May 9, 2010

Luna Moths and E-coli

Filed under: Uncategorized — eaglesmere @ 4:59 pm

Check out this Luna Moth that I found relaxing on our hammock enjoying the nice day. She was there the whole afternoon. Later on, I moved her to a bush so a bird wouldn’t be able to find her as easily. I think she was pretty happy during her stay with us. In other nature news, the Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron are starting to bloom, I think they got jealous of how pretty their cousin, the Azaleas, looked last week. I’ll put some pictures up when they are in full bloom.

It has been so relaxing up here in Eagles Mere lately. It is nice to be the place where everyone goes to get away from all of the craziness of the world.

Speaking of craziness, I heard there was another e-coli outbreak, including parts of Pennsylvania. It doesn’t shock me considering the methods used in mass-producing things like salad greens. It is definitely something you won’t get here. You don’t ever hear of the local farmer recalling his lettuce because of E-coli or other bacteria.

We get our lettuces from a place called Northern Tier Greens that grows great lettuce varieties year-round. It is all hydroponics and organically grown. They are located near a landfill and they use the methane to generate electricity. So much, in fact, that they can heat the water and green house and run the lighting, and still have more electricity to pump back into the grid. To complete the circle and be sure to waste nothing, they send all of the greens that are past their prime or over-ripe to a worm farm!! I love the efficiency.  It is a small operation, so there are just a few employees who take extreme care when working with the greens. It is a great pleasure to work with a local business that is so environmentally and nutritiously aware, and we take pride in the fact that we KNOW we won’t get you sick. If you want to avoid getting food-borne illness, start with buying raw products from your neighborhood farmers and farmers markets, and eat at restaurants that do the same. Ask where your food comes from and try not to support the places that use well-traveled and massed produced greens, they are only thinking of their bottom line, not your well being.

That is my update for now, I’ll be back with some pictures of the flowers as they bloom.

April 29, 2010

Wine Tasting

Filed under: Uncategorized — eaglesmere @ 3:53 pm

Tomorrow is the kickoff of our 2010 Wine Weekend. We are doing a South African theme, so all of the food and wine are based on that region.

Some features from tomorrow’s menu are: curried lamb and pork meatloaf, a spicy grilled chicken, sweet corn soup, yellow rice(lots of turmeric!!), and rusks(kinda like biscuits) plus all of the great wines our wine expert-Ken Phillips- has chosen to accompany these dishes.

Saturday, after a light lunch, our guests will enjoy a wine seminar with more tastings, followed by a 6 course tasting meal for dinner!!

We’ll be having a nice sea bass course to start it off, then a clam and peanut stew, followed by a duo of salads: beet salad and a minted cucumber salad, with a curried chicken sausage, then an apricot sorbet as an intermezzo, after which we’ll serve lamb two ways: Braised lamb shanks and lamb skewers with pork and apricot, all served with the traditional samp and beans. We’ll end the dinner with a trio of desserts, then finish off the rest of the wine down in the pub. 

Its always fun teaching myself new cuisines and techniques and our guests love sampling the results. In researching for the weekend,I’ve found that the cuisine in South Africa is heavily influenced by Indian and Middle-Eastern cooking. They use layers of flavors and a lot of spice. It’s a good thing our guests have discerning, but curious palates, because these are going to be some unique dishes.

If you can’t make this one, we have one every Spring and one every Fall, keep an eye on my blog, or sign up for our newsletter to stay posted.

On another wine related note, we’ve set up our wine tour dates for 2010. You can try four local wineries and even have lunch at the Whistle Stop, all for $25 a couple. We have limited seating and specific dates for these so give us a call and we’ll set you up.

We hope to see you soon!!

Toby

April 16, 2010

First Ramps of the Season!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — eaglesmere @ 1:33 pm

Today, Kelly, Sam and I went to pick some wild leeks, also known as ramps(pictured here).

After we got them cleaned up we had a salad using the ramp greens and dandelion (Pictured above). We cooked some Guanciale in pork fat, then added some diced ramps and garlic. We finished the dressing with cider vinegar and a little brown sugar.It was really good.

After lunch I made some ramp relish. We’ll use this with our Trout tonight. This is the recipe I promised you in my last post. Here  it goes:

In honor of Tomorrow being the first day of the 2010 Pennsylvania Trout Season

Roasted Rainbow Trout with Ramp Relish and Citrus Butter.

Relish:

2 cups Ramp stem small diced, cleaned and placed in a large glass measuring cup or stainless steel bowl.

1 c. cider vinegar mixed with pickling spices(I blend my own, but you can buy it premixed)

1 c. sugar

Zest from 1 whole each lemon,  lime, and orange(juice these fruits and save for later)

Combine zest and sugar and bring to a simmer, at the same time simmer the vinegar and spices. After 20 minutes strain the vinegar mixture into the sugar mixture. Bring to a boil then pour over ramps in heat resistant bowl. Cover with plastic and let sit for two hours until cooler. Put it in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Citrus Butter:

Reduce the juice from the citrus fruits until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat. While stirring constantly,  whip 3 Tbsp of butter into it.

To finish:

Place clean trout filets in a glass casserole. Baste with the citrus butter liberally. Place the fish in a preheated 375 degree oven.

When trout starts to brown (about 6-8 minutes)remove it and serve immediately with a scoop of the relish.

If you try this and have any trouble, don’t hesitate to call me at the Inn and I’ll help you through it.  Make sure to be certain you have wild leeks and not something that looks similar, especially skunk cabbage, it could make you very sick.

 Good luck and Bon Appetit!!!!

April 15, 2010

And the survey says…….

Filed under: Uncategorized — eaglesmere @ 7:22 pm

   

……………getting a whole lamb from Jamison Farm was AWESOME.

 Here is the breakdown:

I boned out and tied the legs for roasts, probably to do a lamb “two ways” paired with a chop, which is what I did with the racks.

The front legs I also boned out and will use in a curried lamb and pork meatloaf that I’m doing for this coming wine weekend.

I’m trying something different with the belly/brisket. I put a dry rub on it and I’m going to smoke it(hopefully I’ll end up with a lamb “pastrami”, who knows?)

The saddle was really nice and I’m not sure what I’ll do with it yet. I ate the tongue myself, braised, on an arugula salad with some quick “bacon” dressing I made with a little of my Guanciale(which just finished drying and is AMAZING).

I cooked the foreshanks Osso Bucco style, which is what is in the above picture.

Here is a secret for making great Osso Bucco: soak some sundried tomatoes in Sambuca for 10 minutes and then lightly drain them leaving some liquid and throw it all into your braise. Also, make sure you have a lot of fresh garlic, you really can’t have too much. The Sambuca gives the dish a sort of fennel flavor that is real nice, but subtle.

I also ended up with a nice lamb stock that I’ll probably reduce to demi-glace. The hindshanks I’m saving for a nice meaty snack in the near future.

That was it for the lamb this time.

Tomorrow, I’m going Ramp collecting and I will post my first Eagles Mere Inn Blog recipe.

Until then, hang on to your seats.

April 13, 2010

Signs of Spring

Filed under: Uncategorized — eaglesmere @ 12:54 pm

 Here are a few pictures of some signs of Spring up here in Eagles Mere. The Azaleas and Daffodils are in full bloom, and the Fiddlehead Ferns are peeking out ready to be plucked and cleaned. In the past I’ve roasted them in olive oil and also sauteed them in butter and onion, but one of my favorite preparations is to pickle them with some dill, garlic and some hot red chilis. We’ll see what I come up with this year.

Update #1: I represented the Inn at a benefit for the Blomsburg Theater Ensemble last Saturday. The event is called “The Taming of the Brews” and it features many local restaurants and breweries offering samples of their goods.  I was very happy to be a part of it. Most importantly, it raised a lot of money to help fund one of the better small town theaters in Pennsylvania. I also had a chance to network with some good local microbreweries and we hope to have some new brews in stock by the beginning of Summer. There were probably 20-30 other restaurants there, but we won the people’s choice award for the best restaurant voted by the patrons of the event!! Considering they only give out two awards(the other is for best brewery), I felt extremely honored to have been chosen for this. We did a seared Sea Scallop with a cilantro creamed corn with a carrot and ginger orange sauce. Slightly ambitious considering the volume of people(we cooked over 600 scallops), but it paid off in the end.

Update #2 While fishing on Hunter’s Lake last Thursday, I was lucky enough to see a pair of Ospreys hunting for fish. We were right nearby when one went into its dive and smacked the water. At first I thought it came up empty-handed, but upon a second glance we saw it did have a fish, and a nice one at that(about 12 inches or so). I also only caught one but considered it a successful trip nonetheless.  

Update #3   My lamb should be here this afternoon so I’ll have another post about what we do with that, probably tomorrow. I’m also going to search for some ramps later to prepare with the lamb and this weekends offerings, and I’ll also end up preserving some for future use.

I don’t want to, but feel I need to, end with this quick clarification. I was told by some guests who are attending an upcoming wedding, that another lodging establishment in the area has been giving false information about our rates. Several different people were told that if you stay with us you had to pay the full price even if you weren’t eating with us. Although these potential guests chose not to stay with us, I figured I’d mention it here to clarify these things.

I can see where the confusion would come from considering our guests almost always choose to eat here, so they aren’t seen elsewhere in town for dinner, but we never tell anyone they have to and nor would we charge for dinner if they choose not to eat with us. We DO discount your rate if you don’t want dinner.

The whole lamb I’m getting today is a perfect example of the reason everyone who stays with us(and some at other places) want to eat here. We serve good, fresh, local products, made from scratch, to those who want to eat with us.

That’s all for today. I’ve got my work cut out for me today.

More about the lamb tomorrow.

April 5, 2010

Spring and the Haystacks

Filed under: Uncategorized — eaglesmere @ 7:54 pm

Today, Diana and I went to do the Haystacks hike along the Loyalsock Trail. We chose to drop down over to check out Dutchman falls before following the Loyalsock down to the haystacks rock formation in the creek. The sun was out all day and it was warm, so it ended up being a really nice hike because it was under the shade of evergreens the entire way.

Diana’s favorite part was the Dutchman waterfall and she also liked walking over the different types of rock that formed a field right before the haystacks. I guess they got pushed there in high water.

I thought the water was a little high today and I contemplated for a second trying the kayaks down this section. After I saw whitewater near the Haystacks, I changed my mind. I’ve read that with the right conditions they could be up to a class IV or V rapids. Yikes!!

Haystacks on the Loyalsock- 15 minute drive from the Inn, 2  1/2 hour walk-Great time!!

Side note- The loyalsock trail runs on an old railroad bed for about 2 miles in this area, you could take bikes down and ride for most of the way, and then walk down to see the haystacks.  

Another highlight of our beautiful day today was seeing all of the ramps(wild leeks) starting to get big. Soon enough I’ll gather a bunch and make some different preparations. I’ll probably do some caramelized and use it with my pork tenderloin or the loin I didn’t smoke. Also, I will pickle some and then do a little ramp relish,  which goes great with our fresh rainbow trout and other seafood.  

We spent the second half of our day working to get the garden ready.  Later this week, I will get some blueberry and raspberry bushes planted.  I also plan on getting some peas and different edible flowers in the ground by the end of next week. 

Di and I finished her last day of Easter vacation with a glass of iced tea on the front porch of the Inn while relaxing on the rocking chairs.  Somewhere in the distance the Spring Peepers started discussing their plans for the evening, Di and I made our own plans for the garden and where we want to go on our next hike.

All in all, today was a good combination of fun and work.  Although, I wouldn’t call what we did in the garden “work”, considering we will be enjoying the literal “fruits” of our labors all summer long.  Maybe, you will too!

March 24, 2010

Scrapple!!!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — eaglesmere @ 2:43 pm

We finished our scrapple today(seen here). I ended up eating the liver for lunch, so I can serve the liver-free scrapple here. I’m putting it on the menu starting this weekend.

This was just an update on “project pork”. Coming soon to a blog post near you: The joys of Spring Lamb-Arriving Late April 2010

First Pig of the year!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — eaglesmere @ 8:20 am

Nice title isn’t it.
Well it’s true. Yesterday, I got a whole pig from Kuhn’s Family Farm and my brother was in from Tennessee. He is a chef at Blackberry Farms down there, and he came up for a couple of days.
We decided to make a project out of the pig, and if you come up in the next few weeks you can try some of the results. If you can’t, don’t worry, I’ve got a new pig coming in almost every month until December.
This pig weighed in at 150 pounds, and we ended up with about 95 pounds of meat.
Anyway here is the breakdown of what we have going on:
The tenderloins I left whole and raw, to use for dinner tonight or tomorrow.
I’m doing the loins chops two different ways: cured and smoked for some, and the others I am leaving to decide later, maybe mushroom stuffed if I can find enough fresh morels.
The hams and shoulders are in a brine with miso,mirin, and five-spice(among other things). I’ll smoke the hams and braise the shoulders.
The ribs have a dry rub on them. I’ll probably smoke them and do some sort of Fruit and Rhubarb BBQ sauce.
The head went in with scraps for scrapple. I used the liver in it also, so I’ll be eating most of this. I can’t help that I love scrapple. If you really like srapple let me know and you can try it(if you sign a disclaimer, we can’t serve you pig liver without it).
The bellies I put in a dry rub also, to make bacon that will be used in our sweet potato hash.
I did use the cheeks for Guanciale. This is cured and dried pig cheeks, only used in very special dishes.
I cut off the shanks possibly to braise, but then I wanted as much scrapple as I could get, so I threw them in with the other scrapple fixins. We’re going to finish the scrapple soon, I’m soooo excited.
In the end I threw away about 6 ounces of stringy fat and everything else went in for stock. Except some fat I saved for sausage.

This is the kind of stuff you get at our Inn. Fresh, local food sustainably raised. Throughout the year there are some exceptions to how local we can source things, but we do it as much as possible. At our Inn we look for high quality products, that are healthy to the consumer and the environment.
That’s what is great about Eagles Mere, you can get local food made from scratch from us or, if you don’t like hearing about where your food comes from, you can go to one of the other restaurants and get the more familiar feedlot beef filets and other dishes that you’ve had in most restaurants.
All of these options up here in the mountains, but no matter where you eat you’ll have a great time in Eagles Mere.

On a different note, Di and I went kayaking the other day at Hunters Lake, it was beautiful. We saw lots of ducks:Mallards, Mergansers, and Wood Ducks, and also a couple of Geese. No Bald Eagles yet, but I bet we’ll see them back soon.
I have been too busy for a hike, next time I’ll update you on that front.
Well I’m going to finish my scrapple!!
Beautiful weather today!!!

March 18, 2010

Spring??!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — eaglesmere @ 4:01 pm


I know it’s been a while since my last post, and I feel bad. But not unlike Paul Simon, I too “get all the news I need on the weather report” and the news has been inconsistent. Finally, things have leaned more toward Spring. We’ve had a few beautiful days in a row and the forecast looks good for awhile.
I can’t help but leap out of bed and prepare for the day in a hurry when the weather is this nice. Listen to this move: I mix the shampoo AND the conditioner to get things done quicker.
Crazy Right? It’s a good tip though. I really did that today because I was in a hurry to get some brush cleared to plant some raspberry bushes. I’m sure I’ll use that trick again soon.
Sorry(or You’re Welcome).
Alright so here is what I want to talk about. Diana and I have started to hike the trails in the area and will be posting tidbits regarding these ventures in the wilderness as we go.
Todays tidbit: on the trail around Hunters Lake there is a huge boulder shaped like a giant dinosaur egg. It was a great place to eat lunch. The trail provides good lake views and there are a lot of different types of trees and plants to look at, not to mention one of the more peaceful lakes.
Hunters Lake trail: ten minutes drive from the Inn. 1 3/4 hour walk.
Nice.
So you’ll hear from me more often now that I’ve feebly poked my head back out like the daffodils in the picture.
Toby
Last thought:
How about a Spring Cleaning of the soul? It comes included in your room rate!!

January 23, 2010

Things we don’t know

Filed under: Uncategorized — eaglesmere @ 8:46 am

Well, we just don’t know what the weather will decide to do. The problem we’re facing is this; if they groove the slide and it warms up or rains then the slide could be ruined for the year. The plan is to hold off for cooler weather later this week and hopefully it can be grooved and opened for the coming weekend. I’ll post it here when I find out the scoop.
On a more positive note, I was able to go ice skating, but I need to hone my skills before I post that video. For those out there with ice skates or interest in skating, the Outlet Pond just a short walk from the Inn is the perfect place for skaters of all abilities. You don’t have to pay to skate there and you can skate any time of day. If you are there in the peaceful Eagles Mere twilight hours, they just ask that you turn the light off before you leave. The switch is right there on the pole.
That explains Eagles Mere pretty well. Its a neighborhood of trust and good intentions.
Here is something I’ve recently noticed and apparently have been taking for granted. This only occured to me after a visit to New York City two weeks ago. All of the benches in New York City, or anywhere else for that matter, are spaced out and facing away from each other. The benches in Eagles Mere are all in a U-shape, touching and facing each other. Much more inviting, as well as a great place to converse with the locals and meet new and exciting people. Another difference I noticed was the traffic. In Eagles Mere if you are crossing a street, no one would ever think of beeping their horn at you, but you can count on a wave from every passerby(I can personally guarantee this). One interesting similarity between us and NYC, is the amount of fur you see; the only difference is that in Eagles Mere the animal is wearing it, not the people.
I still love New York City, not just because of the energy you feel there, or the millions of great restaurants, but also because it reminds me of what is so great about Eagles Mere. It is a huge contrast and if you enter each with the right attitude, then I think you’ll find the whole spectrum of what life has to offer……..

I know, I know, you want to hear about the toboggan slide. I just don’t know anything for sure. I can only hope that by next weekend it will be running and all will be well. I’ll will certainly let you know.
In the meantime there is still plenty to offer up here in the mountains, so come up ad see how beautiful the winter can be in Eagles Mere!

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