A Guest Favorite at The House on the Hill B & B – A Savory Cheddar Dill Scone

Growing up in a British home, scones were a common thing to find in my household. I love a sweet scone with tea anytime. But, how about switching it up to something savory? Since cheese is the new chocolate (well, at least for me), why not put cheese in a scone? I found this great recipe for a Cheddar Dill Scone that my guests love. It has layers of flakiness like you would not believe. It is indulgent, but my guests are on vacation! Here is the recipe:

Cheddar Dill Scones

4 Cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided

2 tablespoons baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced

4 extra large eggs, beaten lightly

1 Cup cold heavy cream

1/2 pound extra sharp yellow cheddar, small diced

1 Cup minced fresh dill

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water or milk for egg wash

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F

Combine 4 Cups of flour, the baking powder, and salt in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Mix the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add them to the flour and butter mixture. Combine until just blended. Toss together the cheddar, dill and 1 tablespoon of flour and add them to the dough. Mix until they are almost incorporated.

unnamed-2Dump the dough onto a well floured surface and knead it for 1 minute, until the cheddar and dill are well distributed. Roll the dough 3/4 inch thick.

unnamed-3 unnamedYou can use a square cutter or a garnish tool to cut scones into any shape you want.

Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 20 to 25 minutes, until the outside is crusty and the inside is fully baked.

unnamed-1Recipe is courtesy of The Barefoot Contessa.

This scone has butter baked into it, so I don’t even need to put out butter. These scones are wonderful served warm.

Enjoy!

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Renovating a Room to Bring the Outside Inside

We are often asked if we have a “special” room because the guest wants the best. All of our rooms are special in our eyes, but we wanted to define a “Premier” room to deliver that request. So we did! All of our rooms are named after trees on the property. The Maple Room was the obvious choice to transform because of all the natural light it provides. In staying with the theme of Maple, we had natural Maple floors put in. Embedded into the floor, a drawing of a Maple Leaf (my talented mom drew it), with the words “welcome, peace, tranquility and serenity” encircling it and Petoskey stones shaped like Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas laid on the outside of the leaf. This is the very first thing you see as you step into the room. With a lot of stone on the property, we wanted to include that as well. Thus, the idea of a natural stone bathroom. The floor and walls are in natural slate and there is a concrete countertop with a vessel sink. The faucet we chose reminds me of those old artesian well pumps. Since there are so many windows in this room, you feel you are outside while inside! The back door opens up onto a deck that looks over the meadows and woods that hold all of the same materials in the room. I love this room and the peace that it represents.

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Morel Mushrooms – An Elusive Delicacy

photo-4This ugly little mushroom sure gets a lot of attention in Northern Michigan during the month of May. There are festivals for it, restaurants make everything “Morel”, and local songsters croon over it. Why all the buzz, you ask? The Morel is a delicacy for a reason. Its elusiveness and delicious flavor has people scrambling for it. Every year in May for 55 years, the people of Boyne City, Michigan have held the National Morel Mushroom Festival. This year it is May 14-17, 2015. Secret hunting spots are revealed and recipes shared. The local restaurants feature the Morel. There are Craft Fairs, races, hikes and tasting events. Thousands of people come to this little town to experience the ambience of this mushroom. A good year can yield hundreds of Morels. Of course, there are plenty of hunting spots all over Northern Michigan to find them. We have them growing right on our land at The House on the Hill B & B in Ellsworth. Between the mushroom and the Trillium that grows this time of year, it’s a sure sign of Spring!

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Roasted Plums with Thyme, Honey and Vanilla Frozen Yogurt or Fresh Whipped Cream

Since we do a three course gourmet breakfast for our guests, I am constantly trying to find great fruit recipes that you wouldn’t necessarily make at home. The following is a beautiful and delicious fruit course.

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

3 Tbsp. honey

4 firm purple plums

1 sprig fresh thyme

vanilla frozen yogurt or Fresh Whipped Cream

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper a bit larger than the pan, to contain the juices.

3. Sprinkle the sugar on the parchment, then pour the honey onto the parchment.

4. Halve the plums and place cut-side down on the sugar and honey.

5. Sprinkle half of the thyme leaves onto the honey, and reserve the rest to garnish before serving.

6. Roast the plums for about 15 minutes, removing them from the oven just before they start to lose their shape or you see the   skin wrinkle.

7. Place two halves in a bowl. Spoon some of the roasting liquid over the fruit. Add a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt or whipped cream on top, and sprinkle with the rest of the thyme leaves.

(Recipe courtesy of Dana Moos)

Photos taken by The House on the Hill Bed & Breakfast

Place the plums cut-side down on top of sugar and honey. Sprinkle thyme leaves over the plums and into the honey.

Place the plums cut-side down on top of sugar and honey. Sprinkle thyme leaves over the plums and into the honey.

Turn two halves of the plum and place in a serving dish. Drizzle juices over the plums and top with frozen yogurt or whipped cream. Sprinkle thyme leaves over the whole creation!

Turn two halves of the plum and place in a serving dish. Drizzle juices over the plums and top with frozen yogurt or whipped cream. Sprinkle thyme leaves over the whole creation!

Strive for a Personal Best and Take a Vacation Too!

Racers

Charlevoix Marathon

If you have a competitive spirit and are looking for a Marathon to run, why not make a vacation out of it? Come to Michigan to the city of Charlevoix, or “Charlevoix the Beautiful” as it is known. This is the perfect place to let your competitive spirit shine while letting the sparkling blue waters of Lake Michigan call you to vacation. Why not do both?

 

The Charlevoix Marathon is taking place on June 21, 2014. This beautiful city is on an isthmus between Lake Michigan and Round Lake. With quaint shops, excellent dining and sandy beaches, Charlevoix is a popular destination for those who flock to the water. The course for the Marathon is primarily flat with a few inclines. For those for whom a Marathon is a little too much, this race also offers a Half Marathon.

 

The Marathon is a Boston qualifying race and both the Marathon and Half Marathon are certified and insured by USATF. So venture out to northern Michigan for the race, and stay for the Pure Michigan experience.  For more information, click here.

 

thehouseonthehill.com

Morel Mushrooms – A Northern Michigan Delicacy

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The Morel Mushroom is found in the woods and clearings of Northern Michigan and what a popular mushroom it is!  With its distinctive honeycombed top, this elusive mushroom is sought after by gourmet chefs. Especially in French Cuisine. Every Spring, Boyne City, Michigan fills with hundreds of mushroom lovers to hunt the mighty morel. For over 50 years, the National Morel Mushroom Festival creates a frenzy of mushroom seekers, folklore singers and delicious recipes made by chefs all over the area. This year, it will take place on May 15 through the 18th. Four days of mushroom folly that is centered in Boyne City’s Veterans Park with a myriad of “everything morel” related events. There will be a craft fair, guided hunts, mushroom hunting seminars, and the “Taste of Morels” competition, where local chefs give festival goers a sample of their latest creations involving morels. There is rumor that a forest spot will be revealed that has the mother lode of morels. Hmmm, I wonder where that it is? All of this builds up to the premier event; the 90 minute hunt that takes place at a secret location. More information for planning your trip can be found here.

 

thehouseonthehill.com

New Kitchen – New Ideas and Reshaping Old Ones

It’s finally done! If you’ve been following my posts, you will know that we had our Bed & Breakfast’s kitchen totally remodeled. Going down to the studs of the 1800’s and putting up new walls that shouldn’t need to come down anytime soon. The goal was to have the modern conveniences of today’s kitchens but strive to maintain the farmhouse look. Since our style of Bed & Breakfast is French Country Farmhouse, we included white bead board cabinets and rustic tile (wood looking) floors. Take a look for yourself.

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I have also spoken about a little extra something that began as an idea and blossomed into a showpiece with a lot of function. We had this laundry room with closet doors right in the foyer of the guest entrance. This is probably the worst place in the world to be sorting laundry. You certainly wouldn’t want guests checking in and hearing the washing machine or dryer churning away. Since I have a laundry room in the Carriage House, it was decided to do away with the foyer laundry. And here is what we came up with!

                                                                                    

  

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We now have a Guest Center complete with a beverage center, ice maker and a sink. This is a guest haven. They can help themselves any time they want. It is amazing how you can change spaces to match your needs. A good builder helps, of course. Which we definitely had! We are up and operational now and can’t wait for a beautiful northern Michigan summer.