Posts Tagged ‘Bed and Breakfast in Arkansas’

The Empress Recevies Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence!

June 17th, 2012 by Lisa

We want to thank all of our guests for making our “2012 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence” award possible!  We continually strive for excellence and are so glad that our guests go away saying “we knew it would be good, but it was so much better than we expected”.  The Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence awards hospitality excellence.  This exclusive accolade is given only to establishments that consistently receive outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide.  Approximately 10% of all accommodations listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.

We hope guests both returning and first-time come to enjoy the amenities that make The Empress deserving of the title “Excellent”.

Moist and Delicious Chocolate Beet Cake

January 18th, 2012 by Lisa

This delicious dessert was served at our New Year’s Eve Dinner Dance with vanilla bean whipped cream and fresh strawberries.  The chocolate glaze and beet chips make for a unique and tasty chocolate cake!

Chocolate Beet Cake

 4 medium beets, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 2-inch chunks

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

11/2 teaspoons baking soda

Salt

2 large eggs

3/4 cup warm water

1/4 cup safflower oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Vegetable oil cooking spray

 

Chocolate Glaze

(recipe follows)

Garnish:  Candied Beet Chips

(recipe follows)

 

1.        Cover beets with 2 inches water in a pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until very tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp paring knife, about 30 minutes. Drain. Puree beets in a food processor until smooth.

2.        Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, sugar cocoa powder, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a large  bowl. Whisk in eggs, water, oil, vanilla, and 1/14 cups beet puree (reserve remaining puree for another use).

3.        Coat a 9-inch round cake pan (3 inches deep) with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment, and coat with spray. Pour batter into pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Turn out cake from pan, and discard parchment. Let cool completely, right side up.

4.        Trim top of cake using a serrated knife to create a level surface. Transfer cake, cut side down to a serving platter. Pour chocolate glaze over top, and let set, about 30 minutes. Garnish with beet chips.

Make ahead unglazed cake can be store at room temperature (wrapped in plastic) for up to two  days. Storage glazed cake can be stored at room temperature for up to one day.

 

Chocolate Glaze

Active time:  5 minutes

Total time:  15 minutes

Makes 1 cup

1/2 cup heavy cream

3/4 teaspoon light corn syrup

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Bring heavy cream and corn syrup to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan. Pour over chocolate in a bowl, and let stand for 1 minute. Stir until chocolate melts and mixture is shiny and smooth. Let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Use immediately.

 

Candied Beet Chips

Active time:  10 minutes

Total time:  1 hour 40 minutes

Makes 1/2 cup

4 baby beets, preferably Chioggia

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup sugar

1.        Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Slice beets very thinly into rounds, preferably on a mandolin. Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves.  Add beets. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly translucent, about 30 minutes.

2.        Using a slotted spoon, transfer beets in a single layer to a rimmed baking sheet lined with a nonsticking baking mat. Bake until dry and slightly firm, about 1 hour.

Storage chips can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days.

 

Guests Loved our Fall off of the Bone Tender Braised Lamb!

January 17th, 2012 by Lisa

Braised Lamb Chops with Red Wine and Figs

 Active time:  20 minutes

Total time:  1 hour and 50 minutes

Serves 4

Start braising anywhere from two days to two hours before serving; as the meat stands in the rich cause, the flavors have more time to develop.

 

4 lamb should chops (about 1 inch thick)

1 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted and coarsely ground

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

3/4 cup full-bodied dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon

1/4 cup red-wine vinegar

2 cups chicken stock

7 ounces Calimyrna figs

2 dried bay leaves

 

1.        Preheat oven to 305 degrees. Season lamb with fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in large high-sided ovenproof skillet over high heat. Sear chops until well browned, about 5 minutes per side.

2.        Add wine and vinegar. Boil until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Add stock, figs and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.

3.        Braise lamb in oven, covered, for 45  minutes. Uncover. Braise, basing often, until lamb is tender and just falling off the bone, about 45 minutes more. (If liquid is not sauce like, simmer over medium-heat until thickened.) Serve lamb with cause.

 

Make ahead braised lamb chops can be refrigerated for up to two days. Reheat briefly, covered, in a low-temperature oven.

Working the Puzzle

February 16th, 2011 by Sharon Welch-Blair

Kidnapped by the Puzzle-a great winter pass time by the fire

 

Kidnapped by the Puzzle-a great winter pass time by the fire

“Kidnapped” by the Puzzle

Winter brings some special delights along with it’s bluster and cold.  The opportunity to relax from the labors of lawn and garden and inducement to just STOP.  These guests at The Empress literally got “kidnapped” in front of the fire working the puzzle.  Sometimes a couple days away from the TV and the telephone are just what the Doctor ordered.  Books also tend to catch our guests from time to time when they visit.

 

Last week, though, caught us scrambling to make sure we had milk and bread before the big winter storm of 2011.  I thought you’d like to see some of the beautiful pictures of The Empress in a very unusual snowy landscape, a rarity for us here in the South.  It’s also a great time to write.  So I thought I’d introduce something new to our blog, the ongoing Saga of “Upstairs, Downstairs at The Empress“.  The concept is of a parallel life, one that resides in 1888, and one that resides in the here and now.  In the meantime, enjoy the great winter pictures, and stay tuned for excerpts from the “parallel” lives of those who “live” upstairs, and those who live downstairs, at The Empress!


 

New website for The Empress of Little Rock AR

December 7th, 2010 by Sharon Welch-Blair

Great news! The Empress now has a new elegant website design, by InsideOut Solutions. Larger photos of our beautiful rooms and gardens and grounds give you a enticing preview of the rich Victorian atmosphere. More features include Google attractions map, online gift certificates, and more!