Friday, October 29, 2010

Carole's Concoctions-Nana's Recipe to Soothe a Sore Throat

I don't know what it is about old wives' tales and concoctions but many of them are truly useful and actually work.  I, for one, will always go for a natural remedy as I think we are an over-prescribed, over-medicated society. I'll stick to aspirin, chicken soup and hot lemon and honey any day over nyquil.

Oh and yes, you guessed, I've been sick for a couple of days - fever, dry cough, aches - not fun.  But, I swear that when I sip hot lemon with honey, my throat feels better!!  This is what my grandmother and Mom gave us and now I am self-administering for my sore throat.

Try it:
Start with a lemon, place on counter and roll it under the palm of your hand for 30 seconds to loosen the juice, cut it into quarters, place in small saucepan with a cup or two of water, bring to a boil. 

Put a Tbsp or any amount of honey you like (to taste) in a mug, pour hot lemon juice through a strainer into mug, stir and let the soothing begin!!
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!  Feeling better already!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Farm Girl Farm Thursdays

Hello Farm Girl Farmers.

Inch by inch and row by row! As I mentioned in an email to all of you earlier today, we have had a steady garlic effort going—over the weekend Robin Perry, Emily Paskus, Beth Domaney, Melissa Brown, Andrei Vankov and Jamie Goldenberg took to the field and got the first hundred pounds of garlic in the ground. Today we had more help from Cindy Elitzer and later this week we have Liz Hogan on deck. Go team!

I should not neglect to mention that the garlic seed we are planting was prepared for planting (broken from heads down into cloves, a daunting job in itself) by a cheerful group of birthday revelers last week at Allium Restaurant. FGFers Brian Thayer, Sara Parrilli, Sarah Volkman, Greenagers Director Will Conklin (who brought us the help of the teenaged greenagers this summer) and various and sundry friends gathered around Vivian to celebrate her special day and made quick work of the garlic break-down, in addition to making a beautiful mess of garlic skin and soil all over the floor of Allium. Very special thanks to Troy Kinser, manager of Allium and Nancy Thomas, owner, for putting their money where their Farm to Table mission is.

We’ll keep planting garlic over the next couple of weeks, a great time to put in a few row feet is during regular pick-up hours on Tuesday or Saturday. We can also arrange for you to come and plant at other points in the week, so be in touch! Its easy and satisfying.

In my latest last year-this year-next year musings, I am noticing that it has been steadily colder this year than it was last year at this time. Last year at this time we still had a trickle of the summer crops like peppers and summer squash and this year those crops are long gone with the frost. But we’re hedging our bets…we’ve put protective row cover (that’s the white fabric you see out in the field) on several beds so that if we do get some milder weather, as we did last year towards the end of October, we won’t have given everything up to the tyranny of the cold nights. Under row cover, with the nights being as cold as they have been, things like baby arugula and bok choi aren’t growing, per se, but they are holding steady, not freezing to death either. So if things get more temperate, they’ll still have a chance to size up.
Finally, another reminder that we will distribute veggies through the first week of November: Tuesday November 2 and Saturday November 6. That means two more weeks of vegetables after this week’s pick-up.

Enjoy the veggies and the beautiful light at this time of the year.

--Laura Meister, Farm Girl Farmer

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We are LIVE! Wednesdays at Heirloom Meals Radio with Alex Elman

Perhaps it is Alex Elman's joie de vivre that impresses me, or is it her poise and strength of character that draws me in? Whatever it is - Alex has inspired me. Spend an hour listening to Alex weave her story - her Brazilian chef- Mom, her oenophile Dad and step dad, her career in the wine business and her loss of sight to juvenile diabetes when she was 27. WOW!
Alex has just launched her very own wine label - Alex Elman Wines. And trust me, Alex resembles her wines as she truly has a sense of place. Her goal is to sell wines that offer terroir, that are organic and sustainably produced and are accessible so you too can sip a lovely glass of wine over a homemade meal with friends and family!!
By the way - Alex will be blogging on some Saturdays for me - Saturday Evening "Toast" as we explore collaborating on our mission to get people back to the dinner table!!

And for those of you who need a quick french lesson, Terroir (according to wikipedia) "was originally a French term in wine, coffee and tea used to denote the special characteristics that geography bestowed upon particular varieties. Agricultural sites in the same region share similar soil, weather conditions, and farming techniques, which all contribute to the unique qualities of the crop."

Carole Murko 20101027.mp3

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tabletop Tuesdays - Halloween

Halloween has really taken off as an all-out holiday.  You can really out do yourself if you're not careful - so many choices in the stores and between Martha and Country Living Magazine, you have no excuse!!

As for me, I have to confess, I have fallen short in the the homemade table decor category this year.  I have so many things vying for my time.  However, because I always have my eye on things, am an avid catalog reader and shopper, I do have an extensive closet of decorations.  I must say TJ Maxx isn't just for the fashionistas!! And if you wait until after Halloween, I bet you can pick up some great decorations on sale from Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel and Williams Sonoma.

Here's my table:
Table runner from last year's Crate and Barrel catalog; tin pumpkins from TJ Maxx - 4 years ago; and indian corn and mini pumpkins from the farmer's market - this year.

Oh, and my favorite TJ Maxx score - the candy corn dish.  Don't you just love it?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ms Murky Monday- Musings on some of our Constitutional Rights

Today I feel like going off-topic.  I want to talk about guns, not butter and freedom of speech.  Both amendments were present-of-mind last week.

Freedom of speech and expression are the rights that we as Americans need to cherish.  As a member and a programmer of the all volunteer, community radio station WBCR-lp, 97.7 fm, Great Barrington, this right becomes more pronounced during the fund drive.  Isn't it amazing that a group of diverse people can come together and volunteer their time and expertise to have access to the airwaves and to exercise our right to free speech.  All music genres and topics can be expressed (of course while abiding by the FCC rules).  How lucky I am to be an American and have this opportunity!!

As a segue into our 2nd amendment rights, I would like to say that despite the saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me," harsh words and mean words can and do harm people.  My stepdaughter suffered severely from a bullying situation last year; and I, most recently was called a nasty name by someone with the intent to hurt me.  Despite all the rationalizing I did and others did on my behalf and my stepdaughter's behalf, we still felt pain.  So please think twice before saying things about and to people that are not nice.

And why guns?  Last week I took the firearms licensing class because I would like to go hunting and I also  want to know and understand how guns work. If others own them and understand them, isn't it best that I do too? In the abstract, this seemed like a great idea.  We see images of guns on the TV every night; we see cops brandishing their weapons on TV shows.  How bad could it be to shoot a gun?  After the classroom part of the course, we marched into the firing range.  I was the ONLY woman. We were taught to load and shoot.  Loading, no problem. Shooting, well, truly one of the most terrifying and humbling experiences I have EVER experienced!!

These are our rights - take them seriously!!

What a country.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hoofs, Claws and Paws

The girls love that the new driveway goes right by them.  Really.  More opportunities for rub downs, treats and gossip.  They told me that they have never seen as many turkeys as this year.  And, the coyotes are using the new driveway as a super highway.  Glad the girls are so observant!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Carole's Concoctions-Teresa Tavares' Portuguese Kale Soup

Back in June, Teresa shared her tales of spending her early youth in the Azores and how this recipe was the primary go-to dish in their family, then and now.  This soup is delicious, hearty and packed with anti-oxidants.  What I remember distinctly from her interview was sea salt and garlic are used in almost every one of Teresa's recipes.  Surely the old way of eating has much to teach us.  So happy to have this authentic recipe because Kale is a great winter green and rivals spinach with its nutrient content.  And, the soup also calls for cabbage - I had purple cabbage on hand but a savoy would work nicely as well. The colors in the soup were fantastic and it's amazing that the deliciousness is equal to its nutritiousness!!  This will be one of my go-to winter soups for years to come.  Thank you Teresa!!

Sopa de Couve - Portuguese Kale Soup
Serves 8 


2 quarts of water
1 quart of vegetable broth
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
4 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
Sea salt to taste
2-16 oz of red kidney beans
8 cups of chopped kale leaves washed and rinsed without stems
4 cups of chopped cabbage washed and rinsed 
6 medium potatoes peeled washed and cubed
½-cup olive oil
8 oz of Gaspar’s Linguica cut into ½-inch rounds


In a 4-quart pan, bring the water and broth to a boil

Add onion, garlic and sea salt to taste and simmer for 10 minutes
Add the 2 cans of red kidney beans and simmer for 3 minutes

Add the kale, cabbage, potatoes, linguica and olive oil and simmer on low until cabbage and kale are tender/cooked
Let sit for ½ hour before serving

Best served with Portuguese corn bread (recipe to come after I've made it!!)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Farmer Thursdays-News from Indian Line Farm

We have officially fallen below 32 degrees on several occasions in the last 2 weeks.  This means that all frost sensitive crops have died.  I have to say I wasn't sorry to see the tomatoes go.  This has been a stellar year for tomatoes and I am hopeful you all had your fill to make up for our disastrous 2009. 

After making my last tomato soup for the year and enjoying every bite, I have turned my attention to the plethora of other foods at our fingertips.  Please enjoy some of the recipes below if you are looking for ideas and don't forget to check out our website for more!

Have a great week! 

For the farm crew,


P.S. I was informed by several of you that turkeys don't migrate.  Thanks for setting me straight.  I hope to see my turkey friends all winter! 

A few notes:

1)  We still need garlic to be cleaned if you have any extra time.  Please ask the person in the barn to set you up. 

2)  The last two weeks of pick up (week of October 25th and week of November 1st) we will be doing our Annual Fall Sign Up for Indian Line Farm.  We ask for a Commitment Form and $100 deposit to hold your space.  We will give you more details next week. 

3)  Please note that the Rainbow Salad Mix this week will need to be given an extra rinse at home.  We have an insect problem that I am unfamiliar with at this time of year.  We have aphids in the lettuce greens and I can't with our two wash tubs rinse them out completely.  They are harmless but I promise you if you take the lettuce you will find them.  Consider yourselves warned.  On the other hand, the lettuce will be extra sweet as the cooler temperatures encourage the plants to sweeten.  Creating sweetness is an anti-freezing characteristic of plants. 

Vegetables for the week of October 18th


         Bok Choy, Brussels Sprouts, Kohlrabi--limited quantity
        Cabbage, Baby Hakurei Turnips, Green Tomatoes--limited quantity
  Mix and Match Roots:
        Potatoes, from Thompson Finch Farm--Ancram, NY --see recipe below
        Onions--see recipe below
        Scarlet Turnips
        Red Meat Radish
        Daikon Radish
        Celeriac--see recipes below
        Purple Top Turnips
        Beets--see recipes below
        Sweet Potatoes!!--Stone Soup Farm, Belchertown, MA
Mix and Match Greens
          Chard, Kale, Mustard Greens and Spinach

Acorn Winter Squash--Full Bloom Organic Farm
Rainbow Salad Mix--please wash before eating!  1/2 lb only
Fruit Share
1/2 gallon apple cider from Windy Hill Farm for folks on Tuesday. 
Bosc Pears from Maynard Farms, Ulster Park, NY--please let ripen a week before eating!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

We are LIVE! Wednesdays at Heirloom Meals Radio

WBCR-lp 97.7 fm FUNDRAISER!!
Call 413-644-9797 to donate or online at

We need you to keep the "all-volunteer" radio station on-air!!

Thank you!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tabletop Tuesdays - What are your Favorite Trivets?

Growing up my Mom and Nana kept them standing on their sides next to the stove for easy access. One was wrought iron thingy, one was a decorative tile and sometimes it was a cutting board.  It depended on how many oven-to-table dishes were on the table at one time.

I have two favorites.  Both were gifts from neighbors.  In fact, as I think about it, they both live(d) in the same house.  Our friend Bob sold his house to our newish neighbor, Ricki. Bob is an ironworks artisan/metal sculptor and he made a trivet just for us. It's oh so perfect as we abut Beartown State Forest.
And Ricki, who knows I am chicken CRAZY gave me this one:

I keep mine on the counter with easy access to the table but I like to look at them because they both make me smile and think of two lovely friends!!

What are you favorite trivets?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ms Murky Monday- Autumnal Bliss

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.  This is the view I am blessed with seeing each morning and well most days.  The mist, the colors and texture are all too beautiful for words to describe. Soon the color will be gone and we'll enter the season of grays, whites, and browns.  Until then, I relish the colors and the frost on the pumpkins and look forward to the smell of the first fire in the fireplace and the cozy, dark days ahead.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hoofs, Claws and Paws

Grinch Toes....'s that time of year when the fur comes in heavy around Burtee's toes.  Very Grinch!!  

Friday, October 15, 2010

Carole's Concoctions - Spag Bol

Really, it's spaghetti bolognese. I had an old British boyfriend that called it spag bol and it stuck. Leave it to a Brit to rename a tasty Italian dish.
What I embrace about these cooler, darker days is cooking comfort food and in particular, a Friday evening when the kids arrive. I am a broken record about this... But is there a greater pleasure than making your kids(step kids) their favorite dishes?

So here's my recipe/concoction
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter, unsalted
2 medium onions, chopped
3-4 carrots, chopped
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
2 lbs of ground chuck or a combo of beef, veal and pork in equal proportions. One additional point is if you can find grass fed chuck, try it - it provides such a robust flavor you may never use anything else. I used 2 lbs ground organic grass fed chuck for this evening's sauce.

1 1/2 cups milk (I used skim because it's what I have on hand but 2% or whole is fine)
1 1/2 cups white wine
1 large can diced tomatoes ( I used fresh romas and cherry tomatoes from my garden with a small can of tomato paste as it's what I had on hand tonight)
Nutmeg to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter and heat oil in large saucepan. Add onions, carrots and celery and sauté until they begin to soften, around 10 minutes.

Add meat and cook until no longer pink.

Add milk and season with nutmeg. Continue to cook until milk is cooked off. Next add white wine and cook until it is evaporated.

Add tomatoes and cook for another hour or so on low.

Serve over spaghetti, linguini, or pasta of your choice. Because Jim has celiacs disease, I use a gluten-free pasta and it's yummy too!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Unnamed Rd,Stockbridge,United States

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Farmer Thursdays-News from Indian Line Farm

As usual, Elizabeth Keen is the great farmer/philosopher!!
News from Indian Line Farm
A flock of wild turkeys have taken up residence at the farm this summer.  Fourteen birds sleep in the trees just west of our house and meander their way down to the farm fields every morning.  I catch myself laughing as occasionally Harry and Rainbow the cats will herd them a little faster in whatever direction they are traveling.    By the time we make our way down to harvest they are in the front sections near the greenhouses munching away on bugs and bits of green.  They have been here since the little ones were just chicks and they are now full grown to my untrained eyes.  In all these months we have never seen any damage from their passing.  They seem to have stomachs for the things we don't eat.  By 9:00 am they have usually headed south across the hay field to wherever they spend the rest of their day.  They return about 6:00 pm again meandering their way through our electric fence and into the vegetables.  We most often notice them coming up the hill as we are sitting down to dinner.  We almost always comment to each other that they are headed home for the night and Colin can rarely let the moment pass without jumping up and watching them pass.  There are so many of them. 

I have seen turkeys move freely about the farm in the past but they usually travel in a north to south pattern and most often as far from the house as possible.  I suspect that the absence of our old dog Brantley has opened up possibilities for this new flock.  I have yet to do research on the habits of wild turkeys but I suspect they will soon migrate to a warmer location for the cold of winter.  One day I will realize they have gone. I am pleased to have them here now and hope that some will return to lay eggs next year. 

I have been pondering the idea of this farm as a gathering place for creatures of all kinds.  We have a healthy wildlife population:  deer, raccoons, skunks, bears, opossums, ground hogs all live here or at least make sightings multiple times a year.  Of course there are birds of all kinds and the reptilian population seemed especially strong this year.  I have never seen so many frogs!  Equally as important are the insects that congregate here.  I tend to remember the least desirable of this category as they can do the most damage to the vegetables.  Tomato hornworms, cucumber beetles, peach colored aphids, flea beetles, white flies, cabbage lopers,  Japanese beetles, and Colorado potato beetles are just a few of my least favorite creatures.  But we do have monarch butterflies, swallow tails, parasitic wasps, lady bugs, tons of spiders and other creepy crawlies we encounter in our day. 

And then there are the human creatures which fill this farm with hard work and toil and manage to bring forth amazing food.  On some days the humans are quiet and steady (except for when we need to blast the radio to hear NPR or listen to our favorite radio station) and on other days this farm is bustling with cars and more humans big and small. Just as I am pleased to have our wild turkey friends this year, I am glad to have all the humans that call this farm their own.  After all, without them, we would not know who we were growing for.  I hope they too return in years to come.   

For the farm crew,


Here's some of our "take"from this week:  carnival and delicata squash.  Stay tuned for recipes - oh so simple!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

We are LIVE! Wednesdays at Heirloom Meals with Jo Bracken (well, sort of)

Today, Jo Bracken was to be a our guest but technical difficulties arose - we could hear her but she could not hear me.  Not the best scenario for an interview.

With that said, the daughter of the iconic cookbook writer, Peg Bracken has just revised and republished for its 50th anniversary, The I Hate to Cook Book.
Imagine growing up in the 1960's with a Mom who had the courage to tell it like it was!  Peg Bracken was as witty as they come!!  She was one of those people who hated to cook but mastered the art of using canned soups, cake mixes and well-greased casserole dishes.  Her wit and humor is scattered throughout the pages intermingled with such recipes as Sub Gum Yuk, Turkey Divan, Chicken Rice-Roger, CanCan Casserole and Hootenholler Whiskey Cake.

This book is a classic, if not for the recipes , but as a period cult classic - the generation that embraced the new industrialized food - using them to liberate them from toiling in the kitchen.  And I confess, I might make the spinach surprise and the Chicken Rice-Roger (that is if the canned soup is low sodium, has no MSG or preservatives) for the fun of it!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tabletop Tuesdays - Use placemats to create table runners

I bought these gourds and wanted to make a great fall table centerpiece but they looked naked without a table runner.  
Brainstorm: I had these great twig placemats in the cupboard and thought they would make the perfect backdrop for the gourds.  What do you think?  

And as it turns out - it's a great tip - use 2-3 placemats to create a table runner.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ms Murky Monday

Sometimes people are placed in your life to inspire you.  I met such a person last night - her name is Alex Elman. She doesn't yet know that she had such an impact on me, but she did.  Her story - inspiring!
We spoke about organic farming and organic wines and I was excited to see if perhaps she might want to be a guest on my radio show, and better yet, a guest wine blogger.  You see, Alex is a wine expert and has started her own label - Alex Elman Wines - Authentic Wine Treasures that are natural and organic. Alex is also blind.  I tip my hat and raise my glass to Alex!!

According to a NY Post article:

"These wines are the best examples of what they are and where they come from. They are wines that are honestly made," she said.
Elman goes for wines that are organically produced, and has picked four with which to launch her company: a Chardonnay and a cabernet sauvignon, both from France; and a red, a Malbec, and a white called a Torrentes, both originating in Argentina.
The wines go for $12 to $15 a bottle, and Elman wanted them to be good enough for people to bring to a party, and affordable enough for every day.
"I'm not someone who is out there telling you what to drink," she said.
"What we're trying to do with Alex Elman Wines is to take a lot of the guesswork out, because when you walk into a store there are so many wines.
"I would really like this to be people's go-to wine," she said.

I can't wait to taste them!!  Thank you Alex.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hoofs, Claws and Paws

Doesn't everybody serve their chickens a fresh-baked pie for breakfast?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Carole's Concoctions-Gordon Hyatt's Pumpkin Soup

This is the simplest and most delicious soup.  Thank you Gordon!!
Jim said he loved the flavors.  And pumpkin is really healthy!!

One sugar pumpkin, cut in half, seeded
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 apples, peeled and chopped
1 potato. peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
4 cups Chicken broth
Cumin, to taste

In a 400 degree oven, roast pumpkin by placing flesh-down with about 1" water and cover with tin foil for about 30 minutes.

1. Saute onion and butter in a soup pot

2. Add potatoes, apples, garlic and saute
3. Add 4 cups chicken broth
4. Add cooked pumpkin
5. Puree in a cuisinart or blender

6. Add cumin to taste


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Farmer Thursdays-Celebrating more RAIN and some recipes!!

You gotta love Elizabeth Keen and how she runs Indian Line Farm - check out the list of produce for this week's pick up.  THANK YOU is all I can say!!
And, that carrot soup (she suggests) is on my menu today - a rainy, damp and cool day here in the Berkshires.

News from Indian Line Farm
After recording 7" of rain Friday afternoon I began to think of the Old Testament.  This summer has been filled with drought, extreme heat, small insects in mammoth quantities, a strange fungus which killed our last cucumber planting and now... flooding.    We are lucky here in that our land does not actually flood but it sure is saturated with water.  We were overjoyed at the rain and had quite a time on Thursday and Friday during harvest.  We were all so happy to be wet and warm that the pelting rain rarely bothered us.  We will now be rolling up our irrigation equipment for another year and hoping for a bit more rain in 2011. 

For the farm crew,


Vegetables for the week of October 4th
       Potatoes, from Thompson Finch Farm--Ancram, NY
       Green Tomatoes
       Red Meat Radishes
       Hakurei White Sweet Turnips
       Scarlet Turnips
       Cabbage--limited quantity
       Bok Choy
       Daikon Radish
      Broccoli Raab--limited quantity
      Purple Top Turnips
Mix and Match Greens
          Chard, Kale, Arugula, Mustard Greens and Spinach

Delicata Winter Squash

Tomatoes--up to at least 2 lbs.
Rainbow Salad Mix--possibly none
Cherry Tomatoes
Fruit Share
1/2 gallon apple cider from Windy Hill Farm for folks on Tuesday.  Friday folks got cider on Friday October 1st.
Macoun Apples from Maynard Farms, Ulster Park, NY

Heavenly Carrot Soup  (Gardeners’ Community Cookbook by Victoria Wise)
Serves 3 to 4

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter        

1 ½ tsp. ground coriander
1 small onion, finely chopped        

4 cups chicken broth
1 lb. carrots, scraped and finely chopped     

½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
½ cup white wine                

Sprigs of cilantro, for garnish (optional)

1.  Melt the butter in a large soup pot.  Stir in the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, until slightly wilted.  Add the carrots, wine, and coriander.  Cover the pot and cook over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are mashably soft.  Remove from the heat and cool enough to handle.
2.  Puree the carrot mixture, along with 1 cup of the broth, in a food processor or through a food mill.  Return the puree to the pot and stir in the salt, pepper, and remaining 3 cups of broth.  Reheat and serve right away if serving warm, or cool, and chill if serving cold.  Garnish with the cilantro, if using, just before serving.
Alice’s Moroccan Carrots  (Gardeners’ Community Cookbook by Victoria Wise)
Serves 6

18-24 baby carrots with ¼ in. stem attached, scrubbed, and halved lengthwise 
 ¼ tsp. paprika, hot or mild 
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon                    
1 clove garlic, crushed              
Pinch of salt   

¼ cup olive oil                   
¼ tsp. ground cumin   

Pinch of cayenne   
2 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice            
1 T. chopped fresh parsley leaves

1. Combine the carrots, garlic, and pinch of salt in a large sauté pan.  Add water to cover, bring to a boil, and simmer briskly over medium heat until tender, 3-4 minutes.  Drain and cool to room temperature.
2. Transfer the carrots to a nonreactive dish large enough to hold them without overlapping too much.  Toss with the cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and cayenne. Add the lemon juice, oil, and parsley, toss again, and set aside to marinate for at least 1 hour.  May be refrigerated for up to 3 days, holding out the parsley until just before serving.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

We are LIVE! Wednesdays at Heirloom Meals with Becky Sue Epstein

While Becky Sue Epstein's culinary heritage is quite interesting, it's her handy reference called Substituting Ingredients that is a MUST for all cooks - aspiring or seasoned!! Host, Carole Murko, navigates the listener through Becky Sue's upbringing - she had a catering grandmother, lived overseas in Switzerland where kids brought bread and chocolate for lunch, and ended up as a restaurant reviewer for the LA Times before becoming a wine connoisseur, food writer and consultant. Substituting Ingredients is truly a great tool for the home cook - it will solve any missing ingredient disaster and provides some very sage advice and tips. Thank you Becky Sue - this one's on my Christmas list for all my friends!!

Carole Murko 20101006 1300.mp3

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tabletop Tuesdays - Tony n' Tina's Wedding Centerpieces

Sometimes it's not just one tabletop that needs decorating...but 30!!  Shakespeare & Co. is having its annual gala and my friend Lisa Newmann offered to co-chair the decorating committee with me.  To Lisa's credit she queried a few creative people and came up with the idea of decorating styrofoam rounds with some white spackle and lots of trinkets and in one afternoon of good cheer and laughter, 5 of us created some awesome cakes.
In this case we are hoping people will have our cakes but NOT eat them too!!  At the end of the gala each centerpiece will be for sale.

Check them out:

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ms Murky Mondays-Moroccan Brisket Recipe

Kudos to Whippoorwill Farm in Lakeville, CT for raising, then selling the most beautiful and delicious cut of brisket from their herd and for sharing "Laura's Moroccan Beef Brisket" recipe.  Thank you Laura, whoever you are!!

Here's the recipe with my comments, of course:
This should be made a day ahead for maximum flavor.
 1 whole beef brisket, about 5 lbs
2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil
2-3 large onions (I sliced them)
2 cloves of garlic (I used 4 and minced them)
1 can tomato paste
1 cup beef broth (I used more like 2)
1-1/2 cups red wine (I used 2 1/2 -3)
1 cup dried apricots (I used organic, unsulfured and left them whole)
1 cup of green olives, halved
1 cups prunes, slices
Pepper and salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (I used 1 tsp)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a large dutch oven on high heat for 2-3 minutes.  Add the olive oil, then add the beef.  Sear the beef for about 5 minutes on both sides until browned.  Remove and season with salt and pepper.  Add sliced onions and saute over medium heat for 10 minutes until golden.  Add salt, pepper, garlic and tomato paste. Put meat back in, add cinnamon and then wine and broth to cover the meat.  Add apricots, olives and prunes.  Cover and place in oven.  Turn the brisket once or twice while it's cooking for 2 1/2 - 3 hours.  Cool in refrigerator overnight.  While the recipe says to defat the gravy, the brisket was so lean there was no fat and the gravy was a perfect consistency and did not need cornstarch to thicken.  Slice the brisket while its cold, put back in gravy and reheat in a 350 degree oven.

I served it with roasted potatoes, broccoli and green salad; and with polenta and sliced tomatoes the next day for dinner. YUMMY.  It was sweet and savory with a nice robust flavor and very tender.  It's a keeper for sure!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hoofs, Claws and Paws

Could it be?  A baby chick is hatched in autumn?  Indeed it is.  And Mommy bird is doing a great job. Birth is a miracle and hard-wired genetics are fascinating.  I tried to put some water and food nearby and Mommy bird bit me. And to that I say, "why mess with nature?"  She knows what's she's doing.  Who needs humans anyway.  Lesson learned!!
Because I couldn't get close - this photo isn't a good one - but "Harvest Moon" is alive and peepin'!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Carole's Concoctions-The Weekend's Menu

It's always fun when the kids come and I can make them their favorite things!!  And fortunately for me, Jim's kids have exciting palates!!  Moreover it's Matt's birthday which gives me an excuse to make his favorite - Nutella Heaven Pound Cake.

Friday Night's Arrival Menu:
Spicy Chicken Cacciatore
Brown "sticky" Rice
Mixed Green Salad
Ice Cream

Saturday Night Birthday Dinner:
Pot Roast - I am trying a new recipe - I will blog about it on Monday
Roasted organic homegrown potatoes
Broccoli with thyme, lemon, garlic and browned butter - Matt and Caroline's F-A-V-O-R-I-T-E!!!
Nutella Heaven Pound Cake for Matt's B-day cake

Breakfast is always our chicken eggs scrambled with veggies and sprinkled with whatever cheese I have on hand.  Lunch is leftovers, that is, if we have any!!  Otherwise, I am thinking BLT's with my late tomato harvest.

Oh, and lest I forget...we'll open a jar of spicy salsa that I made a couple of weeks ago - another one of Matt's favorites.  It's going to be a great food-filled family weekend :-)