m Larry, this is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl.”

2. The Suite Life of Zack and Cody

Disney delivered once again with this quirky, fun show for kids.

3. Edge of Heaven

Edge of Heaven didn’t last long because of tough competition causing low ratings but if you love shows about B&Bs, you can find the six episodes online which aired before their doors quickly closed.

4. Fawlty Towers

And in Great Britain, Fawlty Towers had audiences cackling so hard that America had to get in on the fun.  I still have to pause and watch if I happen to land on the reruns.

5. Whoopi

You may not know Whoopi ran a B&B during primetime. Yep, she did but this show about a one-hit wonder gone B&B owner in New York was cancelled, ironically, after one year.

6. All At Sea

All at Sea is the British alternative to The Suite Life of Zack and Cody – colorful and quirky.

7. Benidorm

This series started in 2007 and is still in production. The British really know how to take advantage of the natural comedy innkeepers experience while being on the front lines of the travel industry.

8. Portlandia

I know. I know. Portlandia isn’t based in a B&B but how could I ignore this perfect skit about one? Portlandia is all the best of hipster life in one hilarious show.

9. Three in a Bed

What list of TV shows these days would be complete without a reality show? Or two? Or three… in a bed?

Four in a Bed

Well, heck, why not four?

10. Gilmore Girls

And, I have saved the very best for last. I discovered Gilmore Girls right after their sixth season had come to an end. My kids and I did nothing for one entire week except the basics and we watched every episode from season one to season five. I later found seasons six and seven on sale and we finished them all. In this show Melissa McCarthy plays my kitchen equivalent, Sookie. We’re super excited to hear the news that there will soon be four more episodes on Netflix and will include our beloved Sookie.

If a show you know of comes to mind, please list them in the comments so everyone can enjoy them too.

 

Eggs Benedict Recipe

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I’m on a kick lately. Back to basics… the traditional, if you will. The basics are good for the soul. Here are some others I’ve been in touch with lately:

  • Take road trips.
  • Be happy.
  • Be kind.
  • Be silly.
  • Keep learning.

There’s something about going back to the basics that refreshes the soul. Sometimes we get too fancy, too complicated, too side-tracked. And then there’s Eggs Benedict – classy and uncomplicated.

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Two servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 English muffins, toasted
  • Butter
  • 4 pieces of Canadian bacon (or several slices of Black Forest ham)
  • 4 poached eggs
  • 1 recipe of hollandaise sauce
  • 1 green onion, diced (optional)

Toast English muffins and butter them. Place each on a plate.

Fry Canadian bacon or ham until hot. Place on English muffins.

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Poach four eggs. The best way to do this is to heat water in saucepan on high until it starts to boil. Place a paper towel on a plate and set aside. Turn heat down to medium high. Stir until water forms into a circler rotation in pan. Crack an egg open and drop into middle of pan. Allow to cook for about 4 minutes.  Remove egg from water with slotted spoon and place on plate. Continue until all four eggs are cooked. Eggs will look imperfect and this is perfect.

If you’re not a fan of the runny yolk and like an over-hard egg, you can cook them for about 8-9 minutes. This isn’t traditional, but you should enjoy your eggs the way you like them. You can also use fried eggs or scrambled eggs. This dish is delightful either way. 

Make hollandaise sauce and pour over your eggs. Oh, sweet Baby Jesus.

She may seem prissy and hard to figure out, sure, but she is so much more than that. She is comforting. She is saucy. And she is empowering. And, once you realize you can make the basics, you can do anything.

 

 
© Deanna Morauski 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016