Monday, May 30, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Garden Tomato & Feta Dip

We’ve planted a garden! Suzanne, our Guest Services Manager, is an avid gardener with a very green thumb. She grew tomatoes in her own garden last year, and decided that our romantic Los Angeles bed and breakfast hotel could use a dose of homegrown vegetables for our homemade fare. 

So far our herb garden, growing in two planters located on our courtyard patio, consists of spearmint, Italian oregano, Italian basil and parsley.  We use the herbs in our soufflés, as flavor for our homemade dips, and as garnishes for our wine and cheese spread and fresh fruit platters. We’ve also used the mint to make hot mint tea and have tossed a few sprigs in our lemonade. Ask us to make you a cup!


In our rose garden (behind the white picket fence in our parking lot), Suzanne has filled two Earthboxes with all organic dirt mix and fertilizer. One box contains a Black Cherry Heirloom Tomato plant and a Yellow Brandywine Heirloom Tomato plant. The second Earthbox has two zucchini plants and one cucumber “Burpless Diva” plant. Once we have some fresh veggies, you can expect to enjoy them at wine and cheese (in dips, as well as on the vegetable platter) and on our savory breakfast soufflés.

Suzanne chose Earthboxes for our tomato and zucchini plants because the design of the boxes makes them very water efficient. A cover is placed over the top soil to prevent excess evaporation and the water is held in a reservoir at the bottom of the planter so none of the water is wasted in run off. How very “green” of us!

Our homegrown zucchini plants soaking up the sun!

Besides the upkeep of our beautiful plants, our challenge is to keep the California Ground Squirrels from dining on the proceeds from our garden every night. You can see them roaming around in the Wetlands, and these little critters like to eat!

Below is a delicious recipe you can try at home:

Tomato Feta Dip
2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil
20 Grape Tomatoes - cut in half
Salt, pepper, & salt-free herb seasoning (to taste)
Fresh Oregano
½ c. Feta Cheese (approx.)

Heat a small frying pan and add olive oil. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper and seasoning and cook until soft. Crush with a wooden spoon until it makes a chunky sauce. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add oregano and Feta cheese and combine gently. Serve warm.

Do you have a favorite recipe to share with us? Please email We’ll give it a try! Bon Appétit!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Easy Cheese-y Egg Souffle

One of our most popular and enduring recipes here at the Inn at Playa del Rey is our Egg Souffle. What's the difference between a souffle and a quiche or a frittata? A quiche is served in a pie crust, and a frittata is more like an omelet and does not contain bread. We call our recipe a souffle because it comes out so light and fluffy!

Serve our amazing souffle at your next breakfast or brunch!

Three Cheese Soufflé with Fresh Basil

Makes one 9 X 13” baking dish
Spray pan liberally with non-stick cooking spray

2 cups shredded cheese (jack/cheddar blend)
1/2 cup goat cheese
2-3 leaves of fresh basil
6 – 7 slices of white bread, with the crust cut off
12 eggs
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp. melted butter
salt & pepper to taste

Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheese evenly over the bottom of the baking dish.  Place the bread evenly over the cheese, covering as much of the bottom of the pan as possible.  In a separate bowl combine the eggs, milk and melted butter until well mixed.  Pour egg mixture over the bread, making sure all the bread is saturated.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese and torn (or cut up) pieces of basil on top, season with salt and pepper, cover and refrigerate overnight.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until eggs are firm and soufflé’ is puffy.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Glaze of Glory!

**Glazehance (v.)- making a delicious cake better by adding a magnificent topping, i.e. a glaze. As in, Shall we glazehance this yummy banana bread with chocolate or peanut butter - or both??

Around the Inn at Playa del Rey, we like to glazehance our favorite cakes and muffins with some very special glazes. You can make a thick or thin icing that is spooned over the top and flows down the sides of the cake. If you prefer a thinner glaze, use 1/2 the amount of ingredients, adding enough liquid to obtain the desired consistency.  You will be amazed by the amount of powdered sugar that can be absorbed by a teaspoon or two of milk!

Here are a few of our favorites:

Sour Cream Glaze:
2 T sour cream
1 c sifted powdered sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
Stir together all ingredients until blended. Try this with Zucchini Bread.

Basic Glaze:
2 c  sifted powdered sugar
1 T soft butter
1 t vanilla, rum or almond extract
2-3 T milk
In a small bowl, combine sugar and butter. Add extract; add milk gradually to achieve desired consistency and stir until smooth.

A "thinner" version of the Basic Glaze (recommended for coffee cakes and breads):
1 c  sifted powdered sugar
1 t soft butter
1/2 t vanilla, rum or almond extract
1 T milk
In a small bowl, combine sugar and butter. Add extract; add milk gradually to achieve desired consistency and stir until smooth.

Orange (or Lemon) Glaze:
2 c  sifted powdered sugar
1 T soft butter
2-4 T orange (or lemon) juice
1-2 t orange (or lemon) peel
In a small bowl, combine sugar and butter. Add juice gradually to achieve desired consistency and stir until smooth. Add peel.
Chocolate Glaze:

2 c sifted powdered sugar
2 t cocoa powder
1 T soft butter
1/2 t vanilla extract
2-4 T milk
In a small bowl, combine sugar, cocoa powder and butter. Add extract; add milk gradually to achieve desired consistency and stir until smooth.

Peanut Butter Glaze:
2 c sifted powdered sugar
3 1/2 t peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
2-4 T milk
In a small bowl, combine sugar and peanut butter. Add extract; add milk gradually to achieve desired consistency and stir until smooth.

Butterscotch Glaze:
1/4 c butter
1/4 c brown sugar
2 T milk
1 c sifted powdered sugar

1 t vanilla or rum extract

In a saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar and milk. Bring to a full boil. Add powdered sugar and extract. beat until smooth. Additional milk may be added to achieve desired consistency.

Our delicious Banana Bread with a Peanut Butter Glaze.

** Yes,"glazehance" is a made up word. Call Webster's!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Recipe Monday: Peanut Butter Streusel Muffins

Who loves peanut butter?? I do, I do! And so does the owner of our California bed and breakfast.  That's right, folks, this is one of Susan's favorite recipes.

For a special treat, fill the muffin tin halfway with batter and drop in a Hershey's Kiss or a dollop of your favorite jam, then top with the remaining batter.  What a sweet surprise!

Peanut Butter Streusel Muffins

Peanut Butter Streusel
 ½ c. (packed) Light Brown Sugar
4 T. Flour
1/3 c. chunky or creamy Peanut Butter
3 T. Butter, melted
1/3 c. coarsely chopped roasted and salted peanuts

Muffin Batter
4 T. Butter, room temperature
½ c. Sugar
1 Egg
2/3 c. Sour Cream
1 t. Vanilla
1 c. Flour
½ t. Baking Powder
½ t. Baking Soda

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Make streusel first, by putting brown sugar, flour, peanut butter and butter in food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Fold in peanuts and set aside.  To make muffin batter, cream together butter and sugar.  Add the egg, sour cream and vanilla.  In separate bowl mix flour, baking powder and baking soda.  Add to wet mixture.  Blend until smooth.  Add 1/3 of streusel mixture to batter, mixing lightly so that it marbles throughout batter.  Liberally spray muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray or use paper muffin cups.  Fill cups 3/4 full and put a dollop of streusel mixture on top. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until muffins are done.