Friday, February 25, 2011

February Guests Celebrating Their Silver Anniversary!

Four of our guests, the Galinats and Pierces, from northern New Jersey came up to The Buttonwood Inn for their annual Presidents' Week vacation.  It's a five-day vacation where they cross-country ski, snow shoe, shop, and relax in between their excursions.  This year, however, was special since they celebrated 25 years of staying at our inn.  In fact, they've already prebooked for their 2012 vacation.

Bill and I decided to honor their "Silver Anniversary" by preparing dinner and "breaking bread" with Lorraine, Bill, Laura, and Jeff.  We also surprised them by inviting our neighbors and former innkeepers (who they knew the longest), Claudia and Peter, to celebrate and reminisce about their past experiences at The Buttonwood Inn during the 1990s.  Bill and I enjoyed hearing the stories about the history of the inn.

Laura and Lorraine brought us a beautiful vase of flowers and Bill bought Cabernet Sauvignon wine.  Dinner was served in our Dining Room by candlelight. 

We started with tossed salad dressed with a mustard viniagrette and homemade whole wheat bread with gruyere cheese and walnuts.  The entree was French-Style Pot Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Agri Dolce Carrots, and Sauteed Broccoli with Garlic.  For dessert, we served Baked Apple Dumplings with homemade Vanilla Ice Cream.

We had a leisurely meal with our guests who we consider to be friends and look forward to seeing them again next year.  This is one of the most enjoyable parts of innkeeping and we plan to prepare dinner for the Pierces and Galinats again next year.

If interested, here's the recipe for the Baked Apple Dumplings.

Yield:  8 apple dumplings


2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
5 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
3/4 cold buttermilk


8 Golden Delicious apples
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons golden raisins, chopped
2 egg whites, lightly beaten

For the Dough:

Process the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until combined.  Scatter the butter and shortening over the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture becomes grainy in texture.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl.  Pour in the buttermilk stirring until a dough forms.  Place the dough on a lightly floured counter and knead until well combined.  Press the dough into a 4 by 8-inch rectangle and cut in half cross-wise.  Wrap in plastic and let rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

For the Apples:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  In a second bowl, combine the butter, raisins, and 3 tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Peel the apples and slice off 1/4-inch off of the top.  Remove the core leaving about 1/2 to 1-inch on the bottom of the apple.  Pack in the butter mixture.

On a lightly floured counter, roll each dough half into a 12-inch square and cut it into four 6-inch squares.  Working one at a time, lightly brush the edges of each dough square with the egg white and place an apple, cut side up, in the center of each square.  Cover the apple one corner at a time, crimping the dough to seal in the apple, leaving a 1/2-inch vent hole at the top.  Cut out leaves out of dough scraps and press on the tops of the apples, if desired. 

Arrange each apple on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Brush the tops with egg white and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar.  Bake until golden brown and the juices are bubbling, about 20-25 minutes.  Cool the dumplings on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.  Serve with vanilla ice cream.


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