Friday, February 10, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day.....I'm Back

Hi everyone. Joe here. After a tough recuperation period I am back in the saddle and good as new. The knee replacement surgery went better than expected and I am now almost totally back to normal and running around like crazy. Bill and I have been feverishly working on the addition and have gotten the new floors in and are just getting ready to put the finishing touches on with the trim. Finally!

Things are going great at the Inn. We have been doing lots over the winter with upkeep and all. Can't wait to put in the garden this year. This summer the garden will be filled with organic veggies and herbs to use in our breakfast dishes. We are also up to our eyeballs in fresh eggs. The chickens are laying like crazy and so are the ducks. We only serve the chicken eggs but we will definitely offer duck and goose eggs to our guests if they so request. Bill loves making himself a soft boiled goose egg in the morning. One egg is enough to fill you up. So rich.

Well, Valentine's Day is upon us again. (Didn't we just celebrate Christmas last week?) Hope that you and the ones you love will have a beautiful day celebrating. I have a great recipe for you all that will be great dessert for your loved ones and kids alike. But that comes later on.

Lots going on in the area these next few weeks. Besides the wineries and the restaurants, there is lots to do in Warwick and the surrounding towns.

On the weekend of Feb 17-19 Greenwood Lake is celebrating their 14th Annual Winter Carnival.

There will be wine tasting and a torch lighting ceremony. They will have a chili cook off and a spaghetti eating contest. Other events include an outdoor BBQ, tug of war, bowling and a frozen T-shirt contest. Parking and admission is free and a shuttle will be provided. Call the Chamber of Commerce for further details.

Also in February, from the Most Talked-About Restaurants & Wineries to the Speciality Shops and Inns, Experience it all in the Warwick Valley. Take advantage of the Second Annual Winter Dining Event! During the weeks of February 22 to March 8, special discounts will be available--enjoy a three-course pre-fixe lunch for $15, a three-course pre-fixe dinner for $25, or a specially discounted menu in select eateries. Also inlcuded are select Inns, Merchants, and Wineries!

Ok, now for that recipe I promised you. My daughter made this for me and I really could have eaten the whole thing.

Chocolate Chip Walnut Poundcake

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
a 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. and butter and flour a 3-quart bundt pan, knocking out excess flour.
In a bowl whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda.
In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, and beat in sour cream and vanilla until combined well. With mixer on low speed gradually beat in flour mixture until just combined.
Pour about half of batter into prepared pan and sprinkle about half of chocolate chips and walnuts over batter. Pour remaining batter over walnut mixture, spreading evenly, and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips and walnuts. Bake cake in middle of oven 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean, and cool in pan on a rack 1 hour. Invert cake onto rack and cool completely.

Now for the really decadent part. And I added this part on. I am soooo bad sometimes. Drizzle a chocolate ganache over the whole cake after you have placed it on a cake plate. The recipe follows.

Chocolate Ganache

8 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped or mini chips, 1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter, 1 cup heavy or whipping cream
In a saucepan, heat cream slowly for about 4 minutes until boiling (do not stir).
Meanwhile, have chocolate and butter ready in a metal or Pyrex bowl. When cream begins to bubble and climb the sides of the saucepan, pour it over the chocolate in the bowl. Again, do not stir. Let the chocolate soften.
After 2 or 3 minutes, whisk or beat the softened chocolate until completely melted and smooth.
If chocolate has not melted, place over a saucepan of boiling water or in the microwave for a few seconds (glass bowl only) and whisk til smooth.
You can use this to frost cakes and cupcakes or for dipping strawberries, or as a topping for ice cream or other desserts.

With the ganache this makes this the perfect Valentine's Day dessert. As a matter of fact, I am making it again for the guests next week. Let me know how yours turns out.

Well folks. I am so glad to be back in action and Bill and I are looking so forward to you coming to visit. Have a wonderful Valentine's Day and hope to see you soon.