Tuesday, May 31

Lightened-up Eggs Benny

As you may have read in some previous posts, I've been participating in the Real Women of Philadelphia cooking competition, creating and filming recipes using cream cheese in all types of dishes. Well, when Main Course week rolled around, I couldn't resist including a breakfast dish. It is, after all, the most important meal of the day -- especially around here!

I love eggs benedict but it's so rich I don't indulge very often. Plus, when I'm making it for guests, I don't like to hold the hollandaise sauce for a long time when breakfast is stretched out over multiple seatings. So to lighten up the dish and also make it more user-friendly, I decided to put Philadelphia cream cheese (the light version) to work. The results, if I do say so myself, were delicious.

Eggs Benny with Philly-daise Sauce

This popular brunch dish gets a lightened-up makeover and a user-friendly twist with Philadelphia Light cream cheese and some fresh ingredients.

For the sauce:
1/2 cup Philadelphia cream cheese (the light version), plus more to spread
1/4 cup orange juice, or more as needed
 juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
a pinch or two of cayenne peppe

For the bennies:
2 whole wheat english muffins, split
1 large ripe tomato
1 cup baby spinach
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
4 eggs
1 tbsp chopped chives or other fresh herbs

Make the sauce: 
Set a medium bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Add cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Whisk in orange juice, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp vinegar, cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt. Whisk until smooth and very warm. Cover and set aside.

Prep the bennies:
Fill a large pot with 3 inches of water. Add a splash of vinegar (optional). Bring to a simmer. Toast english muffins. Spread with light cream cheese. Keep warm in a low oven until ready to assemble. Slice tomato. Drizzle baby spinach with olive oil, 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar and a small pinch of salt. Toss to coat.

Poach the eggs: 
When water comes to a simmer, crack an egg into a small saucer and gently slip the egg into the water. Repeat with remaining eggs. Simmer until whites are cooked and yolks are soft, about three minutes (or to your taste).

Assemble the bennies: 
Top each english muffin half with a slice of tomato and 1/4 of the baby spinach.

When eggs are cooked, lift one out with a slotted spoon and blot off the excess water with a clean dish towel. Place on one prepared benny. Repeat with remaining eggs.

Reheat Philly-daise sauce, whisking smooth. Spoon the sauce over each poached egg. Sprinkle with herbs. Serve immediately.

Saturday, May 28

Grady's Paddle 2011

Save the date and start collecting pledges for the 2nd Annual Grady's Paddle for SickKids

Paddlers are invited to spend a wonderful day on the water, followed by great food and prizes — including the grand prize, a brand new kayak! — all in support of SickKids Hospital.

Raise pledges, then canoe or kayak from the town of Burk's Falls, down the flat water of the Magnetawan River and across Lake Cecebe, to the village of Magnetawan. It's a moderate 32 km route that passes through some beautiful scenery and stretches of wilderness in the midst of cottage country.

The event is fully supported on the water and along the shore. There will be food, entertainment and great prizes at the end of the route. Many local businesses and outdoor industry members have been very generous with prizes and support. The grand prize, a Swift Kiwassa 12.6 Kayak, will be awarded to the participant who collects the most pledges over $1,000.

Last year we raised over $44,500 for the Critical Care Unit at SickKids Hospital, in memory of Grady King and in recognition of the great care given to the young patients there.

How can you get involved?
  • Paddle! Register, collect pledges, and have a great day.
  • Sponsor a paddler! Jim will be paddling the full route and happily welcomes a pledge from you. Donations over $20 will receive a tax receipt from SickKids Foundation. See donation details below.
  • Spread the word! Tell your friends, share this article, come on out and cheer on the paddlers.
Let us sponsor you!
Registered paddlers who stay at Fern Glen Inn for the weekend will receive a $20 pledge from us (one pledge per room). Maybe you will be the top pledge-earner and win the grand prize kayak!

Donation Details
Grady's Gift Fund is sanctioned by SickKids Foundation. Make cheques payable to SickKids Foundation - Re: Grady's Gift. The foundation will issue tax receipts for donations over $20. To sponsor Jim's paddle, mail cheque to:
Fern Glen Inn
1462 Fern Glen Rd., RR1
Emsdale, ON  P0A 1J0

Paddle Date: July 9
Register by: June 25 (to facilitate planning)

For Registration Forms, Pledge Sheets, FAQs and Grady's story, visit Grady's Gift.

Monday, May 9

Soundtrack of Spring

Fern Glen Inn • www.ferngleninn.blogspot.com
Two very good listeners enjoying the sounds of spring.
Every season offers its own unique symphony comprised of the natural instruments and voices of the world around us. From trees creaking in the depth of a cold winter, to dry leaves rustling in an autumn wind, to the crack of thunder during a spectacular summer storm. 

Rain falling, birds singing, snow crunching underfoot. It's all a delight to the auditory senses but if I had to choose, my favourite would have to be the soundtrack of spring.

In the spring, migratory birds add their chirps, songs and honks to the soundscape. Hummingbirds return with their doppler-effect buzzy fly-bys. Chatter from chipmunks and squirrels increase, and the conversational clucking of our hens can be heard across the lawn as they enjoy their outdoor pen after being cooped up for the winter.

There are two other sounds that really sing spring to me: the drumming of the grouse and the singing of the frogs.

The Spruce Grouse is a local bird living year-round in the forests of the region. In the spring mating season the males put on a show, including an exaggerated flapping of the wings which starts off like a slow drum beat increasing to a drum roll. It's a faint sound off in the woods, but to me it sounds primal and intriguing.

The frog song is an unmistakeable beacon of the spring. We love to take a little stroll over to the beaver pond in the evening as dusk settles. That's when the frogs really get singing. As we near the pond, the sound is so loud it completely fills my head. The singers behind these songs are called Spring Peepers, little brown frogs not much bigger than a thumbnail, and it astounds me the volume they can achieve. Back on our deck, we can still hear them but only as background music to our stargazing.

I wish I could include a sound clip, but it wouldn't do justice to the season. This is one soundtrack that must be heard in person to be felt in the heart. In fact, I'm going to head outside to listen to it now...