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Friday, September 30, 2011

Rogues' Autumn Finger Lakes Dinner Menu

Nights are getting cooler, the days are getting shorter, school is back in session & the leaves are beginning to change. It must be time for our fall menu. The end of summer is a bit sad, and I dread taking some summery offerings off the menu. Summer will be back and so will some of those warm weather dinners. Until then, I do love fall, rich savory flavors, hearty stews & comfort foods. I have to admit I've missed my sweaters. It's time to bundle up, wrap your hands around a steaming cup of hot cider and try a few new Finger Lakes offerings at Rogues'. We, E & Chef Luke, have discovered a few more local ingredients recently which inspired us this fall.
When we offered food pairings with our last Brewer's Choice, Farmhouse Ale, we tried a free range, organic Cornish game hen from Shannon Brook Farm in Watkins Glen, NY. Chef Luke roasted it with fresh rosemary & sea salt, maybe a touch of butter, too. It was a little gamey, as the name suggests, sort like a cross between chicken & duck. It was soooo... good. We decided that very night it was a keeper for the fall line up. Our suggested pairing is Goosewatch Pinot Grigio or Victory Prima Pils.
We also tried some elk  Italian style sausage from Mariah Farm in Virgil, NY. Chef Luke will be preparing the elk sausage with local butternut squash risotto. Did I mention that he makes really good risotto. Not too crunchy, not too mushy, in the words of Goldy Locks, " This one's just right." We are suggesting Palmer Merlot or our own Route 34 Red Ale with my new favorite menu item.
Next up, is the new Three Cheese Tofu Parmesan. Fresh local Ithaca tofu breaded and baked with a trio of local cheeses and our own marinara. I am not a big tofu fan, but i have to say it's pretty good. I'll still have the chicken Parmesan, but this is Ithaca and there are lots of folks who aren't carnivorous.  We make a mean back burger for them as well. It's spicy like a meatless bean burger should be.
Just like it's OK to wear white after labor day, it's OK to have a salad for dinner after labor day. So, we have added the Maple Butternut Salad. It has mixed baby greens, roasted butternut squash, red onion, Finger Lakes Farmstead Bier Meck cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds & a maple vinaigrette dressing. Lots of fresh local components complimenting one another.Uber Finger Lakes fresh.
We are proud to announce the triumphant return of our Finger Lakes Beef Stew. It was on the menu last fall & winter and I've missed it. It's country inn comfort food at it's finest. The beef is from the organic Black Angus Will-Sho farm in King Ferry, NY. So flavorful, and we stew it in a traditional red wine & fresh herb broth along with potatoes, onions & carrots- simple, but good. I always save a crust of bread to soak up any extra sauce.
As you know we love New York State apples, too. Crisp & refreshing, they make a nice counterpoint to savory flavors. Our roasted pork tenderloin is now being served with a chunky apple cranberry sauce. Our flat bread appetizer is as well, topped with melted cheddar. It's another traditional pairing, but in the words of many a country folk, "Don't fix it, if it ain't broke." We agree. Who doesn't love apples with pork or cheddar cheese? As always we have our Finger Lakes Harvest appetizer and the Big Apple Salad which feature local apples fresh cut 30 seconds before the dish leaves the kitchen.
Apples, squash, elk, Angus beef, Cornish game hen, Bier Meck cheese... fall harvest is here in the Finger Lakes and we're feeling pretty happy about it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Locavore Drink Specials in the Heart of the Finger Lakes

Rogues' Harbor Inn has always been a devotee of all things local: NY wines, NY craft brews, Cortland apples, Finger Lakes cheeses, Finger Lakes beef, fresh corn, tomatoes, herbs, berries, squash... all from right down the road. We love it all. What's not to love about fresh produce grown nearby by folks in your own community who care about what they're growing & selling to their neighbors. A fresh locally sourced meal complimented by a local beverage is the epitome of just being where you are, and the Finger Lakes is a lush & delicious place to be.
Beverages are important here at Rogues', aka the Harbor. We've always been proud of serving only New York State wines, expanding into New York State craft brews, then our own brews, and now we've found a number of local distillers. Jack pot. Finger Lakes Distilling in Watkins Glen distills all their spirits from Finger Lakes grapes. Seneca Drums gin is very junipery & cucumbery, uber refreshing. I also love the Maple Jack, especially in a cup of freshly brewed Gimme coffee (from Ithaca). Finger Lakes Distilling's Mckenzie Rye (named for the owner & the distiller, not related- some things are just meant to be) is my husband's favorite. It's oh so smooth, even Martha Stewart thinks so. One lake over to the East is Hidden Marsh Distillery at the Montezuma Winery on Cayuga. They distill their Bee vodka from honey. It's really good.
Our drink special lists always vary with the season. Nothing surprising about frozen drinks in the summer and hot, spiced drinks in the winter. But, this fall we've begun the addition & from this day forward tradition of making sure that every seasonal featured drink on the list contains at least one local component. Here's this season's line up.

Hot NYS Cider & Rum
Local cider served hot with Capt. Morgan’s spiced rum  

I NY Coffee
Maple Jack liqueur by Finger Lakes Distilling & fresh brewed coffee by Gimme of Ithaca   

Love Potion #9
Red Cat wine by Hazlitt with vodka, served up

Niagara Falls
Apple vodka with maple jack liqueur by Finger Lakes Distilling, lemon juice,
triple sec & ginger ale    

Blueberry Cobbler 
Blueberry Port by Duck Walk Vineyard, triple sec, club soda  

Bleu Stuffed Martini
Seneca Drums gin by Finger Lakes Distilling with Bleu cheese stuffed olive & dry vermouth 

Garlic Stuffed Martini
Seneca Drums Gin by Finger Lakes Distilling with  a garlic stuffed olive & dry vermouth  

Honey Gingertini
Honey distilled vodka by Montezuma Distilling with dry vermouth, a splash of
ginger ale & candied ginger

McKenzie Rye
McKenzie Rye from Finger Lakes Distilling served on the rocks, unpolluted 

At the risk of sounding preachy, how you choose to spend your hard earned money really matters. You can have a great time and support your local economy at the same time by eating and drinking local Finger Lake's food & drink. It's a win win. Bottoms up!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cranberry Obsession at the Rogues' Harbor Inn

The anticipation of crisp mornings and fall colors make me crave cranberries. I love cranberries- cranberry sauce, cranberry juice, cranberry bread, cranberry relish.... The list goes on and apparently the cranberry has been beloved in North America since long before the circa 1830's National Historic Landmark, Rogues' Harbor Inn was even an idea. Native Americans have been using cranberries in cooking and for dyeing fabric since at least the 1550's. Today there are over a million barrels of cranberries harvested each autumn.
The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association, founded in 1888, is oldest farming association in the U.S. They have a great web site,, and the following brief history is theirs.

"The cranberry, along with the blueberry and Concord grape, is one of North America's three native fruits that are commercially grown. Cranberries were first used by Native Americans, who discovered the wild berry's versatility as a food, fabric dye and healing agent.
The name "cranberry" derives from the Pilgrim name for the fruit, "craneberry", so called because the small, pink blossoms that appear in the spring resemble the head and bill of a Sandhill crane. European settlers adopted the Native American uses for the fruit and found the berry a valuable bartering tool. American whalers and mariners carried cranberries on their voyages to prevent scurvy.
In 1816, Captain Henry Hall became the first to successfully cultivate cranberries.
He noticed that the wild cranberries in his bogs grew better when sand blew over them. Captain Hall began transplanting his cranberry vines, fencing them in, and spreading sand on them himself. When others heard of Hall's technique, it was quickly copied. Continuing throughout the 19th century, the number of growers increased steadily.
Normally, growers do not have to replant since an undamaged cranberry vine will survive indefinitely. Some vines in Massachusetts are more than 150 years old.
In addition to Massachusetts, the major growing areas for cranberries are New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, and in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Quebec. Additional regions with cranberry production include Delaware, Maine, Michigan, New York, Rhode Island, as well as the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Prince Edward Island. "

Growing up in and around New England I have had the privilege of sampling lots of cranberry recipes.
Our fall & winter dinner menu always boasts several cranberry inspired offerings and this fall is no different. Here's one of my favorites that we serve at the Inn for over night guests in the Bed & Breakfast for a little old fashioned New England flavor brought to the heart of the Finger Lakes.

Cranberry Orange Bread
makes one 9" or 10" loaf

3 cups flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup dried cranberries
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons orange zest
1/2 cup vegetable oil

In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients. Toss in the cranberries and stir them around till they are coated (keeps them from sinking in batter while baking)
In another bowl beat the egg, then add remaining ingredients. Combine this liquid mixture with the dry mixture, stirring just enough to moisten all ingredients.
Turn into a well greased 9" or 10" bread pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.

Post Script- I've made some pretty amazing french toast with this bread....

Happy Fall from everyone at the Rogues' Harbor Inn, Ithaca, NY, Heart of the Finger Lakes