Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Thursday September 02, 2010

Heirloom Breeds & Seeds:
Farm Girl Farm Thursdays

As Summer winds to a close at least we have tomatoes to look forward to and thanks to Laura and other farmers we have a great crop - so I am going to be a canning wonder-woman this weekend!!  Here's what Laura has to say this week....

August 31, 2010
Hi all—
End of summer?  Does NOT feel that way.  Although I did wonder if my alarm was mistaken this morning when it seemed to be pretty dark at 6 am…but with 90 degree weather and sun, sun, sun, the cold fingers of winter don’t seem to have quite the grip around my throat that they sometimes do at this time of year.

Although, as the commercials say, “we’ve got plenty of summer left” in terms of tomatoes and watermelons, it is true that kids are returning to school, summer birds are starting to migrate  home to The City…sure signs of fall. And for the summer share CSA members, this week does mark the end of our time together this year.  Thank you, summer share people, for a great season!
Meanwhile we are doing our best to keep getting fall crops in the ground while we try to keep up with the tomato harvest, the perpetual late August/early September dilemma..  We have beets, radishes, carrots and broccoli raab sown, we have new kale and swiss chard seedlings in the ground, and several flats of bok choi and head lettuce awaiting transplant.  We’ll also soon be harvesting baby bitter greens and arugula again, as soon as the leaves size up just a bit more.  We’ll have some baby leeks for you—these babies got pretty engulfed in weeds so they’ve been taking their time growing up, but they are on the way.

I’m looking forward to harvesting pumpkins and winter squash—we haven’t grown much or any of these for the last several years because they are such space hogs.  But our new field afforded the space we needed, and so far the plants and fruits look great, so here’s hoping!  We did get these plants in somewhat later than ideal because the preparation of that new field took longer than we wanted it to, but if you take a walk out there or slow your car down on your way out of the farm, you can see some gorgeous acorn squash and pumpkins lurking beneath those enormous green leaves. 

Some of you who’ve been with FGF for our entire six seasons will remember Marne Litfin, apprentice extraordinaire during our second season, 2005.  She made a guest re-appearance in 2006, and has been traveling the world and learning about all things food and farming.  This past summer she was on staff at my beloved Farm & Wilderness and upon hearing that we had a couple of helpers depart early this season, she wrote to say she had a few weeks between camp and her next gig in Germany, so here she is, reunited with the cherry tomatoes.  We are SO GLAD.  

Other than all that, I’m hoping for some rain which will further all of the above endeavors!

Enjoy the veggies this week.
--Laura Meister, Farm Girl Farm Farmer

Wednesday September 01, 2010

Heirloom Meals Radio:
Connie Meisinger - it’s all about Springerle Co

Have you ever heard of a Springerle cookie? Ever imagined the labor of love that goes into making them? Listen to Carole Murko’s interview of Connie Meisinger, owner of House on the Hill - a Springerle mold and cookie company - to learn about these beautiful cookie molds and the story of how this delicious and ancient cookie recipe became Connie’s passion.

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 .....”

Tuesday August 31, 2010

Life at Boulderwood:
Rescuing Painted Turtles

Tales from Boulderwood Farm and in this case, Ice Glen Road!! 


Jim and I get really angry when people run over turtles on our road.  It's a country road, not a super highway and believe it or not there are a lot of Morons (sorry for the strong sentiment) that drive 50 mph down our street and squish these beautiful creatures.  We take great pleasure rescuing these painted (and even snapping) turtles when we see one on the road.  We drove this beauty all the way to the swamp to insure his/her survival!!  Viva la turtle!!

Monday August 30, 2010

Ms Murky Mondays:
Whirlwind Life


It's already Monday night and I feel like I need a vacation. I have been working hard and miraculously manage to get everything checked off my "to-do" list. Of the many things I do, real estate sales is one of them and as of late, my little farmlette listing has been getting lots of actions with a deal in the works.  YIPPEE!!

My interior decorating projects are coming along as well.  It's always gratifying to see the results of months of work. Here's a peak at a partially finished room - a few more orders and deliveries and it will be complete!!

And today I had a fun excursion to White Flower Farm with Dottie Weber, a great interior decorating client and we did some damage purchasing some perennials for Dottie's "exterior" design. I manage to be a full service operation!!  Here's our loot:
But have no fear, I have not lost my heirloom meals way....while typing this blog post I have eggplant and tomatoes roasting in the oven to compose into eggplant parmesan as a side to leftover grilled hangar steak!! YUM. Until tomorrow......

Friday August 27, 2010

Carole’s Concoctions:
Berkshire Grown/Country Living Dinner

Boy have I been concocting!!  The summer bounty brings out all my culinary creativity!!  But, rather than go there right now,  I wanted to spend some more time sharing the preparation, recipes and photos of the Berkshire Grown/Country Living event that was hosted at my home last Sunday, August 22nd.

The mini cooper stuffed to capacity with flowers, tomatoes
and goodies I collected around the county for the event.

What a delightful ride I had down to Salisbury CT where I picked up the short ribs from Whippoorwill Farm, my next stop was Great Barrington to pick up the generously donated Berkshire Blue Cheese for the dip and the cheese course - what a treat to see the facility where the award-winning cheese is made!!

Next, I had to get into high gear to make the caramelized onions, boil our beautiful blue bantam eggs for the deviled eggs (No salmonella fear here!!).
On Saturday morning, I had a beautiful drive down to Wild and Cultivated Farm and met the lovely Anna Mack in Egremont to pick up fresh cut flowers that Donna, Dale and I made up into great arrangements - an old mason jar with yellow and chocolate sunflowers finished with flowering basil - perfection in its simplicity!! Then onto Farm Girl Farm, Guido's, Taft Farm and even, yes the Price Chopper!!
The event was magical.  It was conceived as an outdoor farm to table feast but as fate would have it we had a wild, windy and wet storm that forced us to move the event inside.  We created a dreamy, safe place to drink, dine and exchange great conversation with sensational gusts of wind swirling through the room to remind all of the storm from which we were all safely protected!
And if the food, people and environment were not enough, the icing on the evening's cake was the emotionally moving performance of  Emily Mure, a beautiful and talented singer-song writer who filled the room with her melodic voice and melancholy tunes that had half the room dabbing tears from their eyes.
Emil Mure

Oh and did I promise you recipes??....OK...here's the chicken recipe that is show-stopping delicious from, believe it or not, my Dad's side of the family:

Cousin Ruthie’s Divine Chicken Breasts served with heirloom tomato napoleans
Most of the time my Dad’s side of the family gets the culinary shaft but as I was trying to find an alternative chicken recipe that I could pull off for 30+ people, I remembered this recipe.  We had it at a big family dinner and my Mom and I got the recipe and have served it with great success for many large parties.
2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 tsp worcestershire sauce
4 tsp celery salt
2 tsp paprika
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
6 hole boneless, skinless chicken breast (halved)
1 3/4 cups bread crumbs
1 cup butter, melted
Combine in a large bowl, add breast to sour cream mixture, cover bowl and marinate in refrigerator overnight.  
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Roll breast in bread crumbs, arrange in single layer in a shallow baking dish.  Spoon half of butter over breast.  Bake for 45 minute, then add rest of butter and bake for another 15 minutes until golden.

Thursday August 26, 2010

Heirloom Breeds & Seeds:
Farm Girl Farm Thursdays

Firstly a great big THANK YOU to Farm Girl Farm and Equinox Farm for the GORGEOUS tomatoes for the Berkshire Grown fundraiser!!!!  They were as delicious as they were gorgeous!!

August 24, 2010

Hi all—

A few notes from the field on your veggie shares.  

Regarding the watermelons:  we grew 12 varieties of watermelon this season and had a little extra space to do it in.  So clear some space on your counter because here they come!  Right now the yellow ones are ripening, soon we’ll start we’ll start harvesting the pink ones.  Somewhere in between are the orange ones (!).  There were a few distributed today—the very round melons with a yellow-orange flesh.  So delicious!  We are spending lots of time in the watermelon patch thumping and analyzing the melons for ripeness—so the ones we select to bring to  the table should be, in our professional opinions, ripe.  But if  we are wrong, and you get one that is less than at its peak, do not despair because this is only the beginning of the watermelon tidal wave.  

On the cucumbers—we have a variety in the field called Super Zagross. It is an heirloom variety known for its non-bitter taste.  The caveat is that this cucumber is ugly as sin.  The skin is cracked and rather tough.  But peel it and the smoothest, mildest cucumber is inside. This cuke is great for sandwiches, soups, you name it.  So don’t be afraid .  We have begun referring to these cukes as the “green uglies.”

We’re sorely missing the eggplant which is usually starting to ramp up its presence at this point in the season.  Our eggplant plants are not so happy—too little water at just the wrong moment and alas, not many blossoms and not much fruit!  Things are looking slightly better than last week, so maybe in a few more weeks we’ll have enough to bring to the table.  It’s a funny contrast to last year, when the eggplant cavalierly stepped in and took the place of the tomatoes as nightshade superstar.  Well, we’re always learning.

Events for your calendars:
The 7th Annual Stanton Brothers’ Pig Roast will take place at North Plain Farm in Great Barrington, starting at 4 pm (bar) and 5 pm (food).  The roast will feature all local meat and veggies and is a great community event.  Ticketes are $35 and kids under 16 pay their age.  Call (413) 429-6598 or email northplainfarm@gmail.com for more details.  It’s a totally locally grown event and I never miss it.

And don’t forget to keep Monday September 20th open for Berkshire Grown’s 12h Annual Beautiful Bountiful Berkshires Harvest Supper at Eastover Resort in Lenox (6:30 to 8:30 pm).  We’ll be selling tickets at the pick-up table, ask us for details or call Berkshire Grown at 528-004 or see  www.berkshiregrown.org for more details.  This is always a stunning aesthetic event —sights, tastes, smells, etcetera—a ballroom-wide tasting menu from chefs who work with local producers.

Enjoy the veggies this week.

--Laura Meister, Farm Girl Farm Farmer

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