Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Weekend in the Catskills

J* and I retreated from metropolitan chaos for a relaxing weekend in the Catskills mountains, about 2+ hours north of NYC. We stayed at the oh-so-quiet Margaretville Mountain Inn, a small bed and breakfast with spectacular views nestled above a quaint town. The Inn is traditionally furnished, even bordering on Victorian, with plenty of homey touches and quilted comfort. The proprietors, Peter and Carole, are friendly and helpful, and we quickly fell in love with their giant (and I mean horse-sized) dog named Bear.

The breakfast at Margaretville Mountain Inn is reason to rejoice, beginning with the beautiful china lovingly laid out for every guest (on Saturday morning only J* and I, and a very nice family from Baltimore). At around 8am, we were roused by the smell of warm, blueberry coffee cake. Peter took personalized orders from the guests in the dining room as we enjoyed fruit, fresh baked coffee cake, tea, orange juice, and coffee. The poached eggs from local, free-range chickens were very flavorful (two cheers for sustainable agriculture), perfectly cooked and J* raved about them all weekend. The French toast on the second morning was just the way I love it: thick, still crisp on the edges, and kissed with cinnamon. The recipe is a closely guarded secret.

I must say that my favorite breakfast feature was the cranberry scones on the second morning. Scones often can be too dry and crumbly, but these were simply perfect dunked in tea or coffee. While again, I did not have access to the recipe, I'm going to make my own with this recipe. I might experiment with adding oats for texture.

Cranberry Scones

Nothing like freshly baked scones in the morning!


3 C. all purpose flour
2 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 Tbs. sugar
2 sticks ice-cold butter, cut into small chunks
2 C. buttermilk (approximately)
1 C. chopped fresh or frozen cranberries, sweetened to taste, and drained thoroughly


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar and mix thoroughly. Cut butter into dry mixture with a pastry blender, until mixture resembles course meal. Chill for 10 minutes. Add cranberries and mix well until cranberries are coated with flour mixture. Add buttermilk, a little at a time, mixing until al ingredients are moistened and flour mixture forma a dough consistency. Gather into a ball and knead about 15 times on a flour-covered board or table. Roll out dough to a 1-inch thickness. Cut out scones with a floured, heart-shaped 2 inch biscuit cutter. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, close together, but not touching. Brush tops with buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar, Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot with orange marmalade and Devonshire cream.

Yield: 12 servings

Restaurant Reviews of the Catskills Eateries to Come!