Showing posts with label pumpkin seeds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pumpkin seeds. Show all posts

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Tour of Historic Holmes County, Ohio


CONTEST INFORMATION AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST!

But for right now, I’d like to share a bit of Ohio with you.


Providence, Ohio, the fictional town in The Cheese Shop Mysteries, is located in the western portion of Holmes County.

I recently toured the area and took a ton of pictures.

Isn’t it beautiful? Pastoral? Bucolic?


I decided to stay at a bed and breakfast that was listed in a visitor’s guide
to Holmes County.
Acorns at the White Oak Inn was first in the alphabet.
So is Avery Aames.
And the inn had received awards.
Kismet, right?


I headed north from the airport with a song in my heart, but right off the bat, I was rerouted from the clear directions I had received from the Inn. Uh-oh. I definitely needed GPS to get there. To make matters worse, while getting intermittently detoured, my cell phone reception vanished. No phoning home, no GPS. Let’s hear it for good old AT&T. Boo-o-o-o!



Rather than lose my cool, I leaned back in the seat, took deep calming breaths, and drove along a number of scenic routes knowing I had enough gas to get me just about anywhere. And then I drank in the atmosphere. The hills undulated like a theme park rollercoaster. The burnt amber and shimmering gold leaves on the trees lit up the horizon like a brazen fire. And there were hundreds upon hundreds of farms. Big farms, small farms. I stopped to take pictures of barns, silos, and vistas. I laughed when I saw not only cows, sheep, and goats, but llamas. Yes, llamas!


Finally I arrived at the historic White Oak Inn and was greeted by Yvonne and Ian, the owners.

Shout out to Yvonne and Ian. http://www.whiteoakinn.com


They advertise that the inn is “in the middle of nowhere.” Well, my friends, it really is. There are no houses around. No hotels. No sounds but the babble of the nearby river and the wind blowing through the trees. A slice of heaven. There are no telephones in the room--which was a little worrisome seeing as I still had no cell phone reception--but I was able to get on the internet when I sat in the inn’s great room, a meditative spot decorated with antique furniture, collections of teacups and teapots, earthenware, and an old square Chickering piano. When I retired to my little cottage, which was decorated with brocade and lace, I lit the fire, poured a glass of wine. (Of course, I'd purchased some cheese along the way for a snack.) I picked up a book and suddenly realized I was on vacation. Wahoo!

I slept like a log in the comfy bed,
and in the morning, after a serene walk and a scrumptious breakfast made by Yvonne--a foodie who blogs with other innkeepers--I set off for Millersberg and Berlin, cute, touristy towns…



…where I met LaVonne of Amish Tours of Ohio--a terrific gal with a sharp wit and the most intimate knowledge of Holmes County and the Amish people. Check out: http://www.amishtoursofohio.com



Over the course of six hours, LaVonne took me to a number of cheese makers, a winery, an Amish leather maker, and a general store, all while regaling me with stories. [That's an Amish farm on the right.]

I gained a wealth of tidbits to add to my stories--lucky me! But I also learned something else.

I go too fast.

I don’t take enough time to breathe and listen and absorb.

If you’re like me, take a minute now. Breathe. And then enjoy life one moment at a time.


Oh, and try a bit of Guggisberg Baby Swiss cheese or Heini’s cheddar, local Holmes County cheeses made with Amish farm milk. Yum!!

If you want to know more about The Cheese Shop Mysteries, coming from Berkley Prime Crime in July, 2010, click on this link to check out my website: Avery Aames

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST...
OUR CONTEST!

Win a $25 Gift Card to Williams-Sonoma gourmet food and kitchenware store!

In early November, we're going to have an Iron Chef Week. Each of our mystery writing cooks will post a recipe with the same secret ingredient. To enter our drawing for the gift card, all you have to do is send an e-mail, suggesting a future Secret Ingredient to: MysteryLoversKitchen@gmail.com

NOTE: You must be a follower of our blog for your entries to count. Just click on one of the "follow" buttons in the right column and you're all set. One entry allowed per day per person. The winner will be announced right here on November 9th! (Again, if you're not following our blog, another winner will be selected...so be sure to follow!)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Trick or Treat!




This week we're celebrating HALLOWEEN in our recipes. Isn't that fun? Six different ways to TRICK OR TREAT! I'm curious to see what the others come up with, aren't you?

I think I've told you before that my character, Charlotte Bessette, likes to experiment with food. Well, I do, too, and I inspired to do so this week because I took a tour of Ohio and fell in love all over again with FALL. The colors and the rolling hills, the fields upon fields of corn, and the wonderful flavors of foods that I tasted. I stayed at the best little bed and breakfast called Acorns at the White Oak Inn, in Danfield, Ohio, out in the "middle of nowhere" (as they advertise), and I was treated like family. The innkeeper, Yvonne, is a terrific chef and spoiled me rotten. I then went on a tour of the Amish country with a fabulous guide named LaVonne who runs Amish Tours of Ohio, who works out of Berlin, Ohio. What an insight to a very different culture.

In honor of Halloween and Fall, I decided to use pumpkin seeds as an ingredient in a fall salad. Actually, this salad uses all the elements of the season. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did


FALL SALAD WITH PUMPKIN SEEDS
(for two)

Ingredients:
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:
Baste a 9” square baking pan with the oil.
Sprinkle in the seeds so they’re flat on the bottom.
Sprinkle with salt.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, stir so they get coated with oil on all sides. Flatten them on the bottom and bake 10 minutes more until they’re a golden brown.

Remove and reserve.





SALAD

Ingredients:
2 cups raw spinach
4 sticks baby corn
6 slices cucumber
1/4 zucchini, chopped thin
2 Tbs. craisins
1 Tbs. olive oil
4 Tbs. pumpkin seeds
1 oz. cheddar, cubed or shredded

Directions:
Pile spinach on a plate, adorn with cucumber, corn, and craisins.

Heat 1 Tbs. olive oil in sauté pan. Drop in zucchini, sauté quickly until light brown. Divide over two salads.

Drizzle with dressing (recipe to follow)
Top with pumpkin seeds and cheddar.
This is melt in your mouth good, if I do say so myself!


Dressing

Ingredients:
2 Tbs. olive oil
4 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. basil
1/8 tsp. ground pepper

Directions:
Stir together and shake well. Divide between 2 salads.

Yum!




Note: I used Australian Cheddar. It's got a nice tang to it. Sharp without a bite. The pumpkin seeds really give this salad a crunchy and nutty zing!


If you want to check out other recipes or learn more about the upcoming Cheese Shop Mysteries, check out my website: http://www.averyaames.com/. There's lots to read.




And LAST BUT NOT LEAST, we have another contest!!


Win a $25 Gift Card to Williams-Sonoma gourmet food and kitchenware store! In early November, we're going to have an Iron Chef Week. Each of our mystery writing cooks will post a recipe with the same secret ingredient. To enter our drawing for the gift card, all you have to do is send an e-mail, suggesting a future Secret Ingredient to: MysteryLoversKitchen@gmail.com

NOTE:
You must be a follower of our blog for your entries to count. Just click on one of the "follow" buttons in the right column and you're all set. One entry allowed per day per person. The winner will be announced right here on November 9th! (Again, if you're not following our blog, another winner will be selected...so be sure to follow!)