Gerry Lucas grew up in Lincoln Park as one of five siblings. He and his brothers and sisters started cooking at their mother’s instigation when they were youngsters.
“Everybody cooks,” he said.
But not everybody runs a bed and breakfast in an historic Wyandotte home, where guests sing the praises of the food.
Gerry and Vicki Lucas bought the Bishop-Brighton House on Biddle Avenue in 2000, and spent five years remodeling and preparing the Tudor Revival home with arts and crafts details to serve as .
They offer three bedrooms with private bathrooms for reservation, and serve their guests—often European business travelers associated with BASF in Wyandotte or The Henry Ford in Dearborn—extraordinary breakfasts.
On one recent morning, Gerry and Vicki’s three guests came downstairs to a beautifully set table laden with hot coffee, fresh fruit cups, freshly baked scones, thick-cut maple-smoked bacon, orange juice and individual spinach quiches. The men, BASF employees from Europe spending 11 nights at the , were very appreciative.
“They don’t get the same breakfast twice,” Gerry said. “I try to keep it different.”
He uses two ovens, one in his kitchen’s big Viking stove with a built-in griddle, and another one in the basement, to make sure everything comes out piping hot. Gerry does all the cooking, and Vicki sets the table the night before.
“I do it so he doesn’t have to think about it,” she said.
Gerry cut up fresh fruit—strawberries, blackberries and bananas—for the fruit cup first. He buys most of the fruit they serve at , which is close to where he works for his “day job.” He cooks the couple’s dinner every night after work, as well making breakfast for their guests.
He’s not a chef by trade, but he’s well accustomed to cooking.
"I used to cook Easter breakfast for 500 people or so for my church,” he said.
He’s also known among BASF and Wyandotte city employees for his cinnamon rolls, which he and Vicki deliver as gifts of appreciation from time to time.
Gerry mixed up the dough for the Blueberry Banana Walnut Scones he was making (Vicki’s favorite, she said), and popped the thick circle into the basement oven to bake while he cut out pie dough and mixed the filling for the individual quiches. The three of those went into the kitchen oven, and Gerry put his bacon into a skillet to brown.
Gerry and Vicki look for new recipes to serve their breakfast guests all the time, but he’s apt to alter them to suit his own taste and sensibilities, he said.
His advice to other cooks?
“Don’t be afraid not to follow the recipe down to all the tiny details,” Gerry said. “Be adventurous.”
He loves to cook and bake, and to share his food with their guests. And now he’s sharing recipes with Patch readers.
Blueberry Banana Walnut Scones
(Recipe adapted by Gerry from 1,001 Muffins by Gregg Gillespie.)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chilled butter or margarine, diced
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup blueberry yogurt
1/2 cup mashed bananas
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, blend together the two flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives scissor-fashion, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the walnuts and blueberries. In a small bowl, beat the yogurt, cream and banana until smooth before gently stirring into the dry ingredients, stirring until the dough holds together.
Turn the dough out onto the prepared baking sheet and pat it into a 1/2-inch thick circle. Using a serrated knife, score the dough into 8 wedges (do not cut all the way through the dough). Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and serve hot.
Individual Spinach Quiche
1/8 cup of half-and-half cream
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of cayenne red pepper
Salt and white pepper
1/2 cup pre-cooked spinach (squeeze water of it)
1 tablespoon sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon horseradish
1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese (a little less)
Pastry crust to fit a small individual pie plate
Place pre-made pastry crust in small individual pie plate. Prepare spinach (cool if necessary) and squeeze out extra water. Mix in sour cream (or yogurt) and horseradish. Place mixture on top of the crust for the first layer.
Mix 2 eggs, cream, nutmeg, cayenne, and salt and pepper till eggs are well mixed. Pour over spinach. Sprinkle just less than a quarter cup of grated Swiss cheese on top. Don’t mix in.
Bake at 350-375 degree oven for approximately 35 minutes. Crust will be brown and the egg custard will be puffy and browned.
Carefully remove pie from container and serve on plate with fruit.