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!

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

Meet The Captain Freeman Inn 2012 Team

by Shannon Lane

I am one of those lucky people who is fortunate enough to love both what I do for work and the people I get to work with here at the Captain Freeman Inn. I have so enjoyed getting to know each of them, so it only seems fair for me to share the joy and let you get to know them a bit too!

From left to right, Nathan, Antonio, Mitzi, Corrine and Shannon enjoy one of Donna’s delicious breakfasts!

Lisa has been working as our Head Breakfast Chef, occasional Innkeeper and Housekeeper at the Captain Freeman Inn since it was purchased back in January 2011 (she had previously been doing Housekeeping over at our sister property, Brewster By The Sea). A native Cape Codder, Lisa lives with her boyfriend Bryan right here in Brewster at Sweetwater Forrest. Together they have three dogs, and Lisa also owns a horse that she rescued from the racetracks. She is an absolute genius in the kitchen, and especially loves making and decorating beautiful cakes for all of our guests’ special occasions. Someday she would love to go to veterinary school, but I selfishly don’t ever want her to leave us because I can’t even imagine this place without her smiling face :).

Nathan is our Property Manager, occasional Innkeeper and a general Jack of All Trades. Raised in Houston, he is a southern gentleman at heart who has temporarily relocated to New England for schooling. Nate does just about everything you can imagine around here, from landscaping to rewiring lamps to renovating bathrooms! He is currently attending UMass Dartmouth with a double major in Biology and Economics, which makes him an official smarty pants, and when not staying on campus during the school year he lives right here at the Inn. His sense of humor is appreciated by coworkers and guests alike, and his sharp intelligence has led to many interesting conversations in our guest lounge.

Corrine is our Main Housekeeper, and I like to call her Corrine the Machine because she is so good and so fast at what she does! Originally from Jamaica, she moved to the United States in 2009 to be close to her sister, niece and nephews. An Aunt Extraordinaire, Corrine loves to spend time at home with her family in Orleans playing games, going to the beach, and watching Disney movies. Her quiet demeanor and compassionate nature mask a wicked sense of humor, and we would be absolutely lost without her here.

Denise and Mitzi are the primary Housekeepers over at Brewster By The Sea, but we are lucky enough to be blessed with their company a few days each week when they help out here at the Captain Freeman Inn. They are both Jamaican residents who work on the Cape in the summertime, and between the two of them they could floor a room with laughter! Always up for a joke, a game, or a spontaneous dance party, their positive energy is positively contagious. Sometimes they will even cook a delicious Jamaican meal for the rest of the staff! They are both major assets to our team, and we are lucky to have them.

Antonio is our resident Handyman, and he can honestly do just about anything! Painting, landscaping, tiling, plumbing, electrical wiring, furniture repairing – you name it, Antonio does it. Born in Colombia, he has been living in the United States for the past 20 years and working hard to put his children through school and, he hopes, to eventually move his entire family here to be with him. His work ethic is unparalleled, and the fact that he does it all with a huge grin lighting up his face makes me respect him even more.

Our newest team member is Emily, and she has been hired as an occasional Breakfast Chef, Server and Housekeeper. Recently married, she and her husband live right here in Brewster and during the off season she works as a substitute teacher for the Brewster Elementary School system. She has been a most welcome addition to our summer staff, and her coconut cupcakes are already a guest favorite!

Last, but certainly not least, we have Donna and Byron Cain, Owners of this beautiful establishment. They are two of the most warm, genuine, compassionate and well-intentioned people I have ever met. Byron is originally from Wyoming, and his previous career as a geophysicist allowed him to travel the world from China to Nigeria to Colombia. Donna was born in the Berkshires and she spent many years catering in that area before becoming a furniture buyer in Houston. Luckily for all of us, they decided to leave their “normal jobs” back in 2003 to open their first Bed & Breakfast, Brewster By The Sea. After mastering the art of Innkeeping there, they decided to purchase their second B&B, the Captain Freeman Inn, in January 2011 and have lovingly restored this beautiful property ever since.

Your Innkeeper’s Perfect Day in Brewster by the Bay

by Shannon Lane

I grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Brewster for my high school and college years. Coming home now after 10 years in the Boston area has brought back a flood of great memories, and recently I’ve been dreaming about what my perfect day in this beautiful town would be like.

This is the poolside porch at the Captain Freeman Inn, where guests often enjoy their breakfasts and where Shannon dreams of enjoying hers!

It would honestly start here on the Captain Freeman Inn’s poolside screened-in porch, eating one of Lisa and Donna’s delectable breakfast creations. Fresh squeezed orange juice and a cup of Harney & Sons Earl Grey Tea would definitely be involved, as would fresh pineapple with dried cranberries, Crème Brûlée French Toast and a couple of slices of hickory smoked bacon. Yummers! To complete the perfect breakfast experience, I would enjoy one of our warm, lavender and grapefruit scented hand towels draped over my welcoming face.

Creme Brûlée French Toast

After that I would head over to the John Wing Hiking Trail at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History. This is one of my favorite walks, as it passes through the coastal pitch pine woodlands, across a salt marsh to Wing’s Island, and finally descends through a salt marsh swale to the barrier beach and tidal pools of Cape Cod Bay. It is truly a microcosm of the Cape’s landscape, highlighting the natural and human development which has shaped this fragile land from geological times to the present. The tidal flats and creeks are home to a variety of fish, crabs, shellfish, worms, and snails as well as many seaside plants, grasses and trees. I discover something new every time I walk there, and always leave with a smile on my face :)

This is the end of the Wing’s Island Trail at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History.

From there I would bike along the Cape Cod Rail Trail to Nickerson State Park for a quick swim in Flax Pond. This is one of the cleanest and loveliest bodies of water I have ever encountered, a 48 acre natural kettlehole pond sitting along 1.1 miles of undeveloped shoreline protected within the confines of Nickerson State Park. The water transparency is excellent, aquatic vegetation is scant and the bottom is composed primarily of soft, light sand. All of this combined makes for a perfect swimming experience, with no worries of unwelcome critters or dark, mysterious algae preventing you from diving right into the refreshingly cool waters. You can even rent canoes, kayaks, and paddle boats there through Jack’s Boat Rental!

Flax Pond at Nickerson State Park has some of the cleanest swimming water around!

Next I would drive on over to Paine’s Creek Beach to watch the sunset. In my most humble opinion, this is the prettiest place in the world to watch a sunset! There’s as good a western view as you can get here on Cape Cod, and the landscape seems to reflect the light as if by magic. Words cannot describe how peaceful and beautiful this experience can be but the amazing picture below, taken by our very own and very talented Byron Cain, should give you a sense of it!

Watching the spectacular sunset at Paine’s Creek is awe inspiring!

Finally, to cap off my perfect Brewster day I would enjoy dinner at the Peddler’s Café on Thad Ellis Road. This is undoubtedly the best hidden gem I have found in 25 years of eating on the Cape. From the moment you walk through the front door you are transported to an intimate French Bistro where food is meant to be enjoyed to its fullest and guests are encouraged to take their time savoring every delicious flavor they encounter. The smells alone are intoxicating, but the first bite that hits your mouth will have you literally moaning with pleasure! The service is welcoming and personal, the ambiance warm and romantic, and the wine list surprisingly expansive.

Head Chef Alain Hassan prepares another delicious entree at the Peddler’s Cafe & Bistro.