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!

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.

No more dated wallpaper at the Captain Freeman Inn on Cape Cod

bu Donna Cain, Innkeeper and owner

We have been remodeling the lovely Captain Freeman Inn for 2 years now. When we purchased the inn it had been in disrepair for several years and had many walls with very outdated wallpaper. I love design and color and really enjoyed the remodeling process. But like the old saying “Rome was not built in a day” was true with our time and budget, and we could not get to all of the remodeling at once. One of my pet peeves was the blue floral wall paper in all of the halls (three floors of very cheery dated pink and blue flowers…uhhhhh!)

Happy to report that we are on the last leg of removing the old paper. Our handy man Antonio has been very busy and has done a great job floating the walls.

Antonio at work at the Captain Freeman

We chose a very soothing light  blue color that is perfect. We also have added some new sconces for lighting and nautical artwork. I could not be more pleased!
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It’s always amazing to me what a little bit of paint can do to transform a home! Can’t wait to show all of our guests the changes we have made. Thanks Antonio!

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