You already know that Cape May is a great town for dining out, but this week, it’s even better.
It’s Cape May Restaurant Week June 2 through 9, and you can get three course prix fixe meals at some of Cape May’s best restaurants for $35 . These are outstanding places like the Cajun, Creole and Caribbean 410 Bank Street – where $35 is a small part of their regular price. Or you can dine at the delicious Merion Inn, which is one of my favorites.
Think of dining at Union Park. It’s one of Cape May’s most elegant places – with a wide variety of seafood as well as short ribs and steak. I remember once dining at Union Park and all the plates arrived under silver domes, and were revealed at once. I’m a sucker for that kind of presentation.
Another great choice is Tisha’s on the Washington Street Mall. They have a broad menu of seafood, steaks, and chicken, and they really know how to cook.
More good news! Leith Hall has a Restaurant Week Special to encourage you to visit, and we look forward to seeing you again.
I made this teatime treat this past weekend and four different guests asked for the recipe. I’m happy to share it.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)
350 agrees F.
line a 9×13 baking pan with cooking parchment
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at aa time. Mix all of the dry ingredients together and add to butter mixture in parts, alternating with the sour cream and vanilla. Turn about half of the batter into the baking pan.
I make these blueberry muffins for my guests whenever I make scrambled eggs with cream cheese and dill. When I can get them, I use wild blueberries from Wyman’s. Otherwise, I use fresh or frozen cultivated blueberries.
2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbs. Baking powder
½ tsp. Salt
½ cup sugar
¼ cup melted butter
1 tsp. Lemon extract
1 cup blueberries
Beat the egg, then beat in the milk, butter, lemon extract. Mix the flour and baking powder, salt, and sugar. Mix the dry into the wet ingredients util incorporated but not more. Mix in the blueberries. Portion into paper lined and cooking-sprayed muffin cups. Bake at 375 F. for 10 minutes on top shelf, then 10 minutes on bottom shelf. They should spring back when fully baked. If they don’t spring back, leave them in the turned-off oven for 3 to 5 minutes to firm up.
This general recipe also works for any other kind of muffins. Leave out the lemon extract and blueberries and replace with vanilla paste and chocolate chips for chocolate chip muffins. Or replace with orange extract and dried cranberries, or replace the sugar with light brown sugar, the lemon with vanilla, and the fruit with rum soaked raisins for rum-raisin muffins. Or substitute coconut extract and shredded sweetened coconut. Vanilla, a finely chopped apple and cinnamon will make apple muffins.
Bonnie stayed with us last weekend and had these lemon squares for teatime. I always serve something chocolate and something non-chocolate at teatime. Otherwise the guests rebel.
These are very easy to make. You could also use two or three packages of cream cheese, which will make lemon flavored cheesecake. You can sprinkle the squares with powdered sugar to serve, or you could decorate them with candied violets or rose petals.
preheat oven to 350 F.
1 ½ sticks (¾ cup) unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ cups flour
Mix the crust ingredients together and turn into an 8”x8” or 9’x9′ metal baking pan, lined with cooking parchment. Press the crumbs into an even crust on the bottom of the pan. A small measuring cup works well for this.
1 8 oz. Package of cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup flour
2/3 cup Meyer lemon juice or regular lemon juice.
Grated zest of ½ lemon
Beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer, scraping the sides regularly, until the cream cheese is soft and smooth. Beat in eggs, ,one at a time, beating well after each addition, to avoid lumps. Then beat in all of the other ingredients and pour the mixture on top of the crust. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until just colored around the edges. Do not brown.
Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate ’till cold. Loosen the cooking parchment. Turn the cake onto a cutting board, peel off the cooking parchment, then turn again onto a serving plate,
Cut into squares with a small knife dipped into water between cuts.
This Spring in Cape May there are so many things going on that the festivals overlap and you’ll be dizzy with the choices. Three Cape May organizations are presenting festivals – all running concurrently. The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts puts on Spring Festival with dozens of tours and events. Among my favorites (and my guest’s’ favorites) is the
CHOCOLATE LOVER’S FEAST
It’s a bountiful feast for chocolate lovers! Enjoy seven plated courses of delicious chocolate desserts at the Blue Rose Inn, 653 Washington St., and hear how each was created from the chef who prepared it. This is a limited event so reserve early.
If food is your interest, check out Chef Poon’s presentation. He is a hoot and often stays with us at Leith Hall bed and breakfast.
Saturday, May 19
Slicing & Dicing:
Watermelons and More
with Master Chef Joseph Poon
Chef Poon will be presenting his fun, informative, high energy food demonstrations at the Carriage House Cafe & Tearoom, including information on healthy eating and carving and sculpture demonstrations. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Chef Poon has appeared on the Food Network along with local and national television shows including the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Ellen DeGeneres Show and PBS’ Christina Cooks.
For straight silliness, view the Edwardian naughtiness at Elaine’s
with The Salty Sirens as The Fleur de Fantaisie
Thursday, Friday & Saturday, May 17, 18 & 19: 8pm (cocktails at 6:30pm)
Elaine’s Cape May, 513 Lafayette St.
Enjoy a variety of entertainment when The Salty Sirens take on a French twist. Let yourself get swept away for a night of sensual delights and hysterical whimsy while we daydream of a Parisian enchanted forest at springtime. Flirt with nature in bloom… la nature en fleurs! You’ll have a fun-filled trip back in time to a period when entertainment was theatrical, sassy, and teased the imagination. Experience this modern take on classic burlesque, rooted in Victorian vaudeville. Food and beverages available for purchase.
Limited event; advance purchase recommended Purchase tickets online or at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth at Ocean Street
This recipe is for Jackie. I serve these little chocolate cakes for teatime, using two silicone baking pans that make small straight-sided cakes. It would work as well in cupcake pans, or in two nine-inch cake pans, or in a Bundt pan. I like to soak cakes in a little simple syrup (one third cup sugar and one third cup water, brought to a boil plus a little vanilla) but it isn’t necessary.
Chocolate Cakes for Tea
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
¾ cup Dutch process cocoa (I use Droste’s or Van Houten)
2 tsp. Baking powder
1 ½ tsp. Baking soda
½ tsp. Salt
1 tsp espresso powder or coffee extract
1 cup milk
½ cup canola oil
1 Tbs. Vanilla extract
1 cup water.
Mix all the dry ingredients together. Beat the eggs, milk, oil, vanilla extract together. Beat the flour mixture into the liquid mixture. Beat in the water. Pour into greased pans. (greased and floured if not using silicone pans).
Bake 30-35 minutes for 9” layers, or about 12 minutes for cupcakes or mini-cakes, about 40 minutes for a bundt pan. I test them before the estimated time. Cake will spring back when touched if it is done.
I top each little cake with chocolate icing made of 1/3 cup butter melted with 1 cup of bittersweet chocolate.
I think that it’s the Leith family motto – There’s No Such Thing As Too Much Chocolate. This year, it can be your motto too. The pastry chefs at one of Cape May’s finest restaurants, The Blue Rose, will prepare seven plated courses of chocolate desserts. Come visit us at Leith Hall bed and breakfast in Cape May and enjoy this special event, offered three times this Fall. The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts is offering this feast in cooperation with The Blue Rose
This recipe is for Jiheon. We had cream puffs for teatime yesterday. I filled them with sweetened whipped cream and iced them with very strong bittersweet chocolate icing. This paté à choux recipe is the simplest one I’ve ever seen, and it works perfectly.
1 cup water 1 stick (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter 1 cup flour pinch salt 1 heaping Tbs. Sugar 4 eggs
Heat the water, butter, salt and sugar in a small saucepan until the butter melts. Don’t keep boiling the water as this will change the amount. Take the saucepan off the fire and dump in the flour. Mix vigorously with a whisk until the flour is incorporated. Put back on the fire and continue mixing for a minute. The dough will stick together a little and leave the sides of the pot. Take off the fire and dump into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Beat. Then beat in one egg. Then a second. Then a third. If the batter falls from the beaters when you lift them, you’re done. If it sticks, beat in the fourth egg.
Transfer to a pastry bag and pipe onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Or, use a large spoon to make even size mounds. Preheated 425 F. oven. Bake for ten minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 F. and bake for twenty minutes more. The cream puffs should be brown rather than tan.
Hints- 1 -When you make the mounds of batter, don’t leave little points on top, as these will burn before the cream puffs are crisp. 2 – When you take the cream puffs out of the oven, pierce each one on the side to let the steam escape so they don’t get soggy. You can also return them to the turned-off oven for a few minutes to crisp them. 3 – You can make them without an electric mixer by beating in the eggs, one at a time, with a whisk.
For the whipped cream, I used a cup of heavy whipping cream and a quarter cup of confectioner’s powdered sugar. Confectioner’s sugar has a little bit of cornstarch in it which helps stabilize the whipped cream. When it is whipped, add a teaspoon of the best vanilla extract you can find. I use vanilla bean paste which has bits of vanilla seed in it. I fill them using a pastry bag fitted with a small pastry tube, but you can use a plastic zip-lock bag in a pinch, or even cut them and use a small teaspoon to fill them.
Cape May’s annual Spring Festival is next week – and this year there are lots of spectacular activities. There will be the Spring Festival Crafts and Collectibles show, as well as several tours like Cape May After Dark, Chocolate Tasting Tour, and Historic Haunts Combo Tour.
The Self-guided Winery and Brewery Tour and the Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery Tour, and the Winery Cellar Tour and Tasting may all sound like the same thing, but are really three very distinct experiences – at different wineries and with different presentations. You can link to the Mid-Atlantic Center’s website to get details and sign up for activities.
My favorite part of this year’s Spring Festival is an exhibit of paintings by Alice Steer Wilson, who was a great painter who lived in Cape May. Her watercolors were extraordinary and in the same league as Winslow Homer’s or John Singer Sargent’s.
Ami, in my real estate office (Coastline Realty) was just asked to bring a sugar-free dessert to a Christmas party. I suggested cheesecake, since it doesn’t depend on sugar for its appeal (it depends on butterfat) nor for its texture. This is a pretty standard New York style cheesecake – since I’m one of the few New Yorkers in Cape May – except that it has a Pasta Frolla crust. I’ve just discovered Monkfruit sweetner as an alternative to sugar. It doesn’t have the spinach-y taste of Stevia. We can buy it locally as Monkfruit in the Raw.
1 ½ cups flour
1 stick unsalted butter
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
½ tsp orange or lemon extract.
Chip the butter into the flour. Add the salt, egg and extract. Knead together to make a dough. Roll or press out the dough to line a 9” springform pan.
Alternatively, buy a pre-made frozen pie crust and thaw, then press into a 9” springform pan.
4 8oz. packages of cream cheese
1 cup Monkfruit in the Raw sweetener
¾ cup milk
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
Beat cream cheese in a mixer bowl. Add eggs, one at a time and beat in. Add all of the other ingredients. Pour into the crust and bake for 1 hour at 350 F. Leave in the turned off oven for hours afterward, then refrigerate.
Of course, if you’d prefer augured version, just substitute sugar for the Monkfruit. In other Cape May news, there’s only one more chance for a Christmas Candlelight Tour this year. December 27th is the date. Come and stay with us at Leith Hall bed and breakfast.