Thursday, March 18, 2010

What's for breakfast?

Here at our house we are committed to using as many locally produced ingredients as possible. It's is easier than you might think, really, because our region is abundant with small, family-owned farms that promise free-range, Farmer's Pledge, or Certified Organic wares. We enjoy the challenge of creating tasty items that guests will find unique and memorable.

Depending on the day of the week, breakfast is either four courses (weekends) or serve-yourself continental style (weekdays). Our weekend breakfast features fresh fruit, local yogurt, a savory entree, and dessert (yes! dessert for breakfast!). Many venues in the area will offer strawberries, cherries, currants, apples, pears, plums, berries and a few surprises. During blueberry season, we head down the road and load up our buckets with the best blueberries around. We find freshly picked berries to need little enhancement, and so we feature them drizzled with blackberry sauce or with a dollop of whipped cream. When fruit is in abundance, jam making takes over the kitchen, providing the fresh taste of summer for us and our guests all year round.
Our property, too, provides a limited yet useful source of fruit, herbs, and flowers for the breakfast table. I'm an early riser, so each morning I put on a pot of coffee and step outside for snippets of posies and herbs while the birds are chirping and the guests are still asleep.

Quite often guests will rave about the yogurt, which is produced about 2 miles down the road. Jersey cow milk, which has a higher fat content than Holstein, gives it a smooth and creamy texture. We add a topping of granola or grapenuts from the local market and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. Yum.

Breakfast entrees are savory, rather than sweet, and feature happy hen brown eggs with yolks the color of ripe apricots. We are always on the lookout for flexible recipes we can adjust according to the produce available, but our vegetable custards, herb crepes stuffed with spinach and feta, bacon-onion tarts, and shirred eggs have become our signature dishes.  No-nitrate bacon, Canadian style or thick-sliced from, share the plate along side goat cheese (chevre) medallions or straw potato cakes, both golden brown and crunchy.  The feta and the chevre come from Lively Run Goat Dairy in Interlaken. This small farm, and others in the area, are making wonderful, small-batch cheeses rich with freshness and aged to perfect sharpness. We hear the cheese makers may be developing a Cheese Trail. Wouldn't that be cool? We think it could be the next big thing in the Finger Lakes.
Last, but certainly not the least, is dessert. We keep it fresh and seasonal. Strawberry cake, blueberry cobbler, buttery little tarts and pies...we love serving this part of breakfast. This time of year, while fruit availability is lean, we'll be baking local maple syrup into a walnut pound cake glazed with more maple syrup. Our testers (friends, neighbors, etc) gave us a thumb's up on this new recipe.

Weekday breakfasts are just as substantial and fresh but with a few changes. Self-paced and casual, guests enjoy toasted home-made English muffins and jam, fresh fruit of the season, and muffins or sweet cakes.  Our lemon pound cake with its rich, dense crumb is one of our favorites for weekday guests.

Whether guests will be wine tasting, hiking, or traveling to their next destination, our breakfasts will fortify their journeys and sustain them until dinner. Often is the case, however, where they go no further than the front porch, sitting down and listening to the birds, enjoying the garden, or catching a cat-nap. We hope they are satisfied enough to wonder "What's for breakfast....tomorrow?"


  1. Hi, I saw you registered at my blog, Finger Lakes Notes, and was delighted to learn you have a B & B. Enjoying your blog, our B & B will be small as well, we have only three rooms, for us it is more about lifestyle change.

    Anyway, nice to see you -- I have added you to my blogroll, and will look forward to meeting you at some future point. We are gearing up for an "open house" event, and will let you know when it is officially on schedule!



  2. Laurel..thanks for reading, and we look forward to your open house!