The Stonehurst Place Gourmet Breakfasts
Making a gourmet breakfast for a house full of guests as well as keeping the sideboard laden with sweets can be a daunting task, especially when you do it seven days a week straight from the pantry. Many times I’m asked “Where do you shop? How do you do it?”
Perhaps if I wasn’t such a persnickety chef, shopping might be a bit easier. But ingredients are the key, and my favorites come from a variety of sources. For fresh ingredients my first choice is local organics, although I’m not willing to pay inflated chain-store organic prices so I shop farmer’s markets or even buy from farmers themselves. I have favorite staple items, too, which means I shop a variety of grocery stores to pick up ones I consider the best. A bit of time spent on the highway procuring foodstuffs is worth it on the breakfast table!
Some of the best ingredients come straight to our door. Stonehurst Place’s high-quality bacon and filler-free sausage patties come from Edwards of Surrey, Virginia. Your pancakes or waffles will be served with maple syrup from family-run Stewart Maple in Cuttingsville, Vermont. Our grits, oatmeal, cornmeal, and Pioneer’s Porridge are milled at Nora Mill Granary in Helen, Georgia. They grind fresh grains in a 100+ year-old mill, without preservatives or additives. Our honey comes straight from the back yard, where the Stonehurst honeybees work diligently every day.
So, at Stonehurst Place, a slice of warm cornbread with honey is a mouthful of heaven!
One key to smooth operations in the kitchen is being prepared. I buy in bulk, when I can, and keep my pantry, fridge, and freezer stocked. I keep a notebook on the counter with running lists for each store. Crazy? I don’t think so. It’s rare that I run out of any ingredient I use on a regular basis, because there’s no time for an emergency grocery run.
Here’s a list of what I keep on hand at all times:
- Eggs, lots of eggs! I can use two dozen just at one breakfast.
- Milk: Whole, Low-fat, Lactose-free, and Buttermilk
- Butter, unsalted and salted
- Cheese, always Cheddar, plus a few varieties
- Juices: orange, apple, cranberry, grapefruit, and tomato
- Breakfast meats: bacon, sausage, chicken sausage, and Canadian bacon
- Sour Cream
- Flour; I use White Lily because I like the lightness of it
- Sugars: white, brown, powdered
- Grains: cornmeal, grits, oatmeal, and Pioneer’s Porridge
- Condensed milk, powdered milk, and boxed milk for an emergency
- Pecans and walnuts
- Chocolate chips, of course, and melting chocolate
- Raisins and Craisins
- Jams and jellies
- Oils: canola and olive
- Extracts: vanilla, almond, and lemon
- Cinnamon and a few other basic spices
- Baking Soda
- Baking Powder, aluminum-free
- Maple syrup
- Green Chilies, for the Stonehurst Place signature Green Chili Egg Puff
Sure, there are other item in the pantry, but these are the essentials. Although we prefer guests let us know about food restrictions in advance many times they don’t, so I always have on hand gluten-free staples, and other items that will get me through a last-minute menu change.
How does your pantry match up? You may not have twenty-five pounds of flour, but you should have some. Are your spices and baking powders fresh; within six months of purchase? Just some basic ingredients and a little creativity and you can whip up a gourmet breakfast at your house, too!
~ Innkeeper Lori