Monday, March 28, 2011

Recipe Monday: Buttery Scones

Spring time is upon us and these scones are the perfect blend of sweet and savory.  Upon checkout, we often send people on their way with an extra snack to help extend the experience of their stay at our beautiful Los Angeles Boutique Hotel

Buttery Scones
Ingredients:

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, cold and cut into chunks
2 ½ cups sour cream (or 1 cup buttermilk)
1 cup dried fruit, raisins, cranberries, cherries, etc.

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt.  Add the butter chunks and rub into the flour mixture, an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment can also be used for this procedure.  The end result should resemble coarse meal about the size of small peas.  Add the dried fruit and mix just to coat the fruit.  Incorporate the sour cream and mix.  Do not over mix or the scone will be tough instead of light and airy. Bake at 400 for about 15-18 minutes or until tops are lightly browned.

Yields approx. 12 to 15 small scones

Friday, March 25, 2011

Volunteer Opportunities near Inn at Playa del Rey this weekend


LAX Coastal Young Professionals "Clean and Crawl"
Saturday, March 26th starting at 10:00am


The LAX Coastal Young Professionals will host their second Heal the Bay Community Beach “Clean and Crawl”.  The concept behind this event is to help clean our local beach while promoting local Chamber eateries in Playa del Rey.


This Clean & Crawl event is open to the entire community and is sponsored by the Westchester Rotary Club. We invite “Young Professionals,” families, local business representatives, and community members to participate. Upon completion of the clean, all participants will receive a promotional Chamber/Westchester Rotary souvenir gift pack (while supplies last).

If you would like to be a part of the clean portion of the day meet at Toes Beach in Playa del Rey (Intersection of Culver Blvd and Trolley Way). At 11:30am the "Crawl" will begin at The Shack (185 Culver Blvd)

Ballona Wetlands Habitat Restoration Volunteer Day
Saturday, March 26th from 9:30am-12:00pm

Join the Friends of Ballona and other volunteers to help restore the last coastal wetland habitat in Los Angeles County, the Ballona Wetlands. Volunteers get hands-on experience while learning about wetland ecology. The Friends provide gloves and tools. Children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult. Meet in the parking lot behind Gordon's Market (303 Culver Blvd)

Volunteer at either the Ballona Restoration or the Clean and Crawl and treat yourself to a night at the Inn at Playa del Rey.  All volunteers will receive 10% off their stay between now and March 31, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

And you thought we forgot about Recipe Monday!

Ok, fine, we did... it was busy around here! Cleaning up after the big rain storm, congratulating Peter (yay Peter!!), our landscaper, who ran the LA Marathon & the phones were ringing off the hook!

Have you seen our Wish You Were Here Special?? We do wish you were taking advantage of this Los Angeles vacation package - $50 off your visit! Through April 30th. Come join us!

And now for one of our most requested appetizer recipes... we call it Bleu Heaven.

1 package of dried cranberries or Craisins
4 ounce package of crumbled blue cheese
¼ cup of honey
4 ounce package of sliced almonds – lightly toasted

Mix cranberries, almonds and bleu cheese together.
Drizzle honey to taste and serve. We recommend serving this with a hearty cracker (like a Triscuit).

Personally, I think this would be a great spread on a turkey sandwich, too!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Recipe Monday & Local Happenings: Get ready for St. Patricks's Day!

Planning your St. Patrick's Day festivities? If you stay at the Inn at Playa del Rey, we've found some local activities for you to enjoy!

St. Patrick's Day Concert at Pershing Square
Pershing Square will be celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a noon-time concert featuring the Young Dubliners, Irish dancers and bagpipers. Lunch is available for purchase.
When: March 17, 2011 11:30, concert starts at noon.
Where: Pershing Square, 532 South Olive Street Los Angeles, CA 90013
Cost: Free

St. Patrick's Day Festival at L.A. Live
A mini-parade, Irish music and food, the Los Angeles Police Emerald Society Bagpipe Band and a beer garden with appearances by the LA Kings Ice Girls, the LA Lakers Girls and the Bud Light Models. Wolfgag Puck Bar & Grill and the Yard House will both be featuring Irish food specials.
When: March 17, 2011 4-8 pm
Where: Nokia Plaza at L.A. Live
Cost: Free

This is Ireland at Royce Hall at UCLA

An Irish theatrical musical event led by Irish composer/conductor Eímear Noone. Celebrity guest performers include actors Pierce Brosnon and Roma Downey, lyric soprano Celine; harpist Gayle Levant, former Paris Opera Baritone Sam McElroy and Irish actress and television host, Caroline Morahan.
When: March 17, 2011 8 pm
Where: Royce Hall at UCLA, Los Angeles 90095
Cost: $38-$88

And with St. Patrick's day around the corner, we thought we'd post one the Inn's favorite holiday casseroles. It's great for feeding your family and friends. One casserole feeds about 10 people...

Sausage Potato Apple Casserole

5 medium to large russet baking potatoes
2 large tart apples
4 Aidell’s chicken & apple sausages or 1 lb. turkey kielbasa or other fully cooked poultry sausage
Salt & Pepper
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼- ½ teaspoon ground cloves (to taste)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, butter or oil 2 large glass baking dishes.

Wash and cut potatoes into ¾” dice. Season with salt and pepper, toss and place into an ungreased dish

Microwave the potatoes on high 5 -7 minutes until mostly cooked, turning as necessary

While the potatoes cook, wash, core and dice apples into similar chunks. Slice sausage lengthwise and then into half-moon shaped pieces approx ½” thick or slightly smaller. Place apples & sausages into a large bowl.

When potatoes are mostly cooked, add to sausage and apple mixture and season with cinnamon and ground cloves. Toss to coat evenly and divide mixture between the two prepared dishes. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes until most of potatoes and sausages are browned.

Happy St. Patrick's Day from your favorite Los Angeles Bed and Breakfast!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Feast your eyes (& taste buds) on the natural beauty of Southern California!

If you're visiting Los Angeles this weekend, come on out and enjoy a tour of some natural beauty for FREE! These wetlands are one of the reasons our romantic Los Angeles hotel is so special.




SALT MARSH AND DUNES TOURS
Second Sunday of each month 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. - this weekend, Sunday, March 13.
An informative nature tour of the salt marsh and dunes. Learn about our coastal
ecosystem and explore the wonders of nature right in the middle of urban Los Angeles.

OPEN HOUSE AT THE SALT MARSH/DUNES
Second Saturday of each month 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. - This weekend, Saturday, March 12.

FRESHWATER MARSH TOURS
Second and fourth Saturdays of each month 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. - This Saturday, March 12.
An informative tour of the Freshwater Marsh. See a wonderful variety of birds, learn
about native plants and how the freshwater system works.

Please download and sign our waiver on the Visit/Programs page of our website at www.ballonafriends.org.

Minors must have the FBW waiver signed by a parent or guardian.

FRIENDS OF BALLONA WETLANDS
211 Culver Blvd., Suite K
Playa del Rey, CA 90293
www.ballonafriends.org
310-306-5994

Where to meet:
Saltwater Marsh: Parking lot behind Gordon's Market at 303 Culver Blvd, Playa del Rey.
Freshwater Marsh: Park on the southwest side of Jefferson before Lincoln Blvd.




While you're out and about, pick up some farm fresh produce from one of the neighboring Farmers' Markets.

- Playa Vista Farmers' Market - Saturday, March 12 9am-2pm - 6400 Sea Bluff Dr., Los Angeles

- Mar Vista Farmer's Market - Sunday, March 13 9am-2pm - 12224 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles

- Santa Monica Sunday Farmers' Market - Sunday, March 13 9:30am-1:00pm - Ocean Park & Main Street, Santa Monica

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Since you asked....

After I posted a picture of our Banana Pecan bread with Butterscotch Glaze to the Inn at Playa del Rey facebook page (Like us!), we got requests for the recipe...
And since you asked, here it is (even though it isn't Recipe Monday :) )!

Check back Mondays for other recipes too!

Mrs. Hamilton’s Saskatchewan Banana Cake (with Pecans)

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 tsp Vanilla
2 eggs
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3-4 medium)
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10” Bundt or two 8” round cake pans w/cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl combine the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix until well incorporated. In a Ziploc bag or small bowl, mash the bananas with the baking soda and set aside. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter, mixing just until combined. Add 1/3 of the buttermilk to the butter, mixing just until combined. Add 1/3 of the banana mixture to the butter, mixing just until combined. Repeat steps 4 through 6 until all remaining ingredients have been incorporated. Scrape bowl to insure there are no butter chunks. Fold in pecans 1 cup pecans. Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for 35-45 minutes or until cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from pan and continue to cool completely.

Butterscotch Glaze
1/4 cup Butter
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Milk
1 cup sifted Confectioners' Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla or Rum Extract

In saucepan combine butter, brown sugar, and milk. Bring to full boil. Remove from heat. Add confectioners' sugar and extract. Beat until smooth. Additional milk may be added to obtain desired consistency.

Drizzle glaze on top of cake. Sprinkle rest of chopped pecans on top of butterscotch glaze.

Voilà!


What all the hype is about... Enjoy :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Recipe Monday: Heavenly Apple Bread

This Apple Bread recipe is easy to make and delicious to eat. At our Los Angeles Bed & Breakfast, we try to keep things simple. Use what you have, substitute something else for what you don't. Perhaps you don't have apple - try pears. No almond extract? - just use vanilla. Don't be afraid to experiment.

We may be at a Los Angeles airport hotel, but this tasty breakfast bread will make your taste buds feel like they're in heaven!

TOPPING:

¾ Cup Flour
¼ Cup Granulated White Sugar
2 TST. Cinnamon
6 TBS butter, room temperature


BREAD:

4 Cups apples, peeled, cored and either chopped or sliced.
4 Large eggs, beaten
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Almond Extract
2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp salt
2 tsp Cinnamon
3 Cups Flour
2 Cups Granulated White Sugar


Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease two 9x5 bread loaf pans and set aside. Peel, core and slice the apples. Cut into good-sized chunks, about 1 inch in size. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the oil and beat until combined. Add the VANILLA EXTRACT, ALMOND EXTRACT, baking soda, salt and CINNAMON. Beat until thoroughly mixed. Next, add the flour and sugar and mix on low just to blend. Turn the mixer to high and beat until mixture is smooth. The batter will be very thick. Fold in the chopped apples, mixing by hand so the apples do not get too broken up. Divide the mixture between the two pans. Since the batter is so thick, it is easiest to spoon the batter into the pans.

To prepare the topping, combine flour, sugar and CINNAMON in a small bowl. Cut the batter into the mixture with a fork until all ingredients are moist and crumbly. If you don’t mind a little mess, it is faster to use your hands. Sprinkle equal amounts of topping on each loaf.

Bake for about 1 hour on the center rack of the oven. The loaf should feel fairly firm when touched in the middle, or cook an extra 5 minutes. Remove form the oven and place on a cooling rack. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pans. It is easier to slice the bread if you wait for it to cool.

Yield: 2 loaves. Prep. Time: 10 minutes. Baking time: 1 hour.