Cape Cod Fall color at the Captain Freeman

by Donna Cain, Innkeeper and owner

I have been amazed at the wonderful fall colors and warm temperatures we all have enjoyed this fall on Cape Cod.

Fall colors

Fall colors

Our neighbors to the right of the Captain Freeman planted these small trees. I never really liked them  as they make it difficult to see oncoming traffic when pulling out onto Breakwater Road. I’ve now learned the trick to peek down by the trunks as you are approaching the street and you can see if a car is coming. They really were pretty this fall so now I smile when driving by.

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We are still using our wonderful fresh parsley from the side garden. I always plant seed in the spring but this year it almost grew wild which was such a treat.

Fresh mint for our fruits

Fresh mint for our fruits

I have never had to replant mint. It just seems to grow wild in several different areas of our gardens. One of my biggest pleasures in life is going out to the garden early in the morning and choosing my garnish for breakfast. Mint is almost always included as it adds a nice flavor to out fruit and teas. The mint usually does not like cold so we cut it off sometime in September. This year since the weather has been so mild, and we have not yet had a frost, we are still fortunate enough to have plenty of mint.

Blooming roses that smell so beautiful

Blooming roses that smell so beautiful

Who can believe we have such beautiful roses blooming in November??

Fall colors by the pool

Fall colors by the pool

This lovely tree flanks our pool and offers summer shade and now beautiful color.

Raspberry patch

Raspberry patch

We built a wonderful raspberry patch last spring which are babies from Nanna’s original patch back in the Berkshires. We had a great summer crop at Brewster by the Sea and are looking forward to a new crop next summer from this patch. Note Nathan’s owl which will look over things this winter.

Storage shed

Storage shed

We had a functional storage shed to the back of the property. Since we have been busy with building renovations we never had time to give this area much attention. This fall Antonio cleared away all of the old growth, built a wonderful new compost with three different sections, painted and repaired the shed. While things look a little stark now just wait until spring. We have grand thoughts of adding a beautiful fountain with seating and plush landscape plus we want to build a fenced in vegetable garden so that we can expand our farm to table menu in the summer.

Antonio with Harrison

Antonio with Harrison

And last but not least is a picture of our lovable Harrison and Antonio. Now is the time of year when we move our winter projects indoors and Antonio is repairing the grout in our Orleans room….with Harrison’s help of course.

Out thoughts are now moving to the holidays and family. Our daughter April just purchased a new home in Boston with her husband Matt. They are hosting Thanksgiving this year. All of the kids are coming for Christmas and we are really looking forward to spending time with them at Brewster by the Sea.

Happy fall!

Cookie Madness at the Captain Freeman

Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries and Chocolate Chunks

Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries and Chocolate Chunks

We always have fun while working at our two wonderful inns in Brewster, the Captain Freeman Inn and Brewster by the Sea. This morning was no different as our great breakfast chef, Nick, was humming as he was preparing our wonderful Wild Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes. Nick is a hummer and I love to tease him. The other day he was singing “Kiss me once and kiss me twice and kiss me once again”. We laughed together as he told me that Cliff, the owner of the Bramble Inn where Nick is also the chef, was humming that song all evening. He said it was addictive, and he could not get the song out of his mind. We  both started singing the song, but we both could only remember the first few lines of the classic song by Louis Armstrong.  I’ve included all of the words Nick and Cliff so that you can sing the entire song…….

Kiss me once…and kiss me twice
Then kiss me once again
It’s been a long, long time
Haven’t felt like this, my dear
Since I can’t remember when
It’s been a long, long time

You’ll never know how many dreams
I’ve dreamed about you
Or just how empty they all seemed without you
So kiss me once, then kiss me twice
Then kiss me once again
It’s been a long, long time

(instrumental break)

Oh, kiss me once…and kiss me twice
Then kiss me once again
It’s been a long…such, a long time
I haven’t felt like this my dear
Since I don’t remember when
It’s been a long….been a mighty long time

You’ll never know how many dreams
I’ve dreamed about you
Or how empty they all seem without you
So kiss me once…and kiss me twice
And kiss me once again
It’s been a long…long time

It’s been a mighty, mighty long time

This morning Nick made my favorite oatmeal cookie for our afternoon tea which includes old fashion oatmeal, fresh cranberries, roasted pecans and large chunks of dark chocolate. The cookie is addictive and guests at both of our Brewster Cape Cod Inns went crazy over these wonderful cookies. We gave several cookies warm out of the oven to our staff and guests that were near bye. So then  I started singing “Cookie madness at the Freeman”. It had a nice little ring to it, and I decided to make that the title of today’s blog.

We make thousands of cookies at our two Cape Cod Bed and Breakfasts and are always trying new recipes. This oatmeal cookie has become my favorite and is special in that we use fresh cranberries (cut in half) and really good dark chocolate that we buy in large blocks and cut into chunks for the cookies.

Needless to say our guests love our cookies that we serve at the Captain Freeman and Brewster by the Sea. They are always homemade and very special!

Cape Cod Art

by Donna Cain, Innkeeper and owner

We are busy innkeepers on Cape Cod managing two lovely Bed and Breakfasts in Brewster, Brewster by the Sea and the Captain Freeman Inn. One of the best parts of being an innkeeper is having the opportunity to visit with guests. We love to sit down when they first arrive to help with any dining or activity planning. The next morning at breakfast we always ask, how did you sleep and how was your day? We learn so much from our guests and learning about the wonderful art that is on Cape Cod is no exception. Many of our guests love to include stops at their favorite art galleries during their stay.  Art is such a wonderful part of what makes Cape Cod special. We attract many talented artists that in many cases have their home and gallery together in many of our quaint sea towns.

Mark Kundmann

Marc Kundmann

My absolute favorite artist on Cape Cod is Marc Kundmann. His work can be seen at the Addison Art Gallery in Orleans. He described his recent work as “an exploration of painting with encaustic wax, one of the oldest forms of painting. The technique allows me to build and remove textured layers of color, transparency, and pigments. Keeping true to that first piece of advice, I try to focus on the joy of creating, and also painting with honesty. My hope is that the resulting layers create not only intriguing and beautiful surfaces, but also give emotional life to the subjects, whether figures, structures, or boats, and hint at the mystery inside” I love the picture he did shown above that is titled “Welcoming Committee”

Managing editor of Cape Cod Life, Susan Dewey, described it perfectly, ” Art is all about making connections, the artist to the subject, the viewer to the artist’s work”. Such a simple statement but the meaning so paramount.

I just looked through the recent Cape Cod Life annual publication of Cape Cod Art. I always look forward to seeing which local artist they have chosen to preview. While I am no expert in art, I loved Art History in college and love walking through galleries. My eye immediately can zone into what I like and what I don’t…….I guess after all that’s what art should be about…..it’s all in the eye of the beholder or in artists case the eye of the buyer:)

Some of my favorites included:

Eric Abrecht- his work is represented by Eisenhauer Gallery on Martha’s Vineyard. His present work includes landscapes which surprisingly are not about the place. The painting’s are powerful and used as a departure point. “For me, the landscape is just being used as a vehicle for the paint application to play around with colors and movement”, Abrecht says. “It’s a good home base to start from-there’s a lot of different directions I can take”. He presents the idea of a landscape and encourages his viewers to be transported. These are hazy, unspecific places of the imagination.

Kimberlee Alemian- her work may be seen at the Elizabeth Rowley Gallery in Orleans. I love Kimberlee’s work! Alemian’s vivid emotionally immediate paintings are a work of evolution. According to Alemian it’s about ” painting, scraping, sanding, and going back into it sort of like palimpsest she says of her method.In addition to the charcoal and pastels are drawn into her paintings and leave traces of the history of the painting” her floral paintings create a unique lighting pattern.

Herb Edwards- his work can be seen at his gallery in Cataumet. While many painters devote themselves to a single medium, Edwards finds merit in both oil and acrylic. His diverse paintings in both mediums have a lightness of touch and simplicity on line reflecting the natural uncluttered beauty of New England and America’s far west. As quoted in the magazine that summarizes his work so perfectly” From Impressionistic pieces like “Sunny Afternoon”, to more austere, Hopper-like works with bare renderings of line and color such as “Inner Harbor”, Edwards paintings reflect the simple beauty and symmetry of natural surroundings that have always been his source of inspiration.”

The Cape is a wonderful place to live and visit. Having so much wonderful art here is just the icing on the cake.

Crepes for Breakfast at the Captain Freeman Inn

Sweet crepes with mascarpone and lemon curd

Sweet crepes with Mascarpone and Lemon Curd

I have always loved a good crepe and have fond memories of my mother making them for breakfast and serving them hot with our homemade raspberry jam……the tradition continues at the Captain Freeman Inn. We serve both a sweet and savory version during our two week menu rotation in the summer months.

This morning we served the sweet crepe that was filled with a very thin layer of Lemon Curd and Mascarpone cheese. On the side was plenty of our homemade raspberry jam that is made from the raspberries grown in our patch at our sister property, Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa. Many guest like to have a protein with their breakfast meal so we offered our very special fresh Hickory smoked Bacon and eggs any way you like.

Buckwheat Crepes

Buckwheat Crepes

Our savory version is made with a little bit of buckwheat. We serve that with an over easy egg (or any way you like them) The savory crepe has gruyere cheese and black forest ham. The cheese is also melted on the top……ummmmmm, what a yummy combination!

Here’s to breakfast dining at the Captain Freeman Inn!

To Jenn with love

By Donna Cain (Innkeeper and Mom)

Jenn and Darin having fun after the ceremony

Jenn and Darin having fun after the ceremony

Our darling sweet daughter, Jennifer  was wed on Cape Cod a few weeks ago. Every detail of the wedding was perfect and master photographer, husband Byron, caught some great memories.

So you might ask why to “Jenn with love” as a title on an inn’s blog. I recently wrote a blog on Brewster by the Sea to our daughter April about gardening. I chose the title for both blogs remembering an old song called “To Sir With Love”. There is nothing to match the love of a parent to a child, and this past weekend was especially sweet for me in that I saw Jennifer happy. She married a lovely southern gentleman, Darin and I will forever remember the look on both of their  faces during the touching ceremony….it just spoke I love you with all my heart!

Blessings on the beach by Faith Lavender

Blessings on the beach by Faith Lavender

Since we have two inns in Brewster, Brewster by the Sea and the Captain Freeman Inn we were happy to host many of Darin’s friends and family. It was a lovely gathering of childhood and college friends along with family that traveled from the mid west to be with Jenn and Darin on their special day.

Darin's lovely family

Darin’s lovely family

College friends. Our son Nathan was adopted into the pack.

College friends. Our son Nathan was adopted into the pack.

Also special for Jenn was that her family from Florida  were able to come and join in on all of the fun.

Loved ones from Florida

Loved ones from Florida

When we were planning the wedding, both Jenn & Darin wanted their guests to experience all that Cape Cod is about, so it seemed a natural to have a clam bake back the inn. We also rented a trolley to take us down to the beach. Even our dog Harrison loved the ride.

Harrison on the trolley

Harrison on the trolley

The clam bake was catered by Mac’s Seafood out of Wellfleet. They did a great job and everyone enjoyed the “lobsta” , Cape Cod clam chowder and clams.

Jenn enjoying a fresh steamed lobster

Jenn enjoying a fresh steamed lobster

We had a lot of fun decorating the inn for the special event. Jennifer is very creative and preplanned some lovely table arrangements. We also timed the wedding to coincide with when the hydrangeas were in bloom at Brewster by the Sea. The morning of the wedding all of the girls gathered to pick hydrangeas and to arrange the lovely bouquets….so much fun

Flower arranging at Brewster by the Sea

Flower arranging at Brewster by the Sea

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All of our immediate family stayed at Brewster by the Sea and I just love this photo of our three wonderful kids (plus Matt, April’s husband and our new son-in-law Darin)

Our precious family!

Our precious family!

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I was also so touched that many dear friends and family came from far and near to join us on this special day. Only sad part of the day was that our Nanna was not up to going to the festivities. She is OK now and Jenn and Darin went to visit here after the ceremony.

And so my sweet Jennifer, I wish you and Darin many many years of happiness and good health. Know that I love you with all of my heart. Mom

I love you kiss

I love you kiss

p.s. Thanks Byron for all of the great shots.

Photographer Byron

Photographer Byron

French Mediteranean Cooking on Cape Cod

Cooking school

Cooking school

This past weekend we sampled Avignon in the heart of Provence, true French country cuisine, at the Captain Freeman Inn. Our cooking schools have been a wonderful success this winter where we combine a relaxed two night stay on Cape Cod with delicious food and lively conversations. The cooking school is led by our talented chef, Carol Edmondson. Carol is full of helpful cooking hints that can be used at home as well as many hands on techniques as the class prepares our evening meal.

Fresh ingredients

The menu always includes the freshest ingredients available at the time and why she does not publish the menu ahead of time. She likes to see what is fresh and in season when she shops for the weekend class.

This weekend’s menu included a wild mushroom saute,

A mixture of wild and cultivated mushrooms

A mixture of wild and cultivated mushrooms

a main course of delicious Game Hens with a Honey Lavender Glaze

Game hens

Game hens

and my favorite, Salad Nicoise with haricot verts, baby potatoes, black olives and sliced fresh tuna.

Salad Nicoise

Our wine tasting begins at 5:30 and the antipasta made in the class always pairs perfectly with the meal. We enjoyed a savory Tapenade which is a blend of briny,earthy flavors using black olives, garlic, anchovy paste and herbs and oil with french bread. cookingSchool-Provence-20130323-0121 We also enjoyed  a lovely assortment of French cheeses with the favorite wrapped in fig leaves.

And the happy ending included a delicious Rustic Pear Tart with a French Sauterne wine and coffee.

Pear Tart

Pear Tart

The last class of the season to be held at our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast is “April in Paris”. The April 6th class brings us classic French preparations featuring the finest local ingredients available in the spring. Fiddle heads, asparagus and baby greens adorn spring salads. Berries are a must in tarts. Cheese is everywhere in great variety. Young chickens and ducks are available to roast on a bed of root vegetables and to confit, a slow braise in a bath of chicked or duck fat produces a succulent result. Bread is a central ingredient for a perfect Parisian meal. We will pair locally raised poultry with great Parisian flavors. Can’t wait to see what the menu includes. Bon Appetit to all of our guests staying at our two lovely inns on Cape Cod, Brewster by the Sea and Captain Freeman Inn.

New Frittatas at the Captain Freeman Inn on Cape Cod

Roasted Red Pepper Frittata

Roasted Red Pepper Frittata

Yum!  We continue to test new recipes for our summer menus at our two Cape Cod Bed and Breakfasts, Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa and Captain Freeman Inn. We have made many Frittatas with our favorite last season being a zucchini and sun dried tomato with Monterey Jack Cheese. Our new combination is over the top delicious and includes roasted red peppers, sweet sausage, basil and feta cheese. It’s always nice to think about the vegetables and herbs being harvested fresh from the garden, and we always have delicious aromatic basil all summer long.
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Frittatas are actually very easy to make. You will need to have an oven proof skillet where you can actually cook the first part on the stove top and then move into the broiler to melt the cheeses and to make sure the eggs are cooked through. We used maple sausage but the recipe actually called for sweet sausage. I like the maple sausage that we use at the inn because they are not greasy and have a wonderful sweet yet savory taste. The peppers can be roasted ahead of time and actually are very easy to do by placing under the broiler and turning frequently until the skin is black all over. Once cooled you can remove the black layer and dice into small pieces. The fresh basil, feta cheese combined with the sweet sausage and roasted peppers created a wonderful combination of flavors.

Another winner for our summer menu. We decided to serve the Frittata with corn muffins (using fresh ground corn form Brewster) and grapes. Frittata-20130318-0211

Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast Winter Color

By Donna Cain, Innkeeper and owner

It may be white outside for many of us, but at our two Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast, Captain Freeman Inn and Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa, our winter fruit courses have been filled with color.

This mornings breakfast included a delicious baked pear that Byron garnished with fresh orange, blueberries and blackberries and a homemade raspberry sauce…..mnnnnn!

Baked Pear served with orange, berries and pomegranates.

Baked Pear served with orange, berries and pomegranates.

We like to consider our breakfasts at both of our Cape Cod Inns to be Farm to Table whenever possible and always look for in season produce that is the freshest possible. The winter months are always a challenge with February probably being the hardest. Basically the fresh fruit choices are lemons, apples and pears. Lemons are a treat, and we just served our Lemon Biscotti as our afternoon tea this weekend. We also love our Baked Apple which is recipe served on the QE2 cruise lines. It’s very decadent and delicious.

QE 2 Baked Apple

QE 2 Baked Apple

Another storm is on the way. That’s OK!  We just feel blessed to have time to finish up our winter projects. The biggest change guests will notice this year is our hall common areas which are now newly painted with new wall sconces- no more dated wall paper.

Newly remodeled hall

Newly remodeled hall

. We just brought over Nanna’s Grandfather clock which fits perfectly in the hall. The Captain Freeman is such a beautiful stately building, and we feel very honored to be it’s stewards for part of our lifetime journey on Cape Cod as happy innkeepers.

Rediscovering Breakfast #7

I am so tickled with this new mission to find new recipes. We are having so much fun!

This weekend we added a new twist to our repertoire of menu options. We just hired a new chef to cook for the Captain Freeman.

DSC00252Esperanza comes to us with a wealth of experience in the kitchen and a side passion to cook authentic Mexican food. When we were planning the weekend menus for Brewster by the Sea and the Captain Freeman Inn, I was excited to include some of her favorites as an option for our guests.
On Friday we experimented with a new Lemon-Ricotta Pancake.DSC00254 Ricotta cheese lends a delicate, airy texture to these pancakes and the freshly grated lemon zest adds a hint of citrus flavor. We served it with a warm compote of fresh, sweet berries.

I am also looking to add a savory or sweet bite that guests can enjoy with their coffee and tea when they first sit down for breakfast. Last week we visited our favorite coffee house in Orleans, the Chocolate Sparrow, to enjoy a cup of mocha coffee. We decided to splurge and enjoy some sweets, and I had the most delicious apple tart. It was served warm with apples that were perfectly sweetened and a delicious home made pastry. On the drive home I decided to find a similar recipe for Saturday’s breakfast.
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I landed on a recipe that I found on the internet that included sour cream in the dough that made for a pastry that was part puff and part pie in flavor. I purposefully made the tarts small so as not to spoil the main breakfast. Guests staying at the Captain Freeman Inn loved the tarts, and I am always encouraged when none are left:) The dough was actually very easy to make, and I put the tarts together the evening before. I used sweet Granny Smith apples and sweetened them with sugar, fresh lemon juice and cinnamon.

Sunday’s breakfast was a true adventure and included an option of blueberry buttermilk pancakes or Huevos Rancheros Tostadas. Oh my gosh, they were so delicious and the pancakes were a perfect side option for guests that do not like Mexican.DSC00262
After our guests were served all of our staff sat down to enjoy Esperanza’s meal. I was so impressed and ate every single morsel on my plate. The food was so intensely flavorful but not hot. I was not hungry until dinner and found her cooking to be filling and satisfying. I have always wanted to do some Mexican breakfasts at the inn but did not feel confident. Next weekend we are going to duplicate this menu with different guests staying at Brewster by the Sea and Captain Freeman but this time around, Esperanza will make the pancakes and Donna will do the Tostadas…..a learning breakfast to say the least.

Bon Appetit!

Rediscovering Breakfast on Cape Cod- Breakfast #5

Almond-Crusted French Toast served with Strawberries and Hickory Smoked Bacon

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Everyone loves a good French Toast and today’s version was a huge success!  I especially like to use Challah bread as it really absorbs the custard creating an eggy, sweet old fashion favorite. Crunchy almonds, fresh strawberries and fragrant orange zest brings this classic breakfast dish to a whole new level!

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Bon Appetit to all of our guests staying at our Cape Cod bed and breakfast, Brewster by the Sea and Captain Freeman Inn!