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Breakfast with a local touch
Local produce part of homestyle experience

Cindy Arora
Record Staff Writer
Published Wednesday, Jul 5, 2006

Some of the delights whipped up by Owner Renae Matson of the Amorosa Inn and Gardens Bed and Breakfast includes, far left, french toast croissant stuffed with whipped cream, strawberries, grapes and sausage, and left, yogurt “martinis,” yogurt and granola served in a martini glass
Credit: CLIFFORD OTO/The Record

LODI - When your community is a virtual produce stand, the seasons can provide breakfast inspiration.

For Lani Eklund, the proprietor at The Inn at Locke House, a summer breakfast can start with an Italian omelet called a frittata topped with vegetables and served with sausage from a Lockeford butcher.

Nearly all her guests like to know that the peaches in their fruit bowl come from the farmer down the road and the chocolate in their French toast is from the chocolatier in neighboring Clements, she said.

"People appreciate the local touch," said Eklund, who has run the inn for 14 years with her husband. "And the best thing is I don't have to go far to get fresh organic food."

Erin Bernall, a spokeswoman for the California Association of Bed and Breakfast Inns, said there is a growing trend in Northern California of innkeepers using local agriculture as a way to promote their communities and healthy eating.

The Art of Breakfast:

Lani Eklund of The Inn at Locke House gives a few tips on cooking for guests.
1. Prepare ingredients the night before so you're free to interact with your guests.
2. Look to the seasons for menu planning.
3. Think in courses. This draws the meal out longer.

"People love it and it's a departure from our daily lives where we just get everything from the big supermarket," Bernall said. "Part of the bed-and-breakfast experience is to bring people back to a home-style environment. Home-grown foods play a really big role in that."

Just a few miles away amid the vineyards of Lodi's Harney Way, Amorosa Inn owner Renae Matson approaches breakfast as a visual feast for her guests.

Her favorite dish is the Yogurt Martini, which features a martini glass layered with yogurt, granola and fruit and topped with colorful edible flowers. Matson said just such details can turn a routine morning meal into a wine country bed-and-breakfast experience.

Favorite dishes at the Amorosa Inn include lemon crepes with fresh strawberries, egg casserole and a small bundt cake called the Berry Volcano.

Much like Eklund, Matson lets the region with its abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, cheese and wine ultimately decide what's for breakfast.

Owner Renae Matson cooks french toast croissant at the Amorosa Inn and Gardens Bed and Breakfast in Lodi
Credit: CLIFFORD OTO/The Record
"When strawberries are in season, I have strawberry everything," she said. "During the fall, I'm making pumpkin pancakes with fresh applesauce. The whole area is just a wealth of agricultural products and we celebrate it."

For families interested in creating the bed-and-breakfast experience on their own, the innkeepers willingly shared a few tips.

"Serve mimosas," Matson said. "It's a great way to start the day."

Eklund said she likes to set the table the night before and use cloth napkins and fresh flowers. Have soft music playing and brings the courses out slowly. Breakfast starts with beverages, followed by a fruit course and an entree.

There's one drawback to this approach. Even in a family, it falls to the host to clean up afterwards.

"That's just part of the experience," Eklund said.

Contact reporter Cindy Arora at (209) 546-8257 or carora@recordnet.com


Chile Cheese Breakfast Casserole
12 eggs, well beaten
8 ounces diced green chiles
16 ounce carton of cottage cheese
1/4 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine eggs, chiles, cottage cheese and melted butter and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients to the egg mixture and then add cheese. Mix well and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Sour cream and salsa make excellent condiments.
-- Amarosa Inn

Berry Volcano
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 egg
1/4 cup of milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon of salt
Hint of vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Combine all ingredients in blender and mix well. Pour batter into small Bundt cake molds or individual baking containers. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Coat with lemon sauce, add fruit topping and serve warm.

Lemon Sauce
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup boiling water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
In a saucepan, combine the sugar, salt and cornstarch. Slowly stir in the boiling water, blending well. Place over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is clear and thick, about five minutes.
Remove from heat. Add butter, lemon juice and zest. Serve over Bundt cakes while warm.

Fruit topping
For fruit topping, use fresh berries in season. Coat them in warm lemon sauce for about a half hour before serving.
-- Carla Masareje, Amorosa Inn and Gardens

San Joaquin Morning Breakfast Bake
12 extra large eggs
16 ounces creamed corn*
7 ounces chopped green chilies
16 ounces shredded low fat cheddar cheese
1 clove crushed garlic
Dash Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl mix eggs until well-blended. Stir in creamed corn, chopped green chilies, cheddar cheese, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and pepper. Pour ingredients into prepared dish.
Bake 25 - 30 minutes. Cut into serving sizes and serve warm.

Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and dollop of sour cream.
Serve with slices of fresh avocado, fresh salsa or chopped fresh tomatoes and white corn tortilla chips.
Serves 8- 10

* To make fresh creamed corn: Cut or grate fresh corn from the cob to make 2 cups. Simmer until it starts to soften. Add a tablespoon of butter and moisten with milk or half and half.

-- Lani Eklund, The Inn at Locke House


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