Every Thursday Farm Girl Farm intern, Valerie Anderson, will be joining the Heirloom Meals blog to share her food n' crop wisdom and connections so we can all be up to date on local Ag goings-on in the Berkshires.
(above: Val and her horse, Cherokee!) An organic farming major at the University of Florida, Val is hoping to become a soil conservationist so that communities around the world might be able to establish more eco-friendly crops and farming methodologies that are appropriate for their social, environmental and, perhaps, political circumstances. She's got the brains, the humor, the drive and much much more so be sure to check in on Thursdays and every day!
The Main Event: This Saturday, from 10 to 3 Farm Girl Farm will be having their annual seedling sale in Egremont MA so head on down and say hi to Farmer Val- she'll be workin' it! http://farmgirlfarm.com/
This week on Heirloom Meals radio, WBCR-LP 97.7 FM Great Barrington, we interviewed the lively and assiduous Valerie Anderson. Faring from the University of Florida, Val joins us in the Berkshires for the summer after accepting a farming internship at Farm Girl Farm (http://farmgirlfarm.com) which she hopes will provide hands-on experience and knowledge to bring her closer to her dream- a career in soil conservation. So, not only is she committed to the intellectual and physical aspects of our food supply but also to maintaining an emotional and sensory relationship with the food heritage of her Swedish relatives!
Every Tuesday is going to be devoted to tales (and tails!) of our animal personalities here on Boulderwood Farm, the motherland of Heirloom Meals! Today, Julia and Delilah, strike a pose while chillin’ in grass heaven, hopin’ to give a whole new meaning to grass-fed beef. Looking good, ladies!
On May 19th Heirloom Meals radio interviewed Fabian Dominguez, a native Argentinian chef and food entrepreneur. His current passion and humble food philosophy stems from his exposure to the picturesque and family-centered culinary culture of Buenos Aires as well as the local flavors and spiritual lifestyles in the Berkshires. At the age of 12 he exclaimed to his mother that he was going to be a chef when he grew up, and it seems that a combination of extraordinary talent and fate has allowed him to realize not only a childhood dream but his current one of sharing his love and gratitude with those around him. Enjoy listening!
A few weeks ago I had Tony Simotes share his culinary history with me on my radio show. Shortly therafter we found out that Tony has throat cancer (with a very good prognosis). He is undergoing treatment and I asked if I could make them (he and his wife, Lucy) some food and he asked me if I could try and make his Mom's avgolemono soup.
So this soup's for Tony!!!
1 whole organic chicken
Enough water to completely cover the chicken
3-4 stalks celery, cut into quarters
Juice of 3 lemons
2 cups of cooked rice
salt and pepper to taste
Clean and place chicken in soup pot and cover with water. Add celery and onion. Heat over medium heat to a boil and then simmer for about an hour until chicken is cooked. While chicken is cooking, occasionally skim off the scum.
Once the chicken is cooked, remove from water and let cool. Meanwhile, separate your egg whites from yolks. Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form and then blend in the egg yolks and juice of 3 lemons. Then add about a cup of the warm chicken broth to the egg and lemon mixture to acclimate and then add to chicken broth along with the rice and the chicken which you have taken off the bones and chopped into bite-sized pieces. Add salt and pepper to taste and Enjoy!!
When I think of Mother’s Day there is a recipe that comes to mind that has been handed down from my great grandmother to my grandmother to my mother to me. This is the essence of heirloom meals - savoring yesterday’s traditions today.
My featured recipe is manicotti and for all of you who speak phonetically, M-A-N-I-C-O-T-T-I. When I was little I pronounced it manicotti (pronounced in Italian) and most of my friends had a quizzical look on their faces – So I have gotten into the habit of saying it two times – like Tony Two times form the God Father. Manicotti (MANICOTTI) – get it!! I am sure most of you have had manicotti –thinking large tubular noodle stuffed with ricotta (pronounced Italian style) R-I-C-O-T-T-A – there’s Tony Two times again!!
Well my family recipe will transform your idea of manicotti forever!! This is our recipe for heavenly light crepes - fill them with luscious ricotta filling and finish with some sauce - the best!!
Manicotti Crepe Recipe:
This recipe makes 80 crepes but can easily be halved or quartered. This dish is such a family favorite we usually make all 80 and freeze some for another time.
12 large eggs
4 cups of flour
4 cups of water
8 Tablespoons of melted butter (cooled)
Beat eggs, flour and water until smooth, then add the melted butter. Cover batter and refrigerate overnight.
I happen to be lucky enough to have my grandmother’s well-seasoned caste iron crepe pan, but a non stick crepe pan will do as well. Using a well-seasoned crepe pan or non-stick 5-6" frying pan, heat on low-medium flame, brush pan with canola oil or melted butter. (I usually do a tester before I really get started to make sure pan it hot enough etc.) Then ladle the batter into the pan and swirl it so it spreads into the entire surface. Cook until the edges start browning and top seems dry. I use a fork but a spatula would do the trick as well to loosen the edges. Then flip the crepe and let it cook for a few seconds. (I find this is a feel sort-of-thing - you just can tell when it's ready!!) You can make these up to three days ahead.
6 lbs Ricotta
2 lbs mozzarella, cubed
Romano cheese, salt, pepper and parsley to taste
Milk (to adjust the consistency)
Mix all ingredients except milk. We want it to be thick, not runny.
And now the assembly…oops….what about the sauce??? Truly you can use any sauce – your own, a jar of Rao’s Homemade. We are biased, we use our own. Our secret for this particular dish are making tiny meatballs!! Our sauce and meatball recipe will have to be another show.
Take a crepe and spread ricotta mixture in center, fold one edge over the other and place in baking dish that has some sauce spread lightly over bottom. Repeat. We recommend only one layer as it is easier to serve.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. And remember they must settle for at least ten minutes before serving or you will have a runny mess - still delicious but not pretty!!