Washing away the cob webs

As innkeepers on Cape Cod, we are blessed to meet the most wonderful people. Our guest blogger, Catherine, has been visiting us every spring for many years, and we always look forward to our visits with her. She is a remarkable lady who really appreciated the natural beauty of Cape Cod. The picture below was taken by our resident photographer at our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast, Byron and represents all that Catherine pens about in her blog. Thank you Catherine for sharing parts of your visit with our readers.

Cape Cod sunset

Cape Cod sunset

Guest blogger, Catherine Lombardozzi

June 7, 2013 by cmtl

“Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.”
~ Dee Hock

Experts say that taking time off allows your mind to process all that you’ve been cramming into it, and to noodle through some of those nagging questions you haven’t had time to ponder. So when I go on vacation, I try to leave plenty of space for good old-fashioned vegging out – and a rainy day is a perfect excuse to do just that. Of course, sunshine is a good excuse for it as well, which the last several days have proved! But for some reason today felt like a true veg day.

I think everyone on the entire east coast got something of a drenching over the last few days as a front comes through bringing up remnants of tropical storm Andrea. I managed to squeak in a long walk on the beach this morning – a little cool and breezy, and occasionally drizzly, but peaceful nonetheless. I headed down the road a bit to walk on Paine’s Creek Beach. The storms over the last few years have changed the contours of the beach a bit – the parking lot is completely gone and the homes along the beach seem a lot more exposed than before.

Paine’s Creek Beach.
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After the long walk, I stopped to browse at the Brewster Bookstore and eat some lunch at the Marshside restaurant. Afterwards, I took a drive for a bit to indulge my real estate envy.

The rain came in earnest by mid-day so I spent the afternoon reading on the porch. It was chilly, but I made it cozy with my light jacket and a throw blanket fashioned from a beach towel. Today, I finished Zig Zag: The surprising path to greater creativity and made additional progress on Networked: The new social operating system – both interesting reads that gave me lots to ponder.

All you need for reading – a comfy spot and a restful view.

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“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.”
~ Robert Orben

I’ll be leaving the Cape tomorrow all rested and refreshed. Between the stunning beach walks, the stimulating reading, and rain to clear away any lingering cobwebs – I would call this a successful vacation so far. I have another treat in store visiting the Connecticut Lombardozzi’s overnight on Saturday, extending my vacation for one more day.

I’m hopeful the rain will break early enough to allow for one more long beach walk. That would be icing on the cake!

“Total physical and mental inertia are highly agreeable, much more so than we allow ourselves to imagine. A beach not only permits such inertia but enforces it, thus neatly eliminating all problems of guilt. It is now the only place in our overly active world that does.”
~ John Kenneth Galbraith

New breakfast chef at the Captain Freeman Inn

Breakfast chef at the Captain Freeman

Breakfast chef at the Captain Freeman

We are thrilled and delighted to have Nick Caplice as our new breakfast chef at the Captain Freeman Inn. Nick brings a wealth of experience having tenured under 3 Best Chefs of America, including Anthony Silvestri of the Ocean House Restaurant, Toby Hill of Pain D”Avignon Bistro and Bakery and currently Lyric Restaurant and Nick’s present employer by evening, Ruth Manchester of the Bramble Inn. He attributes all of his professional inspiration to these three wonderful Chefs.

The timing could not be more perfect in having an experienced chef in our commercial kitchen at the inn. This past winter we reinvented our breakfast menu to include wonderful new additions such as a rustic pear tart as a yummy morning appetizer to enjoy with your coffee or tea-

Rustic pear tart

Rustic pear tart

and a Huevos Rancheros savory breakfast

Huevos Rancheros with Eggs

Huevos Rancheros with Eggs

and a delicious farm to table Red Pepper Fritatta with sausage, just to name a few!

Red Pepper Fritatta

Red Pepper Fritatta

Nick’s background is primarily as a cook, and he is thrilled and delighted to try his hand at the inn’s baking needs. Every afternoon he whips up a wonderful treat for our afternoon repast. Today’s treat included some delicious Pecan Tassies.

Pecan Tassies

Pecan Tassies

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Nick was born on the Cape in Marston Mills and enjoys spending time with his darling one year old daughter, Lily. Her picture can be found in the front of his recipe book, and he smiled in telling us that she is his motivation in life!  Ahhhh, what a great Dad!

His friendly smile, talent in the kitchen and his quiet demeanor are a wonderful addition to our Captain Freeman Inn and Brewster by the Sea family.

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!

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!