Monday, April 30, 2012

Azalea Inn's Chicken Broccoli Quiche

Teresa Scott Jacobson and Joey
The "Gardens" of Azalea Inn and Gardens in Savannah includes vegetables and fruit as well as flowers and owner/innkeeper Teresa Scott Jacobson makes sure her guests share in the bounty.

The first night I met her she had turned a breakfast favorite, Chicken Broccoli Quiche, into an hors d'oeuvre by using tartlet-sized shells. You can, too.

Azalea Inn and Gardens Chicken Broccoli Quiche
Serves 8

1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
1/2 cup (4 ounces) diced raw chicken breast (cut when frozen)
3 TBS. slivered almonds
2/3 cup chopped broccoli
1/3 cup grated carrot
1 1/2 cup grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
3 TBS. grated Parmesan cheese

Chop chicken, almonds, broccoli and carrot. Mix, cover and refrigerate.

In the bottom of the pie shell, place the chicken, almonds, broccoli and carrot. Sprinkle with the Gruyere cheese.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, cream, salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture carefully over the cheese. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese.

Bake in a 375-degree F oven for 45-55 minutes on top of a cookie sheet. Allow to stand 10 minutes and "set up" before slicing.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Zeigler House Mini Chocolate Croissants

Jackie Heinz
Jackie Heinz, owner-innkeeper of The Zeigler House in Savannah, specializes in baked goods and other treats that guests can enjoy in the comfort and privacy of their own suites. This means they re-heat beautifully, keep well and often can make the transition from breakfast to cocktail hour.

These chocolate croissants can be a highlight of breakfast or the "dessert" to heavy hors d'oeuvres.They aren't a quick, throw-together, but when you feel like a challenge, this is a good one.

Read through before saying it's too much trouble - there is an easier way.

The Zeigler House Mini Chocolate Croissants

Croissant dough
1 1/2 cups whole milk, heated to warm (105-110 degrees F)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 TBS plus 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (from two 1/4 oz. packages)
3 3/4 to 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 TBS. kosher salt
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) cold unsalted butter

Stir together warm milk, brown sugar and yeast in bowl of standing mixer and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If it doesn't foam, discard and start over.) Add 3 3/4 cups flour and salt and mix with dough hook at low speed until dough is smooth and very soft, about 7 minutes.

Transfer dough to a work surface and knead by hand 2 minutes, adding more flour as necessary, a little at a time, to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. Form dough into a roughly 1 1/2-inch thick rectangle and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until cold, about 1 hour.

Prepare and shape butter:
After dough has chilled. arrange sticks of butter horizontally, their sides touching, on a work surface. Pound butter with a rolling pin to soften slightly (butter should be malleable but still cold). Scrape butter into a block and put on a kitchen towel, then cover with another towel. Pound and roll out on both sides until butter forms a uniform 8-by-5-inch rectangle. Chill, wrapped in towels, while rolling out the dough.

Roll out dough:
Unwrap dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface, dusting with flour as necessary and lifting and stretching dough (especially in corners), into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Arrange dough with short side nearest you. Put butter in center of dough so that the long sides of butter are parallel to short sides of dough. Fold as you would a letter: bottom third of dough over butter, then top third down over dough. Brush off excess flour with pastry brush.

Turn dough so a short side is nearest you, then flatten dough slightly by pressing down horizontally with rolling pin across dough at regular intervals, making uniform impressions. Roll out dough into a 15-by-10-inch rectangle, rolling just to but not over ends.

Brush off any excess flour. Fold into thirds like a letter again, stretching corners to square off dough, forming a 10-by-5-inch rectangle. You have completed the first "fold". Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, 1 hour.

Make remaining folds:
Make 3 more folds in the same manner, chilling dough for 1 hour after each fold, for a total of 4 folds. (If any butter oozes out while rolling, sprinkle with flour to prevent sticking. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill at least 8 hours but no more than 18 hours. (After 18 hours, dough may not rise sufficiently when baked.)

Now if this sounds like too much work - and it is a lot of work - buy a good quality pre-made croissant dough instead.

Chocolate Filling
 12 oz. good quality semi-sweet chocolate
11/2 cup heavy cream
Finely chop chocolate and place in a medium-size bowl and set aside. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the cream until it almost boils and starts to steam, but do not let it boil. Pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute then stir till all the chocolate melts. If it will not melt completely, place in a microwave and at 15-second intervals, stirring each time, until it is all melted. Let mixture cool 15-20 minutes then cover and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

To assemble:
Roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into 3-by-6-inch rectangles, then cut each rectangle diagonally. This will give you 2 elongated triangles. Place one of the triangles in front of you with the point facing away. Put a small amount of the chocolate mixture in the center of the bottom of the triangle and roll up to the point (like those crescent rolls you have at Thanksgiving).

Continue this process until you have used up your dough and chocolate. If you want larger croissants, just start with larger rectangles.

Place the croissants on a lined sheet pan and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm place to rise about 40 to 60 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush croissants with egg wash and bake till golden brown. This will take approximately 15 minutes, depending on the size of the croissant.

Never again will you take croissants for granted.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Green Palm Inn Crustless Mini Quiches

Diane McCray
Diane McCray, owner-innkeeper of Green Palm Inn in Savannah, whips these up for a quick breakfast or a make-ahead appetizer. Her guests love them whenever.

 Green Palm Inn Crustless Mini Quiches
Serves 6

2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
2 eggs
2 TBS. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 cup diced cooked ham, bacon or shrimp
1/4 cup diced button mushrooms
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Coat standard muffin pan with cooking spray.

Combine cheese, half and half, mayo, eggs, flour, salt and pepper in a blender. Process until well blended.

Fill each cup with about 1 1/2 TBS ham and 1 tsp. each mushrooms and onions. Pour equal amounts of egg mixture over each. Cups will be about 1/2 full. Bake 22 minutes or until quiches are lightly golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Diane recommends pairing with chardonnay or pinot noir. I assume that's when serving as an appetizer but it might be why her inn is so popular.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Savannah's Dresser Palmer House Pea Pesto Crostini

Dresser Palmer House
Savannah, GA, is known as the hostess City of the South and the innkeepers of its bed and breakfasts not only epitomize the term hostess, they are superb cooks. In the coming weeks I'll be posting some of their recipes. You can find information about their inns and their city at

Innkeeper Shannon Romine
Dresser Palmer House, the largest of, is run by Shannon Romine who serves up delicious breakfasts and winning hors d'oeuvres. This one may not sound wonderful but it tastes it. Easy, too.

Dresser Palmer House Pea Pesto Crostini

1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup olive oil

Add all ingredients except olive oil and mix lightly in a food processor. While mixing add olive oil. Stop and push down ingredients. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

Spread on crostini and garnish with cherry tomato slices.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Seasons 52 Artichoke Stuffed Artichoke

Seasons 52, the chain that keeps calorie counts down, recently rolled out its spring menu. I was among a small group of food writers invited to sample it during a tasting dinner at the Jacksonville branch. This artichoke squared dish was by far my favorite. Executive Chef Partner Stephen Hicks and Amy Drafts, Field  Sales Manager, were generous and shared.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

 Serves 4

3 quarts water
1 TBS Kosher salt
2  artichokes, medium large
¼ cup yellow onion, peeled, ¼” diced
2 tsp fresh garlic, minced
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup sun-dried tomato, chopped fine
6 ounce jar marinated artichokes,
    drained and chopped (save 1/8 cup of juice)
2 TBS fresh parsley, chopped
2 TBS Italian breadcrumbs
2 TBS basil pesto
1½ tsp creamy Caesar dressing
½ tsp coarse ground mustard
½ tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/3 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
Extra virgin olive oil for brushing
Drizzle of balsamic glaze

·       Preheat oven to 350°F.
·       In large pot, add 3 quarts water and 1 tablespoon Kosher salt and bring to boil.
·       Trim ½” off top of artichokes; trim ¼” off stem and trim spikes off the leaves.  Add trimmed artichokes to the boiling water and cover for approximately 20-25 minutes until done.  Remove from heat and place artichokes in refrigerator to cool.
·       In sauté pan, heat 1 teaspoon olive on medium-high heat for 1 minute.  Sauté onion and garlic for 2 minutes.  Add sun-dried tomatoes and marinated artichoke.  Stir to combine and remove from heat.  Add all other ingredients and mix well.  Place mixture on sheet tray and allow to cool.
·       Remove artichokes from refrigerator and split in half.  Scrape out choke and inner leaves with a tablespoon.  Place artichokes cut side up on sheet tray and brush with olive oil.  Fill each piece with ¼ of the artichoke stuffing mixture.  Top each piece with 1 tablespoon shredded cheese and bake in 350°F oven for 20-30 minutes until heated through.  Drizzle balsamic glaze over the artichokes.
·       Serve as a side dish.

Bite Size Appetizer Option:
·      Follow procedure above but do not trim spikes off of artichokes before cooking.  Once artichokes are cooked, remove larger leaves and fill each one with some stuffing mix.  Top with cheese and lay out on a sheet tray for heating in 350°F oven.  Plate on serving platter and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

Note:  Leftover artichoke heart may be used for salads or garnish.