Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Lancaster Old Fashoined Christmas

Building Memories!

I know... it sounds like a cliche..."A good old fashioned Christmas"   However, as I sit here and look at the decorated house, the Christmas cookies that have been enjoyed, and the Lights that sparkle, I am reminded that I have set up memories for my children.
Lancaster County Christmas Tree Hunting

You see, since I started being a father, I often thought what were my children going to remember from Christmas... what would they pass down to their families... I could never come up with anything for the longest time. Then as the years passed, I could see the kids growing and with each year, they would become familiar with "things" that I had no idea would stick with them.

One year I started reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to them... then each year afterwards, they would not let me go prepare the presents until I read the story once again. To this day, we still read Clement C. Moore's timeless classic, (and sometimes mix the words up a bit for a little fun).

The Boys at a Lancaster County Tree Farm
Over the years, it has been pretty important to enjoy an early breakfast and we always schedule before we open gifts, however it never works out that way. Also we always say we are going to midnight mass, yet again we are always going in the morning.

 Christmas Tree(s)... The boys and I go and chop one or two down every year! It has become a ritual for us... One for the Harvest Moon Bed & Breakfast and one for our part. It always is a lot of fun while looking for the perfect one, the kids are carrying on knocking each other down in the field and laughing the whole time.... Memories I will always remember.

So the traditions build... no need to worry about making it happen, it just will happen. The kids make it happen and those are the ones that are so special, built with love behind them.

As my kids say... Just let it happen...I guess that could be with Christmas also... you'll see how special it is once you can. Family is so important!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

El Rodeo, El Serrano.... Move Over! Mexican Cuisine has a New Boss in Town

La Borimex.... The New Heavyweight!

Chili Rellenos
So, I am challenged each year here at the Harvest Moon when it comes to our October Cooking Demo. You see, there is this group of ladies that come. Each year I put together a new and exciting demo just for them. One year it was Italian, then German...another year it was French and now this past year it was Mexican.

Mexican, I thought... hmmmm. I can get really creative with this one. The Mole sauce alone is enough to bring anyone out to learn. However the Chili Rellenos were the winner of the day. The different sauces both green and red were just the right accompaniment for many of the dishes we prepared.

Move over El Serrano and El Rodeo
Restaurants, there were plenty! El Serrano, El Rodeo, downtown Mexican restaurants and so on... But in my backyard.... not much going on. Or wait; was there?

Preparing Mole
You bet there was... we ate at La Borimex in Hinkletown on RT 322. This place rocks! It's kinda a little grocer/restaurant.... (I saw it some where called a "GROCERANT"...I think I will use it). And the atmosphere was like eating in a small little Mexican Grocery Store... sort of in the rough, however made you feel like you were in the middle of Mexico picking up your groceries and stopping for a quick bite.

I spoke with the owner earlier in the day, preparing a meal for the 9 of us... Asking for some unusual things on the menu and then some of the more familiar things as well. Of course the Nachos and Salsa came out first...the salsa was pretty darn good, with fresh ingredients and a wonderful rounded out flavor with plenty of cilantro, (I lover my cilantro). Then came what seemed to be about twenty thousand courses of food, each with it's own name, style, flavor, sauce, color and appearance. And each was just as flavorful as the last.

Mexican Soda Bar
Peppers are ready for Mole

Tomatillos, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, chocolate.....
My two personal favorites of the evening were the Guacamole, and the Chili Rellenos. The guacamole was bright green and filled with just the right kick of lemon, cilantro and seasoning. Not overwhelming, but right on the money. The chips were the perfect match. Then came the Rellenos; filled with either meat or cheese, I chose the cheese. perfectly fried with the egg whites with a perfect tomato sauce that would not stop delivering.

Chef Carl prepares the Chili Rellenos

Am I going back... you bet'cha! Probably soon with the family to enjoy once again this "glimpse" into Mexico.... Put it on your list of restaurants to visit, you wont be sorry! And as for next year with the Ladies... I've been instructed to do research for an Hawaiian/Polynesian cooking demo.... Where the heck is that restaurant at in Lancaster? 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Lancaster Christmas Lights

A Lancaster County Tradition has been Discovered!

Remember the Christmas Bubble Lights?

Whirly-glos don the tree
So over the years, living in Lancaster County, I have seen a shift towards the thinking of Christmas. The air in Lancaster has changed. One can walk downtown now in Lancaster, Lititz, Marietta, New Holland.... and find the sights, smells and sounds of a Christmas long ago.

A Lancaster County Christmas Tree
So what embellishes this "holiday bazaar" of an area that seems to now understand that the roots of an American Christmas started right here in Lancaster? Is it the gift giving.... Na. What about Black Friday... Definitely not! Is it the cooking.... well of course I'm gonna say yes it is.... but even more than that for me is the whimsical display of Christmas Lights.
Figural Christmas Lights

The light bulb was created back in 1879 by Thomas Edison.... it only took three years till one of his associates (Edward Johnson) decided to wire a Christmas Tree. Bills Antique Christmas Light Site continues to tell the story of Christmas lights and the beginnings.  When President Cleveland decided that the National Christmas Tree was to be "electrified" back in 1895 with over 100 lights,  high society decided that it was time to have "Christmas tree" parties. The cost for them back in that time was about 300 dollars, equivalent to more than 2000.00 today.
Two of the "Twelve Days"

A Lancaster County Christmas
So after all these years, the Christmas light has hung around.... bubble lights, Matchless star lights, twinkle lights figural Christmas lights. Most of these lights all came into glory during the forties and fifties. Today the lights continue to dazzle with shimmering displays of colorful electric.

So as you enjoy the holidays, (and as I continue to hang lights till Christmas Eve here at the Harvest Moon Bed & Breakfast) I would like to leave you with one last thought. Remember me saying that a Lancaster County tradition has been discovered? Well The Gift of Lights at Elizabeth Farms had it's premier opening a couple of weeks ago... And the display is magical! Be sure to put that on your Holiday Itinerary while visiting Lancaster County.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pumpkin Recipes

What's Up With All These Leftover Pumpkins? 

So Halloween is over and you've got a boatload of pumpkins left over? What are you going to do with them all. Well for starters you could hold your own pumpkin chuckin' contest in the neighborhood.... or maybe not. Don't tell them the folks at the Harvest Moon Bed and Breakfast Told you to do so.

Lancaster County Pumpkin Recipes
Or you could become a chef and do some really groovy things with them. Below are a couple of recipes to get you started... Be careful though, only use the ones that have not been carved and ones that are still fresh... Pumpkins are so good!

And if your still into chuckin' pumpkins... I say go for it and send us a picture of your Pumpkin Chuckin' Contraption!

I grabbed this one from Back Road Bistros and Country Farm House Fare by Jane Sigal.... The author of my favorite french cookbook.

Soupe Au Potiron In bourgeois homes throughout France, the evening soup was generally simple like this one from Brittany, in which pumpkin, onion, and potato are simmered in water and then pureed until smooth. But in these affluent kitchens, a dollop of thick cream as in this recipe or cream butter and egg yolks commonly enriched the soup base. Also the croutons replaced the bread crusts of peasant cooking.


Pumpkin Soup

One 1 ¼ pound wedge pumpkin or other hard shelled squash
1 tbls unsalted butter
1 Medium onion finely chopped
1 Medium all – purpose potato, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and thinly slice across
4 cups water
Salt and Pepper to taste
½ cup crème fraiche or heavy whipping cream
Lancaster County Pumpkin Recipe
Chervil sprigs, snipped chives or scallion greens for garnish

3 slices day old firm white bread, crusts removed
½ cup vegetable oil

Peel Pumpkin or squash with a knife and cut it into 1 inch chucks
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin chunks, potato, water, and a little salt to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, if making croutons, cut the slices of bread into ¼ inch cubes. In a frying pan, heat the oil until hot but not smoking. Test the oil by dropping in a cube of bread. If it browns instantly, the oil is too hot; adjust the heat. Add the remaining bread without crowding the pan and brown the cubes on both sides, using wooden tongs and chopsticks to turn them. Drain on paper towels.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor and, using a rubber spatula, scrape the puree into a large saucepan. For extra smoothness, work the puree through a food mill into a large saucepan. The soup can be made to this point a day or two ahead and chilled. If it thickens too much on reheating, thin it with a little water)

To finish bring the soup to a boil. Add the crème fraiche or cream and pepper and taste for seasoning. Serve the soup, steaming hot, in a warmed tureen, soup plates, or bowls decorated with the herbs, if you like. Pass the optional croutons separately.

 Recipe extracted from Back road Bistros, Farm House Fare by Jane Sigal

This is one of my favorite recipes. A soup again, however it blends so while with the thyme cream fraiche. I think you'll like it.

Roasted pumpkin and leek soup served with Parmesan croutons and thyme crème fraiche.

A perfect way to begin a holiday party. Warm, steaming soup that reflects the season.

Two cups of chopped diced pumpkin in ¼ inch cubes
One cup of chopped leeks
6 cups of chicken stock or bouillon
One clove of garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp of thyme
2 tbls of butter
1 cup of cubed French bread
2 tbls of olive oil
2 tbls of Parmesan cheese
½ cup of sour cream
½ lemon

Sauté pumpkin, garlic and leeks in butter till leeks are translucent and pumpkin has just a bit of color. And chicken stock and allow to simmer. Add thyme, salt and pepper and adjust to taste.

Prepare croutons by mixing cubes with olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Bake in oven till golden brown at 350 degrees.

Prepare a quick crème fraiche by mixing the sour cream and juice of half a lemon.
Lancaster County Pumpkin Recipe

Here is one more for those crisp late fall mornings.... this one you will love with a warm cup of coffee! 
Sour cream pumpkin coffeecake

One Tbl of sifted flour
1 ¼ tsp cinnamon
¾ c of dark brown sugar
2 tbl unsalted butter
3 ½ ounces corn flakes

Stir dry ingredients except for corn flakes in a bowl. Cut in the butter till it resembles coarse meal. Do not over mix. Stir in the corn flakes and crush a bit. Set at room temperature.

2 c of sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp double acting baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Scant ¼ tsp salt
4 ounces unsalted butter
1 c granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 ½ cups of purred pumpkin

Sift together dry ingredients and set aside.

In a large bowl of a mixer, beat sugar and butter. Add eggs one at a time until thoroughly incorporated. On low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the sour cream, beating only until incorporated after each addition. Remove bowl from mixer and slowly fold in the pumpkin. Turn into greased 13*9*2 pan and add topping. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in a 350 degree preheated oven.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pennsylvania Murder Mystery

Tips and Secrets to Host Your very own Murder Mystery

Each year here at the Harvest Moon Bed & Breakfast as the Holidays come around we begin to plan for our New Years Eve Murder Mystery . A Lancaster County Favorite. Lots of elements are involved as we begin our evening of mystery and intrigue. To begin with, it helps to have an old home with lots of history. From there, it is all easy to put together the rest...

And always,  always go overboard with the hors d' oeuvres.... make them just as mysterious as your evening. The key to them is not to fret on getting them all out at the same time; keep them as little surprises throughout the course of the evening... and if you can incorporate them into the mystery itself, all the better. At the end of this post, I will include a thought or two on what you could offer for a little snack. 

Key Elements for your Murder Mystery:

Before Hand.....

1. Schedule your event where you could have at least ten people join in on the festivities.

2. Plan your event so that you are solely the host (you will need to keep up with questions, food prep and so on)

3. Choose your theme... many Murder Mystery Companies allow you to choose a theme.... have fun with this! Once your company has sent you your mystery kit, choose which of your guests will play what character.

4. Send out invites along with the character description... This gets your guests all pumped up for the event; decide before you send them out if your guests should come in costume, (wearing costumes are so much fun).

Night of Party....

1. Set the mood of your party with props; perhaps some police tape, or a fake dead body... fake weapons scattered throughout the house, sheets on your furniture to resemble an old home and so on... be creative according to your theme.

2. Dim the lighting to reflect some shady is going on.

3. Play an old time Mystery Radio Show... this really sets the mood

4. Have someone in the background who is not part of the party shoot a toy gun and make a loud scream.... this gets them every time.

Things to Snack on....

1. Artisan Cheese, Crusty French Bread and Fresh Fruit

2. Fresh Figs wrapped in Prosciutto and drizzled with honey

3. Parmesan Crostini topped with Smoked Chicken and Boursin Cheese

4. Spiked Punch or Mulled Wine

And of course, enjoy your evening! You will have so much fun with this... The party goes on throughout the evening.

And of course, don't forget that the Harvest Moon can do this for you anytime. If you are not interested in hosting this yourself, we can do it for you. Just give us a shout.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Christmas In PA

L   E   T      T     E      H   O     I   D     Y  S       E   G     N

   It's that time of year everyone.... you know, the "Mostest" most "Bestest" Time of the Year when you can hardly wait for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years to come along. Well, the older I get, the more I see that I can wait... I don't want it to go by so fast. The month of December, I try to make every day special. With family events planned, shows to go to and shopping to attend to, the month is consistently a busy one. Sometimes I just want to stop and take it all in. I promise I will do that this year. ( A glass of wine should help in that vain ) 

     Well, enough of me blabbering away, I thought it would be great to put together a "What's What" list of Lancaster County and the Holidays... A great way to discover Christmas in PA.

Antique Christmas at the Harvest Moon

November 23 -- 26 - Let the Holidays begin here at the Harvest Moon with our Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Celebration.

November 25 -- Black Friday in Lancaster... Shopping begins at Midnight at the outlets in Lancaster... so fill up on Turkey and Go Shopping... Don't forget to grab your discount for a savings book.

November 26 -- Mayors Tree Lighting in Downtown Lancaster

Christmas in PA
December 1 -- 3 - Christmas Candlelight Tour at the Hanns Herr House

December 2 -- 4 - Holiday Baking Demo at the Harvest Moon Bed and Breakfast

December 3 - Christmas on Main in Downtown New Holland

December 4 - Marietta Candlelight Tour of Homes on the banks of the Susquehanna

December 10 - Maytown Christmas Celebration... An awesome tiny town that brings you back a bit

December 10 - An Old Fashioned Christmas at Kitchen Kettle Village

Ho Ho Ho
December 17 - A Dickens of a Christmas at the Mt Hope Estate

December 26 -- 29 - Yuletide Tours at Historic Rock Ford Plantation

December 31 - New Years Eve Murder Mystery Evening at the Harvest Moon Bed & Breakfast

All throughout the month don't forget about the American Music Theater and Sight and Sound; both have wonderful Holiday Events.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Lancaster County Soy Bean Fields
Pumpkins and Corn in Lancaster County
Of course I am still here; what would make you think otherwise? Just busy! Trying to fit all into the schedule here at the Harvest Moon Bed and Breakfast. It has been a fun summer, yet all good things come to an end... sadly, the kids are back in school... And I am reminded of that STAPLES commercial where the father is dancing through the aisles to, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" ... that would be me!

So in all seriousness, It really is my most favorite time... The time of harvest, the time of changing seasons, the time of great color and the time of family gatherings. These next four months will bring us around huddled with one another as we watch the football games and listen to the marching band at the school. My oldest will tell me that before it gets to late we have to go pick out a Christmas Tree... or there will be no good ones to choose from. It will be a time where we sit at the table again... carving pumpkins and trying for the perfect Jack-O-Lantern.

And as we bend the corner from fall to winter, the holidays are upon us with the thrill of another Christmas, (and another year to decorate the house once again with antiques of long ago). Christmas is really that special here in Lancaster County... Our bed and breakfast is a place to begin your hunt for the perfect special gift for someone...And the food... you know I am all about the food here... Roast Turkey and Pork, with all the trimmings and trappings, Christmas Cookies and of course egg nog!

I know... it's still August, however I get a little excited... maybe you can tell... but hey that's me!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lancaster County Bed & Breakfast Innkeeper Misses the Ocean... and the Seafood

Motif #1 in Rockport MA
So, when the thermostat reaches above 90 degrees, my circuits start frying a bit. I know, you all see me as cool, calm and collected, however, deep inside stands a crazy man that curses at the heat and humidity. You will never hear me complain in the winter time about how cold it is. I may acknowledge that it is cold, however I never complain about it.

So, although Lancaster is beautiful and like no other place in the world, so is my old hometown of Rockport MA. The sights and sounds of the Atlantic Ocean are what I miss. And although the water is still so cold up there now, it was enough just to wade in the salt water while walking through the sand and a warm summer day.

Culinary Cooking Demos at the Harvest Moon
So just as special as the PA Dutch food is here in Lancaster, the coastal New England food was a treat up in Rockport. As an innkeeper here at the Harvest Moon Bed and Breakfast in Lancaster, I find myself always preparing for special culinary weekends or a specific culinary tour. Some of our cooking weekends revolve around culinary demos that showcase exactly how to prepare certain ingredients. I always try to stay away from seafood for I understand that although good, nothing is as fresh as right out of the ocean!

So call me spoiled, however I am all for fresh seafood.... I mean fresh off the boat seafood. Like none other than what you can get from a New England fish shack on the beach. It really is that good! Oh and by the way, I thought I would present a recipe for you.

How likes Halibut? Well, it was always this time of year, when the fishermen would come ashore and offer only the freshest of Halibut caught just moments before. You can always tell fresh fish for it does not smell like fish... it just smells like the ocean. The skin when pressed, bounces back and does not stay in place. And the color of fresh halibut is this absolutely beautiful pearly white with red/pink veins throughout.

Below is a recipe that I had on the menu while working in Rockport. Enjoy for it truly was a great place to be, and damn do I miss the ocean!

Halibut fillets skinned                                 1lb
Chopped Tomatoes  seeded                     2 tomatoes
Butter                                                       2 Tbls
Garlic chopped                                         1 tsp
Shelled Lump Blue Crab-meat                  8 oz
Fontina Cheese                                         To cover fish
White wine                                                Two cups
Salt and Pepper                                         To taste
Dill  (only the fresh stuff)                            1 tsp
Lemon                                                      1 wedge

Prepare two 8 oz portions of Halibut making sure all skin is removed
Place in shallow baking dish with 1 cup of white wine and a squeeze of lemon
Bake at 375` for about fifteen minutes, ( or until center is opaque and fish is snow white in color )
Five minutes before fish is done, place crab-meat on top along with the Fontina Cheese
While fish is baking, in saute pan place butter in and wait till hot; then add tomatoes and garlic, saute till hot
Then add white wine and reduce. At end, add a bit more butter, melt and add fresh chopped dill.
Remove from heat.
Remove fish from oven
Place fish on plate and serve with sauce on top.

Good Stuff!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Twin Brook Winery: Summer Events in Lancaster County

So, someone asked me the other day where I would  go to get my party on! Someplace a little refined, yet knows how to have a rockin' time. Maybe have a glass of wine; a place of culture and history, yet not stuffy and pretentious.

Being an innkeeper here at the Harvest Moon Bed & Breakfast in Lancaster, I was like, Wow, that's a tall order, is there such a place that touches on each one of those points?  Then I remembered Twin Brook Winery. Sure this will fit the bill... they have lots of events during the summer. And all though it was not summer, it sure felt like it!

So off they went, with map in hand to celebrate and get their party on at Twin Brook Winery. Upon their return, they could not say enough of the good time they had. With Entertainment and award winning wine, who could wrong. They had an awesome time and said that they will return.

I have been to Twin Brook myself many times and find it all to be true. Mellisa and Tim really know how to put on a good show. There winery is an old farm, recaptured and made into a truly unique place. Their vineyards surround the property on hills and valleys. They have an outside gazebo that often houses there concerts and musicians.

Their wine... pretty dang good. I highly recommend and The wines at Twin Brook are definitely worth a stop. We have guests that come just for their wine at least twice a year.

So going back to our last blog on Lois Pasteur, I would have to say once again, thanks Lois.... If not for your crazy ideas, we would not have this dynamite experience that we so enjoy at Twin Brook Winery.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Flavor of Wine "in Lancaster County" is Like Delicate Poetry

OK.... So I manipulated that famous quote from Louis Pasteur... just a bit; go ahead and slap my hand if you want, I just really liked what he had to say. So now that were all good, let me explain. Well, really no biggie, really nothing to explain, I just never realized that Louis Pasteur had a connection to wine.

Louis Pasteur
But for sure he did. And after doing a bit of research here as I sit in my office at the bed and breakfast on this premature summer day, (it's only the last day of May and the thermometers have all ready breached 90) I find that good ole' Louis was really trying to save the reputation of wine and beer in France when he mastered the first pasteurization experiment. 

As the French were great at making wine, many times they would have a problem with it lasting. Some of the best wines were soured by bacteria. What our friend Louis did was discover what makes a great bottle not sour verses a bottle of (STPW) a.k.a Skunked Tasting Pee Water. Turns out that under microscope, when aged properly, the wine contained little spherical yeast cells. However when the process was compromised, there was a vast display of bacterial cells that was producing lactic acid. (Not Good)

Louis put together his finding in a book called Etudes sur le vin  In this book Louis found that the open wood cask in which wine was decanted allowed the slow penetration of atmospheric oxygen through the porous holes.  His book explained what the process was to control the process. 

Lancaster County Wine
So thanks to Louis, we here in Lancaster County can enjoy not just a cool glass of milk, however our growing wine Industry is really beginning to shine. With wineries like Tamenend, (where Dr. Richard Carey continues the science behind wine) or Waltz's (where Jan and Kim have mastered the art), you are never far from enjoying some of the best Gosh Darn Nectar around.

So what is the connection to Lancaster County, well not much at all unless you think that the dairy industry is important here. Oh and of course our great wines! And yes, I'll concede with Louis, and twist his words around just a tiny bit.... The Flavor of Wine "in Lancaster County" is Like Delicate Poetry! I'll enjoy a sonnet this evening!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rocking the Menu with Gluten Free Options in Lancaster County

As I travel the culinary world of late, I have noticed a change in the landscape here in Lancaster County. Local restaurants have begun catering to the needs of those with Celiac Disease. Even here at the Bed and Breakfast, we have noticed a trend towards the gluten free diet.

And to accommodate these special needs, restaurants all over Lancaster have begun to offer a menu for those who require a gluten free diet. One of my favorites is Lily's on Main. Steve the owner/chef has become known in our area to challenge his staff with creative offerings for everyone who enters the restaurant, including those who are gluten intolerant. One of our pizza places in town is now offering a gluten free pizza as well. Carini's Italian Restaurant near by has had there Gluten Free Pizza on the menu since last year.

Gluten Free Muffins
In New Holland a new Health Food Store has just opened and caters to many needs including dairy free, gluten free, organic and other forms of healthy lifestyle foods. But minutes away, you will be sure to have all kinds of fresh produce, cheese, and meats, many of them being local and all being healthy.

We here at the Harvest Moon Bed and Breakfast continue to offer to our guest a wide variety of gluten free breakfasts. We are always pushing the envelope with our breakfasts here, whether gluten free or not,  I need the challenge to continue offering unique and tasty morning meals. Be sure to let us know what your needs are and we will be sure to accommodate them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Agri-Tourism.... Key to Lancaster County PA

You know.... They say Lancaster County is the Garden Spot of the World. I use to think, "how self boasting to claim yourself the garden spot of the "World". Such a self-proclaimed remark should have something to back it up I thought. And me and my city-boy lifestyle, having grown in the suburbs of both Baltimore and Boston did not at first look beyond the Giant Grocery Store.

Lancaster County... A great place to live!
However, being the Innkeeper here at the Harvest Moon Bed and Breakfast, I've discovered soon after opening our doors that Lancaster County's self proclamation may have some validity after all.  You see, cooking breakfast for our guest in the morning, I am always looking for fresh produce to serve. Nothing better than local  fresh picked spinach or asparagus in the spring. Or what about garden ripe tomatoes of every color to make fresh chutneys or accompaniments like fried tomatoes. And let's not forget about the fall! The choices of fresh apples and pears locally grown.... let's just say the offerings are dizzying.
Lancaster County Farm Stand

So cooking breakfast one day, I discovered that I was short of fruit and I needed spinach. What was an innkeeper to do? Well, as always go to Giant! That would solve the problem. Being a city boy, if you can't find it there, you don't need it. However on the way, I soon discovered that I was gonna be really late for breakfast if I drove all the way down there. What was I to do? Help!!!

As I started to fret, I pulled over on the side of the road at this little farm stand to collect my thoughts. Nervous as all get up, I got out of the car and looked at the farm stand for assistance to ask if they knew of a closer grocery store, being new in the area there may just be something a bit closer. Then before the words could come out of my mount, I noticed that they had fresh berries, melon and hand picked spinach. Lights were going on all over the place in my head. My menu was decided and I placed my order to the young Amish man behind the counter. Certainly though this was going to cost me and all I had in cash was a five dollar bill. Surely a bag of spinach for the egg dish, a fresh rhubarb and some wonderful strawberries were going to be more than I bargained for. Ka-ching, the total was 4.25... Really, I $till have .75 cents to spend?
Wow... It looks so good!

So that is when I began to realize that this claim of being the "Garden Spot" has more validity than I could ever understand. It really is that important to our area how we sustain ourselves with the local fare. With things like Lancaster County Farmland Trust, PA Preferred, the outreach campaign of Buy Fresh - Buy Local,   local farm stands/markets and  local co-ops dotted all over the place, it is easy to see that farming is paramount to Lancaster. And tourists hoping on the rails of Culinary and Agri-tourism are beginning to realize the bounty of freshness that Lancaster County has become known for. I like to call it Lancaster Fresh.
Lancaster Fresh

Lancaster County is ripe with opportunity for just about any epicurean to immerse themselves into a culinary weekend filled with great knowledge, great fun and a super tasty experience.  You'll clearly see why I'm on board with that self proclamation. It really is the truth! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Strasburg Railroad and the Great Train Robbery.... Lancaster Has it All

So when I start doing research for places to go and things to do, it usually leads me to food. Doing research on Strasburg PA, I find that the Iron Horse Inn is a pretty darn good place. Great Food, Great Service and an over the top Beer List. One of my first places when traveling to Strasburg.

Strasburg Railroad Great Train Robbery
However, most recently, I was poking around on the internet and found that the Strasburg Railroad was hosting a "Train Robbery"! How unique! I am immediately intrigued by this. What's more, when the robbers "take" your money, it all goes towards a charity.

This is for sure on my list of cool things to do; with three of them planned this year, the first one is coming up in a few short weeks, April 10th 2011. The Harvest Moon Bed and Breakfast can help you with all the arrangements.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fasnacht Day in Lancaster County

Just as certain as the sun comes up, each year...right around this time or exactly the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the locals in Lancaster County have come to know Fasnachts. Traditionally this PA Dutch German Treat is a potato doughnut sprinkled with a bit of sugar. So whether you call it Shrove Tuesday, Fasnacht Day or Fat Tuesday, the treats do have a bit of history.

PA Dutch Fasnacht
So how do we here at the Harvest Moon Bed and Breakfast celebrate... well, I have to admit, it may be that we just purchase a few fasnachts and put them on the table for all to enjoy. Here we have never really celebrated. Now where my wife comes from, they would celebrate Fasching (Mardi Gras) each year as they do in New Orleans. We just have not carried the tradition over here. I think though that a trip to New Orleans would be in order.... and besides they have great Cajun food that I must check out.

So as the bakers get ready for the onslaught tomorrow, I thought it may be a good time to showcase some Great PA Dutch Fasnacht Recipes. I have found a recipe site from Pam Weidle's web page. Pam has several different recipes to choose from.

Pam Thank you for such a great treat and so many options!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lancaster County Bed and Breakfast Owner Celebrates National Mulled Wine Day

Hello everyone... Was it not enough that we had all those great holidays back in February National Wine Day, National Kahlua Day and so on... Now we have a holiday just for heated spiced wine; NATIONAL MULLED WINE DAY. YIPPEE!

March 3rd, 2011 has been declared National Mulled Wine Day. Perfect time of year for this wonderful concoction. It's like Christmas coming in the middle of winter; minus all the hoopla. 

I could not be more excited about the prospect of a day solely dedicated to mulled wine. I think I will need to pull myself together, gather my favorite wine for mulling and get the stove-top ready! The smell in the house is gonna' be awesome tomorrow.

Hey there, wanna join me? Here's a recipe for you to enjoy. Or just come on by the inn.... the wine will be mulling all day.

One bottle of red wine (does not have to be expensive) ( less 1/4 cup as a taste test )
1/2 orange washed and cut into small wedges.
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
10 pieces of alspice
3/4 cup sugar ( more or less to taste )

1. combine all ingredients ( sample the wine )
2. mull on stove top under low heat ( taste test for errors )
3. drink passionately yet be responsible!

Ode to the Mud Sale, A Lancaster County Tradition

Living in Lancaster County
for the past ten years
Has been such a bounty
As we travel new frontiers.
Towards Winter's end
And the beginning of anew
A promise from above
As spring rounds the bend
And the winds of March blew
Is what I write of.

I have seen so much
Can it be true,
This lifestyle they call "Dutch"
Was plainly in view.
Yet this tradition stuck out
As springs winds blew in,
A new sense of hope
That all could not doubt!
Even we here at the Inn
Gave an extra bar of soap!

They play in the mud
For reasons not sure,
I've seen a good bud
Dodging manure!
He twisted and turned
To bid on a quilt
He thought was just right
And as the bidding adjourned
He was riddled with guilt
That his bidding took no flight!

The crowds oh how big
The sights are aplenty
They've roasted a pig
Sandwich? A buck twenty!
And as I watch closely
The day go by
I remember one thing
The thing I need mostly
And it's not whoopie pie
Is a brand new box spring!

So my day... oh how nice!
I've trudged through the dirt!
I've eaten pretzels twice,
And stained my polo shirt!
Was it all worth it?

My friends up north asked
A "Mud Sale" to see?
My answer with wit...
The local culture I've passed
Yet it's only quarter to three!