Mystery Ride to Cape Cod at the Captain Freeman Inn

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.

Mystery Ride

Posted April 20, 2013 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!!

Ride on,

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.
Frittata-20130318-0202

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.
DSC00259
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

DSC00207
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!

DSC00210
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.

DSC00203

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!