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June 13, 2021

It’s Grilling Season

Grilling dinner is one of life’s greatest pleasures—surpassed only by eating the grilled dinner! Marinating a chuck roast and basting it with maple barbecue sauce will turn the inexpensive meat into a tender, flavorful dish.

A nice big Zinfandel will stand up to the smoky flavors of this barbecue delight. Another option might be a peppery Australian Shiraz. And if you are grilling on a hot summer day, try a fruity, refreshing red wine sangria!

See recipe below.

 

 

 

Marinated Chuck Roast
1 onion, chopped
2 T. vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c. soy sauce
¼ c. red wine vinegar
2 T. fresh rosemary, chopped
2 T. honey
1 ¼ c. beef broth
1 blade chuck roast, about 3 lb.
Maple barbecue sauce

Stir together onion, oil, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, rosemary, honey and broth. Place the roast in a glass dish and pour the marinade over. Turn. Cover and refrigerate 36 hours, turning once. Bring to room temperature in marinade about 2 hours before cooking.

Preheat grill. Remove roast from marinade and grill 4 to 6 inches over hot coals. Baste with barbecue sauce and turn as needed. Cook about 30 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 130 for medium rare or 145 for medium. Remove from grill and let rest before serving. Slice thinly and serve with additional barbecue sauce. Serves 4 to 6.

Maple Barbecue Sauce
2 T. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
½ c. white distilled vinegar
¼ c. sugar
3 c. ketchup
¼ c. dark brown sugar
1 c. maple syrup
1 c. water
½ c. red wine vinegar
10 garlic cloves, minced
4 t. Worcestershire sauce
4 t. A-1 sauce
1 t. black pepper
½ t. paprika
¼ t. cayenne pepper
¼ t. salt

Heat oil and sauté onion until soft. Add white vinegar and sugar, bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir in ketchup, brown sugar, maple syrup, water, red wine vinegar and seasonings. Simmer for about an hour. It will thicken slightly. Cool to room temperature and use immediately or store in the refrigerator.

March 23, 2021

Try Honey Jerk Chicken Wings for Your Game Watch Party

As the weather warms we are hopeful that our honey bees made it through the cold, wet winter. We love our honey and are always looking for new recipes featuring this special ingredient. This recipe is sweet and hot, and would make a great snack to enjoy while watching the NCAA basketball tournament. As for wine, I especially enjoy Gewürztraminer with spicy food. You might also try an off-dry Riesling. Stay away from anything oaked or very dry. A crisp lager would be another good choice.

Honey Jerk Chicken Wings

20 chicken wings

Marinade
1 tablespoon of finely minced ginger
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 green onion tops, chopped
¼ to ½ hot pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil

Put all ingredients for the marinade in a blender and process to a smooth paste. Put chicken in a non-metallic bowl and mix with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with parchment. Cook wings for 45 minutes. Serve with a wedge of lime.

Love Letters

We sometimes gets such lovely letters from guests that we can’t wait to share them! We received two such letters this month.

John and Susan wrote:

“Dear Lee,
Susan and I want to take a minute to say a special thank you to the entire Buckhorn team for making our visit February 27-March 2 especially memorable.

We totally appreciate the effort expended by you, and everyone around you, to meet our every need. Our son and his wife had a much-needed relaxing time as they await their first child in June. As older parents-to-be they are being especially cautious with the virus, and anything else that might create risk for this pregnancy.

Both commented that it was so nice to just be able to be, without worrying about their safety, or what other people might be doing that might endanger them. They knew that you guys had their backs. They could sense the caring from everyone! Someone even took the time to write Happy Birthday on our dinner containers Sunday night! Laura said these were the first days in nearly a year that she hasn’t worried about something! Lest the kitchen team be concerned—they loved the food, as did we.

You know we will be back, rest assured that David and Laura look forward to joining us again at some future date.

Our granddaughters are already planning our July visit. They had us check on the swans, told us to bring home coffee mugs for their hot chocolate, and are making plans for games, movies, playing soccer below the Webb Mountain parking lot, hiking in the Smokies, and feeding lettuce to the swans. They might even leave artwork in the Webb Mountain Loft for someone else to discover while exploring.

Special thanks to Libby, Tracey, Debbie, Hugo, the birthday greeting messenger, and all the rest. I know I’ve overlooked someone, but we hope that everyone knows that we appreciate them. The Buckhorn Inn is special because of its people.”

And from Pam and Mike:
“Dear Lee,
I just wanted to write you a note to tell you how much Mike and I have enjoyed our stay at Buckhorn this week. It has always been a special place to us and this year is no exception. A highlight this year was the absolutely delicious crab cake and shrimp dinner the chef prepared last night! And that chef was you! Our group decided that it was the best dinner we had ever had at Buckhorn. We did not know that culinary skills were among your many talents. We enjoyed our evening meal so much and hope that you will continue being chef sometimes at Buckhorn. We also were so pleased to learn that your son and daughter-in-law are also working here—a special family legacy. We look forward to getting to know them. It was so good to see you yesterday and you just looked wonderful, as always. We will always have special memories of Buckhorn, you, and John.”

March 1, 2021

Review from First-Time Guests

Have you ever shared a review of Buckhorn Inn?  One of the most pleasant innkeeping tasks is reading reviews from our guests on TripAdvisor.  We love hearing your reactions to your stay.  And we are grateful to know of any ways we can make your time with us even better.  Today we are sharing a recent review from a first-time guest.

 
mom2ginny wrote a review on Feb 26, 2021
Knoxville, Tennessee
Hopefully, the first of many trips.
For Christmas, my husband and I received a gift certificate for the Buckhorn Inn. the Inn is located a few miles from downtown Gatlinburg away from the rush of the tourist area on a quiet and peaceful hill.

We were greeted by Lee at check in and directed to our room. She directed us to where we would find the fresh fruit, coffee and homemade treats (brownies and cookies were available during our short stay).

I have never seen a room so immaculately clean and tastefully decorated. It was if every item in the room had been carefully thought-out and placed so as to be lovely, but not cluttered. There was not a speck of dust to be found anywhere.

It didn’t take long until we had chairs pulled up to the fireplace with our feet propped on the hearth. The room was so quiet we wondered if anyone else was at the Inn.

A review of Buckhorn Inn often mentions the cozy fireplaces.

Most accommodations have their own fireplaces.

Dinner is offered by reservation only, but we had opted to go out for dinner. When we left our room to go out, we realized by the smell we should have made reservations for dinner at the Inn. We will next visit.

For breakfast, you are given a menu to choose from 4 entrees plus a couple of healthier options. The first morning we chose the basic egg and meat breakfast. It was served with hash brown casserole, fresh fruit, biscuits with jelly and coffee cake. The coffee cake was so good that I wish that I had the recipe. The following morning we had cream cheese with blackberries stuffed waffles. That was accompanied by warm syrup, breakfast meat, a fried pie and melt in your mouth biscuits.

Every guest that we spoke with said that they were repeat guests of the Inn. Many of them having stayed at the Inn 8 – 10 times previously. My husband and I understand why. We have had our first stay of what we hope will be many more visits to this wonderful inn!

February 22, 2021

We Share Our Recipe for Country Granary Bread!

A highlight of any Buckhorn Inn dinner is when the basket of warm bread is delivered to your table.  You gently lift off the cloth napkin and inhale the warm, yeasty fragrance.  You select a slice and watch as the butter melts slowly into every nook and cranny.  That first bite is heaven!  One of our most popular bread recipes is below.  The aroma of fresh-baked bread will have your family gathering in the kitchen! 

Kneading bread dough is fun for the entire family.

Kneading bread dough is a good way to work out any frustrations! Photo by Nadya Spetnitskaya

Country Granary Bread

Preheat oven to 400 F.

2          Tablespoons active dry yeast

                        Pinch brown sugar

1 ¼      Cups    Warm water

1/3       Cup     Old-fashioned rolled oats

1          Cup     Cooked bulgur wheat, flax and/or

                        millet

2          Tablespoons       Light brown sugar

1          Cup     Whole wheat flour

3 1/3    Cups    All-purpose or bread flour

1 ¼      Cups    Warm milk

¼         Cup     Vegetable oil

1          Tablespoon      Salt

 

To cook the bulgur wheat, flax and millet, place the grains in a small bowl and pour in two cups of boiling water.  Let stand for about 30 minutes.  Drain.

 

Combine the yeast, pinch of brown sugar and warm water.  Stir to dissolve.  Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

 

In the work bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the warm milk, oil, the yeast mixture, salt, oatmeal, brown sugar, and the cooked bulgur wheat, flax and millet mixture.  Add the salt and 2 cups of the white and whole wheat flour combined.  Whisk hard until smooth, about 1 minute.  Let stand, uncovered, 30 minutes.  Add the remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, until a soft dough is formed that just clears the sides of the bowl.

 

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until light-colored, smooth, and springy, about 2 minutes, adding only 1 tablespoon flour at a time as needed, and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 ½ to 2 hours.

 

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into 2 equal portions.  Cut each portion into 2 uneven pieces.  Form the 2 large pieces into tight round loaves.  Place on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet sprinkled with more oatmeal and cereal grains.  Loaves may be formed in a conventional round fashion.  If you want to make the more decorative turban shape, use your fingers to take a pinch from each of the two loaves to form an indentation. 

 

Roll the 2 small pieces into teardrop-shaped ovals and place in the indentation on the larger rounds, centering them.  Using a floured finger, poke into the middle of each loaf right through the middle to the bottom.  This is important to join the two sections to form one loaf.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

 

Twenty minutes before baking, heat the oven to 400 F.  Gently brush the tops of the loaves with the 1 tablespoon of oil.  Refine the indentation through the center of each loaf.  Bake in the lower half of the preheated oven until the loaves are golden brown and the bottoms sound hollow.

 

Yield:  2 cottage loaves

 

February 15, 2021

Walking and Biking in Cades Cove

Officials at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have announced that the pilot program for vehicle-free Wednesdays in Cades Cove will continue from May 5 through September 1, 2021.  What a great opportunity to enjoy this beautiful area on foot or by bicycle.  Please know that mobility-assisted devices will be welcome on the vehicle-free days.

Whether you view Cades Cove on foot or by bike, it is a wonderful experience.

Vehicle-free Wednesdays allow cyclists to see Cades Cove in a new way. Photo by Ali Kazal.ut 

Park officials say that up to 1,100 pedestrians and cyclists enjoy Cades Cove without car congestion on the vehicle-free days.  

Cades Cove Is A Beautiful Area of the Park

Visitors to this area can enjoy amazing views.  They can also imagine life in an earlier time as they observe historic buildings dating from the first settlers to the area.  And its one of the most popular places to spot wildlife!  You may see black bears, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and many other birds and animals.

If you are driving to Cades Cove from Buckhorn Inn, it is easy to find.  From Gatlinburg you follow the Parkway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  After you pass the Sugarlands Visitor Center, turn right onto Little River Road.  You will follow Little River Road about 25 miles until you arrive at the Cades Cove Loop Road.

The Loop Road is paved and one-way.  It follows an old logging track.  To the left of the entrance you will find an orientation shelter staffed with park rangers who will answer all your questions.  

As you walk travel the Loop Road you will see the John Oliver Cabin.  No pegs or nails keep this building standing–only the notched corners.  

You will see the trailhead for the Cooper Road Trail.  This trail is about an 11-mile round trip hike.  It is considered a moderately easy hike.  You also will see the trailhead for Abrams Falls trail.  The waterfall is about 20 feet high and the water rushing over the rocks is an impressive sight.  This trail is about five miles round trip and is a little more difficult.  

The Cable Mill historic area includes a working gristmill.  You also will find a barn, a smokehouse, and a blacksmith shop.

These highlights are only a small sampling of the wonders to be found on the Cades Cove Loop Road.  We hope you take advantage of vehicle-free Wednesdays this season to enjoy the area in a new way.  http://www.nps.gov.grsm.planyourvisit

 

 

 

February 12, 2021

Visit House of the Fairies in the Great Smoky Mountains

Even regular visitors don’t always know about the special spot called House of the Fairies.  The House is actually the springhouse at what was once the Voorheis estate.  The Voorheis estate is a 38-acre site located about a mile from Gatlinburg.  Louis Voorheis bought the land in 1928.  Desiring a mountain retreat, he developed the land accordingly.  Mr. Voorheis wanted to offer people a place to retreat from big city life and find the peace of the Smoky Mountains.  He utilized the two creeks that ran across the property for a water-powered mill.  He experimented with water power and built a hydroelectric dam.   Many of the flower and vegetable gardens include water features.   In 1933 Mr. Voorheis deeded the property to the National Park Service, which took over full management of the property in 1952.

Much of the original estate survives today.  The structures include the main house, two guest cabins, a horse barn, and an apple barn.  The stone springhouse is called the House of the Fairies and is in the Twin Creeks area of the park.

How to Find House of the Fairies

To get there you should hike the Twin Creeks Trail, a moderate trail of about 4.5 miles round trip.  There is a small pull off at the trailhead, but you may find it more convenient to park at the Ogle Place Parking Area and walk up the road a bit.  The trail goes along the creek.  You will see many buildings from the Estate, including the mill.  As you walk you can imagine what it must have been like living in a log cabin.

After you pass the Resource Center, you will see a small path.  Follow this path to get to the quaint Fairy House.  You will see an arched wall with an open door and stairs leading to the top.  You are welcome to enter the springhouse.  The stone walls, covered in moss, do look like the place where a fairy or water sprite might reside!  It looks like a magical building from some other time.  For more information, visit http://www.thesmokies.com

You don't know who you might meet at the House of Fairies!

This photo of a possible denizen at the House of Fairies was taken by Anthony Tran.ou

If you are staying at Buckhorn Inn, don’t forget to order one of our hearty sack lunches for the hike.  Who knows, you might be sharing your lunch with a fairy!

January 25, 2021

To-may-to or To-mah-to: Thinking Tomatoes for the Garden

Tomatoes come in so many varieties.

Tomatoes are delicious and have wonderful health benefits.

It may be January, but the garden catalogs are full of photos of ripe, lush, delicious tomatoes!  We are deciding which varieties to grow in the Buckhorn Inn gardens this summer.  Looking at all the types of tomatoes got us wondering about this garden staple.

Tomatoes are actually the berries of the plant Solanum lycopersicum.  Food historians believe that the species originated in South and Central America.  Tomatoes were first cultivated for food by the Aztecs of Mexico.  The Spanish encountered the tomato  when they conquered the Aztec Empire.  They brought the tomato back to Europe.  The popularity of the fruit spread to European colonies worldwide in the 16th century.

The tomato is very versatile and can be used raw in salads or cooked for sauces and soups.  Tomato juice is a popular beverage.  Even green tomatoes are delicious breaded and fried.  They are also used in salsa and gazpacho.  I recently learned that tomatoes are best kept unwashed at room temperature.  In the refrigerator they quickly lose their flavor.

Tomatoes Are Health Powerhouses

A tomato is only 22 calories, but is full of nutrients with a variety of health benefits.  One tomato provides about 40% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.  It also supplies vitamin A, vitamin K, and potassium.  Their red color comes from the antioxidant lycopene which is tied to heart benefits and may support vision.  And finally the liquid and fiber in the tomato may boost digestive health.  http://www.health.com

New Jersey selected the tomato as their state vegetable.  Arkansas was more determined to be botanically correct and named the South Arkansas Vine Ripe Pink Tomato both its state fruit and its state vegetable!  Tomato juice became the official drink of Ohio in 1965.  

Be sure to watch this space for the final decisions on what we will be planting for the Buckhorn Inn kitchen!

January 16, 2021

An Excellent Winter Recipe: Pork Mole Chili

Jack and I met the summer of 1981 in Chicago. We both had just graduated from college and moved to the big city—he from Kentucky and me from Indiana. We were working hard at our first post-college jobs and trying to manage rent and all the other expenses that come with being on your own. Needless to say, we were pinching pennies. When it came to celebrating holidays and special occasions, we started going to Mexican restaurants. The atmosphere was festive, the food delicious and reasonably priced, and dinners came with complimentary chips and salsa—perfect for us. So perfect that all these years later we still celebrate with Mexican food.

 

This recipe is one of my favorites. The chocolate adds color, the cinnamon and sugar add sweetness, and the chili powder adds spice. This recipe is from “Easy Entertaining” by Marlene Sorosky and I made it for one of the first meals that John and Lee had at our house. That was a special occasion indeed! I often pair this dish with a lush, red Zinfandel. The warm spice, dark berry, vanilla and chocolate notes in the wine go nicely with the dark, bold flavors of the chili. On the other hand, Jack recommends you enjoy it with a bottle of cold Dos Equis or your favorite Mexican beer.

 

 

1 ½ cups dried black beans
2 onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 pounds pork butt, cut into ½ inch cubes
1/3 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 14 ½ ounce can whole tomatoes
4 ½ cups chicken broth
1 ½ ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 corn tortillas torn into small pieces

Rinse beans and place in a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook for one minute then drain. Add fresh water to cover by three inches, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered about 45 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool. (Or, use two 16-ounce cans of black beans, rinsed and drained.)

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add onions and garlic and cook until soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and add the pork. Cook over moderate heat for about 20 minutes or until pink is gone. Pour off drippings. Stir in onions, spices, sugar and salt. Cook 5 minutes. Break up tomatoes and add them with their juice. Add chicken broth and chocolate. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for an hour and a half. Add beans and continue to simmer for 30 minutes until pork is tender and chili has thickened. Stir in tortillas and simmer until they have dissolved.

Offer chopped tomatoes, chopped fresh cilantro, finely chopped onion, and/or sour cream as condiments. Serves 8.

Romance Is in the Air!

As February 14 nears, we are bombarded with advertisements for chocolates, flowers, wine, and romantic movies. Everything is decorated with hearts, lace, and a baby boy who flies around shooting arrows. What is up with that?

According to myth, Cupid is the ancient god of love. The son of Venus and Mercury, he is often pictured as a winged infant carrying a bow and a quiver of arrows. The wounds from his arrows inspire love in everyone they hit. Interestingly, he is sometimes depicted in art wearing armor—perhaps to symbolize the invincibility of love. Or perhaps to show parallels between warfare and romance!

Cupid generally brings happiness to couples, whether they be gods or mortals. He is sometimes mischievous in his matchmaking, though. Venus is often the instigator of his mischief. In one instance, she tried to use Cupid in seeking revenge on the mortal Psyche. Her plan backfired, however, when Cupid fell in love with Psyche and made her his immortal wife.

In modern culture, we see Cupid as a god who uses his power for good and not for ill. Some of us need a little push to make the first move in expressing our love—and Cupid is there to help us.

If you are looking for a way to express your true love, how about a Buckhorn Inn gift certificate? Your sweetie would love a romantic dinner, or perhaps a get-away complete with flowers, chocolate-covered strawberries, and sparkling wine!