Monday, August 30, 2010

An Asheville Bed and Breakfast Adventure into the Land of Beef Bourguignon

You are about to be part of an Asheville Bed and Breakfast adventure into the land of Beef Bourguignon. Now, obviously, I can cook. I own and operate At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn in Asheville, N.C. As a direct result of that fact, it is more than likely that I owe someone a nice dinner reciprocal in nature. That would be the case at this moment in my life which is why I have hatched this hairbrain scheme to prepare a feast for a few close friends all of whom have prepared more than a few feasts for me.

So, stay tuned and join me as I march forward into what I hope will be a viable culinary rendition of the famous (on occasion, infamous) Beef Bourguignon, or as Julia would call it Bouef Bourguignon. For reasons not entirely clear to me, this recipe seems daunting.
I have actually done some researching and will likely compile several different versions of this recipe to claim as my very own Asheville N.C. Bed and Breakfast rendition.

Some of the alterations made by other have been:

Varying the amounts of wine added. Some feel the original recipe has too much and some feel it perfection as written.

Some feel red table wine sufficient and some feel the quality of the wine matters very much.

Some add Cognac in the feeling it increases the layers and depth of flavor. Julia does not.

Some recommend Stew Beef and even higher grades of beef not caring for either the lack of tenderness or texture or both found when they used chuck roast or rump roast.

Tomato Paste (Julia and others) or diced tomatoes.

Beef Broth in place of some of the wine or let the meat merge only in its own broth.

Bay leaf or no bay leaf.

I could go on and on. I will let you know how this progresses but in my head I am already thinking scary thoughts. Stay tuned!

Patti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Friday, August 27, 2010

Asheville Bed and Breakfast Talks about Mountain State Fair

Asheville Bed and Breakfast talks about Mountain State Fair and the fun that our guests always have in attending that.
So, bring your inner child, release your pent up self, engage your crazy fun side and ride the rides.
Eat popcorn, dunk you nose in candy corn, people watch and spend your last red cent trying to win a stuffed animal (that you could buy for $5.00 anywhere and that would be highway robbery) for your best girl. If all that fails and you want to know your future, we'll they've got the covered too.
Join the guests at our Asheville Bed and Breakfast at the Mountain State Fair.

Patti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Asheville Bed and Breakfast Inn Awesome Breakfast

Asheville Bed and Breakfast Inn Awesome Breakfast is the expectation of most of our guests. Frankly though, not everyone wants to start the day with a large offering. Some would much rather just amble into the morning enjoying a lighter fare containing their more ravenous intentions until the sun is higher in the sky. Now, lighter does not have to mean less than tasty.

We are perfectly set up for those folks with our:
Just in case you feel inspired, here is the recipe.

Asheville Bed and Breakfast Granola Perfected

8 cups of rolled oats (not instant)
1 1/2 cup of toasted coconut
2/3 cup of sesame seeds
2/3 cup of flax seeds
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup of chopped raw cashews, almonds, pecans or walnuts (your preference)
1 cup craisins
2/3 cup honey
2 T. good quality olive oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl in which you can mix all ingredients effectively place the first seven ingredients. In a small saucepan, combine the honey, olive oil, vanilla and salt. Heat together until smooth and pour over the dry mix. Spread on buttered cookie sheet. Bake 35-45 minutes or until golden brown stirring every 10-15 minutes to ensure uniform browning.

Patti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Asheville Area Bears - Providing A New perspective

Asheville Area Bears- Providing a new perspective. From the killing of some neighborhood goats to a close brush with a overly zealous tourist the Asheville bears are bringing a new perspective to the term wild bear.

Last week, after serving breakfast at our inn we noted that we did not have a Check In that day so decided to take the afternoon off and take a drive to Cherokee. The vision was to take a hike north of the Cherokee Indian Reservation to Mingo Falls one of our favorite places.

We drove through the downtown tourista area first seeking to get some fluids for the hike. Perhaps the places I noticed that day have always been there. I'm sure they have but possibly not seen or noticed by me but what with all the hubbub about our Asheville bears I took special note on that day.
There are bear exhibits there. Baby bears free for the looking, holding petting. Larger bears too held there in storefronts to provide photo-ops for the tourists.

Something about that saddened me deeply. I mentioned going to Cherokee but didn't tell you why I first fell in love with that area. It was the Cherokee Indian Museum there. Basically, this museum takes the viewer on a sojourn of the Cherokee Nation. The great band of the Cherokee, their native culture, their respect for the land and all things abiding on the land. These native souls were known for their benevolent land conservancy measures and their respect and good stewardship of the gifts of nature. It also tells the story of the Indian Removal Act and the Trail of Tears.
It was moving, informative and left one with a complete knowledge that in their dealings with the "white man" the Cherokee had definitely taken the high road always trying to honor their word, respect the land and all who occupied it. Back to the "bear exhibits" and the feelings seeing that engendered in me. Can a business person make money on bears and all activities surrounding tourism and bears? I think the answer is categorically yes. Are bears wild animals not living their destined lives while being held captive to provide these exhibits? I know the answer is yes. Are these exhibits a worthy display of the greatness, wisdom, land conservancy and good stewardship the Great Cherokee Nation is known for. A resounding NO!

Most of the guests At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn over our more than 11 years here I know would agree.

Patti and Gary Wiles, Innkeepers

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Asheville Bed and Breakfast Super Summer Pasta Salad

When the phone rang right after breakfast I knew that my Asheville Bed and Breakfast Super Summer Pasta Salad was going to save the day. Before my husband and I purchased At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn I was employed as a Registered Nurse. I worked with a colleague who has recently moved to Maggie Valley and the phone call was from Susan. We had made tentative plans about a week ago to go for lunch on this day.
I had honestly forgotten about it and with my reminder phone call came a flash of inspiration.
I really didn't want to deal with the hassle of going out for lunch and sometimes it is noisy in restaurants and I really wanted a moment for Susan and I to "catch up" with each other. I decided to have the lunch here at our inn. This salad would make anyone a fine dinner as well. Served with a crusty roll, it is a feast in the making.

So, the next time you just don't want to go out or want to make a regular ho-hum day a bit special for someone, consider making my Super Summer Pasta Salad. or one of the other recipes I have listed. Experiment. Make someones day!
You'll be glad you did and so will your guests.

Supper Summer Pasta Salad

1/2 bag of tri-colored Fusilli Pasta
Large bag of fresh spinach
1 head of broccoli
1 apple peeled & cut up
1/3 cup of toasted sunflower seeds
1 medium red onion quartered and sliced very thin
1 c. diced (home grown if you have them) tomatoes. Fresh, red tomatoes if you don't.
1/2 c. corn (great sliced off cob but niblet fine too)
2 celery stalks washed and cut fine
1/2 cup julienned carrots
2 tsp. Tarragon
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1 c. Paul Newman's Balsamic Vinagrette Lite
Plain Greek Yogurt several tsp.
2 T. honey

Boil your pasta leaving it al dente.
When you pour the water off the cooked pasta have your fresh spinach washed and pour the boiling water over the fresh spinach. It won't thoroughly cook it but will give it a beautiful color.

Put your broccoli in a glass measuring cup with 1 T. of filtered water,cover with a paper towel and microwave about 1.5 minutes just to blanch it so it still has a bite.
Wash and dice tomatoes.
Julienne your carrots.
Ready celery.

Get a quality bottle of good Balsalmic vinagrette dressing. I used Paul Newman's light version of this. Delicious. Pour about 1 cup of this dressing in a blender and add several tsp.of Plain Greek Yogurt. Blend.
Add about 2 T. of honey. Taste till you like it.

Place cooked pasta in a bowl large enough to allow adequate mixing. Add all the veggies, tomato and apple. Pour in the dressing. Stir gently.
Add tarragon. Plate and top with toasted sunflower seeds and freshly grated parmesan. Serve with some fresh, washed grape clusters.

Patti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast
Labels: Recipes/DinnerPatti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dog Days of Summer at Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Our Asheville Bed and Breakfast has wilted guests all experiencing the Dog Days of Summer. Actually, one of them spoke that very line, "Dog Days of Summer." That got my wheels turning and having heard that phrase for a large period of my life we got into a discussion regarding exactly what it actually meant..

Here, At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn, we try and answer all guest inquiries so Liz, this one's for you.

The term "Dog Days of Summer" is used to define the most sultry period of the summer from about July 3-August 11.
In early times this determination was configured by extending from 20 days before to 20 days after what is termed the conjunction of Sirius (the dog star) and the sun.
In the Mediterranean region this period of time was further disheartening as it coincided, likely for anecdotal reasons, with days that had higher incidence of disease and discomfort.

All that having been said, summertime has its good points too. Check out some of our Summer Specials here at our Asheville NC Bed and Breakfast. Take a much needed break. The stars are in alignment for that I'm sure. Hope to see you soon.

Patti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Death of Courtesy Will Affect Us All

The death of courtesy will affect us all. I listened to the news of the last few days as they related the story of the flight attendant deploying the emergency slide on a Jet Blue plane basically giving new meaning to the old song, "Take this job and shove it, I ain't workin here no more."
As reported this flight attendant was making an attempt to assist a passenger as she struggled to get her luggage into the overhead bin.
For reasons that are yet unclear it would seem that somehow she clocked him on the head with either the door of the overhead bin or her luggage (depends on which account you read)in anger. She did not offer apology in fact refused to apologize to the flight attendant. This incident, coupled with God knows how many other episodes of this ilk, over a long career in the service industry evidently pushed him over the edge. It is possible he could get a seven year prison sentence for the tenor of his response so this really could be impactful on this airline workers life.

My husband and I purchased our Asheville Bed and Breakfast some 11 years ago. I can tell you that the vast majority of our guests have been the source of much joy to our hearts. We have made many close friends of guests and have deeply enjoyed and benefited from our guest encounters during that time. I can also tell you that there have been blessedly few that would try and patience of God. Their terse, angry personas are dedicated to the entitlement program which is their agenda all day every day. Despite all that is routinely done At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn to ensure guest comfort, quality of stay and excellence of delivery, the attitude is sour. It makes one wonder why these folks, clearly not receptive or gaining enjoyment from contact with others in other than the most dismissive, angry, rude and generally hateful manners, would seek out such intimate accommodations.

Just yesterday I had an innkeeper friend in another area of town relate a guest story in which her employee called a guest that was to be arriving at her Asheville Bed and Breakfast on that day. Her call was to confirm that all was proceeding well in his journey and also to provide current weather in our area and road conditions that might affect guest travel. It was a call of courtesy. His response to her enquiry about his estimated time of arrival was something very much like, "You'll see me when you see me and not a minute before." Clearly, he was purposefully being rude, abrasive, demeaning and unkind. It was not accidental but purposeful. Why? What would give any of us, regardless of our station, economic status or any other status, a reason valid enough to respond to another person in that manner totally unprovoked.
We need to address that issue in our daily lives. We need to deal with frustration, anger, depression and just the toll of daily living in more civilized terms. We need to see those around us as "fellow travelers" and be in awareness that each of us, all of us, are dealing with many different things on each day we live. Sometimes we are dealing with them well and sometimes not. We need to realize that we are not machines and that even in this high tech, everything right now this very minute world, that we still owe each other basic courtesy. We do not own one another. Though we are paying for whatever service is being rendered to us this does not issue us a license to abuse each other. It is simply wrong to exploit the fact that any of us need a job to earn a living and have to work as a vehicle to deploy behaviors that should embarrass us. We need to learn to be embarrassed again because this behavior is going to give a new and likely very unfortunate twist to our society at large. It isn't going to be pretty.

Patti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Monday, August 9, 2010

Asheville Historic Buildings-Part VII

Bingham Military Academy, the Paragon Building, the city auditorium, C. V. Reynolds House and the Drhumor Building all share a common thread. These structures were all designed or built by James Manassas Westall, a scion of Buncombe county, who rose to the forefront of the building boom that defined Asheville in the late 1880's. He is one of several architect-builders that are responsible for the remarkable late 19th century and early 20th century architecture that is the hallmark of Asheville either as consultant, designer or actual builder.

He also designed several of the cottages in Biltmore Village as well.

Currently, the Drhumor Building is being used as law offices. It a distinctively Romanesque Greek Revival and stands as a shining example of downtown Asheville's facinating history and architectural preservation.

The guests at our Asheville Bed and Breakfast, At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn, believe that one of the reasons for this buildings popularity as a stop on Asheville's Urban Trail is to the credit of Biltmore Estate's grand stone carver, Frederic Miles, and his frieze in limestone that define this structure.

If architecture is your interest, Asheville delivers! Hope to see you downtown!

Patti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Asheville Historic Buildings- Part VI

The sixth building in our Asheville Historic Buildings segment is Asheville City Building. Ashevillians refer to this structure as the cake. As we discussed in Asheville's Historic Buildings-Part V, the city building is the cake to the Cake box this term reflective of the manner in which the county building structure is referenced by locals.

The city building is stunningly colorful, massive and throughly Art Deco.
Douglas Ellington, arriving in Asheville in the mid 1920's, is responsible for the design of the structure and completed it in 1928 despite the fact that municipal and county fathers could not agree on a common architect or even a mutually agreed upon design.
Ellington was responsible for other impressive architectural work in Asheville designing Firt Baptist Church, S+W Cafeteria as well as Asheville High. Ellington wanted the structure to compliment the backdrop of the mountains that surround Asheville and which all visitors note upon their arrival to our city. Guests to our Asheville Bed and Breafast, At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn, take note of the very distinctive octagonal roof with elongated terra cotta red tiles and most are very surprised it is a government building comparing it to governmental structures where they live.
Between the two levels of the roof are angular, pink Georgia marble piers between which are vertical rows of green heralding gold feather accents.
Inside, centrally will find public elevators and a large staircase with offices found in the perimeter of the structure. The second floor will find the City Manager's Office and City Council Chambers, also reflective of Neo-Georgian fashion. Murals by N.Y.'s Clifford Addams provide the back story of the American Indians and early white settlers of the area.

While I would concur with our guests that neither our Asheville City Hall nor our County Courthouse are typical of the severe, lack luster edifices most often housing city/county offices they are truly a work of art for Ashevillians to appreciate and be proud of.

Patti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Monday, August 2, 2010

Asheville Bed and Breakfast Finest Fajita Recipe Ever!

Gary and I are big on celebrations. They are usually happy memory makers and these special events become the markers of our lives. It's one of the reasons we bought our Asheville Bed and Breakfast, At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn knowing we could turn every day into a celebration for our guests. In celebration of the people we love, we always provide a birthday dinner in honor of the "birthday person." It is always the "birthday person" that gets to pick the menu.
This year my sister, Jane, who always opts for a fine broiled steak, broke tradition and wanted Fajita's.
We searched high and low seeking not only the elements we historically brought to this dish but also looking for some new ideas. We came up with the following recipe for Jane's Birthday Fajita's Extraordinaire. We hope you enjoy it. Happy Grilling!

The All Important Marinade:

1 orange juiced
2 limes juiced
3 T. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 jalepeno pepper seeded and finely minced. You could add more and I would have but Jane has a delicate palate.
1 T. fresh, washed and air dried cilantro
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
2 1/4 lbs. of skirt or flank steak (Choice does matter here. Skirt;first choice Flank; second choice)
1 green, red and yellow bell pepper thinly sliced
1 red or vidalia onion thinly sliced

In a small bowl combine the first eight ingredients. In a shallow container place your steak with enough room for the marinade.
Cover and place in refrigerator for minimally one day with two being so much better. THE MARINADE MUST BE DISCARDED. DO NOT RE-USE.

After draining the marinade from the meat place the steak on the grill or very hot cast iron skillet with a touch of pam to prevent sticking. Cook 4 minutes each side. Transfer steak to cutting board and let stand.
Place veggies on the grill either in grill basket or use your steak cast iron skillet with steak juices intact. Saute the mixture for three minutes until you have a good personal veggie texture. I like a little life left in them but if you are into the softer version cook until they are to your liking.

Thinly slice the steak on the diagonal against the grain.

Assemble Fajita's with whatever you customarily like on your tortilla.
My sister spread a bit of guac, followed by meat, veggies, sour cream, salsa and cheese.
I disdain guac but signed on for more salsa of the hot variety to make up for the one lonely jalepeno pepper she let me instill in the marinade.

Whether this is for Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary, Merry Christmas or
a myriad of other celebrations it will be a hit for sure and your guests will feel as though they have taken a lovely sojourn South of the Border.

Patti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast