Sunday, February 23, 2014

What's in a Sign Anyway?

We recently had a new sign installed close to the main road that leads to the inn.  We discussed and debated what should it say, how should it look etc.  One wonders how much someone can absorb as they are driving by a sign at 30-50 mph.  The old sign said Colby Hill Inn-Lodging-Good Food.  Seemed straight forward enough....but was it enough?  

New sign hand-made here in Henniker, New Hampshire
We all agreed (the sign maker and Mason and I) that it needed to replaced.  Both signs (the one by the road and the one at the entry) were there when we bought the inn 13 years ago and had started to show their age.  But....we still struggled over the verbiage.

The sticking point was really the phrase "good food".  Some suggested it should say " Fine Dining", others recommended an assortment of phrases.  Some were too long and too 'fussy'.  We wondered how people perceived the phrase "good food" and so we asked if it was appropriate to our restaurant.  It's hard to believe but the Colby Hill Inn has been operating as an inn and a restaurant since 1959.  A lot of different styles of dining had emerged over the years.  Our dining guests had interesting reactions; they said we exceeded their expectations and that they were surprised that the sign only said "good food"!
We've worked with our share of chefs over the years and we are very pleased that Chef Devin Clark joined us last May.  Devin mirrors our thoughts about locally sourced food and utilizing New Hampshire produce and meats when possible.  He's done a great job of building relationships with these farmers and then bringing those products to life in the kitchen.  He also is regularly at the farmer's/community markets in the area talking about our restaurant, interacting with the growers and arranging for fresh product to serve our guests. 

 We think the phrase "fine dining" is probably a bit dormant these days and that in reality.....the phrase GOOD FOOD  is what we want to be focused on.  We want to provide the freshest, and locally produced food that is prepared with a contemporary flair. We hope you agree and that you continue to enjoy the food we are offering and that you too, will find the sign a bit tongue in cheek but one that exemplifies our philosophy here at the Colby Hill Inn of providing very good food!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

"Bananas" for Banana Bread at the Colby Hill Inn!

We all watch those bananas sitting on the counter, in one of those cute little banana hooks or
baskets and promise ourselves we will make banana bread soon---very soon!  Of course, we also know that it's finally the day, you either make the banana bread or toss those brown/black bananas away.  I hate throwing food away and there is nothing like a slice of banana bread no matter the time of year. 
Time to Make Banana Bread!

 So today was the day to dig out a favorite banana bread recipe and do what I always do...tweak it!  I wanted something easy and no mess with only one bowl to wash.  


Here's the old family favorite with my additions.

Banana Bread
Makes One Loaf
Cook Time: 1 hour - 350 degrees- Prep time: 5 minutes

  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon dark rum (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose  flour
Preheat the oven to 350.  Mix the butter into the mashed bananas  in a large bowl.  Add in the sugar, egg, vanilla and rum (rum is optional) and mix well.  Add in the baking soda and salt and combine into the mixture.  Then add the flour and mix together.  Add in the chopped nuts once the flour is incorporated.  Pour the mixture into a greased/buttered or lined with parchment paper loaf pan.  Bake for one hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on a rack before cutting into slices.