As an innkeeper, Dana Moos’ three-course breakfasts were legendary, but not as renowned as the blow torch she used in getting just the right crisp on top.
“I realized serving 16 people that my little kitchen torch wasn’t strong enough,” said Moos, former owner of Kingsleigh Inn in Southwest Harbor. “So my husband Greg brought out his blow torch, the real kind like you use in plumbing jobs.”
Her kitchen was always open to guests, who were immediately drawn by the loud “shush” of the blow torch.
“They would come in and look at what was going on,” Moos said. “We’re talking 2004 and 2005, so people were taking pictures with their cameras.”
Greg added an on-and-off button and she was in business, adding final touches to several of her dishes.
Moos, who, with her spouse, fled the commercial real estate world in Washington, D.C., in 2011, published her first cookbook, “The Art of Breakfast,” that same year and has another in the works.
Moos was itching to be creative in the kitchen when the couple purchased the Kinsleigh Inn, but the space was too small to serve dinners.
“I really pushed the envelope when it came to gourmet, three-course breakfasts,” Moos said.
After five years, the couple sold the Kingsleigh Inn — Moos literally handled the sale for The Swan Agency — and then leased and operated the Pomegranate Inn in Portland from 2011 to 2013. The couple forged ahead selling real estate and concentrating on bed and breakfast businesses as well as motels.
Moos now teaches at least one class per month at Stonewall Kitchen in York. And she is working on that second cookbook, which follows along the brunch theme.
Her inn breakfasts were something to write Trip Advisor about.
The first course was available on a buffet table and consisted of homemade granola, yogurt, scones and muffins and fresh melon.
The seated breakfast began with a fruit dish — such as stacked pineapple and banana —followed by an entrée.
“I definitely liked the entrée course, which was more challenging,” she said. “I tried to do breakfast like what you would find at a fine dining restaurant dinner. I wanted people to be just ‘Wowed.’”
Moos said she is seeing many real estate buyers who — like her and Greg years ago — are looking for a saner life, something in the slow lane, whether they are retired or still working.
One couple, she said, live in New Jersey, commute into Manhattan every day and then fall into bed at night.
“We are seeing people wanting to get away from corporate America,” Moos said. “People are realizing the quality of life is so much better in Maine.”
Poached Eggs over Fried Green Tomatoes with Lobster, Bacon and a Spicy Remoulade
12 oz. fresh lobster, chopped
2-3 large green tomatoes
2 cups panko bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying
8 eggs, for poaching
4 eggs, for dredging
2 Tbsps milk
½ cup flour for dusting
4 slices thick cut bacon, diced
2 cups loosely packed baby greens (Moos likes spinach or arugula)
2 Tbsps. diced fresh chives
Fried Green Tomatoes
Slice tomatoes into 3-4 equally thick slices, about ¼ inch. Lightly salt and dust with flour. Heat oil in a large, deep pan to about 375 degrees. Dip each slice of floured tomato into the egg mixture, then into the Panko crumbs, pushing the crumbs onto the surface, coating completely. Add a few to the oil at a time, but don’t overcrowd. They’ll only take 3-4 minutes.
Remove and let sit on a paper towel. You can keep them warm by then moving them to a dry sheet pan and placed in a warm 225 F degree oven until ready to serve.
Cook bacon until crisp, drain, set aside.
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsps Dijon
1 Tbsp. horseradish
1 tsp. pickle relish
½ tsp. fresh dill
1 tsp. Worcestershire
1 tsp. ketchup
1 tsp sweet paprika
½ tsp. Old Bay type seasoning
1 Tbsp. fresh diced chives
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
A few cracks of fresh ground black pepper
Mix all ingredients together and let sit in the refrigerator at least a couple hours.
¼ cup white vinegar
8 large eggs
Fill a shallow sauté pan (2-3 quart) three-fourths the way up with water and add the white vinegar. Bring to a slow rolling boil. Crack one egg into a small bowl and lower into the boiling water. Repeat with the next seven eggs. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until you can serve all at once. When ready to serve, remove the eggs from the warm water with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel.
To plate, place a small handful of baby greens, then top with two fried green tomatoes, then two poached eggs. Drizzle remoulade, top with crumbled bacon and chopped lobster. Garnish with a sprinkling of fresh chives.
Correction: An earlier version of this article contained an error. “The Art of Breakfast” was published in 2011.