Innkeeper Jane’s Favorite Recipes for Feeding Friends & Family During the Holidays

November 20, 2019

Woman holding plates with breakfast food
Innkeeper Jane at Greenlake Guest House
Hello, this is Jane writing a guest blog for the Greenlake Guest House. I’ve been working at the inn for over 10 years. I love cooking delicious, healthy food and recently completed a second degree in nutrition and culinary arts. The Holiday season is here, and many of us will be entertaining and feeding friends and family. You probably have some family recipes you enjoy, but if you are like me, you may want to try something new, as well. Here are a variety of recipes you can add to your menu repertoire this year.   Baked Apple French Toast
Innkeeper Linsy serving that amazing Baked Apple French Toast
One of our favorite breakfast recipes at the Greenlake Guest House is Baked Apple French Toast. I passed this recipe on to my sister several years ago, and she now makes it every year at Thanksgiving when she has a house full of people. It needs to be put together at least a day ahead, which means you just toss it in the oven in the morning. If you want to get things ready even further ahead, it can be frozen. Pull it out the day before you need it, and thaw in the refrigerator. Ingredients: 1 loaf French Bread, sliced 2 inches thick, or Texas Toast (layered 2 slices thick) 8 eggs or 2 cups pasteurized liquid eggs 3 cups milk ½ cup sugar, divided 1 tablespoon vanilla 3 apples, peeled, cut in half, cored, and sliced about ¼ inch thick 2 teaspoons cinnamon 2 tablespoons butter Maple Syrup (optional) Dried cranberries (optional)   Directions: Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Lay the bread slices in the pan, cutting some to fit into gaps, if needed. Place eggs in a large bowl and beat lightly. Add milk, ¼ cup sugar, and vanilla. Mix well. Pour half of the egg mixture over the bread. Arrange the apples, domino style, in rows, on top of the bread. Pour remaining egg mixture over the apples. Mix remaining ¼ cup sugar with cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over the apples. Distribute small chunks of butter over the top. Wrap and refrigerate overnight, or freeze for up to 1 month. (allow to thaw in the refrigerator for about 24 hours before baking) Bake at 375o F for 50 – 60 minutes, or until set. Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving. Cut into squares or rectangles, and serve with maple syrup, and dried cranberries. Serves 9 to 12 – depending on the serving sizes. Preparation time: about 30 minutes, plus 1-hour bake time Recipe revised by The Greenlake Guest House. Original recipe from The Bowman of Port Angeles Bed and Breakfast.   Massaged Kale & Apple Salad   If you are looking for a new winter salad recipe, you may want to try Massaged Kale and Apple Salad. In the Pacific Northwest, these ingredients are in season now. Kale can actually grow all year round in the Seattle climate, and apples are coming to us, fresh from Eastern Washington orchards. A kale salad can be made just before serving or even several days in advance.  Many people I talk too, have tried making Kale Salad, but were not impressed with the outcome. The trick to kale is that it needs to be massaged if eaten raw. Massaging is done after the leaves are washed, dried and cut into ribbons. It is more like the action of kneading bread, and serves to soften the leaves and mellow the flavor. Ingredients: 1 large bunch of kale 1 teaspoon sea salt 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted ¼ cup diced red onion or sliced green onions 1/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins 1 large apple, chopped ¼ cup olive oil 2 tablespoons unfiltered apple cider vinegar   Directions: De-stem kale by pulling the leaf away from the stem. Wash the leaves. Spin or pat dry. Stack leaves, roll-up and cut into thin ribbons (chiffonade). Put kale in a large mixing bowl. Add salt, and massage salt into the kale with your hands, for about 2 minutes. The volume will reduce dramatically as the kale leaves wilt. Place massaged kale in a clean bowl and discard the liquid extracted from massaging. To toast seeds, put in a dry skillet over low to medium heat and stir constantly for a few minutes, until they change color and give off a nutty aroma. Stir onion, dried cranberries (or raisins), apple, and toasted seeds into kale. Dress with oil and vinegar and toss well. Taste for salt and vinegar, adding more if necessary.   Preparation time 15 minutes Serves 4 to 6 Recipe by Cynthia Lair, Feeding the Whole Family (Sasquatch Books, 2016)   Warm Pear and Gingerbread Torte   Is there anything better than the scent of gingerbread baking? Well, maybe cinnamon rolls can win this competition, but for a lovely holiday season dessert one of my go-to recipes is Warm Pear and Gingerbread Torte. It’s a fairly simple cake with extra ginger flavor and lovely pears baked right on the top.  It’s a little on the less sweet side, so it could be great as a breakfast bread, or served with a scoop of ice cream for dessert. This recipe has some history to it, which you can tell by the inclusion of hot water or hot coffee. Apparently, hot coffee was originally used in Gingerbread, for flavor and to activate the baking soda. During the Great Depression, coffee was in short supply so bakers began using boiling water. You can decide which you will use when baking it. Either way, it turns out delicious. Ingredients: 2 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour, or all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup molasses 1/3 cup brown rice syrup ¾ cup melted butter 2 eggs ¼ cup chopped crystalized ginger 1 cup boiling water or hot coffee 2 medium-ripe pears, cored and cut into thin slices   Directions: Preheat oven to 350oF. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl, combine the molasses, brown rice syrup, melted butter, eggs and crystallized ginger; stir to blend well. Gradually stir in the flour mixture. Carefully add the boiling water or coffee, a little at a time, until you have a sticky and glossy batter.   Butter and flour a 9 X 13 inch baking dish and spoon in the batter. Arrange slices of pear over the surface, tucking them down into the batter slightly, to anchor. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.   Recipe adapted by Jane Blaisdell. Original recipe by Lynne Vea, of PCC Cooks!   Eat Your Veggies Chili
Bowl of colorful chili
Eat Your Veggies Chili
After the big Holiday meals, you may want to serve some lighter fare. I like to skip the meat and focus on a more vegetarian diet after all of the indulgence. Soups and salads are a delicious way to eat more vegetables.  Eat Your Veggies Chili, is an easy soup to make. A single recipe can feed a few, but can be easily doubled, tripled, or more, to feed more guests. Purchase or make some cornbread or a loaf of crusty bread, and you have the makings for a “meatless Monday” meal. Ingredients: ½ tablespoon butter or oil ½ medium onion, about 1/3 cup, diced 1 tablespoon hot red pepper, minced (optional) ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon whole cumin ½ teaspoon ground cumin 1 tablespoon chili powder 1 can (about 15 ounces), Kidney beans or black beans, drained 1 can (about 15 ounces), diced tomatoes ½ teaspoon dried oregano ½ cup corn, canned or frozen 1 medium carrot, diced 1 cup mixed power greens, coarsely chopped (or any combination of spinach, kale, collard greens, and/or bok choy)   Directions: Heat a medium size saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the butter or oil, then the onion, red pepper, whole cumin, and salt, and cook gently for at least 15 minutes, or until the onions are tender. Add the ground cumin and chili powder and cook for a few minutes (until fragrant). Add the beans, tomatoes, oregano, corn and carrots. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Add more salt and chili powder if needed for desired taste. Stir in the greens and continue to cook the soup until they are wilted. Serve immediately!   Prep time: 45 minutes Yield: 2 large servings, or 3 medium servings Original recipe by Jane Blaisdell, 2017   I hope you enjoy these recipes. We plan on sharing more recipes in future blogs and in our newsletters and social media. We look forward to seeing you again soon at the Greenlake Guest House!