Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

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!!

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