Sunday, August 29, 2010


I've only imagined this beautiful crop of heirloom peaches for twelve or thirteen years!

 I finally have my bumper crop of delicate raspberry-scented peaches!

 No one seems to recognize them other than the kind gentleman who trekked through the woods here in Coweta County, GA (over twelve years ago) to select the healthy young specimen and deposit the young tree on my front doorstep.

O.K., there were a few glasses of wine...a little nodding off , BUT, we have our twenty pounds of peeled 3" peaches!!

Go, TEAM USA! Our fingers sore, our elbows tired....happily, we are only halfway through the tree.
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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Does Anyone Remember The Monte Cristo

This was one of those sandwiches that was on every Florida restaurant menu in the 70's! Yacht clubs, country clubs, department store restaurants . . . it was really that popular!

To me, the success of the sandwich depends on great bread! The bread must hold up to the egg -mustard mixture and a slow grilling. I found recipes calling for a deep fried sandwich but I don't remember ever seeing a deep-fried version.

For our simple sandwich I used all the tradional ingredients-thinly sliced Black Forest ham, lean turkey breast and a baby swiss cheese.
I piled up the meat and cheese on an English toasting bread, pressed it and placed it very carefully in the egg mixture-flipping it to ensure an even coating on both sides. Once the excess drains away the sandwich was placed in a pre-heated pan with Olivio.

We served it very traditionally with the strawberry preserves and powdered sugar!

For Two Sandwiches

4 pieces of hearty toasting bread
2 thinly-sliced pieces of Black Forest Ham
2 thinly-sliced of turkey breast
2 thinly-sliced pieces of baby swiss cheese

2 eggs plus 1 tsp of cream and 1 tsp of creole mustard

Soak sandwich on both sides until evenly coated. Grill in preheated pan sprayed with non-stick and 1 tbsp Olivio.
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Watermelon Spritzer

Fresh watermelon, lemonade, a little black raspberry syrup and a swizzle of mint make for a most refreshing spritzer! Made for guests of Casa Bella as a non-alcoholic spritzer topped with soda water. . .I'm tempted to try this refreshing mixture this evening with a little dark rum.
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Monday, August 16, 2010

Main Street Newnan's Home Away From Home

Main Street Newnan merchants prepare to exhibit and sale their wares at the 2010 Powers Festival this Labor Day.

Under the direction of Linda Bridges Kee and Tina Darby, our pretty "home away from home" will be decorated by Mainstreet merchants, restaurants and our own Casa Bella Bed and Breakfast!

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fresh Spaghetti and Linguine

Freshly-made Pasta

Ronald Mac and I have enjoyed a wonderful day in the kitchen together-making everything from a strawberry cordial for apertifs, a peach bourbon conserve for our bed and breakfast guests-and homemade fresh pasta for an upcoming episode of Home At Last!

. . . a true "soup to nuts kind of day"!

We experimented with several different pasta makers but found that we enjoyed the hand-cranked basic Italian maker the best. Once the pasta was rolled by hand using a flea market wooden rolling pin we cut it with spaghetti and linguine blades. I draped the pasta over my Kitchenaid and dried it in the vicinity of an oscillating fan. Easy breezy . . .

The spaghetti recipe included a 1/4 cup of semolina but for the linguine I opted for no semolina. More for the fun of making them different that for any other reason. We took turns churning out the pasta and enjoyed ourselves immensely! For a easy and reliable recipe please visit the Recipe page of Home At Last!

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Beer Batter Bread

I spent yesterday evening floating around the pool in the company of a friend, Trixie. Happily, Trixie and her son, Frederick were passing through Newnan on their return trip to Atlanta after helping Trixie's stepdaughter settle in her new dorm room.

After righting the world, swapping stories on our favorite photo editing software-our conversation turned to food. Trixie shared an easy bread recipe that she favors-a beer batter bread. It sounded so easy . . . there was nothing to even write down. Three simple ingredients!

I baked a loaf of the beer batter bread today and loved the ease of the recipe. I added a few of my own embellishments and popped in the oven for a quick 45 minutes at 375 degrees. My intent was to see if it might make a nice breakfast toast served with our popular Black Raspberry Preserves for guests of our bed and breakfast!

I was not disappointed. The texture was dense, the yeasty flavor enhanced with a scant 1/8 cup of mixed grated cheese and topped with a little grated cheese and sesame seed. Of course waiting for it to cool was the hardest part of the recipe.

Cheese Beer Batter Bread

2 cups of self-rising flour
10 oz of beer
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 cup cheddar and parmesan cheese mixed
pinch of sugar

2 tbsp unsalted butter (to grease loaf pan)
1 tbsp olive oil
sesame seed and grated cheddar cheese

Mix the first four ingredients in a large bowl and pour into a loaf pan with two tablespoons of unsalted butter
Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Brush top of loaf with olive oil and grate a small amount of cheddar cheese as loaf continues to cool. Sprinkle with sesame seed.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Study in Miniature

Travels Abroad

German Glass

Glass Kisses

One of the joys of owning our 99-year old home is filling the built-in cabinets with displays of my collected pretties. You can see from the photos that I adore blown glass and fused glass.

My latest acquisition is from glass artist Bruce Cook of "Cooked Glass".  Pretty fused glass tiles that are so nice to touch and stunning in their glass vessel.  Bruce was a new vendor at this past Market Days in downtown Newnan.  
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Monday, August 9, 2010

Encore Decor

As a former interior decorator I adore the vibe of Encore Decor in downtown Newnan, Georgia. Well-displayed vignettes-filled with fun accessories and decorative elements for every room of the house. Consigned pieces keep the supply of great furniture and accessories fresh-while Janet's knack for finding unique pieces and objects d'art is apparent as you step through her inviting front door!

Best of all, Janet has the good sense to offer her finds at fabulous prices-making for a fun shopping experience!

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Breakfast Tablescape

The breakfast table at Casa Bella Bed and Breakfast allows me a chance to pull out all my beautiful dishes and pretties!

A Spanish toile topper sets the mood for Saturday's table while rattan chargers add texture to the bare wood.
I opted for white accessories in the center of the table rather than traditional flowers-a great option when time doesn't permit a trip to the market.
I opted for a creamy white artichoke surrounded by tall white fleur de lis on either side.
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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tuscan-style Roasted Potatoes

About five years ago we taped an episode of Home At Last! at Villa La Grotta in San Guistino Valdarno in the heart of Tuscany! Our friends made a beautiful stuffed turkey breast with Mortadella and Provolone Cheese. The results were georgeous and delicious.

Claudia also created roasted potatoes with olive oil and they serve as the inspiration behind our roasted breakfast potatoes that are on the menu this weekend at Casa Bella Bed and Breakfast.

I've created these for many years now but made them my own with the addition of a crunchy bread crumb made from our leftover breads and my own seasoning blend. They are delicately topped with a little Asiago cheese.
Biscuit and Bread Crumbs
Homemade Seasoning Blend
Potatoes Tossed with Olive Oil and Kosher Salt

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Monday, August 2, 2010


One satisfying aspect of my innkeeper's life is that I get to play in the kitchen with all our leftovers! Bread and biscuits are turned into crumbs that make our delicious crusts in our apple crisps, fruit is turned into conserves and syrups with endless possiblities.

This was a peach and blueberry base blended with black raspberry to create our signature syrup. Some of our most popular sweet dishes depend on this for their back flavors.

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