Wednesday September 15, 2010
Tuesday September 14, 2010
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
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
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!!!
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 09, 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 08, 2010