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FOOD: Area innkeepers share recipes for holiday breakfasts

Area innkeepers share recipes

By Emily Ryan, For Digital First Media

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

“This is the finishing touch,” said Rick Carro of Fairville Inn in Chadds Ford as he sprinkled pecorino Romano over a vegetable frittata. “I’m going to make a second one of these later on for tomorrow morning because we have 29 guests.”

Full house this holiday season? Channel your inner innkeeper and treat visitors to a special breakfast with help from the pros.

That frittata takes “between 20 and 25 minutes to cook,” he explained. “And then it finishes off about 2 minutes under the broiler.”

Plus, it reheats well.

“Consider it like a stew in a sense, where the flavors sit and meld overnight. A good stew is never served the day it’s made,” noted Carro, who also whips up strawberry Marsala sauce for waffles, pancakes and French toast soufflé.

At General Warren in Malvern, guests enjoy scones with “pumpkin spice — cloves, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg — dried cranberries, apricots and pecans,” said executive pastry chef Andy Sciarretta. “So, it kind of gives you that holiday feel.”

To prep ahead, shape and freeze the dough. Simply thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking.

“The scone’s very versatile because it can go sweet or savory. I also do one with ham and bacon and cheese,” he described. “The basic dough is a palette for any flavor combination you want to use. It’s like a blank canvas.”

On the menu at Wayne Bed & Breakfast Inn: Basque eggs with tomatoes, peppers and onions.

“They’re always a hit,” said Bob Thomason. “They look terrific. People are always like, ‘Wow!’”

He learned the basics from a fellow innkeeper and tweaked the recipe.

“In the cooler weather, it has a nice warming effect,” Thomason added. “If you serve red and green peppers, you’ll have red and green for the Christmas season.”

General Warren Holiday Scones


6 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

1 heaping teaspoon table salt

1/3 cup baking powder

2 sticks + 1 tablespoon cubed cold butter

2 large whole eggs

10½ fluid ounces buttermilk

2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice

1 cup dried cranberries

¾ cup dried apricots

1¾ cup pecan pieces

2 whole eggs for egg wash


Sift all dry ingredients. Rub in the cubed butter until the mixture resembles a coarse-looking cornmeal. Add dried fruit and nuts; stir to combine. Mix eggs and buttermilk in separate bowl. Add liquid mixture to dried ingredients and mix slowly to combine. Scoop onto parchment-lined sheet pans. The scoop should be about the size of tennis ball. Press down to make it like a “pancake,” 1-inch thick. Cut each one into quarters. Brush egg wash on scones, then sprinkle with bakers’ coarse sanding sugar. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Yield: approximately 30 scones.


Basque Eggs

A long time ago, I saw a recipe for Basque Eggs — really tasty eggs poached in a simple stew of tomatoes, peppers and onions — from a friend of mine, who runs an Inn in Bar Harbor, Maine. I’ve since modified that recipe, but this is pretty close to the flavors. (Though I won’t claim it as authentic Basque cooking!) This is really quick to prepare, especially if you dice your veggies as you’re cooking instead of doing the prep work all up front. For example, while the sausage sautés, dice the onion. After the onion goes in, mince the garlic. Once the garlic is in, dice the peppers, etc. This can be made vegetarian/vegan by substituting 1 teaspoon oil for the sausage.


½ link spicy sausage, finely diced (like andouille, chorizo or linguica)

1 medium sweet onion, diced (Walla Wallas are fantastic.)

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 bell peppers, diced (I like a mix of purple and red, but use whatever you’ve got on hand.)

4 medium tomatoes, diced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme

Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

Salt, to taste

4 eggs


In a large nonstick saucepan (or skillet with reasonably high sides), sauté diced sausage over medium flame till nicely browned, about 4 minutes. Add onion and garlic and stir till well mixed. Cook till onion is soft and garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add bell peppers and cook 1 or 2 minutes till slightly soft. Add diced tomatoes, thyme, red pepper and salt (if using), cover and cook 4 minutes till juicy.

Using whole eggs, crack each egg and gently slide it into the veggie stew, trying to keep the eggs from touching each other. (It may help to make a well for each egg with the back of a spoon.) Cover and cook 3 minutes till whites are set. Ladle each egg and some veggies into a serving bowl. Serve with crusty warm bread.


Strawberry Marsala Sauce

This versatile sauce is very easy to make. At the Inn, we often pair it with our pear-raisin or blueberry French toast soufflé, as well as with a variety of waffles and pancakes. It also makes a wonderful dessert sauce. (Try it with pound cake and/or ice cream.) While you can use fresh strawberries, we prefer frozen for this recipe. The sauce will freeze well for months.


2½ pounds (40 ounces) frozen strawberries

1½ cups sugar

1 cup Marsala wine (or more to taste)

2 to 3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (optional)


In a large pot, combine the strawberries and sugar. Add water to cover by about 1 inch (about 5 to 6 cups). Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Strain the strawberry mixture into a bowl. Press the solids with the back of a large spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids.

Rinse the pot in which the strawberries were cooked. Return the liquid to the pot (you should have 4 to 5 cups). Add the Marsala and simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 4 cups. Blend the cornstarch (using the higher amount for a slightly thicker sauce) with an equal amount of Marsala or cold water and quickly stir the mixture into the sauce. Bring the sauce to a slow boil, stirring frequently, until it thickens. Let the sauce cool for a few minutes and then taste for acidity. If necessary, add the optional lemon juice, one teaspoon at a time, to taste. Makes about 4 cups.

Note: The sauce will further thicken as it cools. For breakfasts, serve warm. For desserts, serve chilled or at room temperature.

Variation: Add a cinnamon stick and/or 2 to 3 whole cloves while cooking the strawberries and sugar.


Zucchini, Tomato and Mozzarella Frittata


12 eggs

2 cups shredded zucchini

1 medium Vidalia or Texas sweet onion, diced

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, finely chopped (or buy petite diced)

Black pepper, to taste

Oregano, to taste

Basil, to taste

Tabasco sauce, to taste

2 cups shredded mozzarella, lightly packed

¼ to 1/3 cup grated pecorino Romano


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sauté onion in olive oil. When it gets soft, add a touch of sugar and raise the heat to caramelize slightly. Remove from pan and set aside. Sauté zucchini, squeeze out excess moisture and combine with cooked onion. The onion and zucchini mixture should equal about 1 cup (more is fine, but less will not work as well). Whisk eggs. Add vegetables, seasonings, mozzarella and a couple dashes of Tabasco. Pour into a 10-inch nonstick, straight-edged sauté pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, rotating several times during cooking until the center is firm. Let cool slightly. Loosen edges with a spatula if needed. Top with pecorino Romano. Return frittata to the oven and broil for 2 minutes, rotating halfway through. Cool slightly. Invert onto a flat pan lid and then flip onto a serving plate. Serve immediately or make ahead and reheat in microwave. Serves 8.