Wednesday, June 30, 2010

We are Live! at Heirloom Meals Radio

Today in the studio we had with us Teresa Tavares who was born in the Azores (more specifically, the island of Terceira) which is an archipelago located nearly half way between the U.S. and Portugal. If Teresa taught us one thing about Portugese food it's that you can never have too much sea salt in your pantry and onions and garlic for that matter too! What made her interview truly unique for us was how much she had to say about the use of veggies and meats in traditional dishes more than seafood which we had believed to be more of a culinary staple. Listen in and let your mouth water as Teresa describes the heirloom Al Cathra clay pot, her special steak recipe, family-famous rice pudding and much much more.

Carole Murko 20100630 1300.mp3

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hoofs, Claws and Paws

We've got all of our chickens in a row at Boulderwood this morning! 
Most days you can spot them taking dirt baths under the porch, competing for cracked corn, eyeing the forbidden gardens and chasing each other around. Along with the endless barn yard entertainment they also provide us the most delicious eggs. Recently, we were anxiously waiting to see if the pile of eggs one of our hens was sitting on for days were going to hatch or not but to no avail. 
In the background of this particular picture you can see where Jim has left off trying to literally straighten out the old ice house.  Presently it is the shelter for both the chickens and the horses but has experienced some serious sinkage over the last couple of years.  So far, Jim, with the help of his son Matt, successfully raised the left side 6 inches!  One more inch would make it perfect but we didn't want to push our luck trying to lift the building again with the tractor. Great job guys!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ms Murky Monday

Who walks and talks country living better than the Berkshires anyway?!

Today the Heirloom Meals office printer has seen a lot of action as we are designing, printing and crafting the invitations for the Berkshire Grown fundraiser dinner that will be hosted on Boulderwood Farm at the end of August.  Several days ago we received some exciting news that the current editor-in-chief of Country Living magazine, Sarah Gray Miller, agreed to come and be the featured guest for our event.  Our hope is that by sharing with Sarah how BG influences the local economy, lifestyles, food and environment Country Living might support our cause by creating a How-To for other interested individuals and organizations who would like to start similar movements in their communities.   We think an online database where people could find their local CSAs and farmers markets would be spectacular too.

For the party we are hoping to have a true farm-to-table dinner out in the pasture with a full spread of heirloom meals from our archives that lend themselves to the in season produce available to us.  We are even asking attending guests to send in heirloom recipes for us as we might feature them on the menu as well! In the next few weeks we will start honing in on the final menu probably around the same time that we will be cooking and photographing recipes for our HM website which we will no doubt be sharing with you!

Happy Murky Monday!

P.S. Don't forget to check us out and show your support for Heirloom Meals at where we are raising money for said website.  Donate a $1 or $10 or $25 or more! Thanks!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Carole's Concontions

On our way home from the CSA our bags were brimming with colorful, fresh produce including beets, zucchini, cherries, spinach and amazing salad greens.  Using our best concocting skills, the idea is to include these foods in every meal you enjoy throughout the day and week.  Creative simplicity is the name of the game here.

A favorite for the beets is to roast them with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper and serve them over salad greens with goat cheese.  Olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a light, summery dressing.

When thinking of zucchini, grandma knew it best.  Sauteed with onions and whatever herbs are on hand, zucchini is the perfect side dish to the whatever you got going on the grill.

The perfect partner for the farm fresh morning eggs would undoubtedly be the spinach that scrambles in oh so nicely. If you happen to have a little provolone cheese- even better!

Last, but certainly not least, fresh, organic cherries are best left on their own in a little bowl on the counter. No fumbling through the fridge or digging through cabinets is necessary to find that perfect afternoon snack anymore.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Farmer Val Thursdays

A farm is inspiration. A farm is faith. A farm is tedium, excitement, and waiting all bound into the simplest of ideas with the most complex follow through: you'll grow food for people to eat, but who is going to buy it, and when? When and where will you plant it, water it, and harvest it? Where will you store it until they buy it? How will they get it: a farmer's market, a CSA, a grocery store, a restaurant, a hotel?

Melons, squash, kale, turnips, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, corn, or okra don't require you to believe that they will grow to maturity in order to be pollinated and bear fruit. The threads that bind a farmer to sanity are strengthened by it. To put sweat and money and gas and water into an idea takes a certain kind of person with a high level of stability.

Farmers buy retail, sell wholesale, and pay shipping both ways. It's hard to see their point of view. To see beyond the $4 bunch of kale or the $6 half pound of baby greens, but try to see it like a farm girl. This is our life and our work. Come to the farmer's market to buy what's grown now. Cook it and eat it and be happy. That's the simple idea we put our backs into.

thou mayest...timshel

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

We are Live! Wednesdays on Heirloom Meals Radio

You won't get pie-eyed listening to Lauren Cucinotta share with host, Carole Murko, how she created an annual pie contest/event in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. Lauren's vision is for her Pie in the Park contest to become a national event that fosters community through the baking, eating and sharing of pie - pie memories, pie secrets, pie everything! So inspired by the popularity of her event and the constant flow of pie recipes coming her way, Lauren will be self-publishing her first book. And, yes, it's called Pie in the Park!! You can find Laura on twitter and tumblr or google Pie in the Park.

And for our listeners and followers please share your pie memories, recipes or tips - we know you have one!!

Carole Murko 20100623 1300.mp3

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hoofs, Claws and Paws

You will find on Boulderwood Farm that sometimes the inanimate beasts are as amusing and adorable as the live ones! 
 Let us make a toast to Babe!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ms Murky Monday

In celebration of the longest day of the year and the first harvest of summer we are hosting a Solstice Soiree at Boulderwood Farm! Every year during the solstice the sun shines directly down the second floor hallway making a spectacular light display as if Boulderwood was Stonehenge itself.  Since it is amusing to extend metaphors, we, the misplaced druids, took it as a sign that we must party!
Tonight our table will boast fresh from the sea Maine lobsters, burgers of all breeds, beef, lamb and turkey, radish dip, garlic scape and white bean dip, garlic scape pesto (delicious on burgers!),  roasted fingerling potatoes, lush green salad and local blueberry pies for dessert.  You might be wondering how we can have lobsters without corn but we are sticking to the harvest theme and will have to throw another party once corn is in season.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Carole's Concoctions's friday and thoughts of the weekend are beginning to seep into my psyche.  Will there be enough hours to finally weed and plant my vegetable garden, get in some much needed exercise and plan a father's day celebration for Jim with his three kids.  My Dad, however, will get all my love and well wishes delivered to him through the airwaves and, of course, the phone!! His gift from me was the trip to Shelburne Farms, VT for the cheesemaking extravaganza we attended last weekend.

So what will I be concocting?  Well, it's garlic scape and strawberry season so it would be fitting have both items on the menu. As for the main course, I am thinking barbecue ribs....I'll be attempting something out of Jason Day and Aaron Chronister's book, BBQ Makes Everything Taste Better .

Here's a great recipe that I tore out of the New York Times a couple of years ago for
White Bean and Garlic Scape Dip:

3-4 garlic scapes (but I use twice as many!!)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup olive oil
ground pepper to taste
I like adding a few drops of tabasco!!

Add sliced scapes, salt, pepper and lemon juice in a food processor and process until finely chopped, then add cannelini beans and process to a rough puree.  With motor running drizzle in the olive oil.  (The recipe calls for some water but I leave it out. It suggests 2-3 Tbsp to make the mixture the consistency of a dip. I like more of a spread!) 

And, for the strawberries - how about some ice cream.  You'll need and ice cream maker. (I have a cuisinart and don't forget to put the ice cream bowl in the freezer for 12 hours or so.)
Strawberry Ice Cream:
1-2 pints of strawberries, stemmed and sliced
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup sugar - I use organic
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine strawberries, 1/3 cup sugar and lemon juice and let "macerate" for 2 hours. Mix milk and 2/3 cup sugar with a hand blender until dissolved and add with the vanilla and heavy cream and liquid from macerated strawberries into the ice cream freezer bowl and turn on ice cream maker and churn for 25 minutes.  Then add strawberries for 5 more minutes, place in freezer-safe container and let set up in freezer for an hour or so or eat immediately for a soft-serve consistency.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Farmer Val Thursday

So the day length is staggering as we approach the solstice. I sleep before the light leaves the sky and awaken to a foggy brightness every morning at five. The exhaustion from constant work erodes my free time into reading, eating, talking, and sleeping. I can't muster the energy to get on the lovely icelandics in the pasture down below, to hike the trails so close, or to bike along the scenic roads.
This same fatigue applies to writing. I know you want a report on how much reemay we pulled out of the fields today (four rolls, in fact, because of the warm weather and diminished threat of flea beetles) and that we have some lovely kohlrabi and radishes and baby turnips nearly ready to be eaten. But I can't provide all of that right now. You will have to wait until my daily stamina increases next week.

thou mayest...timshel

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

We are Live Wednesdays! Heirloom Meals Radio

How does Boston, beards and beer equal BBQ man date? Just listen to the story of Heirloom Meals' radio guest, Jason Day, the co-author of BBQ Makes Everything Better. Born and raised in Kansas City, Jason learned from a young age that the best way to occupy, enjoy and eat with family (a large, Irish Catholic one at that!) was to have a BBQ. The slow, thought out, smoke filled kind of BBQ that offers more than just dogs and burgs. Just in time for Father's Day weekend, Jason's insights into everything from meat cuts to seasonings to BBQ strategies provide some great tips for people looking to take grilling to the next level for dad's special day. Listen in and enjoy Jason's humorous anecdotes about the flavorful BBQ culture of Kansas City and his unique experiences and successes as a champion BBQ-er.

Carole Murko 20100616 1300.mp3

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hoofs, Claws and Paws

Poofer the Polish chicken wants to know....

Am I having a good hair day or a bad one?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ms. Murky Mondays

Pasture to Palate

As usual, I am a moving target.  Just returned from an installation for one of my interior design clients in Pelham, NY. ......

But what I really want to share is my weekend at Shelburne Farms, VT attending a cheddar cheesemaking seminar with the head cheesemaker, Nat Bacon.

Shelburne Farms "was created as a model agricultural estate in 1886 by William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb.  In 1972, it became an educational nonprofit. Our nearly 400 acres of woodlands are Green Certified from the American Tree Farm System. Our grass-based dairy has 125 purebred, registered Brown Swiss cows. Their milk is transformed into our award-winning farmhouse cheddar cheese here on the property."

We began our day with a full tour of the grounds.
And Nat Bacon and Marshall Webb shared tons of information on sustainable farming techniques, the importance of soil management and grass-growing.  I felt like I was living Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma upfront and personal.  The cleanliness of the barns and the care taken in managing every aspect of the farm was truly inspiring.  A true biodynamic farm.  

And why is this so important?  Well, the cows eat the grass which in turn produces healthy cows and milk full of nutrients.  The milk is then turned into cheese.  And the cheesemaking process is indeed fascinating.

It all begins at 8.30 am with the delivery of the milk from the freshly milked cows, then the milk is heated up and the large stirring paddles are started. At various times and specific temperatures, a culture and then an enzyme are added, and then you wait.  Patience is a cheesemakers' virtue. And then, in a frenzy of activity, the curds and whey need to be separated. And then the "cheddaring" begins.  Did you know cheddaring is actually a verb?  An action very specific to making cheddar cheese.

Cheddaring is a process of letting the curds settle into each other while the acidity rises and when each of those rectangles is picked up and turned several times until a desired acidity is achieved.  Then they are chopped up and salted in a three step process, and then placed into molds and pressed overnite.  The entire process ends around 4 pm producing around 550-600 pounds of cheese.  This process is repeated each day during the peak cheesemaking season or for 250 days or so.

Eating farmstead artisanal cheddar has a whole new meaning.  I relish every bite and crave more!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Carole's Concoctions

How are you today?
I'm Gouda!

Well, not quite.  More like chevre and cheddar!
This weekend I am attending a cheese making workshop at Shelburne Farm in Vermont.
This morning we were carted to the sheep, cow and market barns by 2 draft horses named Hercules and Jaguar.    Our tour guide is Marshall Webb - who grew up on this amazing 1400 acre farm. Our cheesemaker is Nat Bacon(too bad it's not Nat Cheese..haha).  Later, I"ll share some video and more photos so you can get a taste of the cheese making process.  Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Farmer Val Thursday

Off the Farm
We descended upon Thompson Finch Farm like we had never left the farm before. The bad kids in the back, we giggled, whispered and expressed our joy to be on another farm and not hoeing, planting, or laying black plastic. We observed weeds in raspberries, watched explanations of machinery used in strawberry transplanting and weeding, and laughed at garlic scapes dangling from a particularly crunchy girl's hair.We realized the importance of having the right equipment for getting the job done.
The seven am wake-ups have begun this week, the mornings seem to stretch as if they are an entire day or days unto themselves. Harvests are in the mornings so that no leaves lose their crunch or roots their luster and so with our coffee we have kale and radishes and turnips, dunking and cleaning and 'processing' with the crust still on our eyes hidden by sunglasses. The afternoons are slightly more merciful unless they bring too much sun to burn our skin and dry the soil complicating planting almost as much as the impossibly rocky fields.
The tomato, tomatillo, cucumber and squash seedlings have loved this moist rainy weather. Laura is grateful for this because there is no irrigation in the other field. We took a chance with that one, but the little seedlings that could have so easily wilted in the harsh sun and silty rocky soil. When unrolling a haybale to mulch the pathways of the many, many tomato rows a litter of very young voles spilled out. They cried and shivered as we attempted to warmly relocate them to the edge of the field. Voles are nearly as cute as baby moles, in my opinion.
It seems as if everyone is settling into their farming personality, you know the one: harried by work and distractions and a personal life yet there getting it done on farm even under adverse conditions. Seeing the organism that is a group of people working together is fascinating to me, and I'm learning how to evaluate the functioning of it and maybe one day I'll be able to influence it in a positive way at the right time...

thou mayest...timshel

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

We are Live! Wednesdays

Today, Heirloom Meals Radio had a inspirational interview with Chef Louis Eguaras who's culinary path has lead him from the Philippines, to the east coast, west coast and around the world! Perhaps best known for his position as a chef for the Bush and Clinton administrations, Louis' successes continue as he is currently teaching at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles and is the proud new author of "101 Things I Learned in Culinary School". We think that you will agree with us that Chef Eguaras embodies the American dream as you listen to his story and attitude about never passing up good opportunities and taking the time to be grateful and get the most out of where you are. Thanks Chef!

Carole Murko 20100609 1300.mp3

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hoofs, Claws and Paws

That which we call an Uni, by any other name...

Depending on which side of the fence you are on, quite literally, Uni, the guinea hen can be either unnerving or endearing.  He spends most of his days on the porch nipping at the zippers hanging from Jim's golf bag, repeatedly carving his initials into the kitchen's wooden screen door or playing follow-the-leader with any moving body.  His favorite Boulderwood buddy is undoubtedly Burtee the Border Collie who he runs, rests and romps with endlessly.  Burtee does police Uni, however, when his fowl friend starts intimidating the guests.  All you have to do is say, "Burtee, get the chicken!" and the path is cleared.

Hatched right here at Boulderwood, Uni, now at the age of 6, has acquired himself quite the status as his portrait hangs over the family dining table.  Our friend, Helga, did a beautiful job of capturing Uni's balloony yet statuesque posture and smart coloring with her oil paints-wouldn't you agree??

Happy tweets and trills to all this Tuesday, straight from the Guinea's beak!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ms Murky Mondays

And we're off!

After a busy week of prepping and executing the Close Encounters event, we are turning all of our focus back to getting Heirloom Meals funded for its PBS debut. 
Today we are heading into New York City for the premier of Country Living Magazine and New World Home's New Old Green Modular Homes on display at the World Financial Center. We are looking forward to consulting with the modular company about designing the kitchens and providing cooking demos for other model homes mostly because their mission to incorporate heirloom architecture with modern, sustainable technology is completely in-line with our own lifestyle philosophies!

Later on in the week we will be launching Heirloom Meals onto the Kickstarter website which provide grassroots and community based initiatives a platform to receive funding from viewers (known and unknown!) and a chance to offer rewards for donations given. (  There is a time limit, however, for how long projects are allowed to request donations so we are committed to keeping everyone highly informed about the where, when and how once Heirloom Meals is released on Kickstarter.

Finally, we are fortunate to have attracted a whole range of guests for Heirloom Meals Radio for the summer months ahead and we thank them all for being excited and supportive of our project.  Heirloom Meals really comes alive in the studio when guests are able to give a voice to their food history and memories for others to listen and relate to.  No doubt that a television show would provide us with many other interviewing possibilities but the radio show, for now, is a definite favorite.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Carole's Concoctions

Heirloom Meals is catering the Close Encounters with Music patron's reception at the Taggart House in Stockbridge this Saturday and all hands are on deck to help out in the Boulderwood kitchen!   In the interest of keeping everyone's imaginations and taste buds happy, we want to share with you our menu for the evening along with some photographs of the Murko gals in action.  Carole's mother, Jo, has come up for the weekend to act as our saporous ship's ballast among this sea of cookbooks, recipes, appliances and spatters.  Thank you, Jo!

It is our second year hosting the event so some of the recipes are requested repeats and others are delicious newcomers that we hope the guests will enjoy but also inspire our readers to consider as summer hors d'oeuvres for their own gettogethers.

THE Menu (You'll notice that we LOVE our sauces but even though we LOVE Seinfeld too, please no double-dippin'!)

Passsed Hors d'Oeuvres:

Chicken Satay with peanut dipping sauce
Grilled Salmon Skewers with garlic soy dipping sauce
Phyllo Triangles with roasted red peppers and goat cheese
Mushroom Strudel
Dilled Gravlax with Mustard Sauce on Pumpernickel
Miniature Asparagus Risotto Cakes

Camembert Walnut Pastries
Miniature Oriental Chicken Salad Tartlets
Miniature Quesadillas
Skewered Ravioli filled with Mushrooms with lemon dipping sauce

Stationary Hors d'Oeuvres:

Crudite with Tarragon-chive dipping sauce
Asparagus with Wasabi dipping sauce
Endives with Smoked Salmon Mousse
Wedges of assorted Vegetable Frittatas
Mini Orange Muffins with Smoked Turkey
Lahvash Pizza with caramelized onions and goat cheese
Assorted nuts (sweet and savory)
The No-Party-Is-Complete-Without-It Cheese Board with slices of apples and grapes
Crackers and Breads
Lemon cake and assorted cookies and brownies
Dulce De Leche Cheesecakes

If you are curious about any of the recipes let us know and we can send them your way!
Happy Friday!

 We would like to think that Uni the guinea hen pecks at the door for a chance to taste some goodies but it's more like our ankles!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Farmer Val Thursdays!

Farm Girl Farm

The name is so telling. All women. There is chemistry, drama, and mind blowing teamwork. All five from dramatically different backgrounds drawn to one place, thrown together at this point by the Green River under the leadership of the quiet understanding Laura. The restaurant orders are heavy, the sun strong, and the dirt sticky on skin as we strive to get seedlings in the ground and weeds out of it. They're just trying to reestablish equilibrium: there are nutrients in the ground, water in the soil pores, space for roots and leaves. Their seeds are there, waiting to recover the bare ground so prone to erosion, deformation. The root vegetables are the first to come, radish shoulders poking their shoulders through the muck from afternoon showers: "send me to Allium! A salad, a salad, that is where I belong!" Small white turnips, begging to be shined and scrubbed, gleaming like a pale child's cheeks, wishing to be photographed.

The weather has a way of playing with our minds, we are driving to the tilled earth through bright grey-white fog, thicker than our skins, but we do not know that the sun will easily burn through the curtain within an hour and sear our skin more than the previous ninety five degree days. We lay plastic in many beds, creating order out of freshly rough-tilled chaos with stakes, mallets, and string. Squash, cucumbers, and melons will be emerging from the course ground in just a few months. Ollie leaps among the beds, inspiring consternation as he tears up just-done work indeterminately in his dominant pursuit of fun.

We are all thinking and learning as we use our bodies in pursuit of feeding the Berkshires.

thou mayest...timshel

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

We are Live! Wednesdays at Heirloom Meals Radio

Heirloom Meals Radio talks with Madeline Finnerty who shares with us the culinary traditions of 3 generations of women out of Stockbridge, MA. Her interview, memories and recipes truly embody what the Heirloom Meals project is all about as she takes us down food memory lane as a young girl growing up in an Irish/German family in the Berkshires where the power of observation effects her cooking style and know-how today. We will be positing visuals of Madeline's handwritten, heirloom recipes and hopefully some video of her in the kitchen so stay posted! Also, if you are local and listening, maybe your family story overlaps with Madeline's in which case please please share! Did you buy fudge at the church bake sale or grow up on Goodrich street too? Let's try and piece together the local Heirloom Meals history of our hometown!

Carole Murko 20100602 1300.mp3

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hoofs, Claws and Paws

What is black and white, has no tail, and is the king of 80 pasture and forest filled acres of land??
There is no doubt that Boulderwood wouldn't be the same without our miracle Border Collie.
When he was just a young pup he was run over by a car but was nursed back to health by mama Murko and papa Jim.  Now, at 5 years old, he welcomes every visitor with boisterous barks and a toothy smile (really!), enjoys hearty homemade turkey and sweet potato dog food, loves a good staring contest and, yes, boasts his own boulder!
There is one thing that Burtee might be longing for though.....sheep.  Sorry, Burt. As long as the coyotes are wandering the Berkshires, herding the humans and the chickens will have to suffice.