Thank you farmers and Laura!!
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Thank you farmers and Laura!!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
(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
Monday, September 27, 2010
Here's my view from the stage:
Basking in the glow!!
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
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
So when I was in my 20's and frequented flea markets nearly every weekend with my Mom - guess what I found?
Monday, September 20, 2010
Here's the recipe:
Sunday, September 19, 2010
When the whinnying and the mooing sounded like it was coming from my back door....well, it's because it was....
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
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.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
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
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
Carole Murko 20100915 1300.mp3
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
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
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!!
Friday, September 10, 2010
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!!!
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.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
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
Carole Murko 20100908 1300.mp3
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
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.
Friday, September 3, 2010
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
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
We are LIVE! Wednesdays at Heirloom Meals Radio with Connie Meisinger - it's all about Springerle Cookies!!
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 www.springerlecookies.com 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