by Donna Cain, Innkeeper/Owner
We had a special treat this weekend with our professional chef, Carol Edmondson, conducting our Winter in Provence cooking school at the beautiful Captain Freeman Inn. Our theme this year is “Small Plates- Big Flavors” which falls in line with my New Year’s resolution to not deprive myself of good food but to eat smaller portions and to savor each bite. We always have plenty of food to satisfy all our guests with larger appetites.
Carol finalizes her menu last minute after she contacts her local markets and farms to see what is fresh and
available. When I visited her on Friday she was prepping the food in the inn’s kitchen and as we were talking, she was carefully cleaning and artfully placing the fresh mushrooms in a basket for the Wild Mushroom Medley. Carol really loves food and it shows in her class. I am a history buff, and I am always intrigued as she weaves the history of each region into her recipes with food hints and demonstrations.
This weekend we explored Province, the Mediterranean heart of Southern France. Our menu included Olive Tapenade on Baguettes, Wild Mushrooms Saute, Duck Breasts Roasted with Honey Lavender Glaze, Salad Nicoise with Fresh Grilled Tuna, AssortedFrench Cheeses and then for dessert a delicious Rustic Tear Tart with Rosemary and Goat’s cheese…Mnnnnn
As I grow older I really appreciate fresh, well prepared food. One of my favorite restaurants is the acclaimed, Brewster Fish House, which is just up the street from the Captain Freeman. Their meals are light, beautifully prepared, and the flavors just burst in your mouth. Enjoying a nice glass of wine that truly compliments the food is my idea of a happy ending to any day on Cape Cod.
Well this meal was exactly that! The tuna was perfectly prepared, just seared on each side for a few minutes. The Nicoise salad was the perfect compliment with the tuna and the mushrooms. Now onto the duck. I have never been a duck fan and rarely order it when we go out, but this duck was delicious as well. It was seasoned with Herb D’Province seasoning and glazed with Honey. It was truly remarkable.
Every good meal is deserving of a good glass of wine, and we always include wine tasting with our cooking school. My husband Byron loves to talk with the folks at Orleans Wine and Spirit. They certainly do know their wines and always have good suggestions when they know what type of foods we will be serving. This time we went with 2-whites , 2 reds and a delicious dessert wine afterwards, all French of course.
For those wine connoisseurs here’s our selection:
Eric Bonnet Muscat de Beaumes-de Veniise Saint Dominique Reserve
Chateau La ouche
Chateau Morillon-Saint-Emillion Grand Cru 2008 (my favorite)
Chateau Fabas Mourral
I am already looking forward to our next class which is on February 11th and will include foods from Florence and Siena. Just to give you a hint, this region celebrates beef and bread along with fruits and vegetables grown locally. Hearty pasta dishes like lasagna and potato gnocchi are popular. Risottos made with Carnaroli and Arborio rice are enhanced with mushrooms, and truffles are gathered and game hunted in local forests. Pumpkin and squashes are popular staples and wine grapes grow on hillside vineyards. Will be fun to see what Carol comes up with for this class.