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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 and her daughter (affectionately known as Dotter) Brittany's food truck plans as seen on New Day Northwest - The Old Hen on Tour coming soon! Here's to starting from scratch. Talking about The Old Hen online? Our hashtag is #theoldhen . Thank you so much for supporting us!

Fresh Roasted (or Grilled) Restaurant Salsa Recipe

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I haven’t met a soul yet who can resist Mexican restaurant salsa and chips. We get full before our meal comes. Amirite?

How spiffy would it be to make your own salsa at home and have the power of making your salsa as mild or spicy as you like? How awesome would it be to have the power to say you’ll skip the 2,794-calorie burrito platter and just get full on the chips & salsa freebies?

Your answer is here. Let’s salsa.

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If oven-roasting, preheat oven to 350F. If grilling, turn grill on medium-high.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 medium tomatoes, stemmed & cut in quarters (I like vine-ripened but fresh outta the garden are for sure the best)
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into quarters 1-3 jalepeno peppers, stemmed & cut into quarters (removing seeds is optional)
  • 4 garlic cloves, remove peels after roasting
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional, great addition when using out-of-season tomatoes)
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 3 green onions, roots removed then diced
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, leaves only

Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over a half sheet pan that has sides. Place tomatoes, onion, peppers, and garlic cloves on pan. Drizzle with a couple more tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Place pan in oven for about 20 minutes or until sizzling. If grilling, place larger items on grill and turn occasionally until charred on outside edges. Place smaller items in a cast iron pan drizzled with olive oil to heat up.

Place all ingredients into a large food processor and pulse until the texture of restaurant salsa as pictured above. Sample with a tortilla chip to be sure the flavoring is right and that there is enough salt to bring out all the gorgeous flavors of your salsa.

Now that you’ve saved 2,794 calories, let’s do margaritas, you zesty little thing.

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Red Wine, Steak, and Mushroom Risotto

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I’m going to be honest with you. I’m not a huge fan of eating mushrooms – it’s a texture thing. But, you absolutely cannot beat the flavor they add to dishes… especially saucy ones. If you can relate, please promise me you will chop some ‘shrooms up real fine and use them. I promise in return you will never regret it.

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound stir fry beef, cut into about 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup sliced or diced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 2-3 tablespoons beef Better than Bouillon
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
  • 4-5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper
  • Sour Cream (optional, for topping)

To prepare for all that is holy and lovely, pull all ingredients together ahead of time. Cut onion and mushroom and heat olive oil on medium-high in a somewhat deep frying pan.

Place olive oil into large frying pan over high heat. After oil is hot, fry beef until browned. Set aside.

In same pan, saute mushrooms until softened and a beautiful brown. Using a straining utensil, remove mushrooms from pan and set aside.

Add more olive oil if needed. Place chopped onions into oil. Cook until translucent and caramelized. They will begin to brown. Add minced garlic. Then add Arborio rice and stir until rice is translucent around the edges yet white in the center.

Finally, the finicky side of risotto… the babysitting.

Pour red wine & a cup of beef broth into risotto. Stir and cook on medium heat until wine is nearly all absorbed by the rice.

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This recipe is brought to you by the word “Stir”. Don’t even think of walking away. I love this spoon. It is a hand-carved reminder that I am loved. If someone can take the time to hand-carve a beautiful spoon for me, I can certainly stand here and hand-stir my risotto.

Continue to cook and add broth in this same fashion – one cup at a time about every 5 minutes – until broth is gone but, more importantly, until risotto is al dente (not mushy and not crunchy). The dish should be a little creamy. Stir in 2-3 tablespoons beef Better than Bouillon to your liking.

Stir in cooked mushrooms, butter, parmesan cheese, basil, and beef. Add salt & pepper last since you can’t be sure how much salt you will need until after the parmesan has been added.  If desired, sprinkled freshly grated parmesan over the top and perhaps some freshly chopped basil.

Keep trying new things, brave souls. Keep giving hand-made gifts that cannot be found on Amazon. Keep stirring up lovely things. Keep being saucy.

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Easy Tomato and Cucumber Salad

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This super dooper easy salad option flew off my radar for years. In fact, this very post has been a draft in my reserves waiting for me to publish since 2012. And then I saw how gorgeous it was again and here we are.

If you dislike Miracle Whip, please avert your precious eyes. If you must, you can replace the Miracle Whip with regular mayonnaise but, of course, it will have a savory flavor rather than sweet.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 medium vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • 3/4 cup Miracle Whip
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Nothing terribly fancy to see here but a fun, tasty (and don’t forget easy) option to remember when your garden blossoms this year.

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7 Unique Eats in the Snoqualmie Valley

The Snoqualmie Valley is a fascinating northwest wonderland but I must admit that I did not fully realize all the amazing things to see, do, and, perhaps most importantly, taste – that is, until I opened a B&B (now closed). One of the most frequently asked questions I received as an innkeeper was, “Where’s the best place to eat?” Although there are far too many delicious places in the Snoqualmie Valley to list them all, here are seven of my favorites where your meal becomes an entirely unique experience.

Camlann Medieval Village

Step back into time, into 14th century rural England to be exact. Camlann Medieval Village in Carnation features in-character interpreters who have taken on roles of medieval persons living in a small village in the year 1376.  Camlann is dedicated to offering the public powerful personal experiences of history, including multiple learning and performing arts opportunities, built upon research of rural communities in 14th century England, to provide a deeper understanding of the relationship between those historical events and western society today. The Bors Hede Restaurant at Camlann is open year-round and there are special festivals through out the year such as the upcoming May Fests. Camlann is a perfect place for a unique and educational holiday experience. Keep up with the 14th century fun by following their Facebook page.
Euro Lounge Café

If you love coffee and you love crepes, you need to visit Euro Lounge Cafe. Sinisa and Cristina have brought their travels throughout Europe into each of their made-to-order, gorgeous crepes. Their recipe is nearly 100 years old and all of their ingredients are fresh. They have even added a gluten-free option to their menu; but, of course, they didn’t take this request lightly. Several recipes  were tried and only the best products were used to develop their gluten-free crepes.

While Euro’s crepes are unique enough to stand out on their own, the excellent and friendly service you’ll find here is what really knocks your socks off. Cristina and Sinisa put much love and care into everything they do. Even the decor of the restaurant is from 90% recycled items, including the “new” old, gorgeous wine bar which made it’s way from Bend, Oregon to North Bend, Washington. Be sure to say hi and ask them about their exciting new goals for the Euro Lounge when you stop in.

The Grange Café

The Grange Cafe offers a cozy and casual dining environment in downtown Duvall in the original Cherry Valley Grange Hall built in 1926.

Their menu features American classics prepared with local and mostly seasonal, organic ingredients. The house specialties include pasture finished pot roast and meatloaf, Beecher’s mac n’ cheese, “The Grangeburger”, homemade biscuits and gravy, organic bread pudding, local microbrews and wines along with a full bar.  The Grange is open six days a week (closed Mondays) serving lunch and dinner during the week and brunch and dinner on the weekend. There’s even a special area for children as well as outdoor dining during the good weather months and groups up to 30 people can be happily accommodated.

Did I mention they have a real pizza oven? This place supports local farmers and simply rocks.

Woodman Lodge

After visiting the Woodman Lodge several times, I finally sat down with the owner Peter La Haye to chat about his amazing restaurant. You may have seen their commercials on the Food Network but if you haven’t made your way out to Snoqualmie to check it out yet, please allow me to personally invite you to visit the Woodman now. No, really, right now. You’ll thank me.

The Woodmand Lodge is well-known their Cowboy Steak and All-You-Can-Eat Rib Nights but did you know they also serve elk, wild boar and buffalo? There is something for everyone on the menu and a lovely western bar which will take you back in time. This restored 1902 building which now boasts a sense of great food and joyful community thanks to renovator and owner Peter La Haye.

 

Outstanding in the Field Dinner at Full Circle Farm

Have you ever enjoyed a farm-to-table dinner in the middle of a gorgeous field at a table decorated in white linens with over a hundred other people? Yes, indeed. The Outstanding in the Field Dinners are a memory-maker and we are so very fortunate to have them in our very own northwest backyard once a year. Locations vary every summer so be sure to check out their website. A local chef cooks a perfect dinner and a Washington state winery delivers wine to the dinner table that perfectly pairs with each course.

Make new friends as the sun sets in all its beauty in the background of a most perfect dinner experience. Be sure to watch the website or Facebook page for the annual schedule for this one-of-a-kind experience.

Gianfranco Ristorante Italiano

Gianfranco Ristorante Italiano specializes in Southern Italian cuisine while using seasonal, local flavors to create crazy-delicious meals. The warm atmosphere and excellent wine selection will have you almost believing you are in Italy while you enjoy your authentic Italian meal. Gianfranco’s now has gluten free pizza and pasta available so everyone can still enjoy a taste of Italy.

Their expansive wine list features a large selection of Italian wines. Gianfranco’s also holds quarterly wine dinners featuring five courses of Italian food, paired with wine. The technique of food and wine pairing are explained and discussed while you enjoy this unique experience offered by their friendly team. Visit while hungry and visit soon.

 

Boxley’s (Update: Boxley’s is now closed.)

I’m giving one last nod to a Snoqualmie Valley favorite. Boxley’s will be setting their closing date soon but their music will live on so I recommend getting your reservations in soon and then following their Facebook page so you can watch for their continued music later.

Boxley’s has been named by Downbeat Magazine on their list of top jazz clubs in the world for the last 3 years. Boxley’s has made North Bend proud. They have live music every night (with an occasional exception for special events for the community).  Their roots go deep into the local community with their mentorship program designed to bring the generations of experienced jazz artists out to work with the brand new and future jazz artists. The Boxley Music Fund is a Non-Profit organization music membership program where members get access to a website with 100s of hours of music recorded live at Boxley’s.

In 2012, the first North Bend Jazz Walk to support the community at large and it was a huge success. Over 800 people come out for the festival and there was live jazz in six venues along North Bend Way. The Jazz Walk continues today and has opened doors to festivals in other cities as well. Although the restaurant is closing soon, the song will play on through this inspiring Snoqualmie Valley family. We wish them all the best!

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About Deanna McCaulley: Deanna’s love for baking and cooking began as she sat upon a baker’s stool as a little girl. Her love for people grew in the midst of church potlucks. She expresses her loves today creatively through speaking, writing for her food blog, and local & national television appearances. The Old Hen has hosted guests, including celebrities, at her award-winning inn, The Old Hen Bed & Breakfast in Snoqualmie Valley, Washington which was open from 2009 through 2014. Besides subscribing to these posts at theoldhen.com, you can also connect with The Old Hen on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

 

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Limoncello White Chocolate Cocktail

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My friends on the east coast are shoveling snow while I’m over here in the Northwest with my door open to let the sunshine pour inside. This calls for a drink that brings us all together. IMG_0146

Makes about 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated or finely chopped white chocolate
  • 1 cup limoncello (can use store bought or make your own in a few days time)
  • Whoop Cream (May I recommend the almond flavored whoop cream?)
  • Chopped almonds

In a double boiler (or a sturdy glass bowl that fits over a saucepan), place a little water in bottom pan. Place top pan over it. Heat slowly over medium heat. Pour heavy cream into pan and begin to heat. Whisk often to prevent burning. Add white chocolate and continue to whisk. Continue until white chocolate is fully melted.

Whisk in limoncello. Pour into mugs and top with whoop cream then chopped almonds.

Ahhhhh. I know, right? Winter and summer come together to create this dreamy springy cup of comfort. Bright and lemon-y yet cozy and comforting. Perfect to serve right before the sun goes down over your Seattle patio or while sitting in front of your fireplace in Boston this weekend.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

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Basic but not boring. Golden brown disks filled with dreamy chocolate nuggets. Childhood memories all in one perfectly baked cookie. Deliciousness that makes the whole household come to a complete halt almost as fast as homemade rolls or bacon.

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Preheat oven to 350F.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 T. vanilla extract (but I prefer vanilla paste)
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 2 T. milk
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Flour scooping tips

  1. Scoop lightly and generously, don’t shake flour down or try to get as much in the measuring cup as you can
  2. Use butterknife only for leveling top of flour

Cream butter and sugars together in mixing bowl. Add eggs, vanilla, salt, baking soda, and milk and combine well. Mix in flour. Gently but thoroughly stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

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Place a parchment paper upon a cookie sheet. Use an ice cream scoop to measure cookie dough. Place about 9 per pan with plenty of space in between for the great spread which shall happen – almost as exciting as the great rise of the dinner rolls or the dramatic, sizzling goodness of bacon.

Bake for about ten minutes or until a sexy, golden brown.

To mix things up, you can replace half the chocolate chips for butterscotch chips or peanut butter chips. For a full-on makeover, replace all the chocolate chips with white chocolate chips and the walnuts with chopped macadamia nuts.

Until tomorrow… I’m off to make some bacon and dinner rolls.

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Spinach Salad With Honey Mustard Dressing and Fried Onion Crisps Recipe

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Glory. glory. I didn’t think I could love spinach salad anymore than I do. And then I added homemade  crispy, sweet fried onion strips. And. my life was complete. And, the point of having salad in the first place became obsolete.

Here’s a recipe for about 4 people so that you, too, can enjoy this healthy unhealthy creation.

Ingredients 

Divide all ingredients between two – four dinner plates. Refreshing with a wee bit of sin. You’re welcome.

 

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Homemade Crispy Fried Onion Strips Recipe

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Crispy fried onions. If you only thought they came in a can or at a restaurant, please allow me to change your life. These are perfect as a side treat, on a barbecue pork sandwich, on burgers, or if you enjoy tricking yourself to eat healthier… upon salads.

Ingredients

  • 4 – 5 cups canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 large Walla Walla onion
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Sea salt

Heat oil in a heavy pan. Use a thermometer to bring temp up to 375F. Accomplishing this with a deep fryer is easier if you have one.

Place buttermilk into medium bowl.

Cut off ends of onion. Peel skins off onion. Cut in half down the middle. Slice onion into very, very thin slices. No. I mean, like, you know. Really, really thin. Place sliced onions into buttermilk.

Place flour, cayenne, & baking powder stir together.

Remove some onion strips from buttermilk and dip into flour mixture to coat. Carefully place in hot oil. Fry until dark golden brown.

When finished frying, remove onions from oil and place upon a plate on a folded paper towel to drain excess oil from onions.

Enjoy while hot.

 

 

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Homemade Honey Mustard Salad Dressing Recipe

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My first meeting with honey mustard dressing was at Scandia Bakery where I spent most of my teenage years. I sold doughnuts while listening to Scandinavian music by day and vacuumed floors while listening to Air Supply by night. We had a lunch counter which was very popular and one of the items I was brave enough to try was the spinach salad. It was a right of passage… a step towards growing up. Until then, I had thought I was a big deal for evolving from French dressing to ranch.

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Now, here I was. All grown up and eating spinach salad with dreamy honey mustard dressing. Of course, we all know you are truly grown up when you can enjoy blue cheese dressing and not lie about it, but I’ll save that for another day.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons regular mayonnaise
  • 5 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • Fresh-squeezed lemon juice to taste (a little more than a tablespoon)
  • Dash of sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well-combined. Taste to make sure everything is to your personal liking. Drizzle upon your favorite salad until we graduate to blue cheese.

 

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How to Cook Bacon For a Crowd

After discussing squashed squash, one can only assume it is appropriate to follow up with baking bacon. No?

While cooking breakfast for six people at a time at my inn plus a family of bacon snitchers, I was forced to figure out a way to cook bacon for up to a dozen people at a time. My answer to this very serious problem was to bake bacon in the oven.

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You will need a roasting pan with shallow sides so that your bacon can brown and not simply steam. Or, better yet, you can use a half sheet pan with sides which will also keep the excess grease in the pan.  No one needs a grease fire, after all. Preheat your oven to 350F then line thick-cut bacon in a row. If you choose regular-cut bacon, you’ll just want to watch your cook time closely because it will probably take less time to cook. A half sheet pan will fit about a dozen slices at a time.

Have you ever had a grease fire? I don’t mean to brag, but I have. If you throw water on a grease fire, it will multiply your fire. Never do this. A bunch of salt can help put a grease fire out. I always keep a large container of sea salt handy for cooking… or small grease fires. Once I had my self-cleaning setting on my oven and a fire broke out inside. Always learn how to stop clean-mode on your oven so you have the knowledge inside of you when you need it. I hadn’t. But, I did think to push the door closed as tight as I could and suffocated the oven fire. Take that, oven fire. I’m sure well-seasoned cooks know this stuff but figured I would take one fore the team and share this info for new cooks.

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You can bake a few pans at a time but will need to carefully rotate the pan locations so they bake evenly. I recommend turning bacon over half-way through baking time. Baking bacon usually takes about 30 minutes total.

If you are using one pan over and over again, be sure to pour the excess bacon grease into a container and set aside. Bacon grease is wonderful when kept in a mason jar in the refrigerator. Try stir fried rice or green beans or beef pieces fried in it. You’re welcome.

To be sure your bacon is done cooking, pull out a meat thermometer and make sure the temperature of the bacon reaches at least 145F.

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Place all bacon upon a few paper towels to drain excess grease. You could place it on a pretty platter, but let’s be honest. It’s never gonna make it there once the crowd smells the sizzling, bacon-y goodness.

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