Hudson Valley Apples

Hudson Valley Apples

Hudson Valley Apples are recognized the world over as the best.  Honeycrisp.  Granny Smith.  McIntosh.  Red Delicious.  So many varieties!  But besides eating them or baking them into a pie (YUM!) or making apple sauce what else can you do with them?  We’ve found a few suggestions thanks to Delish and allrecipes.

Hudson Valley ApplesLet’s start with Apple Butter.  Slow cooking, gentle stirring and time transform Hudson Valley Apples into something smooth and delicious.  Unlike jellies and preserves, fruit butters require little or no sugar.  Letting the fruits natural sugars provide just the right amount of sweetness.  Here’s a great recipe from Chef John at allrecipes.  At The Croff House we make our own version and use it in our popular Allspice Apple Butter Muffins.

For breakfast why not whip up a batch of apple pancakes?  Fluffy and full of apple goodness.  Want something easier?  Make an Apple Raisin French Toast Casserole the night before.  Let it sit out for a bit before popping it in the oven – great for the Holidays!

Okay, now for some completely unusual uses for Hudson Valley Apples.

Hudson Valley ApplesRamp up your appletini with apple infused vodka:  Simple put 2-3 cored and quartered apples in a mason jar and fill with vodka.  The more apples the deeper the flavor.  Let sit for a few days, giving it a shake a couple of times a day.  Looking for a healthy snack for the kids (grown ups, too)?  Apple chips are a great alternative to cookies and satisfy a sweet tooth.  Fragrant apple potpourri brings the scent of Autumn into your home. So much better than the store bought kind, too.

 

Staycations

Staycations

Staycations.  Whatever happened to them?  First off, what are they?  Staycations are longer getaways, usually 4 or more days, at a destination close to home.  They are the perfect opportunity to get to know places closer to home.  Indeed, many people have seen sights in other countries, but have little knowledge of what’s in their backyard.

The Croff House opened in April 2009, 6 months after the stock market crash of September 2008.  At that time we had many people, who had lost money in the crash, booking staycations.  One memorable couple stayed for 5 days as an alternative to their annual vacation to Paris.  They had lived in New York City their whole lives but hey’d never been to the Hudson Valley.  As a result, they discovered long overdue.

So the question becomes, “What’s there to do that will keep me busy?”

Well, there’s tons of options.  First you can just “chillax” at the Inn.  The Croff House is offers the most common spaces, both indoor and out, of any property in Hudson.  Read a good book.  Binge watch on Netflix or Hulu.  Or just take a nap.

Are you a foodie? Grab a bite at one of our favorite eateries in town.  Take a ride down to the Culinary Institute of America for a delicious (and reasonably priced meal).  Wine afficionado?  Check out nearby Hudson-Chatham Winery or Tousey Winery.  History buff?  Olana, Cedar Grove and Lindenwald are not to be missed.  Hiking enthusiast?  Get you blood pumping at Kaaterskill Falls or Bash Bish Falls.  Don’t feel like doing the driving?  Let Table to Farm tours take you on adventure throughout Columbia and Greene counties.

There’s plenty to do to fill your days!  What about the nights?

With all the entertainment venues in and around Hudson there’s always something to choose from.  Helsinki Hudson, Hudson Hall, Time and Space Limited, PS21, The Fischer Center at Bard and the list goes on.  Everything from classical concerts to cabaret to open-mic nights are on tap.

Book your staycation with us and let us help you discover all there is to do so close to home.

Fall Foliage

fall foliage

Fall Foliage is one of the most popular times to visit the Hudson Valley.  All the colors of the season are on display.  Vibrant yellows, deep reds and rich oranges cover the hillsides and mountains.   Every day brings a new palette.  Temperatures drop and each morning dew covers the ground.  The most frequent question we get is “When’s the best time for Fall Foliage?”  Here’s our standard answer: Who knows?

Now that doesn’t sound helpful.  However, it’s truthful.  No one can predict when Fall Foliage will occur.  The Farmer’s Almanac tries, but let’s just call it their “best guess”.  The changing of the leaves is dependent on two main things: rain and temperature.

Too much rain and the leaves become sodden and turn brown and fall.  Too little rain and the leaves shrivel and drop.  If the evening temperatures drop quickly the leaves change color faster.  Warmer daytime temperatures slow that process.  Wind is also a factor.  As Fall Foliage occurs the leaves lose their grip on the branches and strong winds strip the trees.

Ideally peak Fall Foliage time is around President’s Day in the middle of October.  But this year we are already seeing color change in early September.  Most likely we will have an early Fall Foliage season.  We haven’t had a lot of rain, though.  Night time temperatures are in the mid-50’s and in the 70’s during the day, which is good.  A little warmer would be better.  An “Indian Summer” would be ideal.  Unfortunately the weather will do what it’s going to and we just have to hope for the best.

So if you’re wondering when the peak “leaf peepring” is, our advice is to follow Hudson’s weather.  See any of the trends above, then make your reservation and cross your fingers.  As the saying goes, “Don’t like the weather, just wait a minute.”

Check availability at The Croff House.

Baked Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes

With the bounty of fresh tomatoes from my garden I was looking for recipes to help us use them up.

In a recent Sunday New York Times I found this recipe tucked away in the corner.  The recipe is unusual in that the stuffing is entirely made of cheese.  Most recipes for baking tomatoes have the breadcrumbs in the stuffing.  This one has them on top.  Gluten-free?  Just leave them off or use GF breadcrumbs instead.

Don’t worry about the anchovies!  When cooked with the garlic the fishy taste disappears. Then you’re left with a wonderful savory alternative.

I’ve made these several times. It only takes about 20 minutes and is absolutely delicious. Follow the directions to the letter and make sure you use firm tomatoes!

  • 2 to 3 large firm tomatoes, or 4 to 6 small firm ones
  •  Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons mascarpone
  • 3 tablespoons goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 anchovies, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup panko or other coarse bread crumbs
  •  Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. If necessary, slice a very thin layer off bottoms of tomatoes so they will stand upright. Core tomatoes, and carve them out, stopping about about 3/4 inch from bottom and sides. (Do not remove too much, or tomato will collapse when baked.) Season inside of each tomato with salt. In a small bowl, stir together mascarpone and goat cheese.
  2. To prepare topping, melt butter with oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and anchovies, and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Stir in bread crumbs, and sauté 2 minutes more. Season with pepper.
  3. Fill each hollow with mascarpone mixture. Top generously with bread crumbs. Transfer tomatoes to a baking sheet, and bake until they are slightly blistered and the tops are golden, about 10 minutes.

RECIPE: Overnight Eggs Benedict Casserole

Overnight Eggs Benedict Casserole is one of our newer recipes.  This is one of those recipes that you prepare the night before, so it’s perfect for holidays.  It’s also great for when you don’t want to spend all your time in the kitchen.  We’ve adapted the recipe by substituting the canadian bacon with a “veggie” alternative.  The Hollandaise sauce takes a few minutes “low and slow”, but it definitely worth the effort.  Topped with some fresh chives from our garden the dish a a real show stopper!

Of course you could skip the cooking altogether and book a stay with us!  Click here to check availability.

Overnight Eggs Benedict Casserole

Serves 10

Ingredients

  • Vegetarian eggs benedict casserole6 English muffins
  •  12 ounces vegetarian Canadian bacon, chopped (we use Yves Canadian Bacon)
  •  8 eggs
  •  2 cups 2% milk
  •  1 teaspoon onion powder
  •  1/2 tsp salt
  •  1/4 tsp pepper
  •  1/4 teaspoon paprika

 

For the Sauce

  •  4 egg yolks
  •  1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  •  2 tablespoons lemon juice
  •  1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  •  1/2 cup butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Turn on your broiler.
  2. Cut the English muffins into bite sized pieces. Toast on a baking sheet and broil for 1-2 minutes, or until bread is crisp and lightly browned.
  3. Flip the pieces to ensure even cooking.
  4. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with butter flavor cooking spray and spread half of the Canadian bacon evenly around.  Top with toasted muffin pieces, then the remaining bacon.
  5. Whisk the eggs, milk, onion powder, and salt and pepper in a large bowl and pour evenly over the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 375.  Allow the casserole to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. Top with with paprika and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake at 375° for 35 minutes.
  7. Remove foil and bake  until the top is toasted and a tester inserted into the casserole comes out clean about 10-15 minutes.

For the sauce:

  1. Place a pyrex bowl over simmering water.  Whisk the egg yolks, cream, lemon juice and mustard constantly until it reaches 160° or is thick and coats the back of a spoon. Reduce heat to low. Whisking constantly drizzle in warm melted butter.
  2. Do not leave the sauce unattended as it will “seize” (separate) and you’ll have to start the process all over again!
  3. Slice the casserole down the middle length wise then cut into 10 even pieces.  Drizzle sauces over each piece and sprinkle with additional paprika or fresh chives.

5 Star Bed and Breakfast

Hudson NY Best B&B

Awarded to The Croff House for the 9th consecutive year!

We’re proud to announce that for 9 consecutive years The Croff House has been rated a 5 Star Bed and Breakfast on Trip Advisor.  An accomplishment we are exceptionally proud of!

As stated by Trip Advisor:

“The achievement celebrates businesses that are consistently excellent – having earned great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor over the past year. Certificate of Excellence recipients include restaurants, accommodations and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a quality customer experience.”

We have worked hard to ensure each guest at the inn has a 5 Star Bed and Breakfast experience from the moment of our first meeting until the time comes to say goodbye.  Comfortable furnishings and loads of personal space.  Plus warm hospitality and personalized service are all trademarks of a stay at The Croff House.  Let’s not forget our wonderful breakfasts, too!

While there are many terrific lodging options in Hudson, NY we believe The Croff House stands out from the rest.  Thanks to the over 400 generous guests that have taken the time to share their thoughts and experience at the inn with future travelers.  So it’s these glowing reviews that have maintained the inn’s 5 Star Bed and Breakfast rating since we opened in 2009.  During that time we have adapted to the changing needs of our guests.   Also their comments and feedback, such as installing a Keurig coffee station so guests can enjoy a fresh cup of coffee or tea 24 hours a day.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of staying with us visit our website by clicking here

We look forward to welcoming you and think you’ll agree: the Croff House truly is a 5 Star Bed and Breakfast!

Summer in the Hudson Valley

summer in the hudson valley: lumberyardSummer in the Hudson Valley sizzles!  The LUMBERYARD Summer ’19 series has just been announced.  The season kicks of with the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus on Saturday, July 6.  The season includes everything from dance to live theater to one-of-a-kind performances.  Because Catskill is just a short drive from The Croff House, Lumberyard is the perfect destination.

LUMBERYARD is a non-profit performing arts and film campus located in the heart of Catskill, New York. With a state-of-the-art facility, LUMBERYARD offers a center for performing artists to test and perfect their work, and gives Hudson Valley audiences the opportunity to see performances before they premiere in New York City.

So if you are looking for fun things to do make sure to include summer in the Hudson Valley in your plans.

Book your tickets and make sure to include a stay at The Croff House as part of your getaway.  To check availability and book your stay click here.

Protecting the Environment

Protecting the environment has always been one of our primary commitments since day 1.  The Croff House’s use of environmentally friendly cleaning products is one way.  Using energy derived primarily from renewable sources is another. The inn’s stringent recycling policy is yet another one of the ways we honor this commitment.  Delphina, The Croff House’s outstanding Innkeeper, thought of another way in which we can enhance our efforts.  By replacing pork based products at breakfast with vegetarian options made with certified non-GMO ingredients we are able to help in protecting the environment even further.  This change will take effect beginning in May 2019.

A post on DowntoEarth.org entitled “Top 10 Reasons Why It’s Green to Go Veggie” highlights the environmental benefits achieved.  Many people agree that protecting the environment is a priority for them personally.  However, many don’t realize the effect many animal farming methods have on the planet.  Reducing global warming, saving water, and reducing pollution are three of the ten points the post highlights.  Much of the information is common sense.  Yet we are unaware of almost all of them.In doing some research we found two products.

protecting the environmentThe first, Amy’s Veggie Sausage, is a great alternative to pork sausage.  Described as having “a delightful smoky flavor”.  The sausages are made from organic quinoa and vegetables.  They are also dairy free/lactose free/tree nut free/vegan/kosher!

protecting the enviromentThe second product is Smart Bacon® from Lightlife.  Promised to deliver that hearty bacon taste, Smart Bacon is vegan and free of saturated fat and cholesterol.

Who knew that protecting the environment could even include the breakfast table?  Well, now you know!

 

Where’d the Summer go?

 

It’s Labor Day.  The unofficial end of summer is here and we’re trying to think

what we did this summer.  Besides it being hot (sometimes unbearably so!) the days seemed to fly by due in large part to Delphina, our former Assistant who we promoted to full-time Innkeeper.  Delphina has taken over full time responsibility for the day to day operation of the inn.  She loves the new duties which also include growing fresh tomatoes and herbs in the garden we dedicated for her use at the side of the inn.  With it she’s been able to experiment with new muffin recipes. Parmesan Pesto and Cherry Sage are personal favorites.  Additionally her signature entree, Eggs Benedict Casserole, features a side of pan roasted potatoes with fresh rosemary and thyme.

applesNow, however, we look forward to Autumn.   Cooler days and nights, the changing of the leaves, shorter days and apples, apples, apples!  The Hudson Valley is home to one of the country’s largest harvests of apples of every variety.   It’s no wonder we use them in our fall menu’s.  A guest favorite is Poached Apples served over Vanilla Greek Yogurt and topped with a homemade Butterscotch Crunch topping.  Fresh made Allspice Apple Butter Muffins are made even better since we make the apple butter right at The Croff House.

Autumn is also the time when thoughts turn to the holidays.  As usual The Croff House will be decked out for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  This year the Hudson Business Coalition will be coordinating the Second Annual “Holiday House Tour” on Sunday, December 9.  During the inaugural event last year we welcomed over 150 visitors to the inn and, as the event’s popularity grows we look to see more folks enjoying the beauty of the season.  More details to follow.  Before you know it strains of “Auld Lang Syne” will be sung and glasses raised to 2019.

But for now it’s ok to ask “where’d the summer go?”.  Don’t forget to book your Fall getaway at The Croff House.  Click here for rates and availability.

Get Out, On and Down

What do we mean by Get Out, On and Down?  Read on.

Get out get on get down“Get Out”: Thanks to the Hudson Development Corporation, Hudson now boasts a 5 Self Guided Historic Walking Tours which can be found by downloading the Geotourist app and searching by “Hudson History Tours”.  Once installed visitors can select from one of the following GPS guided tours to, in the words of the designers “help you become a true Hudson insider”.  The tours include: Hudson’s Early Days, Hudson’s Firehouses, Cedar Park Cemetery, Churches of Hudson and Hudson’s Insiders Tour.  Each tour takes between 60-90 minutes and can be started and stopped at any point.  Best of all the app and the tours are free and once downloaded can be accessed at any time.

Get Out Get on Get down“Get On”: Don’t feel like walking?  Well Steiner’s Sports Ski and Bike offers guests of The Croff House special rates for bike rentals so you can get out AND get on a bike.  Bikes can be rented for the day or the weekend; secure space is available for guests to store the bikes at the inn overnight.  Guests can bike the tours instead of walking them.  For those adventurous types looking for a more strenuous ride plenty of outdoor areas offer bike trails including the Columbia Land Conservancy and the Olana State Historic site.

Get Out Get On Get down“Get Down”: Once you get out and get on there’s only one thing left to do: get down.  After all that walking/biking folks just might like to kick back with a local brew.  Hudson Brewing Company is offering guests of The Croff House complimentary tastings of the many amazing local beers and ales HBC produces.  This is a great opportunity to taste unusual and one of a kind beverages produced “from grains and hops that come directly from local farms”.

We’re all still recovering from the Winter that would never end and encourage you to Get Out, Get On and Get Down in Hudson style.