Renée prides herself on making innovative gourmet vegetarian breakfasts for the guests here at the Rainforest Inn. Her passion for delicious healthy cooking brightly shines and is evident in the way she prepares the meals through every step until the plating which is always beautiful. Even from my fairly short time here, I’ve observed that guests are consistently blown away with the food served every morning. During breakfast time, Renée and Bill go above and beyond (as usual) to make sure everyone feels right at home. After the meals are served, they usually sit down with guests and talk about fun things to explore on the island, or have general chit chat about life experiences. I was eager to become a part of this daily ritual, one that greatly impacts guests’ overall experience at the Rainforest Inn.
I consider myself to be a fairly knowledgeable cook, but when Renée asked me to develop new recipes for the inn, I was a little nervous. The recipes she makes now are so creative and diverse, I was challenged to come up with new ones that were as amazing. Luckily, I have some experience making vegetarian and vegan cuisine, so I relied on my previous knowledge to come up with some exciting new recipes.
When brainstorming ideas, I headed to trusty Pinterest for inspiration. Renée had mentioned she wanted to make a new version of the vegetarian sausages she serves several days of the week. The ones she served now are delicious and proven guest pleasers, but Renée wanted me to find a new recipe that used natural ingredients from the Rainforest Inn gardens as well as other local sources. I flagged down a few recipes that looked good, and headed to the kitchen to try them out. The one I chose seemed simple enough, it used mushrooms and beans as a base, which sounded delicious to me! The dough was easy to make, but I knew the hard part was yet to come. Later, I had to hand roll the sausages, and individually wrap them in plastic wrap. That in of itself took me an hour! At this point, I was feeling pretty discouraged, and was hoping this dish would be worth all the effort.
Unfortunately, after tasting the sausages I came to the conclusion that they weren’t worth the effort. They were ok, but definitely under-seasoned, and the ones Renée serves for breakfast were far more tasty. Feeling a little defeated, I decided to make some other breakfast recipes that I had tried before, and knew were good.
The second breakfast item I made was chia seed pudding layered with mango puree and coconut flakes. I’d made chia pudding before (it’s very simple and quick to prepare), and this one was a big hit! The tanginess of the mango puree complimented the thick creaminess of the chia pudding very well. Renée tried it and really liked it as well. She said it would make a great addition to her breakfast repertoire.
The last recipe I made was also something I had made before; blueberry and rosemary scones. They’re vegan too, which is an added bonus for guests that come here and subscribe to that kind of eating. Rosemary is my favorite herb, and I love the combination of sweet and savory. Renée grows rosemary in her garden on the property, so I picked some fresh for this recipe! The scones are surprisingly easy to make and that means a lot coming from someone who isn’t very keen on baking! They came out great and everyone who tried one really enjoyed it- even Bill who can be hard to please!
Recipe testing for new breakfast items at the Rainforest Inn was a sometimes stressful, but mostly enjoyable experience. As someone who loves to cook, I feel right at home in Renée’s kitchen, especially because her kitchen is so large and complete and she has basically every cooking gadget known to man. I will follow with further blogs of more ideas for the breakfasts and also which ones Renée has chosen to include. You will never have a boring meal here at the Rainforest Inn!