Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Saturday May 16, 2009

Life at Boulderwood:
Eggs-A-Plenty - And Happy Chickens produce Amazing Eggs!!!

One of my favorite chickens is named the “Growler” for her distinct growly voice. She has found her own nightly perch in the rafters of our horse shelter. She lays blue eggs. Upon rising, she jumps down and greets me at the back door for her special treats – stale bread, strawberry hulls etc before I open the chicken house and feed her sisters (all named, of course).

The Growler and her sisters roam freely (at their peril) all day – scratching the underbrush, eating bugs in my flower garden, and in particular, love the horse pasture – especially the worms in the manure. They run up and down the hills, take long luxurious dust baths and drink from a natural spring. 

Why do I tell you all of this? Because real free-range chicken eggs (better stated as "pasture-raised" chicken eggs) are AMAZING!! Their flavor is robust; their yolks the color of the setting sun; and their shapes, sizes and color are all unique.

Try one of my favorite recipes handed down from my mother: Cheese Soufflé 
Ingredients: 
1lb grated cheese (preferably cheddar)
4 oz. flour
12 oz. milk
6 egg yolks
6 egg whites
4 oz. butter
salt and pepper
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Make a white sauce with the flour and milk. Add grated cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Beat egg whites in a separate bowl. Then add the yolks 2 at a time to the cheese mixture. Fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites. Place in a buttered soufflé pan. Place pan in another pan of hot water and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately. Excellent with a salad.

Sunday May 10, 2009

Ms Murky Mondays:
Heirloom Meals is a Tribute to my Mom and Nana

Today is a special day for Mother's and their children. Just preparing this inaugural blog post has brought a flood of tears to my eyes. I grew up in a family where the kitchen and food was the center of the universe, and would ultimately be the place that I am the most happy and comfortable.

Of course, I didn't know that growing up. I took handmade food for granted, doting parents and grandparents as a nuisance and their food as overkill (typical kid, right!) Despite that, I was forever in the kitchen, watching and helping Nana making ravioli from scratch, stirring the pots, making sauces and treats because I did really want to be just like them!!

So as I navigate through adulthood and have sampled several careers from finance to interior design, it is the kitchen that beckons. And it is a craving for those meals and those memories that has brought me to the development of Heirloom Meals - a soon-to-be TV show/series,cookbook and website that provides a culinary journey into the kitchens and gardens of anyone who has a treasured family recipe(s) with the goal of exploring our diverse culinary history and preserving our ancestors’ tried and true recipes and dining traditions.

My goal is to only use local and in season ingredients. We will explore old wives tales leading to some of the great recipes and concoctions and explore the connection between food, farming, the earth, nutrition and family life.

This a show dedicated to my grandmother and my mother, my teachers. There wasn’t a day in my life growing up that fresh home-cooked meals were absent. As a very young girl I would stand by my grandmother’s side and watch her make pasta from scratch, roll it out, cut it into ravioli, spaghetti etc, make manicotti crepes that are so light and fluffy you might think they were French crepes – I think there’s an episode here! When I grew up in the late 60’s and even the 70’s there was still a butcher shop where we would go for the freshest of meats and poultry (owned by my grandfather’s cousin, Johnny Pippi) My grandfather was a butcher at one time and before that he owned an apple farm in Claverack NY, which he lost during the Great Depression.

My point with all this is that they didn’t teach me per se; - I observed, participated, listened and learned by being part of the process of cooking the family meal.

Come along on the journey while I raise the funds to produce the show, write my cookbook, post to this blog and develop the website. And please send me your recipes and stories so I can share them and build them into the content.

Thank you and Enjoy!!

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