Recipe for a Country Inn: Fine Food from the Inn at Twin Linden


What is it really like to own and run a country inn?

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is a world unto itself. A world of rolling hills, Amish horse-drawn buggies, and Mennonite barn raisings and home of the awardwinning Inn at Twin Linden, owned by Donna and Bob Leahy. Although the inn is known for elegant accommodations and warm hospitality, it is Donna's bountiful breakfasts and elegant dinners that keep visitors returning time after time after time. In this book, she shows you...

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What is it really like to own and run a country inn?

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is a world unto itself. A world of rolling hills, Amish horse-drawn buggies, and Mennonite barn raisings and home of the awardwinning Inn at Twin Linden, owned by Donna and Bob Leahy. Although the inn is known for elegant accommodations and warm hospitality, it is Donna's bountiful breakfasts and elegant dinners that keep visitors returning time after time after time. In this book, she shows you how to re-create the simple, fresh, and uniquely inspired country cooking of the Inn at Twin Linden.

There's no better start to your day in Lancaster County, or your own kitchen, than one of Donna Leahy's breakfast recipes: Baked French Toast with Peaches and Blueberries, Apple and Walnut Pancakes, Smoked Salmon and Eggs with Sorrel, or Crab and Eggs in Chive Crepes.

And then there are Donna's legendary dinners. In summer, start with any of her extraordinary chilled soups such as Sparkling Strawberry Soup, Crab Gazpacho, or Apricot Raspberry Soup. Warm soups for cold winter nights include Spiced Cranberry Pear Soup, Lobster Thyme Bisque, and Apple Cheddar Soup. Donna's salads, usually right from her gardens, transcend a simple mix of greens. Try the Minted Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Vinegar, Marinated Green Beans with Crispy Leeks, or Shrimp Salad with Cilantro and Sweet Corn Salsa.

Donna's philosophy of freshness and do-ahead simplicity makes her recipes ideal for home cooks. Main dishes include Beef Tenderloin with Caramelized Onion Tart, Rack of Lamb with Mint Pesto and Chèvre Crust, and Seafood Pot Pie with Saffron and Dill. Desserts and teatime treats such as Fudge Pecan Tart, Raspberry and White Chocolate Tarts, and Wild Blueberry Scones are easy to prepare and will satisfy your guests' craving for a sweet treat.

Offering much more than a cookbook, Donna also shares the highs and lows, joys and frustrations of living out the dream of running your own inn. Recipe for a Country Inn details the nuts and bolts of innkeeping (as well as sketching the unusual characters who sometimes are your guests). Join Donna as she takes you through the day-to-day life of innkeeping — whipping up egg dishes for breakfast, taking reservations, setting up the sideboard for afternoon tea, planning elegant dinners, and most important of all, greeting her guests and making them feel right at home.

If you love country inn cooking and have perhaps dreamed of buying your own country inn, enjoy the entire delicious experience in Recipe for a Country Inn.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
If you've ever fantasized about running a country inn or a small bed-and-breakfast, this is the book for you. Leahy, chef-owner of The Inn at Twin Linden in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, takes you behind the scenes of innkeeping life, while serving up 125 easy recipes that have become guest favorites over the years.

This successful inn, run by Donna and her husband, Bob, has been featured in Country Living and Victoria. Since the inn opened in the early 1990s, Leahy has become celebrated for her food -- she has appeared on the Food Network and the Today show. With all this acclaim, you'll be especially interested to know that the day the Leahys moved in to their inn, the roof leaked and the septic system backed up; the following week, the kitchen appliances started to die, one by one.

Leahy mixes up real-life successes, setbacks, and practical advice with guests' favorite recipes in this handsome book, illustrated with photos of the Amish and Mennonite country. Her tone is charming, informal, and candid, and so are her recipes.

On the recipe side, unsurprisingly, breakfast buffet and teatime are the main events of the day. Look for star dishes like Gorgonzola Spinach Frittata and Cheddar Soufflé Roll, which can be prepared in advance, as well as non-egg dishes like Baked French Toast with Peaches and Blueberries. At the ever-popular teatime, Leahy turns out trays full of Pecan Short Bread Bars, Pumpkin Raisin Squares, and Strawberry Mascarpone Meringues. Of course the guests return again and again!

On the practical side, Leahy shares her hard-won knowledge through sidebars on such diverse topics as" Setting an Elegant Table," "Cancellation Policies," "The Difficult Guest," and "Publicity." All these qualities should make Recipe for a Country Inn a favorite for armchair cooks, armchair travelers, and would-be innkeepers. (Ginger Curwen)

Publishers Weekly
Leahy serves up an ample taste of a dream fulfilled: to buy, renovate and operate a rural Pennsylvania inn with her husband. At the same time she offers 125 recipes that have converted hostelry visitors into her fans. Sidebars peppered throughout discuss such basics as catering to guests' dietary restrictions, securing publicity for the business and what it's like cooking for a crowd. The heart of the book, however, is its informal table. Time constraints mean that Leahy favors recipes that are not overly complicated and others that can be prepared in advance. Breakfasts (as in her earlier Morning Glories) are a particular strength with 16 egg dishes and 16 additional helpings of breakfast fare featuring fruits or berries, such as Baked French Toast with Peaches and Blueberries. Soups bring on Oyster and Pancetta Chowder and Smoked Tomato Soup, and salads include the savory Quail with Belgian Endive and Blueberry Vinaigrette. While limited in number, entries entice with Sirloin Strip Steak with Stilton Crust and Lobster Fricasee with Corn and Chive Pancakes. Teatime is a daily affair at the inn, where Strawberry Mascarpone Meringues and Pecan Shortbread Bars may be piled on the plate. Husband Robert Leahy's striking photographs of local scenery and Amish and Mennonite neighbors supply an intimate portrait of a weekend in the country. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
After running a bed and breakfast their "practice inn" in Maine for three summers, Leahy and her husband decided to open an elegant inn in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country. This book not only provides recipes from their acclaimed restaurant but also tells the entertaining story of how their fantasy inn became a reality. Leahy is the self-taught chef, and her easy, delicious recipes are interspersed with "Notes from the Inn" (e.g., "The Difficult Guest") and mini-essays on such topics as "Rising with the Chickens" and the other hard facts and delights of running their business. Leahy's highly readable, engaging style reflects the warmth and hospitality that have contributed to the success of the inn, and her husband's striking photographs of the surrounding landscape and their Amish and Mennonite neighbors add to the book's appeal. For most collections. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060184926
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/1/1902
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 10.75 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Donna Leahy is the chef-owner of the Inn at Twin Linden and is the author of Morning Glories and Wisdom of the Plain Folk. She and her husband, Bob, reside at the Inn in Churchtown, Pennsylvania.

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Read an Excerpt

Apple Cinnamon Stuffed French Toast

Stuffed French toast is one of my most requested breakfast dishes, so I'm constantly thinking up new combinations to offer our returning guests. We serve this lightly sweetened filling of apples, sour cream, and cream cheese encased in freshly baked cinnamon bread, but French bread may be substituted if you can't find unsliced cinnamon loaves. Melted apple jelly gives the dish a finishing glaze.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons corn oil
2 apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
1/2 cup apple jelly
Six 2-inch-thick slices cinnamon bread

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with solid vegetable shortening.

2. Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Fold in the chopped apple.

3. Slice a 2-inch-wide opening into the center of the top of each piece of bread, cutting down almost all the way to the bottom. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture into each pocket.

4. Whisk together the eggs and cream in a small mixing bowl. Dip each slice of French toast into the egg mixture, coating each side evenly.

5. Heat the butter and corn oil in a large skillet until the butter is melted and foamy. Sauté the bread pieces until golden onboth sides, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Place the sautéed pieces on the prepared baking sheet, transfer to the oven, and bake for 10 minutes, until the filling is heated through.

6. In the meantime, heat the apple jelly in a small saucepan or in the microwave until melted. Brush the tops of the baked French toast with the glaze, and serve.

Serves 6

Salmon Roulade with Garlic Potatoes

Salmon is rolled around a creamy garlic potato filling here, and baked until lightly browned. Anchovies provide the exciting taste in the buttery lemon sauce.

3 large red-skinned potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup white wine
6 oil-packed anchovy fillets (about 1/2 can)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Six 7-ounce pieces of salmon fillet, each about 1 inch wide, skin removed
2 tablespoons chopped chives

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with foil.

2. Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan, and add lightly salted water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and put them in a mixing bowl. Mash with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the garlic and 1/4 cup of the butter. Pass the potatoes through a food mill or ricer, then whip until smooth and fluffy.

3. Roll each salmon fillet into the shape of a donut, and affix the ends with a toothpick. Place them in the baking dish. Fill the center of each piece with the potatoes. Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the potatoes are golden brown, about 5 minutes longer.

4. In the meantime, combine the wine, anchovies, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring often, until the anchovies are dissolved and only a few tablespoons of liquid remain. Remove from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice and the remaining 1/2 cup butter.

5. Using a spatula, transfer the salmon fillets to warmed plates. Carefully twist out the toothpick, leaving the roll intact. Drizzle the anchovy sauce over the rolls, sprinkle with the chives, and serve.

Note: The potatoes may be made up to 8 hours in advance and refrigerated until ready to use.

Serves 6

Recipe for a Country Inn. Copyright © by Donna Leahy. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Introduction 1
Eggs 15
Breakfast Fare 47
Soups 75
Salads 105
Meat 135
Seafood 157
Teatime Treats 171
Desserts 191
Index 224
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Serves 6

A soufflé roll is an airy savory jelly roll, also known as a roulade. Soufflé rolls are ideal for a brunch buffet, since they can be assembled the night before and then baked just before serving.

2-1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon pepper
5 large eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups grated cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped plum tomatoes (about 3 tomatoes)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 15-1/2 x 10-1/2 x 1-inch jelly roll pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, and then grease the parchment with solid shortening. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Heat the milk in a saucepan until it just comes to a boil.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and pepper and cook over low heat, whisking constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the hot milk, whisking constantly to combine. Cook over medium heat until slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Stir the yolks into the milk mixture and cook for 5 minutes longer. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly, stirring occasionally.
  5. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt until they form stiff peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the cooled milk mixture. Spread the mixture out in the prepared pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until firm and just lightly browned.
  6. Lay a kitchen towel on a work surface and cover it with a piece of parchment paper. Remove the jellyroll pan from the oven and immediately invert it onto the parchment. Roll the towel and soufflé up together, jelly roll style, and allow the baked roll to cool slightly. (Leave the oven on.)
  7. Unroll the egg soufflé and sprinkle the cheese, cilantro, and tomatoes over it. Roll up the soufflé without the towel or parchment, and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the soufflé roll is heated through. Serve warm.
Variations: Add cooked sausage or chopped ham. Try different cheeses, such as Brie or Camembert. Add chopped sautéed vegetables, such as asparagus, mushrooms, or onions.

Chicken and Apple Salad with Creamy Cider Dressing
Serves 6

Several times a year I take a day off to meet my friend Maureen for lunch. No matter how upscale the restaurant we choose may be, we have a running joke that the menu can't be very good if it doesn't feature chicken salad. This tasty version uses autumn harvest apples, and toasted walnuts to add a crisp bite. The chicken breasts are poached in the oven with cider and butter until tender.

3 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1-1/2 pounds)
3 cups apple cider
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 large egg
1/2 cup corn oil
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup sour cream
3 small apples, such as McIntosh
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1 head Boston lettuce, leaves separated

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  2. Place the chicken breasts in a shallow glass pan, and pour 1 cup of the cider and melted butter over them. Sprinkle with the thyme and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Cover with foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until cooked through. Allow to cool completely.
  3. In the meantime, simmer the remaining 2 cups cider in a small saucepan until reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
  4. Process the egg in a food processor until light in color. Gradually drizzle in the corn oil, processing until it is well emulsified. Add the reduced cider, cider vinegar, parsley, sour cream, and remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and process until combined.
  5. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Core the apples and slice them into thin pieces. In a large bowl, toss the chicken, apples, and walnuts with the dressing. Divide the lettuce among six chilled plates, top with the chicken salad, and serve.
Note: The chicken may be baked up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerated until ready to serve. The dressing may be made up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerated until ready to serve.

Makes 16 squares

These are dense little squares that concentrate flavor in every delicious bite. The icing is a creamy finishing touch.

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup raisins
1 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F, and butter an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat 4 tablespoons of the butter with the brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg and pumpkin. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Beat the dry mixture into the butter mixture until just combined. Then stir in the raisins. Spread the mixture in the prepared pan, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow it to cool slightly in the pan, then invert the pan onto a rack and cool completely.
  3. Blend the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, the cream cheese, and confectioners' sugar in a small bowl until smooth (add a little hot water if necessary to bring to a spreading consistency). Spread the icing over the cooled cake and allow it to set up, about 10 minutes. Cut into sixteen squares.
Note: The squares, without icing, may be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Variation: Add 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts.

Copyright © 2002 by Donna Leahy.

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