“Class Act” was the title of the headline of our local newspaper this morning. When I glanced over the headlines I knew the face looked familiar but I did make the connection that Suzy Brooks and her husband had stayed with us for our French cooking school at the Captain Freeman Inn.
Suzy was one of five teachers nationwide to receive the national award recognizing her social media savvy in the classroom. The third grade teacher at Mullen Hall School in Falmouth has more then 12,000 followers on Pinterest, where she shares teaching strategies, links, tools and suggestions. Add to that 600 friends on her professional Facebook page and more than 3,000 twitter followers, and it’s no wonder her fellow educators call her a social media rock star.
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-
and a Huevos Rancheros savory breakfast
and a delicious farm to table Red Pepper Fritatta with sausage, just to name a few!
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.
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.
Guest blogger, Suzy Brooks
We recently had a wonderful gathering at the Captain Freeman for our Provence Cooking School. My husband and I enjoyed a lovely dinner afterwards (where we get to eat all of the delicious food made in the class) with a lovely couple that joined in on the festivities. Their family has a wonderful tradition of creating mystery trips for their kids. This trip was a surprise for Suzy and when we heard she loves to blog about their “Mystery trips” we anxiously awaited her post. Thanks Suzy for sharing on our blog.
The post below along with the great pictures was written by Suzy Brooks.
“A Mystery Ride? For ME?” After years of planning Mystery Rides for my children, husband, family and friends, the day had finally come… Mr. Brooks had just announced to me that he was planning a Mystery Ride to celebrate my birthday. I truly couldn’t believe my ears, and instantly my excited anticipation began to grow.
What is a Mystery Ride, you ask? That’s a good question!! Mystery Rides have been part of our family fun since ten years ago when we tried to spring a surprise Disney Trip on our kids. We were in Boston when they confusedly demanded to know what we were up to. We took pity on them and excitedly announced we were going to Disney World! Their reaction was less than happy, and in fact, one child (who shall not be named) dissolved into a puddle of tears, demanding to go home. It was on this Pillar of Joy our Mystery Rides were founded. Since then, we have been whisking each other off on surprise trips to Hither and Yon, with mixed results along the way.
The trip that launched a thousand Mystery Rides: Florida!
Through the years, our Mystery Rides have run the gamut: from simple (Kite flying in Newport) to complex (an April vacation spent at Six Flags) and from unsuccessful (a hike on a hot day) to awesome (a historical trip to Boston). All rides have the same common denominator – the Ride Recipient has no clue what the plan is. Questions and guesses are encouraged and welcome, and are fired off at every turn of the steering wheel. However, the answer is always the same. No matter what we are asked, we always answer with:
“That’s a good question!”.
Here’s a peek at a few (oh, okay – a BUNCH) of our past trips:
A heated, historical hike. This one was a flop!
Hanging out with V.B. from Fox 25 News. He included the kids in his broadcast.
High atop the Custom House in Boston
Matfield Maple Farm, where we learned all about Maple Syrup!
Basketball Hall of Fame & Six Flags on this Ride!
A day in Newport, RI
Waterfire in Providence, RI
The Urban Art Bar in Boston
Ghost Tour with our favorite Freedom Trail Tour Guide, Jeremiah Poope
Another fabulous day in Boston. Quack, Quack!!
International Auto Show
5 Wits at Patriot Place
A Mystery Ride for 40 grown-ups!!
A van full of Mystery Riders
I bet by now you are wondering where Mr. Brooks brought me on my Mystery Ride, right?? That’s a good question! Unfortunately, due to all the storms we had this winter, my Mystery Ride was cancelled. Twice. It was nearly two months later before we were able to get rolling! But, the day finally arrived, and we were off! We headed down Cape, and after many incorrect guesses on my part, around noon we arrived at the Captain Freeman Inn in Brewster.
The Captain Freeman Inn, Brewster
The smile on my face began to broaden as we checked in and our host asked if we were here for the Cape Cod Culinary Cooking School. Cooking school?? Yaay! Mr. Brooks finally filled me in. We were here for a French cooking class, along with some other guests at the Inn. We would be working in their commercial kitchen to prepare a meal with Chef Carol, and later on, we would be enjoy our creation for dinner. I couldn’t wait to get started!
Putting the finishing touches on the fresh fruit tart.
All finished!! Would you like some?? YUM!
Salad Nicoise with fresh tuna. Delicious!
I have to say it was well worth the wait. Innkeepers Donna and Byron have a beautiful inn, and provided such a memorable experience for all of their guests. Arriving there was a wonderful surprise, and truly worthy of the Mystery Ride title!
I think Mystery Rides have become so ingrained in our family tradition because of the side effects… For those of us planning a Mystery Ride, we have the opportunity to plan with the receiver in mind. It is fun to surprise others and it makes for playful interaction. As a recipient of a Mystery Ride, we learn patience, trust, flexibility and geography!! Joy is in the anticipation, and with Mystery Rides, our anticipation is even higher than when we plan typical family outings. I hope to keep planning Mystery Rides for years to come, and having one planned just for me was SO fun!!
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.
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 main course of delicious Game Hens with a Honey Lavender Glaze
and my favorite, Salad Nicoise with haricot verts, baby potatoes, black olives and sliced fresh tuna.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
By Donna Cain, Innkeeper and owner
This mornings breakfast included a delicious baked pear that Byron garnished with fresh orange, blueberries and blackberries and a homemade raspberry sauce…..mnnnnn!
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.
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.
. 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.
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.
Esperanza 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. 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.
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.
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.
Almond-Crusted French Toast served with Strawberries and Hickory Smoked Bacon
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!
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.
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!