Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Monday July 05, 2010

Ms Murky Mondays:
Weekend Reflections

Waitsfield, VT, The Inn at the Round Barn, Anne Marie DeFreest,Tim Piper, Jack and Doreen Simko, Paul Finnerty, and of course, my love, Jim Finnerty.  Time spent in a favorite place and with my favorite people.


 

Sunset Rock, the Long Trail,


East Warren Rd, Warren 4th of July Parade,


Thunder Road Stock Car Races,


dairy cows, starlit nights, great food.


Route 100, covered bridge, Mad River, No bugs.

A place I know so well and miss dearly.
A soul refreshed. A dream reborn.

Monday June 28, 2010

Ms Murky Mondays:
A True Farm-to-Table dinner

Who walks and talks country living better than the Berkshires anyway?!

Today the Heirloom Meals office printer has seen a lot of action as we are designing, printing and crafting the invitations for the Berkshire Grown fundraiser dinner that will be hosted on Boulderwood Farm at the end of August.  Several days ago we received some exciting news that the current editor-in-chief of Country Living magazine, Sarah Gray Miller, agreed to come and be the featured guest for our event.  Our hope is that by sharing with Sarah how BG influences the local economy, lifestyles, food and environment Country Living might support our cause by creating a How-To for other interested individuals and organizations who would like to start similar movements in their communities. We think an online database where people could find their local CSAs and farmers markets would be spectacular too.



For the party we are hoping to have a true farm-to-table dinner out in the pasture with a full spread of heirloom meals from our archives that lend themselves to the in season produce available to us. We are even asking attending guests to send in heirloom recipes for us as we might feature them on the menu as well! In the next few weeks we will start honing in on the final menu probably around the same time that we will be cooking and photographing recipes for our HM website which we will no doubt be sharing with you!

Happy Murky Monday!

P.S. Don't forget to check us out and show your support for Heirloom Meals at http://kck.st/cJw7ty where we are raising money for said website.  Donate a $1 or $10 or $25 or more! Thanks!

Monday June 21, 2010

Ms Murky Mondays:
Solstice Soiree

In celebration of the longest day of the year and the first harvest of summer we are hosting a Solstice Soiree at Boulderwood Farm! Every year during the solstice the sun shines directly down the second floor hallway making a spectacular light display as if Boulderwood was Stonehenge itself. Since it is amusing to extend metaphors, we, the misplaced druids, took it as a sign that we must party!


Tonight our table will boast fresh from the sea Maine lobsters, burgers of all breeds, beef, lamb and turkey, radish dip, garlic scape and white bean dip, garlic scape pesto (delicious on burgers!),  roasted fingerling potatoes, lush green salad and local blueberry pies for dessert.  You might be wondering how we can have lobsters without corn but we are sticking to the harvest theme and will have to throw another party once corn is in season.

Monday June 14, 2010

Ms Murky Mondays:
Cheesemaking at Shelburne Farms, Vermont

Pasture to Palate

As usual, I am a moving target.  Just returned from an installation for one of my interior design clients in Pelham, NY. ......

But what I really want to share is my weekend at Shelburne Farms, VT attending a cheddar cheesemaking seminar with the head cheesemaker, Nat Bacon.



Shelburne Farms "was created as a model agricultural estate in 1886 by William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb.  In 1972, it became an educational nonprofit. Our nearly 400 acres of woodlands are Green Certified from the American Tree Farm System. Our grass-based dairy has 125 purebred, registered Brown Swiss cows. Their milk is transformed into our award-winning farmhouse cheddar cheese here on the property."


We began our day with a full tour of the grounds.


And Nat Bacon and Marshall Webb shared tons of information on sustainable farming techniques, the importance of soil management and grass-growing.  I felt like I was living Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma upfront and personal.  The cleanliness of the barns and the care taken in managing every aspect of the farm was truly inspiring.  A true biodynamic farm.  


And why is this so important?  Well, the cows eat the grass which in turn produces healthy cows and milk full of nutrients.  The milk is then turned into cheese.  And the cheesemaking process is indeed fascinating.


It all begins at 8.30 am with the delivery of the milk from the freshly milked cows, then the milk is heated up and the large stirring paddles are started. At various times and specific temperatures, a culture and then an enzyme are added, and then you wait.  Patience is a cheesemakers' virtue. And then, in a frenzy of activity, the curds and whey need to be separated. And then the "cheddaring" begins.  Did you know cheddaring is actually a verb?  An action very specific to making cheddar cheese.


 

 

Cheddaring is a process of letting the curds settle into each other while the acidity rises and when each of those rectangles is picked up and turned several times until a desired acidity is achieved.  Then they are chopped up and salted in a three step process, and then placed into molds and pressed overnite.  The entire process ends around 4 pm producing around 550-600 pounds of cheese.  This process is repeated each day during the peak cheesemaking season or for 250 days or so.




Eating farmstead artisanal cheddar has a whole new meaning.  I relish every bite and crave more!!

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