Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Thursday September 23, 2010

Heirloom Breeds & Seeds:
Farm Girl Farm Thursdays

Thank you Laura for your insights and newsletter!! 
September 21, 2010

Hi all—

Happy autumnal equinox, more or less.  

In the fields, it feels exactly like that kind of half-time—we got hit by a fairly substantial frost last night, it took out the watermelon vines, the basil, the second summer squash planting…the tips of the pepper plants, some but not all of the tomato plants…we’re in a bit of a late summer/early fall twilight zone.  No matter how great of a run we’ve had with these vegetables, and no matter how appropriate the timing of our first frost,  its always a bit shocking, and then melancholy, to be working among the fallen fruits.  Mother nature, always the stern reconciler of time.

Now is the time of season when we all start to think about preserving the harvest, putting things up, pickling, canning, freezing, etc.  Berkshire Grown runs a series of preservation workshops with local restaurants and caterers.  The series is already in progress— www.berkshiregrown.org for details on upcoming workshops.

Speaking of the changing landscape, we’ll be changing our distribution hours on Tuesdays starting the first week in October (2 distributions from now)—we’ll be wrapping things up at 6 pm instead of 7, because it will be dark by 7.  We’ll remind you copiously between now and then.  Saturday hours will remain the same.

If any of you have a build-up at home of the pint and quart containers that you’ve been using for the cherry tomatoes, bring them in--we will definitely re-use them

We’re still looking forward to lots of kinds of winter squash, turnips, broccoli raab and beets and carrots.  If any of you have fun, easy recipes or preparation suggestions for these veggies, send them along!

Enjoy the harvest this week.

--Laura Meister, Farm Girl Farm Farmer

Wednesday September 22, 2010

Heirloom Meals Radio:
German Sachs

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!!

Tuesday September 21, 2010

Tabletop Tuesdays:
Tomato Server

I inherited my Mom's love of all things kitchen and tabletop.  She always had such a pretty tomato server.
So when I was in my 20's and frequented flea markets nearly every weekend with my Mom - guess what I found?
It's a throw-back to the Victorian era when they had a utensil for EVERY purpose!! Serve away!

Monday September 20, 2010

Ms Murky Mondays:
Apple Torte Demo on Newschannel13

Basking in the afterglow of a great time with the news team from Albany's NBC affiliate - WNYT - Newschannel 13 - Dan Bazille and Tim Drawbridge!!

Here's the recipe:

Jo’s (my Mom’s) Apple Torte
Our family loves cheesecake and we love apple pie.  So way back when, my Mom who tends to be pie crust challenged, decided to do away with the frustration of a rolled pie dough and combined her cheesecake acumen with apples to create the simplest and most delicious winner. Try it - it will impress your friends and your taste buds!!
1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 stick butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
Cream Cheese Filling
2 - 8 oz. packages of cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs at room temperature
2 large tart apples such as Granny Smith - peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine flour, sugar, vanilla in a bowl and then cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Press into bottom and up about 1” of the sides of a 10 inch springform pan.  Bake for 5 minutes, cool to room temperature.
Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.
Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Spoon mixture into crust.
Mix apples sugar, cinnamon and vanilla.  Spoon over cream cheese mixture and then sprinkle with walnuts.  
Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake another 45 minutes  until your tester comes out clean.  Cool on a rack and then carefully remove sides of springform pan. When completely cool, turn upside-down, remove bottom of pan, place plate on top and flip over.  And ENJOY!!!

Sunday September 19, 2010

Life at Boulderwood:
The Grass is Always Greener

Animal Tales from Boulderwood Farm - the Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side. Isn't it?
When the whinnying and the mooing sounded like it was coming from my back door....well, it's because it was....

The entire herd - all three horses and all three cows were acting out the great escape the other night and partied like it was 1999. Julia was eating apples right off the apple tree; Mr Johnson stuck his head over the fence of my veggie garden and ate some broccoli; and the horses, horsed around all night - I don't even want to tell you where I found hoof prints.

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

Carole’s Concoctions:
Testing A Pie Recipe

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.
We didn't like the looks nor the ingredients in the evaporated milk so we opted for the light cream because it is fresh!!  And Karen jumped ahead and stirred the mixture ever-so-slightly until I read DO NOT STIR!!  Oops - and will this be a problem??  Karen felt the need to stir because it wasn't clear that the brown sugar mixture should be "evenly" distributed - perhaps adding "evenly" would help.
We sprinkled nutmeg and cinnamon, but really - how much? We covered it but not densely - we weren't confident.
And, to the oven it went - but alas - where - middle? bottom? in-between?  We went for the middle.

I'm no pie judge but the finished product was not satisfying.  We were bummed!!
On the flip side - pie really does equal peace as Karen and I had a great 1+ peaceful hour together - mixing, chatting, giggling - so in my book - making pie is a bast and should be done with friends and family and served with love and laughter!! 
Thank you Gina for the opportunity and Karen for the company!!

And on second thought - I am not sharing the recipe until the changes are made....

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