Brewster conservation

by Donna Cain, innkeeper and owner

For us, conservation is a lifestyle. For example, we strive to do the right things in being green at the inn, using farm to table practices and reusing things whenever possible. This philosophy took on a new twist when we lost part of a beautiful Norwegian Maple in the back of the Captain Freeman. This tree is probably about 125 years old, based on it’s size and countable rings. When we purchased the Captain Freeman our new neighbors came over to introduce themselves and laughed when they said they had adopted our tree, as the inn had been vacant for several years. The grass on the rest of our property was several feet high, but our gracious neighbors had mowed the grass around the tree and had set a bench at the base. It really was a lovely thought as their grandchildren came to visit in the summer, and they all gathered around  this tree to let the kids play in a small  pool. Since then we have lovingly restored the grounds around the inn and have also enjoyed it’s shade and respite in the summer months. This past winter we had several North Easters that brought down two large limbs of the tree.

Side lawn at the Captain Freeman

Side lawn at the Captain Freeman

We were saddened as it was evident that the tree was diseased and would probably have to be totally removed in the next few years. My husband Byron cut up some of the branches and again our neighbor came and asked if we would mind if a friend took some of the wood as he was a craftsman that made lovely bowls. We were glad to share and know that the wood was put to some good use.

This morning as we were finishing up breakfast and had a surprise visit from Craig McConchie. Criag is a talented artist who specializes in wood and glass. He brought us a beautiful round bowl made from our tree:)

Wood bowl by Craig McConchie

Wood bowl by Craig McConchie

Byron and I were both so tickled when we looked at this web site, Tobias Wood and Glass and saw all of his beautiful pieces.Some of Craig’s other pieces that can be purchased on Etsy include:

Wood bowls

Wood bowls

Stained glass

Stained glass

Stained glass

Stained glass

We had a great conversation with Craig and were delighted to learn that his grandparents use to own “High Brewster” We had heard many stories from our guests about this restaurant and inn that was renowned for their great home style meals.

High Brewster Homested

High Brewster Homested

High Brewster was built in 1738 by the Winslow family on the north edge of Lower Mill Pond. It was run as an inn for most of the past century. The Thorne family bought it in 2001 and have been restoring it ever since.

I was also excited to learn that Craig raises chickens (I have wanted to get a chicken coop for year) and honey and would be able to provide us with some fresh eggs and honey for our breakfasts at the Captain Freeman Inn.

So all in all a great day! So much fun to have a beautiful bowl to remember our beautiful tree. We are talking about what species we will replace it with ….. thinking about a Tupelo or Swamp Oak Tree.

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!

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

It’s Wedding Season on Cape Cod!

by Shannon Lane

Cape Cod is one of the most desirable wedding destinations in the world, and the newly remodeled Captain Freeman Inn is a perfect venue for intimate ceremonies on the beach or in our beautiful gardens. We specialize is small weddings and elopements that are highly customized, which means that each event is as unique as each couple we host.

One of our unique and beautiful flower arrangements

Our first wedding of the 2012 season was for a wonderful Scottish couple named Elaine and Sandy. After 20 years together they finally decided to tie the knot, and we were honored that they selected us to help plan their special day. Traveling across the Atlantic to celebrate with them was their amazingly fun family, and boy did those Scots know how to celebrate! The gents all wore traditional Scottish kilts, sporrans and brogue shoes while the ladies donned some fabulous fascinators. They even had Scottish themed plaid confetti to throw at the happy couple when they were pronounced husband and wife!

Elaine and Sandy at Linnell Landing Beach in Brewster

Another happy couple to get married at our Inn this summer was Deana and Chris. To say that these two lovebirds were crazy about each other would be an understatement. They were so in love that I honestly wept as I watched them say their vows to each other (I wasn’t alone – Chris later told me that he had successfully managed to avoid crying himself until he saw me doing so, and then his own tears started flowing). Along with their family, they married on the beach, toasted with champagne and strawberries back at the Inn, and enjoyed fine Italian food at Buca’s Tuscan Roadhouse for their dinner reception.

Deana and Chris at Paine’s Creek Beach in Brewster

As much as we love planning weddings, we also love hosting vow renewal ceremonies and this summer we were fortunate enough to do so for Erik and Aprile as they celebrated their 10 year anniversary. They chose the always beautiful Paine’s Creek beach as the setting for their special day, and this time around it was Byron who got teary-eyed listening to their touching and heartfelt vows. Not even the hot sand could put a damper on the happiness of the day, because Erik and Aprile just cooled their feet in the always refreshing Atlantic Ocean, wedding dress and all!

Aprile and Erik at Paine’s Creek Beach in Brewser

A true elopement is always such a romantic occasion, and Julia and Simon are a gorgeous German couple who decided to elope in secret here on Cape Cod before they have a larger wedding for their friends and family back home. They chose to have their ceremony at a beach in Harwichport and it was a perfect location for them, with the waves crashing at their bare feet. Even a group of children playing nearby wanted to get in on the action, and they managed to pose in many of the post wedding pictures with the glowing bride and grinning groom. Afterwards they headed to a romantic dinner for two at the Ocean House in Dennis, capping off a perfect day with a perfect dinner on the water!

Julia and Simon at Ayer Lane Beach in Harwichport

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.