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

Holiday Home tours and Open Houses on Cape Cod

by Donna Cain, Innkeeper and owner

Captain Freeman Inn

Captain Freeman Inn

The holidays are almost upon us and many of our Cape Cod towns are busy getting ready for their unique celebrations. This year we are having a tree lighting party the day after Thanksgiving. One of my favorite times of the year is decorating the inns for the holidays. We have so many special family decorations and have added some new ones now that we have two inns, the Captain Freeman Inn and Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa.

December 2: We have our own tour at the Captain Freeman Inn which is put on by the Brewster Historical Society and is part of the Brewster for the Holidays Celebration. This year the tour includes 3 of the other historical inns in Brewster, the Old Manse Inn, the Candleberry Inn and the Sea Meadow Inn.

The tour includes a narrated bus tour to the inns with the tour at 2:30 being by candlelight. Each inn will have refreshments as well as historic information along with details about the inn’s architecture. For more information or to purchase tickets call Sandra Tubman at 508-896-3128 or email us at brewsterhstours@comcast.net.

December 1-2, 8-9, 15-16: Country Christmas- Holiday decorations inspired by a country home in bygone era. Taste a sampling of delicious Jam Kitchen products and a cup of mulled cider. Browse among a variety of great holiday gift ideas including jams, jellies, relishes, books and nature related items. For more information http://www.thortonburgess.org or come to Green Briar Nature Center and Jam Kitchen in East Sandwich.

December 7& 8: Chatham Historical Society’s Annual Hearth warming. Celebrate the holidays “Artwood House-style” Hot mulled cider and baked goods, caroling, Christmas tree lighting, crafts, pictures with Mrs. Claus at the Atwood House Mueseum. See http://www.chatahmhistoricalsociety.org for more informaiton.

December 9: Christmas Open House at the Manse Dennis “Villages” Stroll- Docents in colonial attire will guide you through the festively decorated home of Reverand Dennis. For more information see http://www.dennishistsoc.org

December 9: Holiday House Tour and Boutique- Tour beautiful homes festively decorated for the season and shop for unique gifts and decorations at the Boutique, which will be held at the library. For more information see http://www.westfalmouthlibrary.org

December 9: Holly Days Home Tour- Homeowners and innkeepers, along with area designers, florists and retailers decorate Snadwich’s finest homes as a welcoming celebration of the season. Docents will be stationed at each destination to point out historic and architectural features, unique furnishings and special decorations. For more information see http://www.sandwichhollydays.com

December 9: Chatham Historic Inn Tour- Participating inns throughout Chatham are decorated for the holiday season. Enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas in ten of Chatham’s intimate inns and elegant ocean front resorts. For more information see http://www.chathaminfo.com

December 16: Dennis Historical Society Christmas open House- Celebrate the season at the home built for Captain Theophilus Baker in 1801 now called “Jericho Historical Center”. Enjoy the beautiful Victorian decorations and traditional holiday refreshements. For more information see http://www.dennishistsoc.org

Happy Holidays to all!

Cape Cod Art Galleries

Fall is my favorite time of year to be on Cape Cod, as most of the crowds have left for the season but all of the beauty that surrounds this special place remains. It’s this unique natural beauty that brings so many artists to the Cape – they come here looking for inspiration and boy do they find it! Brewster is home to many talented painters and sculptors, several of whom have works displayed right here at the Captain Freeman Inn, and some of my favorite galleries are sprinkled throughout Cape Cod and the Islands.

This is a painting of the Captain Freeman Inn by local artist Karen North Wells

Karen North Wells is an award winning painter of both watercolors and oils, and she has one of the most interesting galleries you will ever see. The Underground Art Gallery was designed by her late husband, renowned architect Malcolm Wells, back in 1988. It is an earth-covered structure that was built to demonstrate environmentally sound construction practices, and it houses both Karen’s studio and her exhibit space. They are open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 12-5.

Chatham Cat by Timothy Jon Struna

Timothy Jon Struna works with the mediums of watercolor, oil, acrylic and copper plate engraving. Over the past four decades he has developed his own characteristic style, incorporating subtle abstract qualities into traditional realism. His work reflects a great appreciation for this area – focusing on the beaches, marshes and cranberry bogs as well as classic studies of Cape architecture, all with an apparent absence of people. “I rarely put figures in my paintings because I want myself, and in turn the viewer, to be the human element in the painting. I want my viewers to experience the scene on their own, just as I painted it in the studio. To see the subject as I am seeing it, like the beach at sunrise before there’s another footprint in the sand.” To see his subjects in person, visit Struna Galleries in Brewster, open daily from 11-5.

Highland Light Sunrise by Amy Sanders, featured at the Addison Art Gallery

Addison Art Gallery in Orleans is a rare and special place that cultivates relationships between artists, collectors and gallery staff to create a truly memorable experience. Set in a classic half-Cape full of natural light, the gallery has a comfortable atmosphere and feels more like a private home than a business. There is a sculpture garden in front, cathedral ceilings upstairs to display more contemporary art, and a fireplace so people can see what a painting would look like over a mantle.

The Haze by Patrick Kitson, featured at Tree’s Place

Also in Orleans is Tree’s Place, one of America’s finest contemporary art galleries specializing in realism, impressionism, and post-modernism. Their goal is to recognize and support those artists whose work demonstrates the competence of classical training while simultaneously depicting the modern world, and they are committed to presenting traditionally rendered original works which preserve the integrity of fine art.

Memories Evoked by Peter Quidley

And though the Quidley & Company Gallery is located all the way over on Nantucket, I would be remiss to leave it out of my list of local favorites. Their featured artist, Peter Quidley, is a personal friend of mine and truly one of the most talented people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. As one critic said “The first thing you notice about Peter Quidley’s oil paintings is the shimmering, lustrous character of the light which seems to radiate from the inside out, as if each picture is infused with its own individual incandescence.” Trust me, it is definitely worth stopping by this gallery the next time you are on the Islands!