Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Monday July 19, 2010

Ms Murky Mondays:
A Picnic for a Hot Summer’s Day

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8XaQWxWwS0]

A picnic is the perfect way to celebrate summer!  Here are a few tips for packing a moveable feast easily and safely.

Pack the Essentials
Make sure you're fully equipped for your adventure. Here's a list of essentials for your outdoor excursion:

   1. Picnic basket or cooler
   2. Bottled water (freeze overnight and use as an ice pack and drinks during day   as it thaws.  Pour a little water out before freezing to give it room to expand.)
   3. Outdoor dinnerware / paper goods
   4. Flatware or plastic silverware
   5. Napkins
   6. Glassware
   7. Corkscrew and/or bottle opener
   8. Tablecloth, blanket
9. Decorative centerpiece (hurricane candles, a cup of freshly plucked wildflowers, a beautiful dessert)
  10. Sunscreen
  11. Bug spray or citronella candles
  12. Trash bag and wipes

Pack food in airtight containers or sealed bags to keep freshness in .

Place ice packs on the bottoms of the basket or cooler when you pack your picnic lunch. Arrange perishable items closer to the ice.

If possible -  pack drinks separately.  It saves space and lightens the load of the picnic basket.  Chances are people will be reaching for more drinks than food – so having them in a sep. cooler keeps your food safer, as people won’t be going into the same one over and over – letting the cold out of the food container.

Pack lightweight items and anything that might get smashed last.

Put fragile things like fruit or desserts in hard plastic containers.

Cheers to summer! 



Menu

Cold Beet and Watermelon Soup
Herbed Brie Sandwiches (Brie Breads)
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies or any cookie of your choice
Arnold Palmers (1/2 iced tea/ 1/2 lemonade)

Brie Breads

A true Carole concoction with a grandmother-style non-recipe recipe!!  Well it's actually a Carole and Jo (my Mom) concoction that we made up years ago for my famous Murko Open Tennis Party.

Mince a ton of garlic and a mix of herbs - thyme, rosemary, dill - whatever....
Cut open your baguettes and sprinkle with olive oil, garlic and herbs, salt and pepper and add slices of brie (1/4 inch thick should do).  Wrap tightly in plastic and put in fridge overnight.  When ready to bake them - bake at 350 - remove from plastic and wrap in tin foil for 10-15 minutes until toasted and brie is melted but not runny.  Slice into 1-2 inch pieces and enjoy!!  For your picnic, place pieces in a plastic storage container and enjoy at room temperature.

Cold Watermelon and Beet Soup

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE gazpacho and anything with tomatoes but I wanted to work with some of the other amazing items available at the markets during the summer.  And the combination of beets and watermelon are a match made in heaven for a cold soup on a warm day! Sweet, refreshing and full of nutrients.

1 bunch of farm fresh beets, greens removed, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 vidalia onion, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil +/-
4 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp salt
2-3 cups watermelon, seeded and chopped.  What you want is equal parts beets to watermelon.
Fresh mint (some chopped and soem not, for garnish and flavor)  In may opiion, this makes the soup!!

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss onions and beets with oil and place on baking sheet.  Roast until beets are soft - 30 minutes.  While they are roasting, cut up watermelon.  Put beets and vegetable broth in a stockpot and cook for another 10-15 minutes.  Strain solids and put solids in food processor (keep the liquid to add back in) Add watermelon to food processor and puree until smooth.  Mix the puree and reserved liquid.  Refrigerate for several hours. Serve cold, garnished with mint and Enjoy!!

Monday July 12, 2010

Ms Murky Mondays:
Ohio here we come!

Heirloom Meals is going on a road trip!  

At the end of last week we were invited by Country Living Magazine  to join them in Columbus, Ohio in September for their annual Country Living Fair (2010 Country Living Fair Ohio).  
 
 
Heirloom Meals will be performing 2 cooking demos there but with all that we are involved with this summer we have yet to decide what we will be sharing with our audience. Do you think you have a cherished family recipe/menu that could wow our fall crowd? As you know, we are always keeping our ears, eyes and mouths open to your dishes and stories so let us know!

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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