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!

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

Lemon Fairy Cakes

From — Sunie Pope Innkeeper, Captain Freeman Inn

Our creativity in the kitchen is at it’s peak on Fridays at CFI and BBTS because it’s CUPCAKE day!!!  In case you haven’t noticed, we love our pastries at the Inn.  How can you go wrong?  Okay, so Lisa is a bit more mainstream in her baking, she loves to create recipes that will unquestionably be a hit (and every single one has been) and I prefer to work with ingredients that are a bit “off the cuff” (aka whole wheat and natural sweeteners).  I’ve been working on creating recipes that are not an “acquired taste” and offer a dynamic flavor with the healthful addition.  So, I’m sure you can imagine how much recipe testing and tasting goes on in the CFI kitchen.  We have a lot of fun laughing, dancing, (disagreeing) and decorating.  Haha.

So why cupcakes (or “Fairy Cakes” as the Brits say), you wonder?  Have you not noticed the 2011 trend?  Cupcakes are IN these days (yes, believe it or not we’re still aware of the fads out there even though we’re in the midst of the ocean).  Have you been to a wedding lately?  Couples are choosing cupcakes as an accompaniment to a small wedding cake. I’ve been asked to bake 300 cupcakes for a birthday/goodbye party next month.  People are requesting them for every occasion all over the states.   Why?  My take is that they’re fast to serve and individually prepared, there is charm to the decoration of a cupcake, and each person that eats one feels special.  A cupcake is a treat that was made just for you!  Think about it, Pizza Hut came up with  personal pan pizza years ago and that’s still a hit.  Cupcakes are the same idea.  Who doesn’t want something that was made just for them?  Oh yes please!  Plus, bakers can work with all sorts of sizes.  At CFI we tend to stick to minis… the smaller the more you can eat, right?  ;)

Now there are millions of cupcake recipes out there.  Why this recipe, you ask?  I love LEMON (as do Abbi, Byron and Lisa).  We go crazy over it!  When I make something lemony, I have to hide it.  Otherwise, the dessert is gone before I get a chance to put out a second helping for our guests.  These lemon cupcakes are simple, elegant and oh so moist.  Plus, one of our guests took a bite and immediately asked for the recipe.  To me, that means time to share!

LEMON FAIRY CAKES

serves 24

3 c flour (2 parts white, 1 part whole wheat pastry)

1 T baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 c unsalted butter, room temp

2 c sugar (or 1 1/2 c agave nectar)

4 large eggs, room temp

grated lemon zest from 3 lemons

2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice (or more if you really like lemon, like me)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 c buttermilk

lemon curd

1. Over preheat to 325 degrees

2. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt

3. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy with an electric mixer.

4. Add eggs one at a time.

5. Beat in zest and vanilla.

6. Slowly add flour mixture, do not overmix.

7. Fill cupcake tin 3/4 full.

8. Bake for 25 min.

9. Once cooled, dent center with knife and fill with lemon curd as desired.

MASCARPONE FROSTING

4 T softened butter

8 oz (1 c) mascarpone cheese

2 1/2 – 3 c white powdered sugar

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. lemon zest

1. With a mixer, cream butter and cheese.

2. Add lemon juice and zest.

3. Slowly add sugar until you find the consistency you desire.

4. Drizzle frosting over cupcakes and top with lemon zest.

You really could use any sort of frosting recipe.  I found the mascarpone complimented the tart lemon really well, but a buttercream frosting will give them more of a festive look.  Add a little more lemon zest on top and you’ll be sure to put a smile on everyone’s face.

Good luck!  And have fun!  Of course, if you’d rather not bake but love lemon as much as I do, feel free to request these next time you’re here.  Brewster Bed and breakfast at your service!

Brewster for the Holidays

From — Sunie Pope Innkeeper, Captain Freeman Inn

Let the Holiday Festivities begin!  There certainly is no snow on the ground (just yet), it’s been so warm, but we sure are ready for it!

You may recall reading about Brewster for the Holidays on this blog not too long ago; this weekend it is taking place.  The shops are open and the cookies are baked.  Things are deliciously busy (for Cape Cod’s off-season, that is).

At The Captain Freeman Inn we hosted tours for the public to come view the renovations we’ve made over the year, including our lovely new sitting room!
  Donna and Byron went on a Christmas decorating frenzy, and they sure know how to decorate!  The Inn is just beautiful, filled with so many reds and greens and whites.  What a great way to get into the Christmas Spirit.  Can you believe it’s already December?
Visitors came piling in for chocolate truffles from Brewster Sweets, cinnamon dusted eggnog and our delicious Christmas cookies.  Lisa baked sweet gingerbread cookies and crispy sugar cookies.  We spent the day giggling and decorating the little men and reindeer yesterday.  Oh yes, we got a little creative!Us ladies put on our antlers and headed out into the crowds of Brewster-folk to mix and mingle.  So much laughter and cheer on Cape Cod year round.  Tomorrow is the final day of the festival, so head on over.  Join in on the fun by purchasing a raffle ticket to win over $1000 in coupons at all the local shops in Brewster!  The Chamber of Commerce has put a lot of effort into Brewster for the Holidays.  And it always shows well.
Happy Holidays!  Yes, we’re still open to guests.  We look forward to welcoming you to our Bed and Breakfast soon.

Maple Walnut Bars

From — Sunie Pope, Innkeeper Captain Freeman Inn

If you’re anything like me, you’re thrilled for Thanksgiving!  FAMILY TIME!!!  And it’s also my time for a mini-vacation from all the cooking, believe it or not… My multi-talented aunt hosts a glorious meal with wonderfully cheery guests at her home in New Jersey.

Do you have guests coming this week or perhaps you need to bring something to your Thanksgiving buffet?  I have just the recipe!

About a month ago I stumbled upon a Maple Walnut Bar recipe that I’ve tweaked and baked in honor of autumn, my favorite season.  Days later, one of our guests contacted us.  She couldn’t stop thinking about these delectable treats and had to have the recipe.  She said, (and I quote) “I died and went to heaven on them!!”  And what better time to share an EASY recipe than a few days before Thanksgiving, when you’re rushing to get things done and aren’t so sure how that dessert is going to hold up this year…  Good luck!

These maple walnut bars are begging you to give them a try.  They’re very easy, straight-forward and quite delicious!  Plus, it’s partially sweetened with maple syrup – so you can feel a little better about your choices for your health!

Bars:
2 c flour (1 part white, 1 part whole wheat pastry)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c light brown sugar
1/2 c salted butter, softened
1 c pure maple syrup
1 large egg
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 c (4 oz) walnuts, chopped
1. Combine flour and soda, mix well.
2. Electric mix sugar, butter then add maple syrup, egg and vanilla on high, until creamy.
3. Slow mixer’s speed and add flour mixture and walnuts, be careful not to over mix.
4. Pour batter into greased 8″ x 8″ baking pan and smooth out.
5. Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes.
6. Cool in pan for 15 min.
7. Remove from pan and cool completely before icing.
Frosting:
1/2 c salted butter, softened
2 oz cream cheese, softened
1 T light brown sugar
3 T pure maple syrup
1/4 c + 2 T confectioner’s sugar
walnut halves
1. Cream butter and cream cheese with electric mixer at high speed.
2. Add brown sugar and maple syrup, until smooth.
3. Slow speed and add confectioners’ sugar.
4. Return to high speed and mix until smooth.  (I found it was not nearly thick enough, so I added an additional cup of confectioners’ sugar.)
5. Once bars are completely cooled, spread frosting on and top with a walnut!
You and everyone else you’re feeding will love them!  Give this recipe a whirl and let me know what you think!
If you don’t bake, I guess you’ll just have to make your way to The Captain Freeman Inn to taste these goodies.  Be sure to mention them when you make the reservation!
Oh, and if you come for my high tea‘s, let me know you want these and I’ll be sure they’re on the menu.
Any requests for a recipe you’ve been dying to try but haven’t found the right one or are too afraid to try first?  I’m ready!  Just ask!  :)
 
Happy Thanksgiving!
For those of you still looking for a place to go for this wonderful holiday, think about making a last minute booking with us.  At our bed and breakfast, you will be treated like Kings and Queens with delicious breakfasts and relaxing scenery.

Pastries Galore

From — Sunie Pope, Innkeeper Captain Freeman Inn

Donna, Abbi, Lisa and I attended a 3 hour pastry class at Upper Cape Tech in Bourne, MA (the very beginning of Cape Cod).  We drove up a steep hill to reach the school doors at sunset, the view of the Sagamore & Bourne Bridge from up there was awesome!

Our teacher, Joyce Krystofolski, a pastry chef with over 20 years experience and owner of Delicious Endeavors, was a riot!  We got down and dirty with pastry flour, eggs and sugar (the basic ingredients for any pastry chef).  We re-explored the basics in baking.  Joyce had us preparing mini-almond cakes, chocolate shortbread cookies, shortdough crusts with lemon filling, pate a choux, creme patissiere and pecan tassies.  The most important thing, she stressed, was to measure all of our ingredients in weight.  Otherwise everyone’s measurements will be different.  We had quite a fun time learning new recipes and relearning the basics.  Always a good way to spend an educational evening when you’re a chef.

My favorite recipe was the almond cake, a variation on a recipe I have been making for years.  I adore nut flour based cakes as opposed to wheat flours, the flavor is so much more intense and the texture is thick and moist.  Although this recipe included a bit of white flour, it was mostly made of almonds.  You can always replace white flour with whole wheat pastry flour for those health nuts out there (like me).  Delicious and nutritious!

7 oz. almond paste

7oz butter

7 oz sugar

7 oz eggs

3 oz cake flour

Cream almond paste, butter and sugar until completely free of lumps and fluffy.  Slowly add in eggs, beat well.  Add in flour and mix until combined.

Spread in a 12″x18″ (1/2 sheet pan) lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Cool in pan.

Cut cake into 3 even strips (12″x6″) spread first layer with jam, stacking, ending with the last layer without jam.  Spread a thin layer of buttercream on top.  Chill the stack.  Roll out about 8 oz of marzipan very thinly, apply to top of stack.  Cut into 1″x1″ squares.  Perhaps top with fresh fruit.  Can be kept in freezer well wrapped for up to a month.

Come to our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast and Chef Sunie and Chef Lisa will be sure to serve you some pastry goodness similar to what you find in this yummy recipe.