Thursday, November 21, 2013

Red Wing Republican Eagle 11/21/2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

St Lucia's Day

Make your reservations now for the 1st of our theme breakfasts at the Candlelight Inn! 

Stay Saturday, December 14, and join us on Sunday morning for a St. Lucia's Day Scandinavian Brunch.  A veritable smorgaasbord of Scandinavian specialtyies will be offered and Lucia herself will grace us with her presence and tell the story as she serves the traditional St. Lucia's Day buns.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fall Cooking Classes

Fall means going back to school.  Red Wing Community Ed is offering many classes and Lynette is doing her share.  Check pages 9 and 10 in the catalog.  Here is a link:

So many choices; so little time.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


More and more of the health food literature is emphasizing the Mediterranean diet as heart healthy and
Panna Cotta: Another dessert for breakfast
delicious. Numerous studies have shown that those people who follow such a diet have fewer incidences of heart disease and stroke and some new studies have shown a link between monounsaturated fats and a lower incidence of cancer. The greatest news of all is that this diet is delicious.

Americans have long had a love affair with Italian food and Italy is perhaps the epitome of the Mediterranean diet. And of all the regions of Italy that we associate with good food, it is Tuscany.

I have a good friend who went on a cooking-school vacation in Tuscany and couldn’t stop talking about the food. She really didn’t have words to describe it, she said. And no wonder. Tuscany is the magical region that is the home of crostini, biscotti, pecorino, pappardelle and panforte; not to mention olives and olive oil.

Enjoying every day and finding a way to celebrate even the mundane days of the week, especially gathering, preparing and sharing food is a goal that I share with the Tuscans. And the Tuscans could almost be credited with inventing “natural” foods—as they are the heart of their cuisine. By natural, I mean fresh, local, unprocessed foods prepared and eaten in as natural a way as possible and welcomed at its “natural” prime. A continuing pleasure cycle that follows the seasons is an art in Tuscany.

Here is a typical Tuscan Spring Menu (Some recipes from Bon Appetit May 2000)

Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi
Chicken with White Wine and Mushrooms
Asparagus and Parmesan Puddings
Panna Cotta with Strawberry-Vin Santo Sauce

Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi (Makes 8)

8 First Course Servings

4 6-ounce packages ready-to-use baby spinach leaves
2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 Cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup flour
2 large egg yolks
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
Generous pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
¼ cup butter, melted

Cook spinach in large pot of boiling salted water just until wilted, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Drain. Squeeze out liquid. Chop spinach. Mix spinach, ricotta, ½ cup Parmesan, ½ cup flour, egg yolks, salt, pepper and nutmeg in bowl until slightly sticky dough forms. Dust baking sheet with flour. Working in batches and using floured hands, roll ¼ cup dough on floured work surface to form 5-inch-long rope. Cut rope into 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece between palms to form oval. Transfer gnocchi to prepared baking sheet. Repeat rolling, cutting and shaping with remaining dough. Working in batches, add gnocchi to pot of boiling salted water; cook until gnocchi rise to surface. Cook 4 minutes longer. Using slotted spoon, remove gnocchi from water; drain. Place in serving dish. Pour butter over gnocchi; toss. Sprinkle with ½ cup Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

Chicken with White Wine and Mushrooms (8 servings)

8 chicken breast halves with skin and bone
½ cup olive oil
1 1/3 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup chopped carrot
2/3 cup chopped celery
4 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 pounds mushrooms, sliced
2 14 ½ ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
2 cups dry white wine

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper; dust with flour. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin side down and sauté until brown, about 5 minutes. Turn chicken over and sauté 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to bowl. Add onion, carrot, celery, parsley and garlic to skillet; sauté 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté until starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes with juices and wine. Boil sauce until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Return chicken to sauce. Cover skillet, reduce heat to medium and simmer until chicken is cooked through and tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken and sauce to plates and serve.

Asparagus and Parmesan Puddings

½ cup fresh breadcrumbs made from Italian bread with crust cut off
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
2 Tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
½ cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
¼ cup flour
4 large eggs

Butter 8 ¾-cup custard cups; coat with breadcrumbs. Cut off asparagus tips. Cook tips in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain; reserve tips and 1 cup cooking liquid. Coarsely chop asparagus stalks. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Add stalks; sauté until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add reserved asparagus cooking liquid. Cover; simmer until stalks are tender, about 12 minutes. Uncover; cook until liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Transfer to food processor; puree. Add Parmesan, ricotta and flour. Using on/off turns, process just until blended. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk eggs in bowl to blend. Add asparagus puree; whisk to blend. Stir in all but 16 asparagus tips. Divide custard among cups. Place cups in roasting pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour hot water into pan to come 1 inch up sides of cups. Bake puddings until set, about 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Invert onto plates. Garnish with asparagus tips.

Panna Cotta with Strawberry-Vin Santo Sauce (10 servings)

¼ cup cold water
4 tsp unflavored gelatin
4 cups whipping cream
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp honey
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp Vin Santo (An Italian dessert wine available at some liquor stores) or Muscat wine or cream Sherry
2 cups pine nuts
Strawberry-Vin Santo Sauce (see recipe)
Additional pine nuts

Pour ¼ cup water into metal bowl; sprinkle gelatin over. Let stand until gelatin softens, about 10 minutes. Set bowl in saucepan of simmering water. Stir just until gelatin dissolves, about 1 minute. Combine cream, sugar, honey and vanilla in heavy large saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add gelatin mixture and Vin Santo; whisk until well blended. Divide 2 cups pine nuts among ten ¾-cup custard cups. Divide cream mixture among cups. Chill overnight. Set cups in small bowl of warm water to loosen panna cotta, about 20 seconds each. Run small knife between panna cotta and custard cups. Invert panna cotta onto plates. Spoon sauce over. Sprinkle with additional pine nuts; serve.

Strawberry-Vin Santo Sauce (makes 2 cups)

1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp Vin Santo
¼ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp (packed grated lemon peel

Puree strawberries in processor. Transfer puree to heavy saucepan. Mix in sugar, Vin Santo, vanilla and lemon peel. Simmer over medium-low heat until sauce is reduced to 2 cups, about 15 minutes. Cool.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Old-Fashioned Chiffon Cake

When was the last time you made a chiffon cake? Or, have you ever made one? Maybe you’ve never even tasted one—or heard of one. They are decidedly old-fashioned and that’s a shame since they are delicious
, easy to make, versatile and way healthier than butter cakes.

In 1927 a man named Harry Baker who was a Los Angeles insurance salesman and who also baked cakes for Hollywood parties, invented the chiffon cake—the first truly new cake in one hundred years. He kept his recipe secret for twenty years, preferring to bake cakes for his catering business that no one else could make, but finally sold the recipe in 1947 to Betty Crocker, owned by General Mills.

Attributes of this cake include a moist, richness like a butter cake but with the lightness of a sponge cake. The texture is soft, its trademark characteristic. The shortening in a chiffon cake is oil which not only makes it soft but tenderizes it and keeps it exceptionally moist.

The chiffon cake is also easy to make, is a good keeper and slices easily even when frozen, unlike its sister predecessor, the angel food. And, unlike angel food, it is not excessively sweet.

Here at the Candlelight Inn B & B, we make a lot of things with just egg yolks; lemon curd and chocolate pots de crème, to name two. I freeze my egg whites in a rigid container and collect them to make angel food, meringues and chiffon cakes. So, add another virtue to the chiffon cake—it uses up those extra whites you may have around.

Although it is easy to make, be sure to follow the directions carefully. As with all cakes, the measuring, oven temperature, pan size and oven placement are crucial to success.

The following two recipes are very different from one another; the first uses fresh citrus to perfection, resulting in a moist, billowy, light and refreshing cake. If you want to gild the lily, a citrus glaze (made by adding the citrus juice to powdered sugar just until it is of pouring consistency) can be poured over the finished, cooled cake. The second, chocolate, is a surprise: very chocolate-y and the texture is perfected by using both safflower (or other vegetable oil without silicates) and walnut oil.

Citrus Chiffon Cake

2 ¼ cups sifted cake flour (no substitutions)
1 ½ cups sugar (superfine is best)
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ cup vegetable oil (preferably safflower)
7 large eggs, separated, + 3 additional whites
¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 Tbsp. grated orange zest
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ¼ tsp. cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 325 deg. F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, all but 2 Tbsp of the sugar, baking powder and salt and beat 1 minute. Mix oil, egg yolks, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla together and add all at once to a depression in the center of the dry ingredients. Beat until smooth, about 1 minute. In another large mixing bowl, beat egg whites until frothy, add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Beat in remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in egg whites until just blended. Pour into a 10-inch tube pan, run a small knife through the batter to prevent air pockets and bake for 55 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Invert pan to cool.

Variation: Lemon Chiffon Cake

Substitute ½ teaspoon baking soda for the baking powder and 2/3 cup water + 2 Tbsp. lemon juice (freshly squeezed) for the orange juice. Use 1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest for the orange zest called for.

Chocolate Chiffon Cake

½ cup +2 Tbsp. cocoa *
¾ cup boiling water
1 ¾ cups sifted cake flour
1 ¾ cups sugar
½ tsp. baking soda*
½ tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. walnut oil
6 large eggs, separated + 4 additional whites
2 tsp. vanilla
1 ¼ tsp. cream of tartar

*If using Dutch-processed cocoa, use ½ cup + 1 Tbsp. and 2 tsp. of baking powder in place of the baking soda.

Preheat oven to 325 deg. F. In medium bowl combine cocoa and boiling water. Wisk until smooth. Cool. In large mixing bowl, combine flour all but 2 Tbsp. of sugar, baking soda and salt and beat 1 minute. Add oils, egg yolks, chocolate mixture and vanilla to well in center of dry ingredients and beat until smooth. In another large mixing bowl, beat egg whites until frothy, add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Beat in remaining 2 Tbsp. of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold 1 heaping cup of egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Gently fold in remaining egg whites until just blended. Pour into tube pan. Run knife through the batter to prevent air pockets and bake for 60 minutes or until it tests done. Invert pan and cool completely. (About 1 ½ hours). Remove from pan. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Homemade Sausage Classes

Now that you have mastered breadmaking and yogurt making, why not try making sausage? I just purchased pork for the class for $1.29 per pound.  You will wind up with sausage comparable to Jimmy Deans ($3.48 for 12 oz tube) which comes to $4.64 a pound.  You will make up the cost of the class with your first 10 pound package.  Sign up through
Community Ed at the Red Wing High School: Class is from 6 p.m.
to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 11, 2013.
Cost is $28

Friday, March 8, 2013

Delicious Homemade Yogurt

I am doing a class through Red Wing Community Education next Thursday, March 14, 2013, at 6 p.m.  It will cover yogurt making (regular and Greek) as well as Ricotta Cheese.  Call 651-385-4565 or use this link

Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Nostalgic Cooking

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the state of the world and, especially, the state of our country. Every time I turn on the news there’s another story of a worrisome or tragic nature. The shootings at Sandy Hook school are a prime example of the tragedies taking place around us, but the clamor to change the gun regulations as a remedy is an example of the worrisome type.

When are we going to address the root cause of our problems? The change in our values has affected every aspect of our culture and has resulted, I believe, in this stressful, sad, and frightening new world. I’m very aware that older generations usually decry the newest generation’s behavior and ideas—but I think it goes deeper than that. If we look over the last 70 years the cultural decay has changed us for the worse in every area: education, family life, work ethic, patriotism, individualism, modesty, respect for elders and each other, materialism, health, and above all others, belief in and reverence for God.

What can one individual do? I’m not an advocate of “head in the sand,” but I think that turning to a simpler, traditional way of life is a step in the right direction. Since food and cooking are my areas of interest and expertise (as well as my job), I elected to start there with my resolution to turn back the clock.

My own childhood was early post-WWII. We lived in a large Queen Ann red brick house on Russell Avenue in Minneapolis. Although my parents owned the house, it was divided into four apartments. When I was four we moved to St. Louis Park to a brand new house on Vernon Avenue which my parents built. I still remember what a feeling of “having arrived” we all had about that house. It seemed like a mansion. In truth, it was a three bedroom colonial with a one-car attached garage, a very small screened porch, one bathroom and an unfinished basement. Today it would be considered a nice “starter house.” My parents were in a first marriage (and only marriage—that lasted 67 years before my mom died); my dad worked for Honeywell as an engineer and my mom, who had taught school before she married, was a homemaker (or housewife, as at-home women were called then).

Mom considered her role as a “real” job and put herself into it with enthusiasm. She was an especially great cook. As a young teen she had participated in 4H and won a week’s trip to the State Fair (she grew up in Mankato) for her talented bread baking. She could whip up a tall, elegant, delicious layer cake from scratch, caramel rolls to die for, pies whose crusts were so tender and flaky they melted in your mouth—all without recipes and, seemingly, without effort.

Most nights we had supper in the dining room—occasionally in the kitchen at our “nook” table. But we ate together as a family every weeknight. Saturday night we usually had hamburgers either at home—or as a special treat—at the drive-in. The only one I remember back then was Porky’s on Lake Street. I remember getting Chinese take-out once in a while (always chow mein which came in a brown bag that held two small cartons of white rice, one large carton of chicken chow mein, one large carton of subgum chow mein, a cellophane package of chow mein noodles, several packets of soy sauce and a small cellophane package of roasted and salted cashew nuts) and on three or four occasions we went to what is now “uptown” to the Rainbow Café or to a place on Lake street near France Avenue called the Colonial Inn. Sunday we had dinner after church and then my mom would put out leftovers in the evening and let everyone help himself to sandwich makings or some soup ( if Dad made it).

Unfortunately, the fifties have a bad culinary reputation in today’s circles. That decade seems to be best known for canned soup casseroles and packaged-mix-every-things that were certainly “the rage” for awhile. After all, they were new and so were all the appliances and grills and available ingredients (especially foreign ones) to be had. But at our dinner table and most of those of my friends, wonderful, healthy and delicious meals were made from scratch. I love to go through my old Betty Crocker and Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks that my mother used when she did need a new recipe or to check herself on old standbys. I also have a collection of old magazines from that era that jog my memory on what we ate.

Before I share some of those recipes with you, I want to add a footnote. Our evening meal consisted of 6 elements every night: meat, potatoes (or a starchy food), vegetable (sometimes 2), salad, bread and dessert. When I started making dinner for our family (around age 12), I was instructed that each meal must contain all 6 elements. And we were not a bit fat!! We were certainly more active than today’s kids, but I attribute the fact that we were not fat and ate a lot of courses to two main things: we didn’t have soda or sugary snacks between meals and our portions were much smaller than today’s.

Sunday dinner was almost always a roast: roast beef, ham, chicken, or pork. Throughout the week the remnants of that roast became wonderful meals—casseroles for supper, sandwiches for lunch, hash for breakfast; it never seemed that we were eating “leftovers” which my Dad loudly protested. He never realized that was what we were eating.

Baked Ham
Scalloped Potatoes
Orange Glazed Carrots
Pineapple Salad
Yeast Rolls
Great Grandma’s Golden Sponge Cake

Baked Ham

1 bone-in half ham, fully cooked (6 pounds)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard
½ cup water or fruit juice
Whole cloves

Score fat side of ham in a diamond pattern. Mix sugar, mustard and fruit juice in a small bowl and spread over top of scored ham. Stick a clove in each diamond. Place ham on a rack in a shallow roasting pan; tent loosely with foil and bake at 325 for 30 minutes per pound (2 hours). Baste with remaining sauce last half hour.

Scalloped Potatoes

2 pounds potatoes (approximately 6 medium)
½ cup chopped onion (optional)
3 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
¼ cup butter
2 ½ cups milk

Pare potatoes thinly (should be about 4 cups). Spray a 2-quart casserole and arrange potatoes in 4 layers, sprinkling each of the first 3 layers with 1 Tbsp. flour, ¼ tsp. of salt, dash pepper and dotting each layer with 1 Tbsp. butter and 2 Tbsp. onion, if you are using them,. Sprinkle top with remaining onion, salt and pepper and dot with remaining butter. Heat milk to just below boiling; pour over potatoes. Cover; bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 60 to 70 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Orange Glazed Carrots

2 ½ pounds fresh carrots
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup orange juice
1 tsp. grated orange peel
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt

Peel carrots; remove ends. Cut into strips. Place in sprayed square (8x8x2) baking dish. Stir together butter, orange juice and salt. Pour over carrots. Cover; bake 40 minutes until carrots are tender. (8 servings)

Pineapple Salad

Line small salad plates with crisp salad leaves. Place 1 canned, chilled pineapple slice on top of lettuce. Mound cottage cheese in center of pineapple ring. Top with a dollop of salad dressing (mayonnaise-type) and sprinkle with paprika.

Yeast Dinner Rolls

1 pkg. (2 ½ tsp.) active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water (105-115 deg)
¾ cup lukewarm milk
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
¼ cup melted butter
3 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 heaping tsp. gluten flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in milk, sugar, salt, butter and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn dough onto lightly floured board; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover let rise in warm place until double, about 1 12 to 2 hours. Punch down dough; divide in half. Roll dough into a rectangle, 13x9 inches and ¼” thick. Place in greased 9x13 baking pan. Score dough ¼ inch deep into 15 rolls. Brush with butter. Let rise 1 ½ hours. Bake at 400 degrees. Bake 15-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Great Grandma’s Golden Sponge Cake

1 ¼ cup sugar
1 cup water
7 eggs, separated
1 cup sifted cake flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla OR almond extract OR lemon extract (your choice)

Boil sugar and water until syrup reaches the thread stage (233 degrees or until syrup “spins a thread” when spoon is picked up out of syrup and a thread forms as it falls)

Meanwhile, beat egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored (about 5 minutes). Slowly add hot syrup to yolks, beating all the while. Add cake flour. In separate bowl and with separate beaters, beat room temperature egg whites, salt and cream of tartar until stiff. Add flavoring and beat in. Fold carefully into egg yolk mixture. Turn into sprayed tube pan or bundt pan carefully and smooth top. Bake at 325 for 50 min to 1 hour. Cool completely upside down on funnel. Serve with sweetened fresh fruit or thawed frozen fruit and top with sweetened whipped cream.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lynette's Cooking Class

On February 5th, I had my first class in the Red Wing Community Education classroom.  This is a picture of me and my "helpers" getting ready.  17 people attended and had a great time.  My next class is March 14 "Homemade Greek Yogurt, Yogurt and Cheese.  Call me with questions (651-388-8034) or Community Education at 651-385-4565.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

In addition to cooking classes here at the Candlelight Inn, I am going to give a few Community Education Courses.  If you areinterested, please sign up.