Rediscovering Breakfast on Cape Cod-Test Breakfast #4

I love to prepare breakfasts for our two Cape Cod bed and breakfasts, Brewster by the Sea and the Captain Freeman Inn. This Sunday our guests staying at the Captain Freeman enjoyed the following menu:

Warm Cheese Puffs with Coffee and Tea

Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice or our specialty drink-”the Brewster Sunrise”

Byron’s Baked Apple with Cream Mousse and Craisons

And our Test Breakfast #4-

Cheesy Eggs Sandwich with Homemade Sausage

When I saw this recipe it reminded me of  Mc Donalds-Egg McMuffin.

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I must confess, in my younger years when the kids were small, we frequented McDonalds often and I personally loved their french fries and egg McMuffin. I thought it would be fun to create a gourmet version for our guests.

The sausage was a huge success. I added fresh thyme,sage and rosemary with a little red pepper to give it a kick. What I learned is that the sandwich was a little dry and needed an optional sauce. Decided next time to make the sausage thinner with a light Chipotle Sauce on the side. Yummmm!

Guests seemed to love the idea and most just picked it up in their hands. I think it brought back fond childhood memories for all!

Cooking Schools at the Captain Freeman Inn

Cape Cod Culinary and Captain Freeman Inn

Presenting a season of Mediterranean cooking with locally grown ingredients, combined to create small plates with big flavors.

Demonstration at our Cape Cod Culinary Cooking School

Demonstration at our Cape Cod Culinary Cooking School

Our chef, Carol Edmondson, has been combining the simple, healthy preparations of Mediterranean cuisine with fresh local ingredients in the kitchen of the Captain Freeman Inn for many years. Her professional training, world travel and love of food and sharing her cooking knowledge with others, was the inspiration for our cooking classes. Classes are held in our welcoming kitchen, built by master ship builders in the mid nineteenth century, with an eye for light and air.

We had a sold out class in  November’s Tuscan class featuring northern Italy at its best and show casing game birds, local cranberries, root vegetables, seafood and herbs flavored with Italian pancetta, Parmesano Reggiano and Tuscan olive oil.

Our 2013 schedule is noted below:

On February 9th we will explore Naples and southern Italian winter comfort food. Naples is known for it’s fresh made and cured cheeses, herbs and olive oil. Agro dolce (sweet and sour) dishes make great use of winter squashes like pumpkin, acorn and butternut. Salumi or cured meats play a key role in flavoring pastas. The Campagnia region has over 35,000 pizzerias and pizza is a signature street food in Naples. Our menu will make the most of these flavors using local fresh ingredients.

On March 2nd we will sample the classic cuisine of Rome, influenced by it’s history and geography. Rome is the home of many religions and ethnic groups not unlike many major cities. Their influences are felt in preparation unique to the region. Winter soups harvest flavors preserved from fall gardens. Pork is an essential ingredient both fresh and preserved in Salumi. Artichokes and eggplants are fried in olive oil to whet winter appetities. Capers and other pickled vegetables perk up the winter Roman table. A harvest of flavors to bring to our late winter menu along with the freshest of local food and preserves.

March 9th brings us to the island of Sicily with its Morrish, Greek and Italian flavors. Sicily is not unlike any other region of Italy. You will find hints of the middle east with lemons, cumin and other unique flavors in braised and grilled preparations. Rice plays a leading roll. Fresh tuna caught off the Sicilian coast in the early spring is prepared and preserved to perfection. Rosemay and oregano perfume the hillsides and our menu!

Fresh grilled tuna

Fresh grilled tuna

On March 23rd we will sample Avignon in the heart of Provence, true French country cuisine influenced by ingredients found daily in the market square. In March, the mistral, a cold winter wind from the Alps, blows across Provence. Warming stews and soups are a must. Spring lamb, winter squash, great cheeses and local grains are the staples of early spring. Early greens are peeking through and lemony salads brighten spring tables. Poached winter fruits finish hearty meals.

Fruit tart for our dessert

Fruit tart for our dessert

April 6th brings us April in Paris. 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.

As local and imported ingredients become available and our menues begin to develop we will keep you posted on what’s coming in each upcoming class.

All of these cuisines are world renowned for their fresh ingredients, simple home based preparations and complex flavors. The tradition of small plates simply prepared and enjoyed almost any time of day is well established throughout the Mediterranean region.

The class will be from 2 – 4:30 PM on Saturday with wine tasting that is paired with the food made in the class beginning around 5:30. We then all gather fireside to enjoy all of the food made earlier in the class along with plenty of laughter and good cheer!

The two night package can be either a Friday/Saturday stay or a Saturday/Sunday stay in best available room at time of booking. The package includes breakfast each morning, afternoon tea, cooking school for two with wine tasting and dinner afterwards. 2 night package- $649 plus tax

Our permit for the cooking school from the Brewster selectmen’s office requires that the attendees be guests at the inn. To accommodate local Cape Codders, we also have a one night package, call us for details.

We are offering a $50 coupon off of our cooking school package if you book your reservation in January.

Rediscovering Breakfast on Cape Cod-Test Breakfast #3

My mind cannot stop thinking about breakfast foods…….I actually fall asleep and wake up thinking about all the new recipes. Our winter guests staying at our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast, the Captain Freeman Inn and Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa have all been such good sports and seem to be enjoying the adventure. I usually have a motto of not trying a new recipe for our breakfasts until I try it once or twice. For this  new culinary adventure it feels OK to just roll out the new recipes to our guests. I always appreciate their honest feedback and am on a roll as the first 3 have been absolute winners! (I always have backup items in the freezer and can resort to something simple like herbed eggs if the recipe fails:)

Last night I decided upon a new recipe for our first course for our Sunday breakfast. Each breakfast now begins with a  new  “surprise health nectar” and a fresh baked delight that our guests can enjoy with their coffee or tea. I wanted to create items that were light, flavorful and not too filling. Muffins always seem pedestrian so my eye has been going to miniature bite size scones, pastries and biscuits. This mornings menu included a wonderful Savory Cheese Puff with Gruyere cheese and black pepper.

I was wide awake at 5am this morning with visions of cheese puffs bouncing in my mind. I decided to get an early start since I was trying something new. The cheese puffs were actually very easy to make and all came our picture perfect! Once they came out of the oven I placed them on a warming tray so that they were warm when we served them to our guests. Cheese puffs also freeze really well and can be used later.

Savory Cheese Puffs

Savory Cheese Puffs

These airy cheese puffs are a relative of the popover, leavened only by eggs to expand in the heat of the oven. Called gougeres in French, they are a delicious way to start your day.

Bon Appetit!

This recipe is a keeper and has been added to our new recipe book that I am creating for our staff to use. Once I get organized I want to collect all the good recipes and have a cookbook available for our guests. As always, just let me know if you would like any of the recipes that I blog about. I have always said that life is too short to keep any recipes secret!

Rediscovering Breakfast on Cape Cod-Test Breakfast #2

We are on a quest to find 14 new breakfasts to serve at our Cape Cod bed and breakfast, Brewster by the Sea and Captain Freeman. This morning was day 2 and I was delighted with the results.

We have a lovely couple staying with us at the Captain Freeman, and I had heard through our staff that the gentleman loved savory.Zeumer-Breakfast_20130102-0002

So my mission yesterday was to find a new recipe that included eggs. I landed on a recipe that was Buckwheat Crepes with Ham, Gruyere and Fried Eggs. The recipe intrigued me as I have always wanted to do a savory crepe. We have served raspberry crepes with Mascarpone cheese and Lemon curd. They were delicious, but I always felt like it was an ultra sweet breakfast that some of our guests did not enjoy.

The results were amazing and a wonderful combination. I made the batter early this morning and refrigerated it for several hours. I then made each of the crepes and kept them warm on a warming plate. When the guests arrived I prepared each crepe with a little butter, grated cheese and thin slices of Black Forest Ham. I then topped with a little more cheese and placed in the oven while I cooked the sunny side eggs.

Buckwheat Crepes with Sunny Side Eggs

Buckwheat Crepes with Sunny Side Eggs

Our guest gave us an A+rating, and I took that as a compliment since both were very worldly travelers, appreciating good food and spending time in Provence.  I had a little left over and left a platter in the frig for our son to eat when he returned from the gym. I just smiled when he called and asked us what accompanied the eggs…he loved it and ate every morsel. We always offer breakfast alternatives which today include old fashion cheereos and blueberries….how special is that!

How sweet to order Cheereos with Blueberries!

How sweet to order Cheereos with Blueberries!

So, I now have two new recipes to add to our summer menu. These crepes really were exceptional and a nice compliment to the sunny eggs.

Bon appetit from Cape Cod!

Rediscovering Breakfast at the Captain Freeman Inn on Cape Cod

by Donna Cain, Innkeeper and owner

I have always loved breakfast with fond memories of my mom’s breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. It was such a special time for our family to gather and not be hurried! When we purchased Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa I was so thrilled to recreate this vision and feeling for our guests. I was testing many new recipes way before we closed on the inn and still have friends in Houston that tease us about the “test” breakfasts they use to enjoy after church on Sunday. It’s been 9 years now since we started this wonderful career of being innkeepers, and I have found over the last few years that we have, out of habit, been making the same breakfasts- our guests love them and they are healthy, farm to table, always homemade and usually very little comes back to the kitchen. BUT, I have always been a huge proponent of change and realized over the holidays that I was ready to take on a new challenge of creating some creative new breakfasts for our guests. We’ll certainly keep a few of the favorites such as the buttermilk pancakes and herbed eggs, but it feels appropriate to reach out of my comfort zone and try some new things.

And so this blog seemed like the perfect vehicle to chronicle all of the recipes I will be trying over the next few months. The goal is to have 14 new menus in place by May which will include a savory and a sweet option for our guest. We have also decided to add a 4th course to our breakfast meal which will be a petite homemade scone or muffin to enjoy over your coffee of tea while you wait for your main course.

Today is New Year’s Day and my quest to test and create new menus for the Captain Freeman Inn and Brewster by the Sea begins.

This morning our guests enjoyed an apricot scone with our homemade raspberry jam and sweet butter. Fresh fruit is always important and today included fresh squeezed orange juice and cantaloupe with fresh pomegranates.

My new adventure was creating a cinnamon bun similar to the ones in the mall. Just the smell alone is intoxicating. I was so tickled to find a recipe that is very close in a cookbook that was given to me this Christmas. I made the sweet yeast dough last night and rolled the buns so that all I had to do this morning was to bake and frost. They truly were amazing with not one left.

Savory Breakfast at the Captain Freeman Inn

Savory Breakfast at the Captain Freeman Inn

We also had a wonderful omelet with a suggested filling of sauteed mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, Gruyere cheese and greens. It is a yummy combination but we always give our guests an option to make the omelet any way they like.

Tomorrows test breakfast is Buckwheat Crepes with Ham, Gruyere and Fried Eggs……yum……..oh the joy of being a happy innkeeper!

Happy New year to all.

The perfect pie crust for Christmas

by Donna Cain, Innkeeper and owner

Apple pie

Apple pie

I have always loved pies. In fact, I think of all of the desserts we make at our two inns, Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa and the Captain Freeman Inn on Cape Cod, pies are my absolute favorite! As with most family traditions, I grew up enjoying many different kinds of fresh baked pies. We had a raspberry, blueberry and strawberry patch along with a small apple orchard. My mother always made her crusts homemade and so a tradition was started.

This morning I decided to make the pie shells for all of the pies we will be serving during the holidays. My mother lives with us at Brewster by the Sea, and she always helps me make the crusts. It was a bitter sweet moment for me this morning as my mother is 87 and not able to do what she use to. In previous years, I would prepare the dough in the food processor and she would roll the dough and place in the pie plates. My mother is quite the perfectionist, and I always smiled as I placed the picture perfect crusts in the freezer. This year she sat with me in the kitchen but was unable to help. So I thought no problem, I’ve watched her a hundred times and I can make the crusts just like hers.

Needless to say, my first batch today did not look like hers, but I learned an invaluable lesson that I wanted to share with my two girls this Christmas as well as my readers. It’s the little tricks that are passed on from one generation to the next that really makes a perfect end product. In this case, it’s important to have a dough scraper and as you are rolling out the dough stop several times to lift the dough from the bottom so that it rolls out easier. Just a little bit of flour is also needed- too much makes the dough tough and too little makes the dough stick to your pin. As I made the first batch my mother just smiled and patiently showed me a better way. It was just simple little tricks that made the shell come out perfectly. She commented that it’s OK to keep handing the dough until you get it just right but not to add too much flour. It’s also important to pay attention to the texture of the dough when you roll it into balls. In my case, I needed to add a little more water to the dough so it stayed together and did not crumble apart.

 

Making a pie shell

Making a pie shell

Happy to report that the second batch came out perfectly! We like to use a recipe that we found in a Martha Stewart magazine. The ingredients and instructions are shown below.

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (chilled)- 2 sticks cut into small cubes
  • 6-7 Tbsp. ice water

Be sure your ingredients are cold before you begin. Place flour, salt and sugar in a food processor with a metal blade. Pulse together for a few seconds.

Add butter, and process together until mixture resembles course meal. (8-10 seconds) Add 5 tablespoons of ice water until mixture holds together without being wet or sticky. Process for no longer then 30 seconds. Pinch off a peace of the dough, and feel it’s texture. If it’s crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Divide dough into 3 sections and roll into balls. Flatten into even disks and wrap in plastic. Chill for one hour.

Lightly flour rolling pin and rolling area. Lightly dust top of disk. With even strokes roll out dough. Use the dough cutter to lift dough from your rolling surface and dust flour underneath. I found I had to do this several times. Fold dough in half and gently place in pie plate. Pinch sides in a pattern.

We like to place our pie shells individually in large zip lock bags and then place in freezer until we are ready to bake our pies. You’ll find this recipe makes a thin, buttery crust that is like nothing you would purchase in a store. Once you start you’ll forever want to make your own:)

Wishing everyone a peaceful and healthy holiday season filled with delicious (homemade) mouth watering pies.

Lemon Meringue pie

Lemon Meringue pie

Holiday Home tours and Open Houses on Cape Cod

by Donna Cain, Innkeeper and owner

Captain Freeman Inn

Captain Freeman Inn

The holidays are almost upon us and many of our Cape Cod towns are busy getting ready for their unique celebrations. This year we are having a tree lighting party the day after Thanksgiving. One of my favorite times of the year is decorating the inns for the holidays. We have so many special family decorations and have added some new ones now that we have two inns, the Captain Freeman Inn and Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa.

December 2: We have our own tour at the Captain Freeman Inn which is put on by the Brewster Historical Society and is part of the Brewster for the Holidays Celebration. This year the tour includes 3 of the other historical inns in Brewster, the Old Manse Inn, the Candleberry Inn and the Sea Meadow Inn.

The tour includes a narrated bus tour to the inns with the tour at 2:30 being by candlelight. Each inn will have refreshments as well as historic information along with details about the inn’s architecture. For more information or to purchase tickets call Sandra Tubman at 508-896-3128 or email us at brewsterhstours@comcast.net.

December 1-2, 8-9, 15-16: Country Christmas- Holiday decorations inspired by a country home in bygone era. Taste a sampling of delicious Jam Kitchen products and a cup of mulled cider. Browse among a variety of great holiday gift ideas including jams, jellies, relishes, books and nature related items. For more information http://www.thortonburgess.org or come to Green Briar Nature Center and Jam Kitchen in East Sandwich.

December 7& 8: Chatham Historical Society’s Annual Hearth warming. Celebrate the holidays “Artwood House-style” Hot mulled cider and baked goods, caroling, Christmas tree lighting, crafts, pictures with Mrs. Claus at the Atwood House Mueseum. See http://www.chatahmhistoricalsociety.org for more informaiton.

December 9: Christmas Open House at the Manse Dennis “Villages” Stroll- Docents in colonial attire will guide you through the festively decorated home of Reverand Dennis. For more information see http://www.dennishistsoc.org

December 9: Holiday House Tour and Boutique- Tour beautiful homes festively decorated for the season and shop for unique gifts and decorations at the Boutique, which will be held at the library. For more information see http://www.westfalmouthlibrary.org

December 9: Holly Days Home Tour- Homeowners and innkeepers, along with area designers, florists and retailers decorate Snadwich’s finest homes as a welcoming celebration of the season. Docents will be stationed at each destination to point out historic and architectural features, unique furnishings and special decorations. For more information see http://www.sandwichhollydays.com

December 9: Chatham Historic Inn Tour- Participating inns throughout Chatham are decorated for the holiday season. Enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas in ten of Chatham’s intimate inns and elegant ocean front resorts. For more information see http://www.chathaminfo.com

December 16: Dennis Historical Society Christmas open House- Celebrate the season at the home built for Captain Theophilus Baker in 1801 now called “Jericho Historical Center”. Enjoy the beautiful Victorian decorations and traditional holiday refreshements. For more information see http://www.dennishistsoc.org

Happy Holidays to all!

It’s Wedding Season on Cape Cod!

by Shannon Lane

Cape Cod is one of the most desirable wedding destinations in the world, and the newly remodeled Captain Freeman Inn is a perfect venue for intimate ceremonies on the beach or in our beautiful gardens. We specialize is small weddings and elopements that are highly customized, which means that each event is as unique as each couple we host.

One of our unique and beautiful flower arrangements

Our first wedding of the 2012 season was for a wonderful Scottish couple named Elaine and Sandy. After 20 years together they finally decided to tie the knot, and we were honored that they selected us to help plan their special day. Traveling across the Atlantic to celebrate with them was their amazingly fun family, and boy did those Scots know how to celebrate! The gents all wore traditional Scottish kilts, sporrans and brogue shoes while the ladies donned some fabulous fascinators. They even had Scottish themed plaid confetti to throw at the happy couple when they were pronounced husband and wife!

Elaine and Sandy at Linnell Landing Beach in Brewster

Another happy couple to get married at our Inn this summer was Deana and Chris. To say that these two lovebirds were crazy about each other would be an understatement. They were so in love that I honestly wept as I watched them say their vows to each other (I wasn’t alone – Chris later told me that he had successfully managed to avoid crying himself until he saw me doing so, and then his own tears started flowing). Along with their family, they married on the beach, toasted with champagne and strawberries back at the Inn, and enjoyed fine Italian food at Buca’s Tuscan Roadhouse for their dinner reception.

Deana and Chris at Paine’s Creek Beach in Brewster

As much as we love planning weddings, we also love hosting vow renewal ceremonies and this summer we were fortunate enough to do so for Erik and Aprile as they celebrated their 10 year anniversary. They chose the always beautiful Paine’s Creek beach as the setting for their special day, and this time around it was Byron who got teary-eyed listening to their touching and heartfelt vows. Not even the hot sand could put a damper on the happiness of the day, because Erik and Aprile just cooled their feet in the always refreshing Atlantic Ocean, wedding dress and all!

Aprile and Erik at Paine’s Creek Beach in Brewser

A true elopement is always such a romantic occasion, and Julia and Simon are a gorgeous German couple who decided to elope in secret here on Cape Cod before they have a larger wedding for their friends and family back home. They chose to have their ceremony at a beach in Harwichport and it was a perfect location for them, with the waves crashing at their bare feet. Even a group of children playing nearby wanted to get in on the action, and they managed to pose in many of the post wedding pictures with the glowing bride and grinning groom. Afterwards they headed to a romantic dinner for two at the Ocean House in Dennis, capping off a perfect day with a perfect dinner on the water!

Julia and Simon at Ayer Lane Beach in Harwichport

Meet The Captain Freeman Inn 2012 Team

by Shannon Lane

I am one of those lucky people who is fortunate enough to love both what I do for work and the people I get to work with here at the Captain Freeman Inn. I have so enjoyed getting to know each of them, so it only seems fair for me to share the joy and let you get to know them a bit too!

From left to right, Nathan, Antonio, Mitzi, Corrine and Shannon enjoy one of Donna’s delicious breakfasts!

Lisa has been working as our Head Breakfast Chef, occasional Innkeeper and Housekeeper at the Captain Freeman Inn since it was purchased back in January 2011 (she had previously been doing Housekeeping over at our sister property, Brewster By The Sea). A native Cape Codder, Lisa lives with her boyfriend Bryan right here in Brewster at Sweetwater Forrest. Together they have three dogs, and Lisa also owns a horse that she rescued from the racetracks. She is an absolute genius in the kitchen, and especially loves making and decorating beautiful cakes for all of our guests’ special occasions. Someday she would love to go to veterinary school, but I selfishly don’t ever want her to leave us because I can’t even imagine this place without her smiling face :).

Nathan is our Property Manager, occasional Innkeeper and a general Jack of All Trades. Raised in Houston, he is a southern gentleman at heart who has temporarily relocated to New England for schooling. Nate does just about everything you can imagine around here, from landscaping to rewiring lamps to renovating bathrooms! He is currently attending UMass Dartmouth with a double major in Biology and Economics, which makes him an official smarty pants, and when not staying on campus during the school year he lives right here at the Inn. His sense of humor is appreciated by coworkers and guests alike, and his sharp intelligence has led to many interesting conversations in our guest lounge.

Corrine is our Main Housekeeper, and I like to call her Corrine the Machine because she is so good and so fast at what she does! Originally from Jamaica, she moved to the United States in 2009 to be close to her sister, niece and nephews. An Aunt Extraordinaire, Corrine loves to spend time at home with her family in Orleans playing games, going to the beach, and watching Disney movies. Her quiet demeanor and compassionate nature mask a wicked sense of humor, and we would be absolutely lost without her here.

Denise and Mitzi are the primary Housekeepers over at Brewster By The Sea, but we are lucky enough to be blessed with their company a few days each week when they help out here at the Captain Freeman Inn. They are both Jamaican residents who work on the Cape in the summertime, and between the two of them they could floor a room with laughter! Always up for a joke, a game, or a spontaneous dance party, their positive energy is positively contagious. Sometimes they will even cook a delicious Jamaican meal for the rest of the staff! They are both major assets to our team, and we are lucky to have them.

Antonio is our resident Handyman, and he can honestly do just about anything! Painting, landscaping, tiling, plumbing, electrical wiring, furniture repairing – you name it, Antonio does it. Born in Colombia, he has been living in the United States for the past 20 years and working hard to put his children through school and, he hopes, to eventually move his entire family here to be with him. His work ethic is unparalleled, and the fact that he does it all with a huge grin lighting up his face makes me respect him even more.

Our newest team member is Emily, and she has been hired as an occasional Breakfast Chef, Server and Housekeeper. Recently married, she and her husband live right here in Brewster and during the off season she works as a substitute teacher for the Brewster Elementary School system. She has been a most welcome addition to our summer staff, and her coconut cupcakes are already a guest favorite!

Last, but certainly not least, we have Donna and Byron Cain, Owners of this beautiful establishment. They are two of the most warm, genuine, compassionate and well-intentioned people I have ever met. Byron is originally from Wyoming, and his previous career as a geophysicist allowed him to travel the world from China to Nigeria to Colombia. Donna was born in the Berkshires and she spent many years catering in that area before becoming a furniture buyer in Houston. Luckily for all of us, they decided to leave their “normal jobs” back in 2003 to open their first Bed & Breakfast, Brewster By The Sea. After mastering the art of Innkeeping there, they decided to purchase their second B&B, the Captain Freeman Inn, in January 2011 and have lovingly restored this beautiful property ever since.