Garden fresh colorful summer dishes from DINE kitchens

vegetables in bowl - foodSummer is here in DINE country and the colors are beautiful.  Throughout the Distinctive Inns of New England (DINE), kitchens are overflowing with the colors and dishes that make summer so delicious.  From red raspberries to blueberries, the greens from our gardens and bright peppers and peas, the 11 DINE inns will tempt your taste buds with delicious recipes on the breakfast and dinner tables.  Best of all, these recipes utilize many of the items you’re probably growing right now in your own gardens.

Nothing makes a romantic summer getaway better than a delicious meal with the one you love.  Leave it to the talented DINE chefs to offer up recipes to add color and pizazz to your kitchens too.  Of course, the best way to enjoy these recipes is to allow us to serve them to you during your stay.  If that’s not in the cards right away, create your own distinctive meal at home using recipes from the DINE kitchens as you plan your end-of-summer, fall or winter getaway.

Blueberry Breakfast Bake from Camden Maine Stay Inn

A recipe that was offered on breakfast tables at the inn throughout the years and passed down from former innkeepers.

blueberries - foodIngredients

6 large croissants (plain, day old, cut into 1inch squares)

½ to 1 cup blueberries (frozen is ok)

4 cups milk, half-and-half, whipping cream, or light cream

6 eggs, beaten

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

½ tsp ground cinnamon


Grease 13 x 9 inch pan. Put half of cubed squares in pan. Sprinkle blueberries liberally. Add remaining croissant pieces. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine milk product; eggs; sugar; vanilla; and cinnamon. Mix well, carefully pour cream mixture over bread in baking dish. With the back of a spoon, press bread mixture down so all is moistened.

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 65 to 70 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean and mixture is puffed and golden.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with Maine Blueberry Syrup or your favorite topping.

Spring Pea Cakes from Manor on Golden Pond

Here’s another recipe that goes way back into the recipe files from the Manor.


2 cups Peas (Fresh or Frozen)

2 Eggs

½ cup Panko Breadcrumbs (may need more if mixture is too wet)

2 Tbls Chopped Garlic

2 Tbls Lemon Juice

Salt and Pepper to taste

Roughly chop the peas in a food processor or by hand;
Fold in remaining ingredients;
Form into small patties;
Sauté in olive oil for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown

Diary free Carrot Ginger Soup from Rabbit Hill Inn

A note from the chef: The real secret to this soup is using 100% pure carrot juice to cook the carrots in. This re-enforces the carrot flavor and creates tremendous depth. Be sure to read the entire recipe, including chef notes, before you begin.  Have on hand: blender and fine mesh strainer.


10 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks

Olive oil

1 medium Spanish onion, peeled and cut in half

2 leeks

Carrot juice – 100% pure carrot juice (try Bolthouse, or another quality brand), to cover

2 1-inch nubs of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

2 cans of unsweetened coconut milkCarrot Ginger Soup - food

Lime juice, to taste

Salt to taste


Step 1: Over medium heat, sweat the leeks and onion in a saucepan or dutch oven. Adjust heat as needed to slowly sweat the vegetables, being careful to not get any color on them. They should be very soft and translucent. Add the carrots and half of the ginger – sweat for another 2 minutes or so.

Step 2: Cover the vegetables and carrots with the carrot juice. Bring to a simmer, and simmer until the carrots are very tender and the juice has reduced by about half. Add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer.

Step 3: Working in batches as needed, blend the soup on high until very very smooth. I like to take the remaining raw ginger and add it to the soup when I’m blending. I like the contrast between the muted, background flavor of the sweated ginger and the pungent, peppery bite of the fresh ginger.

Step 4: Pass the soup through a fine mesh strainer into the storage vessel. Adjust the consistency with more carrot juice (if you have some) or water, and season with salt until the soup is seasoned for your palate. I like to add fresh squeezed lime juice to the soup to balance it (the carrots and coconut are usually sweet) and I think lime is delicious with the coconut, but lemon will work just fine as well.

Consider these great garnish ideas:

Crisp carrot chips

Diced pickled carrots

Candied ginger

Candied or toasted pecans

For dessert, here’s another dairy-free way to cool off!

Lemon Basil Sorbet, handmade at the Grafton Inn.

Lemon Basil Sorbet from Grafton InnThis recipe is ridiculously simple:

1 quart of simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)

1 quart of fresh squeezed lemon juice

2-3 Tbsp minced basil

Mix all ingredients together and place in ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s directions.  Allow to ripen overnight for the best flavor.  Yields 3 quarts (enough for a crowd!).

And last but not least, here’s a great way to enhance dinner on a hot summer day!

Strawberry Mojito from Chesterfield Inn

Strawberry Mojito from Chesterfield InnMethod

Muddle 3 fresh strawberries with 2 Tablespoons simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar brought to a boil and cooled)

Add 4-5 fresh mint sprigs. Tear the leaves before putting in the shaker with the strawberries and simple syrup.

Fill shaker half full with ice.

Add 3 shots Bacardi Rum (white) and 4 squeezes of fresh lime.

Shake vigorously. Pour into a chilled glass. Top off with a splash of seltzer. Garnish with a strawberry and more fresh mint.

Most of all, all of us at Distinctive Inns of New England send caring messages for our followers’ welfare.  Please stay safe and come visit us again when you feel the time is right for travel. One last request…when you do decide to book your reservation to stay at a DINE property, please book directly with the inn for the best experience.

In Vermont:  Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford & Grafton Inn in Grafton

In New Hampshire:  Manor on Golden Pond in Holderness & Chesterfield Inn in West Chesterfield

In Connecticut: Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic

In Maine:  Camden Maine Stay Inn in Camden and Inn at English Meadows in Kennebunkport.

In Massachusetts:  Harbor Light Inn in Marblehead, Gateways Inn & Restaurant in Lenox, Deerfield Inn in Historic Deerfield and Captain’s House Inn in Chatham on Cape Cod