Who’s Ready for Spring???

It’s certainly not news that this winter’s weather  has been a bit extreme. . .as many predicted it would be.  Now that it’s March, the month of SPRING, how can we not dream of hyacinth and daffodils.  Of strawberries and rhubarb.  And the sun…. ahhhhhh, can’t you just feel it?  NO??   Well, maybe we can conjure up spring with a tasty recipe.

Of all vegetables, perhaps none other than asparagus represents spring so well.  Those adorable spears that poke their heads through the ground in early spring are just begging to be washed, and washed again (they’re sandy little things) and cooked up simply without much fanfare.  When you have your own patch, as we do here at the Brampton,  ephemeral is the word that best describes asparagus.  Get them while they’re here; eat them early and often; at breakfast, lunch and dinner; until you’re almost, but not quite, tired of them.   Then POOF, they’re gone.  Wait until next year.

Of course asparagus is available year round thanks to modern living, but it definitely tastes better when it was grown locally, and you’ve picked it yourself.

Asparagus

This is a recipe for a simple, elegant and delicious asparagus dish inspired by our friend Matthew Lovette of Jumping Rocks Photography, who takes all of the beautiful pictures on our website.  He’s a pretty good cook, too!

 

Apsaragus, Spring Pea, and Lemon Pasta

1/2 pound of your favorite pasta

1# fresh asparagus spears, washed very well, and cut into roughly 1 inch pieces (separate the tips from the rest of the spears)

1/2 bunch scallions, white and green parts, chopped

1 1/2 cups fresh peas

1 clove garlic, pressed

zest and juice of one lemon

small handful fresh parsley, chopped fine

1/4 cup olive oil

1-2 tablespoons butter, optional

salt and pepper to taste

parmesan and/or ricotta cheese, optional

 

Boil pasta according to package directions.  Reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Place a large frying pan over medium heat.  Heat olive oil and add garlic and scallions.  Saute for a minute or two without letting the garlic brown.  Add the asparagus spears, holding the tips back for a few minutes (they will cook faster).  Saute, stirring often until the spears start to soften, about 3 minutes.  Next add the peas and the asparagus tips.  Stir well.  When the tips are bright green, add the reserved pasta water.  Turn the heat up and let it just start to bubble.  If you want a richer sauce, add the butter at this point and swirl pan to melt it.  Remove from heat and finally add the lemon juice and zest and the parsley.  Toss the whole thing with the cooked pasta.  Add salt and pepper to taste.   Top with freshly grated parmesan and/or a dollop of fresh ricotta cheese if you wish.

Enjoy!

We promise spring is right around the corner…Take advantage of our Spring Break Special and get up close and personal with our asparagus patch yourself!  :)

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Older and Newer Faces at the Inn…

Have we ever told you about our amazing staff at our Maryland bed and breakfast??

To run a place like the Brampton it takes a lot of quiet magic behind the scene and our staff is really good. I’m listing them by seniority:

First there is Manick Burton, our gardener and weekend breakfast server. Manick started working for us in the last millennium, 1999 to be exact. She is the lady with the charming French accent. She has an amazing gift with flowers and we have been lucky to have her take care of them in the garden. In her spare time she is a wonderful potter.

Manick and her flowers

Manick and her flowers

Then there is Carole Baxter, the breakfast chef and the genie behind the cakes, cookies, pies, muffins, scones etc. We can blame her for all those broken New Year’s resolutions! She has been keeping the cookie jar full for 10+ years now.

Carole making biscotti

Carole making biscotti

Rita Scardino, is our innkeeper extraordinaire. She is the one who answers the phone most days and you’ll recognize her by her wicked sense of humor. She also cooks breakfast, is the perfect wedding coordinator and keeps everybody organized. Mostly me :) She joined us in 2006.

Tara Hanifee and Jen Russum are our hardworking housekeepers. These ladies know how to keep the rooms and the inn clean and sparkling.

The newest additions to our team are Lucas Hanscom and Rachel Jorgenson. Technically Luke is our most senior employee. He started as a teenager when we bought Brampton in 1987. He is Michael’s son and was put to work right away cutting grass, chopping wood, making fires, serving breakfast etc. After graduating from High School, he left. Quickly. College was calling on the West Coast. Who could blame him! However, his memory is playing tricks on him because now he is back cutting grass, chopping wood, making fires, serving breakfast etc. This time with great enthusiasm. He is very interested in continuing the hospitality at the Brampton. Luckily he met Rachel. In Chestertown of all places! They are a wonderful couple and Rachel joined us last summer as an innkeeper. She is a natural at this job. She and Rita take turns assisting and looking after our guests.

Luke and Rachel trying out the new firepit

Luke and Rachel trying out the new firepit

Michael and I are slowly pulling away more and more from the day to day operation at the inn, but we are sill popping our heads in regularly and Michael is still the handyman. Nobody knows Brampton, with its quirkiness, better than he does.

 

 

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No Recipe Needed: 2 Kitchen Hacks You’ll Love!!

A while back we shared some really easy recipes that taste great and look like they took a lot more effort than is really required, along with the promise of more to come.  So here we have 2 more simple, no-brainer kitchen hacks that will help boost your confidence in the kitchen and get you cooking real food!!

Spiced Salt:  this might just be the best thing ever.  Apologies to the writer of the cookbook we found it in, (memory loss is a tragic thing)  but that person is a genius. However we did adapt it to our taste. It’s a simple mixture of kosher salt, garlic and spices. It makes EVERYTHING it touches taste delicious.  And it is so easy.

2 cups of kosher salt   *   25 cloves of garlic (roughly 2 heads)  *   the following dried spices:kitchen hacks spiced salt

  • 1.5 tablespoons onion flakes
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • and 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary.

Blend it all together in a food processor.  Put it in a jar.  That’s it.  The copious amount of salt preserves the fresh garlic, so there’s no need to refrigerate it.  Keep it on your counter, because we promise you’re going to be using it all the time.  (We love it on our potatoes!!)

Speaking of potatoes, how about adding some spiced salt to your hash browns?  Need a recipe?  Nah, you really don’t.

Food52 is a fabulous website and blog that we follow here at the Brampton.  It covers so many different topics that it’s becoming one of our most used resources for new recipes. But one of our favorite features is their “Not Recipes” column.  In all honesty, it is the inspiration for this post and the previously mentioned one!   You really don’t always need a recipe for things.  Sometimes it’s just about ratios and proportions.  So grab some potatoes and an onion if you feel like it, and try this very cool technique for amazing hash browns. Just don’t forget to add the special salt!

Enjoy!

 

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