pot pie with carrots and green beens in brown bowl sitting on white plate dinner salad and crystal water goblet

Chicken and White Wine Pub Pie

Our chicken and white wine pub pie is a hearty, savory dish sure to please your family and friends. The addition of white wine adds a nice dimension of flavor to the sauce. Use whatever you like: sweet, dry, sherry, whatever your preference. Our favorites are purchased right here in Michigan from our local vineyards. The parsley and green beans can be substituted with what is available and in season.... view full recipe

Tomato Jam

Our delicious tomato jam recipe is actually a form of the common condiment ketchup. Besides the tomatoes, ketchup includes some kind of sweetener (usually corn syrup) balanced with an acid (usually vinegar), plus some spices (onion powder being the predominant favorite.) Here, we use lime juice as the acid, granulated sugar as the sweetener, and some interesting additional flavorings. We encourage you to experiment with other ingredients, as we do here. Leave a comment if you…... view full recipe

Cherry chocolate scone

Cherry-Chocolate Cream Scones

  Most traditional scone recipes use both butter and milk or cream. For our Cherry-Chocolate Cream Scones, we’ve simplified the process by using only heavy cream, which also shortens the preparation process. The end result yields a crispy, more browned crust with a moist interior. Any dried fruit, such as cherries, apricots, or even raisins, will work. The vanilla and almond flavors are added because they go so well with cherry and chocolate. Note: The…... view full recipe

Stuffed french toast with a side of ham

Cream-Filled French Toast

A Castle in the Country Classic. Our cream-filled French toast is made with our own sourdough bread to add a little sweet/sour balance. Diet: Vegetarian... view full recipe

Cherry and almond focaccia

Amaretto-Cherry Focaccia

Focaccia, normally a savory flatbread steeped in herbed olive oil, becomes a sweet pastry by using light oil, dried fruit, and a topping of sugar. We make it in a smaller pan, which results in taller, softer bread. Stopping the rise (by placing it in the refrigerator overnight) allows for better bread flavor development. Time is always the secret ingredient with bread. This is a variation of Peter Reinhart’s Sweet Raisin Focaccia from The Bread…... view full recipe

Baked Egg Custard with Cheese and Herbs

This quiche-like baked egg custard with cheese and herbs is delicious! Bake in batches; it holds well but long baking time. Variations of cheese/herbs have potential. Tried the smoked gouda, and everyone thought it was outstanding. Might also try cheddar with basil/parsley. Source: Gourmet Dec. 2008, pg 178 Diet: Gluten-free, Vegetarian... view full recipe

Strawberry Coulis

Coulis is basically any sauce made from berries. We usually use strawberries, but raspberry coulis is the ‘red stuff’ that is often poured over cheesecake. Blackberries or blueberries also work well. It is ok to mix the berries into the same batch. This is pretty free-form, with no exact quantities of anything. This is an excellent way of using fruit that is on its way out if you know what I mean. The amount of…... view full recipe

Grilled Bruschetta

Most of us say Broo-shetta, but an Italian corrected me to say Broos-ketta. However you say it, simple and delicious!   This recipe is easy to do on the grill, which adds a smokey flavor that can’t be replicated any other way. As with most simple recipes, the quality of ingredients really makes a difference. Use sturdy bread, not soft and wimpy “wonder-type bread”, which really isn’t bread anyway. Get the best olive oil you…... view full recipe

Baked Pears in Honey-Mint Sauce

To make these baked pears in honey-mint sauce, be sure to adjust the baking time according to how ripe the pears are. This recipe actually works better with hard, less ripe pears. Diet: Gluten-free, Vegetarian... view full recipe

Caramelized Onions

It may seem unnecessary to go through all this for just onions, but the end result is truly worth the time. The vinegar adds an acidic punch, the sugar makes these sweeter than they naturally would become, and the vermouth adds complexity. I use this recipe to prepare a large batch that I then use in other dishes, such as frittatas or savory focaccia. Leftovers can be kept in a Ziploc bag in the freezer…... view full recipe

Grilled Shrimp

This simple and quick recipe is part of our Friday Evening Appetizer gathering almost every week. I like it because it is so easy, but our guests like it because it tastes really good. The excessive amount of oil creates a lot of smoke, which becomes the dominant flavor. In fact, we often call this grill-smoked shrimp. Quantities are estimates and absolutely not exact. I use frozen shrimp that is uncooked but peeled and deveined…... view full recipe

Brownies with Bacon

There seems to be an increasing use of bacon in sweet dessert items like chocolate brownies. The combination of smokey, salty bacon with sweet, rich chocolate is better than it may sound at first. Pretty easy to make, loosely following a recipe I found on a Bacon Today posting by Micheal Kirsch. I used a prepared brownie mix from the box and added our thick-cut bacon. After trying it this way, I think it would…... view full recipe

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

We take our cues from the local seasonality for this excellent dessert. Here in our corner of West Michigan, we are in that special time when the rhubarb is winding down, and the strawberries are just beginning. The combination of rhubarb’s tart, almost astringent, flavor with the natural sweetness of strawberries is magical. Especially when they come off the same local farm during the few weeks when both are available. So the first step of…... view full recipe

Sourdough Bread

We make sourdough bread multiple times per week here at Castle in the Country from a starter that began life on April 15, 2005. We used it here for French toast, croutons, picnic baskets, dinners, breadcrumbs…very little goes to waste. On of the things I like is the simplicity of the ingredients: flour, water, and salt. I like the complexity of the flavors brought on by the biology of the microorganisms used here. Additionally, I…... view full recipe

Cherry Cobbler

When I'm lucky, I can find pie cherries at the Holland Farmers Market. While pie cherries are plentiful and available in many places, consider yourself fortunate when you see these, at least in West Michigan. The season for pie cherries, also called “sour” or “tart” cherries, is short-just a few weeks. Most of the crop goes to processors, so we don’t see them very often in the markets. Pie cherries are usually lighter in color…... view full recipe

seckel pears baked in cardamom-mint sauce

Seckel Pears Baked in Cardamom-Mint Sauce

Seckel Pears are tiny pears that have a sweeter flavor than the standard red or green pear. They are in season September-February. This recipe works with any variety of pear that is available. Be sure to adjust the baking time according to the pear's ripeness. This recipe actually works better with hard, less ripe fruits. Diet: Gluten-free, Vegetarian... view full recipe

Steak and Guinness Pub Pie

This hearty pub pie is made with beef tenderloin, enhanced with Guinness stout, and thickened with sharp white cheddar cheese. The vegetables included are optional and can be varied based on seasonal availability. For example, I use frozen peas instead of beans in the winter/spring months. Just take the amount of cooking time each vegetable will need and add it to the stew at the appropriate time. The topping is pre-pared puff pastry. Based on…... view full recipe

Blueberry-Juniper Cornmeal Pancakes

Wake up to the taste of springtime at the Castle Kingdom! These light and fluffy blueberry-juniper cornmeal pancakes will start your day in the best possible way. We enhance the blueberry flavor with a little crushed juniper berry, which adds some piquant, resinous notes. With just a dollop of butter and covered in Michigan-made maple syrup, you’ll savor every bite.   Diet: Vegetarian... view full recipe

apple-filled croissants

Apple-Filled Croissants

The trick with croissants is keeping the butter from softening while working the dough. In this “quick” recipe, we cut a massive amount of butter into dry flour instead of softening it and spreading it over the rolled-out flour. This allows us to immediately roll and fold instead of chilling the dough first. We substitute the apple with other seasonal fruit items when available. Diet: Vegetarian... view full recipe

Cranberry-orange muffins

Cranberry-Orange Muffins

Fresh cranberries are available in late fall through the winter months. This recipe uses its tart flavor against what would be a typical sweet muffin. The combination of spices adds a holiday touch, the allspice/ginger combination being more traditional. Diet: Vegetarian... view full recipe

Tomato-Leek “Souffléd” Frittata

Tomato-Leek “Souffléd” Frittata

One of our top bed and breakfast recipes! Learn how to make this Castle in the Country favorite in your own home! A frittata is typically made by sautéing vegetables, adding egg and cheese to the pan, and finishing in the broiler. Here, we separate the eggs first and whip the whites into a stiff peak. If done properly, the egg whites foam and add a very light and fluffy dimension to the frittata. This recipe has…... view full recipe

Ramps, or green, wild onions on the kitchen counter ready for cooking

Ramp and Asparagus Quiche

Springtime at The Castle brings fresh ramps growing wild in the woods. Ramps (Allium tricoccum) are a species of wild onion widespread across the eastern United States and Canada. They are wild leeks that are foraged from wooded, shady areas. Ramps are one of the first signs of spring here on The Castle grounds and end up in our kitchen. You can use ramps in any recipe that calls for scallions or spring onions. Here…... view full recipe

pecan and maple oatmeal scones

Pecan and Maple Oatmeal Scones

This is a stellar recipe for pecan and maple oatmeal scones. The key to the scones is to toast the oats and pecans in a warm (350° F) oven for about 15 minutes. This results in a better oatmeal flavor throughout the scones. Otherwise, this is a basic biscuit recipe that everyone can be successful with. Another trick is how we add a little more liquid in the form of maple syrup along with the…... view full recipe

Strawberry-Rhubarb-Filled Crepes

Ahh, the joys of summer: strawberries, rhubarb, blueberries, cherries… Our Southwest Michigan location is prime for summer’s bounty. Herb and his kitchen mates love turning the seasons’ harvests into culinary delights. Here is our much-adored strawberry-rhubarb-filled crepes recipe. Enjoy this sweet and delicious taste of Castle in the Country at home! Enjoy this strawberry-rhubarb-filled crepes recipe! Let us know how they turned out or if you have any questions in the comment section below. Diet: Vegetarian... view full recipe

Royal Eggs and Cheese

  Our royal eggs & cheese are a perfectly rich and savory dish for a chilly winter morning and a favorite of our staff and guests. There’s lots of room to be creative when it comes to adding ingredients to this egg dish. Here at Castle in the Country, we serve our royal eggs & cheese with a creamy hollandaise sauce to add a little more richness. We then sprinkle the top of the eggs…... view full recipe

From left to right: Herb's homemade sourdough bread loafs; Herb's homemade stuffed pumpkin French Toast

Stuffed Pumpkin French Toast with Sourdough Bread

Enjoy a taste of Castle in the Country this season with Herb’s delicious stuffed pumpkin French toast made with his very own scratch-made sourdough bread. Our homemade stuffed pumpkin French toast recipe is perfect for fall, or anytime you’re craving some warm and sweet goodness. Herb and his helper create a wide variety of delicious food each day in the Castle Kitchen, like egg dishes, waffles and pancakes, desserts, and much more! Diet: Vegetarian... view full recipe

Sweet Potato-Crusted Quiche

This delicious and healthy sweet potato-crusted quiche is a breakfast favorite here at Castle in the Country. Make it in your kitchen, and it will easily become a new favorite breakfast or brunch recipe! Thanks to the sweet potato crust, this quiche is gluten-free and lower in carbs and calories than traditional quiches. Originating in France, the classic quiche is basically a French tart made with a pastry crust and filled with some type of savory…... view full recipe

butternut squash tarts

Butternut Squash Tarts & Jalapeño Honey

These appetizer-sized Butternut Squash Tarts & Jalapeño Honey incorporate the late-summer flavors of Jalapeño peppers and fennel with the autumn flavors of butternut squash and sage. The quinoa crust makes them gluten-free. First, make the jalapeño honey. Combine honey and water in a small sauté pan and add the sliced jalapeño into the pan. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, strain out the sliced pepper, and continue to cook until reduced and slightly caramelized.…... view full recipe