Friday, December 25, 2009

A Happy Christmas to All from Narragansett

After breakfast some of the guests got frisky.

Or maybe we just fed them too much and they needed some exercise.

In an amazingly short time they had a new friend.

So we coaxed the whole family into a holiday portrait.

And they returned the favor.

Happy holidays to all,
Innkeepers Seely and David

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gingerbread Season

I was reading The Homesick Texan's entry into the world of gingerbread construction projects - her personal rendition of the Alamo - when I realized that I haven't made my favorite seasonal treat: gingerbread.

I tried and failed making gingerbread houses in the past. To be honest, I didn't have the patience for the work. In those days you never ate the houses so I really wasn't motivated.

I did not invent this recipe. It was one of the first things I made as a naive bride in 1976 out of my brand new Joy of Cooking . That whole book was so exotic to me in those days. Now it is just a well thumbed, cover falling off semi-antique that I wouldn't give up for a newer edition no matter what the bribe.

So give this a try or just come on over and help me take care of my treat. Silly Dave who loves so many things with ginger won't touch it.

Gingerbread (Joy of Cooking)
Preheat oven to 350, grease a 9x9 baking pan

Melt 1/2 cup butter, cool slightly then beat into 1/2 cup sugar and 1 egg until fluffy.

Sift together 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon each ground ginger and ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. (optional: nutmeg or allspice.)

Combine 1/2 cup light molasses, 1/2 cup honey, and 1 cup very hot water. (optional: 1 tablespoon grated orange peel)

Add the sifted and liquid ingredients alternately to the butter mixture until blended. Bake about 1 hour.

Enjoy plain, with a dusting of powdered sugar, or with lemon curd sauce.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Do you decorate for Christmas?

We do dress up the inn a bit for the holiday season. It usually starts with the purchase of a nine-foot tree for the living room. Seely does lights, I string popcorn and we both share ornament hanging duty.

We hang wreaths on the front door and all the doors to the guest rooms. Penguin sentries stand guard on either side of the front steps to keep grinches away. Frosty the Snowman and his main squeeze, Icilla, point the way to the side porch steps, so guests know how to find the entrance from the parking lot.

The most time-consuming and coldest duty is putting the outside lights up. It usually takes me one entire afternoon to find the boxes in the basement, untangle the strings and test them to weed out the duds.

In past years we have done some pretty elaborate light shows involving shrubbery, the penguins and all the porch support posts. With utility costs rising and power consumption politically incorrect, (and the fact that the new bushes aren't big enough yet) we took a more minimalist approach this year. Six strings only (two along the roof line, four along the porch rails and handrails by the steps. I set a personal record by getting the whole thing done in two hours, 18 minutes.

The decorations stay up until the first day without guests in the New Year. It takes pretty much an entire day to take everything down, pack it up and stow it away for next year.
Posted by Innkeeper David