Sweet Ricotta Quiche with Fresh Berries what a glorious beginning to the day when combined with sausage and hearty cups of coffee. It’s enough to make you swoon. The second B in Bed and Breakfast is a sacred time in our daily ritual and we strive to make it memorable for you. We are often asked where our recipes come from and the answer is a combination of childhood memories, magazines, the internet, friends and best of all, our guests. It is, however, the childhood memories that make for the best recipes.
When I was a little girl growing up in small town Massachusetts, neighbors seemed friendlier than the those of today. Life seemed, and surely must have been, simpler. When breakfast was over, out the door we would scamper, ready to explore for the day with not a care that a stranger lurking would do us harm. Our parents didn’t worry either – they knew someone was keeping an eye on us. There was no possibility of getting away with anything and anyone’s mom could spank you. Holidays were extended beyond family and into the homes of your neighbors with comings and goings throughout the day.
Easter Sunday was one such shared holiday. We spent the hours after Mass visiting with primarily two families: the Rausa Family and the Crawford Family. What these two families had in common were lots of stepladder children and an Italian Heritage. Mr. Rausa was my dad’s very best friend and many holidays found us all in one or the others kitchen sharing food and drink. Easter, however, will forever be the holiday of the Crawford family for Mrs. Crawford made the best ever Easter Pie. a sweet ricotta quiche. This recipe is not what I remember from my childhood, but its inspiration is deeply rooted in that time. This Ricotta Quiche has become a favorite at the inn but is served more often than just for a holiday.
Tips: We make these Ricotta Quiche pies the day before and allow them to come to room temperature prior to serving. Cut each pie into 8 servings. Top with Fresh Berries and zigzag the Berry Sauce over the Ricotta Quiche and the plate. Serve with sausage links or thick cut bacon. Garish side of plate with mint, fanned strawberry or thin orange slice. Now go relax with YOUR guests.
Sweet Ricotta Quiche:
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
½ cup (one stick) butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Mix flour, sugar, butter and cinnamon in food processor. Set aside.
¾ cup butter
¾ cup sugar
6 eggs, extra large to jumbo
1 tsp orange extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 lbs ricotta cheese
2 9-inch uncooked pie crusts
1 egg white, beaten
Set oven to 350.
In the mixer, cream softened butter and sugar for five minutes at medium high speed. Reduce speed to low and add eggs, one at a time until incorporated. Mix in orange extract and vanilla extract. Add ricotta and mix well again.
Brush pie crusts with egg white and pour in the filling. Sprinkle on the topping. Bake the ricotta quiche for one hour.
Allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate. Make Berry Sauce and refrigerate.
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup frozen strawberries or triple berries
Heat the fruit with sugar for approximately 30 minutes until slightly thickened. Strain if necessary to remove seeds. Pour into nozzle-tip plastic bottle. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Fresh Berries Topping:
There is not an exact science to prepping the berries. Simply choose your favorites. We use sliced strawberries, blue berries and blackberries. Sprinkle with brown sugar – again the amount depends on the tartness of your fruit. Let marinate while prepping your plates for service. Toss and top the sliced pie. Drizzle with the berry sauce.
Thanksgiving is coming so soon! If your family is spread far and wide, you can spend your Thanksgiving in Savannah, GA with us! We are starting preparations for the festivities already. Thanksgiving is so special for us, because we sure love to cook and we have A LOT to be grateful for.
You are officially invited to stay at Azalea Inn & Gardens for a top notch Thanksgiving celebration in Savannah. On Black Friday you’ll be able to shop until you drop because you know our oh-so-comfy bedsheets and bathrobes are here waiting for YOU.
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We have had the most incredible garden treats from Azalea Inn and our tomato harvest has inspired our favorite (so far) WOW recipe: Tomato Jam. I picked the last of our cherry and yellow pear tomatoes to be turned into our infamous Tomato Jam. We plan to serve the Jam on Rosemary shortbread at next week’s wine and appetizer hour. As you can see from the impish faces of Kolin and Courtney, we love our tomatoes! I am not sure how many of the garden harvested tomatoes made it into the jam, but there was enough for two more canning jars of our oft-requested jam recipe (compliments of Bon Appetite, April 2010).
The recipe itself calls for 5 large tomatoes but we have a plethora of the cherry and tiny yellow pear tomatoes and found that they worked as well, if not better, with the two-tone color. We did not skin these tomatoes as the recipe calls for, instead squeezing the seeds out whole and tossing into the saucepan, no boiling first necessary.
2 1/4 pounds ripe tomatoes (about 5 large)
2 cups granulated sugar
Generous pinch of salt
Generous pinch of ground cayenne pepper
2 or 3 grinds of black pepper
2 or 3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Using a paring knife, cut out the stem end of each tomato, then slice a shallow X in the bottom. Plunge the tomatoes into the boiling water until their skins loosen, about 30 seconds. Remove them with a slotted spoon and let cool.
When cool enough to handle, slip off the tomato skins. Discard the water, but save the saucepan for cooking the jam. Halve the tomatoes crosswise and gently squeeze out the seeds and juice. Chop the tomatoes into 1/3-inch pieces.
Return the tomatoes to the saucepan; stir in the sugar, salt, and peppers. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently to ensure that the mixture is cooking evenly but not burning, until most of the liquid has evaporated. If foam occasionally rises to the top, skim it off with a large spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice to taste.
Ladle the jam into sterilized jars. Cover tightly, let cool, and refrigerate. The jam will keep for at least 6 months refrigerated, though it has not lasted that long at the inn!
“Sufferin’ Succotash!” was the catch phrase of Sylvester the Cat, a Looney Tunes character from my childhood. Actually, he lisped “Thufferin Thuccotash” often in his quest to capture “Tweety Bird” of “I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat” fame. So what does that have to do with Azalea Inn and Gardens? Well, our Garden’s bounty is overflowing with cherry tomatoes, green peppers, yellow and purple bush beans, eggplant and okra right now and the garden pickings were the inspiration for our take on a Deep South favorite – Succotash.
Jake has always loved the okra and tomatoes served at Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House and he cajoled me into doing “something” with all the tomatoes and the just perfect sized okra. He said he would take it any way I fixed it and I am partial to the combination of baby limas, corn, tomatoes and okra, so… why not add whatever the garden was offering up?
Throwing a few slices of bacon into the skillet to render, I set about chopping a medium onion and two cloves of garlic, seeded and chopped a small jalapeno, then ran down to the garden to pick okra, tomatoes, green peppers, and eggplant to throw into the mix. While the onion softened in the bacon rendering, I sliced the okra, chopped one green pepper and one tiny eggplant to add to the cornucopia of veggies to come and ran back down to the garden to finish off the crop of beans. Once the onions were softened and the garlic lightly browned, I threw in a bag of frozen corn (eh-gads, its okay!), and bag of frozen baby limas. Next came the cherry tomatoes, okra, green pepper and eggplant, threw in the bush beans snipped and cut in half and gently cooked the conconction for about 7 to 10 minutes. Taste tests indicated a need for salt and pepper and with a small chiffonade of basil sprinkled on top, we were ready to eat! Served along side a simply grilled rib-eye steak it was easy to get Jake to commit to another 9 years with me!
I grew up in a large family, so it was no surprise that I had leftovers – lots of leftovers. This morning I added a bit of raspberry wine vinegar to the succotash and with Jake’s tastebuds declaring it a winner have incorporated it into tonight’s appetizers which our guests will enjoy – served cold on chips – a Salsa Succotash.
Azalea Inn and Gardens takes the locavore route to all things served at the inn – join us this summer for a taste of home-grown cantaloupe and Galia melons, pickled cucumbers, tomatoes served a dozen ways and the refreshing courtyard pool with waterfall creating a perfect respite in the warmth of a Savannah summer. Book online or call us at 800-582-3823 today to reserve your spot at our “farm table” in historic Savannah, Georgia’s best bed and breakfast!
Guests and Savannah’s SAFE Shelter benefit from this downtown Savannah Inn’s harvest
Savannah, GA – Azalea Inn & Gardens brings on the greens and encourages you to leave the blues behind. Who’d imagine an inn located in a quiet historic urban neighborhood in Savannah, GA would support their own mini-farm? But with astute planning from Adam Mentzer, passionate local farmer and owner of Adam’s Farm, the bounty is blooming at Azalea Inn and Gardens. Knowing that her mini-farm would produce beyond the needs of the guests, Azalea Inn & Gardens owner, Teresa Jacobson, set out to find a place where needy recipients could benefit from the garden. Having had friends benefit from the help of shelters for abused victims, Jacobson settled on the Savannah Area Family Emergency (SAFE) Shelter for abused people to receive produce from her garden. Today, both Mentzer and Jacobson are supplying the shelter’s clients with excess fresh-grown food from their garden while teaching graduates of the SAFE Shelter program how a small-space garden can produce big benefits.
The Azalea Inn & Gardens has a long history of gardening fame. Their award-winning flower gardens have received media accolades for years. Yet never one to settle for status quo, Teresa Jacobson decided she wanted a bigger garden in 2011 when she was motivated by a “Meet Your Maker” dinner (where local artisans’ and growers’ produce, cheeses, meats were showcased.) It was here she made the acquaintance of local farmer Adam Mentzer, and soon the concept of the Azalea Inn mini-farm developed. While skeptical at first at what could be accomplished on a small lot in downtown Savannah, Mentzer refused to be daunted, knowing raised beds and container gardens could produce plenty. What followed was phenomenal: [nggallery id=20]
The list of varieties of herbs and produce growing in the mini-farm is astounding. Careful planning has allowed a long list of varieties to be grown, the likes of which you’d expect to find on a ten acre rural Georgia farm, including:
Hybrid Squash 8-Ball Hybrid Melon Galia Hybrid Melon Athena
Gourd Cucuzzi Snake Tomato Amana Orange Hybrid Tomato Supersweet
Okra Clemson Spineless Gourd Dipper Long Handled Hybrid Cucumber Tasty Green
Hybrid Tomato Morning Light Hybrid Tomato Brandymaster Pink
Tomato Cherokee Purple Hybrid Pepper Anastar Hybrid Pepper Aristocrat
Hybrid Zucchini Squash Kentucky Blue Pole Bean Yellow Bush Bean
Purple Bush Bean Fennel Zefa Fino Swiss Chard Magenta Sunset
Arugula Daikon Radish Miyashige Hybrid Turnip Scarlet Queen Red Stems
Greens Mache Strawberries Sequoia Strawberries Quinalt
Eggplant Black Beauty Eggplant Ichiban
Rosemary Oregano Stevia
Texas Terragon Onion Chives Lemon Balm
Curled Parsley Cilantro Potpourri Lavender
Spearmint Peppermint Rosemary
Fernleaf Dill Spicy Globe basil Thai Basil
Lemon Basil Opal Basil Sweet Basil
“I’m not sure what I’m more excited about,” smiled Teresa Jacobson when asked about the new mini-farm, “all of this glorious produce and herbs, my new partnership with Adam or being able to offer those who’ve had to leave everything behind the taste of freshness from my garden,” finished Jacobson. The response from the SAFE Shelter staff and clients has included an outpouring of gratitude.
While the focus has always been on locavore cuisine at the Azalea Inn & Gardens, the new mini-farm will bring the property even closer to a totally sustainable model. Food scraps will be composted in 80-gallon Earth Machine compost bins and rainwater for watering plants is collected in 55 gallon cisterns, allowing nature’s bounty to be reused to create healthier plants and a healthier planet. Additionally, low-volume irrigation and low volume water baths are utilized outside and in. At Azalea Inn, Earth Day is every day.
Inside, cotton/bamboo blend towels delight guests with their soft and eco-friendly texture. All lighting utilizes energy-saving CFL bulbs and plastic bottles for bath amenities have been replaced with dispensers for high quality eco-friendly shampoos, shower gels and conditioners. Guests are given the option to re-use towels to cut down on unnecessary detergents and energy use and as many papers and plastics as possible are recycled.
The décor of the inn emphasizes nature, and rooms have been designed to allow as much natural light as possible. Most rooms feature private balconies or patios allowing guests to “bring the outdoors in”.
About Azalea Inn
Deliciously relaxing and lighthearted, the Azalea Inn and Gardens is a casually elegant Savannah bed and breakfast mansion offering vintage and award-winning gardens and its new mini-farm, historic 19th century architecture (complete with soulful imperfections) and a scrumptious, new and traditional southern cuisine breakfast. A hidden garden courtyard pool, modern comforts and free on-site parking sets Azalea Inn & Gardens apart and makes staying here easy and relaxing. Located in the Historic Landmark District of Savannah on brick-cobbled Huntingdon Street near Forsyth Park (Savannah’s central park), the inn’s atmosphere is characterized by fun, with an adventurous and decidedly eco-friendly focus. Yet the ultimate allure of this daffodil-colored Queen Anne Italianate inn is its owner’s 21st century, whimsical and outgoing personality. You’ll arrive ready for a break and leave with a new great friend.
For those seeking a green urban refuge, the Azalea Inn & Gardens is a delight. Learn more at www.azaleainn.com.
These and other photos available in high-res from Azalea Inn. Misty DeBlasio photos
Several years ago we made the commitment with strong encouragement from our son, Joshua, to be more eco-friendly. He contacted a local company to pick up all our recyclable products; he schooled us on cutting down our carbon footprint, on not contributing to our landfills and encouraged the change from tiny plastic bottles of boutique shampoo and conditioner to refillable pumps in the shower and offering guests the opportunity to use towels and sheets for more than just a day. The first month of recycling alone reduced our curbside trash pickup from three large city-provided containers to only one.
Inception: March 18, 2011, First planting March 23, NOGS Tour of Gardens April 29, and May 5, 2011 as another marker.
[singlepic id=172 w=320 h=240 float=left]I spent a bit of yesterday trying to take pictures of our garden… of eating… but found that the pictures were not inspirational. I squatted close to buds peeping from the grounds, noting the similarities between melon, squash and eggplant spouts. Beans, whether purple bush, yellow bush or Kentucky Blue, were equally difficult to differentiate. Thankfully, our consultant farmer, Adam, gave us a layout of the gardens. But still… my excitement at planting produce for use in the inn was not being magically translated to these flat images. I needed to be reminded of why we had undertaken such a large project for our tiny urban footprint.
[singlepic id=170 w=160 h=120 float=right]I pulled pictures of last year’s bounty, and it short-lived existence, which produced the desired effect. I remembered. I can now compare our minimalist garden plot of last year to Azalea Inn and Garden’s new mini-mini farm situated in the tight space that comprises the long narrow building lots of the downtown historic Savannah and the incorporation of the old plot in a new and more productive way. Last year’s “Let’s give it a whirl” garden yielded an abundance of tomatoes (Sweet 100’s, Big Boy, Pink Brandywine, to name a few), fragrant basil, tarragon, sage, dill, chives, garlic chives and lavender, a tiny crop of green peppers, one lone stalk of asparagus, scallions, and near the end of summer, six cantaloupes of varying sizes.
[singlepic id=171 w=160 h=120 float=left]We put our largesse to good use: roasted cherry and yellow teardrops tomatoes for Eggs Pomodoro, chopped herbes into everything imaginable, used up the bell peppers in two batches of Confetti Potatoes, left the asparagus for next year (hopefully), and served the cantaloupes proudly mixed with watermelon and topped with a ginger-lime syrup (house made, of course). We were quite frankly sad to turn the earth over at the end of the season and return to buying produce.
In early March of this year, we attended a “Met Your Makers” dinner at the local “earth-to-table” restaurant, Cha Bella, to meet the producers /growers of all things nurtured by the earth (or nutured in loving hands of dairy farmers and artisan bread craftsmen) and used at the restaurant. There we met Adam Metzger of Adam’s Farm, the young up and coming hydroponics producer of all things vegetable for use at Cha Bella. Adam was more than willing to take on an urban garden project in historic Savannah, as long as we were willing to get dirty too.
Part 2: Design, build, plant. Coming soon.
Three months ago we began a series of monthly wine and food pairings mostly so we could support our habit – an addictive love of great wine and food paired with the company of friends, old and new! On the third Saturday of every month until we have satiated our need, we invite you, our guest, to join us for our pre-dinner “teaser” of perfectly paired wine and foods.
The party starts at 6:00 p.m. and for the next hour and a half our guest speaker will share a vast knowledge of the wines, regions, and varietals. Hopefully, our culinary talents will provide you a marriage of wine and foods that will open up possibilities for you.
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Savannah and icicles just don’t fit into the same sentence easily, but as the picture to the left attests, that did happen on the world-famous fountain in Forsyth Park. We have just emerged from the longest spell of freezing nights in all my years as the innkeeper here. Winter garb is non-existent in my wardrobe so I found keeping warm a challenge – a windbreaker and the scarf my daughter-in-law, Kelley, knit for me three years ago, a pair of gloves with a hole in one finger, and socks. As a former New Englander turned Southern Innkeeper, these chilly days were hearkening me back to the food of my youth and memories of my mom, who could take anything in the frig and turn it into a hearty meal for ten, with leftovers!