Friday, February 24, 2012

Kate Stanton Inn

Don and I needed some "us" time after our vacation in Death Valley before he went to his meetings in Riverside California so he found this nice B & B in Encinitas CA.  It is the Kate Stanton Inn, the remodeled home of Liz Clarke, the innkeeper.  Liz is an amazing woman who had a desire to run a B & B because she loves people and having them in her home. She named the Inn after her grandmother who also loved people and making the best of what she had to make others feel welcome, well fed, and loved. 
We enjoyed our stay immensely.  Our room was decorated in white and blue.  The bed was very comfy and was situated in front of a warm fireplace.  There is ample room in the closet to hang clothes and put luggage.  There is a lanai with a table and umbrella just outside a french door.  Nice to sit and enjoy the day, read, or drink tea or coffee that is always available.

In the evening Liz offers a small bite to eat such as homemade cookies or chocolates along with wine, tea or coffee, or soda.  We sat in the main seating area by the fireplace.  The kitchen and seating area are open as well as the dinning area so the feeling is spacious yet still cozy.  We sat at the kitchen bar and chatted with Liz and her friend Carol, who also helps with the Inn, while Liz made muffins for breakfast.  We laughed a lot and shared stories and recipes.  It was like we had known them for years.  Just wonderful!

Carol, Liz, and Inn mascot!

Don and I started going to B & B's a few years back.  We were skittish at first because it seems odd to go to some one's home you don't know and stay there.  But this is exactly what the experience should be and is most of the time.  We have wonderful accommodations for a very reasonable price. We meet wonderful people that have interesting stories.  Most of all we make new friends. We highly recommend you try it.  Here is a good place to start:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

This is the cake I made for Casey.  She turned 30 this month and I wanted to make a "chic" cake for her.  It was fun to make.  I used a vegan cake recipe I found at Chef Cloe's site:  She won cupcake wars in 2011 for her tasty vegan recipes. This recipe is pretty good and I adjusted it to high altitude by adding three tablespoons flour to the dry mix, reducing the baking soda to 1 3/4 tsp, and reducing the Agave to 1 1/2 cups.  I baked it about 5 to 8 minutes longer than her recipe calls for because it just takes longer to bake some stuff at high altitude.
I used the fondant recipe from: Peggy Weaver's Site, I also used her butter cream frosting recipe though I am working on a vegan butter cream frosting recipe and will share that once I have found something that stands up well.  The big problem with that is trying to find a stable ingredient that isn't hydrogenated. I may have to use some type hydrogenation and it can still be called vegan.  However, remember that just because it's vegan doesn't mean it is healthy though vegan recipes are much more healthy than non vegan recipes.
I am serving this atop a homemade raspberry sauce.  I took one package of frozen raspberries and blueberries mixed, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and brought it to a small simmer in a sauce pan.  I let it reduce for about 15 minutes (high altitude always takes longer) and then added 1 tablespoon starch dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water by pouring slowly into the heated berries.  I only added half the cornstarch mixture at a time to see if the consistency was what I wanted.  It should be like a medium thick syrup.  I strained the sauce to remove skins and seeds.  Then I put it in a pour bottle and stuck it in the fridge overnight. 

To plate just squirt or pour some raspberry sauce on the individual plate.  Slice a piece of cake and gently place in the center of the plate.  Place a fresh raspberry or two on the side.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Casey's Cupcakes

While on vacation in Southern California we stopped in to visit the Mission Inn in Riverside.  Casey's Cupcakes is located in the square just to the north of the Inn.  She won Cupcake Wars in 2011 with her fancy treats.  Her shop is cute too.  Not very big, but she has it laid out nicely with cute gift items to sell as well as her tasty confections.  I tried her lemon and raspberry cupcakes and they were really good.  This girl has figured out how to get the texture right and the icing tasty with the right amount on the cake.  So she deserved to win.  I've always been a bit jealous of Florian getting to taste all those cupcakes.  Now I got my chance.  Good job Casey!