Prepare to Feast

restaurants, Cape May, dining

Prepare to Feast in Cape May

This Spring, prepare to feast at some new restaurants in Cape May. We know that many of our guests come to visit primarily to eat well, and this year will see some changes in the Cape May Restaurant scene. I’ll set some of those changes out here, and update the restaurants part of the website soon.

First, Cucina Rosa is no more. Their space will be filled by another Italian restaurant called That’s Amore. So if the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie – That’s Amore will open in April. (I realize that if you are younger than I am, you won’t know that That’s Amore was a pop song in the 1950s)

Gecko’s is moving and changing, but not going away. You may know it from the location on Carpenter’s Street, right behind the mall and in front of SoMa Gallery. This April, it will be taking over the space formerly know as Higher Grounds, on Perry Street in West Cape May. It sounds like the menu will be a little less Mexican, but still feature several Southwestern items. I think that it will be more of a soup, salad, and sandwich restaurant, but I’m not sure. It will open in April and stay open all year.

The space formerly knows as Gecko’s will now be Yozu Sushi, which has been located in North Cape May for several years. They have a great reputation, and it will be nice to have a sushi restaurant so convenient to the Mall.

restaurants, dining, Cape May
restaurants, Cape May, dining

 

Purely as a scientific study, and for your sake, not mine, I’ll have to visit all of these this Spring and report back later. Or, come visit us this Spring and do your own taste-test and comment on this blog!

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Christmas Cheesecake – and it’s sugar-free!

cheesecake

Sugar-free Christmas Cheesecake

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.

 

CRUST

1 ½ cups flourcheesecake

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.

 

FILLING

4  8oz. packages of cream cheese

1 cup Monkfruit in the Raw sweetenercheesecake

¾ cup milk

4 eggs

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.

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Cape May B&B Pumpkin Apricot Cake

Cape May B&B

CAPE mAY B&BThis is another recipe for Millie and her family. We served this pumpkin apricot cake for teatime while she was here last week, and she asked for the recipe.  I always like desserts that include two ingredients that are similar colors but different flavors, like honeydew and green grapes, chocolate and coffee, and this pumpkin and apricot cake.

 

Cape May B&B Pumpkin Apricot Cake

3 1/2 c. all-purpose flourcAPE mAY B&B
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. each nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon
1 1/2 c. each granulated sugar and packed brown sugar
1 c. oil
2 c. canned pumpkin
4 eggs
2 cups dried apricots, cut up

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Add the sugars, mixing well.

Mix dry ingredients with the oil and pumpkin, stirring until well combined.

Cape May bed and breakfastAdd eggs, one at a time, blending thoroughly. Stir in apricots. Pour into 2 greased and floured bundt pans. (I use small-ish silicone pans)

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until cake springs back when prodded with your finger.. (I start testing after 35 minutes) Cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Place on wire rack to cool.

So come visit us at our Cape May B&B and have some of my teatime treats !Cape May b&b

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Chocolate Chunk Cookie recipe for Millie

Cape May b&b

This recipe is for Millie, She and her family had these cookies at teatime this past week.  I make these chocolate chunk cookies or cookie bars all the time. Sometimes, I vary them by using just white  chocolate, lemon extract,  and perhaps some pignoli, or some pistachio nuts. The dough is endlessly versatile. If you add a few tablespoons of water to the dough, it will rise and be cakier. If you add butter and bake it a little darker, it will be crisper.

Ingredients:Cape May b&b
2 1/’2 cups of all purpose flour
1 ¾ cups of sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt

½ cup powdered milk

1 stick, ¼ lb., unsalted butter, melted
1 egg.
¼ cup molasses
1 Tablespoon orange extract

½ cup 72% chocolate, chopped
½ cup 60% chocolate, chopped
½ cup white chocolate, chopped
(I don’t really measure the chocolate. I use Trader Joe’s Pound Plus 72% bars, Ghirardelli 60% cholcolate chips, and Ghirardelli white melting wafers

Cape May b&bMix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix the molasses and orange extract into the melted butter. Add the melted butter mixture and the egg to the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until you form an even dough. If the mixture is too crumbly, add a pat or two of soft butter.

Fold in chopped chocolates until just mixed. If you fold too much the chocolate will melt. (Not a tragedy)

Scoop (with a small scoop) onto parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake at 4oo F. for 9 minutes. Cool on sheets for 10 minutes then on cookie racks. You can also bake these by pressing the dough into a parchment-lined jelly roll pan (mine is the insulated kind), then sprinkling the chopped chocolate on top and baking the same way. Then cut into cookie bars after it has cooled for 10 minutes.Cape May b&b

You can decorate these cookies with random squiggles of chocolate by melting some 74% chocolate, and a little butter. Squeeze this out of a ziplock bag with the corner snipped.

An alternate way to get these cookies is to come stay with us at Leith Hall. Just give us a call or make a reservation online.

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Sherlock’s here? Oh no – Another murder !

Sherlock

Oh No, not again! Another murder in Victorian Cape May! Don’t worry – Sherlock Holmes is on the case.

sherlockThis November 7th  through 9th , there will be another adventure, another murder, another mystery. Friday night, there will be a dessert reception at The Inn of Cape May. Someone will die. Sherlock and Dr. Watson will begin their work. On Saturday, you can tour Cape May bed and breakfasts and search for clues to the mystery.  Saturday afternoon, 3:30 to 4:30 , the mystery will unfold further at the Rose Room in the Inn of Cape May.

Sunday lunch at the Inn of Cape May will precede the solution of the mystery. The best, the worst, theSherlock best dressed, etc. will all get prizes. Come stay with us at Leith Hall and buy the entire package through MAC (the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts) or just the parts that interest you most.sherlock

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Leith Hall Mexican Wedding Cake

Cape May bed and breakfast

 

We recently had two sisters as guests, Phoebe and Joann, who were a delight to talk to. Phoebe told me about a cake that she makes that isCape May bed and breakfast incredibly simple to make, very rich, and pleases all of her guests. She was right. She knows her stuff. It’s called Mexican Wedding Cake, though I suspect that it has nothing to do with Mexican weddings. It is made with an entire large can of crushed pineapple, and it looks like the batter will produce a light-colored cake. But it doesn’t. It produces a very dark, caramelized cake that is delicious when served with cream cheese icing.

Our recent guests, Erik and Lisa, had some and Lisa asked for the recipe – so here it is. Thank you Phoebe and enjoy it Lisa.

Mexican Wedding Cake

2 c. all [purpose flour
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2Tbs. Baking soda
1 tsp. Vanilla extract (I use vanilla paste)Cape May Bed and Breakfast
1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple DO NOT DRAIN
1 cup. Roughly chopped pecans
9′ x13” metal baking pan, lined with parchment
350 F. 35 minutes

Cream Cheese frosting
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
8 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese
1 Tbs. Vanilla extract (I use vanilla paste)
3 cups powdered confectioner’s sugar

To make cake, mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl by hand. Turn into the baking dish and bake.Cape May bed and Breakfast

To make icing – Beat all of the ingredients in an electric mixer in order, starting with the butter. Beat until light and fluffy. Spread onto completely cooled cake.

Try making this cake youirsself. It’s incredibly simple! Or, come visit us at Leith Hall and I’ll make it.

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Food and Wine, and Beer and Bourbon

Food and Wine

Food and Wine, and Beer and Bourbon !

Food and WineJust when you thought the Cape May season was winding down, the middle of September brings the Cape May Food and Wine Celebration. There will be spectacular dinners  like the Farm to Table dinner presented by the Red Store in Cape May Point and a Bourbon Tasting Dinner at Alethea’s Restaurant in the Inn of Cape May on the beach in Cape May.  The Chocolate Lovers Feast will be at The Blue Rose, oneFood and Wine of Cape May’s newest and best restaurants.  There will also be special dinners, tours, and grape picking at three of Cape Mays vineyards – Hawk Haven, Natali, and Cape May Winery.

Just imagine your stay in Cape May. The ocean will still be warm, the weather will still be ideal. There will be lectures and demonstrations, tastings from many Cape May restaurants at Food and WineConvention Hall; winery, brewery, and bourbon events,  samples and tastings, and feasting galore. You can go to the website of the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts for a more complete list; and you can call or email us to make reservations.

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Dale’s Chocolate Peppermint Sandwich Cookies

chocolate peppermint cookies

I’ve had a recipe for peppermint cookies on this blog before, but these are different from the earlier ones. Our guest, Dale, wrotechocolate peppermint cookies and asked me to post the recipe for last week’s peppermint sandwich cookies. They look like Oreo’s on steroids, but taste much better.

I make them medium size, then make sandwich cookies with the quick peppermint butter-cream.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

1 ¼ cup (2 1/2 sticks) butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla paste
2 cups flour
¾ cup Dutch cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

chocolate peppermint cookiesBeat the butter and sugar together until they are fluffy. Beat in eggs and extracts. Mix the flour, cocoa, soda and salt together and beat the mixture into the butter mixture. Drop by tablespoons full onto parchment lined cookie sheets. I use a scoop to get exactly even size domes. Bake for 9 minutes at 350F. Cool on cookie sheets, then again on cookie racks.

For the peppermint cream.

1 stick (1/2 cup)  unsalted butter, creamed in an electric mixer

4 cups powdered sugar

1 Tablespoon peppermint extract

a few tablespoons of waterchocolate peppermint cookies

Cream the butter ’till light and fluffy. Beat in the extract and powdered sugar, one cup at a time. If the mixture doesn’t make frosting, beat in water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is creamy and frosting consistency. You could add a tiny drop of red food coloring if you want the frosting to be pink. I seldom do.

chocolate peppermint cookiesWhen the cookies are thoroughly cold, put a dollop of frosting on one, then top with another and twist the sandwich to distribute the filling evenly. Keep cool ’till serving.

Or, the other wy to get these cookies is to come visit us at Leith Hall for a romantic weekend away.

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Lemon Cheesecake for Joanne

Lemon Cheesecake at Leith Hall

lemon cheesecakeI often serve these for teatime. They started out as regular lemon bars. Then I thought, why not add cream cheese. Cream cheese is good in everything!  So now they are lemon cheesecake bars. Our guest Joanne liked them and asked for the recipe. So here it is –

Leith Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Start with a 13″x 9″ pan. I line all baking pans with parchment paper and spray them with Pam to make turning them out easier.  Melt 2 sticks of butter. Mix 2 cups of flour together with 1/2 cup of white sugar. Pour the melted butter on top of the flour mixture. Mix and cut the mixture with a rubber spatula and toss the crumbs into the baking pan. Press the dough into an even layer and bake for 10 minutes. Take out and let cool.lemon cheesecake

In an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl several times. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, making sure that the mixture is smooth before adding the next egg. Add the lemon juice and grated zest. Beat. Add the 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/4 cup  flour. Beat ’till smooth. Pour onto the crust and bake for about 23 minutes until the edges have a tiny bit of golden color and the filling is close to set. It will stiffen more as it cools.

lemonCool, then refrigerate for a few hours. I sprinkle it with powdered sugar when cold, then flip it onto a plastic cutting board, then flip back onto a serving dish. To cut into squares, keep a glass of water nearby and dip your knife into water between each cut. This will make the cuts clean and smooth. Or, even better, come stay at Leith Hall and let me make them for you.

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Crab and Craft Beer Festival

Aug. 9   3rd Annual Crab and  Craft Beer Festival

Craft beer and crab cakeThe Crab and Craft Beer Festival is one of the most popular events of the whole year.The Cape May Brewery and other suppliers add their best brews. Crab cakes and other shore delicacies are plentiful. There’s music and vendors, and fun. Come stay with us at Leith Hall and take advantage of this great day.

Visit the beautiful grounds of the Physick Estate and experience  one of New Jersey’s Top FiveCraft beer and crab festival Summer Festivals! This all-day festival features local craft beers to wash down favorite summer picnic foods — including steamed crabs, crab cakes, steamed shrimp, potato salad and more. Enjoy live music all day on the outdoor stage. Have fun with jugglers and acrobats, crafts vendors, a farmers’ market and more. Craft beer and crab festivalAdmission to the grounds is free. There will be a charge for food, beverages and some activities.
Saturday, Aug. 9, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Free trolley shuttle between Washington Street Mall and the Estate: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (until 8 p.m. back to Mall).

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