Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Thursday December 03, 2009

Ms Murky Mondays:
Time Thief - How did 2+ months go by?

Ever wonder where the time goes? My mind is still in September but my body is in early December. Somehow I managed to operate at warp speed, get new clients, do another TV segment on WNYT - Newschannel 13 out of Albany, harvest our first meat chickens, attend my high school reunion, host the family for Thanksgiving, begin a jogging program along with a core strengthening pilates program...are you tired yet?


So how do I blog on a regular basis - how do I catch you up on all the yummy meals I have made in the last 2 months? Well I'll start with sharing my TV segment - Heirloom Trick or Treats.

 

Heirloom Caramel Apples
I’ll admit it, in a pinch I make caramel apples with Kraft caramel candy!! But, I am somewhat of a purist and food snob and I take pride in using real ingredients and making things from scratch. So here is a winner that is so simple that uses 3 real ingredients.
The only caveat is you need a candy thermometer but it’s worth having in your cooking gear arsenal!!
6 - 8 small apples, unwaxed, cold and craft sticks
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup honey
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
Push the stick deep into each apple at the stem area.
Fill a large bowl 1/2 full with ice water and set aside.
In a medium, saucepan heat the cream and salt until tiny bubbles start forming where the cream touches the pan. Stir in the honey. Bring the mixture to a boil. Now reduce the heat to an active simmer and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for about 15-20 minutes minutes or until the mixture reaches about 255-260 degrees on your candy thermometer.
To stop the caramel from cooking, set the bottom of the saucepan in the bowl of cold water. Stir until caramel begins to thicken up. Here is where there is a little bit of “art” - the caramel has to me thin enough to coat the apples but thick enough to stick. If the caramel thickens too much simply put the pot back over the burner for 10 seconds or so to heat it up a bit.
Tilt the sauce pan so all the caramel forms a pool on one side, then dunk and twirl each apple until it is thoroughly coated with caramel. Place each apple on the baking sheets and allow the caramel to cool and set. Enjoy!!
 
 
Caramel Apples using caramel candies
 
5 medium apples, washed, well dried
1 bag (11 oz.) KRAFT Caramel Bits
2 Tbsp. water
 
Insert one wooden pop stick (from bag of caramels) into stem end of each apple. Cover a baking sheet with waxed paper; spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
 
Place caramel bits in medium saucepan. Add water; cook on medium-low heat 3 min. or until caramel bits are completely melted, stirring constantly.
 
Dip apples into melted caramel until evenly coated, spooning caramel over apples if necessary. Allow excess caramel to drip off. Scrape bottoms of apples; place on prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Remove from refrigerator 15 min. before serving. Store any leftover apples in refrigerator.
 
Caramel apples can be rolled in a variety of coatings for a sweet treat that is perfect for gift-giving or for serving on a special occasion, i.e: nuts, mini chocolate chips,
drizzled chocolate, drizzled white chocolate.
 
 
 
Cobweb Cupcake Icing
 
2 egg whites
21/2 to 3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
Black or dark brown food coloring
Make whatever kind of cupcakes you like - from scratch or mix.
To make the icing, place the egg whites in a bowl. Using an electric mixer set on high speed, beat until soft peaks form. Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and orange juice and continue to beat until thick and shiny. If too thick, add more orange juice. If too thin, add more confectioners' sugar.
Transfer 1/3 of the icing to a small bowl and color with black or dark brown food coloring. Spoon this dark icing into a pastry bag fitted with a tip, or pour it into a plastic squeeze bottle.
Now, ice the cupcakes and make the cobwebs: Spoon the white icing into the center of the cupcake and spread with a small spatula or butter knife. Starting at the center of a cupcake, pipe a spiral of the dark icing from the center to the outer edge. Then, drag a sharp knife point from the center of the spiral to the edge of the cupcake. Wipe the knife clean, move about a 1/2-inch to the left or right and drag the knife in the opposite direction from the outer edge to the middle of the cupcake. Continue in this way until you have worked your way around the cupcake and formed the cobweb. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes.
 
 
 
Chocolate Covered Pretzels
 
2 bags chocolate chips (dark or milk chocolate)
1 bag pretzels logs
Chopped nuts, for garnish, optional
Colored nonpareils, for garnish, optional
Sprinkles, for garnish, optional
Coconut, for garnish, optional
Melt chocolate in double boiler over medium heat on stove top. Using tongs, or your fingers, quickly dip pretzels in chocolate allowing the excess to run off. Place dipped pretzels on waxed paper lined cookie sheets. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, colored sugars or other toppings. Allow to harden. You may need to refrigerate for a while to help this along. Once hardened, remove from sheets and store in a cool location, with waxed paper between layers.
Tip: Package pretzels in clear cellophane bags or in vase for festive gift giving!
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiwbZb6_phk]

Sunday September 20, 2009

Ms Murky Mondays:
Canning Workshop - Many Hands Make for Light Work


In the photo from left to right: Me, Jim Finnerty, Judith Lerner, Jacque Metsma, Carol Way, Kevin Charlton, Doreen, Sandy, DonaSenecal, Margot and Serene Mastrianni.

 
My grandmother's wisdom was evident on Thursday night (the 17th) when I hosted a canning workshop for Berkshire Grown's "Preserving the Bounty" month when 10 people diligently chopped, diced or minced 20 lbs of tomatoes, 5 lbs of onions, 10 green peppers, 20 jalapenos, 20 cloves of garlic and 2 dozen ears of corn in 30-40 minutes. If I had taken on the task by myself, which I frequently do, it would have been hours.
Anyhow, what fun we had! And the result was 40 pints of corn and black bean salsa. Here's the recipe for about 1/5 of what made:
 

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

 

4 lbs tomatoes, chopped and drained

2 1/2 cups onions, chopped

1 1/2 cups green peppers

1 cup jalapeno pepper, chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 cup canning salt

1/3 cup vinegar

1 (15 ounce) tomato sauce

1 (12 ounce) tomato paste

1 (15 ounce) black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups fresh corn kernels

 

Equipment: boiling water canner,canning jars, canning funnel, rubber spatula, jar lifter and/or tongs

 

First, prepare your jars as follows:

 

Place cans on rack of boiling water canner, add water until the pint jars are about 2/3rds full. Cover and bring to a simmer. This process kills any bacteria. In a small saucepan, place the lids - the flat, round piece, cover and bring to a simmer. The screw bands do not need to sterilized.

 

Then, start your vegetables:

 

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring occassinally for about 5 minutes.

 

Now you are ready to start canning your salsa:

 

One jar at a time, remove from canner, pouring hot water back into canner, place jar on flat heat-resistant surface. Ladle salsa into jar leaving about a half inch of headspace, wipe the rim and threads with a paper towel. ( This is important to make sure vacuum seal can occur). Lift a hot lid with your tongs and place on jar and then screw the lid with your fingertips until tight. Place back in canner with tongs. Repeat until done.

 

Cover all jars with additional water by an inch or so. Cover canner and bring to a boil. The boiling must be continuous and rapid for 15 minutes. Remove lid, let sit for about 5 minutes or so. Remove jars without tilting, place jars on a towel in a draft-free spot and allow to cool for 24 hours. Store in a cool dark place for up to a year.

 

This recipe will yield about 6 pint jars. Enjoy!!

Tuesday September 15, 2009

Ms Murky Mondays:
Here’s my Corn Relish News Clip

I had a ton of fun preparing and then being on a news segment on Channel 13 in Albany, NY.
What was quite interesting was that when I arrived in the studio at 7.30 in the morning lugging all my props - pots, ramekins, all stages of corn relish, I was actually expecting to get some guidance. They pointed me to the studio kitchen, and told me to go ahead and get set up.
So I diligently got everything staged, styled and ready. I had marked each of my ramekins with masking tape and the amount of the ingredients so if I got "stage fright" I would be able to sail through without a hitch. But I kept waiting for the producer or someone to come over and tell me what they would like to cover, how much time we had etc. So I stood there with all my nervous energy, waiting and wondering when it would be my turn.
And then, someone came over and gave me the microphone. I thought, "Ok, next someone will give me a little coaching." Then the bright lights were pointed at me, the camera rolled over and there was a commercial break. The news anchor came over, asked me how to pronounce my name and a little about Preserving the Bounty and 4,3,2,1..."Welcome back to....we've got Carole Murko in the studio with us today - tell us what do you plan on showing us"...and I was off ...winging it, having fun, answering questions, trying to do a food demo... and in what felt like 10 seconds it was over...."but wait, I'm not done!" I am thinking....
So, click the photo to watch the clip - it was actually more like 4 minutes, not 10 seconds and I loved every minute of it. Hope they ask me back to do more!!

Wednesday September 02, 2009

Ms Murky Mondays:
Preparing for my News Spot - Corn Relish

Saturday, September 5th is fast approaching and I am diligently preparing for the food demo I will be doing on NBC's Albany affiliate Channel 13, WNYT - the morning show with Jessica Layton at 8 am.

 
Here's a sneak peek at my recipe. I am doing a batch today for practice and propping - you know - the magic of television.
 

Corn Relish

 

4 cups white wine vinegar

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 Tbsp salt

8 cups corn kernels, either fresh or frozen

4 cups red and green pepper, seeded and diced

1 3/4 cups celery, diced

1 cup onion finely chopped

2 Tbsp dry mustard

2 tsp celery seeds

2 tsp ground tumeric

2 Tbsp Clearjel (a thickener) Available on www.kingarthurflour.com

1/4 cup water

 

Equipment: boiling water canner,canning jars, canning funnel, rubber spatula, jar lifter and/or tongs

 

First, prepare your jars as follows:

 

Place cans on rack of boiling water canner, add water until the pint jars are about 2/3rds full. Cover and bring to a simmer. This process kills any bacteria. In a small saucepan, place the lids - the flat, round piece, cover and bring to a simmer. The screw bands do not need to sterilized.

 

 

Then, start your vegetables:

 

In a large saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Next add the corn, peppers, celery and onion. Continue stirring and keep the mixture boiling. Stir in the mustard, celery seed and tumeric. Separately, in a small bowl, make a paste out of the water and Clearjel and then add it to corn mixture. Stir frequently and gently boil until it mounds on your spoon (about 5 minutes.)

 

 

Now you are ready to start canning your relish:

 

One jar at a time, remove from canner, pouring hot water back into canner, place jar on flat heat-resistant surface. Ladle relish into jar leaving about a half inch of headspace, wipe the rim and threads with a paper towel. ( This is important to make sure vacuum seal can occur). Lift a hot lid with your tongs and place on jar and then screw the lid with your fingertips until tight. Place back in canner with tongs. Repeat until done.

 

Cover all jars with additional water by an inch or so. Cover canner and bring to a boil. The boiling must be continuous and rapid for 15 minutes. Remove lid, let sit for about 5 minutes or so. Remove jars without tilting, place jars on a towel in a draft-free spot and allow to cool for 24 hours. Store in a cool dark place for up to a year.

 

This recipe will yield about 6 pint jars. Enjoy!!

Sunday June 14, 2009

Ms Murky Mondays:
Broccoli Rabe and Bitter Greens - the Italian Way

Ever since I was a little kid, there was one aroma that suggested healthy. That aroma was the combination of olive oil, chopped garlic and broccoli rabe or bitter greens.  And believe you me, it smelled oh so good.  Sadly for a kid, the taste of bitter greens did not measure up to the tantalizing aromas that sent my olfactories into sensory overload.


Fast forward to adulthood -  I can now appreciate the double sensory pleasure of the aromas and the taste.  And 'tis the season for such indulgences.  I picked up beautiful bunches of broccoli rabe and bitter greens from both of the CSA's to which I belong (http://www.indianlinefarm.com and www.farmgirlfarm.com).
 
Here's a quick and easy way to whip up those flavors and aromas yourself:
 
Broccoli Rabe or Bitter Greens
1-2 T Olive Oil
2-3 Cloves of Chopped Garlic
Pinch Red Hot Pepper Flakes
2-3 Bunches of Broccoli Rabe or 1/2-3/4 lb Bitter Greens
 
For the Broccoli rabe, my Mom always stripped the leaves and flowers from the stem as she found it hastens the steaming time (and the stems are often tough.) 
 
Wash thoroughly but it is not necessary to dry. Place sauce pan on medium flame, heat the olive oil, add  garlic until lightly golden (watch not to burn the garlic), then add your pinch of red pepper flakes and then the greens (broccoli rabe or bitter greens). Stir gently and place lid on pan to steam for 15-20 minutes. If it looks too dry, add a little water so it steams nicely.
Serve with a couple of nice pieces of italian bread and enjoy!

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!!

Page 13 of 13 pages ‹ First  < 11 12 13