Follow by Email

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Year's Eve at the Rogues' Harbor Inn

The Rogues' Harbor Inn has celebrated 181 New Year's Eves and the tradition continues this year as always. It's awe inspiring to think how many folks have rung in the new year in this very spot. If these wall could talk, they would have many tales to tell. But, what happens at Rogues' stays at Rogues'- an excellent tradition to continue. The magical evening is just a day away and it's a celebration we look forward to every year. The Inn is all decked out for Christmas. Everyone is smiling and relaxed. The staff is all dressed up. Lots of folks have family visiting and the guests rooms are filled with friends and relatives from all over the globe. It's all warm and fuzzy, peace on earth, love and happiness.
The chefs go all out with celebratory specials. This year we are having Chef Luke's seafood chowder, thick rich New England style with clams, crab and fresh fish. For an appetizer, he's making shrimp and Parmesan stuffed artichoke hearts. They are definitely on my quality control list for sampling. Then for an entree special Luke is preparing a crab crusted sirloin steak: 10 oz Prime aged sirloin topped with an herb crumb and cheese imperial crab stuffing. Again, I will be sampling. Quality control is imperative. Finally for dessert we're having a peppermint and dark chocolate Napoleon with raspberry sauce. I know... Pete Panek will be playing in the pub from 8 pm till midnight. Nothing makes an evening out or a round of cocktails more special than someone strumming on a guitar and belting out a few sing-alongs. And last, but not least, a complimentary champagne toast at midnight- actually local Finger Lakes sparkling wine.
It's winter in the Finger Lakes, cold, a little snowy, but breath-takingly beautiful. The holidays are my favorite time of year to cozy up by the fire with friends and family, take our time with dinner. Maybe start with local cheeses, roasted chestnuts and wine. Enjoy a luscious steak, a sinful dessert, and a traditional toast,"Here's to a harbor of rogues'!"
Happy New Year to our fellow rogues' and many, many more.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Brewer's Choice Holiday Craft Brew at Rogues'

Several weeks ago we were in the brewery, working on our Scottish Winter ale. It was one of those brew sessions where a bunch of little thing conspired to make it a longer night than it needed to be. Then we looked outside to see the first snow of the season slowly coming down. Something seemed right about that and it lifted our spirits to continue brewing and get the beer in the fermenter. The brewhouse smelled of holiday spices by the time we were cleaning up and we were eagerly anticipating when the brew would be ready!
So now you may be wondering what exactly is a winter or holiday ale? While there are no hard and fast rules about what makes up this type of beer, they are generally of an amber color or darker, higher in alcohol, and with some variety of spice. They are a beer meant to flush the face and warm the spirit on the cold winter nights. Brewing with spices is certainly nothing new. Before hops became a standard part of beer many varieties of spices were used for flavor. Even after the common use of hops there were many styles of beer that employed other things to create the character to the beer. Prior to the days of refrigeration and cheap over night shipping people relied on what was at hand. Licorice, spruce tips, coriander, and many other spices were employed to give a pleasing flavor to the beer. In a way winter beers are a throwback to long forgotten styles of beer. Because of this the design and flavor of the beer is open to interpretation by the brewer leading to a great variety. They run the gamut from not using any spices, to being spice forward where it dominates the flavor.
For our beer we went with a good Scotch ale base recipe, keeping it nice and simple but with a full malt body. We used only a slight hint of hops to give a touch of bitterness to balance against the higher alcohol content of the beer. Then we added spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. The spices come through strongly in the nose of the beer, but are somewhat mellowed by the character of the European malts that make up the recipe. It leans toward the sweet side of things and many who don't enjoy traditional beer flavors may find this brew to be right up their alley. It certainly is a holiday treat that can be enjoyed on its own, or paired with dessert to give a satisfying finish to a delicious meal.The scottish holiday ale is expected to pour next week, so stop in, take a break from Christmas shopping at the Ithaca Mall, sit by the fire and a have a pint.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Continued Cranberry Obsession- Cranberry Sangria Recipe

We love cranberries. It's a fact. There is no better time of year than the holidays to fully indulge our craving for cranberries.
The fall-winter dinner menu has a few cranberry inspired dishes. Our new Empire State Flat bread is glazed with an Empire apple & cranberry reduction then topped with melted NYS cheddar. The Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin is served over the apple cranberry reduction as well. This very evening our Seasonal Wonton Ravioli is duck breast with caramelized onion & fresh cranberry. It's to die for.
Even our overnight guests in the Bed & Breakfast are enjoying the colorful native fruit with which we are so obsessed. We make a multi-grain French toast with a cranberry maple compote. The entire building smells like Christmas bread. Breakfast service ends at 10:30 am and I'm standing by promptly begging for leftovers. It's as beautiful as it is flavorful. The contrast of the bright red berries in the rich, dark maple compote reminds me of bright red Christmas decorations and dark mahogany.
Christmas Eve we will be offering specials featuring our favorite berry along with some cranberry mulled wine. I will again be begging to take home any leftovers...The week of Thanksgiving was no exception for cranberry inspired drinks and dishes (and begging...) either. Barkeep Michelle made this cranberry sangria. It's so wonderful; it's dangerous.

Cranberry Sangria:
a fruit-forward red wine like Beaujolais or Zinfandel is best, we used NYS's Hazlitt Red Cat

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 bottle of red wine (750 ml)
1/2 cup brandy
1 cup OJ
garnish with cranberries & orange slices

1. Bring cranberries, sugar & water to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until cranberries pop. Pour mixture through a mesh strainer into a large pitcher, using the back of a spoon to squeeze out the juice. Discard solids.

2. Stir in wine, brandy and OJ. Chill at least 2 hours (overnight is best). Yield 6 cups

Happy Holidays from Everyone at the Rogues' Harbor Inn in the winter wonderland of the Finger Lakes.