Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Friday June 29, 2012

Picky Eatin’ by Michelle Anderer

I grew into adolescence a picky eater. One incident my mother is fond of retelling involves the two of us when I was fairly young, about two or three, and ends with me being fed ice cream, quite reluctantly. New tastes were a trial. Acquiring a new taste for something, required years of pressure, threatening, and frustration from my parents. Often, it the trial would end with me hiding the food in a napkin or feeing it to our cat under the table.

My main food staples consisted of hamburgers, French fries, beef, carrots, PB and J sandwiches, chicken noodle soup, pizza, Cheerios, and my personal favorite: apples. With these items, and these items in majority, I spent much of my years in elementary school a happy eater. Dinner athome was quite a contrast. Though my mother was, at the age of 42, studying at a local University to get her college degree, healthy, whole food meals for her children and spouse did not strike her as any less  of a priority. With her determination that we would be fed well and often, my family and I were treated to pot roasts, chicken cacciatore, vegetable soups, baked chicken, beef stroganoff, and many many mashed potatoes based dishes. For my older sister Emily, food was the gateway to the soul. With each new addition to our dinner menu, she grew brave and assertive in choosing to fight for the last garlic broccoli rather than to let it vanish at the fork of another family member. For me, meals at home were a jack-in-the-box experience. Often times they were filled with too many nasty surprises for them to ever really be enjoyable.  When, on the rare occasion, for instance, we got shrimp for dinner, the beady eyes of each tiny shrimp face were enough to make me pinch up my face in disgusted anguish and clamp up my mouth tightly. Should my mother dare command me to either load several small bits onto my plate or go without dessert, I went without dessert.

My approach to food has always been one of distrust. I blame this on the destructive cycle that I applied to any new food that made its way out of one of my mother's cookbooks and into the oven. It began with smells. That was always the first official declaration that we weren't, in fact, having leftovers. Unlike leftovers, daily meals commonly cooked for hours in my home and this gave sufficient time for their aromas to waft though every corner of our living space. Often this would torture my sister and stepfather with the constant smell of food that was, of course, still only half cooked. Leftovers, on the other hand, were really only a five minute preparation in the microwave and thus lacked any genuine  surprise or anticipation. With this knowledge, it was then critically important for me to try and identify the meal in order to “custom” a reaction to it. If it smelled of, say, hamburger meat than it was likely to be the beginnings of a spaghetti sauce, meat loaf, or a casserole. In this case, my “custom reaction”  allowed me to remain calm. For I knew that the sections of meat would be cut into chunks big enough for me to locate when the dish was served. I could then separate them from the rest of the meal and enjoy them on their own with only so much as a fiery look of disapproval from my mother's direction. If, on the other hand, I was either unable to distinguish, or worse yet, knew and disliked the smells that filled the kitchen, my “custom reaction” told me to it was time to. Get. Away.

When dinnertime finally arrived, I would have either been already present in my own chair for the past half hour in hungry anticipation or else ordered out from under my bed or closet in a state of uncontrollable panic. My food cycle was thus so efficient that by the time the dish was finally placed in the middle of our small dining table, my mind was already made up, either way, about eating it. 

Since coming to work for Carole Murko, I have given up many restraints to foods that I swore I would never touch again in my own home. From raw broccoli to fresh asparagus and organically grown cherry tomatoes, Carole’s meals have transformed my inner perception of taste. Though I still hold the right to tread the path of new food lightly, I have learned to disregard any immediately negative judgment and openly embrace the first forkful.

Thursday June 28, 2012

Heirloom Breeds & Seeds:
Happy National Tapioca Day!

Today is National Tapioca Day! For that reason we are taking a break from Farmer Thursday to celebrate. Over the span of June, we continuously sought out original recipes that included Tapioca, and well we never received any responses. So instead we borrowed a recipe from Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods for an Old Fashioned Tapioca Pudding:


1/3 cup Small Pearl Tapioca

3/4 cup Water

2-1/4 cups 2% Milk

1/4 tsp Sea Salt

1/2 cup Sugar, divided

2 Eggs, separated

1/2 tsp Vanilla


Step 1: Soak tapioca in water for 30 minutes in a 1-1/2 quart saucepan. Do not drain remaining water, if any.

Step 2: Add milk, salt, 1/4 cup sugar and lightly beaten egg yolks to tapioca and stir over medium heat until boiling. Simmer uncovered over very low heat for 10-15 minutes. Stir often.

Step 3: Beat egg whites with remaining 1/4 cup sugar until soft peaks form. Fold about 3/4 cup of hot tapioca into the egg whites, then gently fold mixture back into saucepan. Stir over low heat for about 3 minutes. Cool 15 minutes then add vanilla.

Step 4: Serve warm or chilled, plain or with fruits, nutmeg or coconut mixed in. Makes 3-1/2 cups (4 servings).

Once this delectable treat is finished, we encourage garnishing it with fresh nutmeg for flavor. 

The next step is to enjoy, and that is something we all did here at Boulderwood. 

Saturday June 23, 2012

The Essentials of the Kitchen from a College Girl’s Perspective (by Rebecca Narum)

As the title of this blog states today we’re going to be getting a college girl’s perspective on the essentials of every kitchen.  Being that Carole Murko is no longer in college you are probably wondering who is writing to you guys today.  My name is Rebecca Narum and I am one of Heirloom Meals’ summer inters!  Now that we are introduced let’s move on to the good stuff! 

The essentials of a kitchen is a hard list of items to come up with.  There are so many different things that one has to take into account.  Furthermore, as much as I love to cook I am only 21 and I have never had to stock a kitchen on my own let alone been required to cook for myself nightly.  That said, I am pretty good at day dreaming and this is a perfect opportunity for me to create my kitchen supply list for the day I leave college and move into my first apartment—frightfully this is just around the corner!  Therefore, after a good amount of thought and some web-surfing through William-Sonoma’s online store I have come up with a list of what I believe to be the ten-essential items of a kitchen.  But, please don’t be afraid to leave your comments, suggestions and ideas as I will be graduating in less than a year and want to make sure I am not left without something as I build my first kitchen!

So here’s my list:

1. Double-broiler Saucepot
I figure it is a good all-around kitchen essential that can be used for soups, boiling pasta, making the pasta sauce and having the double-broiler add-on will double it’s use!
2. Skillet
Although there are many uses for a skillet I have to say my favorite is making eggs and pancakes on the lazy weekend mornings.  Therefore, it is a must for my first kitchen.
3. Ceramic baking dish
From casseroles to lasagna to baking chicken, this is another versatile cooking utensil that I think I would find useful.
4. Good knife set
I know this can get expensive and for a recent college graduate I wont be able to go with the best-of-the-best, but I also know good knifes are essential to a kitchen so having decent knifes is worth it.
5. Spatula
My primary reason for this goes back to those lazy weekend breakfasts…you need to have something to flip the pancakes and cook the eggs!
6. Cook’s spoon (for mixing and serving)
From stove top to table, a spoon that has two functions is ideal!
7. Locking Tongs
I am taking people’s word on the locking tongs because although I have found a need for them while helping my mom cook but I have not found them ‘essential’.  However, I’ve been told they are good for grilling, making pasta and the list goes on.
8. Wooden cutting Board
It’s durable and practical, what more is there to say!
9. Stainless steal mixing bowl
A mixing bowl is a requirement and I figure stainless steal is the most sturdy. Furthermore, if I buy one that can use it to make my own double broiler by finding one that will fit with my saucepot!
10. Cookie sheet
This is purely to fulfill my own love of baking so I can make my mom’s crazy peanut butter, chocolate chip, M & M, oatmeal cookies late at night when I can’t sleep.

Now that you have seen my list I would love your insight!  How did I do? Is there anything missing that I can’t live without?!

Thursday June 21, 2012

Heirloom Breeds & Seeds:
The Jungle

What was once a beautifully planned and planted garden...

Has become the Boulderwood Jungle...

You would not believe how busy the past couple of weeks have been. With a fractured ankle, interns arriving, running Heirloom Meals, and the motions of life,  it's been hard to dedicate time outdoors. Goodness the heat the past two days, has not been very encouraging, thought I would share the pictures, of what has become known as the Jungle. I am hopeful that this weekend with the help of my team, we can tackle the Jungle with some weeding so we can then see the lovely side of the garden.



Wednesday June 20, 2012

Heirloom Meals Cookbook; RECIPES and STORIES needed!

Heirloom Meals is looking for people who would like their family recipes and stories to be included in the Thanksgiving section of the potential Heirloom Meals’ Holiday cookbook.  This is a great opportunity to document and share your family heritage but you must act quickly!  We are working on the proposal and hope to have the Thanksgiving section finished by the end of July.  We are looking for a diverse selection of stories and recipes that demonstrate how your family has created a personalized Thanksgiving meal.  If you are interested and would like to be considered, contact us with a synopsis (can be mere bullet points) and include the following:

• Family photo(s)
• Recipes
• Stories
• Heirloom tabletop items

All items must relate to Thanksgiving and we need your synopsis by Monday, June 25, 2012.  Please include your interest, the essence of your story and contact information.

Please email me.

Wednesday June 20, 2012

Heirloom Meals Radio:
Doug Ferguson

Doug Ferguson exudes positive energy!!  He cracked me up and touched my heart with the story about his Mom's turquoise pot.  Imagine knowing that when that pot was on the stove, it would yield a not-so-great attempt at Cincinnati Chili!!  Doug has now perfected the recipe and honors his Mom by cooking it in his newly acquired turquoise dutch oven.

Doug has taken his love of cooking, of being in the suburbs and being a Dad and a neighbor and translated it into both a tongue-in-cheek and serious journal in his blog, The Suburban Cookbook.  I think you will enjoy listening to Doug as much as I enjoyed interviewing him!! Thank you Doug!!

Listen to his show HERE.  And we apologize that the sound quality isn't the best :-(

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