Thursday, September 30, 2010

Farmer Thursdays-Celebrating the Harvest and the RAIN!!

Alas, it's raining!!  It's what the farmers need - some good ol' H2O. Ironically, the rain fell on the evening that Farm Girl Farmer, Laura Meister, hosted a celebration of the harvest with other farmers and farm advocates at her farm under the tent.  Chef, Brian Alberg, from the Red Lion Inn, served up a grilling extravaganza - goat, lamb burgers, his own smoked ham, veggies and a whole halibut.  Oh my god - it was o-u-t-s-t-a-n-d-i-n-g!!!!!!!
Thank you farmers and Laura!!
And might I add that Chef, Michael Ballon's chocolate covered macaroons were the BEST I have ever tasted - I am buying his cookbook just for that recipe!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We are LIVE! Wednesdays at Heirloom Meals Radio with guest, Shannon Hayes

Can you imagine growing up on a farm and learning the skills to feed yourself and your family? Shannon Hayes shares her memories with host, Carole Murko. Shannon is an advocate of pasture-raised and grassfed meats in addition to sustainable and bio-diverse agriculture. Her advocacy is clearest through her 2 cookbooks, The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook and The Farmer and the Grill where she wants the consumer to understand how to cook with the variability of grassfed animals and the robustness of flavors and taste that result in knowing how to prepare them. It's a lively and interesting discussion on our food system and the importance of small biodiverse farms.

(This is a taped copy of the show as the computer in the studio was not working - I will try and upload the show next week - it starts 10-15 minutes into the show and goes longer so you can stop listening when I end the show.)


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tabletop Tuesdays - A Fall Centerpiece

I was inspired by my garden harvest - why not mix a little kale with some end-of-summer sunflowers for a high-impact centerpiece!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ms Murky Mondays-Return from Country Living Fair

It was quite a trip - 22 hours of driving, 2 cooking demos, lots of great vendors at the fair and an overall great time!!  Thank you Country Living!!
Here's my view from the stage:
And here's what a couple of people had to say:

Basking in the glow!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Carole's Concoctions - Country Living Fair Cooking Demos - Columbus, OH

Late Summer Roasted Heirloom Tomato Risotto and Rice Balls
Risotto is one of the simplest and versatile of dishes. And while I provide this recipe as a guide, keep in mind you can make risotto without the white wine, with just onions if you don’t have shallots, with just butter, just olive oil and with many different “add-ins.” To celebrate the end of summer, however, nothing beats ripe, fresh-from-the-vine tomatoes.
1 quart cherry tomatoes, halved or 4 cups tomatoes, quartered
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 basil, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2-2 1/2 T of butter or olive oil (I use both, 1+ T butter, 1+ T of olive oil)
3/4 cups of a mix of shallots and onions, chopped
(I used 2 shallots and one small onion)
2 cups of Arborio Rice
1/2 cup white wine
8 cups chicken stock
1 cup parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Clean and halve the cherry tomatoes. Toss with olive oil, garlic, basil, salt and pepper. Spread over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 25 minutes.
While your tomatoes are roasting, heat your butter and oil in a large saucepan or risotto pot over medium flame. When butter is melted, add your chopped shallots and onions. Saute for 2-4 minutes until translucent. Then add your arborio rice and stir to coat thoroughly with your butter and oil and then continue to saute for another minute or so. Add your white wine and stir until it is completely absorbed. Next we begin the process that makes risotto creamy. Add a ladle of your hot chicken broth and stir constantly until is is absorbed. Repeat until you have used most, if not all, of your broth; and when your rice is tender but not mushy. At this time, remove from heat, add the parmesan cheese, fold in your tomatoes (which probably came out of the oven 5 minutes or so ago) and serve immediately.
Makes 4 generous dinner servings or 6 side servings.
Risotto Cakes or Balls
(known as Arancini which means small oranges in italian)
2 cups of leftover risotto
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp minced parsley
2/3 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/3 cup corn meal/polenta
2-3 oz. mozzarella diced into 1/4” cubes
Vegetable oil - enough to coat your frying pan with about 1/4” of oil; and to add oil, as needed to fry the rice balls.
Mix risotto, eggs, parmesan salt, pepper and parsley. Blend the bread crumbs and cornmeal together. Mix 1/2 of the bread crumb and cornmeal mixture into the risotto mixture. Place the other 1/2 cup in a bowl to roll your rice balls.
I like to make small, bite-sized balls. Using a teaspoon, scoop a heaping teaspoon and insert a mozzarella cube into middle, roll into ball between your hands to make a tidy ball and then roll into bread crumb/cornmeal mixture. Once done, heat oil over medium-high heat but monitor it as you go. Add the rice balls, cook until golden brown on all sides, remove onto a paper towel to drain excess oil. Serve hot, warm or room temperature and ENJOY!!

Nana’s Lentil Soup
Lentil soup seemed to be an easy and often served soup growing up. Nana always doctored it up with what she had on hand - be it dried salami, pancetta etc. and it was always served with Pecorino Romano cheese. Simple, fast, healthy and delicious.
2 cups lentils, washed and drained
2 1/2 quarts water
1/4 cup dried salami, salt pork, pancetta (or not - tastes better with!!)
3/4 cup chopped carrots
3/4 cups chopped onions
1 clove minced garlic
1 bay leaf
Salt, pepper, parsley - to taste
Grated Pecorino Romano to taste
Place water and lentils in soup pot over medium heat. In another pan, saute dried salami, carrots, onions and garlic for about 10 minutes. Add to lentils with a bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes until lentils are tender. Serve with grated Pecorino Roman and ENJOY!
Curried Lentil Soup - my adult yearnings
While I loved Nana’s lentils, I discovered the world of exotic flavors when I went to college and beyond and grew to adore curry. I became addicted to a curried lentil soup at the Sultan’s Kitchen in Boston and have tried to mimic it’s taste. Here’s what I have come up with. I jazz it up with sweet potatoes and swiss chard to pack a complete anti-oxidant punch - and if you love curry - this is addicting soup!!
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 large onion chopped
4-5 minced garlic cloves
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
8-10 cups chicken broth
4 cups, sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 cups french lentils
1 bay leaf
2 cups of sliced swiss chard
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large soup pot, heat the oil, then add the onions and saute until translucent - 5 minutes or so. Next, add garlic, garam masala, curry powder and jalapenos. Cook until aromatic - about 1 minute. Add 8 cups of chicken broth, lentils and sweet potatoes. Bring to a high heat and boil, and then reduce to a simmer and cover for about 25 minutes. If you like a soupier consistency, this is when you might want to add more broth. Add the swiss chard, and season with salt and pepper and continue to cook for another 20-30 minutes. Once cooked, finish with minced cilantro and serve to your heart’s content and ENJOY!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Farm Girl Farm Thursdays

Thank you Laura for your insights and newsletter!! 
September 21, 2010

Hi all—

Happy autumnal equinox, more or less.  

In the fields, it feels exactly like that kind of half-time—we got hit by a fairly substantial frost last night, it took out the watermelon vines, the basil, the second summer squash planting…the tips of the pepper plants, some but not all of the tomato plants…we’re in a bit of a late summer/early fall twilight zone.  No matter how great of a run we’ve had with these vegetables, and no matter how appropriate the timing of our first frost,  its always a bit shocking, and then melancholy, to be working among the fallen fruits.  Mother nature, always the stern reconciler of time.

Now is the time of season when we all start to think about preserving the harvest, putting things up, pickling, canning, freezing, etc.  Berkshire Grown runs a series of preservation workshops with local restaurants and caterers.  The series is already in progress— for details on upcoming workshops.

Speaking of the changing landscape, we’ll be changing our distribution hours on Tuesdays starting the first week in October (2 distributions from now)—we’ll be wrapping things up at 6 pm instead of 7, because it will be dark by 7.  We’ll remind you copiously between now and then.  Saturday hours will remain the same.

If any of you have a build-up at home of the pint and quart containers that you’ve been using for the cherry tomatoes, bring them in--we will definitely re-use them

We’re still looking forward to lots of kinds of winter squash, turnips, broccoli raab and beets and carrots.  If any of you have fun, easy recipes or preparation suggestions for these veggies, send them along!

Enjoy the harvest this week.

--Laura Meister, Farm Girl Farm Farmer

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

We are LIVE! Wednesdays at Heirloom Meals Radio with German Sachs

Spend an hour listening to host Carole Murko interview German Sachs about her culinary history. She is 100% Italian and cherishes all her memories from her early childhood in Italy to her career as a butcher. But mostly her passion for cooking the old-fashioned way and preserving her family traditions is what resonated with Carole and makes Germana the perfect guest on Heirloom Meals Radio. Can't wait to try some of Germana's recipes!!

Carole Murko 20100922 1300.mp3

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tabletop Tuesdays - Tomato Server

I inherited my Mom's love of all things kitchen and tabletop.  She always had such a pretty tomato server.
So when I was in my 20's and frequented flea markets nearly every weekend with my Mom - guess what I found?
It's a throw-back to the Victorian era when they had a utensil for EVERY purpose!! Serve away!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ms Murky Mondays-Apple Torte Demo on Newschannel13

Basking in the afterglow of a great time with the news team from Albany's NBC affiliate - WNYT - Newschannel 13 - Dan Bazille and Tim Drawbridge!!

Here's the recipe:

Jo’s (my Mom’s) Apple Torte
Our family loves cheesecake and we love apple pie.  So way back when, my Mom who tends to be pie crust challenged, decided to do away with the frustration of a rolled pie dough and combined her cheesecake acumen with apples to create the simplest and most delicious winner. Try it - it will impress your friends and your taste buds!!
1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 stick butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
Cream Cheese Filling
2 - 8 oz. packages of cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs at room temperature
2 large tart apples such as Granny Smith - peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine flour, sugar, vanilla in a bowl and then cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Press into bottom and up about 1” of the sides of a 10 inch springform pan.  Bake for 5 minutes, cool to room temperature.
Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.
Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Spoon mixture into crust.
Mix apples sugar, cinnamon and vanilla.  Spoon over cream cheese mixture and then sprinkle with walnuts.  
Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake another 45 minutes  until your tester comes out clean.  Cool on a rack and then carefully remove sides of springform pan. When completely cool, turn upside-down, remove bottom of pan, place plate on top and flip over.  And ENJOY!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hoofs, Claws and Paws

Animal Tales from Boulderwood Farm - the Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side. Isn't it?
When the whinnying and the mooing sounded like it was coming from my back door....well, it's because it was....
The entire herd - all three horses and all three cows were acting out the great escape the other night and partied like it was 1999. Julia was eating apples right off the apple tree; Mr Johnson stuck his head over the fence of my veggie garden and ate some broccoli; and the horses, horsed around all night - I don't even want to tell you where I found hoof prints.

I guess it's something in the cool, fall-like evening air...or... perhaps the grass really is greener on our side of the fence!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Carole's Concoctions-Testing A Pie Recipe

Today - it's all about sharing my pie recipe testing for Gina Hyam's Pie Contest in a Box.  My friend Karen Lee came over to test "Grandma's Brown Sugar Pie".  So here's how it went (the recipe will be at the end of this post):
The first task was to make the pie crust.  According to the recipe I need 1/3 tsp salt.  Now mind you, I am well-stocked in the kitchen gadget realm and finding a measuring spoon with a 1/3 tsp was not happening.  For many, this would create a problem - it's obviously a little more than 1/4 and a little less than 1/2. If the crust doesn't seem to come out right - one might worry that they put in too little or too much.  Next, the crust requires LARD.  While I am a purist and love to use heirloom ingredients, I know LARD is not something you can just run out the grocery store and find.  I would suggest an alternative if you can't find LARD.

The directions for making the crust were good.  I am not sure most people would understand "smear" - I would elaborate: "use the heel of your hand to smear the dough against the side of the mixing bowl several times. This smearing action will create a multitude of small layers in the dough, causing to act almost like a puff pastry; the result will be a light, fluffy dough, rather than a dense, heavy one."

I think you should pre-heat the oven when you are rolling out the pie dough.
We found that the pie dough should be more like 11-12" round to amply flute the edges.
If you use a old-fashioned pyrex dish that isn't rated to go from fridge to oven - I'd be careful about chilling the crust before placing it in the oven.
We didn't like the looks nor the ingredients in the evaporated milk so we opted for the light cream because it is fresh!!  And Karen jumped ahead and stirred the mixture ever-so-slightly until I read DO NOT STIR!!  Oops - and will this be a problem??  Karen felt the need to stir because it wasn't clear that the brown sugar mixture should be "evenly" distributed - perhaps adding "evenly" would help.
We sprinkled nutmeg and cinnamon, but really - how much? We covered it but not densely - we weren't confident.
And, to the oven it went - but alas - where - middle? bottom? in-between?  We went for the middle.

I'm no pie judge but the finished product was not satisfying.  We were bummed!!
On the flip side - pie really does equal peace as Karen and I had a great 1+ peaceful hour together - mixing, chatting, giggling - so in my book - making pie is a bast and should be done with friends and family and served with love and laughter!! 
Thank you Gina for the opportunity and Karen for the company!!

And on second thought - I am not sharing the recipe until the changes are made....

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Farm Girl Farm Thursdays

Melons and Farm to Table thoughts by Laura Meister. This is by far one of Laura' best newsletters in my humble opinion.  Thank you Laura!!

September 14, 2010

Hi all—

I was a city girl. More accurately, I was a suburb girl, and in terms of understanding food, I’d say this is actually much more of a handicap. My food came from the grocery store by and large, although to give my parents some credit and not to paint the situation in completely black and white terms, we did have some great tomatoes in our backyard garden. Still and all, the aggregate effect of the location and time of my upbringing caused me to miss out on some spectacular eating experiences and even a couple years into growing food, I still didn’t know what good was.

During my second season at Farm Girl Farm, I brought an experienced farmer friend to my melon patch to show him the disappointing results. “See?” I sighed, “I blinked and I missed them. They are all too ripe now, they’re rotting.” My friend laughed and grabbed the nearest muskmelon, with a rotten spot and a dent in the skin where ants were beginning to enter. He deftly removed the bad spot with his knife, cut the melon open, held it first to his nose and began muttering to himself, “Extraordinary”—then devoured the entire fruit in what seemed like one long slurp-bite. “My god its been years since I’ve had a melon this good,” he said. “There’s just nothing like it. You can’t get melons like this anywhere. You’ve got a gold mine here.” Lesson learned. Each summer since then I’ve proudly delivered him one muskmelon, preferably with at least one opening in the skin, the late-summer prize for patience and connoisseurship.

What I still wasn’t entirely getting about the “farm to table” concept was the beauty of skipping the step where a vegetable or fruit spends a few days in between the field and one’s plate, whether that be the grocery store or the farmstand. Coming to the farm to get one’s veggies, literally right out of the field, means access to the melon that would never have made it to the store, the melon that is so ripe it is about to burst through its skin to spread its seeds and start the cycle all over again, the show-stopping tomato with a kaleidoscope of colors and one tear in the skin or small bruise—vegetables that are at their peak of taste but that wouldn’t survive the one-week or even three-day transportation and holding period involved in the retail process. This is the good life!

So fear not the melon bursting out of its skin or the 1-pound tomato with a dime-sized soft spot. It’s not everyday you get to experience such a fruit. And winter, and California vegetables, are nipping at our heels. So enjoy.
Laura's melon, my tomatoes from Laura's seedlings.

For those of you interested in learning more about how to tell if a melon is ripe in your own garden or to see the process we go through to bring the melons to the CSA table, here is a good webpage:

--Laura Meister, Farm Girl Farm Farmer

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

We are LIVE! Wednesdays at Heirloom Meals Radio with Gordon Hyatt

Truly there isn’t a better description of Gordon Hyatt than the one he handed to me yesterday “....a globe trotter in search of a good story, a teller of tales on film...aspiring Renaissance man....a bit of a dandy and a magnificent cook.” For the purposes of Heirloom Meals, Gordon weaves his culinary tale with host, Carole Murko, in a humble yet erudite manner; the story told in true producer fashion from a seasoned story-teller. Of Polish,Irish and English descent, Gordon shares recipes from his family and those that he developed through his very own love of food, cooking and orchestrating a meal as though it were a symphony. Utterly Delightful!!

Carole Murko 20100915 1300.mp3

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tabletop Tuesdays

Today we are adding a different theme for Tuesday and moving our Hoofs, Paws and Claws to Sunday.
Because Heirloom Meals is about the stories and tips surrounding the family meal and treasured family recipes I wanted to dedicate some thoughts and reflections on heirloom tabletop items and treasures, and highlight the ritual of serving the meal, hints and tips for setting the table and discover and showcase unique implements and tabletop heirlooms.

I can't think of a better first post than to feature my friend and one of my culinary inspirations, Helga Kaiser's tabletop traditions.  She is Viennese and entertains with simple elegance.  Not only does she whip up her heritage fare, she serves it on her beautiful cross-stitched Austrian linens.  So while sampling her delectable delights one can be transported to another time and place - when women cross-stitched their linens with great pride to provide the backdrop to a wonderful meal shared with family and friends.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ms Murky Mondays

Brimfield makes me happy!!
I had the best day on Saturday.  I went to Brimfield and I arrived home with the back of my pick-up full of unexpected treasures!! The best was - 6 dining room chairs for $200.  Mind you they need work BUT I have been coveting this style chair for my dining room for years and never pulled the trigger because I was looking at forking over at least $1200/chair with my designer discounts! Not in my budget, now or ever.  So when you come across the deal - you have to scoop it even when you had no intention.  That's the beauty of Brimfield - you just never know what you are going to come across.
I will post the "after" photos when they are reupholstered.

Great finds aside.  I also come across all sorts of heirloom kitchen tools, gadgets etc.  So FUN - even if you don't buy - it's a veritable museum of other people's discards from estates, attics, garages, or basements.

Here are a few of my scores:
Nesting Hens for my ever-growing collection, a sewing basket and
Fire King custard cups with rack for water bath - so cool!!
Oh, and I forgot - my 1930 cast cement flamingos - my whimsy purchase - my garden will never be the same!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Carole's Concoctions

Yes we CAN!!
It's that time - Preserving the Bounty month.  And boy do we have some fun canning ahead of us.  I have already canned salsa and tomato sauce.  Next up ketchup. Don't you just love that all-American condiment? Horrified that high fructose corn syrup is in the list of ingredients of most store-bought brands? Well, here's your opportunity to make your own ketchup from locally grown fresh-from-the-vine tomatoes.  And if you live in the Berkshires - come to my canning workshop - Thursday, September 16th @ 7pm - it will be all about KETCHUP!!!

The recipe:

For the spice pack:
4 tbsp celery seeds
5 tsp whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
2 tsp whole allspice
3 cups cider vinegar

30 lbs Tomatoes, cored and quartered
4 cup chopped onions
11/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup pickling salt

From start to finish it can take up to 12 hours to make 7 pints of the BEST KETCHUP you've ever tasted!!  So be prepared and plan your time accordingly - start in the morning and you'll be canning in the evening.

Make your spice pack by tying your celery seeds, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, and allspice in cheescloth.  In stainless steel saucepan combine the vinegar and spice pack, boil over high heat, remove from heat and let steep for 1/2 hour. Remove the spice mixture.
Wash and cut up tomatoes, place in stainless steel saucepan with chopped onions and cayenne and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Using a slotted spoon crush tomatoes to release juices. Boil until tomatoes are soft and then add the vinegar. Continue to boil until mixture begins to thicken. 

In batches, press tomatoes through a fine sieve (what my grandmother used) or a food mill (what I use) which removes the seeds and skin. Return the skinless, seedless tomatoes with the sugar and canning salt to the saucepan over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally until the liquid is reduced to desired ketchup consistency.  I'd like to tell you this is a short amount of time - but it isn't - it's taken 12 hours for one of my batches to come to desired consistency.  But believe me you - IT IS WORTH every second!!
Meanwhile, you can be getting your cans ready - place cans on rack of boiling water canner, add water until the pint jars are about 2/3rds full. Cover and bring to a simmer. This process kills any bacteria. In a small saucepan, place the lids - the flat, round piece, cover and bring to a simmer. The screw bands do not need to sterilized.
Now you are ready to start canning your ketchup. One jar at a time, remove from canner, pouring hot water back into canner, place jar on flat heat-resistant surface. Ladle sauce into jar leaving about a half inch of headspace, wipe the rim and threads with a paper towel. 
( This is important to make sure vacuum seal can occur). Lift a hot lid with your tongs (or madnet) and place on jar and then screw the lid with your fingertips until tight. Place back in canner with tongs. Repeat until done.
Cover all jars with additional water by an inch or so. Cover canner and bring to a boil. The boiling must be continuous and rapid for 15 minutes. Remove lid, let sit for about 5 minutes or so. Remove jars without tilting, place jars on a towel in a draft-free spot and allow to cool for 24 hours. Store in a cool dark place for up to a year.
I will post the video of the demo for next week's post!!  HAPPY CANNING :-)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Farmer Thursdays-Where is the corn and eggplant?

It's truly harvest time and it seems the abundance and celerity of the harvest has picked up. It's a bountiful and melancholy time.  The morning mist is postcard perfect with a nip in the air while the days are still warming up.  Jacket weather is not far away.

Here's what Elizabeth Keen from Indian Line Farm has to say about the harvest:
Where is the corn and eggplant?  That is certainly the question many have been asking.  The eggplant remains a bit of a mystery to me.  In years past I have noticed that eggplant seemed to enjoy abundant rain and was not deterred by overly cool temperatures as long as the plants got off to a good start.  We always plant the eggplant the 3rd week of May and then keep the plants covered with floating row cover for at least 2 weeks.  This keeps the plants as warm as possible during what can be still a chilly time of year.  Late May this year was blistering hot and I saw no need to cover them and, in fact, thought I might lose plants because the cover in combination with the biodegradable black plastic can really be overly hot.  However, it turned cold again in early June and the plants were getting eaten by flea beetles so I covered them for two weeks.  When we took the cover off, the plants were noticeably bigger and by all accounts healthy.  We waited and continued to keep the plants as moist as we could through our drip irrigation system.  And we have continued to wait.  After a small flush in July the eggplants have all but petered out.  The plants seem fine, but there has been very little flower production.   I have asked around and it seems more than just I have the same problem.  My conclusion is that eggplant won't flower much above 90 degrees and they really like water.  We can hope for better next year.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

We are LIVE! Wednesdays at Heirloom Meals Radio - Happy Rosh Hashana with Lisa Dachinger

For all my Jewish friends - Happy new Year!!! L'Shanah Tovah!!! And in honor of the Jewish New Year, Lisa Dachinger joined Heirloom Meals host, Carole Murko for a delightful hour of reflections and recipe sharing. The sentiment of the holiday is reflected in the food. Apples are dipped in honey, and sweet foods are cooked up in anticipation of the sweetness of the new year. Lisa shares some ideas for her grass fed lamb as an alternative to brisket. But lest you worry, Lisa also shared her Mom’s tried and true brisket recipe as well as her Mom’s very interesting marinade for the lamb. Lisa boasts that her Mom’s matza balls are floaters and that her ruggelach are prize-winning. Unfortunately that recipe will remain only in the hands of the Dachinger’s with the promise that it is written down and passed down through the generations!! To the sweetness of the new year!!

Carole Murko 20100908 1300.mp3

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hoofs, Claws and Paws

Burtee and Matt surveying their kingdom!!
I love shots from behind and to me there's nothing better than seeing the bond between a boy and his dog.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ms Murky Mondays

Labor Day = End of Summer, Reflecting & Beginning Afresh
Many of my friends are melancholy. And yes, so am I.  While the 90 degree temps last week seemed to keep summer present for a bit longer, the recent cool off, earlier sun sets and autumnal colors are augurs of the next season.  I am not quite ready.
So today, I want to reflect and write about a person who made my summer exceptional.  Her name is Erin Russo.

I advertised for a Smith College intern (remember Smith is my alma mater) and received several applications but Erin was a stand out in so many ways!!  She was smart enough to read my blog and tailor her letter as a result, she was an anthropology major and understood why I called heirloom meals  "salvage anthropology for treasured family recipes," and she had a great attitude and personality.
Erin catapulted Heirloom Meals' progress in three months.  We started a facebook fan page, developed an editorial calendar for the blog, booked radio show guests, successfully ran a kickstarter fundraising campaign for a new website, wrote all the content for the soon-to-be-launched website, planned and threw a fundraiser for Berkshire Grown with Sarah Gray Miller from Country Living Magazine etc.
The best part is we had fun while working hard, she was the angel I needed and became a dear friend, sister and daughter in the process.
Here are a few photos of our journey:
Erin at the Taggart House pitching in at the Close Encounters
with Music event that we catered on June 5th.

Allison Hemming and Erin in NYC at the New World Home/
Country Living Green Modular House of the Year Cocktail party on June 7th.

And now Erin's new journey:
Erin in Italy - we are awaiting her Slow Food Saturday Blog posts
when she'll share her food experience :-)

And to all of you out there I want to hire Erin when she returns from Italy so let's help me continue to get fans, and raise money for the show!!

Love you ERIN!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Carole's Concoctions

Corn Pudding and Springerle Cookies
I love it when my food and recipe comfort zone is challenged and blown wide open.  This past week had two occurances.  The first was over the weekend when our friend David Moore, a race horse owner asked me to cook up a casual dinner for 8 to be shared after the Traver's Cup Race in Saratoga Springs, NY.  He said, "In the interest of this being an heirloom meal, my guests who are also my 2 brothers and their spouses, thought you should make corn pudding."  I said, no problem.  And as I always do when asked to make something I've never made before, I googled corn pudding, printed a couple of recipes and then adapted them into my own.
I thought I was making DESSERT!!
You can only imagine how surprised I was when David put the corn pudding on the table. I proclaimed, "Shouldn't we wait until after the main course?" To which David responded, "It is part of the main course."  And I burst out laughing, admitting I thought it was dessert and I even made whipped cream to go on top!!
And boy was it delicious; a perfect side with grilled hangar steak, chicken, fresh green salad and roasted potatoes. Here's my recipe:  This is a keeper and I was told it was better than their Dad's!! Oh and did I say SIMPLE!!

4 ears fresh corn, shucked and corn cut off cob
4 farm fresh eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
6 Tbsp organic sugar
1/2 stick of butter, softened
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a square 8 x 8 baking dish. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor for about 3-5 minutes until corn is nicely blended while still retaining some texture.  Pour into baking pan and bake until golden brown, about 35-45 minutes.  Cool and serve warm as a side or as dessert :-)
David Moore and Jim Finnerty ready to place their bets in Saratoga
and I am guessing we need a horse called Corn Pudding - a WINNER!

And Springerle Cookies were introduced to me by one for my radio show guests (see my Wednesday blog post for the interview).  I am in love with the exquisite molds, the rich history and the taste and texture of the Springerle Cookie.  They may well become a part of my Christmas cookie baking tradition!!

I am so very lucky to have these experiences!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Farm Girl Farm Thursdays

As Summer winds to a close at least we have tomatoes to look forward to and thanks to Laura and other farmers we have a great crop - so I am going to be a canning wonder-woman this weekend!!  Here's what Laura has to say this week....

August 31, 2010
Hi all—
End of summer?  Does NOT feel that way.  Although I did wonder if my alarm was mistaken this morning when it seemed to be pretty dark at 6 am…but with 90 degree weather and sun, sun, sun, the cold fingers of winter don’t seem to have quite the grip around my throat that they sometimes do at this time of year.

Although, as the commercials say, “we’ve got plenty of summer left” in terms of tomatoes and watermelons, it is true that kids are returning to school, summer birds are starting to migrate  home to The City…sure signs of fall. And for the summer share CSA members, this week does mark the end of our time together this year.  Thank you, summer share people, for a great season!
Meanwhile we are doing our best to keep getting fall crops in the ground while we try to keep up with the tomato harvest, the perpetual late August/early September dilemma..  We have beets, radishes, carrots and broccoli raab sown, we have new kale and swiss chard seedlings in the ground, and several flats of bok choi and head lettuce awaiting transplant.  We’ll also soon be harvesting baby bitter greens and arugula again, as soon as the leaves size up just a bit more.  We’ll have some baby leeks for you—these babies got pretty engulfed in weeds so they’ve been taking their time growing up, but they are on the way.

I’m looking forward to harvesting pumpkins and winter squash—we haven’t grown much or any of these for the last several years because they are such space hogs.  But our new field afforded the space we needed, and so far the plants and fruits look great, so here’s hoping!  We did get these plants in somewhat later than ideal because the preparation of that new field took longer than we wanted it to, but if you take a walk out there or slow your car down on your way out of the farm, you can see some gorgeous acorn squash and pumpkins lurking beneath those enormous green leaves. 

Some of you who’ve been with FGF for our entire six seasons will remember Marne Litfin, apprentice extraordinaire during our second season, 2005.  She made a guest re-appearance in 2006, and has been traveling the world and learning about all things food and farming.  This past summer she was on staff at my beloved Farm & Wilderness and upon hearing that we had a couple of helpers depart early this season, she wrote to say she had a few weeks between camp and her next gig in Germany, so here she is, reunited with the cherry tomatoes.  We are SO GLAD.  

Other than all that, I’m hoping for some rain which will further all of the above endeavors!

Enjoy the veggies this week.
--Laura Meister, Farm Girl Farm Farmer

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

We are LIVE! Wednesdays at Heirloom Meals Radio with Connie Meisinger - it's all about Springerle Cookies!!

Have you ever heard of a Springerle cookie? Ever imagined the labor of love that goes into making them? Listen to Carole Murko’s interview of Connie Meisinger, owner of House on the Hill - a Springerle mold and cookie company - to learn about these beautiful cookie molds and the story of how this delicious and ancient cookie recipe became Connie’s passion.
Connie grew up as an air force brat and lived in many places. Her Mom’s culinary bravado and experimentation instilled an early confidence in Connie’s own culinary prowess as evidenced by Connie’s willingness to take the baton from her grandmother, Nini who could no longer make the family’s traditional Springerle cookies. To avoid a family catastrophe, Connie embraced the art and tradition of making these cookies for the family for the holidays. And through a series of events, Connie was fated to own a Springerle mold company.
There is one reason we can’t wait for the first frost - so we can make our first batch of Springerle cookies - a tradition that might be worth starting. Thank you Connie for sharing your passion and opening up our culinary vernacular to include Springerle cookies!! Visit for more of Connie!!

p.s. We had some station difficulties with the microphone and the prior radio host stole off with my CD. I think we recovered with grace but apologies to Connie. Here’s what your introduction was: “And today we are introducing you to Springerle cookies - a bavarian molded cookie - and to do so my guest is Connie Meisinger .....”

Carole Murko 20100901 1300.mp3