Friday, April 4, 2014

Birds Nest Cookies

This is a new cookie we made for Santa last year, but in my never ending list of things to do, I never posted this recipe. My delay actually works out because these make great Easter cookies. To be honest, they are not my favorite, but they are so easy to make. If you have little ones, they'll have fun helping, and the best part is that their fingers get dirty from forming the nests so they'll just like being able to lick their fingers when they're done.

The recipe calls for a mix of chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. I think the reason I don't like these are the butterscotch chips - they just don't taste natural. Perhaps I need to find a better butterscotch chip. But there's no reason why you couldn't make these with just chocolate or white chocolate chips. White chocolate would make a pretty cookie for Easter and spring time. And then fill with pastel M&Ms or little foiled eggs - pretty!

1 bag of chocolate chips (11 ounces)
1 bag of butterscotch chips (11 ounces)
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 bag chow mein noodles (12 ounces)
candy for decorating/filling

Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips in double boiler and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir in chow mein noodles until completely coated. Drop coated noodles onto parchment of wax paper. Make a little "well" with a spoon or your fingers in the center and add candy of your choice. The chocolate set ups fast so you need to work quickly.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Eastern Shore Artisan Trail - Benefit Auction

Eastern Shore Artisan Trail Benefit Auction

Living in a small town, you don't get to be anonymous and you really can't not be involved in your community. I am astounded by how much gets done in Cape Charles, with so much of it being done through volunteerism. The latest initiative I'm volunteering for is the Eastern Shore Artisan Trail. I feel out of my comfort zone because I don't know a thing about art. I like what I like, and I can't explain why. 

But this trail is so much more than art. It's about bringing together "artisans, venues, galleries and retailers, while connecting points of interest, restaurants, and accommodations in the related communities to create a “trail”, according to the Artisans Center of Virginia (ACV), which coordinates these trails throughout the state. Discussions have been in the works for awhile, and the Eastern Shore is now at the point of assembling their "team" to make this happen.

This is a true grassroots effort and we're kicking things off this weekend with a Benefit Auction on Saturday, April 5 at Island House Restaurant in Wachapreague (about 40 minutes north of Cape Charles). A silent auction will run from 11 am to 8 pm while the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, and a portion of proceeds from meals served that day will go to the Trail. At 8 pm, a live auction will feature items retailing at $200 and over. Items, for both the silent and live auctions, include decoys, paintings, antique maps, jewelry, gift baskets, local theatre tickets, overnight stays, and gift certificates to restaurants and a variety of services and outdoor activities such as fishing charters and horseback riding.

Come during the day to enjoy a great meal - have I told you about the Island House crab cake and their sweet potato fries? Or come later at night for drinks and to enjoy live music by Van Lewin and Melinda & The Benders. Reservations are highly suggested for dinner service and can be made by calling Island House Restaurant at 757-787-4242. We'll be there at some point during the day for lunch - yes, I'm having the crab cake with sweet potato fries - and we hope to see you there. 

Follow the Eastern Shore Artisan Trail on Facebook to see pictures of some of the amazing artwork that will be auctioned off that evening. 

I want to thank the Cape Charles businesses who are supporting this effort either through financial contributions or donating items for the auction: Arts Enter Cape Charles, brown dog ice cream, gallery 209, Gull Hummock Gourmet Market, Moonrise Jewelry, Nancy Vest (artist), Pfeiffer Riding Stables, and Wendell Distributing.  

If you can't make it but still want to support this effort, you can make your donation online

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pesto Goat Cheese Quiche

There are 3 things in cooking that make anything better - bacon, butter and goat cheese - at least in my mind they do. I didn't discover the beauty of goat cheese until I went to culinary school and learned this recipe. You can make with or without tomato and you can cut back on the goat cheese, but why would you.

6 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 1/4 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup pesto
8 oz goat cheese
1 tomato, sliced thinly

Whisk together eggs, yolk, milk and salt and pepper. Add pesto and combine. Place egg/pesto mixture in crust that has been blind baked for 10 minutes. Mixture should not come to top of crust, and this is fine, because as soon as you add goat cheese, the mixture will come up higher. Break goat cheese into small pieces, about quarter size, and drop into mixture. Place around to different spots because where you drop it, is where it will set up and you don't want a huge blob of goat cheese (or maybe you do). Place thinly sliced tomato directly on top of egg/pesto/goat cheese mixture. Lay them flat around in a circle - they should sit right on top but the edges may sink a little.

Alternative is that you can put a base of thinly sliced tomato right onto your blind baked crust BEFORE you put in the egg/pesto mixture. The advantage to putting them on the bottom vs. the top is that sometimes they can dry out a little on the top.

Or you can completely forget the tomato.

Put quiche in 350 degree preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes. Egg mixture should be set and not look wet and runny. There should still be a little bit of jiggle to it. If there's no jiggle, that means it's overcooked. It will still have great flavor, but just be a little dry. Allow quiche to cool 10 minutes before slicing so that it will continue to set up and slice more neatly.

If you want to make individual quiches, bake for 20 minutes.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Make It Special with Moonrise

I love Moonrise Jewelry! You don't know what Moonrise Jewelry is? Well, neither did I until we moved to the Eastern Shore, and once you discover it, you are in for something truly special.

I first saw Meredith's work about 3 years ago - Meredith is the owner and designer - at a street festival and I was stunned by the beauty of her work. She's known for her "real orchids" which are literally real orchids preserved in resin. They come in all sorts of colors and sizes and you would think they would be heavy but they are about as light as a feather. We were so excited when Meredith opened her retail store here in Cape Charles and you can go in any day to see her amazing creations of necklaces, earrings, bracelets, cuff links, hair combs, and pendants. One of the great things about her work is she has something for all budgets - from $19 for Easton Earrings up to $349 for her Plantation or Bonaire Necklaces.

We've partnered with Moonrise for an exclusive package for guests of Fig Street Inn that can be added to your reservation and waiting in your room upon arrival. You'll receive a Mini Orchid Necklace (retail $54) and $25 gift certificate to Moonrise Jewelry for $75. Your someone special will have a spectacular gift waiting to be opened, and then they'll get to go to the store with their gift certificate to pick out another beautiful piece of jewelry. Or they can exchange the necklace and have a total of $75 to spend in the store.

What a great surprise and you'll look like a star - and we'll do all the work for you. We just need 2 days notice…it's as simple as you telling us when you make your reservation by phone at 757-331-3133 or when you reserve your room online, just select the add-on option. If you have a color preference, let us know. Necklaces come with an 18" sterling silver chain, or you can have a 16" or 20" chain. The necklace comes in a keepsake tin gift box that will be gift packaged.

If you're not sure what she'll like, we can have a gift certificate waiting - you tell us the amount - and then she can pick out her own handmade creation. Or if you find something on the Moonrise Jewelry website that you know she'll love, we can have that waiting instead.

It's all about making your visit to Cape Charles and Fig Street Inn a wonderful, unique experience - so you tell us what that something extra is that can make your time here even more memorable.

Moonrise Jewelry is located at 22 Strawberry Street in Cape Charles, Virginia. They are open Monday through Saturday; and have Sunday hours Memorial Day through Labor Day, and in December. Visit their website or follow them on Facebook.

Moonrise Jewelry

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

"H" is for Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies

Our weekly recipes have become something some of our local businesses here in Cape Charles, Virginia look forward to each week. We usually have more than enough for the students and teachers at the school we make them for, and we don't need to eat all the "left overs" ourselves, so we bring them around town. Some ask, "what are you making next week?"

When it came to planning for the letter "H", we tossed around a few ideas and then the owner of brown dog ice cream (who is always first stop for our leftovers deliveries) offered us hazelnuts from her shop. Sure! We can do something with hazelnuts. 

Well, who knew that hazelnuts need to be husked. Apparently a lot of people because there are plenty of articles online about the "best" way to do it. Not sure if there is a best way, but I will tell you that there is no easy way. So the process to make these cookies took quite a long time. If you want to make these, find hazelnuts that are already husked, or don't wait until 11 pm to make them like we did because it will take a lot longer.


  • 3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup (3 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup finely ground, husked, toasted hazelnuts
  • 3 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 8 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped husked toasted hazelnuts


Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Beat in 1/2 cup finely ground hazelnuts and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture until just combined. 

Shape dough by tablespoonfuls into 3-inch-long logs onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake 325°F until light golden brown around edges, about 20 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool cookies completely. 

Chocolate Topping:

Stir milk chocolate in top of double boiler over barely simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Place 1/3 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts in small bowl. Dip 1 end of cookie into melted chocolate, then into coarsely chopped hazelnuts. Return to rack. Repeat with remaining cookies. Let stand until chocolate is set, about 1 hour. (Cookies can be made 2 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.) 

We scooped our cookies and dropped about a teaspoonful of chocolate on the top, then sprinkled the chopped nuts. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

"G" is for Gingersnaps

Greg will usually look at a recipe and then start changing it. Drives me insane because he just seems to wing it and things always turn out pretty darn good. For this recipe, he takes no credit. It comes from "Cookies Unlimited" by Nick Malgieri, page 194, published in 2000. Chef Malgieri takes no credit either, but received the recipe from the winner of a baking contest he judged. Greg's gotten rave reviews when he bakes these so it's no wonder these were the winning entry.  

The Good Cook's Gingersnaps

2 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
12 Tbs unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup for finishing
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices in bowl and mix together. In electric mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter and 1 cup sugar on medium speed for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix. Lower speed and beat in half the dry ingredients, then molasses. Scrape down sides of bowl and beater. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix. Remove bowl from mixer, scrape and do one final mix of dough by hand.

Place remaining 1/2 cup sugar in small, shallow bowl. Use small ice cream scoop to make 1-inch balls of dough. Round out balls of dough by rolling in your hands, and then roll each dough ball in sugar. Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until cookies have spread, colored and surface crackles slightly. Cookies should be firm to touch. Slide paper from cookie sheet onto cooling rack, but leave cookies on paper for 5 more minutes before removing. Cookies will crisp up as they cool. If you try to pull them off immediately, they usually stick to the paper.

We recommend using a coarser sugar for rolling so that you can actually see the sugar after they've baked. If you use a extra fine or even just regular sugar, it soaks right in.

Okay, Greg couldn't resist making an adjustment, but that doesn't mean it's his recipe. He adds 1/4 tsp vanilla when he adds the egg. Greg likes adding vanilla to lots of things, but that's a whole other blog post in itself.

Friday, January 24, 2014

"F" is for Fudge

This recipe comes from Greg's grandmother. She used to make it all the time and I don't even want to think about how many pans we ate over the years. She would pour the "mix" into 2 metal pie pans and we'd watch it set up so we could cut into it as soon as we could. One pan would be gone pretty much instantaneously, and the second pan would stay around long enough for us to cut into the next morning for breakfast. That second pan was usually all gone by the end of that second day. You might be thinking fudge for breakfast sounds gross - but with a cup of coffee, yum. Give it a try (you know you want to).

Grandma G's Chocolate Fudge

4 cup sugar
1 - 12 oz can evaporated milk
3/4 cup butter
1 lb chocolate chips
15 ounces mini marshmallows
1 tsp vanilla

Bring sugar, evaporated milk, and butter to a boil. Stirring constantly, continue to boil until soft ball stage (235 to 240 degrees). Take off heat.

We boil until 237 or 238 degrees.

Add chocolate, marshmallows and vanilla and stir until smooth and marshmallows are completely melted (there should not be any white streaks of marshmallow). Pour immediately into a buttered dish.

Add in chocolate and marshmallows.
Immediately pour into buttered pan.

Allow to cool before slicing. You will want to slice the entire batch at one time. If you let the batch set completely and slice only as you need, it becomes more difficult. We let it sit for about 2 hours and then start cutting. But leave it in the pan and only take out the pre-sliced pieces as you serve. If your batch will last a few days (meaning you won't eat it all by yourself for dinner), you don't want to pull it all out because the sides can dry up.

When we make it, we use a 13x9 glass baking dish and cut into small pieces - about 3/4 inch square. Now that we're older and can't eat absolutely everything in sight without repercussions, it sticks around for a number of days. You can store in the refrigerator and then take out for about an hour before serving (or snacking). It softens as it comes up to room temperature. You can also store in air tight containers in the fridge for about one month. It will dry out a little.

It sets up quickly. Don't use a knife to spread out, or your top won't be as smooth.

Muffin papers add a nice touch for serving or if you want to give as a gift.